Saturday, November 30, 2013

Almost Always by Bobbi Reed and a Giveaway!

Almost Always by Bobbi Reed
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 2013 by Cup of Tea Books, PageSpring Publishing

Here’s the way Eva sees it: if John is so concerned about her butting into strangers' lives, he shouldn't leave her sitting at a table in Bob Evans with nothing to occupy her time . . .

Enter Cecelia - a pregnant teenager who needs a family for her baby. Fate has placed her at the table behind Eva and John.

Now Eva has a chance - a chance to give her daughter, Shelly, the one thing Shelly desperately wants.

But nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

Because sometimes daughters are not born to us - they are gifted by desperate teenagers - or seated behind us at Bob Evans . . .

My thoughts about Almost Always ~~

Once again, I have to confess, this cover sucked me in. I love Christmas stories (as you have probably gathered, if you have been here recently) and then this cover is just amazing. I love the simplicity of it and who doesn't just love a wonderfully decorated gingerbread house?

Okay, enough about that. On to the story.

Being a grandma is a wonderful thing, this is true, but how does someone approach a pregnant teenager, someone they don't know, in a Bob Evans restaurant, to ask if her daughter can adopt the baby. That's how bad Eva wants to be a grandma and for her daughter to be a mom. Rather unconventional, I would say.
'There is no difference between going to a lawyer to find a baby to adopt and doing what I did. I just removed the middleman, is all.'
I really did love this story and the characters. But Eva? Seriously, sometimes she was just a little too pushy for my taste - and she never relents. Never! But kudos to her for staying focused on the goal.
'The time when she was a Mommy, the most important person in the world. When they were innocent of adult concerns, when they were happy, when Eva made them so. The best time of her life, and now it's over, gone, reduced to memories that don't come close to replicating the real thing. How do you live your life knowing the best of it is over? How do you pretend that this is enough when you've known so much better?'
There is a lot of emotion and discovery in this story. Everything is not always what it seems to be and by searching within ourselves, hopefully we can change and grow.
'She's tired. She's tired of being the one in charge, of trying to make life okay for everyone she loves. She's tired of fixing everything, and not only that, she thinks maybe she shouldn't fix everything. Maybe the best thing to do is just leave...'
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Almost Always and am excited to see what Bobbi creates next. The story was a wonderful world to escape to and the characters were intriguing, albeit with somewhat complicated personalities.

Speaking of characters, I really loved the relationship between Eva and her husband ~ even though he thought it was okay to leave her alone, in Bob Evans, with a pregnant teenager in the next booth.

Purchase Almost Always

Giveaway Time!! 

Bobbi is graciously offering one copy of her book for one of you. If you are in the US, you win a print copy. If you are outside the US, you win an e-book! Thanks so much, Bobbi!

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Friday, November 29, 2013

On Tour, Voices, and a Giveaway! Home World by Bonnie Milani

Home World by Bonnie Milani
Paperback: 400 Pages
Publisher: Promontory Press
Twitter hashtag: #HWorld
Home World is available as a print and e- book at Amazon

Home World is a fast paced well written story about the power and the price of love. This story takes place amid the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Waikiki. Jezekiah Van Buren thinks he has found a way to restore Earth – Home World, to the other worlds of the human commonwealth. His goal is to restore his home to her lost glory.

Ingenious even by the standards of the genetically enhanced Great Family Van Buren, Jezekiah has achieved the impossible:  he has arranged a treaty that will convert Earth's ancient enemies, the Lupans, to her most powerful allies.  Not only will the treaty terms make  Earth rich again, it will let him escape the Ring that condemns him to be Earth's next ruler.  Best of all, the treaty leaves him free to marry Keiko Yakamoto, the Samurai-trained woman he loves.  Everything’s set.  All Jezekiah has to do is convince his xenophobic sister to accept the Lupan's alpha warlord in marriage.

