Wednesday, February 20, 2013

AVRA'S GOD - Ann Lee Miller - One Free Book

Bio: Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn't writing or muddling through some crisis--real or imagined--you'll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids' lives.

Welcome, Ann. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write twenty-something contemporary romances because I feel like this is one of the most exciting times in life. This is when most people fall in love for the first time, find their place in the world, resolve issues left over from childhood, and make spiritual decisions. Or maybe I’m just living vicariously through my children.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I really enjoyed falling in love with my husband, but I think it took a bit longer than a day. From an early age in a sad childhood I had looked forward to discovering that special someone to share walks in the woods, laughter, conversation. My husband was a godly man who was, and is, an easy man to respect. Through him I first experienced unconditional love. Falling in love with him was a joy—and continues to be after 33 years of marriage.

How has being published changed your life?
While penning novels for 16 years before publishing in 2012, I focused on God’s kindness in allowing me to pursue the desire of my heart by writing. I concentrated on improving my skill, learning to write in concert with the Holy Spirit, and for the most part, waiting patiently for God’s timing to publish. Now, I need to move my focus off myself and onto my readers. I am struggling to learn new habits like praying regularly for my readers. Also, the business side of publishing takes a big chunk out of my writing time. I have to work hard at keeping writing as my priority.

What are you reading right now?
I’ve been gravitating to southern writers lately like Anne Rivers Siddon, Beth Webb Hart, and Dorthea Benton Frank. But Charles Martin has been at the top of my list for several years. I also enjoy Jenny B. Jones and Ann Brashares (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants).

What is your current work in progress?
Tattered Innocence launches March 1. It’s a tale of passions indulged, denied, and ultimately forgiven:

        On the verge of bagging the two things he wants most—a sailing charter business and marrying old money—Jake Murray’s fiancée/sole crew member dumps him. Salvation comes in the form of dyslexic, basketball toting Rachel Martin, the only one to apply for the first mate position he slapped on Craigslist.

       On a dead run from bad choices and guilt, Rachel's salvation is shoving ocean between her and temptation.

       Rapid fire dialogue and romantic tension sail Jake’s biker-chick of a boat through hurricanes, real and figurative. A cast of wannabe sailors, Rachel’s ex, Jake’s, a baby—go along for the ride.

       The many-layered story weaves together disparate strands into a seamless cord. Mother and daughter look eerily alike—down to their lusts. Their symbiotic bond, forged in the blood of childbirth on the kitchen floor and cemented by their secrets, must be cracked open. A son must go home. Sin must be expunged. 

      Tattered Innocence is for anyone who’s ever woken up sealed in a fifty-gallon drum of their guilt. 

What would be your dream vacation?
A cabin in the woods beside a stream.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
All four of my books are set in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, the place that still feels like home even though I only lived there six years. Setting my books in New Smyrna Beach gave me the opportunity to revisit the “happy” in my childhood.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I would spend it with one of my girlfriends whom I don’t get to see often. She makes me laugh, and she’s one of several friends who feel like sisters.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
My weekly date with my husband is hiking. And I love to go to garage sales, attend Zumba class, and play Scrabble.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
When I am connected to the internet, my mind is too cluttered to write effectively. I find myself checking my e-mail every five minutes. It takes a lot of self-discipline, but I don’t go onto the internet until my writing for the day is completed.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Marinate in craft books, find a critique group, and write every day.

Tell us about Avra’s God.
         In the tradition of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, four friends navigate college and the drama churned up by their Florida beach band to cement friendship and more.
          Avra wants love, but drummer Cisco—self-medicating from his parents’ divorce with sex and intoxicants—is a poor choice. Cisco hungers for fresh-baked cookies and the scent of family he finds at Avra’s.

         Kallie shares her classically trained voice only with lead vocalist Jesse and fights to keep her heart safe. Jesse feeds on fame and hides more than insecurity beneath his guitar.

         The friends surf ego, betrayal, and ambition and head for wipeout.  But somehow, when they're not looking, Avra’s God changes them all.

Please give us the first page of the book.

A hot blast of pepperoni-laden air rolled over Avra as Stavro’s Pizza kitchen door swung shut. She inched ahead in line for a table with her family.

“Yep, me and the idiot sisters are eatin’ fine tonight.”

She swiveled. That voice.

The guy from Humanities 301 thumbed through change he pulled from the pocket of his cutoffs. Cisco. And she didn’t shower and change after soccer practice—why?

Her brother’s elbow knocked into her. “It’s gotta be meat lovers,” Drew’s stuck-in-puberty voice rasped.

Cisco glanced in her direction. Her gaze skittered back to her brother. Please, God, tell me Cisco didn’t just catch me staring at him!

Her attention drifted to Cisco’s corkscrew curls that brushed the shoulders of his ancient Whitey’s Bait & Tackle—Size Counts T-shirt. The girl behind the register tracked Cisco from under dark lashes as if she were having a conversation with the back of his head.

“I want ham and pineapple.” Her brother, Kurt, shot an I’m-slumming-in-Stavro’s-with-my-family look at a couple of girls behind them.

“Veggie,” Avra said, distracted by Cisco’s gaze on her. “Let’s get three.”

Cisco’s forehead crinkled like he was trying to remember where he’d seen her.

