Friday, June 22, 2012

The Yin and Yang of Wine and Coffee

Happy Friday! I'm still occupied with my faffing, so today I'm pleased to host the lovely Hart Johnson, talking about hew new novel, The Azalea Assault. I loved this book --  the cast of characters were all interesting and varied, and I liked that Cam was intelligent and interesting. The wonderfully lush setting in Roanoke really come alive, too. I'm not a big mystery reader, but this one has whet my appetite for more.

Over to Hart!

First I want to thank Talli so much for hosting me as part of my blog book tour! I think Talli is such an amazing presence, always cheerful, always fun, but MAN can she nail that marketing creativity thing! She's had some of the most unique ideas for really getting herself out there, and I think all of us can learn from her. She pushes all of us to up our game!!!

I thought, because Talli is a coffee and wine gal, I'd talk about the ongoing struggles my MC and her best friend have on exactly these topics (and how it's symbolic for their character differences overall) See, Camellia Harris (Cam) is pragmatic, calorie conscious (sort of a light weight where liquor is concerned) and prefers things mild. Annie, her long-time best friend, is sassy, bold, spicy... all about life's little pleasures (and big, if you can find them). [Cam is a PR professional and Annie owns a cupcake shop]

 In the very opening scene there is a debate about CREAM... Cam using the non-fat, non-dairy substitute and Annie insisting she is missing the point entirely, lecturing her about TEXTURE. Likewise on the wine. Cam is white, not too dry, not too sweet (a nice grigio). Annie is red and bold, usually choosing a merlot, but enjoying unusual twists. I had such fun setting up their personality contrasts in terms of flavor—seriously.

There is also an ongoing beer debate and Annie constantly pushing Cam to add a little spice to her palate. (And swear more, but never mind) I think the details like this can be so telling, and give a great sense of personality without having to... you know... describe personality.

 So the coffee or wine bar are open, depending on what time it is: How do you prefer yours? I am a black coffee drinker most days (though at Christmas always need at least one eggnog latte) and drink wine like a high school kid (pretty and sweet—I get that from my grandma).

 The Azalea Assault 
 Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.Available at: Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook Amazon Paperback or Kindle (pretty much any book store and some big boxes) 

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn't writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice). Alyse/Hart/The Tart can be found at: Confessions of a Watery Tart.

Thank you for your kind words, Hart (I didn't pay her, I swear!). Before I go, you can read about my fifteen firsts over at the Chick Lit Bee, and there's a chance to win a copy of Construct A Couple at the wonderful Book Chick blog.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. Very cool! love that cover - so intriguing.

  2. I take my coffee strong and black and I like deep red wine with lots of character. My food habits are more in line with Annie than Cam, though that's where the similarities end.

  3. Talli's gone NAKED! YAY!!!

    I like my cappuccino made with four shots of expresso and frothy milk!

    Take care

  4. Talli, thank you so much for having me! I had fun with this one.

    Michelle-thank you! I love the cover, too!

    Christine-I know people with the bolder food taste and milder personalities, but I like fiction being a little more symbolic that way.

    Kitty-four shots! Holy cow! That's downright naked!

  5. I'm a black coffee girl too. No milk or sugar. OR cream:)lol. I prefer a rich red wine, not to sweet but not too dry either.

  6. "Azalea Assault" is a great book--and the way the characters interact is a big reason why! :)

    Strong cofffee with cream and sugar. I'll drink any kind of wine. :)

  7. I like my coffee to resemble chocolate milk.

  8. I really love the book cover! As for coffee, I keep mine black.

  9. Strong black coffee and dry red wine. Although I'd take a Samuel Adams or Shiner Bock over the wine, given a choice :)

    Waving to Talli!

  10. Wine gives me a clears my head. It's a brainer.

  11. Alex-Ha! That fits!

    Katie-Very good!

    Elizabeth-both, eh? And I actually am content with almost any wine, too, though not a super dry one.

    Diane-too funny!

    Amy, thank you!

    Carol-I actually prefer a nice IPA to wine, myself...

  12. Em-Ach! headaches are no good! White wine, too? Red wine had Histomines, which can do that.

  13. Strong hot tea helps me start the day. Headaches love to keep me company. My mind must be too good a host!! But a morning start with two lovely ladies like yourselves is always a good beginning to a day!

  14. Milk - real milk (not that lowfat, skinny, watery stuff) and a little sugar in both coffee and tea - but not wine. ;)

  15. I love the technique you're using to describe them. ;D

  16. Roland, BOOO for headaches! You need to stop letting them down easy and just make them scram!

    Holly-Annie would agree with you!

    SA-thank you!

  17. I saw this book over at Alex's blog! It looks and sounds wonderful. I'm definitely adding to my to-read list.

  18. I always stick with black coffee Cam.

  19. Julie-thank you so much!

    Maurice-seems to hit the veins faster that way, doesn't it?

  20. I can't drink wine any more, but I do love my coffee. :-) Sounds like a fun book! And happy Friday to you both! Have a great weekend.

  21. Wine? A good Cypriot village red. Coffee? White, strong but not sweet.

    Loved the post.

  22. Enjoy your faffing Talli!
    Hart, I love the personality differences you described with various coffee and wine. I'm a black coffee and red wine girl :)

  23. Hi there - just to let you know I have revamped the way I list blogs on my sidebar and now have a list of featured book blogs. Your blog is on it. I do enjoy following your blog. Have a good day.

  24. I can't drink wine anymore! I like my coffee black, and sometimes with cinnamon, turmeric spice and ginger with half a splendour.

    Really, what a wonderful book cover and it sounds like a really great read.

    Your so right about Talli, we can all learn a thing or two from her. She is cetainly an inspiration. (What speed is her computer?) By the way, I have 'Build a Man' up on my Blog. It's my present book recommendation. I also gave mention to the Serenity Holland Book series.

    Have a great weekend with lots of happy Faffing!

  25. Hart, I like the way you contrast your characters like that, and it's a good design for a cover!

    I don't like coffee myself... but I've gotten to like tea. With an obscene amount of sugar.

  26. Li-thank you!

    Glynis-Cypriot Village red, eh? I've never heard of it and now I want to try!

    Heather, thank you!

    Jacqueline-she is, isn't she!

    William, thank you! And for me, that is how I have to do tea, too, with the exceptions of the fruity variety.

  27. I like it super sweet on both counts - hot chocolate and Riesling.

    Love the idea of the garden society mysteries.

  28. I do like a good mystery, Alyse! And I like a cappuchino when out.

    Talli - I've given you the Be Inspired bog award with some questions to answer. If you wish to accept, you'll find them on my blog!


Coffee and wine for all!