Showing posts with label women's fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women's fiction. Show all posts

Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Unfinished" by Amy Snyder

by Amy Snyder

Unfinished by Amy Snyder

Unfinished by Amy Snyder is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Mirabelle is a writer who just can't finish any of the stories she starts. When her twins leave home for college, they take with them Mirabelle’s sense of identity. As she strives to adjust to her empty nest she is visited by someone unexpected: a character from the very first novel she ever attempted to write.
Characters from all of her unfinished works begin to materialize in her home, in her car, at her job. They talk, yell, and some even throw things at her. Mirabelle can see them, smell them, touch them and though she knows they’re not real, she can’t help but engage them. She created them, after all. They become part of her daily life and she finds herself alternating between hiding them from and sharing them with her almost-always-doting husband, Alex.
Some of Mirabelle’s characters are like good friends, encouraging her to finish something she’s started. Others manipulate her for their own needs and story lines. Good and bad, these characters are part of her and Mirabelle discovers she needs to both fix and finish them before they destroy her life, her sanity, and her marriage.

Click below to read an excerpt.

Praise for the Book
"This book was a funny yet sentimental comment on the human condition. It made me smile, think, cry and reflect. As an insightful work of fiction, it echoes real life experience and is an insightful read at any age. I greatly enjoyed it!" ~ Jenine Bivona
"This book is imaginative and energetic. The premise is fresh and fun." ~ La Mer
"Loved it, got really engrossed in getting to know all the 'characters' and understanding how they played into the writers subconscience was cool. You are as anxious for their endings as they are." ~ Karen Gillis
"Interesting topic and characters. I love the juxtaposition between how we are grounded in every day life and yet, how important imagination is to truly living. Really good read! Pick this one up if you can." ~ Amazon Customer
"I really enjoyed this book. I found the characters and story enthralling. The book was difficult to put down. Would recommend Unfinished to all." ~ Amazon Customer

Guest Post by the Author
Characters as Friends
Unfinished is the story of Mirabelle, a writer who can’t seem to finish the novels she starts until her incomplete characters appear to her and encourage her or threaten her in various ways to motivate her to complete their stories.
Many of the characters that appear to Mirabelle in the book came from my own shelf of incomplete manuscripts. Some were recent. Some went back as far as my college days. And while none of my characters ever physically appeared to me like they did Mirabelle, they definitely hounded me.
Still, I have always considered my characters as friends. Kip, my free-spirited bartender, was written when I felt strangled by a difficult professional relationship. Emily, my long abandoned mother, was written when my kids were starting to grow their independence. Bad-boy, tortured soul Cody was written out of my own frustration with myself for not accomplishing anything.
They’ve always been there, keeping me company. Jumping into my thoughts. Late nights. Early mornings. They’re always with me. Always a part of me. I cry when they lose and rejoice when they win. And when they let me down, I know they had their reasons.
Getting into my characters' heads gives me the freedom to be more empathetic and compassionate in my own life. Understanding the motivations of my characters helps me to be more forgiving with my own friends.
Mirabelle is my closest imaginary friend of all. She knows more about me than I know about myself.

About the Author
Amy Snyder
Amy Snyder began writing when she realized the strange things that happened in her imagination were far more interesting than the things that happened in her real life. After earning her degree in Radio, Television, and Film from Northwestern University, she worked at a financial brokerage house, a nationally published magazine, an advertising agency, and most recently, an elementary school as a Math Tutor, Substitute Teacher, and Library Paraprofessional.
But she’s always been a writer.
Amy lives in Glastonbury, Connecticut, with her husband, two teenage children, and two cats. While she has been known to talk out loud to the characters she’s writing, she hasn’t had an actual hallucination ... yet.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win on of five ebook copies of Unfinished by Amy Snyder.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"No One But You" by Tessa Levy

No One But You
by Tessa Levy

No One But You by Tessa Levy

No One But You by Tessa Levy is due for publication on 6 February 2018 but is currently available for pre-order from the publisher. This book tour is brought to you by Bewitching Book Tours. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

