Friday, May 22, 2015

A special post on lifelong learning by Ava Louise

Fiction writer Ava Louise is here today to share her thoughts on "Lifelong Learning and Happiness" and talk about her Intergalactic Matchmaking Services series.

Livelong Learning and Happiness
According to Wikipedia, Lifelong Learning is defined as: the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. That sounds about right; if a bit dry.

For me, Lifelong Learning means doing my utmost to learn at least one new thing each day. That One New Thing doesn’t have to be something as major as how to change the oil in my car. And sure, there’s always a new gizmo waiting to be learned by the masses. Figuring out how to program my smart phone may fill me with momentary satisfaction, but that wears off fairly quickly.

I prefer to learn something that is felt inside of me. It could be about a world situation or something about another person that offers insight into them. It doesn’t have to be something monumental, just something that makes me think. Keeping the dust blown off the old grey-matter is the goal.

The One New Thing can be something as simple as learning a new (to me) inspirational saying: Walk in Your TruthBe a Voice, Not an Echo; To Thine Own Self Be True. Absorbing a bit of inspirational/motivational text can fill me with satisfaction for a longer period.

Admittedly, some days there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to fit in one more goal; the goal of learning One New Thing. Learning the new, glitch-y software at work can make us feel we’ve stuffed enough “newness” into our day, let alone our brains.

That in-the-soul satisfaction, though; now that is something that last a long time. It can be pulled forth and examined as often as you like, as often as you need.

Happiness is learned and learning brings happiness. For me, this a circle with no end, no beginning. Instead of waiting for something to make me happy, I go in search of something to learn. That search is me being active in this huge world, searching for a way to grow as a person, searching for a way to give back to this world in which I exist.

I spent decades waiting for that elusive something to come along so I could finally be happy. In that, I guess you could say I was a slow learner! I now realize that true happiness for me comes from learning…anything!
How about you? Do you seek new knowledge on a regular basis? Or do you consider it a more passive endeavor?

About Ava’s books:
The Intergalactic Matchmaking Services series begins with Maggie’s Story, Ava Louise’s debut novel. In the series, you’ll meet characters that play a role in all of the books of the series, but this cozy Sci-Fi with romance is easily read as a series, or each book as a standalone. The characters are full-fledged and lovable!

“Maggie’s Story” -- Women Wanted: Must have a sense of adventure and be open to new experiences. Must also be willing to relocate. Please contact...Intergalactic Matchmaking Services.

Maggie Cline decides to investigate her romantic possibilities after she becomes a target when she identifies the shooter in a local murder.

Can she find a soul mate away from everything she knows and has worked hard for here on Earth? What about her loyal companion? Will she have to give up her cat, Mamzell, for a chance at love?

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (January 27, 2014)
ASIN: B00I44AGA8


“Shirley’s Story” -- Just as Shirley decides to try opening herself up to a chance at love, a stalker from her past returns. How does she move forward when her past comes knocking? What's going on with her young student, Hannah? Will her dog, Oreo, be okay with Shirley looking for love?

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (March 4, 2014)
ASIN: B00ISU9RE4

“Penny’s Story” -- Penny was supposed to be dead. At least that is what Claire has believed for ten years. Find out what happens when Claire's sister comes out of the Witness Protection Program. Penny is fighting a losing battle with cancer and needs Claire to raise Sunny, Penny's newborn daughter, once the cancer takes its final toll. Why is Penny's ex-boyfriend, Jason, telling his cronies that Penny has money and information about their illegal dealings? How does the cartel find out she has even left the Witness Protection Program? 

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (November 30, 2014)
ASIN: B00OV8QBXC

All of the Intergalactic Matchmaking Services books are available as e-books on Amazon.

About the author:
Ava Louise was born a U.S. Army brat overseas, in France. She is the proud mom of two wonderful young men. It's taken her a while to figure out what she wanted to be "when she grows up," but Ava has finally found her niche in the writing world. Since writing came to her later in life, she likes to think she is living proof that it's never too late to reach for a dream or to achieve it. Before writing her own stories, she usually reads from a wide array of genres. She loves Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Mysteries, Thrillers, and Young Adult. 

Ava Louise can be found online at:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Interview with literary fiction writer Scott D. Southard

Literary fiction writer Scott D. Southard is here today to chat with me about his new book, Permanent Spring Showers.

