Books

Q&A with Eliana Alexander: Accomplished Actress and Novelist

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Eliana Alexander is a veteran of the entertainment industry for over 30 years. She has shared her talents in both the English and Latin markets in series such as The Bold and The Beautiful and Desire as well as Telemundo hits such as La Ley del Silencio and Sin Verguenza. Recently she starred alongside fellow acting veterans Luis Guzman and Sir Ben Kingsley in an EPIX series titled  Perpetual Grace LTD, which critics have called exhilarating and infectious. 

Beyond her work as an actress, Eliana maintains a secondary career as an incredible novelist.  Her first book, titled The Neighbor, was released in 2012. She recently announced the first installment of an adventure/sci-fi book series called Tilt. The stories are set to follow two teens, Blane and Jake, who inadvertently set off an inter-dimensional time vortex that takes the duo on exciting and dangerous new possibilities and times whilst learning about the worlds within themselves.  The first book was newly released on August 8th

I had a chance to speak with the actress and novelist about her extensive list of talents, Perpetual Grace LTD, and her newly released novel. Check out our Q&A below: 

Clichė: As a veteran in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, what is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned? 

Eliana: To stay on my game. Stay in shape and skilled and very focus in order to keep working. 

What do you find most fulfilling in acting? 

Being able to breathe life into a character and to immerse myself in this new way of being as the character. To [be] a part of a story that unfolds right before peoples’ eyes. [And] to collaborate and be a part of a vast puzzle with lots of angles. Being a part of a tapestry that has a lot of threads that will unravel or come together. Once a project is done, being a part of a team that created something together is pure joy! 

Prior to your acting character, you started off as a singer as well as teaching dance and musical theater. Your passion seems to be tied to the arts. Why do you think you have such a love for music, acting, dancing, and theater? Where do you think it comes from? 

I have always been exposed to music and arts while traveling. Music was always playing in our house. I was raised overseas in South and Central America where I was exposed to a lot of cultures. I think the music and the arts of each country helped weave a beautiful pattern in my life. The unique sounds and rhythms of each country resonated in my heart. When I was young I wanted to be a doctor but the universe had other plans for me. I kept getting pulled into the arts and learning a lot. Even when I began teaching dance and musical theater at Dupree’s dance academy, I continued to evolve as an artist and spiritual human being. Music and arts open our minds to go to another place. Music and arts touch our souls and raise our spirits. Music and stories are something that will always pull people in. Even as [the] audience, it gives us a chance to be a part of someone’s imagination for a little while. 

You star alongside an all-star cast in a new series titled Perpetual Grace LTD on EPIX. Your co-star Sir Ben Kingsley has described the series as a “10-hour movie.” What can audiences expect? 

I am incredibly fortunate to be on a series with a stellar cast. The writing is magnificent and the cinematography is exquisite. Steven Conrad and Bruce Terris did a great job as they blend the modern noir feel with a western touch. As the story unravels they intertwine the characters beautifully. I love it because it is edgy, gritty and at times it will jolt you, wake you up with the unexpected. I truly feel that people are ready for something like this. 

You play Marisol Contreras in the series who is the wife of Hector (Luis Guzman). How does she fit into the story? What was it like working with Luis and the other actors on set? 

Marisol Contreras who is the wife of Hector Contreras who is the town sheriff in Hermosillo, Mexico. She is a mom of two very smart teen boys Emile and Mathias and she is very proactive in their lives. My TV sons are played by Alonso Alvarez who plays Emile and Calvin Benuto who plays Mathias and they are magnificent. Marisol truly values a strong family unit. You see her changing when she begins to discover that something is going on with Hector, yet she doesn’t know what. Throughout the series you see her step up for her family. On working with Sir Ben and Luiz, it is great. They are very different. Sir Ben is very focused throughout the day and when working with just the family, the boys and Luis, Luis is funny and keeps the cast and crew laughing. I mean it when I say I am truly blessed to be a part of this amazing project! 

What drew you to the character of Marisol Contreras? 

What drew me is her strength and how she becomes a warrior and not a victim. She does go through a lot and yet she still values her family and works at keeping them together. 

Perpetual Grace was filmed in New Mexico. What was it like filming there? Any memorable stories from the set? 

I love Santa Fe, New Mexico! You can feel the energy of the land and everyone is kind and open. The mountains and the sunsets are formidable. Even though Santa Fe is a small town it has everything; culture and arts and lots of history. While there I learned that Santa Fe was established in 1610 and that Santa Fe is the third oldest city in the United States. Only St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565, and Jamestown, Virginia are older. It is always great when we can see new states and really learn about them; a huge added gift to my career! 

 

Along with this new series on EPIX, you also have a book releasing on August 8th, titled Tilt. What can you tell our readers about the book series? 

