Book Tour: Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown (Guest Post)

Friends, Readers and Writers- welcome Aimee Brown, author of chicklit romcom Little Gray Dress has written us a delightful spot on her story’s location. Check out her post below!

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How I chose Portland, Oregon for the setting in Little Gray Dress

Portland Oregon is a city near and dear to my heart. I grew up in a tiny town about an hour and a half south of Portland called Sweet Home, Oregon. (That’s right, it’s not just in Alabama.) As a kid I always loved going to the city for events, zoo trips and shopping. As an adult my husband took a job as an EMT for a Portland based company in 2005. We moved our family the 90+ miles north and settled in NW Portland.

A lot of the book takes place in the West Hills (the same one mentioned in Everclear’s ‘I Will Buy You a New Life’ song (video below)– he is from Portland!) & NW Portland as that was my side of town and I’d know it with my eyes closed. I also threw in other areas of PDX along with the fabulous downtown area and airport.

https://youtu.be/W05cPXpUHGI?t=1s

I’ve spent a lot of time all over downtown doing everything from concerts at the Crystal Ballroom to the Saturday Market, Waterfront festivals (waterfront pictured below), even spending hours upon hours at Powell’s Books. Downtown Portland is unlike most cities I’ve been to. There is so much diversity in the people, shops and events, and it’s so busy in the downtown areas 24/7.
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I remember my first time in Oklahoma City and discovering that hardly anyone was downtown walking the streets checking things out. That was SO weird to me having moved from Portland!

Some of the hotels downtown PDX are simply breathtaking as well. I knew I needed to have Evan & Hannah’s wedding in one of them. I actually used Google for this part to see what hotel’s are popular for swanky weddings at this point in time and came up with the Hilton Executive Tower in downtown Portland. It sits right in the center of the city across the street from the Portland Town Center. I may make up the rich life but I’ve never lived it. I’ve not ever actually stayed there but you better believe I’d be up for a free night now that I’ve given them some free promo. 😊 I’m kidding… kind of. LOL

I absolutely couldn’t write about Portland without including the airport and it’s once infamous ugly carpet (pictured below). They’ve since changed the carpet to something a little more modern but still similar to the old and even though it’s not the legendary one from the 80’s (maybe before?) it’s still pretty popular on Instagram. pdx

I also included a beach town I’ve always loved visiting and that is Lincoln City, Oregon (pictured below). I’ll admit, I’ve mostly visited Lincoln City for it’s fabulous outlet mall but it’s really a fun beachy town with a lot to see and do. The hotel in the story, however, isn’t real. oregonbeach
I have a feeling because I know Portland well and grew up in Oregon that most of my books will be set there. It’s what I know and it’s a state that doesn’t get a lot of attention as settings in books. The Pacific Northwest is gorgeous, green, rainy and full of my family and friends. That alone makes using it as a setting near and dear to my heart.

I’ve no doubt I’ll throw in the random places I’ve lived over the last eight years like; Reno, Nevada (and the gorgeous nearby Lake Tahoe), Norman, Oklahoma (& surrounding cities) and Helena, Montana (& possibly some of its great National Parks.).

It’s been a lot of fun talking about places I’ve loved visiting over the years like Dallas, Texas & Tahoe. I’ve been moving around the country with my family, following my husbands job for just about eight years and I’ve had so many experiences that will likely make appearances in my future books. I’ve had such a great time going down memory lane from visiting the old Cowboy touristy town Virginia City (where Samuel Clemens was a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise Newspaper in 1863) dozens of times while living in Reno to the May 2013 EF-5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma (just a few miles from my own home in Norman) destroying a lot of my friends homes. While neither of these events is in Little Gray Dress, you never know where they might end up.

I’m excited to memoralize, honor and include so many of these places and memories in my books as a piece of me that can entertain you while you read.

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Friday Friends: Katie Oliver &What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?

Happy Friday, Friends! I started hosting authors and booklovers on Fridays as a way of giving back to the wonderful book community. It is my pleasure to feature author Katie Oliver today.  I started reading her book on my recent vacation: What would Lizzy Bennet Do? And it’s fabulous Austenian chick lit fun!  Welcome, Katie!
image1. So, what have you written? – I’ve published nine books to date – three books in the ‘Dating Mr Darcy’ series, three in the ‘Marrying Mr Darcy’ series, and three ‘Jane Austen Factor’ books. My first book, Prada and Prejudice, was a number one bestseller and went on to sell well as a paperback.

