Friday 21 February 2014

MJ PULLEN BookTour & Giveaway

The Marriage Pact (2011), Regrets Only (2012), and Baggage Check (2013)
M.J. Pullen

Believable Dialogue
Dialogue is one of the most important aspects of any piece of quality fiction. Getting two people talking (or occasionally, carefully, more than two) is one of the quickest ways to get out of the head of the author or narrator and into the heart of the story. Dialogue commands attention, reveals character, moves the plot along, inspires emotion, and breaks up blocks of narrative to hold the reader’s attention. To keep the reader transfixed, dialogue must be believable. Here are some of my favorite ways to make sure my dialogue is a seamless bridge between the reader and the character.

1. Avoid long speeches. In real life, most people don’t make speeches unless they are standing at a podium. To get the reader through more than two or three sentences of uninterrupted dialogue, the writer has to have a large buildup of emotional investment and the scene must earn every sentence uttered with emotional payoff for the reader. You had us at ‘hello,’ Mr. Maguire.

2. Understand language and dialect. If you’re writing about a college student who lives in the American Northwest, for example, you may wish to avoid using the dialect of a British housewife in her forties. Often writers make these mistakes out of ignorance: they don’t understand the language of a particular area, or their ear for dialect is not well-honed as they think. If you’re writing a dialect, nationality or region with which you are not intimately familiar, do tons of research, and then have someone who is familiar help you edit.

3. Use words your character knows. Even if you play it safe and write only in your native dialect, it’s critical that you think of a character’s background, personality and education when you select their words. A sassy hairdresser in a rural area will talk differently than someone with a college education in a big city. A new graduate of the police academy uses words differently than a veteran homicide detective. Very few of your characters will talk like someone with an English degree and a desire to impress others with their diction (ahem, that would be you and me). Of course there are exceptions, but they must fit with the character you’re creating.

4. Keep it simple. Tips #2 and #3 notwithstanding, most people use language that is fairly simple and direct. The more odd, colorful or complex your characters’ dialogue is, the more the reader’s attention will be on the words, not the story. Use unusual words and phrases sparingly and intentionally in your dialogue.

5. Read out loud. Reading your work out loud can have tremendous benefits of all kinds, but dialogue is a major one. What sounds awkward coming out of your mouth will read awkwardly on the page. Have someone you trust role-play your conversations with you, just like a screenplay, to see what kind of impact they will have on the reader.

Meet The Author:
M.J. (Manda) Pullen studied English Literature and Business at the University of Georgia in Athens, and later Professional Counseling at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She practiced psychotherapy for five years before taking time off for writing and raising her two young boys. Since high school, she has also been an executive assistant, cashier, telemarketer, professional fundraiser, marketing guru, magazine writer, grant-writer, waitress, box-packer, HR person, and casual drifter.

She reads and writes across many genres, and learns something from everything she does. No matter what she’s writing, M.J. believes that love is the greatest adventure there is, and that hopeless romantics are never really hopeless.

She loves to hear from readers and other writers – so drop her a line!

The Marriage Pact by MJ Pullen
Book 1 of The Marriage Pact series
Genre: Contemporary Romance

About The Marriage Pact:
Marci Thompson always knew what life would be like by her 30th birthday. A large but cozy suburban home shared with a charming husband and two brilliant children. A celebrated career as an established writer, complete with wall-to-wall mahogany shelves and a summer book tour. A life full of adventure with her friends and family by her side.

Instead, Marci lives alone in 480 square feet of converted motel space next to a punk rock band, hundreds of miles from her friends and family. She works in a temporary accounting assignment that has somehow stretched from two weeks into nine months. And the only bright spot in her life, not to mention the only sex she’s had in two years, is an illicit affair with her married boss, Doug. Thirty is not at all what it is cracked up to be.

Then the reappearance of a cocktail napkin she hasn’t seen in a decade opens a long-forgotten door, and Marci’s life gets complicated, fast. The lines between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, heartache and happiness are all about to get very blurry, as Marci faces the most difficult choices of her life.
Source: Info in the About The Marriage Pact was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):


In her mind, she had ended it a thousand times. She would spend hours rehearsing three versions of the parting speech:

“Doug, I can’t do this anymore. Neither of us intended this to happen, but it has to stop. I love you [should she say that?], but I can’t be responsible for breaking up a marriage, however unhappy it might be. I deserve better than this. I need someone free to make a life with me, and you are not. I know in my heart that part of you still loves Cathy, and I think you should return to her and really invest in your marriage.”

