Friday, March 29, 2013

Blog Tour: Love In Translation by Sara Palacios


Follow the tour and enter the giveaway HERE


LOVE IN TRANSLATION is a modern day love story about following your heart to unexpected places and taking chances in life … because sometimes you will find exactly 
what you are looking for. 

Love in Translation
I adore this cover!
Still reeling from the unexpected breakup with David, Emily nurses her broken heart by spending time with her best friends and taking one-too-many vodka shots. After one long night, she takes a good, hard look at herself in the mirror and doesn’t like what she sees. She realizes that she has sacrificed too much in her failed relationships from the past and vows to never settle for anything less than almost-perfect again. As she picks up the pieces and regains her confidence, a sexy Spanish chef moves in across the hall and completely knocks her off her feet. What ensues is an unexpected and tantalizing affair that opens her eyes, and her heart, to a whole new world and leaves her feeling sexier than she has ever felt. Emily finally sees how easy love is supposed to be. Is happily-ever-after actually possible? Just when she starts to think so, she realizes that sometimes life gets more complicated before it gets easier. And complicated is an understatement when Steven (her best and oldest friend) confesses his love for her. Everything spirals out of control as Emily must make a choice between love and friendship, and in doing so, possibly risk it all.

LOVE IN TRANSLATION, is a modern day love story about following your heart to unexpected places and taking chances in life … because sometimes you will find exactly what you are looking for.