Currently I’m working on a new story more in line with my earlier books and having great fun writing it. Two female characters cross paths with two sexy (but very different) men, and there are lots of misunderstandings, laughs, and, of course, romance…

2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart? – Homelessness. People going hungry when perfectly good food is thrown out every day. And I don’t understand people who are deliberately rude or unkind. Like the bumper sticker says, mean people suck.

3. Are you a Pantser or a Planner? – I’m about evenly divided between the two. I’m a planner in that I plot the overall story arc in advance and sketch out my characters’ traits and motives/goals; but everything else I make up as I go along. It’s the best of both worlds, really.

4. Tell us about your love of Jane Austen? I came to Jane Austen a little late. I think I was in my late thirties before I saw the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, which led me to finally read the book. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. It was amazing. Well-crafted. And it was brimming with wisdom, emotion, and comedic moments. Jane Austen had a rare gift for capturing not only the quirks and foibles of the people in her corner of the world, but of humanity at large. Her works are timeless and universally appealing and will always remain so.

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5. What is one unusual thing about you? If I didn’t write, I’d love to design and stage home interiors. I could really get into that…choosing the color palette, furnishings, artwork, rugs… Bliss!

6. What music inspires you? Music that evokes a feeling or emotion does the trick. I like pretty much anything by the Clash or Talking Heads, Bonnie Raitt, and Joni Mitchell. Definitely Joni Mitchell. A Woman of Heart and Mind and River are two particular favorites. Salisbury Hill by Peter Gabriel is unforgettable. And of course, I can’t leave out Depeche Mode.

7. How many books did you read last year? Not as many as I wish! Writing makes for less reading time, unfortunately. But I did read some great books by Bill Bryson, Patrick Taylor, Lynda Renham, Lauren Weisburger, Curtis Sittenfeld, and a few others. And I finally read The Secret Diary of Lizzy Bennet – and loved it!

8. Ranch or Blue Cheese? Um… Neither. Does that make me weird?

9. What are you working on right now? I’m writing an American romance set in Texas about a divorced couple who reconnect several years later. I’m also working on resurrecting an old Regency I started years ago and never finished. I’m kind of all over the place writing-wise right now.

10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days? Master Chef, Fixer Upper, Property Brothers (I’m on a home/DIY kick at the moment), and binge-watching Beach House Bargain Hunt. I’ve followed the soap opera, General Hospital, off and on since 1982. And I never tire of a good SpongeBob SquarePants episode.

11. Do you have a theme song? Hmm…as a writer, it would be I Will Survive. For my own theme song, I’d choose Silver Spring by Fleetwood Mac. I love that song, and the lyrics really resonate with me.

image12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self? Lighten up and let it go. In a year, or six months, or even a few days, it won’t matter. So don’t sweat it. And don’t beat yourself up over mistakes you’ve made. We all make ’em. Learn from them and move on.

13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today? If you want to be a writer, go for it. It’s an amazing thing to get published, to be interviewed, to hold your first book in your hands. But know that it’s also a hard road. Develop a thick skin to cope with the inevitable rejections and bad reviews you’ll receive. Be prepared to promote yourself. Get an agent if you can, because he/she will open doors that are closed to un-agented writers.

Most importantly, connect and engage with your readers via Twitter and Facebook. Edit your work ruthlessly. Be polite, and always thank those who take the time to help you. And write the very best book you can.

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Website/blog: http://katieoliver.com/ko/blog/
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/KatieOliverWriter
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/katieoliver01/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7565829.Katie_Oliver
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@katieoliver01
Carina UK/Pink Ink blog/website – https://pinkinkladies.wordpress.com
BIO:
Katie Oliver loves romantic comedies, characters who “meet cute,” Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order). She currently resides in South Florida with her husband and two parakeets.
Katie’s been writing since she was eight, and has a box crammed with (mostly unfinished) novels to prove it. With her sons grown and gone, she decided to get serious and write more (and hopefully, better) stories. She even finishes most of them.
AMAZON UNIVERSAL BUY LINKS:

THE JANE AUSTEN FACTOR series

What Would Lizzy Bennet Do? – myBook.to/WWLBD

The Trouble With Emma – myBook.to/TroubleWEmma

Who Needs Mr Willoughby? – myBook.to/WNWilloughby

DATING MR DARCY series:

Prada & Prejudice – myBook.to/Prada

Love & Liability – myBook.to/LoveandLiability

Mansfield Lark – myBook.to/MansfieldLark

MARRYING MR DARCY series:

And the Bride Wore Prada – myBook.to/ATBWP

Love, Lies & Louboutins – myBook.to/LoveLiesLouboutins

Manolos in Manhattan – myBook.to/ManolosinManhattan