During his virtual book tour, Scott will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:
Scott D. Southard is the author of A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem with Doors, Megan, 3 Days in Rome and Me Stuff. His eclectic writing has also found its way into radio, as Scott was the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production. Scott received his Master's in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via his writing blog “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard" where he writes on topics ranging from writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site. His blog can be found at http://sdsouthard.com. Scott is also the fiction book reviewer for WKAR's daily radio show Current State.


Welcome, Scott. Please tell us about your current release.
Thanks for having me on your site!

Permanent Spring Showers is many things to me. While some would classify it as literary fiction (which it is) it is also a dark comedy, romantic (or maybe anti-romantic), and surprising. When I think of my writing career, this is definitely me trying to do something new, a little experimental and very unpredictable. I think if readers give it a shot it will be a very memorable and unique reading experience.

Here is how my publisher describes it on the back cover, I think it is a nice introduction-

Professor Rebecca Stanley-Wilson is having a very bad season. Her husband has just admitted to having an affair. And it was with one of her students.

Blame it on a desire for revenge (or way too much alcohol), she then has had one of her own. Unfortunately for her, her affair was with one of the great upcoming painters of his generation. The ramifications of that one torrid evening will not only be felt across her life but over the entire art world.

Sexy, funny, and very surprising, Permanent Spring Showers is the tale of one very memorable springtime and how it impacts a group of unique artists and dreamers. From the writer who is creating a new literary movement (through outright manipulation), to the hopeful Olympian with the failing marriage, to the romantic wondering what he did wrong to drive his love from him, each tale walks the line between reality and fantasy. And waiting at the end of the line is a very important painting… and possibly the revolver used in the Lincoln Assassination.

What inspired you to write this book?
After writing my novel A Jane Austen Daydream (which was my “love letter” to the author, recreating her life as one of her own romantic novels), I wanted to do something very different, very daring. Definitely something very different from the world of Austen.

Also, I was a little inspired by Charles Dickens. He used to write for a paper, publishing a different chapter each week. I wondered if I could do the same. Of course, instead of a paper for me, I had my blog (“The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard at sdsouthard.com). I used one of my old screenplays as a starting point and began to write the book. After a chapter I was in very different waters from the original story. It was a fun challenge and I could not be more proud of the final result.


Excerpt from Permanent Spring Showers:

Chapter 1
The Argument

                It probably all began far before the argument.
                It might have even begun before the affair he had, no matter how brief it was. He wanted an excuse to end it, her mind cried at her. His penis only gave him the excuse he was looking for.
                The fact it was with one of her students was just the icing on the cake.

                “How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?”
                She turned back to him; it was the first time she even dared to look at him since he broke the news to her that morning before her flight. And yet all she could think right then was why did he have to chase her around the house in that old raggedy bathrobe? That damn old weather worn bathrobe he bought on their honeymoon. God, help me, she thought to herself staring at the pleading man, he looks like a broken bunny in that hideous thing.
                She grabbed her keys off the kitchen counter as angrily as such an action could be, stepped over the bowl of cereal she shattered on the kitchen floor, and threw up her hands as she walked past him. “I don’t care if you’re sorry or not. It really doesn’t matter now.”
                “It doesn’t matter?” He sounded floored by the concept. “How can it not matter?”
                She sighed by the front door, and spun back to him. “Can you go back in time?”
                “No.”
                “Can you go back and stop yourself from inserting your penis…”
                “Stop it!” he interrupted and covered his ears almost like a child would when being scolded. “Do you have to be so vulgar about it?” He removed his hands, now taking on the posture of a parent with his hands on his hips. How fast the switch was made astonished her.
                “Vulgar?” She was becoming so angry her right hand was starting to shake. She hated when this happened, it always felt to her like a part of her body was revolting against her mind. Vomiting at that moment felt like it would be too easy. “You do that and call me…”
                “Would you rather I didn’t tell you?” he interrupted. “I could’ve kept it a secret.”
                “I’d rather you didn’t do it in the first place.” Her voice cracked on the last word, almost sounding like a cough. No, she wasn’t about to cry, she told herself, she wouldn’t give him that satisfaction… assuming he would feel satisfied to know he broke her spirit.
                He didn’t respond to her last point, he went on with his pathetic reasoning he had already repeated three times that day while she attempted to put on her old trench coat (first putting her arms in the wrong sleeves, getting it right the second time). “I didn’t know if she would’ve said something to the other students or faculty. I didn’t want people talking behind your back. I thought you knowing could help avoid any discomfort, get you ahead of any of the tales and…” His voice losing steam as she faced him again.
                “So this…” She was so angry she had to work to get each word out in something less than a scream. “So this—this!— is for my benefit?”
                “I didn’t say that.”
                She turned to the door, and she heard him take a step closer behind her. She whirled with a speed she would not have thought possible before this morning. “Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop!” she said holding up her finger like a librarian silencing a child. “You are not coming outside.”
                “Why the Hell not?”
                She spoke slowly, hoping it would help him to understand her point. “Because I don’t want the neighbors to see us arguing, I don’t want Ms. Florence to hear us going at it. If she hears, if she sees, everyone in the neighborhood will see. I’ll become something to be pitied, you will become… even though, knowing her and her ears and eyes, she probably has pictures of you and…” She couldn’t even finish her sentence or even say the name.
                (Her name was Alice. Alice, it felt like a swear word now to her, something to be blurted out only in anger. Alice was 19. Alice had cute freckles and a slightly twisted smile. Alice thought she knew everything and, up until 8:10 this morning, Alice sometimes reminded her now-furious professor of herself at that age.)
                She gasped. It was as if she lost breath, or some higher power had turned her voice box off. “I… I…” Her mind, her wonderfully brilliant mind that she could always rely on, was failing her for the first time that she could remember. It was like a little death. Her wonderful reality she created was falling apart around her. All she could do was mumble, “Just stay in here.” She then picked up two of her bags and her purse and left as quickly as possible.

