Thursday, May 1, 2014

Release Day Interview & Giveaway - Elli, A Second Chance novel by Tina de Salvo

Happy Release Day, Tina! I am excited to help celebrate the release of her debut novel, Elli. I've got for you book details, an exclusive interview and an awesome giveaway so be sure to read all the way through!
Elli Morenelli has lived through a nightmare and now is working on getting her dream…

Her life could have been over with her breast cancer diagnosis, but Elli had fought and won. Now she is ready to fight for other women facing the same nightmare, but to do so she is going to need money. And she is going to need it fast.

Fortunately, Elli finds herself with half ownership of a Louisiana plantation. A twisted inheritance has set her up with an interesting future. Unfortunately, Elli no longer believes in planning a future, she just wants to take the money and run.

Ben Bienvenu wants nothing to do with the woman from California who is certain to turn his world upside down. But the conditions of the will that left the property to both of them doesn’t give him much choice. Not if he wants to keep the property that’s been in his family for generations.

A snobby diva rental dog, an impossible will, a nosy Bienvenu family, a distracting Mardi Gras season and a man who thinks he is protecting his son by standing his ground against her… Elli knows that trying to find common ground with this man known as the Cajun Dog Whisperer is going to be an uphill battle.

Two broken people.
Both in need of a Second Chance….
Stephanie: Have you always wanted to write?
Tina: Yes. I’ve always wanted to write and have.  As far back as I remember, I wrote stories.  When I think back to my early writing days, I recall how writing filled the long hours while we traveled in our family’s modest brown Plymouth from our home in the New Orleans suburbs to Brooklyn, New York.  My mom was from there, so every summer we would drive to New York to visit her brothers and sisters. I occupied the time mostly by writing in my notebook, you know, one of those black and white “marbled” kind and later one of those crazy “psychedelic” colored ones. I would write stories and poems that I created in my child and pre-teen mind. Sadly, over the years, those notebooks disappeared…probably taken by the childhood story fairy…you know her, she is friends with the sock fairy who steals just one of your socks off your foot at night and takes it off to Never Never Land where it is never to be found again. Anyway, when I began to think of career choices in college, I selected one that allowed me to write. I became a journalist.  
Stephanie: Elli is a breast cancer survivor. Being one yourself, how much of you is reflected in her character?
Tina: Wow, this is a tough question.  I am not Elli but she is a little bit of me and she is a little bit of other individual women who fought cancer along side of me.  I listened to others as they shared their hopes, fears and worries.  I thought about what they said and how it translated into their lives.  I thought about my fears and hopes and worries, too.  What was it that I was really afraid of that went beyond the simple, yet complex, statement that I didn’t want to die?  Then, I considered how Elli, a young, single professional, would feel facing this awful enemy that was trying to kill her.  How would these feelings direct her life? Yet, it isn’t just the breast cancer experience that creates who Elli is as a whole person, just as it didn’t create who I am.    As you can see, I did a lot of thinking to know Elli. It usually occurred while sitting in my screened patio with my favorite mug filled with hot coffee.

Stephanie: The Bosom Blog Buddies Posts – Are those based on a real blog or did you create it for the story?

Tina: I created it for the story because I wanted to share Elli’s journey through cancer treatment without making it what the story was about. I thought it was important for the reader to understand what Elli went through so they could understand why she wants the things she wants and acts the way she does when she comes to Cane, Louisiana.  Many of Elli’s blog posts actually came from things that happened to me.  After writing Elli’s blogs, I considered that it might be something that should be taken beyond the book.  Maybe, it would be helpful for people fighting cancer, for their families and for their caregivers to continue reading Elli’s blogs and to be able to offer feedback.  This is why I have added Elli’s blog to my website.  (Note from Stephanie: You can read Elli's blog here.)
Stephanie: Tante Izzy is a hoot. Is she based on anyone you know?
Tina: I adore Tante Izzy!  She is based on all of my aunts when they used to gather around the kitchen table and dispute the events of an old family story (this was true on both the maternal and paternal sides).  She is the feisty Cajun woman I interviewed after Hurricane Andrew, who refused to evacuate her home and rode out the Cat 4 hurricane alone in the middle of the marsh.  She is the best parts of how I see my girlfriends when their words and actions are unguarded, unrestricted and undiluted.  She is sass and fire and love. 

Stephanie: How many books are you planning for the Second Chance series and how soon can we look forward to Beau’s story? 

Tina: I have two more stories planned in this series, Jewel (who meets Beau at Sugar Mill Plantation) and Abby (who is forced to work with Beau’s arrogant brother, Jackson).  I really enjoy writing this series, Steph! I may have to add more stories to the series if I keep getting called back to Sugar Mill Plantation to give my heroines and heroes a Second Chance on life. Oh, btw, Jewel and Beau’s story should be out before Christmas. Stay tuned… (Note from Stephanie: I am so excited for Beau and Jackson's stories!)
Stephanie: What can you tell us about the fundraiser you are doing at the RT convention along with Cherry Adair and Stella Barcelona?
Tina: Thank you for asking and this opportunity to speak about this amazing fundraiser!  The fundraiser you are asking about is called -FRIENDS FIGHT TOGETHER.  Cherry Adair, Stella Barcelona and I are having this fundraiser at the RT Booklovers convention in New Orleans May 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th.  It is to raise money to help with the unmet-needs of women fighting breast cancer.  There are so many ways that women in the fight need assistance.  Often they have lost wages because of the difficulties with surgeries and treatment, and they need financial assistance for things uncovered through the usual means.  Money raised will go to many different needs including…$25 for a gas card to help a patient get to their treatment, $35 for a post-surgery camisole, $100 for counseling sessions or nutritional supplements, and $250 for a lymphedema sleeve, prosthetics and therapy. 

From left to right: Cherry Adair, Tina deSalvo and Stella Barcelona
To raise money, Cherry, Stella and I are having the FRIENDS FIGHT TOGETHER booth in Club RT at the convention and at the Giant Book Fair.  So excited!! Our booth will be awesome.  We are raffling three…yes, three 4 foot tailgating pirogues (a Cajun canoe) filled with over $3500 in prizes…each! Included in the pirogues are an IPad, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire, Michael Kors designer purses, Designer Faux Fur throws, Art, Jewelry, Soda Stream, Bread Machine, gift cards and more…much more! $10,500 worth of more! We will be drawing a winner Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And, as a thank you from Cherry, Stella and I, we will give anyone who buys a raffle ticket a really nice Mardi Gras Bead that will be the envy of convention attendees and even New Orleanians.
As if the raffles weren’t fantastic enough, we are also having a photo booth in our booth where for a donation, RT attendees can take a photo with a male cover model!  We encourage anyone wanting a photo with a male cover model to arrive early because the guys will only be available for a limited time on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Sounds great, huh?  Again, all of the money raised by FRIENDS FIGHT TOGETHER will go to help women in the fight against breast cancer!   And since we are speaking about helping women in the fight against breast cancer, I would like to let your readers know that all of my proceeds for Elli, a Second Chance Novel, will be donated to the same effort! 
In closing, I want to thank you Steph for the opportunity to be on your blog! I am honored to be part of it.  I appreciate you interviewing me and I thank your readers for hanging out with us, too. It has been fun.  td
Stephanie: You can learn more about the breast cancer fight by going here and if you're in the New Orleans area during the Romantic Times convention, I urge you to go to not only support this great cause, but to also have a blast meeting and interacting with your favorite authors.
Tina, thank you so much for joining me today and letting me be a part of your Elli's release!
Tina has donated this adorable gift basket for one lucky reader! Use the rafflecopter below to enter. Good luck!
Included in the basket:
1.  An autographed copy of Elli, a Second Chance Novel
2. A box of MoonPies
3. Travel jewelry case
4.  Scented eye mask
5.  Mellow Joy Original Cajun Coffee
6.  Stein's Cane Syrup
8. A darling stuffed golden retriever toy dog
9. A beautiful handcrafted bookmark with charms
Tina DeSalvo grew up in the suburbs of New Orleans, only minutes from the French Quarter. She moved to Cajun Country after college to take a job as a broadcast journalist. Like New Orleans had, the area offered Tina inspiration for her writing with its rich culture, unique traditions and interesting people. It was there, while working down the bayou, that she met and married her handsome Cajun husband, and they now have two wonderful sons.

In June 2008, Tina was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. In her journey to fight the deadly disease, she found Elli's journey. Tina used her fears, emotions, triumphs and those of the people fighting cancer alongside of her, to create Elli's story when Elli redefines her life after cancer in that wonderful, difficult, joyful, fearful time after the treatment ends.


  1. Tina, I loved, loved, loved Elli A Second Chance!

    1. I am so happy to hear that you loved reading Elli. I am doing the happy, happy, happy dance! td

  2. Got my ecopy on my kindle this morning!!! Great story !!

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback. :)

  3. Starting the book today. Just read the dedication. Tears and smiles. Already.
    Looking forward to the book.

  4. Thanks ladies! I'm glad you're enjoying Tina's book. It's great!

  5. Stephanie, I am really excited to tell you that I am adding a few very special prizes to the give-away basket for your contest. For those of you who have read the book, you know that Elli enjoyed lavender scented baths. Now, you can win Elli's very own brand of organic lavender bath salts and body butter! it's the Second Chance line for Spa-tacular!

  6. Thank YOU !!!! SQUEEEEE!!!!