Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything Lost by Stephanie Elliot, Voices, an Excerpt, and a Giveaway!

A Little Bit of Everything Lost

A Little Bit of Everything Lost by Stephanie Elliot
Kindle Edition
Published April 10th 2014

At 19, Marnie plunged into first love with Joe, a guy who was completely wrong for her. Their romance was fast and exhilarating and like nothing Marnie had ever experienced or understood. Just as quickly as it began, it was over, with no explanation. He left her with unanswered questions and unexpected feelings of loss and regret, and a quiet grief she would carry with her for the next fifteen years.

When Joe returns, Marnie is a 34-year-old wife and mother to two rambunctious little boys, who is slowly healing from a devastating loss. All the emotions she suppressed from the past fifteen years surge to the surface, threatening to ruin her marriage and destroy her family. She'll need to confront the one person who hurt her the most to realize that love and loss sometimes go hand in hand… and that you have to live with some of your toughest choices for the rest of your life.

A Little Bit of Everything Lost is part coming-of-age/part love story. It's a story about a woman desperate to make peace with the past. It's for all women who have ever experienced the magnitude of first love, whether it was a lasting bond or a fleeting moment. Because first love - while it might not have been the best love - is a love none of us ever forgets.

My thoughts about A Little Bit of Everything Lost were posted yesterday. You can read them here

I am sooooo excited to have Stephanie here today on The Book Bag! I have been a HUGE fan of hers for forever. Her blog, Manic Mommy, where she gave away books all the time, was one of the first blogs out there that I discovered when I started this blogging journey. That blog morphed into a wonderful Facebook page, Manic Mommy Reviews and Reads where she still gives away books! How awesome is that?? She is so supportive of authors and looks out for us readers.

Then she started getting her own books out there. I have always loved her sense of humor. How could I not want to read them?

She has agreed to answer my 'voices' questions. I love her answers!

And guess what? Yep! She is giving away one of her books! 
Always the Manic Mommy, right Stephanie?

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?

This is such a great question! For me, I don't think a story has ever started with voices in my head but once a story begins, characters definitely DO start talking to me and take on a life of their own. As to how they begin, how I come up with the stories, each one has happened in a different way.

For The Cell Phone Lot, my e-novella, just a 60-page story and just 99 cents, it came to me actually while I was waiting in a cell phone lot at an airport. I began to wonder who the people were waiting for and what would happen if someone's car wouldn't start. And what if there was a hot guy there to help a girl 'jumpstart' her car… and her heart! That began the story of Grant and Bridge.

For What She Left Us, I had been reading Gwendolen Gross's The Orphan Sister, and I became really interested in the sister dynamics. I have a sister who is really close in age to me. We're 11-1/2 months apart. I started thinking of sisters who might be six or seven years apart, almost like only children siblings. And I had a titled that I loved which was The Other Only Child. Although, once I started writing it, that title didn't make much sense, and the sisters couldn't be six or seven years apart because it wouldn't work out. So, while the characters weren't 'telling' me these things, there was definitely something else dictating what would work when I was writing.

For A Little Bit of Everything Lost, I think I knew a very long time ago that I would write this one. It originally started out as an essay, about contacting an ex-boyfriend, about getting answers I wanted to know. It was something I actually did do, much in the same way that Marnie tries to reconnect with Joe in the book. And I was actually able to make a connection with my ex the way Marnie at first unsuccessfully tries to do with Joe. And we had a few months of email exchanges. Then we stopped corresponding. I wasn't done though so I decided to fictionalize a story about a relationship from college that had gone wrong.

There ARE many times when I'll be working on a project and typing away and it's almost like a trance, and suddenly, something will happen on the page and I will have had absolutely no clue that what happened was going to happen. That's always such a surprise and one of the craziest, most amazing things about writing. Like in What She Left Us, I never expected Jenna to walk into the bar and meet Clay, and that took the book into a completely new direction. It wasn't part of the plan when I started writing the book. That part makes writing so much fun!


Check yesterday's post here to read more of A Little Bit of Everything Lost

Chapter Three
July 1988

What Marnie really remembered about that night, the night she met him, was bad choice of underwear. She wasn't looking to meet anyone, didn't consider she might be taking off her Zena jean shorts and striped tank top; didn't think a guy would be slipping her bra straps from her shoulders to feel the firm flesh of her breasts, to pinch her nipples until they tightened.

The underwear. The one thing – the only thing – that held her back. Because she didn't know if her underwear were sexy enough for a guy to peel from her hips, to slide down her thighs, to toss to the floor.

“I can’t.”

“Why?” He nuzzled into her, his stubbled chin sending goose bumps everywhere, and then he licked her neck, and she melted into his shoulder, smelling beer and cologne. They were both buzzed. She shivered, in the dimly lit room, on a bed with a guy she hardly knew. She didn't know how far it would go, how far he would try to go, how far she would let him go.