The book is a fictional account of a young girl's story based on the true life of Tessa Levy, the author, who co-wrote the book with her youngest daughter Shelley Cassidy. From the post-war East End of London, to the high life of America and back again. It portrays a young girl's yearning for adventure and opportunity and ultimately love, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Tessa, the main character, was the youngest child of a large family and had the responsibility of caring for her beloved dying mother. When her father secretly marries another woman, who moves into their home with her three children, Tessa's world is shattered. She seeks solace from distant cousins whom she has never met in America, with whom she secretly commences correspondence. She reveals her situation and she is invited to stay with her cousins.
At the tender age of 17, she sets off on the adventure of a lifetime. A year and a half later, she returns to England as a glamorous young women, having fallen in love for the first time. However, she crosses the cultural divide and struggles to resettle, despite her family's best efforts to reintegrate her into their Jewish community in London. Eventually meeting the man she will marry, she suffers another painful premature family death.
She embarks on motherhood and a career, which she loves and excels at. However, life continues to challenge her happiness and she finds herself torn between the two loves of her life: the handsome, poetic and artistic Gus in America, and the charismatic, successful, but disloyal David in England, both so very different.
Once again, the Atlantic splits her heart. Her romantic adventure, back and forth between the two countries, ultimately answer the underlying theme of the book; whether it is possible to love two men in one life.

About the Author
Tessa Levy
Tessa Levy was born in the in the East End of London, as the youngest of six children in a Jewish family; Russian immigrants to England before the Second World War. The author, like her brothers in the fashion business and her husband in the nightclub trade of Soho, made a success of her antique business – a truly entrepreneurial woman in an era when business was dominated by men - specializing in Imari porcelain and creating an established presence in the Kensington Pavilion.
Now in her 80s, Tessa resides in West London, opposite Hyde Park, and maintains one foot on either side of the pond. No One But You is Tessa Levy’s first book, based on real events, which brings to light a topical immigrant family story of displacement, hardship, disease and death, but also of inclusion, friendship, love and success. It crosses the divide not only between two cultural differences, but also two faiths and families.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Cold as Ice" by Julie Mulhern

Cold as Ice
(The Country Club Murders Book 6)
by Julie Mulhern

Cold as Ice (The Country Club Murders Book 6) by Julie Mulhern

Cold as Ice is the sixth book in Julie Mulhern's Country Club Murders series set in the 1970s. Also available: The Deep End (read my blog post), Guaranteed to Bleed, Clouds in My Coffee, Send in the Clowns, and Watching the Detectives (read my blog post).

The Country Club Murders by Julie Mulhern

Cold as Ice is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Ellison Russell’s life resembles a rollercoaster ride. And rollercoasters make her ill. Her daughter Grace has a crush on a boy Ellison doesn’t trust and she’s taken to hosting wild parties when Ellison goes out for the evening. Worse, the bank which represents Grace’s inheritance from her father may be in trouble.
When a meeting with the chef at the country club leads to the discovery of a body, Ellison can’t afford cold feet. She must save the bank, find the killer, and convince Grace (and herself) that powerful women don’t need men to rescue them.

Check out the Guest Post by the Author (below) to read an excerpt and the inspiration behind it.

Praise for the Book
"I loved that the book takes place in 1974 when there were no cell phones, computers, etc. It was a nice change of pace. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series, but do not feel that I was missing any important information because I hadn't. This book can definitely stand alone and I truly enjoyed it." ~ Sunny
"This is the first book I have read by Julie Mulhern and certainly won't be the last. I now need to go back to the first book in the Country Club mystery series and read them in order. Ellison is a typical seventies mom, a widow with a typical teenage daughter. Great story, fast paced, funny and a dead body." ~ sonnysmom
"This was the first book in the series I have read but it will not be the last! The characters were quite entertaining and the whodunit was very well written. I will certainly read the previous books in the series now, and look forward to reading the next in the series." ~ Karen Kenyon
"Every Country Club Murder is better than the last. I read this one in an afternoon; there was no stopping this story. I can't wait for the next one, because Anarchy." ~ G. Smith
"Julie Mulhern keeps honing her craft as a writer. I enjoy each of her Country Club mystery series installments more than the pervious. Her books are funny, well written and you can't put them down. When reading one of Mulhern's books, I keep telling myself, 'Just one more page' until I'm at the end, and I've lost a night's sleep. Cold as Ice is her best yet!" ~ Charlotte Wilson