               
What exciting story are you working on next?
I have two works in the pipeline. One is a novel that I’m still in the middle of writing. It is probably the closest thing I will do to sci-fi, even though it is not sci-fi in the typical sense of the word. It feels like a very powerful book to me.

I have another work that I plan to start shopping around soon. It is called Cassandra on the Island. It’s probably the most beautiful work I will do. I think I captured something special with it; hopefully, I can talk to you about it in the future.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always loved books. Summers as a kid for me were not marked by sports or vacations, but which author or books I read. When my mom would kick me out of the house to go play with the friends, chances are I would grab a paperback and head to the park; where you could then find me with my back up against a tree once again lost in a book.

I wrote my first book as a teenager, and ever since then I’ve been putting up the good fight for my career. Writing has always been a lot of fun for me, never really a struggle. I make myself laugh. I think I’ll probably do this (and dream of it) until it is no longer any fun.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m the dad of two really great kids, so I need to find my time to write around them. My wife is really supportive of my writing and I sneak away from time to time on weekends with a notepad in hand. I also will write in the evenings.

When I was writing Permanent Spring Showers, because I had a deadline thanks to my site, I would be up to 1 AM or later just acting out scenes and writing quickly.

It’s not always easy to find the time to write, but if the idea is a strong one, you find a way, you know.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I allow my creative energy to dictate a lot of what I do around a book. If I always need a certain drink or snack, it is there. If I have to wear a certain hat, it is on my head. If I have to listen to a certain CD it will be in the player each and every time. I’m at the mercy of the muse and what she says goes. Granted, for my family this can look a little silly. I know for a fact I have driven my wife crazy a few times with playing the same CD over and over again, but she was very understanding.

For Permanent Spring Showers it was all about Fiona Apple’s music, especially her last CD. Amazing album. Highly recommend it. I dream that someday she will check out the book.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
One of my fantasies was to be a jazz artist. I dreamed of being the next Coltrane or Parker (I played alto and soprano saxophone). I even got into college on a jazz scholarship. But there was a moment when I realized it wasn’t in me. I was just repeating myself and I was not getting a thrill out of my solos anymore. Basically, I had nothing to say anymore with the instrument, but I did have a lot to say with the pen.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Whenever I sit down to write a book, I want to do something new, something different. If I, for a second, could compare a work I was creating to something else on the market, chances are, I would stop working on it. See, one of my joys as a reader (ever since I was a kid) was being surprised and fully escaping into a narrative. So if you were to pick up one of my books, that is my aim. It’s one of the reasons each of my books are very different from each other.

