Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Character Interview with Andi from Trail Mix by Paulita Kincer

We’re thrilled to be talking to Andi from Paulita Kincer’s Trail Mix. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character!

Thank you for your interview, Andi. Can you tell us your story?

Sure, I was out running one morning, and I had this spectacular idea. I get some of my best ideas when I’m running. I thought about how I’m always exercising to lose weight, and my friend Jess is always dieting. If we combined the two, we would both lose weight -- guaranteed. So I found a way to do that – we would hike the Appalachian Trail. I know you’re thinking that’s a big commitment, but our kids are practically grown, gone to college and coming home for the summer. That’s a tough transition when college kids return home, so I figured we’d be better off laying low on the Appalachian Trail. And that’s how it all started.

Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features?

I’m pretty tall, 5-foot, 10-inches, and maybe that makes me a little bit clumsy. If we go to a restaurant, I’m bound to leave it with some sort of smudge on my face or spill on my shirt. I’m kind of big for the indoors. That’s one of the reasons that I love the natural world. Those towering trees look tiny on those undulating mountains, and I look even smaller.

What makes you laugh out loud?

My girlfriends. We’re all so hilarious, I don’t know how we can’t be stand-up comedians. When my friend Jess and I talk about our experience on the Appalachian Trail, I start laughing so much that I can’t finish the story, like the time that Jess suggested we try doing a downward dog yoga position in the rain.

What is the trait you most not like about yourself?

A lot of times, I’m selfish. I think about what I want and try to achieve it without considering how it might affect others. I mean, I spent so many years as a mom, always putting the kids first. I deserve some me time, don’t I? But I’m working on being more thoughtful. My time on the Trail taught me that.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

I think the author was a little tough on me during parts of the book. I may be a bit competitive, but when that’s written down it looks worse than it is. I mean, I only wanted to keep hiking faster to finish the trail. Some other people hiked faster and I wanted to keep up. I didn’t mean to leave Jess behind, and I especially didn’t think it might ruin our friendship.

If you could change one physical thing about yourself, what would that be?

Ha! That one’s easy. My thighs. No matter how much I exercise, I can’t get rid of that pudge in my thighs. I always look a little bit like a Woolite bottle, you know, how it’s thin at the top then flares out at the bottom.

What is your favorite weather?

It sounds strange since I live in Florida, but I love a morning with a cold snap, the kind that gets your blood flowing, like in the autumn. If I can go for a run on a cool morning, I feel my cheeks get pink before I’ve taken a step. Afterward though, I have to get home pretty quick or my clothes, wet with sweat, will make me freeze.

What’s your idea of a perfect meal?

Oh my gosh. I had so many days to think about this when I hiked the Appalachian Trail, and I still can’t narrow it down. The meal has to include a Coke. When you’re hiking the trail and feel the energy draining from you, there’s nothing better than a Coke with some sugar and caffeine. Maybe a nice hamburger and French fries. The hamburger bun golden and soft on top of some lettuce and a fresh red tomato slice. The French fries would be hot, hot, and so crispy. Then for dessert, something deep chocolate, like chocolate mousse, where it’s almost too rich for your tongue.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a professional basketball player. I had all these older brothers and they’d let me play basketball with them I thought that was heaven. Then when they grew up and moved away, I still felt like they were with me when I went out to the street and threw the ball at the crooked hoop with that tattered net.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

I’ve always wanted to try paddle boarding, you know, where you stand on a surf board and paddle. I’d have to do that so I could mark it off my bucket list. Then I’d gather all of my family and friends on the beach. We could swim or kayak, watch for dolphins. And when the sun started to set, we could light a bonfire and gather close together to watch the colors fade into the Gulf of Mexico. That would be a spectacular last day.

About The Book

Title: Trail Mix
Author: Paulita Kincer
Publisher: Oblique Presse
Publication Date: August 30, 2014
Format: Paperback / eBook 
Pages: 220
ISBN: 978-1312462502
Genre: Women's Fiction / Travel / Adventure

Buy The Book:

Discuss this book at our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

In the tradition of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, comes a novel of two suburban women who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail, escaping their lives as moms and wives in search of nature, adventure, and the ultimate diet plan.