Guest Post by the Author
Excerpt from Cold as Ice and My Inspiration for the Scene
If, by chance, you’re the parent of a teenager, I hope your son or daughter is an angel - the kind of adolescent who does their homework without being asked, the kind that empties the dishwasher because there are clean dishes inside and not because you nagged, the kind who never misses curfew and never considered having a party.
I did not raise angels. On the upside, my girls give me lots of inspiration. One of them (I won’t tell which one) inspired this scene in Cold as Ice.
Anarchy slowed the car to a crawl. I looked for the house flooded with lights and people.
I was hosting an enormous party.
And if the police cars and scattering teenagers and empty beer cans littering my lawn were any indication, the party was a good one.
“She’s grounded until she’s thirty.”
Anarchy snorted and pulled into the drive, parking at the bottom. The rest of the driveway was already filled with haphazardly parked vehicles.
I didn’t wait for Anarchy to open my door. I was out of the car before he’d even turned off the ignition.
I charged up the drive in full Mother mode. Four friends to spend the night? Where was Grace? When I was done with her she’d wish for Mother.
“Ma’am?” A uniformed officer actually thought he could stop me.
My steps didn’t slow. “My house.”
He wisely got out of my way.
I pushed on the front door. It didn’t budge.
Apparently the teenagers who remained in my house had decided their best course of action was to lock the door and wait out the police.
Too bad for the geniuses behind the door, I had a key. I inserted the gold Schlage and turned. The door swung open onto a world gone mad.
A mob of children holding beer cans stared at me with horrified expressions on their young faces. “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” blared from the stereo in the family room, loud enough for me to feel the bass rumble through the floor. The boys’ room wasn’t the only place people were smoking. Far too many children held cigarettes. My house smelled like a dive bar.
I stepped inside. “Where. Is. Grace?”
No one said a word.
“Out.” I pointed toward the front yard.
No one moved.
I let my gaze travel. “I know who you are.” I’d known most of the kids in my front hall since they learned to toddle. “If you’re not out of here in one minute, I’ll call your fathers.” I paused, slowing my voice to deadly intent. “And send them bills for this mess.”
The little delinquents flew out the door.
I felt a presence at my back and glanced over my shoulder. Anarchy stood behind me. “Wow.” His voice was mild.
Wow? Maybe that was an appropriate response for a homicide detective who was accustomed to witnessing gruesome crime scenes, but as the unexpected hostess for this party, the words scrolling through my brain were much stronger. My fingers curved into talons and I stalked forward. At least thirty teenagers still lingered in the living room. And why wouldn’t they? That was where most of the liquor was—had been. A group of five or six kids were spinning an empty bottle of eighteen-year-old Glenfiddich. The bottle had not been empty when I left.
They saw me and leapt from the floor.
“Out.” I pointed toward the door.
Maybe it was the look on my face. Maybe it was the police detective standing behind me. They ran.
I strode toward the kitchen. The island was cluttered with empty beer cans and glasses doing double duty as ashtrays. Three boys perused the contents of my refrigerator, a fourth pumped a keg.
The growl in my throat was visceral.
“Ellison, keep everything in perspective. No one’s dead.”
“Yet.” Maybe not the smartest thing to say to a homicide detective.

About the Author
Julie Mulhern
Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym, and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean - and she's got an active imagination. Truth is - she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog, and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of The Deep End by Julie Mulhern (US only).


Friday, October 13, 2017

Among the Branded by Linda Smolkin

Among the Branded
by Linda Smolkin

Among the Branded  by Linda Smolkin

Author Linda Smolkin stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from her debut novel, Among the Branded. You can also read my review. This blog post is brought to you by Kate Tilton's Author Services.

What if a 70-year-old letter from World War II changed the course of your life?
While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision - one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.
Contemporary fiction with a historical touch, Among the Branded explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood or our beliefs.