I am very excited about this novel. TILT is an action/adventure sci-fi novel series, TILT: Magic Ei8hts follows Blane and Jake, two teens who inadvertently set off an inter-dimensional time vortex that takes them on adventures to exciting and dangerous new worlds and times. Blane and Jake learn a great deal about themselves while learning about the Universe and eras. These teens are super savvy with technology yet when they travel back in time, they have to learn how to exist in a world with bare minimum necessities and no technology. TILT: Magic Ei8hts is the first book in the series. I am already in the midst of writing TILT: The Red Moon and I am looking forward to the readers getting their hands on that as well! 

You released your first novel ‘The Neighbor’ in 2012. What has your career as a novelist taught you? Now that you’re a storyteller yourself, do you read scripts differently? 

I started writing scripts for TV and film. The beauty of writing a novel is that you can expand and color. While adapting the script to novel form on “The Neighbor,” I got to expand the characters with more description. That vast colors of description allows readers to glide right into your imagination. As a writer/author, I am always learning about everything while I do research. That is what I love, that I continue to learn about many things as I am in the throes of research when writing a book. My mind is always expanding and I absolutely enjoy that. 

What is your writing process like? Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you deal with writer’s block? 

I love to write in the morning very early, we are talking 5:00 AM! The morning is quiet and the world hasn’t really started. I get an idea and my mind takes off. The idea comes with concept and characters and off I go. I will write for about three hours, take a break and come back to my desk for another two. Many times I want to keep going yet my day begins and my career has to keep going, so the book or scripts wait until the next morning. I wake up excited to bring life to the story and characters. I have so many ideas and concepts that I have a body of work to keep me busy for a very long time. I am blessed that I have an active imagination for it truly keeps me going. 

What do you hope your readers get when they pick up a novel of yours? 

I am in great hopes that they take a chance and they lose themselves into their imagination through my stories. Also that they go into another place. I would love for them to connect with the characters. Especially on “TILT: Magic Eights” I would love for them to root for Blane and Jake as they travel throughout this journey. Also from the worlds and dimensions the characters visit, to see how our world is affected by how we live. In TILT, the characters learn a lot about the planet and themselves and really evolve. While reading any one of my novels, I am hoping that the readers also experience a sense of evolvement on their own. To me, there are messages in the stories so we can all get something. 

 Who is your biggest inspiration as a writer? 

Too many to choose for I have many writers that I like and I really feel every novelist has at one point inspired me. To list only a few, one of my favorites, of course, being Shakespeare, the classic way of speaking and the stories hit my heart. Another book that to this day blew me away is “Memoirs of a Geisha” written by Arthur Golden about a fictional geisha working in Kyoto, Japan, before and during World War II. The way he wrote and the details in the story pulled me in to where I truly lost myself while I was reading that book. I loved it and I did not want it to end. 

Another great book that has crossed my path is “Fast Ball” author Anthony C. Tripari. It’s a fictional novel about the Boston mafia and is intertwined with an Italian family: the Panarellis. The book starts in the nineteen fifties, a time when families were bound together by their heritage. I was recommended to Mr. Tripari by a friend to adapt his novel into a film script. Once I read this magnificent book that pulled me in right away, I shared with Mr. Tripari that it has beautiful treasures throughout the book and that it would play better as a mini-series. He agreed and hence became the beginning of a great relationship. Mr. Tripari has now three books that are great, of course, they are the sequels “Butchie” and “Vendetta.” I can’t say who just yet, but several actors from the famed TV series “The Sopranos” have expressed an interest. Fingers crossed! 

When you’re not acting or writing amazing novels, what do you like to do on your downtime? 

I always love spending time with my family, my husband John Nikitin and my amazing dog Bosco. We spend time going on hikes and long walks. Being by the beach, it is easy to want to be outside enjoying the day. John and I enjoy home time yet we occasionally have dinner watching the sunset at several of our beach community restaurants. We enjoy working out, one to stay in shape, yet it is fun especially while taking dance classes or even Jazzercise with Dwain and Marie at our Beach City Jazzercise community. We love supporting our local beach community. At home, we read and also dig into some streaming and binge on TV series. 

 I’ve read that you are an avid animal rights supporter. What organizations do you support and what drew you to the cause of animal rights? 

I am a huge animal lover. I believe in caring for these beautiful souls. They need our voice and that is why I appreciate and support Sea Shepherd. Captain Paul Watson and his crew risk their lives supporting the sea life, especially whales and dolphins. We need to care about our oceans and they really help us learn and understand how to do that. I support PETA and appreciate how Ingrid and her team strive to better the lives of all animals. I am a proud vegan. Even in my nutrition, I support animals and in addition, I get to stay very healthy. 

I just want to add that I am grateful and honored to be interviewed by Cliché Magazine!

