“Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention” from best-selling author Claire Cook

Reinvention - Claire CookAfter giving us eleven novels in fourteen years, Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs) has reinvented herself once again with her first nonfiction book—Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way).

Wondering how to get to that life you really thought you’d be living by now? Finally ready to dig up that buried dream? Still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up? Then Never Too Late is the book you’ve been looking for.

Claire Cook speaks to real women—our fears and obstacles and hopes and desires—and gives us cutting edge tools to get where we want to go. Bursting with inspiration, insider stories, and practical strategies. Filled with humor, heart, encouragement, and great quotes.

You’ll hop on a plane with Claire as you figure out the road to your own reinvention. She’ll share her own stories, successes, and failures, as well as those of other reinventors, plus tips for getting a plan, staying on track, pulling together a support system, building your platform in the age of social networking, dealing with the inevitable ups and downs, overcoming perfectionism, and tuning in to your authentic self to propel you toward your goals.

A little bit memoir, a lot inspiration, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) is real, grounded, and just the book you need to start reinventing your life.

Claire shares the opening of Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) on YouTube.

Find out more at ClaireCook.com and connect with Claire on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Claire Cook

Claire Cook wrote her first book in her minivan outside her daughter’s swim practice when she was 45. At 50, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of her second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She is now the USA Today bestselling author of 11 novels, and her first nonfiction book, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) is now available. Read excerpts of her novels and find book club questions at ClaireCook.com.

“The exuberant and charming Claire Cook is one of the sassiest and funniest creators of contemporary women’s fiction.”—The Times-Picayune

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USA Today Bestselling author Claire Cook comes for tea

MLD-New LeashUSA Today bestselling author Claire Cook visits today with news about Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life, the second book in her Must Love Dogs series.

Good morning, Claire, and welcome!

Thanks so much for inviting me, Kadee. It’s such a treat to make a new friend, and one who serves tea, no less!

The pleasure is certainly all mine! Please take a seat. While I pour us each a cup, would you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. If you have a buried dream, trust me, it is NEVER too late! And I guess it’s no surprise that reinvention is the overarching theme of my novels and my life. I like to think my novels have helped lots of women find their own next chapters, and I also take great joy in sharing what I’ve learned so far on my Reinvention and Writing pages at www.clairecook.com.

I’m the USA Today bestselling author of eleven novels, and I’m hard at work turning Must Love Dogs into a series. Book 2 is called MUST LOVE DOGS: NEW LEASH ON LIFE and I can’t wait for you to read it. My books have been called everything from romantic comedy to women’s fiction to beach reads to chick lit. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me what you call them. I just hope you read and enjoy them!

Claire CookI’ve been a judge for the Family Circle magazine fiction contest, a finalist and a judge for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Beach Read Festival fiction and grand prize winner. I’ve spoken at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, Cape Cod Writers Center, Savannah Book Festival, the California Women’s Conference, and given keynotes at the Dress for Success International Conference, the Missouri Writers Guild Conference, and the Amelia Island Book Festival. My books have been translated into 14 languages.

I was born in Virginia, and lived for many years in Scituate, Massachusetts, a beach town between Boston and Cape Cod. My husband and I have recently moved to the suburbs of Atlanta to be closer to our two adult kids, who actually want us around again!

I have the world’s most fabulous readers and I’m forever grateful to them for giving me the gift of this career. Midlife Rocks!

It certainly does! I’m a big fan of actor John Cusack, who co-starred with the amazing Diane Lane, in the film adaptation of your book, Must Love Dogs. What was it like working with him?

John Cusack felt like someone I might have gone to high school with—down-to-earth, fun, just a nice guy. I remember him taking the time to hang out with the extras during his breaks. I remember him casually eating a burrito while his makeup artist applied foundation to his hands around it. I remember yakking with him so often on the set—politics, the fact that his mother used to summer in the beach town where I lived, writing stuff – that it suddenly hit me that if I kept it up he might ask security to get that stalker author away from him. So the next time he walked by I pretended to be cool and looked in the other direction. He put his face in mine and said, “Claaai-re” —just like we’d gone to high school together!

What fun! Are there more stories about meeting and/or working with the other wonderful actors in the film you can share? And what was walking that fabulous red carpet for the movie’s premiere like?

Quick impressions of the other actors: Diane Lane was such a good mom and was thrilled that her best friend in real life, Elizabeth Perkins, was playing her sister in the movie. Christopher Plummer was so charming and debonair – once when I entered the room, he gave an exaggerated bow and announced, “The author is here!” And Dermot Mulroney kept bringing in pictures of his son to show me.