Avra feigned fascination with the Best Pizza in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, plaques on the wall. She frowned at the reflection in the window of her droopy ponytail and unisex soccer uniform. Beside her reflection in the glass, the counter girl wore her Stavro’s polo as a second skin. What was the use? Avra turned toward her family.

Mom eyed them. “We’re celebrating Kurt’s first day of college, the beginning of Avra’s junior year, not graduation—”

Drew huffed. “What about my senior year of high school?”

Mom dropped her gaze from the illuminated menu on the wall. “We’ll get two large pepperonis.”

The girl bit a hangnail and watched Cisco. The gummy corners of Isabel curled off her red plastic badge. Overhead, a cardboard pizza twirled in the draft from the air conditioning vent. Isabel blinked at her customer and scrawled the order on a guest check.

Dad threaded an arm around Mom’s waist. “And spicy cheddar cheese poppers.” He batted his eyes through his glasses at Mom and made her laugh. They melted against each other and glided toward the empty bench talking in quiet voices.

I want a guy who will love me like that―forever.

She looked at her brothers. “When I’m married, my kids will have whatever kind of pizza they want. And I’ll bake cookies―”

Drew’s blue eyes brightened in his freckle-spattered face. “Make some chocolate chips tonight.”

Kurt shot her an evil grin. “Who’d marry you, Avra? Morgan?”

“Puleeese.” Avra made a gagging noise. She caught Cisco’s smirk out of the corner of her eye and stopped, mid-gag. Warmth crept into her face. Oh, great. Cisco and everyone in Stavro’s was going to see her face go apple-red under the track lights.

Cisco’s smirk widened into a smile. “I can’t remember the last time I had really good entertainment in the pizza line.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: @AnnLeeMiller

Thank you, Ann, for the interesting interview today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog. 
Avra's God - paperback
Avra's God - Kindle

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 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Ann Lee Miller said...

Hello from blustery, snowy Ohio instead of Arizona where I live.

I'm so excited to be on my first book tour! A dream come true.

I spoke at chapel at Ashland Theological Seminary today, and will speak tomorrow at Women In Dialogue (also at the seminary), to creative writing students at Ashland University, a book signing at an art gallery, and finishing the day speaking to the Ashland University fellowship, The Well.

The way this all came together, I know God orchestrated the trip. I'm awash in gratitude--and nerves! :)

Thanks for stopping in to visit on Lena's blog!


Norma S said...

Thanks, Ann for giving me a chance to win your book, it sounds like a great book. I can't wait to read it.
So you are living in Ohio, i do to i have lived in Ohio most of my life,your heart is in New Smyrna Beach, Floria where you lived for quiet awhile. Ann, you and Lena had a great interview. God bless you both and have a great week that the Lord had made.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Norma,

Brrr, it's cold in Ohio! I'm just here for four days, then I'm going home to Arizona.

Keep warm! :) Thanks for stopping by. :)

Mary Preston said...

Hello from sunny QLD, with just a hint of Autumn in the air.

I'm looking forward to reading AVRA'S GOD.

Mary P


Marianne Barkman said...

i've seen this one online, but this interview and blurb are really what drew me in. Thanks Ann and Lena! i would love to win.

Marianne from Arizona!

Hannah said...

This book looks great! I can't wait to read it :) Thanks for the giveaway!
Hannah P

Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins

Duncanville, Tx

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Hope Johnston said...

This looks like a great book. Thank you for sharing with us.
Joplin, Mo

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this novel ;)

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Veronica Sternberg said...

This sounds very interesting! I too love books about young adults. I'm in MN.

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Mary Preston!

I've met you on another blog or there are two of you with the same name. :)

Thanks for making the long trip from Australia. I always forget your seasons are opposite ours. After that blazing summer, I bet you are ready for Fall!

Ann Lee Miller said...


Thanks for your compliment on the blurb and interview. :) I'm so delighted you stopped in. All compliments welcome!

Happy reading, sweetie!

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Hannah!

Nice to meet you, neighbor (AZ-CA). Thanks for moseying over to say hello!

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Lyndie,

Good luck! You're a sweetheart to poke your head in the door. :)

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Sharon,

You live in my favorite state, North Carolina. I went to church camp near Hendersonville for ten years growing up and fell in love with the mountains.

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Hope,

Lovely to meet you. :)

Happy reading!

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Karen K.,

I was just in Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago for a funeral. In spite of the sad occassion, there were many tender moments. Much comfort. Good people grow there--like my husband. :)

Ann Lee Miller said...

Hi Veronica,

Pleased to meet another young adult fan. :)

Happy reading, sweetie!

L C NATURAL said...

Hi Ann:
I was reading the local 'Hometown News' and read the article about your new book, congratulations!
My daughter is also writing a book, she is young (almost 21), I know she will hate me for writing that, but I was looking for information on who to contact to publish her book when she is finished. Could you offer any help in that area? Thank you for any help.
Looking forward to reading all your books. L Bustamante

L C NATURAL said...

Hi Ann:
I was reading the Hometown News from New Smyrna Beach and saw your picture and the article about your new book, congratulations! My daughter is actually writing a book, she is young, 21 actually, young to me. Did you have trouble picking a publisher? I am going to tell my daughter about your books, I think she will really enjoy them. I look forward to reading all your books.
Thanks, Lynne Bustamante