My phone pinged, and I grabbed it from my pocket. These days, I had to put all my reminders in the phone, or I’d forget to take care of them. Everything was in there. Change the sheets. Take Jack to taekwondo. Pay the bills. Water the plants. This time it was a more interesting reminder about our getaway.
We decided to take a short trip after dropping Jeremy off at college, and Jack would choose the place, within reason. For the past few months, we’d been so busy finalizing college plans, shopping for supplies, stockpiling food for Jeremy, and now it was Jack’s turn for attention. I cleared the reminder from my phone and asked if he’d made a decision.
“Let’s go to the Bahamas, to that resort in the commercials.”
“Sweetie, it’s hurricane season, and I can’t take that much time off work. What if we hit a few theme parks?”
“That’s boring.”
Sveta walked in, overhearing our conversation. “Since you like costumes so much, why don’t you go to Valor of the ’40s?”
“What do costumes have to do with it?” I asked.
“You were so good as Ripsie. Maybe you’ll want to reenact a war.”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re joking, right?”
“Only about dressing up. Jack would love it. They have World War II planes, tanks, all that cool stuff. And it’s near Jeremy’s college.”
“Mom, can we go?”
“Sounds interesting. But maybe something more relaxing?”
“You just said theme parks. How’s that relaxing?”
Jack had a point. He always had a point. He was twelve after all, and he was onto me like my expression lines.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Perhaps the best part of this book is the wonderful friendship between Izzy and Steph, not to mention the rest of her family. While the circumstances that brought them all together are tragic, the resulting relationships are priceless. The story also gets into interesting issues of personal morality as Steph struggles with her company's client and whether she can work with him and keep a clear conscience. This is a beautiful and fascinating novel that will keep readers hooked." ~ San Francisco Book Review
"Among the Branded offers something for everyone. The book reads easily and is well-edited, and the supporting cast of characters are interesting and believable. The story of Steph and Izzy will keep the reader engaged throughout, and without giving away too much, the story reaches a satisfactory conclusion while delivering a clear message." ~ Awesome Indies
"The plot is highly engaging, and the burgeoning friendship and connection between Stephanie and Izzy is both heartwarming and intriguing. The book touches on important themes, such as the bonds of family, the overlooked horrors of history, and the lessons they can still teach us today. Linda Smolkin shows off her storytelling skills in Among the Branded, and the power and gravitas of the story make this a successful and enjoyable tale." ~ SPR
"Really enjoyable; well-written, engaging, and page-turning from beginning to end." ~ Kirsty, The Literary Sisters
"Among the Branded is a feel good novel with a conscience. It was a quick contemporary read with a touch of the historical. The context is the Holocaust, but a big discussion throughout is whether you have a responsibility to tell your story, whatever it may be." ~ Christina, Tomes and Tequila

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Steph and Greg's oldest son Jeremy is off to College, and their youngest son Jack gets to pick the destination of their family getaway. He selects Valor of the 40s, a World War Two re-enactment event. There, Steph buys some old war-time love letters at a market stall. An extraordinary coincidence compels her to find out more about the person who wrote the letter. This leads to her meeting Izzy, who has a profound effect on her life and the lives of those around her.
More than just the story of a Holocaust survivor, this is a story of family, friendship, bravery, determination, and loyalty. The main characters are all likable and relatable, and we come to care for each of them. My favorite character is Jack, Steph's youngest son, who is compassionate and wise beyond his years. While there are a lot of seemingly irrelevant details, they all work to flesh out the characters and the plot. The epilogue, set two years later, wraps it all up nicely.
A feel-good, bittersweet read.

Some of My Favorite Lines
"Some people put a time limit on grieving, like a college exam you didn’t quite finish or an expired coupon you never got to use."
"I held back the tears, and before going into the studio, I looked up at the light in the hallway to intimidate them, to make them go back to their hiding place."
"But we couldn’t go around not having people in our lives because we were afraid we’d lose them one day."
"You need a sense of humor when you’ve gone through a life like Izzy’s. Makes everything better when you laugh."
"Sometimes when he looked out the window and didn’t talk much, I wondered if he was thinking of Diane. And when he made all his silly jokes, was it his way of masking the pain?"
"Life, whether good or bad, was etched on her face."
"My mom’s closet, organized and full for years, now had an empty space, like a grieving heart that makes room as memories fade to help us move on."