She decided she wouldn't go any further. Only because she was probably wearing her Hanes yellow cotton panties. Instead of giving him an answer, she felt for his face, and kissed him again, biting his lower lip and pulling his hands back up to where they had been. That was feeling pretty incredible anyway, and he was a great kisser.

He hadn't asked again, and for that, he won some major points. She liked him.

The party was loud. She remembered Phil Collins’ song, Take Me Home blaring on a tape deck, and him whispering, “I’d like to take you home.”

She lifted her hips, and although he kept on his shorts, she could feel him through the denim. He felt big. Really big. Marnie liked knowing he was so turned on. And Marnie knew if she stopped him right now, he’d probably call. And that’s what she wanted.

“Stop,” she breathed heavily into his ear, and nipped at his lobe. “We gotta stop.”


“We just do. You’re turning me on too much.”

There, she said it. Other times, with other guys, she said it only to be a tease. This time she said it because she meant it. And she really, really didn't want him to see her yellow cotton undies. They’d have to wait. Plus, she wasn't quite sure about his name. She thought it started with a J.

He rolled off her, frustrated, she could tell, but then he sighed, leaned onto his elbow, hooked his leg over hers, and played with the strands of her hair. This gesture felt more intimate than everything else they had been doing.

“Your eyes are pretty.”

“Oh, come on,” Marnie laughed. “What kind of crap line is that? They’re brown.”

“No they’re not. They’re chocolaty.” He stared at her. Kept staring.

Marnie stared back. Like a game. She decided she wasn't going to say anything, just wanted to stare into his hazel eyes.

Finally, “Don’t you want to know my name?” he asked.

“Do you want to know mine?”

“I think I’m interested in that, yes.” He continued to twirl the piece of her loose hair. “And a lot more. Later. Okay?”

“Marnie. Marnie’s my name.”

“Marnie. That’s different.”


“I never knew a Marnie before. That short for something?”

“Actually, long. For Mar.” She touched his shoulder, just to feel that he was there and real. His skin was warm. And tan.

“Mar. I like that. I’m Joe. Short for Joseph.”

She giggled. “Nice to meet you, Joe.”

He smiled back at her, and then settled his head down on the pillow. They were on the bed of one of his friends, she guessed, because he had led her into the room after the party started dying down, after the game of “Have You Ever” ended with him asking her, “Have you ever seen the bedroom here?”

Marnie hadn't even known whose house it was; she just knew Collette had a friend who knew the kid who was having the party, and that maybe there would be some cute guys there. Collette had definitely been right.

“Give me your number?” he asked, still playing with her hair, tickling her neck with his fingers. It made her tingle, and she thought of her damned underwear again, wishing they had been different. Maybe.

She rattled off her number and when he said he needed to write it down, Marnie replied, “You want to call me, you’ll remember it.”

“Tell it to me one more time. Slower.”

Chapter Four
October 2004

“Who saw him?”

Collette was barely in the door when Marnie shot the question at her.

“What’d he look like? Was he with anyone? How long’s he in town?”

Marnie felt on the verge of a breakdown reoccurrence, and after what she’d been through the past summer, the reappearance of Joe was going to bring her to the edge.

She was so fragile, and Collette of all people had known her history, had been there when she had first met Joe, fifteen years ago, when he had stormed into her life, and created a whirlwind, changed her from being the person she might have been. And even though they had been together for just a short while, he had thrust himself upon her so abruptly and passionately, she hadn't seen it coming. And just like that, he was gone.
Marnie's face was flushed, she paced the room like a caged animal, plumped pillows, and wiped non-existent dust. She was a nervous wreck at the mere thought he could be back.

"So, where is he?" she asked again.

“Whoa, Marnie, how about, ‘Hey Collette, would you like some coffee?’”

“Sorry. Coffee?” And Collette followed Marnie into the kitchen where she poured one cup for Collette, cream and sugar, and one for herself, black.

“Thanks. So anyway, no one’s actually seen him yet. Fran's mom ordered something from their family bakery last week and found out his grandmother’s turning ninety, and that the whole family’s coming into town for it. So, technically, I guess he’s not officially back yet. But he’s coming back. For the party.”

“His grandmother’s still alive? When’s the party?”

“I don’t know, around Thanksgiving maybe?”

Marnie sat with her head in her hands, the scent of coffee filling the room, steam wafting from their cups. Collette knew enough to wait quietly while Marnie let her thoughts form, the history of her past churning through her mind.

“What am I going to do?” Marnie said, more to herself than to Collette.

“What you've wanted to do all of these years, I suppose.” Collette said.

“I have to see him.”

Collette nodded.
“I have to tell him.”

About the author

Stephanie Elliot is the author of A Little Bit of Everything LostWhat She Left Us, and the novella, The Cell Phone Lot. She is also a writer and editor and has written for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. In her spare time she edits manuscripts for other writers and proofs executive documents.

She lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

Connect with Stephanie

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!


  1. I like the sound of the book and can't wait to read it.


  2. Thank you for the chance to win this, I loved reading the excerpts! :)

  3. the book sound great! thanks for the giveaway!


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