Friday, November 5, 2010

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Barbara Bretton

A friend of mine loves my contemporary women's fiction but the paranormal books leave her cold. She's never said it in so many words but when you've known and loved a friend for as long as I've known and loved her, it's isn't so much what she says that clues you in but what she doesn't say. My Sugar Maple books, the ones filled with knitting and magic, just don't seem to be on her reading radar.

We were comparing notes about upcoming books and deadlines and the never-ending terror that comes with facing the blank computer screen on a daily basis. (BTW that terror never goes away. It's as sharp and fierce and deadly today as it was when I wrote my first book in 1982.

I've just learned how to keep it in line.) She told me her new book would be released in December.

I took a deep breath. "My new one comes out on Election Day."

Her silence spoke volumes and I knew the time had come to call out that big pink elephant in the room.

"It's okay," I said with a laugh. "You're not a paranormal fan. I understand."

"I love your writing," she said, sounding relieved and embarrassed and everything in between.

"Your contemporaries are on my keeper shelf but . . . " Her voice trailed off.

"Go ahead," I said. "You can say it." I mean, I don't read westerns or thrillers. We all have different likes and dislikes and that's okay. This isn't school. You can read what you want to read without worrying about the reading police staring over your shoulder and tsk-tsking your choices.

It was my friend's turn to take a deep breath of her own. "Why?" she asked. "Why in the world would you stop writing down-to-earth, real-world books and start writing paranormal with vampires and ghosts and sorceresses-in-training?"

You have to admit it's a good question. It's also one I've been asked an awful lot since I began my Sugar Maple series two years ago.

I finally have an answer.

I love my very real earthbound world. I love my everyday life. Grocery shopping. Doing laundry. Paying bills. Rooting for Maks on Dancing With The Stars. Seeing my husband smile when I conjure up something deliciously spicy in the kitchen.
It's all good. Very good, in fact.

I wouldn't trade it for anything.

And yet despite that I sometimes find myself imagining a secret door just beyond the produce aisle at Shoprite or a hidden room accessible through my office closet or maybe a gathering of faeries in that odd little hideaway beneath the dogwood at the far end of the backyard. And who's to say those things aren't waiting for me, hidden in plain sight? They say that human infants are born with a "third eye" that sees beyond our three-dimensional world and grows dimmer as the baby moves out of diapers and into toddlerhood. I'd love to believe that's true. I'd love to believe that all we see isn't all there is, that the world is still filled with surprises and possibilities. I'd love to think the kilt-clad bagpiper who crested the hill behind a Long Island supermarket in 1985 was stepping from a dream and not a volunteer fireman late for an Ancient Order of Hibernians meeting.

What can I say? I'm a dreamer. Always was, always will be. The little girl who believed in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and guardian angels is alive and well, tucked deep inside my middle-aged writer's heart and these days she's writing about a magickal small town and yarn shop in northern Vermont and loving every minute of it.

The newest Sugar Maple book is Spun by Sorcery:

Readers love to visit USA Today bestselling author Barbara Bretton's Sugar Maple. There's just one problem-it's fallen off the map!

Chloe is always losing things-but an entire town? Just when she was about to settle down in Sugar Maple with her soul-mate Luke MacKenzie, her Fae enemy Isadora strikes, and her new hometown is gone. Even the Book of Spells, her lifeline to magick, can't help her now. Just in the nick of time, her friend Janice roars up in Chloe's ancient Buick with Penny the cat and her yarn stash in tow. If she is going to save her home she has to go back to Salem, where family secrets and centuries- old feuds pull her into the fight of her life.

If you haven't yet had the chance to read this series- now's your chance.

Barbara is generously offering five complete sets of the Sugar Maple Series.

That's 5 Sugar Maple sets of 3 books each (CASTING SPELLS, LACED WITH MAGIC, and SPUN BY SORCERY) for 5 winners drawn at random.

Open to US Shipping Only

Winner TBA Wednesday Nov 10

To Enter Leave a Question or Comment for Barbara

Be Sure to Include Your Email


SandyG265 said...

Hi Barbara,

What supernatural creature would you most like to meet?

sgiden at

debbie said...