Permanent Spring Showers has a lot of interesting layers to it. It’s funny, it’s sexy, and it will surprise you. I hope you will check it out.

Thanks for the interview!

As a special note: Permanent Spring Showers is on sale from May 18-30 (the length of the tour) for only $1.99 (regularly $3.99).

Links:

Thanks for being here today, Scott!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview with women's fiction author Kathryn Elliott

I’m turning the spotlight on women’s fiction author Kathryn Elliott today. She’s here to chat about the writing life, and in particular, her debut novel, Adding Lib.

During her virtual book tour, Kathryn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome, Kathryn. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a lot of things; wife, mother, publicist, and dementia advocate. But to pay the bills, I’m a lifetime journalist with awards in political satire, human interest, and commentary. I can’t not write. It’s part of who I am, and how I keep myself in cute shoes and wine. A girl needs priorities.

I believe in laughter's healing power, and want Adding Lib’s characters strengths and flaws to resonate with readers long after "The End."

Although Adding Lib is my debut novel, and the first in the McGinn series, I’ve ghost written for many in the political non-fiction market.

Please tell us about your current release.
Women’s fiction, Adding Lib is a blend of humor and heartstrings.

Libby O'Rourke has a short fuse. Her mother, Mae, carries a big match. Engulfed in the never-ending life-juggling of suburbia, Libby fails to notice Mae's emerging dementia symptoms until a kitchen fire puts the problem on the front burner. Proficient in the art of denial, Mae brushes the shattering diagnosis aside and sets her sights on a matchmaking crusade for her eldest son. After all, if her lucid days are numbered, Mae’s going to make damned sure he makes it down the aisle while she still recognizes the groom. It’s going to take a razor wit and an iron stomach to handle Mae's diagnosis. Thankfully, just like her mother Libby has both.

What inspired you to write this book?
It wasn’t a what so much as a who that inspired me to write Adding Lib. I’m a cancer survivor, and Lib was a bucket list item.

In its early stages, Adding Lib remained a title less idea, a handful of characters chatting up a storm in my head until one day they got to loud to ignore and I sat down to jot out an outline. That same week, a good friend, and fellow long-term survivor relapsed – Stage 4 stomach cancer. It was a devastating blow. Writing stopped; life stopped.

A month before she died, when we knew chemo was futile we took a drive up the coast. Laughing and remembering the good times, she made an off-handed comment that resonated. “Life’s funny,” she said. “You never know what’s coming – I guess we add lib through the tough parts to get to the laughter.”

And there is was – my title, and inspiration to carry on.


Excerpt from Adding Lib
At three o’clock, excess wine and a bladder weakened by two pregnancies woke Libby from a sound sleep. She crept to the bathroom as quietly as two-hundred-year-old floor boards would allow and, on the way back, noticed the phone’s blinking message light.

“Crap.” Mae’s message taunted from the answering machine. “What to do?” she said to herself. “Check it, or go back to bed?” Years of maternally ingrained guilt won out as she pressed play.

“Hi Lib,” Mae’s recorded message played. “It’s your mother.”

“Color me surprised.” Libby groaned.

“I just got back from my visit with Dr. Cooper. You remember him, he removed Daddy’s planter’s wart.”

“TMI Mom, TMI.”

“Anyhow, he did a splendid job with my colon and said I had none of those dirty pollocks.”
“Polyps, unless you’ve got a ten-foot abstract in your small intestine.”

“You can watch now. Did you know that? They have a camera in your bum the whole time, fascinating really. Anyway, a few of my other test results were a bit off, and he wants me to see a neurologist for some silly reason. Nothing to worry about, just a little blip to check out. Anyhow, I need someone to take me for the appointment, and I was hoping you could find the time. If not, don’t worry, I’ll call your brother Sean. I’m sure he can drop anything less important than his mother.”

“Of course. He’s Jesus.” Libby’s eyes rolled.

“Take care, sweetie. Call me when you can, love to all.”

Libby replayed the message and returned to bed. Blip speculation haunted her dreams.


