Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview with Malena Lott, Author of The Last Resort

Malena Lott is an award-winning writer and the author of several novels: Dating da Vinci, Fixer Upper, and she recently updated and re-released The Stork Reality: Secrets from the Underbelly; a novella Life's a Beach; and the anthology Sleigh Ride, with six other authors. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, three kids, a shih-tzu, and spring tornadoes. She enjoys nature, zumba, reading, photography her book club, Book End Babes at www.bookendbabes.com and the new imprint Buzz Books USA, publishing entertaining and compelling stories. See her full works at www.malenalott.com. She also writes YA and fantasy/paranormal under the pen name Lena Brown. Look for those soon! 

Thank you so much for this opportunity for me and my blog. Please bear with me, this is my first author interview and I am a little nervous! Malena, I really appreciate you taking some time to answer a few questions.

First question, did you get to research for The Last Resort in Hawaii? If you did, did you really swim with the sharks and ride the zip line (we won't even get into a massage with the brothers *fans self*)?!

I fell in love with Hawaii on a trip 15 years ago and I'm planning on going back next year. I was newly pregnant at the time so unfortunately I didn't do anything wilder than a helicopter tour and hiking. No zip line or sharks for me at the time. I did get to eat to my heart's content, though! I researched the activities available in Hawaii and watched videos and read as much as I could on it. Since they were all tackling fears that was fun to put the characters' in those situations and see how they'd react. And the massage, well, I think that's definitely a fantasy I was happy to give the reader. :)

As an aspiring writer, first time mom to be and pet owner, I am wondering how on earth you find the time and peace to write with 3 children and a dog?
I've been a writer longer than I've been a wife and mom so I suppose it's built into my DNA. I definitely treat it as a "need" versus a "want" and now it's a job, too (that I love) so I recommend finding a time that you can get some quiet time, which may mean waking before the bears or going to a coffee shop (I'm writing at a hip coffee shop called Evoke in downtown Edmond) and come here each week after Zumba. So it's my "me-time", exercise and then some writing with my Americano. God bless espresso! I write every morning, no matter what's going on with the kids and the dog *does* make me get up and let him out several times, but I've gotten used to it.

Speaking of dogs, I see that you own a Shih-tzu. At Eastern Sunset Reads Blog, we are all about dogs and cats! Tell us a bit about your little four legged child, any goofy quirks or surprising tricks?
Emmy June is a total sweetheart. She lets people pick her up and only rarely nips at annoying children. She loves walks and basically loves to sit under my chair no matter where I'm writing. She also adores ice cubes, especially on hot days!

Okay, now that I have gotten my animal fix out of the way, back to your work. In The Last Resort, Rachel developed a 'magical' chocolate that creates a state of almost transcendence and gives the characters a message. Have you discovered some super heavenly chocolate the rest of us haven't heard of yet? Let us in on the secret!
Ooh. Love that question and I wish I had but let me tell you, I'm always looking! I do recommend giving the choxie brand dark chocolate a try and I'm never disappointed withe Dove dark chocolate. I try not to eat milk chocolate that often, but it's necessary (ha!) I'll grab an almond Hershey bar to get a sugar fix.

Speaking of Rachel, she is so inspirational and the message she gives through out the book during the retreat really made me feel motivated myself. Where did you get the idea for the Mojo?
I knew I wanted a "mash up" novel, getting all my characters together and it really surprised me that Rachel came to the surface, especially since she isn't very likable in Dating da Vinci. But she was already a rising star and popular speaker so it made sense to see her career take off and bring her mojo message to women. And I'm a sucker for a great girls' conference. I'm actually attending Spark & Hustle in a couple of days.
Cyndy has also told me about a great beach giveaway hosted by Buzz books and your group Book End Babes for The Last Resort and it made wonder living in Oklahoma where is the nearest beach? If anyone would like to enter the contest (and it has a fantastic prize package) check out Buzz Books but the contest ends on June 30th so hurry and enter!
We have lots of shoreline thanks to our lakes all over Oklahoma so people who want a beach fix typically visit one of our lakes for that, but as far as seaside, the Gulf would have to be the closest. One of my sisters recently visited Galveston for that purpose, but I'm thankful to be visiting Florida for the first time this summer so I'll have some great beach pics to share from Daytona Beach.
I really enjoyed meeting all your characters in The Last Resort. I am very excited to see that Kelly will be getting her own story soon. Can you give us any hints what is in store for her?
What we learned about Kelly in The Last Resort was that her boyfriend moved out, but she comes from a very wealthy family in Oklahoma City (my first novel to be set in my town) but they discover they have lost their fortune and it affects all four generations of women, who end up living together in a loft in downtown OKC. In Something New, Kelly picks up with the plan she made in Hawaii, but living with her newly divorced mom, her shopaholic sister, who is a contestant in a national wedding show called "Luxe Weddings," and her grandmother who has Alzheimer's and thinks she's 25 again, makes starting over harder than ever. It plays on who we are in the spotlight and the stages of a woman's life and how we get lost along the way. I adore stories of family and how the generations learn from one another.
Thank you again for taking time out of what I am sure is a very busy schedule to share with me and my readers! I hope you have a fantastic summer!
Happy summer to you and Mahalo!~
You can find additional books by Malena on her Website or Goodreads Page
You can also follow her on Twitter