Magnanimous and melodramatic:
“Listen, Doug. This has been wonderful; it really has. But it’s wrong and it’s been wrong from the start. It’s tearing me apart. I am not an adulteress; I deserve to be more than ‘the other woman.’ I can’t live with myself for another day this way, and I can’t let you do it, either. Go back to your wife, your home, the life that you chose all those years ago. I will treasure our time together and you have my word that I will never tell anyone about us.”

Jealous and generally pissed off:
“Doug, your little weekend getaway with your wife gave me time to get clarity and realize that I am better than this situation, and better than you. If you loved me, you would no longer be married. If you loved your wife, you would not be with me. You act like this is torture for you, but really you’re just a typical cheating sleazebag who wants to have his cake and eat it, too. I want you out of my life forever. If you try to speak to me again, I will call Cathy and tell her everything. Get out.”

This last version was the most emotionally satisfying. She would march into work armed with these words, confident, resolute and ready to take back her life.

Until she saw him. She’d find a sticky note on her keyboard: “It was awful. I missed you.” Or he would pick her up at lunch, and instead of going back to her place, they would drive to the top of Mount Bonnell and look over the Texas hill country and talk. She would feebly threaten to end it, crying pathetically and remembering none of her kickass speeches.

So they limped along in a relationship netherworld—not together, not apart, each day full of the twin possibilities of limitless passion or goodbye forever. With stacks of invoices and mindless tasks in front of her each day, Marci had entirely too much time to contemplate both ends of the spectrum.

Today was no different, except for the fact that she was officially no longer wasting her late twenties in a hopeless relationship. Thirty had arrived, and a new decade was waiting. And there was an e-mail from Jake.

Regrets Only by MJ Pullen
Book 2 of The Marriage Pact series
Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Regrets Only:
At thirty-three, Suzanne Hamilton has it all. A successful party-planning business with an elite client list. A swank condo in a hot Atlanta neighborhood and a close group of friends – especially her longtime best friend Marci. A list of men a mile long who have tried to win her heart and failed. Plus, she’s just landed the event that will take her career and social status to the next level. What could she possibly have to regret?

Then a freak accident changes everything, and Suzanne discovers that her near-perfect life is just a few steps away from total disaster. She is humiliated and at risk of losing it all… except the surprising support of her newest celebrity client. With nothing else to go on, Suzanne follows him into an unexpected job and unfamiliar territory. Soon she will question everything – her career, her past, her friendships, and even her own dating rules.

But when her catalog of past relationships turns into a list of criminal suspects, she is faced with the horrifying possibility that she may not live to regret any of it…
Source: Info in the About Regrets Only was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Baggage Check by MJ Pullen
Book 3 of The Marriage Pact series
Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Baggage Check:
At thirty-five, Rebecca Williamson is surrounded by happy endings. Her friends Suzanne and Marci are living out their own personal fairy tales in Atlanta, Georgia. But despite Rebecca’s best efforts four years ago, her adorable college friend Jake Stillwell has officially slipped through her fingers and broken her heart. Even though her job as a flight attendant fits perfectly with her orderly nature, and brings her into contact with lots of eligible men, she can’t seem to find a man who is Jake’s equal.

Then a frantic phone call from her mother in Oreville, Alabama turns Rebecca’s structured life on its ear. She will find herself back in the tiny town she worked so hard to leave behind, and thrown together with Deputy Alex Chen, a face from the past who’s made it clear he thinks of Rebecca as more than just an old friend’s kid sister.

But Alex is nothing like what Rebecca had in mind; and in the meantime, she has other battles to fight, including her painful family history. Can she navigate the chaos and get her life back to normal? Will Alex prove himself to be the friend she's always needed? Or will she discover that the door to Jake is not as tightly closed as she thought?
Source: Info in the About Baggage Check was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Follow The Tour Here

One set of autographed paperback copies of the Marriage Pact trilogy (winner can choose a custom inscription for the first book). US Only, Ebook International.


  1. Thank you for hosting today:)

    1. Burt Morgret - Please thank Manda for visiting CM today! :)


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