What exciting story are you working on next?
Finding Caroline – the second in the McGinn Series is up next. The story continues where Adding Lib leaves off and explores the relationship of Libby’s brother, Sean McGinn and her best friend, Caroline Duffy. (Steamy goes up a notch!)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ah…my moment of glory. Third grade. Poetry contest. Catholic school. Did you know there are seven things to rhyme with Jesus and still not offend an entire diocese!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
On the fiction front, I write primarily at night in the company of my loving Labrador, Maggie. She’s a good springboard for character development. During the day I’m typically running from parenting to publicist duty with equal frenzy.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Yeah, that’s another Catholic school scar. I can only craft smut behind a locked door. I blame Sister .Marilyn. She swore Jesus could see impure thoughts. My therapist disagrees.

Come to think of it, I do have a second quirk, or maybe it’s a strategy? I need to talk out dialogue before jotting even a first draft down. It helps me to get tone right – tone is a killer to convey.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sean Cassidy’s wife. Or a veterinarian. I’m oh-for-two.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just my thanks. Writing takes a devotion and dedication, knowing someone takes the time to appreciate my work is a gift.

Links:

Thanks, Kathryn!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Special excerpt for YA romance thriller Out of Control by Sarah Alderson

Today is a special excerpt from the YA romance thriller, Out of Control, by Sarah Alderson.

During her virtual book tour, Sarah will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner and a signed copy of her new book, Conspiracy Girl, to a second randomly drawn winner (US/Canada only for the book). To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:
Sarah is the author of Hunting Lila (winner of the Kingston Book Award), Losing Lila, Fated, The Sound, Out of Control, and Conspiracy Girl (all Simon & Schuster).

Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the nonprofit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home (a journey that was documented on this blog and which is shortly to be published as a book).

After almost a year spent travelling the world, they settled in Bali where they lived for five beautiful years before the vagabonding urge became too great and they decided to embark on Can We Live Here part two. They are currently located somewhere between India, London, Canada, and the US.

As well as writing young adult novels and screenplays, Sarah also writes adult fiction for Pan Macmillan (Simon & Schuster in the US) under the name Mila Gray.

Her first adult novel, Come Back To Me, was published in June 2014. The second, This One Moment, will be out in August 2015.

A little bit about Out of Control:
When 17-year old Liva witnesses a brutal murder she's taken into police custody for her own protection. But when bullets start flying, it becomes clear that Liva is not just a witness, she's a target.

Together with a car thief called Jay, Liva manages to escape the massacre - but now the two of them are alone in New York, trying to outrun two killers who will stop at nothing to find them.

When you live on the edge, there's a long way to fall.


Exclusive excerpt from Out of Control:
 ‘Where did you learn to drive like that?’ I ask. It’s a stupid question and I’m not really asking because I want to know the answer. I’m asking because I don’t want to talk about what just happened. I’m trying to convince myself that if don’t say out loud what the voice in my head is trying to force me to acknowledge, then maybe it won’t be real.

The faint trace of a smile ghosts across Jaime’s lips before fading completely. ‘That’s what I was being booked for back at the police station,’ he says, glancing sideways at me. ‘Grand Theft Auto.’

‘Oh,’ I say, staring at him in shock. He’s a car thief? Well, that figures. I stare at him slightly dumbfounded though. I mean, what are the chances that the guy I escape from a police station with happens to be a car thief who also happens to know how to drive like one of the guys from The Fast and The Furious? I reassess him in the light of this information. Grand Theft Auto. So, not a murderer then. I guess that’s a positive.

A flare of defiance lights Jaime’s eyes as he watches my reaction. They burn green, challenging me. He raises his eyebrow in a gesture I’m coming to recognise as defiance. ‘What? You thought I had killed someone?’ he asks with a smirk that pulls up the corner of his mouth.

I shrug. ‘You were in the homicide department. What else was I supposed to think?’

‘I was in the Major Crime Unit. It works out of the same room as Homicide.’

‘Oh, Major Crimes, well that’s so much better,’ I throw back, rolling my eyes.


Links:


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Monday, May 18, 2015

Special excerpt for urban fantasy novel A Soul to Keep by Moira Keith

We’re starting the week with a special book excerpt from the urban fantasy novel, A Soul to Keep, by Moira Keith.

During her virtual book tour, Moira will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Bio:
Moira Keith is a lover of shoes, a connoisseur of Guinness, baker of cocktail themed cupcakes, and an overall complete mess! She is also a proud Texan by birth (and true Southern girl at heart).

Moira lives in the city of neon with her twin zombie sons, a fish, three parakeets, and a turtle.