Before, that is, the assassin she's put on his tail succeeds in killing him.  Or the interstellar crime ring called Ho Tong succeed in raising  another rebellion.  Or before his ruling relatives on competing worlds manage to execute him for treason.  But Jezekiah was bred for politics and trained to rule.  He’s got it all under control. Until his Lupan warlord-partner reaches Earth.  And suddenly these two most powerful men find themselves in love with the same woman.   A woman who just may be the most deadly assassin of them all.


Hi Bonnie ~ Welcome to The Book Bag! I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me. 

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

Oh, darlin' - I most definitely hear my characters' voices, and not just when I'm physically writing, either. Especially when I'm in the early stages of a story, and still getting to know my people. I don't try to shape the characters, or put words in their mouths. At that stage, I need to let them find their own voices. I have a good idea at that point as to what a given character's plot function will be (though they have a bad habit of refusing to accept it) but I can't tell who that person is until they talk to me. Only when I hear the voice can I tell where they're from, what kind of socioeconomic stratum they're from, etc. Once they start talking, I can throw incidents and ideas at them and see how they respond. Eventually, between the odd-hours brainstorming and the actual plot line, the characters gel and start making the story their own. 
So during that early period I leave my mind on open. I want to see whether anything in the real world triggers a reaction from anybody in the fictional world I'm creating. It's amazing how many times it does. Only it can be down right embarrassing, too, because I've got some seriously snarky characters, and they're not at all above a running commentary on real life folk. So many's the time I've sat through a business meeting on something like up-coming insurance rate increases with a grin to rival Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Just try explaining that one!   
I have a perfect example, though, of how the voices in my head work. In developing a story as complex as Home World I just could not for the life of me come up with a name for my heroine. I'd learned quite a bit about her: she's short (yea! us short girls gotta stick together!), a Samurai-trained native Hawaiian, fiery tempered, and with a heart as big as the sea. She just didn't have a name. Worse, she didn't much care for any of my suggestions. I can always tell, because when I'm off base with an element of a character, they just shut up and refuse to cooperate at all. She needed a good strong name, only NOTHING worked. I'd worked through Hawaiian names, made-up names, and was finally working through Japanese names. I tried Reiko - no go. In desperation I even tried Seiko - totally forgot it's a watch brand. And then I tried Keiko. All of a sudden villainous old Grandfather Ho (a key character who's also native Hawaiian) started punning on Keiko & keiki, the Hawaiian word for child or children. That did it. She's Keiko Yakamoto.  
About the author

Bonnie vividly recalls the book that helped her decide she could out-write another writer: it was a junior reader's biography of Sir William Harvey, the 17th century English physician credited (in the West) with discovering how blood circulates. After about 30 pages of telling herself "I can write better than that!" she grabbed a crayon that just happened to be blue and started editing. She was all of seven years old at the time. Unfortunately for her juvenile bottom it was a library book. She followed the dream through college and after grad school, freelancing feature articles for newspapers along the East Coast. Milani even wrote a cover story for Science Digest!

Alas life and grown up responsibilities caught up with her and by her late twenties she put writing away with so many other dreams while she followed a ‘career track’. After losing her entire family, she realized story telling just a want but a need and a gift God gave her. So here she is, a self-declared “middle-aged pudge” working on getting back into a writer’s kind of real life!

Connect with Bonnie


Check out the other stops on the tour! Then scroll down for a chance to win a copy of Home World

WOW! blog tour for Bonnie Milani and her Sci Fi Love Story, Home World.

Monday, November 18 @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!

Tuesday, November 19 @ The New Book Review
Bonnie Milani gets the spotlight today at The New Book Review - find out more about this science fiction/Fantasy novel Home World.

Wednesday, November 20 @ Steph the Bookworm
Home World giveaway and chance to chat with author Bonnie Milani as she speaks candidly on the topic of "The Importance of Networking for Authors"

Thursday, November 21 @ CMash Reads
Bonnie Milani, author of Home World (Sci-Fi Fantasy novel) answers the question "Where Do You Get Your Ideas" and offers readers an opportunity to win their own copy of her new book!

Friday, November 22 @ Blue House Review
Join Bonnie Milani as she answers "So, Who are You Anyway" in a guest post and visit with fellow author Lauren Scharhag at Blue House Review. Bonnie has just released her debut work Home World and offers readers a giveaway of this sci-fi/fantasy love story!

