Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Season to Dance - Spotlight Book Tour

Title:  A Season to Dance
Author: Patricia Beal
Publisher:  Bling! Romance
Release Date:  May 9, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction

About the Book

Ballerina Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Met in New York and her future with fiancĂ© Peter Engberg all figured out—until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, shows up in Georgia to dance with her and win her back. Claus kisses her after a rehearsal, a kiss Peter witnesses from the darkened audience. Convinced a kiss between Claus and Ana is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off his engagement with Ana. Rejected by Peter, and knowing Claus is dancing at the Met soon, Ana decides to repave her path to her dream. With her 2002 Thunderbird and Baryshnikov, an old dog crippled by arthritis, she moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own memories of Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company prove to be a high price for a shot at success.

For more information check out:  Amazon and Goodreads

Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She is represented by Les Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency, and A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here: 

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Team Peter Prize 

Team Claus Prize 

Friday, November 24, 2017

First Line Fridays

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I your holiday was lovely and filled with wonderful memories surrounding family and friends.  This week I wanted to highlight the book I shared on First Line Fridays.  Louisa May Alcott has always been one of my favorite authors, and I absolutely love this story by her, which is the perfect book to read during this time of the year. 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving 
by Louisa May Alcott 

And the first line is...

"SIXTY YEARS AGO, up among the New Hampshire hills, lived Farmer Bassett, with a houseful of sturdy sons and daughters growing up about him. They were poor in money, but rich in land and love, for the wide acres of wood, corn, and pasture land fed, warmed, and clothed the flock, while mutual patience, affection, and courage made the old farmhouse a very happy home."

Happy reading and happy Friday!  

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Check Out My New Post!

Check out my new post on the Daily Megaphone to read an excerpt from one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories.  Happy reading and Happy Thanksgiving! 

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving 
by Louisa May Alcott 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Quote for the Day

“The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few books she had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gardens in some of the stories. Sometimes people went to sleep in them for a hundred years, which she had thought must be rather stupid. She had no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she was becoming wider awake every day which passed at Misselthwaite.”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden~

Friday, November 17, 2017

First Line Fridays

My best friend told me recently that she was listening to the beloved classic The Secret Garden.  I loved reading this book when I was younger, and I loved seeing the film, which debuted in the 90's, that accompanied this amazing story.  It is such a lovely tale of friendship that shows how each character must find their own way to belong to a world they never thought they would enter. 

Raise your hand if you wanted your own secret garden as a child.  :)  If you have not had the opportunity to read this incredible story, I urge you to pick up a copy today, and if you are an ebook reader...this copy is on Kindle for $0.99. 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett 

And the first line is...

"When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child every seen."  

Happy Friday and happy reading!  

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Heart Restored Cover Reveal

She renovates old houses. Can he restore her heart? Deidre McIntyre didn’t exactly purchase the gorgeous old home in the Shenandoah Mountains on a whim. The building had seen better days, but she had the skills—and the time—to fix it up. And maybe it would provide the fresh start she was looking for. Local handyman Jeremiah Crawford has a soft spot for Peacock Hill. When someone from out of town purchases it, he swings by to offer to help fix it up…and investigate the new owner’s plans for the property. The pixie-like Deidre isn’t at all what he expects, but he’s happy to hang around and enjoy the view. When Deidre’s ex-boyfriend, a popular TV house flipper, shows up demanding a piece of the action, Jeremiah must decide if Deidre—and Peacock Hill—are worth fighting for. Falling in love wasn’t on the blueprints, but it might just be worth the change in plans.

Pre-Order A Heart Restored

Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace on their way to their own romantic happily ever after.