Love In Translation

1

My hands tremble as I grip the wheel and drive fast, too fast, down the road that leads to David’s. It is nearing midnight when I park a few houses away from his. The full moon lights up the street and I have a clear view of his house.
What the hell am I doing here?
I take in a deep breath and turn off the engine. I really don’t know what I’m doing, or how I got here, but, here I am anyway.
David was the perfect boyfriend; smart, confident, kind, and loving. But, a few weeks ago, he changed. At first, the changes were hardly significant.  But they grew, as did the feeling in my gut telling me that something was wrong, and I’ve always trusted my intuition.
I was too embarrassed to talk about it with anyone. I needed unbiased advice – so I did what any person of my generation would do and looked online. I stumbled upon a pretty in-depth article on a relationship help website that seemed right up our alley. It offered good advice and listed our current state as a “rough patch.” It said that all couples go through something similar around the two-year mark. Common factors included pressure related to moving in together, getting married, etc. The article said that I had nothing to worry about and that things would sort themselves over. So, I didn’t worry, even though things continued to get worse — even though I was sure that the end of our relationship was near. 
And I was right. Late last night, David stumbled into my apartment. He was a complete mess. We exchanged a few words, and then I looked into his eyes and knew what was coming. He was focused. He cleared his throat and said that he needed space.
I stared at him blankly as he walked out the door and never looked back.
 I replay the night over in my head as I sit in my car staring pensively across the street into the bay windows of his living room. I can’t see anything through his thick wood blinds, but I think of David and what he might be doing at this very moment. I picture him lying on the couch in his favorite pair of basketball shorts watching “SportsCenter.” I can see him munching on salty popcorn and drinking a cold beer while he watches the replays from the basketball game earlier today. I would even bet that stinky bulldog of his is lying at his feet, panting heavily as he takes his evening nap.
A part of me wants to knock on his door and say something, but what? I don’t know. I think about all of the things that I should say to him; all of the things that I should have said last night. We are making a mistake David, I say aloud to myself while looking in the mirror. Ouch! I’m such a mess right now. I haven’t brushed my hair all day, so I run my fingers through it quickly. If I am going to knock on his door, I want to look presentable – not desperate. As I straighten my t-shirt and check my teeth, I spot something from the corner of my eye. I see David’s front light turn on, then, a few seconds later, the garage door opening.
I could be face to face with him any minute now and it makes my insides turn. He walks out of the garage toward his car. He isn’t wearing his favorite basketball shorts like I imagined. Instead, he’s wearing a pair of dark slacks, a gray polo shirt and his dress shoes.
He’s dressed up. But why?
He walks over to the passenger side and opens the door. Within seconds, I see a woman walk out of the garage toward him. She is model-esque and effortlessly chic with long, straight hair in that new ombre style I kept meaning to try out on myself. Good thing I never got around to it. She takes a few more steps, and then glides effortlessly into the car.
What the fuck is going on?
My body tenses and my heart starts pounding. Not in a good way — but in the “Oh, you dirty bastard” kind of way.
Who is she?
Feeling slightly naïve, I give him the benefit of the doubt as I run through my mental rolodex of the women in his life, but my mind draws blank after blank. After a few more attempts at convincing myself that this isn’t really what I think it is, I give up and it hits me like a ton of bricks.
How long had this been going on?
My hands tremble as I grasp the steering wheel tightly and think about how blind I had been. My ex-boyfriend of a few hours is going on a date, with another woman.
David casually walks over to the other side and climbs in. After a few seconds, he begins backing out of the driveway.
Where are they going?
Where is he taking her?
I quickly debate my next move before settling on three options: confront them, follow them, or walk away.
What do I do? What do I do?
David starts down the street and I’m on the verge of losing them.  I’m not sure if it’s gut instinct or pure stupidity that decides for me, but I know I have to follow them and find out what is going on. This is nothing that a little private investigating won’t solve.
I decide right then and there though that tailing him is as far as I will go. I will not confront him. I will not demand answers. Once I see what is going on, I will simply turn around and go home.
I take a deep breath and start the engine. I reach to turn on the lights and accidently hit the brights instead.
Shit! Rookie mistake!
I panic. Did he see the lights? Is he going to turn around and catch me? I’m going to have to be more discreet if I am actually going to go through with this. 
Thankfully, there is no change in their direction. I let out a sigh of relief and try once again to turn the lights on, hoping I can do it this time without alerting anyone to my covert operation. I luckily manage to get things right and slowly ease myself into drive. I catch up to them just as they are pulling out of the subdivision. I keep a close tail as we merge onto the access road, and then, onto the highway.