Monday, November 25 @ Trisha Slay
"Writing Your Way to Health" guest post by Bonnie Milani as she shares her thoughts as well as her debut sci-fi/fantasy novel Home World. Don't miss this post and fabulous opportunity at a book giveaway - good luck winning your very own copy of Home World!

Tuesday, November 26 @ Selling Books
Don't miss today's author interview with Bonnie Milani and find out more about her debut sci-fi/fantasy tale Home World!

Wednesday, November 27 @ Book Worm
Join Anjanette Potter as she reviews the Sci-Fi/Fantasy book Home World by Bonnie Milani and enter to be part of the giveaway so you can read this great book for yourself!

Friday, November 29 @ The Book Bag
Bonnie Milani introduces her sci-fi love story. Home World to the readers at the Book Bag and also offers a guest post "Voices" and a giveaway of this fabulously received debut book!

Saturday, November 30 @ Choices
Bonnie Milani shares insights into "What Makes a Good Critique" and offers Choices readers the opportunity at the giveaway of Home World.

Monday, December 2 @E.M Havens
Bonnie Milani and Emily Havens spend time together chatting it up and Emily reviews Bonnie’s debut sci-fi romance Home World. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the ladies also offer a giveaway for Home World; this is a stop you won’t want to miss.

Wednesday, December 4 @ All Things Audry
Join Bonnie Milani as she chats with Audry about "Finding Writing Time" and offers a giveaway of her exciting sci-fi fantasy book Home World.

Thursday, December 5 @ Mom~E~Centric
Bonnie Milani talks to Jerri about “Dealing with Rejection” and shares more about her debut sci-fi love story Home World while generously offering a giveaway as well. This is a blog tour stop you won’t want to let slip by!

Monday, December 9 @ Mason Canyon
Bonnie Milani answers "How Do You Deal With Rejection" and offers a giveaway of her newly released sci-fi fantasy book Home World!

To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Giveaway Time!!

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Black Friday Extravaganza, a Facebook Party and Giveaways! Featuring Color Like Memories by Meradeth Houston

This is a huge Black Friday Extravaganza!
There will be 4 Amazon $50 Gift Cards given away!
And a LIVE Facebook party from 7-9 pm on November 29th where you could win one of 50 e-books! 

I am featuring one of the authors here today.

Colors Like Memories 
by Meradeth Houston

Isn't this cover just beautiful?

Colors Like Memories by Meradeth Houston
Paperback, 178 pages
Published September 30th 2013 by MuseItUp Publishing

Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident -- sort of.

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life -- an accident she knows was her fault.

If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

About the author

I've never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me:

  • I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot.
  • I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people's DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love.
  • I've been writing since I was 11 years old. It's my hobby, my passion, and I'm so happy to get to share my work!
  • My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology!
  • If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.

Connect with Meradeth 

Purchase Color Like Memories 

Giveaway Time!! 

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Release Day Blast: A Home for Christmas by Ann Vaughn

A Home for Christmas by Ann Vaughn
Publication: November 28, 2013


Single mom, Jenna Blackwell wasn't having a very good start to the Christmas season; her purse got stolen on Black Friday. She’s cursing her luck and herself for even being out in the Black Friday madness when the store manager brings in Riley Stanton, a former Navy SEAL who chased down the thieves and recovered her purse. Jenna is blown away by Riley: his looks, his smile, the fact that he ran down the purse snatchers, everything.

Riley Stanton had no idea when he chased down the kids who stole a few purses that he would walk into a room and have his life changed forever. He looked into the eyes of Jenna and saw a strength in her that he found intriguing.

Riley soon learns that Jenna is everything he ever wanted in a woman. He falls for her and for her son harder than he expected to. Jenna is cautious but welcoming and hopes that she and her son can give Riley the one thing he hasn't had in years, A Home for Christmas.