A little bit about A Soul to Keep:
In the realm of the Fallen, there’s a little saint and sinner in us all…

One moment can impact the future.

Love never served Jayde Cross well and owing a debt to a demon is the proof. Reaping is a lonely existence and with her thirtieth birthday approaching, she's got enough to worry about without adding romance to the mix. It's why her friendship with the man living next door works so well. They both live lives filled with secrets and ignoring their self-imposed rules isn’t an option. Too bad her heart disagrees.

The past is about to come back and haunt one of Heaven’s Fallen.

Caleb Thorne always found living among mortals difficult, until he met the intriguing woman down the hall. She demands nothing of him and is completely safe. When an enemy from his past catches up with him, Caleb soon discovers the rules of the Fallen exist for a reason and loving a mortal may prove to be the bigger danger.

In a world where their love is forbidden, Jayde and Caleb may just discover that sometimes breaking rules is the only thing that can set you free.


Excerpt from A Soul to Keep:
“Excuse the mess.”

I turned and glanced up at him. “What? You didn't scrub the kitchen down before you tore it all apart? I'm shocked Mr. Thorne.”

“Sure, make fun of me. I was simply being polite.”

I smiled and set the coffee on the dark granite countertop. “Well we've both seen each other's homes in completely wrecked states. I think our friendship is strong enough to survive a messy kitchen. Maybe even an apocalypse.”

“I don't know. I've seen your kitchen. It looks like a tornado blew through it. I don't even think zombies would venture in there.”

“Wow! That hurts.” I reached out to slap his arm and he grabbed my wrist. Warmth spread through my body and my chest tightened. He licked his lips and I found the movement incredibly inviting. The distance between us seemed to shrink. This could not be happening. As much as I adored Caleb, I could not allow myself to fall for him. I could see myself tumbling down the very path I swore I would never travel and liking the fall, but the pain that would surely follow would break me and likely him as well. Shit. I needed a distraction.

“I brought coffee, as promised. And...” I pushed the bag over to him.

He released his hold on my wrist, opened the bag, and peered inside. “Did we not just have a conversation about muffins and your training schedule yesterday? You know if you keep bringing me these, I'm going to lose this hard earned physique which makes the ladies drool.”

“Whatever, Romeo. It's just a muffin.” I rolled my eyes then turned to face the sink. The cherry wood cabinet doors were opened, revealing a bucket filled with water, a wrench, a screw driver, and a broken plastic piece from the pipe was disconnected and lying on the floor. “I see you've made some progress.”

“Think I made it worse.”

“Should have waited until I got here.”

He shrugged. “Probably right. But my ego can only stand to be shown up by a lady so many times.”

“They have these people. They're called plumbers. Professionals. Maybe you should call one.”


Links:

Buy links:


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Friday, May 15, 2015

Interview with contemporary romance author Tracy Reed

To wrap up the week, contemporary romance author Tracy Reed is here to talk about her new novel, Generational Curse.

During her virtual book tour, Tracy will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome, Tracy. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a single Christian woman who loves God, fashion, and cute guys. Not all women who write Christian fiction will admit to that.

I live in Southern California, but lived in New York for almost three years. I own an online lingerie store, called The Pink Duchess.

Please tell us about your current release, Generational Curse.
What happens when a celibate Christian Man befriends a woman involved with a married man? Will he run in the other direction or continue the relationship? Or will he abandon his Christian beliefs for a taste of the forbidden? Or will she learn that being with a married man isn’t the fantasy life the generations of women in her family made it appear?

Sean Prescott and Kyla James are business associates playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse, hoping the other will give in. But in this high stakes game is there really a winner or will both be losers.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to tell the wealthy powerful man who seduces the naive virgin story, but in reverse. I wanted to know what would happen if a hot virile man fell in love with God and became celibate, would he be able to resist the hot, sexy woman who tried every trick in the book to seduce him.