We drive another five minutes until he exits the highway and begins to approach downtown Austin. I realize that things are about to get tricky; one red light can make all the difference in the world right now. I ease my vehicle closer to his slowly and inconspicuously. I make no sudden lane changes or quick turns and end up with one vehicle between us as we turn onto Seventh Street. All the one-way streets are going to make things rather tricky, so I hone in and focus. 
My cell phone rings just as I turn off my blinker. The sound is breaking my concentration, so I grab the phone and see that it’s my best friend, Sophie. She’ll just have to wait. I hit the ignore button and toss it on the seat next to me. There is no way that I can possibly have a conversation right now. 
The phone rings again. It’s only seconds after the first call and I know that if I don’t answer this time, the calling will continue. I reach over and answer while trying to maintain my visual. We are both waiting for the light to turn green.
“Hello?” I answer; my voice tense.
“Emily?”
“Yeah. What’s up?” I say quickly and to the point. I attempt to sound calm and breezy but fail miserably. 
“What are you doing? Is everything ok?” she asks. She knows something is up, I can hear it in her voice.
“Yes. I’m fine,” I say, even though I most definitely am not. “Can I call you back?” I ask as the light turns green and they pull through the intersection. I am going to lose them if I don’t get off the phone and focus.
“No. What the hell are you doing? Seriously, Emily, what are you up to?” I had cried my eyes out to Sophie last night after David left, and I know that she is just concerned about me. But, the last thing I need right now is for her to know what I am actually doing. Quite frankly, I don’t even know what I’m doing. How could I possibly explain it to someone else?
“Emily?” she questions again.
I don’t have time to deal with her right now. “Please let me call you back,” I beg.
Just as I finish my sentence, I see David parallel park alongside the right curb in a vacant parking spot. I glance around frantically; I need to find somewhere to park, and quick. I spot an empty loading zone marked specifically for commercial vehicles and pull in quickly and illegally. I toss the phone onto the seat again and I can hear Sophie pleading for me to answer her.
“Emily? Emily? Are you there? Answer me!”
I block her and every other noise out of my head. All I hear is silence.
I am now two cars away and have a perfect view of his car. I watch as he gets out and walks over to open the door for his lady friend (girlfriend, mistress, sancha, whatever you want to call her). He pulls open the door and my chest tightens. She gets out and leans in to kiss him. Is this really happening? A tear falls down my cheek as my worst fear comes to light. Seeing them this way, kissing the way that David and I used to kiss, confirms everything. This had been going on for quite some time.
I want to look away, but no matter what I do, I can’t pull my eyes off the two of them.
I’m mortified. Or more accurately, I’m completely humiliated. I cover my face and sob and wonder how the hell I ended up here.
I cry harder and a little louder until I catch a glimpse of David from the corner of my eye walking up the sidewalk, toward me, hand in hand, with her. 
The tears stop as I panic. I slump down as far as I possibly can, until I am practically sitting on the floorboard. What if he sees me? I know my chances of going unnoticed are slim, but I am hopeful. This night has been hard enough already. Could I handle getting caught too?
Shit! Shit! Shit! I am freaking out but I try to stay calm. As they inch closer, I keep my gaze on her until I muster up enough courage and look at David. He is blissfully happy; his smile is as wide as ever.
I feel the enormity of the situation start to sink in. It is official now — we are over.
Once they are long gone, I pull myself up and glance in the mirror. I am a complete mess — my hazel eyes are swollen and my hands are still shaking. I try to make them stop, but can’t. I don’t know what to do next so I close my eyes and take in a single deep breath. I take it nice and slow and then follow it with another.
Breathing is good. Just take it nice and slow.
It is then that I realize that Sophie is still on the phone, pleading for me to answer.
“Sophie?” I ask once my hands stop shaking and I’m able to hold the phone again. 
“Emily? What the hell is going on?”
“Nothing,” I say.
“What are you doing?”
I say nothing for several seconds; all I can hear is my own breathing. “David was cheating on me,” I say, hearing the words echo over and over in my ears.
“What?” She is upset also. “How do you know this?”
“Because,” I pause, trying to keep my voice from trembling, “I saw them.”
“How?”
“I followed them, Sophie.”
“What?” she yells through the phone.
I know what she is thinking. This is all so crazy. This was completely out of character for me, and I am embarrassed to admit that I actually went through with it. This was a different side of me that I had never seen — one that I never wanted to see again.
“Emily! Answer me!”
“I followed him,” I say as I fight back the tears.
“I can’t believe it. Why would you do something like that?”
I begin to sob. “I don’t know, Sophie.” My words are muffled, “I just needed to know. I needed to know why I wasn’t good enough for him.”
There is no use in trying to hold back anymore. I am in full hysterics now.
“Emily, please don’t do this to yourself.” She lets out a loud sigh, “I hate seeing you like this. Will you please come over? I don’t want you to be alone right now.”
I don’t respond. I don’t know what to do.