Riley came over every evening after work. He helped Cam with his homework. He got there before she did on Wednesday and he and Cam had dinner ready by the time she got home. Jenna had to fight tears as shesat at the table. It had been so long since someone had cooked for her. To be honest, other than her mother, she didn't think anyone everhad. Wade, her ex, certainly never did. 
Watching Cam work so closely with Riley, having Riley there filling the role that Wade had abandoned, even sitting at a table with candlelight and roses and food she hadn't had to was a lot for her to handle. She was barely hanging on by a thread and when Riley had initiated the blessing, she lost it.  
"Mom?" Cam asked, uncertain of what was happening. 
Jenna covered her face with her hands, silently crying. She heard the scrape of a chair and then suddenly Riley was there, his arms around her, lifting her from the chair. She heard him say something to Cam and then he carried her from the room. He sat on the sofa and cradled her in his lap and just held her while she cried. After several minutes, when her tears had subsided somewhat, Riley reached down to cup her chin in his hand and lift her head so he could look into her eyes.  
"I'm sorry," she whispered. 
"Nothing to be sorry about," he said, smoothing his hands over her cheeks to wipe her tears away.  
"Mom?" Cam asked again, drawing her attention. "You OK?"  
"I'm good, bud, I'm sorry."  
Riley looked up at Cam and made eye contact with him. Jenna wasn't sure what passed between them, but Cam got up and left, leaving her there with Riley.  
"Look at me," he said, softly. When she raised her eyes to meet his gaze, he lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles. "What's going on?"  
She took a deep breath. "It's one's ever done something like this for me before."  
"Like what? Take care of you?" She nodded. "Better get used to it, babe. I'm not going anywhere."  
She squeezed his hand, tears falling down her cheeks again. This time, Riley leaned forward and kissed them away before touching his lips to hers. For the first time, Jenna didn't hold herself back. Maybe it was because Cam was just down the hall and she knew it couldn't get out-of-control. Whatever the case, she turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss. 
"Thank you, Riley," she whispered when they pulled apart, pressing her forehead to his, and placing her fingertips against his lower lip. He nipped her fingertip lightly, then ran his tongue around her finger. 
"Anytime," he replied, "and I mean that. You don't have to do it all alone any more."  
"Riley," she whispered, kissing him, "please don't make promises you can't keep. My heart is fragile enough, but Cam..."  
He kissed her back. "Quit while you're ahead. Don't piss me off."  
She smiled and combed her fingers through the hair at his nape. "I'll try."  
"Good. Let me take care of you, Jenna. You and Cam."  
She took a deep breath. "Tell you what. You're still here by Christmas? We'll talk," she said, giving him a final kiss then sliding off his lap.  
He watched her walk down the hall to Cam's room. Closing his eyes and letting his head fall back on the couch, he reached down to adjust himself in his jeans. For the first time since leaving the Navy, Riley felt like he wasn't just spinning his wheels.

Play List
1. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams (for the opening scene when Jenna's sitting in the store manager's office...because this version of this song gets on my nerves so it would grate in her nerves while she's sitting there thinking about how stupid she was to shop on Black Friday)
2. Trenches by Pop Evil (during Cam's race)
3. My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark by Fall Out Boy (during Cam's race)
4.  Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk
5.  Coming Home for Christmas by Jim Brickman
6.  O Holy Night by Celtic Woman
7. I'll Be Home for Christmas by Amy Grant
8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland
9. To Get Me To You by Lila McCann
10. Winter Wonderland by Kenny G
11. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey
12. Auld Lang Syne by Jim Brickman
Dream Cast

Ann's other books 

Long Way Home
Publication Date: August 7, 2013

Shane McCanton and Tessa Kelly were childhood enemies. Everything was a contest to them and Tessa always seemed to show Shane that nice guys finished last. Things change, however, when hormones take over and Shane begins to see the perpetual thorn-in-his-side as more than just his childhood nemesis...
Tessa had never meant to set into motion events that led to their childhood rivalry, but once it started, she embraced it with gusto...until her world started to fall apart and she realized that Shane was the one constant in her life, her rock who would never leave her and help her find her Long Way Home...
Book Trailer

Long Way Home by Ann Vaughn

Go check it out! It's beautiful!!

