Monday, April 7, 2014

On Tour: Just Destiny by Theresa Rizzo, a Guest Post, and a Giveaway!

Just Destiny

Just Destiny by Theresa Rizzo
Paperback and e-book, 320 pages
Published March 31st 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9890450-2-5 -- Print 13
ISBN: 978-0-9890450-3-2 -- Digital

What would you do if your whole world fell apart?

Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins.

Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny, but he has reservations and secrets of his own.

When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?

Purchase Just Destiny

My thoughts about Just Destiny ~~ 

I read Theresa's previous book, He Belongs To Me. It was one of those books that just caught me off guard. It sounded good enough but I ended up loving it and loving the author's writing. So I knew Just Destiny was going to be a wonderful read. I have been looking forward to reading another one of Theresa's stories.

The following is from the prologue of the book and when I read it, I just had to find out what it meant. What an enticing start to a story!
'Even if he couldn't give her his heart, he'd embarrassed himself in front of millions of people and given her her dream proposal. The love would come.'
And what an interesting and controversial topic to explore, having the baby of your deceased spouse. That could not have been an easy subject to write about, lots of emotions and opinions of what's right and wrong. But Theresa does a wonderful job showing all sides to the issue.

Once again, I was enraptured with the writing in this book. I am not a writer myself so I don't know how one makes the words just flow off of the page and into the readers imagination but Theresa has that ability. I just loved reading these words and I found myself so engrossed in the story.

As I read a story, I bookmark a lot of lines that speak to me in some way. And usually in ever book I read I find at least one passage that I really love. This is the one from Just Destiny.
'Jenny looked sideways at her mom. "I liked it better when you had all the answers." "I never had all the answers.' She smiled. "You just thought I did."'
I highly recommended Just Destiny if you are looking for a beautiful written, modern story. I can't wait for Theresa's next story!


Hi Theresa - Welcome to The Book Bag! As you can tell, I love your books. Your stories are so easy to read and get lost in and that has to take training and/or talent. I guess I would like to ask you about the road you took to get where you are at now in your writing career. Have you always written? Did you take writing classes? How do you go about polishing your work? 

Basically, I am curious about how this career came about for you and how you get to the final product. 

Hi Susan,

Thanks for having me on The Book Bag.  

I graduated from college with a BS in Nursing—but I didn't like it much and didn't use it long before quitting to raise our brood. I really had no career ambitions; I always wanted to be the perfect stay-at-home mother and wife—at least that’s what I thought I wanted. 

Unfortunately, midway through raising my four kids, I was shocked and disheartened to find that I wanted more from life. Let’s face it . . . parenting is HARD –often thankless—work. I got burned out.

Friends and family really enjoyed my annual Christmas letter where I recounted our family exploits, so I thought maybe I would try writing a book. It was something fun I could do around the children’s schedules.

Learning to write was doing something intellectual and creative, and it allowed me to breathe again and find me. Writing fed my soul and allowed me to be a happier person, hence a better mom and wife. It was a win-win.

I didn't take any writing classes per say, but I've been learning the craft of writing for the past 18 years. Every year I go to two to five writer’s conferences, I’m a member of four different writing organizations, I co-coordinate the Crested Butte CO Writers Conference and have run The Sandy writing contest for seven years.

Workshops at writers conferences are an amazing way to learn from authors who are currently selling, and agents and editors. It’s a great way to network with other writers and industry professionals. The writer organizations do an amazing job of educating authors both in the craft and business of writing. 

When I get an idea for a book, it usually revolves around an issue that fascinates me, then I think of characters to move around a plot. For instance my husband was on a business trip on my birthday one year, so my sister and brother-in-law took me out to dinner.  

I’d cut out this article in the newspaper about a woman being sued by her deceased husband’s family to keep her from having his baby after he was dead.  

The idea of having your dead husband’s baby seemed bizarre, but still it struck me as a frivolous, ridiculous lawsuit. I figured it wasn't anybody’s business, after all once you get married, your body’s mine and mine’s yours, right?

My attorney sister got this puzzled look on her face and said, “Actually that’s a really interesting legal issue.  I wonder if sperm is considered property . . .”  

And then my brother-in-law frowned at her, saying, “I’m not sure I’d want you to have my baby after I’m gone.”

So we discussed some legal and moral implications of the situation and what had initially seemed so incredibly simple and private, suddenly became complicated and intriguing, propelling me to do some research into the legalities and morality of the issue.

I was so fascinated with the idea that I had to build a book around it.

I knew I needed a couple and that the husband was going to die, and made up a background romance for them. In fact, I originally started this story with Jenny and Gabe’s romance, thinking that this was such a bizarre situation that the reader would need to experience their romance and see what a great marriage they had and why they were so awesome together, so they’d understand Jenny’s obsession to have his baby after he was gone. 

But when my agent tried to sell this book with that opening, several editors said they didn't really care about that part of it—it was all backstory, just kill Gabe and get on with the story. And they were right. So I cut the opening 150 pages of this book and expanded the rest.

Anyhow, when I write I plot the book out and then blast through the first draft in about four months, spitting out dialogue and plot. Then I research the things that come up, make necessary plot tweaks and go back in layer in descriptions, motivations, and emotions. Then I have a trusted beta reader read it and give me impressions.

Then I go back and revise it again, send it out to a couple more beta readers, and repeat this process several times until the book is as good as I can make it. So that’s how I write. 

Two of my most critical and helpful beta readers are my daughters. I am so blessed that they have wonderful eyes for picking up on a variety of writing intricacies that truly challenge me to put out the best book possible.

When they finished giving me notes on Just Destiny, Jess asked about Jenny and Gabe’s courtship and romance and said THAT’S a story she’d like to read. I thought about it—I still have those 150 pages . . . I could polish them up into a novella. What do you think?

After having read Just Destiny, do you think readers would like to read about Jenny and Gabe’s courtship and marriage or might that take something away from Jenny and Steve’s story?

Thank you so much for this wonderful insight into your writing life, Theresa. I am so glad that you are producing these great stories. And YES, I definitely would be very interested in reading Jenny and Gabe's story. They were so much in love and that love was the driving force for Jenny wanting to have Gabe's baby, even with him gone, so that she would always have a part of him with her. I look forward to it!

About the author

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards!  Her second book, Just Destiny, will be released March 31, 2014.

Connect with Theresa

Theresa has very graciously offered an e-book of Just Destiny for one lucky person here at The Book Bag.

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!


  1. Hi Susan, thanks so much for the wonderful review and reception on your blog! Well, that's one vote for Gabe and Jenny's story.

  2. Grief can't possible be an easy topic to write about but I think it's something everyone can relate to in one way or another. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  3. That must have been tough to cut out your whole beginning! Congratulations on your book!

  4. I enjoy reading some romance and this books sounds very good with the controversy of the legality to have the deceased husband's baby. It sad because her husband dies but loving to want to have his baby. Thank you for the giveaway.

  5. This sounds like a good one but sad. I lost my husband in November. I am so grateful for my kids. I don't know how I would do life without them. They are 19 and 16.

  6. Very intriguing. Your review makes me want to read it even more.

  7. Wow, intense storyline. I'd love to read it.


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