4.5 stars

I loved this sweet story about realizing that you can be loved intensely, honestly and truly and that settling into a relationship that is wrong is never worth it. Palacios writes real characters that are slightly flawed, completely believable and immensely enjoyable. I loved that Palacois was able to write a story that was romantic and tender, focusing on beauty and respect in loving relationships. I am very impressed with this debut novel and I cannot wait for future novels by this very promising writer!



Bio: Sara Palacios is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Advertising and a minor in English Literature. It was during her time in college that she really fell in love with the written word and ventured into writing her own stories. In addition to writing, Sara spends a majority of her time reading the works of other authors.  She reads most genres  – but thoroughly enjoys chick-lit, women’s and historical fiction. When she isn’t busy reading or writing, Sara enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is happily married, the owner of two precious doggies and a new mom to a handsome baby boy. Sara is also an avid animal-lover, runner, yoga enthusiast and wannabe vegan.



Q.  What inspires your writing? I am not sure if anything in particular inspires my writing per se, but I have always dreamed of being a writer and I think ultimately I work hard to be able to prove to myself and my son that you can do anything you want to do.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author? I am absolutely in love with this wonderful community that I have magically stumbled upon. Everyone is so nice and for once in my life, I feel like I finally have a place amongst people who love books as much as I do.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author? Since having my son, I am definitely struggling to find the time to write. Early on, sleep definitely won that battle but now that he is older, I am starting to have a little more freedom and plan on getting more writing done.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be? I have always wanted to be a yoga teacher … or a cupcake chef. I keep brainstorming ideas to make them both happen, but so far I haven’t had much luck.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled? The Luckiest Gal

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time? I LOVE Pillars of the Earth by Ken Folliet. Ever read it? Gah, it is so good!

Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the easiest to write? I had such a fun time writing the scenes between Andres and Emily. Their chemistry was instant and was so fun to write.

Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the hardest to write? I struggled writing the emotional scenes between Emily and Steven. I felt so bad because they were best friends and Steven loved her so much. It was hard watching Emily break his heart.

Q.  Which character from any book are you most like? You know, that is an excellent question. I would really have to think about that one.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your book cover(s)? Yes! There is a pivotal scene in the book that takes place in a field of bluebonnets. Like I mentioned before, they are very prominent here in Texas and I thought that the scenery was absolutely perfect for the book cover. I designed it with my husband and couldn’t be more pleased with the way that it turned out.


Q.  What is your favorite season? I live in Texas so we really only have three seasons … spring, summer and fall. Summer in Texas is SO hot but I am a big fan of the heat. But, I would have to say that I absolutely love spring time in Texas. All of the bluebonnets are in bloom and the weather is gorgeous!

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s). I had to listen to a co-worker talk to me about the sex scenes in my book – while at work – and my boss overheard. It was pretty embarrassing. At least she was telling me how much she enjoyed them! Which, I guess adds to the list because she is much older than me and it was kind of awkward. Ha!

Q.  Are you working on something new? I am. It is still so new that I don’t really want to reveal any details just yet, but I think you will love it.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by? I would just like to say that I am so grateful for their time. I know that there are thousands of new authors out there and I am so glad that they were able to spend the last few minutes with me, reading these really fun questions that you prepared! Thank you for having me!


Guest Post: How to write a love scene!

When I first began writing LOVE IN TRANSLATION, I must admit that I was a tad bit shy when I was writing the love scenes between Andres and Emily, and often times, I found myself blushing right in the middle of one. Here is an example of one:

He parks the car and opens the door for me. I glance at my watch and notice that it is close to 1 o’clock in the morning. There is no way that any restaurant is open this late on a Sunday night.

“Please close your eyes. It is a surprise after all.”

He leads me forward, and I follow, careful to not stub a toe or stumble off the curb. I hear him fumbling with his keys, and then a door creaks open. We take a few steps inside a building. La Tierra maybe? All of my senses are on high alert right now and all of the sounds and the smells are intensified. The suspense is killing me. I hear what sounds like another door opening. Suddenly, we stop and within seconds, Andres kisses me softly on the lips. It is very, very sexy.

“Can I open my eyes yet?” I ask anxiously.

He whispers in my ear, “Yes, you can open them now.”

His voice is so sensual that it sends chills down my spine. I open my eyes and see that we are standing in what I presume is a restaurant. He reaches for my hand and leads me into the kitchen. “You are still hungry right?” he asks, his eyes wide with excitement.

“Starving, actually.”

“Good!” he says. He rubs his hands together excitedly. “What would you like for me to make you?”

I give him my “are you serious” look, but I know that he is not joking. “What do you want to make?”

“Anything for you,” he says as he walks over to me and begins kissing my neck. “So, what will it be?”

I laugh nervously, as if I have had any chance to focus on anything except his kisses. “What are your specialties?” I ask playfully.

“Well, I can make anything, but one of my favorite things to make is a dish that my mom used to make. Do you like duck?”