Purchase Long Way Home on Amazon

 Finding Home
Publication Date: November 4, 2013 

Colt Harris wasn't on the hunt for love when he looked up from his lunch and spotted Sarah. As cliched as it was, time stood still - all he could see was her. Hearing her laugh sealed his fate; he knew his life was about to change.

Sarah Sauter was used to being alone. She lost her parents when she was eighteen and after a really bad love affair, had given up on ever finding love. Since then, her life had been all about simply surviving. Little did she know that when she went to lunch with her co-workers, she would have a chance encounter with a man who would literally turn her world upside down.

When Colt steps into Sarah's life, he finds that things with her aren't exactly as they appear to be. Secrets hidden deep in her past begin to surface, dropping Colt and Sarah in the middle of a nearly twenty-seven year old mystery. It will take all of Colt's strength, patience and resolve Finding Home for Sarah.

Purchase Finding Home on Amazon

About the Author

Ann Vaughn is a Native Texan now living in Oklahoma. She's been writing since the seventh grade (many MANY moons ago) when she and her friends were obsessed with the Sweet Valley High series. Back then, access to books wasn't as easy as it is now, so to tide her over between SVH releases, she began writing her own, Texas versions of SVH, full of lots of Texas Friday Night Lights and pitfalls and perils of teenage life in the 80s. 

Writing has always been a comfort and a release for her, though she never expected to be published. It wasn't until a conversation with her husband about the rise of eBooks that she decided to try her hand at self-publishing. It was scary and exciting and ever since the release of her first book, Long Way Home on August 7, 2013 she has been on a wild roller coaster ride that she wouldn't trade for the world.

Connect with Ann

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WWW Wednesdays November 27, 2013

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs 
Still inhaling all these wonderful Christmas stories!

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
(read by Colin Firth)

What did you recently finish reading?

Ignite compiled by Lori Verni-Fogarsi
Whew! That was one hot read! 

North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans
A great,  fun read! 

Bad Girls by Deborah Doucette
Wonderful! My thoughts will be posted soon. 

What do you think you will read next?

Sugar Spun Sister by Anna Garner
I have read other books by Anna and have loved them all. I am super excited to start this one. Doesn't it look yummy? This one is a trilogy about three friends in San Francisco who make plans to open up an ice cream shop. The trilogy is called Sweet Dreams, and this first book is called Sugar Spun Sister.

What's on your WWW this week?

Leave me a comment and
I'll stop by to check out your reads.

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Spotlight! And It's Free for Everyone! The Warble by Victoria Simcox

The Warble
Bernovem Chronicles, Book 1

Dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and an evil queen – all these and more can be found in The Warble, an enchanting tale of adventure and friendship.

Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and the evil Queen Sentiz.

In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Warble” in its final resting place. And she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.

I read this book when it first came out and loved my journey into this imaginative world. You can read my thoughts here

And The Warble is free right now on Amazon so that means you all are winners! Go grab this while you can. It will be free from November 25th - 29th. 

And while you are there, you just might want to check out book #2, The Shard. It's a great story too! And it's only $2.99. That's 2 great reads for less than a good cup of coffee! 

About the author

Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz.

Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.

Connect with Victoria

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Monday, November 25, 2013

On Tour and a Giveaway! Running Against Traffic by Gaelen VanDenbergh

Running Against Traffic by Gaelen VanDenbergh
Publication Date: February 15, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

Paige Scott spent her childhood shuffled between relatives who ignored her, and her adult life hiding in her crumbling marriage to wealthy David Davenport. When David suddenly thrusts her into a remote, impoverished world, Paige is forced to face the betrayals of her past - not to mention the colorful townies of her present.

Unexpected friendships and her discovery of running propel her on a jagged and comical journey toward learning how to truly live.

