Today’s post is brought to you by YA Reads Blog Tours, and is an interview with R. Barri Flowers, author of the bestselling teen novels, COUNT DRACULA’S TEENAGE DAUGHTER, TEEN GHOST AT DEAD LAKE, and OUT FOR BLOOD, come the start of an exciting new young adult adventure series, Summer at Paradise Ranch (Paradise Ranch Series #1)

summer at Paradise Ranch banner

Can you tell us about your book, Summer at Paradise Ranch, in 15 words or less?

It is a YA romance, coming of age, and adventure novel in Maui, Hawaii

What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scene to write was when Lexi Montoya, the protagonist, first learned to hula dance. Though not a natural, she caught on quickly as part of her adventure on the island.

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

At the beginning of the novel when Lexi had to say goodbye to her boyfriend, Matt, and other friends in Seattle before embarking on her journey to Hawaai.

Do you have a favorite quote from the book?

“Good morning,” she said, adding, “or in Hawaiian, aloha kakahiaka.”

If Summer at Paradise Ranch were to be transformed into a movie, who would you cast to play the main characters?

That’s a fun question! Let me see… there are so many great actors, I will have to list a couple of choices for each character for readers to pick from as their choice when reading the novel.

Lexi, the protagonist: Brit Robertson, Hunter King, or Vanessa Marano

Mitsuo, the cute Hawaiian she is gushing over: Jake Austin or Avan Jogia

Lexi’s mother: Rachelle Lefevre or Ashley Judd

Lexi stepdad, Ernesto: Jason Momoa or Lou Diamond Phillips

April, Lexi’s red haired next door new friend: Molly Quinn or Katie Leclerc

Kikue, Mitsuo’s girlfriend: Bianca Santos or Lindsey Morgan

Matt, Lexi’s boyfriend: Grey Damon or Liam Hemsworth

Rory, Mitsuo’s best friend: Tahj Mowry or Devon Bostick

What made you want to write more of a YA/adventure/contemporary book as opposed to your previous YA paranormal series?

As a part time resident of Hawaii, I was inspired by the diversity of the islands with its rich history. I felt that Maui, in particular, lent itself to a fun teen adventure novel, where my protagonist, Lexi, was out of her element and had to adapt while going through the typical teen drama and coming of age. This included learning to hula dance, ride a horse, and surf.

Did you find that transition to be at all difficult?

Actually, it was quite easy to go from a YA vampire series, such as Transylvanica High, to a non paranormal and more realistic teen tale. That said, I really enjoyed writing my YA paranormal novels, COUNT DRACULA’S TEENAGE DAUGHTER and OUT FOR BLOOD, and developing this world.

Will there be a sequel to Summer at Paradise Ranch?

Indeed, there will be a sequel, SECOND SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH,  as part of four book YA adventure series, followed by THIRD SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH and FOURTH SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH.

Are you currently working on anything else?

Yes, I am working on the third book in the Transylvanica High series, titled, KULA’S REVENGE; as well as an adult murder mystery, MURDER ON KAANAPALI BEACH.

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

INVISIBLE by Lorena McCourtney

What is currently in your TBR pile?

There are several books I want to read when I have the time, including:

MR. MERCEDES by Stephen King

GHOST SHIP by Clive Cussler

THE CURSED by Heather Graham

ONE SUMMER, 1927 by Bill Bryson



You can find Summer At Paradise Ranch at the following locations:

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Smash Words * Google Books * iTunes

Summer at Paradise Ranch


Summers in Italy are a thing to behold. I’m fairly certain the phrase, “La dolce vita” was first coined during an Italian summer…perhaps in July…

I stumbled across this poem by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, and thought it rather a fitting


The figs we ate wrapped in bacon.
The gelato we consumed lustily:
coconut milk, clove, fresh pear.
How we’d dump hot espresso on it,
just watch it melt, licking our spoons
clean. The potatoes fried in duck fat,
the salt we’d suck off our fingers,
the eggs we’d watch get beaten
’til they were a dizzying bright yellow,
how their edges crisped in the pan.
The pink salt blossom of prosciutto
we pulled apart with our hands, melting
on our eager tongues. The green herbs
with goat cheese, the aged brie paired
with a small pot of strawberry jam,
the final sour cherry we kept politely
pushing onto each other’s plate, saying,
No, you. But it’s so good. No, it’s yours.
How I finally put an end to it, plucked it
from the plate, and stuck it in my mouth.
How good it tasted: so sweet and so tart.
How good it felt: to want something and
pretend you don’t, and to get it anyway.

— Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, “July”

Here are a few pictures I’ve snapped this summer so far…

me july 4 bike and vespa cappucino with cocoa Flowers left on picnic table italy gelato treats


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my boys and I had a “fancy” tea, honestly it wasn’t all that fancy, I brewed a pot of tea, and served them in proper tea cups, but they considered it fancy business and I took the opportunity enjoy a cup of tea with my boys.

Tea pot and tea cup and saucer lavender shabby chic

Earlier in the week I’d mentioned going to Tea when we make it to the UK they thought me crazy…

Tea pot and tea cup pouring tea shabby chictea time shabby chic 2tea time shabby chic

However…I think they’re coming ’round.


Now I really want to throw a tea party.