And as a surprise, the entire cast autographed a Must Love Dogs director’s chair for me. I refused to check it with my luggage at LAX – I carried it right on the plane with me. It sits in my dining room now, and I like to think of it as my throne, because the entire Must Love Dogs movie experience felt like being queen for a day on that old T.V. game show.

My family and I walked the “red” carpet at the Must Love Dogs Hollywood premiere. (It was actually a green Astroturf carpet with fire hydrants and adoptable dogs!) Gary David Goldberg stood up and told the packed, celeb-studded audience (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brooke Shields, Henry Winkler!) that none of us would be here tonight without Claire Cook and her wonderful novel, and that he started out as a fan of my work but we’d since become close personal friends and I was one of the few people in his life he could count on to always give him the truth in the kindest way possible.

What amazing experiences! Now, I know we’d all love to hear more about the second book in the Must Love Dogs series, New Leash on Life. What can you tell us about it?

Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life is my way of thanking my readers for supporting my books and also to encourage new readers to discover them! Readers have been asking me for more of the Must Love Dogs characters for years, so I finally listened to them, and I decided to jump right in about six months after the first book ends:

Life after divorce for Sarah Hurlihy used to consist as juggling her job as a preschool teacher with the demands of her interfering family. But after a rocky start, Sarah and John Anderson have shared six months of dating bliss. Now their relationship is basically on hold because Sarah’s brother, Michael, and his dog, Mother Teresa, are staying with her. And John’s new puppy, Horatio, hates Sarah. With a passion.

Michael hopes absence will, in fact, make his wife Phoebe’s heart grow fonder. Sarah hopes she can do her sisterly duty and send Michael on his merry way before she ends up single again herself.  John hopes Sarah and his puppy can work things out before it’s too late. Sarah’s bossy big sister, Carol, hopes both Michael and their father will start dating again.

When Phoebe packs up their daughters and heads home to Savannah, Georgia, Michael follows her from Marshbury, Massachusetts, and the Hurlihy clan tags along for reinforcement. Including Dad, who has finally upgraded his Smith Corona to a laptop and already has a date with a woman named Sugar Butt.

Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life is available as an ebook from:

Amazon.com

B&N.com

Kobo

iBooks

Would you prefer a paper book? Find it here on Amazon.com!

Please leave us a comment by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post. Claire and I will be coming back often to see who has stopped by to visit and respond to any questions or comments!

Would you like to connect with Claire online? She’ll tell you how…

I spend a lot of time hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  I hope you’ll join me! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter here, so you’ll be the first to hear about upcoming releases, as well as giveaways and insider extras.

Thank you soooooo much for having me, Kadee! Both the tea and the company were fabulous! ~ Claire

Nancy Lindley-Gauthier and “Patriot: At Any Cost”

Patriot coverMulti-published author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier stopped by this morning to chat about her delightfully old-fashioned romance set during the turbulent days of World War II. The title is Patriot: At Any Cost, and it’s now available as an e-book and in paperback.

As we here in the States observe Memorial Day, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to the men and women who fought side-by-side to keep the world safe. As poet John Milton wrote three centuries before the Second World War, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Good morning, Nancy, and welcome!

‘Morning. It’s great to be here – I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a tea room dedicated to romances before. Love your deco.

Thanks so much. Please take a seat while I make us each a cup. Is there any special flavor you prefer?

At the moment, I love cinnamon tea. Apple cinnamon quite okay, too.

Excellent! I do have that. Don’t you just love Keurig machines? While it’s brewing, would you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m a fan of the historical romance. I adore being swept to a different time, but especially the ’40s. The WWII era had the music (“Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree…”), the attitudes, the FOOD, for heaven’s sake; it was an amazing time for woman to start coming into their own, and still… everything was home-made!

Let’s talk about real apple cider doughnuts arriving with that tea. Need I go on?

Hmm…I’ll check the pantry, but I don’t get much call for apple cider doughnuts. While I search, though, I’d love to hear more about Patriot At Any Cost. The cover is striking and promises so much adventure. May we read a little of it?

My mother used to say “Wartime is not like any other time.” World War II created a community spirit that brought people together, and perhaps simplified daily life. Here, on the ‘home-front’ of the rocky coast of Maine, we find a young woman who so wants to contribute…but who feels so terribly left behind.  Not only by the times…but by the love of her life, as well.