My thoughts about Running Against Traffic ~~

Running Against Traffic is a wonderful story about self discovery, gaining independence, and finding out who your friends truly are. Paige gets dumped out her car by her husband, in front of a run down house and is told to get on with her life. After several days of self pity and numbing herself with alcohol, she decides to do whatever it takes to get herself out of this hell hole and back to her glamorous life.
'At times her insides twisted in knots and she would break out in a sweat, and then move to a state of numbness again, and then she would sleep, deep and dreamless, or fitful and splinters by waking several times long after dark, and then she was up and prowling again. There was no purpose to her life, nothing to do, no one to talk to. Paige Davenport had disappeared, and her silent phone told her no one was looking for her. It was a hollow realization. A few times in her murky mind, flashes of her parents came and left as quickly, little waves, clear water that slides up onto the sand and as quickly slips back into the dark ocean.'
Well, things don't go as she thinks they should and getting out isn't so easy. I really do love stories like this, when the main character has to go through a process to find out what and who it really is that will make them happy. And the journey that Paige has to take is filled with a lot of ups and downs, and somewhat odd and unusual character. But that's what made this story one that just made me want to keep reading ~ I loved the world that Paige was forced to live in.
'Or maybe there was something to it, this meditation, self-awareness, inner strength-witch -power thing. Maybe it was within everyone, lying dormant and all you had to do was tap into it. Like running, you just lace up your shoes, take a deep breath, and plunge forward; repeat the process over and over and that part of you can open up, revealing something you can feel and examine, and no one really knows about it but you, and a new, pliable skeletal support could begin to grow around it as it nurtured and grows stronger.'
As you can see from the quotes I pulled from the story, Gaelen writes beautiful words which contain wonderful wisdom for us all. We can all learn life lessons from this story.
'These small desires become small accomplishments, which are the bricks in the road that will take you where you need to go. Don't focus on the end of the road, focus on building the road. Brick by brick. .... Each day is a new day. Every day that you wake up, alive, is a fresh chance to get it right.'
I absolutely loved this story, Paige and all her accomplishments, the wonderful, quirky characters, and the wisdom within the pages of the book. I look forward to reading more of Gaelen's stories!

And I will leave you with one last bit from the book ~ I love this one! And it is so true.
'Women, she thought, we have the supple ability to fool ourselves, so cleverly and intricately. We don't want. We want, but we don't need, We need, but we can't bury it. We can't bury it, but we can bury our hearts, and we don't want, anyway. As a reward for our success, for fooling ourselves, we become fools.'
About the author

Gaelen VanDenbergh is a writer, runner, and compulsive list-maker who lives in Philadelphia with her family, a fat cat, and several fish. Her debut novel Running Against Traffic, was a Global Ebook Award nominee, a semifinalist in the The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards, a semifinalist in the Readers' Favorite 2013 International Book Award Contest, Indie Book of the Day, June 30, 2013, a 2013 Beach Book Festival Award nominee, and has received a four star review in InD’tale Magazine.

When not writing, Gaelen enjoys reading, running races for charities, and spending as much time in Key West and the Adirondacks as she can.

Connect with Gaelen

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Purchase Running Against Traffic

Amazon | B&N

Giveaway Time!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

On Tour: Book Spotlight, an Excerpt, and a Giveaway! Good Faith by Liz Crowe

Good Faith

Strong personalities—volatile marriages—stressful careers—conflicting goals—difficult children.

Contemporary challenges facing close-knit families form the crucible that forges a new generation.

Brandis, Gabriel, Blair and Lillian emerge from the entanglement of their parents’ longstanding emotional connections, but one’s star will burn brighter – and hotter – than the others.

With a personality that consumes everyone and everything in its path, Brandis Gordon struggles to maintain control as he ricochets between wild success and miserable failure. His life proves how even the strongest relationships can be strangled by the ties that bind.

Brandis and Gabe Frietag are as close as any brothers, bound by both loyalty and fierce rivalry. The strength of their ultimate alliance is tested time and again by Brandis’ choices.

Companions from birth, Blair Frietag and Lillian Robinson share loner tendencies, but come to rely on each other through adolescence. As they mature, both are forced to confront their feelings for the men they knew as boys.

Somewhere between the tangle of good memories and bad, independence and addiction, optimism and despair, the intertwined destinies of the new generation finally collide, leaving some stronger, others broken, but none unscathed.

