Friday, April 18, 2014

Aloha to Ellen Butler and POPLAR PLACE

Going Small Town

Thank you, Kim for having me back again at SOS Aloha! Your followers are such a fun crew it’s a thrill to be back among them. I’m here today to talk about my newest release, Poplar Place. It’s what I like to call a Women’s Fiction with a Chick Lit style flair, and is a fun book to take with you on your spring break or summer vacation–or if you’re lucky enough to live in Hawaii, trot on down to the beach with your trusty tablet.

Kim asked me to talk about researching small towns. I’ve pulled a short excerpt (below) to introduce you to our little made up town of Denton, where our heroine, Cara Baker, has recently moved.

One of the things I loved about my new home was its convenience to my job. The Denton Regional Library was a four-block walk from my house, and only three and a half if I cut through the park. In the very hot summer months or when it rained, I’d end up driving. However, weather permitting, I planned to walk, and today the weather was sixty and breezy. I took a travel cup of coffee with me as I headed off to my destination, enjoying the beautiful morning and my commune with nature on the way. The houses that lined the street varied in shape, size and year built. This neighborhood wasn’t tract housing built by a single builder. Over the years lots were privately purchased and built upon. I loved the street for that very reason; the varied structures were graceful and original, and yards were filled with shade trees and full-grown landscaping.

The town of Denton is really an amalgamation of a couple of small towns I’ve had the pleasure to visit. For instance, the street Cara lives on was pulled from two places, Stonington, Connecticut, and Burlington, North Carolina. Burlington has neighborhood streets lined with blooming Cherry Trees or Bradford Pears in spring time, and houses that were built in a variety of different styles and decades. Whereas Stonington, provides the walkability Cara describes in the story.

Cara’s home itself is a cross between my imagination and a friend’s Victorian house in Pittsburgh. I wanted the home to be newer, to provide for things like a legal finished attic space that could be rented out, a gourmet kitchen and ample closet space for a girl with Cara’s style. However, I also wanted the quaint styling of a Victorian from the turn of the century. I’m not sure this house exists anywhere, but if I find it, I’m moving in! The beautiful cover was created by the publisher, Turquoise Morning Press, and I don’t know where the house is located, but I think it’s an excellent representation of the home I created for Cara.

The main street in Denton is a bit like the historic town of Middleburg, Virginia. Stores line the street, vendors leave their doors open on sunny days, and a local cat sleeps quietly outside the shop door. It’s a town in driving distance to me, and it houses a fabulous authentic German Christmas Shop with handmade ornaments and beautiful Bavarian style clothing. Additionally, Middleburg also embodies the distance of small town in relation to the city. Both Middleburg and Denton are about an hour’s drive from a larger city–Middleburg to Washington, DC, and Denton to Charleston, South Carolina.

The rest of Denton is pure fiction constructed by my own imagination. I hope you enjoy Cara’s story and her lovely home. Perhaps the small town of Denton will remind you of your own town, or a place you’ve enjoyed visiting.

One last thing…

Book Groups – Visit my website, to find book club questions on Poplar Place. I’m available to be a guest author for book clubs as well. Fill out the contact form on the website for more information. 

Women’s Fiction with romance & suspense
Turquoise Morning Press
March 27, 2014
ISBN # 978-1-62237-274-4

Newly minted librarian, Cara Baker, effectively cuts ties with her tumultuous life in Pittsburgh, and moves to South Carolina where she embraces the peaceful, laid-back style of small town living. Everything seems to be falling into place when Cara finds the perfect house to round out her new plans. Well… perfect except for the immovable hermit living on the top floor. She throws caution to the wind, and buys the fabulous house—hermit and all—without meeting him. By wooing her reclusive renter with notes and mouthwatering meals, he caves and invites her up to the apartment. Preconceived notions are blown out of the water, when she finds Danny isn’t the nerdy Mr. Mole she envisioned.

Unfortunately, FBI phone calls from her past bring Cara’s summer idle to an abrupt halt. Will demons from a former life destroy Cara’s tranquility?

Purchase Links:

Amazon link

Barnes & Noble link
Smashwords link
TMP Bookstore link
Kobo link

Ellen Butler lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, and she considers herself an old-new writer. In other words, she’s old to writing, new to novel writing. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy, and her history includes a long list of writing and editing for dry but illuminating professional newsletters, and windy papers on public policy. The leap to novel writing was simply a creative outlet for Ellen’s over active and romantic imagination to run wild.


You can find Ellen’s debut release, Second Chance Christmas, at Amazon. Professionally, she belongs to the Virginia Writer’s Club, the Northern Virginia Writer’s Club, and is a founding member of the Tempting Romance blog. When she’s not writing, Ellen is either, running around after her children, decorating a neighbor’s house, or holed up in her favorite lounge chair reading. Ellen is an admitted chocoholic and confesses to a penchant for shoe shopping. Book club questions for Ellen’s novels can be found on her website.




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  1. I like both alpha and beta heroes. It all depends on the story.

    Marcy Shuler

  2. Betas!!!!!! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I enjoy reading about both. Generally, I prefer alphas.

  4. Usually alphas, though depending on the story I don't mind reading betas either.

  5. It looks like the vote is overwhelmingly ALPHA, with BETA coming in a long second. Thanks everyone for stopping by and entering the contest! Good luck to all of you!!