If you could invent an completely new paranormal creature what would it be?

tetewa said...

I'm always looking for new authors and series to read, sounds good!

Jean P said...

Your series sounds like it is a fun read, it has humor, suspense and romance. I am going to check these books out.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

J. L. Jackson said...

This series sounds fabulous! Would love to read it.

Bethie said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!I am a follower.

Q for Barbara:
Did you always know you wanted to write?

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

CrystalGB said...

Hi Barbara. I love your books. Your Sugar Maple Series sounds good.

Judy said...

This is a fantastic giveaway!! I have read many of your books, but I have to admit that I have not read your Sugar Maple Series. They do look very good!! I love the black cat on your covers:)


butterfly said...

I love this series. I would love to win an entire set. Thank you Barbara for your gernous giveaway.

SharonJM said...

I definately been in that Shoprite where beyond the aisle is another world.

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Thank you Barbara for being a geust today at Fang-tastic Books. I can't wait to read Spun by Sorcery.

*yadkny* said...

WOW Barbara that's very generous of you!!! I'm a dreamer too which is I know that your books are definitely going on my wish list:) CONGRATS on the latest release!!!

James said...

Hi Barbara,
Just wondering how the combination of knitting and magic ended up together.

Linda Henderson said...

I love books with magic, I don't know how I missed these. I would love to read them.

? Do you ever think you will go back to writing contemporaries?

seriousreader at live dot com

Sandy Jay said...

Hi Barbara,

I haven't read any of your books but this looks like a series I could really enjoy.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Lisa said...

Hi there -

What made you get into writing and where do most of your ideas come from

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

Barbara - I *loved* the first book of this series which I checked out on a whim from our library. I loved how well all the various elements meshed together into a solid book. Sadly my library hasn't picked up the other titles yet.

fiberfool at gmail

Estella said...

I have read most of your contemporaries.But have not tried this series yet.
What do you enjoy doing in your 'spare' time?

kissinoak at frontier dot com

tlnrwcs said...

I think every life needs a little magic thanks for the chance to win some

Barbara E. said...

Barbara, I love both your contemporary and paranormal books. Your explanation for why you write paranormal was spot on. I feel the same way, but since I'm not a writer, I have to find wonderful authors like you to feed my hunger for these fabulous stories.


Inspired Kathy said...

Wow what a generous giveaway. Thank you Barbara!
Going to add this series to my to read list.
bkhabel at gmail dot com

Moirae(thefates) book reviews said...

Hi Barbara,
First of all thanks for the awesome giveaway, it's so kind of you! Now for my question, when you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?



booklover0226 said...

Thank you for the generous giveaway, Barbara; I look forward in reading this series.

What is your opinion on book trailers? Do you think they help in book sales?

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Jane said...

I've enjoyed a few of Barbara's contemporaries, but not her paranormals.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

Sherry said...

This looks like a very interesting series. Do you plan on writing more paranormal books and what's your favorite genre to read and write?

Barbara Bretton said...

I can't believe all these terrific comments and questions. We just got in after a day of running around--I'm going to heat up some pizza then sit down and start answering. Be back very soon! (And thanks for taking time to comment. I love Fangtastic Books!)

Johanna R Jochum said...

I love this series. I have read and liked your womens contemp too since I found Casting Spells. I'm glad your are writing paranormal. I like to believe in a bit of magik myself! I'm looking forward to reading Spun by Sorcery! I'll be looking for it next time I'm at the bookstore! Thanks for sharing with us today!

Janece said...

Oh my! I haven't gotten a chance to try these books yet, but after checking them out, I can't wait to!

My question is: What is the most unusual supernatural/paranormal being (or creature) have you ever considered using in a story?

Thank you!

Janece S.

Rosie said...

Hi Barbara,thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed reading your blog. I haven't read your paranormal series yet, but would love to get them. They sound good and cozy!! :-)

Amazonite said...

Hi Barbara - I love your books, but must admit that I agree with your friend quoted in your post. I much prefer the non-fantasy books. The first two books in this series took a good bit of getting used to, but your writing kept me hooked... and now of course, I need to find out what the heck happened to Sugar Maple!

