Friday, August 24, 2012

SMALL TOWN NIRVANA



I bought a set of these, aren't they darling?

My guest today is the amazing Beth Ciotta. I say amazing because Beth has accomplished much in her lifefor a quirky daydreamer. She pursued a career in the arts, first as a professional singer, then as a variety performer, character actress, and dancer. Finally, she remembered her early love of writing and started writing contemporary romance and has been published since 2002. 
I have yet to read a story from Beth that I haven't loved. She's a gifted storyteller and I'm sure her background has helped in crafting such entertaining stories. 
Her latest sinful release, is A FOOL FOR LOVE, from the Cupcake Lovers club series. It's set in a charming little town called, Sugar Creek, Vermont. Oh, I had lots of fun with this story and I'm looking forward to THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE (with two characters I loved in book one). 
I asked Beth what drew her to a small town setting for story.  


Nirvana is one of my new favorite words. A place or state of oblivion.  Bliss. Heaven. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place or state of bliss?  Of course, like everything in life “nirvana” is subjective. My idea of heaven is the small fictional town of Sugar Creek, Vermont. The small community featured in my new series: The Cupcake Lovers.
 
Chocolate Porter Coffee cupcakes
recipe by Raspberryeggplant RECIPE
At its conception, I knew the Cupcake Lovers series would take place in a small town. But where? My first thought was Indiana. I grew up in a small town in Indiana. I know the area. The folk. The rhythm. It wouldn’t take much research to create an authentic community.  But then my husband reminded me that I’d already set a few of my books in the Hoosier State. True, true. Time to go somewhere new.
First choice: Vermont.

I’ve never been to Vermont, but I’ve always had the urge to go. I’m entranced by the scenery. The stunning mountains. The lush valleys. The vibrant foliage of the autumn season. I thought about the Sugar Maple trees. Maple syrup. Vermont maple syrup.  I had this vivid image of a small boy pouring syrup into an ice cold creek to make the water sweet for his girlfriend.

Sugar Creek.

In that moment I knew my town would bear the same name as the creek, which would forever spur the distinction between locals—“The creek, not the town.” Or… “The town, not the creek.” I envisioned a Mayberry-like setting comprised of buildings that stood no more than three-stories high. Some of the building were converted, brightly painted barns.  Every business was independently owned. Lots of local artisans, antique stores, a family operated department store, and an old-fashioned General Store where everyone shopped for groceries and gossiped about the latest going-ons. Sugar Creek exploded in my mind, as did the people who populated the quaint tourist town year round.
  
Chloe Madison, the heroine in the launch book FOOL FOR LOVE, moves to Sugar Creek to start a new life. I got to learn my way about town right alongside her. Together we delighted at the camaraderie and creativity of the Cupcake Lovers club. We marveled at the complex and tightly-knitted relationships between friends and family, the secrets and rivalries, and the budding and failing romances. A community that celebrated the best of times and pulled together in the worst.

Like Chloe, I felt as if I’d found a new home. Imagine my glee knowing I wouldn’t be leaving Sugar Creek any time soon. There are at least three more books in the Cupcake Lovers series. Next up: The Trouble with Love, coming out March 26, 2013. And, as my amended cliché goes, the plot (and the cupcake batter) thickens.  Nirvana! 


  • Do you like cupcakes? Beth has a collection of cupcake recipes on her blog and she shares in her book.

~*~*~*~

  
BUY: AMAZON, B&N, B-A-M

FOOL FOR LOVE

Beth Ciotta
Call her a fool, but chef-in-training Chloe Madison wants to have her cake and eat it too. So when her boyfriend dumps her for some French tart, she decides to start over from scratch—with a new life and job in Sugar Creek, Vermont. What could be sweeter than cooking for an eccentric lady who’s crazy for desserts? What could be more tempting than joining a club called the Cupcake Lovers? Just one thing: local business-hunk Devlin Monroe…
Although he’s the grandson of Chloe’s fun-loving boss, Devlin Monroe is all work and no play. Micro-managing the family business, he doesn’t have time to indulge in life’s sweetest pleasures—until he meets Chloe. How can he resist such a vibrant, beautiful woman who brings so much passion to the table? But when old grudges and secrets threaten to destroy the Cupcake Lovers, Devlin must decide if his feelings for Chloe are a recipe for disaster—or a sinfully delicious ever after… Excerpt


You can read my review of A Fool For Love here. 


