Maria Geraci: LIVE Chat, Review, and Giveaway

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Today we welcome author Maria Geraci to Author Exposure! She will be available until 6 pm (EST) to answer your questions, so please post them in the comment section. Maria is offering a signed copy of her new book, Bunco Babes Gone Wild, to one lucky winner! Have a question or comment for our guest? Chime into the discussion and you will be entered in the drawing. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win. Good luck and enjoy!
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Move over Mary Kay Andrews, Jennifer Weiner, and Sophie Kinsella—it’s time to make room for the new girl on the block! Maria Geraci has earned her place among these great authors with her new book, Bunco Babes Gone Wild. Interesting characters, witty dialogue, and hot romance make this romantic comedy an entertaining must read for those who enjoy contemporary women’s fiction!

Frida and Georgia are two sisters who lead two very different lives. Frida, married to an artist, runs a small café in the beach town of Whispering Bay, Florida and has a circle of friends who get together every week to play Bunco. Georgia, a graduate of Stanford, is the chief financial officer for a major electrics company in Birmingham and has no time for friends. Georgia’s boss, Spencer, is also her boyfriend. On their five year anniversary, Spencer surprises Georgia not with the engagement ring she hoped for, but with a calculator (albeit an expensive one). Friendless and heartbroken, Georgia decides to visit Frida for a few days of fun in the sun. Georgia stays longer than she intended and finds a lot more than sunshine. She befriends Frida’s Bunco Babes group, helps them host a black-tie fundraiser event, and meets the deliciously handsome Dave Hernandez. Want to know more? Well, you will just have to read it to find out!This spunky, delightful tale about friendship and love will leave you with a smile on your face. My smile broadened after I discovered another Bunco Babe adventure is already in stores! Bunco Babes Gone Wild is actually the second novel by Maria Geraci. Her first novel, Bunco Babes Tell All, was published this past spring by Berkley. Averaging two books a year, Maria will keep her books coming as long as we continue demanding them.

Reviewed by Libby Bridges

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Traci

About Traci

Traci is the founder of Author Exposure and personality behind the Confessions of a Book Addict series (#litconfessions). Using her talents as both a project manager and Certified Author Assistant, she will launch launched Icart Pages, LLC in 2016 to offer personalized project management services to entrepreneurs, with a specialization in navigating authors through the publishing and marketing processes.

35 Responses to “Maria Geraci: LIVE Chat, Review, and Giveaway”

  1. Libby

    Welcome, Maria! I loved your book 🙂 Thank you so much for joining us today. Where did you get the idea for Bunco Babes? Did you intend to make it a series when you wrote the first book?

    Reply
  2. Maria Geraci

    Hi, Libby!

    Thank you so much for having me here today and for your lovely review of my book! Being compared to authors like Sophie Kinsella and Mary Kay Andrews and Jennifer Weiner is going to make my head burst. How did you know they were my favorites?

    The inspiration for Bunco Babes actually began with some of those writers you mentioned. I absolutely loved “Itty Bitty Lies” by Mary Kay Andrews. My favorite books center around female friendships and since I’d been a Bunco player for years, it seemed like a natural fit for a story. When I wrote the first book, I thought of it as a stand alone book, but when it sold, my agent was able to sell it as part of a 2 book deal, hence the second book:)

    Reply
  3. Libby

    I’m so glad your agent got a two book deal! You are a top notch writer–I really believe you deserve to be named among those top writers of women’s lit.

    Reply
  4. Maria Geraci

    Libby,

    My next book is actually not a Bunco Book. It’s a quirky women’s fiction story about a woman who turns her dwindling book club into a club where women come together to discuss the men they’ve dated. It’s titled THE BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB and it’s coming out in Berkley Trade paperback in December 2010. I’m pretty excited about this book. It’s been a lot of fun to write and I think fans of my Bunco series will love it. At least I hope they do;)

    Hi Jennifer, so glad you stopped by!

    Reply
  5. Maria Geraci

    The workshop Jennifer referred to is called “Stop Plodding and start Plotting!” Pretty snappy title, huh?

    I’ve taught it live to my land based RWA chapter, The Florida Panhandle Romance Writers, and I’ve taught it online on the Romance Divas website. Basically, it’s a system I have for producing a synopsis on a story that hasn’t been written yet.

    Once you sell a manuscript to a publisher, chances are the rest of your sales will be based on proposals. A proposal usually consists of a detailed story synopsis and sometimes a few sample chapters. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to write a synopsis on a story that hasn’t been written! Which means I have to plot out an entire story from beginning to end. In the workshop, I outline my method for producing the plot. It’s based on previous workshops from other writers mixed in with my own method. I hope that it will inspire other writers to take from it what works and add in their own “tricks”. In the end, every writer has to do what works for them.

    Reply
  6. Libby

    Most authors have an interesting story about their journey to publication. How did you get published? How did you find out that your first book had sold?

    Reply
  7. Maria Geraci

    I started writing about 7 years ago on a whim. I’d always been an ardent reader but had never thought about writing myself. Once I did, I couldn’t stop. My first attempts were awful, but eventually, my writing became better and I was lucky enough to get the attention of an agent (Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency). My first novel was an historical romance, but she encouraged me to try my hand at contemporary fiction, thus Bunco Babes was born.

    She submitted the book in November of 2007 to a list of New York Publishers who’d asked to read the manuscript. I had a couple of publishers that were interested right off the bat, but they didn’t know how to market the book, so they passed. It kind of falls between the cracks of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Then in January I got the “call”. I was sick with the flu at the time and pretty miserable, but finding out I’d just sold a book made me feel immensely better!

    Reply
  8. Trig

    What a fun discussion. So, I’m a fan of Charlotte Hughes and it sounds like Maria’s book is right up my alley.