Now the question: Do you ever plan to write a book based in the South? Say, down here in Virginia? It could even have a touch of the paranormal -- we have plenty of spooky happenings!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Barbara,
I love the way you write Chloe's and Luke's' thoughts and words under individual formats...does this make it more difficult or easier to write?
In 2 days, I am half way through! Love it!


Susan C said...

Barbara, Thank you for a great giveaway. I love books with a magical element. With you be writing anymore of your regular contempories?

sablelexi said...

This sounds like a fun series to read.

I absolutely love your reason for why you decided to write a paranormal book. I have spent my whole life looking for the door to another world (was convinced it was in my bedroom when I was little).

jlynettes @ hotmail . com

Barbara Bretton said...

Okay, let's get started!

SandyG: What supernatural creature would you most like to meet?

A: That's a great question and the answer depends on my mood. A vampire, of course, would be near the top of the list. But he would have to be Frank Langella from way back in the 70s when he played Dracula on Broadway. They ran a TV ad for the play that was so sexy and so thrilling every woman I knew was glued to the screen each time it ran. (Check YouTube. I bet it's there.)
But beyond vampires, I'd love to meet a ghost. I want to know what happens after we leave this world.

Q: Debbie wants to know what completely new paranormal creature I'd invent.

A: How about a female superhero who has the secret formula for brownies that take two inches off your waist without even trying?

Q: Many of you asked, "Did you always want to write?"

A: Yes. My parents claimed I was making up stories when I was two or three years old. (One of them had to do with Mickey, my favorite stuffed dog, who apparently owned a bar outside of Yankee Stadium.) I wrote a very short novel called OCEAN WINDS when I was around nine years old which featured a blond and beautiful cruise ship director named Jan Winston who could speaks five languages, play concert piano, sing opera, and execute a perfect swan dive without ruffling a lock of her bouffant hairdo.

Let me zap this out and continue.

Barbara Bretton said...

Let's continue.

Q: James wants to know how knitting and magic came together in the Sugar Maple series.

A: I'm a knitter. Okay, I'm an obsessive knitter. When I'm not typing away on a book, I'm knitting something at least a half-step beyond my skill set. So when the idea for the town of Sugar Maple (a small New England village filled with magickal beings who have been hiding in plain sight since the Salem Witch Trials) first popped into my head I went with the old writer's adage when I chose a career for the heroine, Chloe: I wrote what I knew and made Chloe the owner of my fantasy yarn shop.

And there's the fact that even though I understand the hows and whys of turning string into something beautiful, there's an undeniable element of magic present when you knit--as any knitter who has ever turned a heel can attest.

Q: Linda Henderson wants to know if I'll ever go back to writing non-paranormal contemporaries.

A: Absolutely, Linda.

Q: Lisa wants to know where my ideas come from.

A: Everywhere, Lisa. The idea for the Sugar Maple series came to me in my dentist's waiting room. I saw a brochure for dental implants and found myself wondering what happens to aging vampires when their teeth start to go. A friend's trip to Japan triggered another book. My mother's antique samovar was the catalyst for SHORE LIGHTS a few years back. You never know where the next idea is hiding. The trick is to be open to them.

Q: Kristi mentions that her library hasn't ordered the full series.

A: Times are tough for local libraries, Kristi. I wish they all had the budgets they need to satisfy everyone.

Time to zap this out and continue.

Martha Lawson said...

This sounds like a great series! I would love to be entered to win.

Old follower on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Sheila Deeth said...

I should definitely like to try this series.

sdeeth at msn dot com

Barbara Bretton said...

Q: Lane wants to know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

A: A writer. I always saw myself as a novelist. I never had trouble visualizing a book with my name on the spine, even when I was dusting buttons at W. T. Grant's or making Filet o'Fish sandwiches beneath the Golden Arches. I always believed it was not just possible, but inevitable.

And yes most people thought I was crazy. (Fortunately my husband and parents were crazy too and believed along with me.)

Q: Amazonite writes that she agrees with my friend and prefers straight contemporaries to paranormals. She also wonders if I've ever considered setting a book in the South.

A: Amazonite, if I set a book in the South I'll definitely be writing from the viewpoint of an outsider. The South is so rich with history and culture and tradition that this born-and-bred Yankee would never try to fool y'all!

Q: Sherry wants to know if I plan on writing more paranormal books and what is my favorite genre to write in.

A: I have another Sugar Maple book in progress right now and I don't know whether or not there will be more in the series.
My favorite genre to write in would be big endlessly long family sagas--the kind nobody wants to read any more!

Q: Anonymous wants to know if writing both Chloe's and Luke's viewpoints, instead of choosing one or the other, made the book easier or harder to write.

A: Easier. I love opening up their hearts and thoughts to the readers. It felt like eavesdropping...but in a good way.

Q: Janece wants to know what is the most unusual paranormal creature I've considered using in a story.

A: The selkie I'm working with right now.

That's all for tonight. I'll be back tomorrow and pick up where I left off.

Thanks to all of you for the enthusiastic (and honest) comments. I love that we have the freedom to read what we want when we want without having to explain or justify our choices. This is your leisure time, right? Don't waste it reading or watching or listening to something you don't enjoy. That's my motto and I'm sticking to it! So an extra big thank-you to those of you who have chosen (or will choose) to spend some of your hard-earned free hours with my books. I love all of you.

tinabxtr said...

This series sounds good! Would love to try it! Thanks for the chance!

JenM said...

Hmm, I think I'm the exact opposite of your friend - I'd read anything paranormal, but the contemporaries, I'd have to be in just the right mood for. I'll have to check out your backlist. Thanks for the very generous giveaway. I hadn't heard of the Sugar Maple series before, but it sounds like something I'd like.

katsrus said...

Hi Barbara, Love your book covers. Your books are new to me. They sound really good. Do you have any pets? And if so what are their names?
Sue B

throuthehaze said...

What is one of your favorite book series to read?
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Cybercliper said...

ah, I'm very much a dreamer myself and that's a big part of the reason I read paranormal and fantasy - it helps me keep dreaming, stretching the old imagination. The Sugar Maple books sound wonderful and I'm glad Roxanne has introduced me to your work. annhonATaolDOTcom

kshotz said...

Hi Barbara,

I can't wait to add Spun By Sorcery to my "read" list! I happened to be in big college town an hour away on Thursday and excitedly went to the book store to get a copy only to find out they didn't have any yet. (Darn!) So will have to wait until the next time I can get somewhere with a book store. Can't wait to find out what happened to Sugar Maple!

Anonymous said...

I am 64 years old and think I would like to try your books, I love the cover, the kitty and knitting part and I still love magic!


Johanna R Jochum said...

Oops! I forgot to leave my e-mail addy with my comment for Barbara up above. Sorry!

Victoria said...

A whole town misplaced??? And I though I was bad with directions! That was great, I had to laugh! I hadn't heard of this series. Giving away the whole set is so nice for a contest!
I can't think of any questions that haven't already been asked...
Though think it is a shame that you friend don't like your paranormals but doesn't have the nerve to tell you she doesn't read that genre...she should stick to what she enjoys, there is so much out now-a-days, and so many readers for every genre too.
Good luck with your latest release!

Stephmartin71 said...

Hi Barbara ;)
Thank you for holding this Awesome contest. Authors to give away their whole series Is rare but to do this & give it away to 5 different winners. Wow!
I have a few of your older books, Somewhere in Time & Midnight Lover. I'm going to have to give them a reread though to refresh my memory. I was 17 or 18 then. My book list says I still have them, so I know I kept them because I liked them. I've been wanting the Sugar Series since the first bk Casting Spells released but they came out in the big trade size books & money was tight then. Which is one of my questions: How do you feel about trade books verses mass markets & e-books? If you had your choice, which would you pick? And my other question: Are any of your Out-of- print titles going to get re-released?
Please enter me, I'm GFC follower & newsletter subscriber ;)

annalisa said...

This series sounds magical! :)
Thanks for having this giveaway.

Do you have a favorite book out of all the ones you have written?


Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

Hey Barbara,

If you could interview any paranormal being, which would you choose?

mbreakfield said...

I'm glad that you decided to give paranormal a try, because they are my favorites.