 

 

You can follow the latest on Eliana on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

Read more Entertainment News at Cliché Magazine

Q&A with Eliana Alexander: Accomplished Actress and Novelist: Featured Image: Courtesy of Melina Kelly / Shandrew PR

Why You Should Add Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction Novels to Your Summer Reading List

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If you’re in the process of creating that summer reading list, then you’d better pay attention. You probably saw that Google doodle of Octavia E. Butler on June 22nd, without even realizing who she was or why. How many of us actually take the time to stop and click on Google’s featured doodles? Octavia E. Butler, a science fiction writer, would have celebrated her 71st birthday on Friday, June 22nd. Google chose to honor this pioneering lady on her would-be birthday— and rightfully so. Butler was born in the city of Pasadena, California in the year 1947. She battled dyslexia, but she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dream of becoming a writer. Why should you add some of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction novels to your summer reading list? Because she was a game-changer!

Why Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction Novels Deserve Your Attention This Summer

Octavia E. Butler wasn’t a published novelist until 1976, with her work Patternmaster. This novel was the first of four in the Patternist series. Goodreads details the series as “a secret history continuing from the Ancient Egyptian period to the far future that involves telepathic mind control and an extraterrestrial plague.” However, Butler didn’t really gain the recognition that she deserved until she published her novel Kindred in 1979. The African American female protagonist is able to time travel back and forth between 1970s Los Angeles and a 19th-century Maryland plantation. Not only did Butler contribute to the genre of science fiction, but she personally pushed the boundaries of societal norms and offered a broader expanse of character perspectives. During Butler’s time, the genre of science fiction was dominated by white males. Luckily, Butler was able to extend the audience of science fiction by including African Americans, feminists, and general fans of science fiction. She’s just as important now as her contributions were then. Plus, you’ll love her dystopian themes.  Even though some years have passed, her literary works are still as relevant as they were when they were published.

Read the full article at Newsweek.

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Why You Should Add Octavia E. Butler to Your Summer Reading List: Featured Photo Credit: The Washington Library.

‘The Wife Between Us’ Giveaway

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We are partnering with St. Martin’s Press for a giveaway you won’t want to miss! The Wife Between Us, from authors Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen, is the bestselling thriller that is sure to be your go to read this summer. With twists and turns, and intrigue that starts on page one, you’ll be hard-pressed to put this book down. Enter below for your chance to win a copy of the book along with more in a The Wife Between Us Oh Shit Kit!

 

Oh Shit Kit!
Planning to disrupt a wedding (or maybe just read about it)?
One (1) winner will receive the ultimate must-have kit including:
– an “Oh Shit Kit” cosmetic bag
– stemless wine glass set & corkscrew
– Mac make-them-stare red lipstick
– plus a copy of The Wife Between Us!
Prizing and samples provided by St. Martin’s Press.

'The Wife Between Us' Giveaway 

How to Enter:
– Complete the required action(s) below for entry to the giveaway
– Earn extra entries by adding us on various social media

Selection:
The winner will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter.com and will be contacted within 48 hours after the giveaway has ended. The winner will be given 72 hours to claim his or her prize before he or she must forfeit it to another winner.

Giveaway open to U.S. addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Wife Between Us
The instant New York Times Bestseller!

“A fiendishly smart cat-and-mouse thriller” —New York Times Book Review
“Buckle up, because you won’t be able to put this one down.” —Glamour
“Jaw dropping. Unforgettable. Shocking.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The best domestic suspense novel since Gone Girl.” —In Touch Weekly

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read an excerpt from The Wife Between Us

A 2018 Indie Next Pick
One of Glamour Magazine’s Best Books of 2018
One of Hello Giggles’ 19 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018

 

Praise for The Wife Between Us

“Pekkanen and Hendricks keep the suspense dial at excruciating… a complete roller coaster-ride of a novel.” – The Washington Post

“With multiple didn’t-see-that-coming twists, this tome thrills.” – US Weekly

Fiendishly clever… in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. This one will keep you guessing.” – Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of The Stars are Fire

“A clever thriller with masterful twists.” – Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of The Kept Woman

“The Wife Between Us delivers a whip smart, twisty plot in a taut, pacy narrative. It’s terrific and troubling. This is one scary love triangle where you won’t know who to trust. I loved it.” – Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew

“A twisty, mind-bending novel about marriage and betrayal. A gripping plot and fascinating characters; this book will keep you turning the pages and guessing until the very end. A must-read!” – Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada

 

About the Authors

Greer Hendricks spent over two decades as an editor. Her writing has been published in The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. The Wife Between Us is her first novel.

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally and USA Today bestselling author of several novels, including The Wife Between Us, The Perfect Neighbors and The Best of Us. A former investigative journalist and feature writer, her work has been published in The Washington Post, USA Today, and many others.

Social Media
#TheWifeBetweenUs
Follow St. Martin’s Press on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
Visit Macmillan.com

 

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‘The Wife Between Us’ Giveaway. Prizing, samples, images, and summaries provided by St. Martin’s Press

10 Must Read Books For The Summer

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Whether you’re spending your summer days relaxing on the beach or enjoying a rainy day inside, a good book is a must have essential for the summer! Here are 10 must read books for the summer.

