Monday, October 27, 2014

Blog Tour with #GIVEAWAY: The Tantalizing Tale of a Bitter Sweetheart by Jessica Ashley Dafoe

Follow the tour HERE

Successful, lucky in love, taking the world by storm?.....not quite. Portia Delaney is down on her luck, disgruntled in a dead end, mind- numbing career with little prospects and is not even close to finding a stimulating romance to take her mind off her lack-luster situation. Her defeatist attitude and unmistakable idiosyncrasies don't help much either. But with rock bottom comes a choice, lie down and enjoy the cold and barren ground beneath, or climb that ladder of success to the top. Portia finally sets out to do just that. With a fantastic group of friends and a bit of fateful circumstance on her side, she begins her trek up and out of the despair filled trenches. But Portia soon finds out that with success, often comes hardships and unwelcome competition.

The venue is sparkling with what appears to be waterfalls of white twinkle lights, cascading from all sides. As I peer up through the triangular shaped glass roof, dusk is setting in and the faint appearance of stars in the sky are peeking through to become the natural back drop of this fateful event. Suddenly Michele Gagnon catches my eye. He is no longer the scruffy character I met yesterday; he has traded in his t-shirt and ripped jeans for a three piece suit with coat tails and a top hat to suit. My matching 18th century inspired ensemble and his choice of wear settles my nerves because it is clear that this night is truly meant to be. We are a dynamic duo, prepared to take on the cat walk.
Gagnon takes notice of me and swiftly walks towards me, his arms outstretched as he approaches. “Portia! You are perfection; a true complement to my collection and the season.” He wraps me in his affectionate embrace and I can’t help wanting to pat myself on the back for taking the time to learn about his new line.  “Come, come. I will show you around the location and then we will begin to make the most magnificent show. You will be my behind-the-scenes-star.”
We amble through the venue where I see all the stark white seats set in stringent rows, so orderly and perfect awaiting Paris’ who’s who of fashion. My stomach does a little flip and I take a deep breath to inhale the calmness of the space at this moment. We continue through to the backstage area and I am completely taken aback by the scene. “Calmness” is definitely not the word to describe it. Models are scurrying all over the place, half dressed with rollers in their hair. Hair and makeup stylists are applying powder and hairspray with such thoroughness that there is a cloud caused by the mixture of beautifying products hovering over the whole area.
At this moment I see only female models and begin to wonder at what point I will be able to see Guillaume.
 I am quickly thrust out of this train of thought as Michele takes my hand and rushes me into a curtained off area, just next to the runway. An overwhelming sensation at what I behold consumes me. Before me stands what I would equate to be on par with the holy grail of a runway stylist’s career. Three full walls of the most lavish jewelry are glimmering and shimmering like the stars above. Diamonds, emeralds and pearls as far as the eye can see; gold, brushed silver, rose gold, and every type of additional gem stone one could possibly fathom embedded in the necklaces, bracelets and rings from which I will be selecting. This is a dream; I’m living a truly magnificent dream. I casually turn to Michele and say “It will do. I can work with this.”

To Use a Pen Name or Not to Use a Pen Name? That Was the Question…
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
Very true, Juliet, very true. However, I am becoming more and more aware that names are much more important to humankind than to the flowers we select to accent our houses and our gardens or to demonstrate affection for a loved one with.
Our given name is such an integral part of our identity and attached to every important document, every earned certificate and recognized success, every introduction (granted honest information is provided) etc.
I struggled initially trying to determine whether or not to write under an alias. I guess what I mean is 'pen name'. I'm no spy or criminal, believe it or not.  The final decision to do just that was not an easy one. I'm bound to my name and a part of me truly wanted it to be my given name that was printed across the cover of my novel and future writing projects. I've worked hard for the end result so isn't it only right that me as me is displayed for full recognition?
I love my last name, passed on quite obviously by my wonderful dad. It's a strong name, one that I've signed proudly whether on students’ report cards or at the courthouse when fighting one of the 300 parking tickets I've acquired in the city of Toronto (grrr). It's who I am. So why write under a pen name? For a couple of legitimate reasons; the main reason being that Jessica the educator is far removed from Jessica the author. I'm not saying that I have a split personality, I’m simply stating that wearing two hats brings forth associative expectations. I suppose it's not the easiest to explain my reasoning, but it's the decision I've made and I'm sticking with it.
The last name I finally decided on after contemplating which of my relatives and ancestors' names best suit the 'Jessica Ashley' of my own, is 'Dafoe' after my great grandmother who was a woman to be admired and who will always be remembered for her loving and enduring spirit.
'Jessica Ashley Dafoe' it is and although it's not my own I suppose it does smell (or perhaps I should write 'sound') as sweet. It is, after all, a part of my heritage. I have begun to get practice in signing it during the launches and when writing messages to those who have ordered copies directly from me, but sheesh, it feels like I just perfected the signature of my given name.

Author Bio:
Jessica Ashley Dafoe resides in Toronto where she is an educator by day and a literary enthusiast and writer by night. She attained her BA in English Literature at The University of Ottawa and her B Ed at Brock and Queen’s University. 

When Jessica does not have her nose in a book or is not scribbling out her ideas for her newest tantalizing tales, she's most likely keeping busy trying out various exciting activities and delicious cuisine that the great city of Toronto has to offer or planning her next getaway to her immediate destination of choice. The travelling bug bites her often.

 A romantic comedy addict to the core, she enjoys all things silly, frivolous and emotionally endearing which is the reason she writes stories that encompass all of these qualities. 

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