I love tea. LOVE tea. Over the last year or so, I’ve really gotten into loose teas. This afternoon as I was having a “fancy” tea with my boys, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite teas, nothing too pricey as most of these you can find at your local grocer or supermarket.

best supermarket tea, best grocery store tea

*Some of these teas, I only had in tea bag form, so I had to open them up. I’ll specify which ones those were, as I’m sure they’ll appear less appealing than the whole loose tea.

Twinings, Christmas Tea* – I discovered this tea this past Christmas season at my commissary. Initially I found it in tea bags and I love the aroma, for this photo, I had to pop open a Keurig version as that is all I’ve got left (I bought 5 boxes when I found some after the holiday season sitting alone on a shelf.) It is a black tea infused with what I like to call, “Christmas scent”, Twinings USA calls it “spiced flavours of cinnamon and cloves.” I like to enjoy it black or with milk and sugar. This is also a favorite of my boys, who usually steel my cup, when-ever I made some.

Twinings, Earl Grey – You can’t get any more classic than this tea with it’s iconic blend of black tea and Bergamot. I like to make this tea with milk and vanilla syrup to transform it into a “London Fog Latte“. Yum. Yum.

Twinings, Lady Grey – Is my favorite tea. I love it’s soft citrusy goodness that comes from orange and lemon peel. I often have this in the afternoon, or in the evening curled up with a book.

Taylors of Harrogate, Green Tea with Lemon*- When my husband returned from his six month deployment to the UK, he brought me back things he knew I’d love, like tea cups, and a model of a those adorable double decker red buses in you seen in London and about 6 boxes of teas for me to try. Among them were a few boxes (in tea bag form) of Taylors of Harrogate teas. This Green Tea with Lemon, is absolutely lovely and refreshing.

Harney & Sons, Yellow & Blue- This lavender and chamomile blend of tea is what my boys get when the ask for tea just before bed. Inside each tea bag is a perfect blend of whole leaf teas packed with chamomile buds and lavender….If I had one wish for this tea, it would be more lavender flavor.

Teapigs Peppermint Leaves Tea -This was another gift brought back by my husband from England. Each nylon bag is filled with whole leaf tea. This peppermint tea is absolutely perfect. It’s minty with out slapping you in the face.  I’m sort of in love with this brand of tea for it’s great quality and eco-concious biodegradable packaging. I was very happy to learn one can find it on Amazon! Yay!

Bigelow, Green Tea with Lemon- After my husband brought home the Taylors Green Tea with Lemon, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere else, locally (here in Italy and at my commissary) so when I spied the Bigelow I figured I ‘d give it a try. I’m so glad I did because it’s pretty good and a pretty close match quality wise to the Taylors version. These boxes of tea bags are easy to find your local supermarket and I think Bigleow is definitely one of the best supermarket teas out there.

Taylors of Harrogate, Scottish Breakfast Tea – When I first tried this tea I was worried it would get bitter, like the Earl Grey can tend to do, but I found there to be no bitterness when over brewed. Win! Win! This is perfect for the morning! (I’m sure the whole tea version of this one is quite pretty too.)

Bigelow, Constant Comment – This black tea is great for a hot cup either with or without milk (I’m also not apposed to using cream.) or with lemon and honey. You can also make a great iced tea with Constant Comment, or even get creative and add fruit or syrups for extra flavor, I’d try peach or raspberry! Just follow the directions for seeping your own brew or iced or hot tea.

loose tea close up lavender tea_

Taylors of Harrogate teas can be purchased in the US on Amazon or at Whole Foods.
Tea Pigs can be found online at and Amazon.
Twinings & Bigelow can be found practically anywhere.

“ When did we become so small and so apologetic? Why do we apologize for our humanity? Love what you love, and make no apologies. This is your identity. The most horrendous suspensions of freedom are self-imposed. We imprison ourselves daily, hourly. We have one life, one shot at all the glorious things of life, and we walk about constricted, apologetic, afraid. We have so little time; we have so little space upon which to spread our love and our talents and our kindness. Run toward life fulsomely and freely. It runs from us so quickly, like a frightened dog or youth or daylight. Chase it and care for it. ”

— Tennessee Williams: We Have One Life

I’ve really nothing to add. My husband snapped this gorgeous picture, and I thought this quote rather lovely to go along with it.

tennessee williams quote love what you love




One the second anniversary of Bradbury’s passing, I thought this quite the perfect poem to share on this day.


This morning, Ray Bradbury is dead
and there is only soy milk at my coffee shop.
I do not know which to be more sad about,
that my body and I are suddenly uncomfortable
or that a man I have never met, far away,
has stopped breathing.

My heartbeat
will end one day.
It is a miracle it’s lasted this long,
not because I have wished it otherwise,
but because my car keeps overheating.

My car is huge
compared to my heart.

A writing prompt,
given to me on a bicycle ride last week:
“What is the most dangerous thing you’ve done lately,
and why?”

I climbed the Pillsbury building,
because I wanted to, because I could,
or because I was bored, or because I know how,
because I know that wearing dark blue at night
makes you look like a cloud.

Ray Bradbury’s heart is not beating anymore.

The Pillsbury building is so big
compared to his heart,

but this morning he is dead
and there is only soy milk at my coffee shop.

— Lewis Mundt, “Ray Bradbury is Dead”