Excerpt from Generational Curse:
SEAN PRESCOTT IS A NICE guy, not the words his ex-fiancée would use to describe him. He and Kyla have been work acquaintances for a few years, and every time she comes into the showroom, his spirit tells him to ask her out. However, his mouth has yet to get the memo. His staff has decided to play matchmaker and have deemed Kyla a VIP, meaning only the boss can help her.
Kyla walked in and greeted everyone before taking a turn around the showroom. She found a sofa she liked and sat down, closed her eyes and rested her head on the back. She looked like a princess waiting to be kissed by her prince.
Sean walked over and stood in front of the grey tufted sofa staring at the beautiful woman he desperately wanted to ask out. He cleared his throat ready to ask the one question hed been wrestling with for quite a while. He opened his mouth, “Ive had quite a few people come in and sit on that sofa, but none make it look as exquisite as you do.”
She opened her eyes and smiled. “Hi Sean.”
“Hi Kyla.” He smiled as he extended his hand to help her stand up. “What can I do for you today?”
“Thank you. I have a client that is working my nerves. She keeps changing her mind. I told her if she doesnt make a decision this week, her guests will be sitting on lawn furniture for Thanksgiving.” They both laughed. He thought to himself, even her laugh is beautiful. She turned and started walking around the sea of furniture.
“Have you thought about dressing the room and letting her live with it a couple of days?”
I don’t know.”
“We can bring everything over and if she likes it, we invoice you. On spec.”
She turned and met his smile with another of her own. “I know what on spec is.” They laughed. At that moment, he didnt hear anything else she said. All he knew was he had to muster up his confidence and ask her out. She reached for her iPad and continued. “I hate wasting your time. Send Ryder over and he can…”
“Youre not wasting my time.” He opened his iPad. “Okay, lets go.” Like a love sick puppy he followed her around the showroom, making note of everything she selected. Two and a half hours later with her order and delivery instructions printed and signed, he cleared his throat and asked, “Maybe once everything is installed we can get coffee?”
She looked at him and politely said, “No. I don’t think that would be appropriate. I dont date people I work with.”
But I don’t work with you and its not a date. Its two people celebrating the completion of a well placed furniture installation.”
She laughed. “Thats cute. Tell you what, if my client agrees to buy everything, then well celebrate with coffee.”
“So my having coffee with my favorite client hinges on your client liking my furniture?”
“Thats right.” She picked up her bag and started walking away when he stopped her.
“What if she doesnt like any of it?”
“Then I guess were both out of luck. Bye.”
He stood still watching as she sauntered out of the showroom with her parfum lingering in the air. He was under her spell.
Sean walked around the showroom laying hands on every item Kyla had selected, and asked God to grant him favor with her client. He knew this was his only chance to show Kyla he was right, not only about the furniture, but himself as well.
Two weeks later, Kyla returned to the showroom. “Seems my client didnt like everything,” she said. “Sorry, and I was looking forward to coffee.”
“A deal is a deal.” He smiled.
“Send me an invoice for everything else.”
“Maybe next time.”
“Maybe. Bye.” She turned and walked out.
He reached inside the bag looking for the sample ticket. Pinned to one of the pillows was a note. “Ill be at Cafe Noir, two blocks over if youd like to have coffee, Kyla.” He gave the bag to his assistant, grabbed his jacket and left.
He walked into the petite cafe` looking around for his dream girl. He started walking toward the back when he spotted her sitting at a table in the corner, reading Elle Decor. He smiled and walked over to join her.
“I see you got my note.” She smiled and put her magazine down. He sat across from her and she motioned for the server to bring another cup of coffee.
“I thought coffee was only if your client bought everything. You brought back a few things.”
“In all fairness, I knew those things werent right but I had to give her something to say no to.” They both laughed.
He nodded his head and thought, she smells even better up close. “So you padded the bet?”
“I had to. Shes a sweet lady, but shes using this project to prolong the inevitable.”
“Which is?”
“The demise of her marriage. Shes hoping this redecoration will add some spark.”
“And you dont think so?”
“Its not my job to be her counselor or her best girlfriend. Its my job to give her a beautiful home. And hers to make her husband happy in bed.” He almost choked on his coffee.
“Ive never had a client be so honest. Most of my clients come in with their clients doing the decorator two step…agreeing with everything the customer wants. I sell a lot of beautiful furniture to the wrong people.”
“Exactly. Thats why I dont bring my clients to the showrooms…it just confuses them. If they thought they could do this themselves, they wouldnt hire people like me.”
“How do you get your clients?”
“Referral. The husbands love me.”
“I can see why.”
“Excuse me?”
“I mean…youre probably very good at staying on budget.” He smiled.
“I try. Most of my married clients come in with a money is no object attitude. They dont know that their husbands have already called or emailed me a budget.”