 

 

 

How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell

This is a tale of self-loathing, self-sabotage, and yes, self-tanner. It begins at a posh New England prep school—with a prescription for Ritalin. It continues to New York, where we follow Marnell’s amphetamine-fueled rise from intern to editor through the beauty departments of NYLONTeen VogueGlamour, and Lucky. We see her fight between ambition and addiction and how, inevitably, her disease threatens everything she worked so hard to achieve. “The bald Britney Spears of the literary world.” – Cat Marnell on herself.

Click here to purchase

 

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

George Woodbury is a teacher at a prestigious Connecticut prep school. He is voted Teacher of the Year every year, after he rescued the school from a gunman attack. George is arrested for sexual impropriety with teenage girls on a school skiing trip. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular overachieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. With George awaiting trial, how do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?

Click here to purchase

 

I’m Fine… And Other Lies by Whitney Cummings

This book contains some delicious schadenfreude in which Whitney Cummings recalls such humiliating debacles as breaking her shoulder while trying to impress a guy, coming very close to spending her life in a Guatemalan prison, and having her lacerated ear sewn back on by a deaf guy after losing it in a torrid love affair.Whitney Cummings states,” Think of this book as everything you’d want from the Internet all in one place, except without the constant distractions of ads, online shopping, and porn. ”

Click here to purchase

 

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison

A former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner describes how her years inside the Playboy Mansion went from a fairytale of A-list celebrity parties to an oppressive regime of strict rules, scheduled sex, and a total loss of identity, so much so that she even contemplated suicide. All the glitter clearly isn’t gold in the world of a Playboy Bunny…

Click here to purchase

 

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane & Neil Martinez- Belkin

For the first time, Gucci Mane tells his story in his own words. It is the captivating life of an artist who forged an unlikely path to stardom and personal rebirth. Gucci Mane began writing his memoir in a maximum-security federal prison. Released in 2016, he emerged radically transformed. He was sober, smiling, focused, and positive—a far cry from the Gucci Mane of years past. “As wild, unpredictable, and fascinating as the man himself. ” – Complex

Click here to purchase

 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

An outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season. Read the book before the movie premiers in August!

Click here to purchase

 

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler

Get ready for big laughs as Chelsea Handler lets loose with more comic personal essays. In this no-holds-barred account of life on the ridiculous side, Chelsea mines the wealth of material that is her family, her sex life, her career, and her distinctively outrageous worldview. 

Click here to purchase

 

Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl—A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship by Sherry Argov

Do you feel like you are too nice? Sherry Argov’s Why Men Love Bitches delivers a unique perspective as to why men are attracted to a strong woman who stands up for herself. With saucy detail on every page, this no-nonsense guide reveals why a strong woman is much more desirable than a “yes woman” who routinely sacrifices herself. The author provides compelling answers to the tough questions women often ask.

Click here to purchase

 

The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg

Shortly after Clare arrives in Havana to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema, she finds her husband, Richard, standing outside a museum. He’s wearing a white linen suit she’s never seen before, and he’s supposed to be dead. Grief-stricken and baffled, Clare tails Richard, a horror film scholar, through the newly tourist-filled streets of Havana, clocking his every move. (To be released August 7th)

Pre-order book here

 

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up and a journalist, former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realizing that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man she’s ever been able to rely on, and finding out that her mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. It’s a book about bad dates, good friends andabove all elserecognizing that you and you alone are enough.

Purchase book here

 

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10 Must Read Books For The Summer. All images courtesy of amazon.com. All book synopsis courtesy of goodreads.com 

Loey Lane Talks About Her New Book and the Supernatural

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YouTuber and author Loey Lane thrills her subscribers with tales of the paranormal. Her spooky experiences are channeled in her new book, Haunted in Hollywood. Fresh off her book release, Lane dishes on her growing up in a haunted house, her ideal ghost hunting gang, and her superstar pets.

Cliché: Tell us about your new book, Haunted in Hollywood!
Loey Lane: Well, my new book Haunted in Hollywood is about a girl named Loey Lane who with the help of her Haunted Lit Squad goes on a ghost hunt in Los Angeles.

The fictional Loey luckily has a hot guy on hand to help her take down the murderous ghost. If you had the opportunity to go ghost hunting with any of your celebrity crushes, who would you go with and why?
Okay, I’ll keep my crush a secret and say: I want all of the kids from Stranger Things to go ghost hunting with me. They can definitely join the Lit Squad.

Obviously, if your channel is any indication, you have a strong affinity towards paranormal activity and ghosts. What sparked this interest? What’s the scariest or most bizarre paranormal encounter that you’ve ever experienced?
I grew up in a haunted house and would talk to people that weren’t there—not imaginary friends. I talked to this man and called him the Colonel and I was 2. My parents never said a word like Colonel and I would keep talking about him. That freaked them out!