1.  What or whom inspired you to become an author?
It’s probably a combination of loving to read (I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life) and having an active imagination. When you throw those two things together, you end up sort of inevitably (I think) writing down stories of your own.
2.  Who are some of your favorite authors? Do these authors inspire your own writing?
I have so many favorites it’s hard to narrow it down. I’ll stick with Christian authors this go-round and …it’s still hard. Um. Stephen Lawhead is a huge favorite. Chuck Black is another. More recent favorites include Valerie Comer and Heather Gray. And I’ll stop there or we’ll be here all day.
3.  What did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
When I started seriously thinking about a future career (vs. the younger President/Princess/Pediatrician/Astronaut phase), I wanted to teach programming at the college level. And I did that for many years. I would say, yes, being an author crossed my mind, but I didn’t really take publication seriously until I was a stay-at-home mom.
4.  What does your writing process look like?
I’m not a plotter – so the process is kind of “sit down and write.” Then, when it’s finished, I do several read throughs before it goes to my beta readers and then editors.
5.  What inspired the idea for A Heart Restored?
My sister and I took a road trip with my boys on a sunny summer afternoon and ended up touring Swannanoa Palace in the south western part of Virginia. It’s so pretty—and yet also in need of some TLC. So while I was imagining what I’d do if it was mine, Deidre started to take shape as well.
6.  What do you want readers to take away from reading A Heart Restored?
Ultimately, in addition to having spent some enjoyable time relaxing, I guess it would be that second chances and grace are a good thing to have in our lives.

Deidre slipped her phone into the pocket of her jeans before backing up to view the front of her new…well, it wasn’t a home yet. The house sat on fifty acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Mountains rose in the distance to the west. Though she couldn’t see it, the tiny town of Butler’s End sat at the bottom of the hill the house perched on, and civilization wasn’t too much farther down the road in either direction. But from here, she could’ve been in the middle of nowhere. This place was going to be something amazing. It had been, once, and it could be again, with a little bit of love and a whole lot of know-how. She happened to have both.
The front of the house needed to be cleaned. And several sections of the stone blocks that made up the facade repaired or replaced. She might have to hire that out. She dug out her phone and opened her note-taking app. She circled the house, tapping away as she saw things that needed attention. The landscaping, such as it was, would have to wait. The house was her first priority.
She rounded the corner, returning to the front of the house, and scowled at the dinged red pickup parked in the circular drive. She snapped a photo of the sign on the truck’s door that featured an enormous cartoon frog wearing a straw hat and chewing on a piece of grass. There had to be someone who belonged to that heap.
“Aha.” A man in jeans and a cream Henley that stretched over broad shoulders and well-defined arms jogged down her front steps and avoided the missing tread with ease that spoke of practice. “I heard someone bought the old girl. That you?”
Deidre kept her phone in her left hand, her finger hovering over the emergency number speed dial, and nodded.
“Pleasure to meet you, ma’am. I’m Jeremiah Crawford.” He gestured to the truck and extended his hand. “I own Bullfrog Home Services.”
Deidre took his hand, remembering her father’s advice to have a firm grip and make eye contact. “Deidre McIntyre.”
“Ms. McIntyre, I was just wondering what you planned to do with the place. She’s been a fixture ‘round here. A lot of the locals would be torn up if she got knocked down and turned into condos or something.” He flashed a bright, toothy smile.
If the locals loved the place so much, why hadn’t anyone taken better care of it? Sure, the previous owner was old and in a nursing facility now, but she had family. Family who’d seemed well pleased to be rid of the thing. “I have no plans to tear it down.”
He cocked his head to the side. “Then what will you do?”
She crossed her arms. “I’m sorry, why do you care?”
“Well now, ma’am. If you plan to fix her up, I thought I’d offer my services.” He dug in his pocket and produced a business card.
Deidre took the card and offered a tight smile. “I think I’ll be fine. But thanks.”
He nodded. “All right then. I’ll leave you with that, in case you change your mind.”
Deidre tucked the card into her pocket. She wasn’t going to be able to do everything herself, but she’d planned to bring down some of her contractors from D.C. “I don’t suppose you do stone work, Mr. Crawford?”
“Jeremiah. And, as it happens, I do.”
“Have any references?”
“In the truck. Hang on a second.” He crossed quickly to the vehicle and pulled open the door. Deidre caught a glimpse of a passenger foot-well littered with food wrappers. He took a binder off the seat and brought it back. “Here you go.”
Lips pursed, she flipped through the pages. The photos were good. But you could edit images. “Any way I could visit some of these sites? Check them out?”
“Course. Why don’t you give me a call in the morning and I can take you around?”
She opened her mouth to protest then shrugged. She’d find them faster if she was with him. And even if he was there glad-handing the client, she could see the work. It would speak for itself. “I’ll do that.”