How does a woman know what she wants after spending 20 years thinking about her husband and children? Sometimes it takes a distraction from everyday life, time to examine the forest before the trees become clear. With no previous camping experience, Andi and Jess begin the 2100-mile odyssey from Georgia to Maine. The friends figure life on the trail can't possibly be worse than dealing with disgruntled husbands, sullen teens home from college, and a general malaise that has crept up in their daily lives. At the very least, the women are bound to return home thin.

Book Excerpt:


Raindrops trickled down Jess’ nose. Her sodden boots plodded along, squooshing the mud with each step.
“Why did I do this?” She threw her head back, her face raised in lament to the sky. The hood of her rain poncho slipped off. The empty forest around her offered no answer, just a steady rain. Then, far above the treetops, she glimpsed a bolt of lightning streaking toward a nearby mountain and heard an answering boom of thunder. She cringed and scuttled faster down the trail.
For nearly two hours, since the wind first whispered its urgency through the leaves, and the raindrops began to fall, Jess had been hiking through the thunderstorm with no place to stop and dry off. No place to get warm. No offer of coffee or a dryer where she could heat up her clingy socks. She walked alone on the Appalachian Trail.
Like being in the middle of labor and deciding she didn’t want to give birth after all, Jess could not turn back. Well, she could turn back, but she would find only more of the same -- woods and rain and an endless trail.
This adventure was all Andi’s idea. As Jess trudged through the forest in the unrelenting rain, she blamed her best friend and hiking companion, Andi, who had pushed the hike as a great way to lose weight. And, when Jess’ teenagers took off for the summer leaving a big gap where the role of mother used to be, she thought a hike with Andi might fill that space. Andi, who, with her long legs, strode ahead, maybe miles away by now, claiming she had to hurry to the nearest shelter to keep the tent dry. Andi had tucked Jess’ poncho around her pack before presenting her back for Jess to return the favor.
“See you at the shelter,” Andi had called. “Only about three miles farther.”
In the city, a three-mile walk might take 45 minutes, an hour if she stopped to window shop. Here, in the mountains, it could last days as she climbed up peaks and descended into valleys. Oh, who was she kidding? She would never walk three miles in the city. She would get in her car and drive.
The thunder crashed louder, and Jess eyed the spiky greenery of a large fir tree. She could take cover under the tree, be a little bit sheltered. Even as she considered taking refuge, she stumbled past the tree, walking, walking.
Tears joined the rain on her face. She felt trapped. No exit ramps in sight. She could only continue to walk.
The wind ripped at her poncho as she climbed slippery stones that had been placed to form stairs. At the top, the wind gusts grew stronger and tried to push her back down. She hurried on along the ridge. Her walking poles dug into the mud that edged the rocks along the path.
On this crest, she stood exposed to the wind and rain and lightning. Rhododendron bushes lined the trail below, but the only plant that dared to peek through the crevices on this crag was a lone sycamore tree. If Jess could escape this bare slope, the trees ahead would provide an arching umbrella across the trail. As she started to descend with the trail, her boot slid across a slick stone, and she toppled backward in slow motion. She wheeled her arms, trying to right herself, but could not stop the plunge until her backpack hit the ground, and she landed – thump – on top of it.
This was supposed to be a diet plan, not a death sentence, she thought, lying on her back like a turtle on its shell, her arms and legs sprawled helplessly at her side. I may drown. The downpour pummeled her full in the face, but she lacked the energy to sit up, free herself from the 30-pound pack, heft it onto her back, and start the hike again.
As the rain doused her face, she slipped one arm from her pack and turned onto her side, away from the sky. For just a moment, she allowed herself to rest, curled into the fetal position beside her pack. A tingle began in her spine, and, in the moment she pondered why—everything went black.