As a chronicle of three families navigating the minefields of teen years into the turbulence of young adulthood, Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with joys and temptations unflinchingly reflected. Its fresh, real-life voice portrays the sheer volatility of human nature, complete with the hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks of marriage, parenthood and “coming of age.”

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Blair dropped back on the bed and shut her eyes forcing herself to recall happier moments, better times. “You’re so laid back,” her father used to say to her when she still paid attention. “So relaxed.” He would smile as she worked alongside him in their kitchen. While the restaurant irritated her, she used to adore cooking with him, just to the two of them, and baking made her the happiest. “I wish I were more like you.” He’d flick flour from his fingers at her making her giggle and flush with happiness at his attention. 
Later, he would accuse her of being “detached” and not willing to have any kind of confrontation even to defend herself. But who cared what he thought? She rolled to her side, picking up her phone as it buzzed with a text. 
Hey loser, Brandis had sent. She frowned at the tingle that shot down her spine. She deleted it, determined to ignore him. About ten minutes later, he sent another one. You there? 
She sighed and opened her laptop, thinking she’d do some English homework. Her cat jumped into her lap, its usual spot whenever she sat at the desk. The long Saturday stretched out in front of her, endless, boring, and useless. Typically she didn’t mind being alone, treasured her privacy and the time to read or take long walks. But the last few months had been different, frustrating beyond belief as she couldn’t seem to settle or relax, to enjoy herself like she used to. 
Stupid adults. Stupid fathers and their stupid marriage-busting assistants. Stupid mothers and their mealy mouthed blindness to the whole thing. The phone kept buzzing with messages. And she kept ignoring it, something in her holding back, preserving herself from the sucking vortex of Brandis Gordon. She didn’t like texting him. It made her feel awkward, forcing conversation via a few tapped out words on the phone. 
Finally, the phone rang. She sighed and answered it. “What?” she said, her hands shaking with the effort not to launch into a conversation with him. Flirting simply did not come naturally to her. She had no idea how to handle herself around boys, much less the huge, giant, hulking presence of Brandis—football quarterback, high school super stud, and one-time friend. Other than to settle herself with memories of him, of them, as kids, when things were simple. 
His seeming addiction to their strange, late night conversations had confused and thrilled her in equal measure. And she missed them. A lot. 
“You are one hard girl to get hold of,” he said, softly. 
“What do you want, Brandis?” 
“I thought we were gonna stay friends. I mean, we talked about it, after….” 
She winced, wishing she had her brother’s willpower when it came to Brandis’ all-encompassing, some would say, suffocating, personality. “He’s a goddamned drain, an energy suck, a…shithead,” Gabe had said to her, a few days after their huge fight. He’d been sporting a black eye and a split lip from the altercation. A terrible, embarrassing moment for everyone concerned—one that signaled the end of her childhood, best she could tell. 
“Why? What did he say to you?” Blair had begged her brother to tell her. They were close, and she had no qualms asking him. But he’d pressed his lips together, and threatened her with all sorts of dire, brother-inflicted consequences if she even talked to the guy again. So, she never knew. 
Brandis had been on the phone to her within hours, pleading with her to intervene for him, to talk to Gabe, to get him on the phone. She’d enjoyed that moment—when Brandis needed something from her. But it faded, as did his efforts to try to make up with her brother. She’d heard a lot about him lately—drinking, smoking pot, hard partying on every level while still remaining quarterback, and in top, nearly model-perfect physical shape. And of course, all the girls, many of them older, who flocked to him. 
“Blair?” he asked, interrupting her aggravation at the thought of all the females he must have screwed. She knew about the “college girls weekend.” Gabe and Brandis had laughed and joked about it enough in front of her. It made her nauseated with jealous fury and headache-y with embarrassment at her own virginal self. 
“What?” she said again, getting up to pace. “Why do you keep trying to talk to me? We have…nothing in common anymore. You have plenty of girls to talk to. Leave me alone.” She slid down the wall next to her door, her knees weak, like they always got, at the sound of his deep, rumbly voice. 