    Maria – what is a Bunco Babe? Based on the review, it sounds like you’re book would make for a good sitcom.

    Reply
  9. Carmen

    Hey, Maria, I’m interested: Was it difficult to develop your characters or are they similar to people that you know? Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Lynne

    Maria,
    How kind of you to take time out of your busy day to talk to your readers! I will be honest and admit I haven’t read your books yet but will definitely do so now. There seems to be a theme in women’s fiction that we find solace in groups of other women…whether through a book club, sports, charity events, or Bunco! We share things we might not otherwise in a mixed setting. Do you agree? I know for myself that it needs to be a small group because the more people involved the more I clam up. 🙂

    lwilson6@nc.rr.com

    Reply
  11. Maria Geraci

    Hi Trig,

    A lot of Bunco groups give themselves names for fun. For instance, my real live group calls themselves the “Bunco Broads of Tallahassee”. There are Bunco Babes, Bunco Dolls, Bunco Mamas… you get the point. So my fictional group is called the “Bunco Babes of Whispering Bay.”

    I think my books would definitely lend themselves for a sitcom. I like to call it “Bunco meets Sex in the city”!

    Reply
  12. Maria Geraci

    Hi Carmen,

    Thanks for the question.

    My characters are based on people I know and also on me. But there’s no one character that is completely a real live person that I know. That would be too dangerous!

    Reply
  13. Maria Geraci

    Hi Lynne, I so agree with you. Women need the friendship and comaraderie of other women (I believe men do too, but are more reluctant to admit it). It helps us reduce the everyday stress in our lives. Just the simple act of going out to lunch with friends makes my day!

    Reply
  14. Libby

    Maria, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? I understand you work nights as a labor and delivery nurse…when do you sleep?!

    Reply
  15. Maria Geraci

    LOL, sleep, what’s that?

    Actually, like a lot of published authors out there I still have a “day” job, although in my case it’s a night job. I work part-time as a labor and delivery nurse (a job I’ve had and loved for almost 25 years). Because I work part time and work 12 hour shifts, luckily I still have a lot of free time during the day to write. My two oldest are in college and I have one at home who’s a junior in high school. Once I get everyone out of school, I’ll probably quit the night job, but who knows? It’s nice to get out of the house every once in a while. Writing is such a solitary profession. You become a little weird if you don’t watch out;)

    Reply
  16. Libby

    Kristen, please leave us your email address so you can be entered to win a signed copy of Bunco Babes Gone Wild. It is an absolutely delicious read 🙂

    Reply
  17. Maria Geraci

    Hi Kriste, thanks for popping by!

    Rain, I love anything by Madeline Hunter and Eloisa James. I also love the authors that Libby mentioned, Mary Kay Andrews, Jenifer Weiner and Sophie Kinsella. Jennifer Cruise and Susan Elizabeth Phillips are also must buys. Marilyn Brant’s “According to Jane” and Louisa Edwards “Can’t Stand the Heat” are excellent debut novels, as well as “Bite Me!” by Melissa Francis.

    Reply
  18. Libby

    We love to hear about debuts 🙂 Thanks for recommendation, Maria.

    Maria, do you hear from readers frequently? What type of feedback have you received?

    Reply
  19. Maria Geraci

    I’ve gotten some very nice emails from readers who’ve taken the time to tell me they’ve enjoyed my books. One woman from Virginia wrote and told me that Whispering Bay Florida (a fictional town)sounded a lot like Port St. Joe, Florida, the small panhandle town her husband was raised in. I had to laugh at that, because I did indeed, model Whispering Bay after Port St. Joe!

    Reply
  20. Libby

    Oh, that’s funny!

    I enjoyed reading about Whispering Bay as well. I lived in Tallahassee for a few years back in the 90’s (GO SEMINOLES!). In your book, when everyone is discussing what a loser Spencer is, one of the Bunco Babes says he’s like lovebug gung. I had to laugh at that. I had forgotten about lovebugs!

    Reply
  21. Maria Geraci

    That’s actually a hard question to answer because it’s difficult to know which avenues produce results. I hired a publicist when my first book came out in May and they did a mass mailing to bookstores and places like that. I think when it comes down to it, beside strong publisher support, I think reader word of mouth is the best marketing tool there is. So if you like my books, tell someone, who will hopefully tell someone else and so on!

    Reply
  22. Carmen

    Thanks for responding, Maria.

    What was the hardest part about your novel?

    How did you know you had the right agent?

    Reply
  23. Maria Geraci

    Hi Carmen,

    The hardest part for me about writing is turning the novel in! No matter how much editing I’ve done, I never feel like I’m finished with it.

    Finding an agent who loves your work and is the most important aspect, I think, of agent-hunting. You want someone who will represent you with great enthusiasm, because excitement generates excitement. You also want someone who’ll be honest with you and tell you when your writing isn’t ready to sumbit or when the market is tough, things like that. A deep gut-level intuition is also important. Sometimes you just know when the fit is right.

    Reply
  24. Libby

    Thank you, Maria, for all your great writing advice.

    I know you have to leave soon. So, I wanted to ask you a question we ask all our authors. Can you give your readers 5 adjectives that describe you–the writer?

    Reply
  25. Maria Geraci

    Hmmm… no one’s asked me that one before!

    I would have to say: imaginative, slightly neurotic, compulsive, upbeat, workaholic.

    The last one is probably true of all writers (and probably the slightly neurotic one too). But the truth is, writing is hard work! It’s also a tough business, especially in this economy. You have to love the writing, and remain upbeat and positive because there’s so much rejection involved. You can’t a 100 “no’s” get you down, because the next response just might be a “yes!”

    Reply

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