About The Author

Paulita Kincer is the author of three novels, The Summer of FranceI See London I See France, and Trail Mix. She has an M.A. in journalism from American University and has written for The Baltimore Sun, The St. Petersburg Times, The Tampa Tribune, and The Columbus Dispatch. She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three children.

Connect with Paulita:
Author Website:

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Character Interview: Tiny from Mike Hartner's I, Mary

We’re thrilled to be talking to Tiny from Mike Hartner's, I, Mary.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character!

Thank you for your interview, Tiny. How old are you and what do you do for a living? 

I’m still Master and Captain of ships that belong to Crofter Shipping.

Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features? 

Tall, thin, I can see a long distance.

What would I love the most about you? 

Everything.  After all, I’m British. (and then he laughed)

What would I hate the most about you? 

Everything.  I’m British.

Where do you go when you are angry? 

Sailing. Why do you think I’m already a Master?

What makes you laugh out loud? 

People around me having fun.  Usually with new seamen who have no experience at all, and very little sense of sailing.

What is in your refrigerator right now? 

Refrigerator?  What is that?

What is your most treasured possession? 

Hmm… I think that the greatest gift that I’ve been given is a boat that I was given on behalf of Mary shortly after she died.

What is your greatest fear?   

MY greatest fears have already been reached.  My wife and my youngest child both died at the hands of the plague.

Do you have children? 

I have one child left.  And I have made him agree to stay on land, and never to come to the water.  He will take my place in the House of Lords when he comes of age.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?  

 If I knew I would die tomorrow, I would make every effort to ensure that the people around me would be saved.

About the Author:

Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He's traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

His latest book is the historical romance, I, Mary.

For More Information
About the Book:

Title: I, Mary
Author: Mike Hartner
Publisher: Eternity 4 Popsickle Publishing
Pages: 266
Genre: Historical Romance

Mary Crofter's first trip on the water was just after her first birthday, when her parents came from her birthplace in Kilwa to Portsmouth. She's been on several trips from Portsmouth to London and other places since. She loves the water and the water seems to love her. Can she survive on the water? Will people ever take seriously a GIRL as a sailor? Will she ever come off the water? If she does, will the lure of the ocean draw her back?

For More Information

Monday, September 14, 2015

Character Interview with Meg Rawley from All For Family by Olivia Hardin

We’re thrilled to be talking to Meg Rawley from Olivia Hardin’s All for Family. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character! 

Thank you for your interview, Meg. Can you tell us your story? 

Goodness this is strange to be the center of attention. I really didn’t know this book was going to be my story. I thought Olivia was going to tell about Kay’s wedding, but the next thing I knew Jeremy had a call that my ex-husband was dying and wanted to see me… before I even realized what was happened, we were all reflecting on the way Jeremy and I first met 12 years ago. So much happened back then to bring us to the place we are today. 

What would I love the most about you? 

I’m kind of a nurturer and I think most people like that about me. I’m better at listening than talking so that makes people comfortable. And that’s my thing. I really always want people around me to feel at ease. 

If you could change one physical thing about yourself, what would that be? 

I don’t think anyone would be surprised to hear me say I wish I could drop some of these extra pounds. I do try to eat healthy, but I let myself splurge some. The kids keep me busy and there’s the gardening, but I just have to live with the fact that my body likes a little extra padding. And even though I know I’m beautiful in my own way, I still feel insecure about it. Especially when I’m already grumpy about something else. 

Are you a loner or do you prefer to surround yourself with friends? 

I like to be surrounded by my loved ones, but that circle is tight. I don’t mind when Jeremy and I entertain or when we go on trips to the old country, but my place is here at the manor. My people are what are most important: Jeremy and our children plus his daddy and sister. Oh and now Brennan and Hope along with their growing family. 

What is your favorite weather? 

My favorite is when the sun comes back out right after a spring rain, when the air is heavy with the scent of the moist earth. That’s the time I like to go out into the garden. The soil is perfect and all the plants are just emerging and begging to be tended. 

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today? 

I hope I’d do just the same thing I did today. Every day is precious and I hope I appreciate that always. Rolling over in bed after waking and seeing the serenity on Jeremy’s face in the light of dawn. There’s that moment when I first hear the chattering and the giggles from the boys and I know they’re awake and I can peek into their room to watch them play before they find me. And taking in each scent and color in Larra’s gardens each day. Or watching Jeremy’s daddy resort to behaving like a little boy in one way or another each day. Then as the sun sets blessing the children before bed and curling back into my husband’s arm for sleep knowing that even if it is my last day, it was perfect.

About The Book

Title: All For Family (A Rawley Family Novel)
Author: Olivia Hardin
Publisher: Olivia Hardin
Publication Date: August 24, 2015
Format: Paperback / eBook / PDF
Pages: 200
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Buy The Book:

Discuss this book at our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Wedding bells will soon be ringing in the Rawley family, but gearing up for Van and Kay's nuptials revives old securities for Kay's sister-in-law Meg. When she learns that her ex-husband is asking for her from his hospital bed, Meg must confront the painful memories of her past.

Family is everything for Jeremy Rawley. Most important is the one he and Meg created together. But their beginning was tangled in memories he wishes he wife could forget for good. A call from her past brings them back to a place he thought they'd never have to be again.

Forgiveness may be the key, but the first step is finding the locked heart that needs it.

Book Excerpt:

He watched her slide her feet back and forth against the carpet. “Whew … there’s a reason big girls shouldn’t wear heels.”
Jeremy finished his own drink and sat back down beside her, this time reaching down and taking her feet to pull them up into her lap. She made a face as if she would protest, but when he began circling his thumbs into the arches of her feet, she leaned back against the arm of the couch and moaned. “Oh, that’s nice. Do they teach that at earl school?”
As he massaged, she pointed her feet in a stretch, and her toes brushed a feather’s touch against his thighs. Damn, but the woman could get a reaction from him almost without warning. He continued rubbing, then slipped his fingers between her toes.
“Oh, no, no, no,” she squealed, jerking to try to pull away from him. “Ticklish.”
“I figured…” One corner of his mouth turned up in a grin. He tugged her feet back to his lap, and when he did, the skirt of her dress hitched up almost past her knees. She immediately took hold of the hem and tried to push it back down.
He encircled both her ankles with his hands and then slid them upward along her calves, kneading the muscles of each leg as he went along.
“Jeremy, you don’t have to …”
“Shh …”
Her eyes were open wide, so many emotions in their depths that it was hard to figure what she was feeling. Fear? Embarrassment? Excitement? He pushed one of her legs to the side until it slipped off the couch, then he scooted forward into the open space between her thighs. With one ankle still in his hand, he lifted it so that he could sweep his lips across the creamy smooth skin of her calf, working his way upward.
She was still holding her dress, doing her best to cover up, but the hypnosis of his stare had her. She never once looked away from him as he made his way higher. When he nipped his teeth to the tender spot at the crook of her knee she flinched, then sucked her lip into her mouth.
He was so desperate to kiss her that he almost rose up to smother her body with his and claim her mouth. But he didn’t. Instead he let go of her leg and then took her hands, loosening the tight hold she had on her hemline. The satiny material dropped, sliding down her thighs to bunch at her waist. Under she had on tight nude-colored shapewear, which she was clearly embarrassed about.
Gazing up at her, he brought one of her hands to his cheek. Her fingers stretched long, tentatively touching his lips. When he sucked two of them into his mouth, she moaned and closed her eyes.
“Jeremy, why are you doing this?” She snatched her hands away and to her lap where she once again tried to hide herself under folds of orange fabric.
“I want there to be a day when you won’t ask that question. Maybe it won’t be with me, but one day, you won’t have to wonder why a man would worship you and your body.”

About The Author

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily "cured" of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again. 

Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term "road scholar," and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she "studies" anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she's sometimes accused of being artistic.

A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.

Connect with Olivia:

Virtual Book Tour Event Page