Review of The Last Resort by Malena Lott

Synopsis: "Summer, sisterhood and sacred answers in paradise. You’re invited to find your mojo at THE LAST RESORT.

Mojo and fitness guru, Rachel Woods, takes the women through adventures on the magic island to discover their deepest desires and fears. Readers will catch up with characters from Lott's previous novels: Ramona (Dating da Vinci), Taylor (The Stork Reality), Macy (Fixer Upper), Georgia (Life’s a Beach) and get introduced to Kelly, who gets her own novel, Something New, in Fall 2012.

The six women converge at the luxury resort in Maui at a time when their lives are at a crossroads, personally and professionally. From the workaholic Taylor, to the newly-divorced mom with the identity crisis Georgia, to the broken-hearted Kelly, the island helps them find their own mojo for what matters most. And their fearless leader, Rachel, has a secret of her own that set the whole chain of events in motion.

The Last Resort is Lott's sexiest read to date and sure to be a popular beach read for women everywhere. Readers may especially wish they had magic chocolate and the Kealoha brothers on the mainland."

My Review: This was a great summer read, perfect length for a day at the beach (or pool). I don't normally read a lot of chic lit, unless its drowning in romance, but this was a lot of fun to read. I had a hard time at first getting and keeping the characters straight, but as a novella I am sure that if I had read the other books that Malena Lott had written it would have been much easier. I really enjoyed the motivational retreat aspect of this story, I have never actually been on a retreat but found myself being inspired by Rachel's Mojo. I also feel in love with several of the characters, I plan on going back and reading several of the other books, especially Macy's and Taylor's and can't wait to find out what happens with Kelly after her retreat excitement. All in all it was a fun, easy ready filled with several emotional journeys to follow.

My Rating: I enjoyed having a nice light read for my vacation.  As I said I had a hard time getting characters straight but I did fall in love with them once I got them figured out.   Of course I wanted more at then end too, but it was still the perfect length for a beach read.  I give The Last Resort a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

The Last resort was sent to me by the author's publicist.
If you would like to read the book you can find it at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble

Now I was also lucky enough to be able to interview Malena Lott after reading The Last Resort so check out my next post for her answers and also find out about an amazing giveaway!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Reading List and Meet Me On Monday

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

What I Read Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Its Not You Its Him by Neko Cheri
Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss (Bedtime Story)

Currently Reading:

The Brotherhood of Piaxia by Michael Drakich - digital - on page 26 of 340
Liberty: A Lake Wobegon Novel by Garrison Keller - PB - on page 32 of 288

Next Books to be Read:

Under Camelot's Banner by Sarah Zettel - Arthurian Legend Challenge
Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue - Mount TBR Challenge


Meet Me on Monday

So I found this fun little meme I thought would be great to add so people get to know me a little better (and discover my strange little quirks). Meet Me On Monday is hosted by Acting Balanced where 5 questions are posted each week for us to answer about ourselves and share with all of our readers.

Acting Balanced
And now for this weeks Questions:

1. What was your favorite childhood toy?
                                 Besides books? Definitely My Little Pony, Baby Crumpet, Kingsley, Lofty & Quarterback to be specific.
2. Where did you go this weekend?
                                No where, worked in the house on Saturday and Sunday was my baby shower right down the street at a friends house.  I don't get out too much anymore.
3. When was the last time you shopped for yourself? What did you buy?
                                Probably about 3 months ago when I had to by maternity clothes.  I hate clothes shopping but at least I had a reason to go the next size up this time!
4. Paper, Plastic or Reusable?
                                       Plastic & reusable, though we reuse the plastic anyway for litter box and doggie do duties, and small trash cans around the house
Number 5 is for you . . . I am enjoying some Fritos right now so, what is your favorite salty snack?

ACK! Where does the time go?! Only 9 more weeks of relative sanity! So much reading and writing still to do, not to mention a house to get scrubbed down.
I did have a very exciting week last week, I got to interview an author for the very first time and can't wait to share it with you!  The review and interview will be posted tomorrow!!