Storytelling comes naturally to award-winning author Beth Ciotta. Dubbed "fun and sexy" by Publisher's Weekly, Beth specializes in writing Romantic Comedy with a Twist of Suspense and is published in contemporary, historical, steampunk, and paranormal romantic fiction. "I can't think of anything more fulfilling than writing stories where everyone (except the villain, of course) gets a happy ending!"
Beth lives in NJ with her husband, two zany dogs, and a crazy cat. A retired professional performer, Beth now pours her artistic passion into her writing. To learn more about her colorful life, visit her website. You can also find her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter

27 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Beth, welcome back to Over Coffee. My virtual coffee bar has a nice selection of cupcakes, as well as other goodies!

I so enjoyed my visit to Sugar Creek and loved spending time with Chloe and especially Daisy! What a hoot she is!

And I see you have a steampunk romance series coming out later this fall--you know I will be eagerly awaiting that one!

Beth Ciotta said...

Thanks so much for having me Sia and for the delicious review as well! Clinking my morning java cup to yours, although, my cup has a moose on it --viva Vermont--instead of a cupcake. Although, dang, now I want a cupcake mug too!

Liza said...

Fun interview! I'm curious Beth, how you went about researching (and becoming to know) a state you've never been to. Of course Google, but anything else? And Beth, Vermont IS stunning. You should go!

Beth Ciotta said...

Hi, Liza. Great question. I've actually written about a few places I did not have the opportunity to visit physically. The toughest being South America and the Andes. When writing about places I've never been (including Vermont), I consult government websites as well as recreational websites. Sites that offer photographs and descriptions. Travel sites that feature discussion boards or blogs that document first hand accounts of hikers, bikers, etc. You Tube is a great resource for vaca videos on an area and help to make you feel like you're there. In addition to the internet I utilize my local library for travel reference books. The juvenile section proved a great resource for books specific to Vermont with lots of great info! For quirky specific questions, sometimes I'd shout out on a social network, asking someone who lived in VT. That's how I actually stumbled up a reader/reviewer who's a lifer in VT and who agreed to beta read FOOL FOR LOVE to see if I'd tripped up on anything pertaining to state/region. I was thrilled when she said I'd nailed VT and that Sugar Creek reminded her of the small town her mom grew up in. All that said, when time allows, SOMEDAY, I will absolutely visit in person!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

When you find a comfortable place, it's fun to hang for a while.

D.G. Hudson said...

Very nice that a person living in Vermont gave you feedback on the locale.

Good luck with your book, it sounds like a good read. I like the name Sugar Creek, it sounds small-townish, and immediately tells us the type of people to expect. . .

Beth Ciotta said...

That's a fact, Alex! I have a few comfortable places. How about you?

Beth Ciotta said...

D.G., Thank you for the well wishes. I'll take all of those that I can get! Have a great day!

L.G.Smith said...

Vermont is a great location for a small town story. I felt the same way about Wales when I began writing my latest novels. Just something about it drew me to it and then I fell in love with it.

Best of luck with the Cupcake Lovers. Wow, do those look good by the way. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I loved meeting you, Beth. Thanks, Sia. Sugar Creek sounds like a great place - both the town and the creek :)

Happy Weekend!

Beth Ciotta said...

L.G., ah, Wales! What a fantastic region to write about. I can easily see why you'd be drawn to it. All best with your novels as well!

Beth Ciotta said...