Here’s a blurb and an excerpt from Patriot At Any Cost:

Blurb:

Lillian wants nothing more than to join the war effort, especially since her childhood sweetheart is headed to war–and promising to write–to her gorgeous adversary, Celia.

Her accidental introduction to injured pilot Callahan sets her on an unexpected path. She joins the Civil Patrol, but suspects the war will hardly be coming to Maine’s quiet shores.

Or, will it?

Excerpt:

Lillian peeked anxiously into the night from behind the safety of her heavy kitchen curtains. A glimmer from the crescent moon gave away the young couple pressed close together at the top of the granite stairway, scarcely inches from the house.

Lill ducked back, away from the window. A roar filled her ears. She could no more hear the strains of big band music wafting from the parlor radio than register the steady crash of waves out on the point. She shut her eyes but could not block the image of the two clasped so tightly together.

There was no denying the truth this time. She did not need to guess at the identity of the couple. She leaned back and forced a slow, deliberate breath. “I cannot believe this.”

Link:  Amazon.com/Patriot at Any Cost

For info on more of Nancy’s other titles, check out her site: https://nlindleygauthier.wordpress.com/

I, and the many talented authors I’ve hosted, would love to hear from you! If you’d like to join in on the discussion and leave us a comment, just click on the title of this (or any other) post or click on the heart to the right of the title, and then scroll down to see the reply box or replies at the bottom of the post. Thanks for stopping by! ~ Kadee

London Theatre in Regency Times

Covent_Garden_ Theatre_1809

By the early 19th century, The Industrial Revolution had made England the leading manufacturing and trading nation in the world. In 1800, London was already the world’s largest city, and its population would almost double over the next four decades, to approximately two million.

Large numbers of the working classes, drawn to jobs in commerce and manufacturing, began to attend the theatre for the first time, causing major changes to entertainments formerly reserved for more well-to-do patrons of the arts. Both Covent Garden and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, were rebuilt in the 1790’s to accommodate about 3,000 and 3,600 people, respectively. Minor theatres were opened outside Westminster in the 1780’s and 1790’s; then,  in 1804, when the Earl of Dartmouth became Lord Chamberlain, he authorized the licensing of minor theatres inside the City of Westminster, so long as they did not infringe upon the rights of the “patent houses” of Covent Garden, Drury Lane and the Haymarket. He also authorized longer seasons for the Haymarket, which had been restricted to a five-month season and, by 1812, it was open seven months of the year.

Attempting to retain audiences, the patent theatres began to include minor dramas in their offerings and extended the evenings to five or even six hours. By 1820, it wasn’t unusual for the evening’s bill to include two full-length plays, an afterpiece, and a number of variety acts.

Since only the patent houses could play regular drama, along with the minor genres, the other theatres found loopholes offered by the burletta and the melodrama, characteristically a three-act play with a musical score. Thus, regular drama, such as Shakespeare, could be performed in three acts with musical accompaniment and called “melodrama.” This game of ruse and subterfuge continued throughout the Regency and after, until the Theatre Regulation Act of 1843, which abolished the privileges of the patent theatres, and allowed any licensed theatre to perform works of any type, although all plays continued to be licensed by the Lord Chamberlain.

The upper classes might have worn their very best, but otherwise, theatre-going was an informal business, with members of the audience talking loudly and arriving or leaving at any time during the performances. Dandies strolled and mingled in the “pit,” taking snuff and showing off the latest fashions.

Most of the romantic poets of the day attempted drama, including Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley. George Gordon, Lord Byron, who was a member of the governing committee of Drury Lane, wrote more plays suited for the stage than the others, although only one was actually performed during his lifetime (and that one, “Marino Faliero,” in 1821, over his objections).

The best known actors and actresses on the London stage during the Regency included several members of the Kemble family, especially Sarah Kemble Siddons, who was considered the greatest tragic actress of her day until her retirement in 1812. The Kemble “classical” school of acting was continued by Charles Mayne Young (1777-1856), J. M. Vandenhoff (1790-1861), and Eliza O’Neill (1791-1827). Their classical approach was challenged after 1814 by the romantic school, perhaps best exemplified by Edmund Kean. Kean perfected the style, and exerted his “star power” frequently to demand £50 or more for each performance, an amount unheard of before his time. Other well-known performers, such as William Charles Macready (1793-1873) and Mme. Eliza Vestris (1797-1856), later went from the stage into theatre management.