I smile. I’m not really sure if I like duck or not, but I will try anything he cooks for me.
He takes my smile as a yes and within seconds he has his apron on and a frying pan out. He begins doing a million things at once, chopping herbs, digging through the refrigerator for an onion and several pieces of fruit. He sautés the duck with spices and onion while preparing and heating up something that looks similar to bread. I am amazed watching him. He is incredibly passionate about his cooking and is intense in his sampling of the spices, making sure that everything tastes just right.
“So is your mom as good of a cook as you?”

He smiles bashfully. “Oh, no. She is much better. With me,” he pauses and spoons up a scoop of the broth from the duck and walks over toward me. “With me, I had to learn everything from schools and watching. But not her, she just knows how to cook. It is natural to her.” He brings the spoon up to my mouth. “Taste this,” he says as he blows on the broth and allows me to sample.

There are so many flavors. He waits for a reaction. “¡Fabuloso!” I say, and I can tell that he is pleased. 

He grins and walks back over to the stove and stirs something into the broth. “I love it when you speak Spanish to me,” he says as he pulls out a plate. “It is very sexy.”
It is? My practice has paid off. I am glad that he’s too busy to notice the shade of red I just turned.

It’s getting warm in here.

He tells me to close my eyes again, so I do. Once again, the suspense kills me. I listen to all of the noises around me, but I have no idea what is going on.

After what seems like an eternity with my eyes closed, Andres grabs my hand and pulls me to another part of the restaurant. He helps me sit down in a chair. I hear him pull out another chair and then feel his hand on my leg.

“You can open your eyes now.”

I open them, and I am completely blown away. A perfect romantic setting is before me — candle light, gourmet cuisine, and the most gorgeous man I have ever seen. He is unbelievable. 

“This is beautiful. No one has ever done this for me,” I say breathlessly. Pleased with my reaction, he smiles.

“What is this?” I ask, referring to the dish.

“It is called coca de pato ahumado.”

“What is in it?” I ask curiously. I am definitely intrigued.

He grabs my hand and begins fingering my palm. “Pato means duck.” He smiles and continues on with his description.

I take a bite with my free hand. It is delicious – mouthwatering. He is as talented in the kitchen as he is handsome. “It is amazing, Andres. Thank you so much for doing this for me.”

“I loved every second of it. I enjoy cooking for you.”

I’m speechless, so I take another bite. Again, I’m blown away by the taste. It’s just that good.

Before I can eat any more, Andres leans over and kisses me. The feelings intensify when he begins kissing my neck and then moves slowly down to my collarbone. His hand slides from my hip to my breast. When I don’t stop him, he reaches for my blouse, lifting it over my head and tossing it aside. He looks into my eyes and kisses me again as he unhooks my bra and unbuttons my jeans.

Before I know it, we’re both lying naked on the floor. Who needs thicker carpet? I catch my breath at the sight of him in the candlelight — absolutely gorgeous. He’s equally entranced with me as we admire each other with our eyes, then our hands, then our mouths.

Foreplay is definitely underrated.

My body responds to his every touch, and I feel things I have never felt before. We make love tenderly right there on the dining room floor.


As you can see, things were definitely heating up on the page for Andres and Emily. And, after I wrote a few intimate scenes, I became more and more comfortable. So, today I have compiled a list for Mrs. Mommy Booknerd on the steps that I used to create a love scene.

  •          Be realistic and make sure that the scene fits not only your book but something that the characters would actually do.
    ·         Create a romantic setting. There are candles and a romantic dinner in this one.
    ·         Elevate the mood by using anticipation. Here I use a blindfold.
    ·         Be unique and original. I promise you that almost every sex scene you can think of has been written before, but put a unique twist on it that makes it all yours.
    ·         Details. Details. Details.
    ·         Be as descriptive as possible. I tried to think of all of my senses when writing these scenes and thought of how something might taste or feel or smell. You get the picture.
    ·         Focus on emotions. Show the reader vs. telling them.
    ·         Always keep your boundaries in mind. For me, there is a thin line between just enough and too much.

    Whew! Is it hot in here or is it just me? These are the items that worked for me and I hope that they help you too. What are your key elements in writing a love scene?




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