He’d been a fixture in her life, on vacations, at holidays, camping and fishing in the summer with their dads, going to baseball and football games, just…her friend. The kid with the funny laugh, shock of jet-black hair, and snapping blue eyes who attracted trouble and deflected it with equal equanimity. She had no idea when she’d become aware of him as a compelling member of the opposite sex. 
He’d changed almost overnight, developing a sarcastic streak, a bit of meanness with his endless practical jokes one of which ended with his own sister’s broken wrist. During those strange years, she would catch him staring at her, his eyes dark, puzzled, confused. And when she’d smile and try to draw him out of it he’d blush, run or bike away, usually yelling something about “stupid girls.” And almost always with her brother Gabe in his wake. Anger lit her brain. 
“Seriously, Brandis, what do you want from me?” 
“I want to be your friend still. That’s all. I…miss you guys.” 
“Well then I guess you shouldn’t have said whatever you said that day.” She looked up at the ceiling, willing him not to give up, to stay on the line. 
“I know,” he said, then got quiet. “How is he,” he asked after about thirty seconds. 
“Fine. Busy, working at The Local, playing soccer, hanging with Lillian.” 
“Wow, Lilly-G?” 
“Yeah, I guess.” Blair stretched out on her soft rug, propped her feet on the wall, and settled into the conversation. “My mom’s been going out on dates. It’s stupid.” 
“Well, your dad did….” 
“I know, I know.” 
She heard a shuffling sound as if Brandis were getting comfortable on his end. “And you? How many boyfriends for you now, Miss B?” 
“Please.” She blushed. “Boys don’t notice me. I’m a sophomore. I don’t play sports or do anything cool really.” 
“You play a mean game of Scrabble. I miss that. And I have yet to find a Euchre partner as good as you.” 
She bit down on the urge to invite him over, to eat popcorn, watch a movie cuddled up on the couch like they used to do. But she knew things were altered. Now that “Brandis, the super stud,” had emerged he would never be “Brandis, Blair and Gabe’s friend” ever again. 
“It’s a good thing you aren’t dating,” he declared out of the blue, making her blush again. “That way I don’t have to beat up any punks, you know, who think they can get anywhere with you.” 
“And what makes you think my dating anyone means anything else is happening, hmm?” 
“My sweet and innocent Blair, boys want one thing on a date. And it is not the concept of a good movie or a nice meal. Don’t ever forget that.” His voice lowered a bit, making her shiver. 
“I guess you would know, eh stud?” 
“I, um…I don’t know. Sometimes I wish….” He trailed off. 
“What? That you could walk around town without bumping into some girl you’d ‘dated’? That you didn’t have so many pissed off ex-girlfriends floating around? That you would occasionally go a weekend without getting drunk and screwing your way through a party?”
The silence spilled into her ear like smoke. “Sorry,” she muttered, meaning it. 
“No, it’s okay. I won’t deny it.” A bit of a swagger had snuck into his voice. “Popularity is my middle name.” 
“I thought it was Robert. You know, after my dad? Same as Gabe’s?” 
“Oh, right. Got me there. Listen, Blair, I gotta go. I just…wanted to hear your voice.” 
Aggravation gripped her and held tight. “Why, Brandis? I don’t party. I don’t know how to kiss boys or…anything else. I’m a bookworm, a geek, a science nerd. I like to be by myself, and I don’t run in a pack of popular girls. Hardly worth your time I’d say.” Her face flushed, and she had to put her feet back on the floor to keep her knees from knocking together. 
“Guess that’s why I love you,” he said with a voice so soft she thought he might be talking to himself. 
“Spare me,” she scoffed, suddenly needing to be off the phone. Something about him felt suffocating and needy. While she figured herself for a caretaker, a conflict avoider, someone who liked keeping things simple but wanted the people around her to be happy, suddenly she sensed danger in letting Brandis worm his way any farther into her heart. “Bye.” She hung up, quickly and sat for nearly an hour clutching her phone and calming her racing pulse.
About the author

Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town.  She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.   

Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.  

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).  More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and many times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate, and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.

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