The scariest paranormal encounter was going to Marilyn Monroe’s suite at the Roosevelt Hotel (which is a setting in Haunted in Hollywood) and I experienced banging on the walls and a woman crying in the bathroom and that’s just the beginning!

In addition to being a YouTuber, you’ve always had a passion for writing. Does your writing ever inspire your vlogging or vice versa?
My vlogging influenced my writing for sure! But I’m inspired by everything and pull inspiration from everywhere. I’m a storyteller and love to tell stories in any medium!

Would you say that your writing gives you a creative outlet to explore the more fantastic side of the supernatural?
Yes! You can take a real story but also build on top of them in the writing to add fun moments, twists, and turns that didn’t happen in real life but really enhance my stories and character development.

You’re also a plus size model and many of your videos are plus size lookbooks! Do you find that the plus community is underrepresented on YouTube and in the fashion industry at large?
It’s because of women brave enough to get in front of camera and be candid about their bodies and style that body positivity is more accepted each year and we are seeing the mainstream embrace diversity. So there are a lot more opportunities.

You’ve stated that you’ve taken a step back from the body positivity movement before. What does body positivity mean for you personally at the current moment? Do you ever feel pressure to embrace body positivity because of your platform?
I had taken a step back when I gained weight and struggled with my own body image. I wanted to take a step back to relearn body positivity and understand it better. What I’ve learned is it’s something that will always be a struggle. It’s a daily struggle, not a state of enlightenment you reach.

On a lighter note, your pets are the breakout stars of your Instagram! Give us details on all of them. Your horse definitely deserves his own side account.
If I gave you all details on all of my animals, this would be a new novel, but they are all healthy, happy, and ready to steal the spotlight from me. Check out all my extra family by following @LoeysLittleZoo on Instagram and keep up with the fun. You’ll definitely see Disney, my cute horse!

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Loey Lane Talks About Her New Book and the Supernatural: Featured image courtesy of @shotbysosa // Brandon Sosa Photography

‘How to Instant Pot’ Cookbook Giveaway

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This holiday season, we are partnering with Workman Publishing for a cookbook giveaway you won’t want to miss! With How to Instant Pot by Daniel Shumski, you can change the way you cook and make delicious meals by mastering all the functions of one-pot appliances. With over 100 recipes and helpful lessons, you’ll be inspired to try new dishes well beyond the holiday season. Enter below for your chance to win a copy of a book, plus an instant pot to put your skills to the test!

One (1) winner will receive the following:
– 1 copy of How to Instant Pot
– 1 Instant Pot appliance
Prizing and samples courtesy of Workman Publishing

How to Enter:
– Complete the required action(s) below for entry to the giveaway
– Earn extra entries by adding us on various social media

Selection:
The winner will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter.com and will be contacted within 48 hours after the giveaway has ended. The winner will be given 72 hours to claim his or her prize before he or she must forfeit it to another winner.

Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Cookbook

Master the revolutionary appliance that’s changing the way we cook!

The only Instant Pot cookbook that is organized by function, How to Instant Pot is both a guide to understanding the Instant Pot basics and a foodie’s creative collection of over 100 recipes specially crafted to take advantage of the Instant Pot’s many virtues, from cooking perfect risotto in six minutes, no stirring required, to five kinds of yogurt, to creating one-hour killer chili and soups from scratch, using dried beans.

About the Author

Daniel Shumski is a writer and editor who has hunted ramen in Tokyo for the Washington Post and tracked down ice cream in Buenos Aires for the Los Angeles Times. Between stints at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, he worked for a Midwestern heirloom apple orchard. His bestselling first book, Will It Waffle?: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron, won praise from the New York TimesPeople magazine, and Food52. He lives in Montreal.

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‘How to Instant Pot’ Cookbook Giveaway: Prizing,  images, and summaries provided by Workman Publishing

‘According to a Source’ by Abby Stern is a Glimpse Into Hollywood

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Even before you start Chapter 1 of According to a Source by Abby Stern, you get a sense of what’s to come with the opening quotes. One of the quotes, in particular, is by the late Carrie Fisher: “You can’t find any true closeness in Hollywood because everybody does the fake closeness so well.” I had these words in mind while reading the pages that followed and it really cemented the theme for the rest of the book.

 

©Martina Tolot

The narrator, Ella Warren, is an undercover freelance reporter for the popular celebrity news magazine The Life and spends her nights scouring nightclubs and exclusive restaurants looking for the next big viral story. At first, this secret double life of hers is perfect: she has a handsome boyfriend, celebrity best friends (including a beautiful British rising star and elite blogger/social media influencer), and a job she loves. But when a new Miranda Priestly-esque boss takes over and implements a competitive points system where writers must remain on top in order to keep their jobs, all that comes crumbling down.

Regardless of all the glamorous champagne toasts, hot actors coming and going, and exclusive parties, Ella begins to spend most of her time stressing about getting busted for her alias and getting fired. In a way, she is almost like Cinderella—except the party doesn’t start until after midnight—and you, as a reader, are waiting for the other shoe to drop. When it does, it’s not pretty.

