Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bitter Like Orange Peel On Tour and Giveaway

bitter like orange coverIt’s my pleasure to be participating in author Jessica Bell’s Xpresso Book Tour for her latest release, BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL.

Here’s a brief synopsis of BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL:

        Six women. One man. Seven secrets. One could ruin them all.
Kit is a twenty-five-year-old archaeology undergrad, who doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. Life seems purposeless. But if she could track down her father, Roger, maybe her perspective would change.

        The only problem—Roger is as rotten as the decomposing oranges in her back yard according to the women in her life: Ailish, her mother—an English literature professor who communicates in quotes and clichés, and who still hasn’t learned how to express emotion on her face; Ivy, her half-sister—a depressed archaeologist, with a slight case of nymphomania who fled to America after a divorce to become a waitress; and Eleanor, Ivy’s mother—a pediatric surgeon who embellishes her feelings with medical jargon, and named her daughter after “Intravenous.”
        Against all three women’s wishes, Kit decides to find Roger.
Enter a sister Kit never knew about.

        But everyone else did.

BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL (by Jessica Bell) published Nov. 1st and is listed in the adult, contemporary genre. It can be found on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

As part of the Xpresso Book Tour, Jessica is offering an awesome giveaway. More details on that in a bit. First, Jessica joins us to talk about the top 10 books (and authors) which have most influenced her life.

Welcome Jessica.

I couldn’t sing the praises of the following books more if I tried. These are the books (in no particular order) that shaped me as a writer. Some influences date back almost 20 years ago, and some are recent. But all have left a permanent mark on my writerly soul.

Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson:

       My most favourite literary line of all time comes from this novel: “It was the kind of loneliness that made clocks seem slow and loud and made voices sound like voices across water.” Can you hear the loud, slow clock ticking? Its echo crossing a flat lake trying to reach the disappearing voices of loved ones you wished existed? The still and stifling warm air at dusk? Your heartbeat in your ears? The emptiness in your chest? The melancholia you can’t seem to place? An amazing comparison to loneliness, don’t you think? The clocks, the voices, the loudness of heartache. *sigh* ...

Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

       I’m fascinated by true stories. I’m even more fascinated by true crime stories. And I’m even more fascinated in true crime stories written in the style of narrative non-fiction. If you are too, this is a classic, and definitely worth the read. It’s gripping!

The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood

       This is the book that encouraged me to write from different points of view. It’s a brilliant piece of work. One of those books that stains your brain forever.

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

       Um ... how could anyone NOT love this book?

The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne

      Confession. After reading this brilliant book I’d always wanted to write a book from the point of view of a child. And so I did.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, by Rebecca Miller

       This is the type of book that doesn’t have much of a plot, but is somehow a page turner. I think it’s because of the amazing characterization. And character development is my top priority when I write, so this book has always stayed with me.

The Stone Gods, by Jeanette Winterson

       My mouth was watering after the first couple of pages at the amazing poetic prose. Writer envy galore.

Just Kids, by Patti Smith

       I’ve always been a fan of Patti Smith. Not only is she a musician, but she’s an amazing poet. This is her memoir. And it is a tearjerker.

Short Cuts, by Raymond Carver 

       Minimalism at its best. No one has ever succeeded in evoking so much emotion in such few words so brilliantly since, in my opinion.

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott

       This book inspired me to write my Writing in a Nutshell series. If you’ve read this book, you know how in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, she says that in order not to be overwhelmed, a writer needs to focus on short assignments. She refers to the one-inch picture frame on her desk and how that little picture frame reminds her to focus on bite-sized pieces of the whole story. Basically, if you focus on one small thing at a time, the story will eventually come together to create a whole. I believe the same applies to learning the craft of writing. If writers focus on one aspect of the craft at a time, the process will seem less daunting and piece by piece it will come together.

Have you read any of these books, or any books by these authors? What did you think of them? What books are in your top ten?


Jessica, thanks for stopping in and sharing these books with us. I can see how you were inspired by these.

For those who aren’t familiar with Jessica, here’s a bit of background.

Jessica Bell is an Australian contemporary fiction author, poet, singer/songwriter who lives in Athens, Greece. She may not write fairy tales, but she can certainly exorcise the beauty within a beast. 

Jessica also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the co-publishing editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to Jessica’s newsletter. Every subscriber will receive The Hum of Sin Against Skin for free, and be the first to know about new releases and special subscriber giveaways.

Connect with Jessica online:
website | retreat & workshop | blog | Vine Leaves Journal | Facebook | Twitter

Here’s a book trailer for BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL for your viewing pleasure.


Grand prize giveaway
The prize is open internationally and the winner has a choice of 3 prizes:

        * Choice 1: Paperback copies of Jessica’s novels: String Bridge (+ MP3 downloads of original soundtrack), The Book, and Bitter Like Orange Peel
        * Choice 2: Paperback copies of Jessica’s Writing in a Nutshell Series (three pocket-sized writing craft books)
        * Choice 3: Paperback copies of Jessica’s poetry books: Muted, Fabric and Twisted Velvet Chains.

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below. Thanks for visiting today and remember Jessica’s questions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Replies
    1. Jessica, it's a pleasure to have you here and be a part of this fun tour. Wishing you much success.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Jessica.

    Jessica - Thanks for sharing a little about the books that have influenced you the most. You've got quite a great selection there! I wish you success.

  3. Hi Mason .. Jess seems to have the ability to be so creative - I do hope she does really well - and I wish her every success on her soon-to-be trip to New York and Connecticut for some radio work ..

    It's so great to have her list of books that influenced her writing .. and one I should refer to ... and then read them to learn from ... cheers Hilary

  4. This has been a wonderful and informative post. the author is creative and special. best wishes. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Thanks for being on the tour, Mason! Great interview! :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.