“Isnt that a little unethical?”
“Not when hes the one paying the bill.” She laughed.
“Okay, that makes sense.”
“What about you? How did you get into the furniture business?”
Finally, his turn to shine and sell himself. He took a deep breath thinking about his opening line. “My dad is a contractor and my mother liked to sew. They taught my brother and me both crafts. My brother took what he learned and became a heart surgeon. I stayed a little closer to home and started designing furniture.”
“Wait a minute, you design the furniture in your showroom?”
“Some of it. The rest I source out.”
Impressive.” She sat back in her chair with her arms crossed, absorbing everything he said.
“I built my business the old-fashioned way…walking the streets with my portfolio.”
“Wow! I had no idea.”
“And you, how did you get into Interior Design?”
“My mother.”
“Your mother?”
“My mother loved going to designer show houses looking for ideas. It was fun seeing how other people would make up pretend lives for the empty house. I thought it would be wonderful to do that for real people. And I saw how much power and control the designers had and I wanted that…to be the one calling the shots, orchestrating someone elses life.”
He nodded his head thinking how could she not be in charge. He imagined every aspect of her life was probably well organized.
“We should do this again,” he suggested.
I don’t know.” She took another sip of coffee smiling.
“What if I throw in a cookie along with the coffee?” They both smiled.
“A cookie? Somehow I think Im getting the short end of the stick.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, Id be bringing you a nice piece of business and in exchange, all I get is a cookie and coffee. I dont know.”
“Okay, what if after each room you complete, I step it up?”
I don’t follow.”
“The next room, its coffee and cookies. The one after, appetizers and…”
“I have six rooms, a kitchen and four bathrooms to finish. According to your proposal, Ill be as big as a house.” They both chuckled. “What if…”
When she countered his proposal, he took it as a sign. Now all he had to do was seal the deal. “Okay, how about this…. if your client buys everything you select from me, you have to take me to dinner.” He finished his sentence with a beautiful smile.
“Me, take you to dinner?” She laughed. “Thats funny.”
“What? Youre the one with the client with an endless budget.”
“Tell you what. If my client selects everything I pick from your showroom, I will allow you to take me to dinner.”
He smiled and shook his head. Thinking if this is the only way to take her to dinner, then so be it. “Okay.” He reached his hand across the table to shake hers, sealing their agreement.
She looked at her watch. “This has been fun, but I have to go.” She stood up and he raced to his feet.
“Here let me help you.” He picked up her coat and helped her slip it on, being careful not to get too close. He couldnt help inhaling her parfum. She smelled spicy and sweet, like a confident woman absorbing all the attention in the room.
“Thank you,” she said, lifting her hair and placing it on the collar of her coat. When she lifted her hair, it grazed his face. “Oh, Im sorry,” she quickly apologized.
He didnt care because that gave him another opportunity to inhale more of her arresting scent. Her hair smelled like lavender and combined with her parfum, she smelled like no other woman hed ever been this close to. “Thats okay. I guess that means youll be buying me dessert with that dinner.”
She smiled and his heart stopped. He knew everyone in the cafe could read his mind. “Well see.” He watched as she walked out ahead of him. She was the Pied Piper and he was willing to follow her anywhere. He caught up to her on the sidewalk hoping for one last conversation with her.
“Thank you for the coffee.”
“Youre welcome…see you next week.” She turned and walked away. Sean walked back to the showroom, praying to God to grant him favor with Kylas client.


What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m in the revision phase of two books. One is a novella due out in June, called The Good Girl. The other project is a full length novel which is the first book in a series, called The Alex Chronicles: What My Friends Don’t Know. This is scheduled for summer.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When did I first consider myself a writer, I think that was when my first short “Career Reborn,” was published. A friend had a part interest in a digital magazine and she asked me to write something.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Do I write full-time…sort of. I have an online lingerie company I run from home. So in a sense, I do write full time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
What is my interesting writing quirk…that’s a good question. I’m not quite sure. I’m a pantser which could be a quirk. Oh, this is something I started doing courtesy of my new iPad. I keep it next to me and use it for quick research instead of switching screens on my computer. Somehow, it just seems easier to use it as a reference.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I wanted be an actress, business owner or fashion designer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
What else would I like to share with readers…I’m a foodie and a movie screen talker.

Links:

Thanks, Tracy!


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