Interview With the Author
Linda Smolkin joins me today to discuss her new book, Among the Branded.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Among the Branded is adult fiction, so it’s best for 18 and older.
What sparked the idea for this book?
When I’m not writing or editing, I’m always thinking up new book ideas. I knew I wanted to write a contemporary story where my main character, Stephanie, had to deal with a moral dilemma at work. So I thought: What if Stephanie found out something about her client that tested her beliefs? How would she handle it, especially if she didn’t own the firm? From there, I developed the story and it turned into much more. It also became about friendship and family.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Definitely the idea for the novel; I always think of ideas; whether I can keep it interesting and fill the pages, is another story!
I think you've succeeded there! What was the hardest part to write in this book?
On an emotional level, it was writing Katherine’s part; she’s my main character’s mother. Without giving anything away, there are other scenes in the book that should have probably hit me harder, but I had a soft spot for Katherine. As far as writing, it was keeping track of everything because it takes place over several years. More than once, I printed out the manuscript and kept a running list of dates and ages by chapter to make sure everything lined up correctly.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope people are moved by the friendship between a few of my characters. One of my Amazon readers said, "the friendship between Izzy and Stephanie leaves you feeling good about the world", which really touched me. I also hope people understand there’s more than one way to mourn. Just because you joke or use humor to get through the day, doesn’t mean you’re not hurting. Also, the way Stephanie deals with her situation at work isn’t the way everyone would deal with it. As a writer, I wanted to make it realistic and not far-fetched. I wanted her to remember her choice affected other people.
I think it was perfect. Exactly what I would have done. How long did it take you to write this book?
Between the writing, research, revisions, and editing, it took over three years.
What is your writing routine?
My writing routine includes telling myself to do the best I can with the time I have. I work full-time as a writer, so I can’t write my novels during the day. It’s all done in the evening or on weekends. That’s why it takes so long! I’m in awe of those who get up at 5am to fit in their writing and authors who have full-time jobs and put out book after book, year after year. It takes a lot of discipline.
How did you get your book published?
I went indie. After hundreds of rejections, I decided to self-publish and let readers decide if it was a story they’d like to read. So far, the experience has been amazing, and it seems my book has resonated with many people.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Honestly, I wouldn’t listen to too much advice. Everyone’s experience is different. I would say, though, that there’s no right or wrong approach because there are many paths to publication. If I had to give advice, it would be to write what you want to write and put your heart and soul in it. If you want to be traditionally published, stay determined and don’t give up. If you’re going the self-publishing route, make sure you treat it like a business and, if you can afford it, hire an editor. You want someone to be honest with you and tell you if your novel still needs work.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m either taking my dog for walks, binge-watching Netflix, reading a good book, or drumming. My favorite hobby is drumming, and it’s great to put on the headphones and escape!
What does your family think of your writing?
They’re very proud of my accomplishment. My husband is always my first reader because he’s an avid reader and because he’s brutally honest!
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I had a great childhood, but my parents worked a lot. When I was nine, we moved to a small town in North Carolina. I spent most of my days riding my bike around the neighborhood and hanging out with friends. I spent a lot of time outdoors, but I also sat on the sofa for hours watching TV shows.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yes, once I found a writer I enjoyed. I was completely hooked on Judy Blume books.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing poetry as a young girl, but when I saw my first TV commercial, I knew I wanted to become a copywriter and write ads, catchy headlines, taglines, etc. And that’s what I’ve been doing for most of my professional life. I started writing novels about ten years ago, and published Among the Branded this past May.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I’ve received some emails out of the blue from readers, and I always get emotional. One reader told me that she loved my book and was staying up way past her bedtime. Another reader told me she was totally engrossed in my book and loved my character Izzy. The fact that they emailed me out of the blue warmed my heart.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
If all goes as planned, my next novel will come out in Spring 2018. It follows three generations of women, their relationships with one another, and a secret that only two of them know. The story takes place over a few decades and a few locations, including Russia. I’m really excited to get it out into the world.
Sounds great! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Linda. Best of luck with your upcoming novel.

About the Author
Linda Smolkin
Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer - ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog.