Thursday, March 10, 2011

SWEET BAKLAVA - Debby Mayne - Free Book

Multi-published author, Debby, and I have been friends a long time. I'm thrilled to welcome her here. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

My stories aren’t autobiographical, but there’s always a touch of me in each character. I grew up in an Air Force family, and we moved a lot. Sometimes it was difficult because I had to pick up and move right when I started getting close to people. Paula in Sweet Baklava has always wanted to establish roots, so after she graduates from college, she moves back to Tarpon Springs, starts a business, and buys a house. The hero lived in Tarpon Springs all his life, so when he’s able to, he joins the Air Force so he can travel.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’ve always done quirky things, so to me quirky is normal. But there is one thing that used to baffle other people who didn’t understand my lack of fear of unfamiliar surroundings. Before I got married, I’d drive to an area, get lost (intentionally), and find my way back using a map and asking for directions. That was back before GPS.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I won a couple of writing contests in college, but I didn’t think much about being a “real” writer until after I had children. When my first daughter came along, I had to do a lot of research to be a mom. I didn’t know anything about babies, so I spent hours studying books on baby care and trying to figure out what I’d gotten myself into. One of my neighbors laughed about how much research I’d done, and she recommended writing articles for other clueless moms. I considered that a challenge and I wrote my first article about going from being a career woman to staying home with the baby. Over the next several years, I wrote about 100 articles. Someone else challenged me to write a book, so I did. That book will never get published, but it opened the door to the longing to become a published author.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

My first love after the Bible is a heart-melting romance, but I also enjoy a variety of women’s fiction and cozy mysteries, particularly first person stories. I like the classics as long as I can relate to at least one of the characters. Some nonfiction appeals to me, too, such as fashion, cooking, decorating, and skin care.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I go for long walks and enjoy the wildlife near my neighborhood in Florida. There are a couple of ponds near my house, and they’re filled with alligators, turtles, jumping fish, and dorky looking Florida birds that aren’t smart enough to stay away from the alligators.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I keep running lists of names I like. When it’s time to start a new book, I ponder all the names and think about how the character’s personality matches different names. For a romance, I try out the hero and heroine’s names together. One funny thing happened with Sweet Baklava, though. I liked how Nick and Paula sounded together, but I forgot to think about how her name would sound if she married Nick Papadopoulos. Paula Papadopoulos—what a mouthful!

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Now that my children are grown, I’m proud of what amazing adults they have become. Although I know I can't take credit for how wonderful they are, I like to think I had something to do with it. Both of my daughters are Christian girls with good values, and they treat my husband Wally and me with respect and love.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

All depends on what I’m doing. When I have a ton of work to do, and I don’t have time to rest, I glance over at my cat Misty and think about how good her life is. She eats and naps then jumps into my lap when she needs a rub. When I can’t reach something on a top shelf, I think it would be cool to be a giraffe that never has to ask someone to reach something for him.

What is your favorite food?

Another “all depends” answer. I love almost anything Greek, Mexican, Italian, Indian, Thai, French, or Spanish. With Sweet Baklava coming out soon, I’ll have to go with Greek—specifically baklava.

I love baklava, but I only let myself eat it occasionally. One time my husband came home with a whole package of baklava. I was terribly tempted to eat more than I should. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

I loved researching this book because it involved pounds and pounds of Greek food. I just had to sit down and not think about how much I craved spanakopita, Greek stew, or baklava. Fortunately, I got to play in the kitchen and make some of the recipes that readers will find in the book. Yum!

Tell us about the featured book.

The product of a split home, Paula Andrews is conflicted about the only guy she’s ever loved, Nick Papadopoulos, who is coming home on leave from the military. Years earlier, Nick grew impatient and abandoned his family’s sponge diving and restaurant businesses in the Greek community of Tarpon Springs, Florida. When the two of them see each other after years of being separated, the awkwardness is replaced by pounding hearts and memories sweeter than the baklava in Nick’s aunt’s bakery.

Nick’s dad begs Nick to leave the military and join the family to keep the sponge business alive. Paula’s candle and soap shop on the sponge docks is thriving—mostly from her mail order business. They quickly find that the flicker of attraction is stronger than ever. However, Nick loves being in the military, but he’s willing to put it aside to be with Paula, while she doesn’t want to do anything that will make him resent her.

Paula experiences all sorts of emotional tugs—from Nick going back to his base in Texas to her mother coming to her for emotional support. Nick’s cousins are relentless in their scheming to keep the flame burning between Nick and Paula.Years later, and after their lives that have grown apart, is it possible for these two people to rekindle what they once had?

I can't wait to read it. Please give us the first page of the book.

Nothing like the aroma of authentic Greek food to stir a woman's injured soul. Paula Andrews had to walk around toys scattered on the front porch. She inhaled deeply and knocked on the door of the large, two-story, wood-frame house. Nestled among other old Tarpon Springs, Florida, mansions, the Papadopoulos family home overlooked the Anclote River's Spring Bayou. She heard the bustling and scurrying inside the house as she stood and waited. A wave of nostalgia blended with the smells coming from the house and flooded her senses. The only thing that trumped chicken fried steak on her taste buds was Greek food cooked by one of the Papadopoulos women.

"Don't knock!" someone yelled. "Just come on in!"

Tentatively at first, she pushed open the door a few inches. When she was certain there wasn't a small child smashed up against the other side, she shoved harder, making the heavy wooden door squeak. As she entered the grand, two-story foyer, she spotted a familiar petite figure standing on the top rung of a ladder, her arms stretched to their maximum, fussing with the end of a piece of crepe paper.

"Hey, girl," Paula called up to her best friend. "What can I do to help?"

"Hand me that streamer." Steph Papadopoulos pointed to the table beneath the ladder.

I know I can't wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?


I'm currently posting quick and easy recipes called "deadline dinners" for busy women who have to throw a nutritious meal on the table after working all day. I'll start adding some Greek recipes on my blog after the first of the year.

Occasionally, but not often, someone asks what baklava is when I tell them about this book. This is what I tell them:

According to, baklava is a dessert made of paper-thin layers of pastry, chopped nuts, and honey. Oh, but it’s so much more than that. One bite of baklava can send a dessert connoisseur into sugar orbit.

This delightfully sweet dessert with questionable origins has been claimed by many, including the Greeks, who have made it a staple in some of the best bakeries in the world. Really, who cares if it started in Assyria, Turkey, or Greece? It’s the perfect finale to a meal of spanakopita and lentil soup or Greek style beef stew. Or for the health conscious, start with a Greek salad and avgolemono soup, and erase the guilt of finishing off with a triangle or square of baklava.

You are making me hungry for some, Debby. Thanks for dropping by.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


collettakay said...

This book sounds so good. It is the first time I've seen it.


Colletta From Pennsylvania

Patsy said...

I've never tried Baklava, but it sounds like it would be great with a cup of coffee. (I'm going for the coffee now). The book sounds great also. Would love to read it. Count me in on the giveaway.

From the Bible Belt.


karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

karenk (from PA)
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Marianne said...

Not sure i have run across Debby Mayne books, but would love to read it. Thanks for the chance, Lena and Debby. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com
Marianne from Arizona

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

Linda in California

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Debby Mayne said...

Hi everyone! For those who love Greek food, I included a bunch of my favorite recipes in the back of the book.

Debby Mayne said...

Patsy, you're right! Baklava is delicious with coffee! It's the perfect dessert after any meal!

Charity said...

Please enter me:) Thanks!

Nauvoo, IL

fredamans said...

I've never had Baklava, but it sounds delicious. Thanks for the entry, I am from Ontario, Canada.

holdenj said...

Looks like a wonderful story. When I was in high school, one of my co-workers make baklava at the holidays. It's very sweet, but was good! Thanks from MN!

Debby Mayne said...

I used to make baklava occasionally. It took me all day, but the yum factor made it worth the effort! Now I buy it from my favorite Greek bakery in Tarpon Springs, where the book is set.

Sarah said...

That's really funny about the names! That sure is a mouthful! Sounds like a good book!

Sarah from Ohio

Colleen Wait said...

I actually know a Nick Popadopoulus. I have to be careful with names because I go to a very large church and I don't want anyone to think I'm writing about them. Usually I go through baby name sites or scroll through news websites. Except for one book in which all the names are Biblical.

A J Hawke said...

Brings back memories of Baklava prepared by Greek friends.

Please put my name in the drawing.

A J Hawke

Debby Mayne said...

There are quite a few people named "Nick Papadopoulos," which in the Greek community, is the equivalent of "John Smith."

I'm having a book signing in a store not far from the Greek community of Tarpon Springs. I won't be surprised if someone by that name shows up. Since Nick in the book is a wonderful, caring, extremely good looking guy, I don't think anyone will complain.

apple blossom said...

oh sounds good .

please enter me thanks
i live in nd

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Megan said...

Sounds like a sweet book. And I love Baklava -- I think I may make some tonight!

Thanks Lena!

Megan in California

Anonymous said...

Love the cover.Sounds like a good book. I would love to win a copy.
Angela from KY

Lorna Faith said...

Love the cover of your book Debby...looks yummy! Your 1st page sounds interesting, I would love to be entered for a chance to read it:)

Lorna from Alberta


Pam K. said...

I enjoy reading novels that include recipes. "Sweet Baklava" sounds like a very good book.
Please enter me in the book giveaway.


Judy B said...

This does sound like a good book. I would love to win a copy of it.


Judy B from Indiana

Robyn said...

Just the title makes me want to read this. I'm part Lebanese and grew up on Baklava. And the opening page was terrific.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Edwina said...

The book sounds great and I would love to read it!


Newnan GA

Anna W. said...

Sounds like a great read!

-Anna W. from GA

Cindy W. said...

Sounds like a great book. Please enter me into your drawing and thank you for the chance to win.

Cindy W. from Indiana


Brenda said...

The books sounds great! I cna't eat baklava but the ingredoemts other than the nuts sound fabulous to me. Please enter me in the book.

dancealert at aol dot com

Brenda said...

I'm a follower of the blog - GFC

dancealert at aol dot com or Brenda Rupp

Carman said...

Please enter me! This plot looks great, and I can't wait to read it! :)

booklovercb at yahoo dot com

midwest USA ;)

Lindsey said...

I'm most definitely adding this book to my Amazon wishlist! The first page hooked me. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

ladyufshalott at yahoo dot com

Pacific Northwest

Lindsey said...

(I just realized this is free on Kindle right now so I got it! So excited! If you draw my name go ahead and re-draw because I'll be reading it on Kindle. :)

gahome2mom said...

I'd like some Baklava too. lol Thanks, gahome2mom/at/gmail/dot/com

Debby Mayne said...

I put on a few pounds while writing this book. My favorite Greek food (besides baklava) is avgolemono soup made with chicken, egg, lemon, and orzo. Yum!

Ann Lee Miller said...

How can a book with baklava in the title not be delicious?
Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert AZ

Kristie said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. It will be interesting to see if romance reblossoms. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Bakersdozen said...

This author and I seem to have some of the same interests (cooking, skin care, fashion). I would love to read this book. I live in So. California.

Judy Cooper said...

It would be nice to win a copy. Thanks from Southwest Louisiana.

-petit said...

Yeah, this book is making me hungry. I never tasted Baklava, but now I want it XDDD

Judylynn said...

Please enter me in this giveaway.

Judylynn in Tennessee

Merry said...

What a sweet title! I'd love a chance to read Sweet Baklava.
Merry in TX