Thanks for chiming in, Carol. Sia is an amazing host and I, too, loved meeting new people! Cheers and cupcakes!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Well, I haven't been as good as hostess today and I apologize.

My youngest brother and his fiance were in a car accident earlier this afternoon. Got T-boned by a heavy duty van and had to be pried out of the car. Both are okay, few broken ribs, fractured hip, cuts and abrasions, and alive--which is always good.

So I have been away.

~Sia McKye~ said...

LG, curious to see what you do with Wales. :-)

Liza,I liked Vermont--any season is lovely. I'm with Beth on this.

There are LOTS of amateur travel videos on you tube and government videos too.

I was researching a little island in the Hebrides, one I hadn't been too. Once was a private island but is now national trust and tourist attraction. But it was amazing how much info was out there on it through many of the sites that mentioned. One guy hiked to one of the high points and panned the whole area and gave close ups of houses and roads. I can still see it in my mind.

It's amazing what you can find these days.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, that's true. I'd say you were pretty comfortable in Byron's world. Of course I like to visit it too.
:-)

DG, I hadn't thought about it but you're right, the town name does tell you a lot about the people to expect. Some great characters in the story.

Hey Carol! you have a great weekend too!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Sounds like a great place to live, and a tantalizing story to tell us about it. Thanks for the heads up.

Sia, I'm sorry about your brother's accident. Glad he and his fiancee are okay.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thank you Susan. I'm glad they're okay too. If you saw the car you'd wonder if anyone came out alive. Hopefully the bruises and breaks will all be healed in time of the wedding next month.

You ought to check out some of those cupcake recipes. Yummy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Judy,Judy,Judy. said...

I'm really enjoying your blog. And that short story - Beyond the Shadow of Fear - was riveting. I'll be back for more.
Also loving your guest. I checked out the excerpt and I will definitely read Fool For Love.
I adore reading how writers do their thing. I'm happy to hear that you made up a town in a state you've never been in. It's so hard to stick with places I know.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thank you Judy! Beyond the Shadow of Fear is a 90k story. That was just one part. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I love my guests too. And that's what this blog is all about. The writer's process.

There is a common denominator between all writers. We all face problems with what we write, we find solutions to make it work. We juggle outside jobs, family, and our writing. We have triumphs and tears. That's true whether you are an aspiring author or someone with a couple of books out or many books and have hit the bestseller list.

So many aspiring authors think that established authors have it made. No problems, no juggling, easy peasy. My guests shoot that theory right through the heart, lol!

Thank you for stopping by Judy!

Kat Sheridan said...

Cupcakes and coffee, two of my favorite things! And a fun book to read while I indulge! Sia, LOVE the coffee cups! And the book sounds like great fun, too!

Beth Ciotta said...

At my day job and short on time. Will reply more soon, but just had to send warm, healing thoughts for Sia's brother and finace! How unfortunate. Get well soon!

Cate Masters said...

What a great cover! Love it. Congrats on your release, Beth.

Beth Ciotta said...

So many wonderful comments and so much support. So glad Sia invited me for coffee and the chat. You ALL made my weekend! Thank you!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Beth, it's always a pleasure to have you stop by.

I'm hoping you'll stop by with your new steampunk romance and I LOVE the series name!!! The Glorius Victorious Darcys I certainly want to to read Her Sky Cowboy in November!

Charmaine Clancy said...

This story certainly does sound 'fun and sexy', and who doesn't love cupcakes???
I do also adore those coffee cups :)

Rachel Morgan said...

That book cover is so pretty! It makes me want to go sit there at that little table under that tree and eat cupcakes :)

Beth Ciotta said...

Charmaine, I'm with you on the cupcake mugs. Thinking a set may be in my future!

Rachel, it is indeed a lovely setting. I love the lights in the tree!

Sia, thank you again! And thank you for mentioning HER SKY COWBOY. November will be here before I know it! Yowza. Must get you a copy!