What the author does well is mask the story’s big-name celebrities by giving them descriptive monikers, as opposed to coming up with made-up names. Though the book is obviously a work of fiction, half the fun is trying to figure out which real-life celebrities Stern is referring to when they are introduced as “Sexy Indie Film Actor” and “Triple Threat Pop Music Diva” (to be fair, a lot of celebrities fit those descriptions). Not only is it fun to do some detective work of your own, but it also paints a much more realistic picture in your head, one where you feel completely attached to the story’s L.A. setting.

According to a Source is stylish and fun, exciting and suspenseful, and would be enjoyed by fans of The Devil Wears Prada and Freeform’s The Bold Type. Available on Amazon.com.

Read more Book Reviews on ClicheMag.com

BY MEGAN PORTORREAL

‘According to a Source’ by Abby Stern is a Glimpse Into Hollywood: Published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press

‘Feminist Baby’ by Loryn Brantz Giveaway

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Cliché Magazine is partnering with Disney-Hyperion for a Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz giveaway you won’t want to miss! In this adorable new board book, readers are introduced to a sweet baby girl who’s “not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way.” Enter below for your chance to win a copy of Feminist Baby, in stores April 11, as well as a $50 Visa gift card, branded tote bag, and a matching pin!

 
One (1) winner will receive:
– A copy of Feminist Baby
– A branded tote bag and pin
– A $50 Visa gift card for whatever your little feminist picks
Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion

How to Enter:
– Complete the required action(s) below for entry to the giveaway
– Earn extra entries by adding us on various social media
Selection:
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Synopsis

Feminist Baby likes pink and blue.
Sometimes she’ll throw up on you! 
Feminist Baby chooses what to wear
and if you don’t like it she doesn’t care! 
Meet the irrepressible Feminist Baby in this refreshing, clever board book about a girl who’s not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way!

About the Author

Loryn Brantz is a two-time Emmy Award-winning author, illustrator, and design professional. Her picture book Harvey the Child Mime was the recipient of the 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Best First Picture Book. Loryn lives in New York City, where she is on staff at BuzzFeed writing and illustrating about feminism and body image. Find her online at www.lorynbrantz.com or www.facebook.com/LorynBrantzBooks.
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‘Feminist Baby’ by Loryn Brantz Giveaway: Prizing, photographs, and summaries courtesy of Disney-Hyperion

Scott Kraynak Discusses Photography Book, ‘Unconquerable Desires’

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Two things you wouldn’t think of pairing together: the female body and war. That’s what artist Scott Kraynak has done with his beautiful photography book, Unconquerable Desires. The book is uniquely done, placing plastic toy soldiers enacting scenes from war on the naked female body. The images are all done in black and white and are coupled with quotes about both war and the female form.

What I found so intriguing about this book was the unique combination of the female body and war. The way in which Kraynak was able to so beautifully and tastefully display the female form in contrast to the gruesome and horrifying reality of war is a true work of art. Kraynak speaks of the contrast between love and hate, passion and pain, and the desire for flesh and the desire for power in the intro to his book. That is exactly what these images do: they’re a powerful statement, showing the contrast between ultimate beauty and ultimate destruction.
The quotes were equally as powerful as the images they were attached to. The quote that struck me the most was the quote by C.S. Lewis: “She was beautifully, delicately made, so small, so unafraid, till the bomb came. Bombs are the same, beautifully, delicately made” (Kraynak, 11). The quotes are a powerful addition to the image that really allows the book to speak to its reader.
The title of the book is equally intriguing. Unconquerable Desires is a title that speaks back to the overarching theme of glorifying the female body as opposed to glorifying war. The female body, unlike war, cannot be conquered. The female body is to be valued, loved, and appreciated. Kraynak is driving home the idea that we so easily show passion and desire for war, praising it, when we should be praising the female body.
The toy soldiers are intricately placed on the female body parts. There are soldiers marching to war, shooting their enemies, and protecting their fellow soldiers. Scene after scene, the soldiers are placed in new positions, as is the female body. The pairing of the two create such powerful images of not only the horrors of war and the beauty of the body, but also the way the female body is shamed and hidden in many aspects of our society. Kraynak speaks of how the “atrocities of war are broadcast to us 24/7 via countless news outlets” while “the female body suffers endless censorship” (Kraynak, 2). He ponders on why we are so easily able to intake news of death and destruction, yet we lack the maturity to speak about or be graced with the female body. In Unconquerable Desires, Scott Kraynak is able to present us with the two in one space, forcing the viewer to deal with both beauty and destruction simultaneously. Here, we get the artist’s thoughts.

 
Cliché: What inspired this book?
Scott Kraynak: Seeing what is happening in the world today in regards to wars being fought, violence against women, the continued lack of equality between men and women, and the overall decaying state of world intelligence and willingness to fight against a system controlled by money and greed inspired this book. But even more so, it seems as if we never learn from our mistakes, that we as a society keep making the same mistakes that we have made for thousands of years. That is where the idea of adding the quotes to the book came in, kind of showing how the most famous writers and most intelligent philosophers throughout time have been saying the same thing, yet nobody seems to listen. The idea of using the toy soldiers battling on female bodies just came to me one day and this fictional landscape seemed to represent all of these travesties and inequalities occurring at once.
What is the significance of having these images in black and white?
There is no significance, really. I’ve just always loved black and white photography and felt that it would portray these war scenes in a more powerful, vivid way, also giving the images a somewhat historical look—kind of like old civil war battle images.
What do you hope viewers take away from this book? Is there a particular feeling you hope to convey?
Besides showing the horrors of war, one of the main purposes of this book was to present the female body in such a way that reflects not only its life-giving beauty, but also reflects the horrors and injustices that continue to befall women today. The following is taken from the epilogue: This photography visualizes what it means for the body to become the landscape and for the land to become the female body. In a simultaneously playful and earnest way, these photographs imagine what it means to wage war over and on the bodies of women. How will our lands be free if her body still is not? How do we understand the female body as an object which men continue to battle for, over, and against? How do we understand the woman as a subject who must endure, who must pitch her own battles against the attacks of sexism, abuse, and assault?
Unconquerable Desires invokes difficult questions about war as a colonial function that dominates not only the bodies of the colonized other, but is rooted in a patriarchal system that continues to colonize and wage war on the bodies of women. But this work also evokes the affective ties between war and love, angst and desire, rage and lust. The images play on the longing for female beauty and the cultures of war that together work to define American masculinity. But this book pokes fun at it; it pokes holes into the seriousness of its façade with plastic toy soldiers and a large ferocious lizard. One cannot help but chuckle at the scene, but also ponder it deeply. How do we understand the fabrication of the scene and the landscape as indicative of the constructedness of war and gender, the ways in which we force bodies to mean something, anything worth fighting for? While at times a bit comical on the surface, these photos ask us to really dig much deeper into the human condition; they help us understand the multiple ways our bodies are always embattled.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on a movie poster for a soon to be released horror film; another photography book featuring weird/creepy/macabre images; a new illustrated book with my brother taking on the ridiculous gun culture in the United States, racism, and other issues that I feel are important to be addressed; a drawing for Redwood National Park; and a piece for a Cleveland Art book I’m creating. Actually with that project, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that I need to do: get rights to old paintings, recruit artists of all mediums, find a publisher and gallery, coordinate everything, etc. It’s quite a project, but will be worth the effort in the end! Cleveland rocks!
screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-2-30-08-pmAn excerpt from Unconquerable Desires:
“We are in a moment, a seemingly never-ending moment, in which women’s bodies are under legislative attack, from attempts to bar and remove access to reproductive healthcare to the policing of which types of women (read: “real women”) may use which public restroom. War here is a metaphor, but it is felt on the bodies of women who cannot access these basic human rights. But let’s not forget the ways in which combat literally produces women as casualties, their bodies taken by soldiers—raped, pillaged. As Judith Lewis Herman writes, “the subordinate condition of women is maintained and enforced by the hidden violence of men. There is war between the sexes. Rape victims, battered women, and sexually abused children are its casualties. Hysteria is the combat neurosis of the sex war.” The so-called “war between the sexes” operates on multiple levels: Soldiers literally take the bodies of women (and other Others) in the process of waging war; and the effects of sexual violence (in the context of war or elsewhere) are felt on women’s bodies in the same ways the violence of war is felt on the bodies of those who wage it.”
For more information about Scott Kraynak, visit scottkraynak.com
The book Unconquerable Desires can be purchased on amazon.com and all other major online retailers.
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Scott Kraynak Discusses Photography Book, ‘Unconquerable Desires’: Photographs courtesy of Scott Kraynak

The 5 Books You Should Be Reading This Summer

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With just a few weeks left of the glorious sun before real life comes back with a vengeance this fall, I’ve put together the 5 books that you should be reading this summer to achieve optimal relaxation while you take advantage of the dwindling beach days! Happy reading!

The Summer I Turned Pretty Series – Jenny Han
Okay, so I guess technically speaking, this isn’t really a list of five because my first suggestion is actually a trilogy. But, who doesn’t love some good, coming-of-age young adult literature to break your heart during the summer? The Summer Trilogy tells the story of Belly and her summers at the beach house with the Fisher boys, Conrad and Jeremiah. It’s a story about unrequited love, growing up, and loss through warm and realistic characters that you can’t help but grow attached to. I’ve genuinely read this series every single summer since I was 15 and I still swoon over Conrad and cry at the end–it’s that good.

Girl On A Train – Paula Hawkins
This is one of those books that came out of nowhere but everyone is talking about. It’s even being turned into a movie starring Emily Blunt, out later this fall, so that’s even more reason to read it now. I plan on seeing it, but, as we all know, the books are always better than the movies. Girl On A Train is the best psychological thriller since Gone Girl. It’s crazy, unpredictable, and heart-stopping to the point where you won’t be able to put it down.
Billy and Me – Giovanna Fletcher
Gi Fletcher has been one of my favorite authors for years now. Finally, the good people at Penguin have decided to take her talents across the pond and have published this incredible book to be sold in US stores. Can I hear a “Hallelujah”? This book will appeal to anyone who identifies as a fangirl and tells the story of Sophie May, a quiet girl from the British countryside, and her relationship with world famous actor and heartthrob Billy. Although a bit melodramatic at times, this story made me laugh out loud and cry on multiple occasions and it’s a fun look into the life of dating an uber celebrity–and Gi would know; she did marry Tom from McFly after all!
Is It Evil Not To Be Sure – Lena Dunham
If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I essentially worship the ground that Lena Dunham walks on. So, when I found out that she was publishing a year’s worth of her journals from college, I practically set an alarm for when they would be released. As an avid journaler myself, I was eager to see how she documented the ramblings of her mind. I quickly found that the best part of this collection is that she kept all of the wacky punctuation and run-on sentences so that they still feel authentic and like a genuine look into the way she thinks and how she experiences life. These entries are endearing, enlightening, and really relatable for anyone who has ever been 20 years old and a reminder that your experiences, big or small, are worth preserving.

Just One Day Gayle Forman
From the author that broke our hearts with
If I Stay comes this next novel about a sheltered American girl named Allyson who goes on a Euro trip and meets the charming and adventurous Wilem. Together, the two share an incredible 24 hours before they are forced to separate.  Although their short-lived relationship is exciting and romantic, this story is really a look into the grief of a lost connection that nobody really ever talks about. It’s genuinely a beautiful story to get lost in this summer.

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Featured photo courtesy of flavorwire

Gucci: A Family’s Legacy

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Gucci. We all know the name and the iconic logo, but we do not know the story behind the prestigious Italian family and the history of their business. As every family goes through hardships during their own “storm,” the Guccis put each other through deceitful and devious challenges that led to major consequences for both the family and business. As told from the granddaughter of the brand’s founder Guccio Gucci, Patricia Gucci takes us through the beginning stages of her family’s brand and how it led to the rollercoaster love story of her parents in her first memoir, In The Name of Gucci.

The only daughter of Bruna and Aldo Gucci, Patricia grew up as their secret love child, hidden from her father’s other wife and sons until she was a young girl. With success comes sacrifices and Patricia doesn’t leave any secrets untold. The tension and hatred between the two families is clearly evident as she opens the memoir with hurtful details from the hardest day of her life.
Regardless of being kept a secret, Patricia adoration her father whom she called “Papá,” comes naturally; he was the only person who brought joy into her and her mother’s lives. She compares days when her father would return from business trips to the same level of excitement child has on Christmas morning. The former Gucci Ambassador describes the moment her father gave her away on her wedding day: “In that rickety old church he gave me the greatest gift a father can give a child–his unconditional, unspoken love. And, with his actions, my most precious memory of him.”
Not only speaking from the “daddy’s little girl” perspective, Patricia talks business and explains the creative mind and genius marketing tactics of her father whose dedication built the family business into a legacy. You’ll learn Gucci facts such as how the iconic bamboo bag and tan “rombi” suitcase, personalized with double G’s for the one and only Guccio, came to life.
The memoir includes old family photographs of Papá and her stunning mother, “Mamma,” whose beauty gleams through the pages. The book isn’t just for label lovers, but for the reader who is interested in a bond between a daughter and father. It will change your views on Gucci and know it’s about more than handbags and shoes, it’s a family’s legacy first.
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Gucci: A Family’s Legacy: Photo courtesy of Crown Archetype

Celebrity Books You Must Read

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I love TV and I love reading, so memoirs or books written by some of my favorite celebrities make for the best of both worlds. I’ve devoured Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, and both of Mindy Kaling’s books—among others—but I have plenty that are still on my to-read list. Here are four that I want to get through this year. 

Love Life by Rob Lowe
Lowe released his second memoir in 2014, and I’ve been meaning to read it ever since. He’s literally (get it?) one of my favorite actors. Here, he reveals more about his life and family, and I’m just already smitten.
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
This is less of a memoir and more of a collection of interviews, but I love it. Funny man and director Judd Apatow compiled interviews with some of the biggest and best names in comedy, so I know this book will make me laugh out loud.
Life by Keith Richards
This book was published six years ago, and I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. However, as a fan of the Rolling Stones, I know Keith Richards has amazing stories to tell. This autobiography is still dominating the bestseller list.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari is a comedic genius and this novel mixes his humor with an investigation into how people find love in a modern world. As someone who has been single her whole life and refuses to resort to Internet dating services, I’m interested in what Aziz has to say.
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Celebrity Books You Must Read: Featured image courtesy of Penguin Press