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First Line Fridays

I know November has just begun, but now it's time to start reading Christmas books!  :)  This news is super exciting for me; however, I always feel bad for Thanksgiving.  It seems that this particular important holiday always gets skipped over.  We focus on pumpkins and candy, and then we move our attention to Christmas trees and holiday coffee at Starbucks.  Does anyone else feel this way? 

I do love Thanksgiving though, and for those who love the Snoopy specials, don't forget to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving:

So for this week, I'm going to highlight a Christmas book that I have been reading.  I would love to hear your Christmas book recommendations too.  Have a lovely day and happy reading! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Christmas at Grey Sage
by Phyllis Clark Nichols 

And the first line is...

"When Maude opened the door to the Christmas closet in early December that year, she had no reason to think there would only be nine more Christmases celebrated at Grey Sage." 

Happy Friday and happy reading!  

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Becoming Mrs. Smith - Spotlight Book Tour

Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Rippling Effects Writing & Photography
eBook, Paperback & Audio; 100 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Novella

Not all of war’s destruction takes place on the battlefield.

Violet’s heart flutters from the scarlet fever she survived as a child, and it beats faster at the sight of John Smith, the man she plans to marry. America is entrenched in WWII, and when John enlists, Violet is certain she won’t ever forgive him for dashing their dreams. As the realities of war slowly overtake her life, Violet’s days are filled with uncertainty and grief. She struggles to maintain her faith in John, as the world as she knows it, crumbles.

Becoming Mrs. Smith is the inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking story of a woman’s struggle to reclaim what she lost. War stole the man she loves, and childhood illness weakened her heart—perhaps beyond repair. While guns rage in Europe, the war Violet faces at home may be even more devastating.

Available on Amazon in Paperback and eBook

A writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History continues to inspire her stories and her insightfulness into the human condition deepens her character’s experiences and propels them on their journey. Ms. Williams’ favourite tales, speak to the reader’s heart, making them smile, laugh, cry, and think. 

For more information, please visit Tanya Williams’ website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Successfully reaching goals in writing, as well as in life, requires the implementation of several key steps. I recently returned from a writer's conference where we were immersed in the process of how to reach our writing goals. Workshops on dialogue, world building, and more were the focus over an intense three day learning process.

Like busy ants preparing for a long winter, we bustled from one conference room to another in hopes of finding the golden key to our success. As humans we have an innate desire to seek out the pinnacle of our own personal goals. Whether it is running a marathon, winning the local pie baking contest, or writing a bestseller, our individual goals motivate us to keep moving forward. Why then does it seem that achieving our goals is only for the lucky, the gifted, or the blessed?

It was at the conference, in a chilly room filled with writers at varying stages of their respective careers, that one brave soul asked the question. In a voice cracking with anxiety and a tear in her eye, she asked, "how do we move past the fear to reach our goals?"

The room went silent. All eyes landed on the already trembling speaker of the question. The three presenters, all professionals with seasoned careers in the writing community, looked like deer caught in the headlights. The words finally came out from one of the presenters, stuttering a bit as she said, "you just do". 

It occurred to me in that moment, that we can be taught the process of attaining our goals. Step one, choose a worthy goal. Step two, create an action plan. Step three, proceed by following the action plan to reach your goal. Seems simple enough, right? Unfortunately this is not the case. I am confident that we have all written a goal down and taken the action steps to work towards that goal. Often times though, we falter along the way. We lose interest. We lose hope. We begin to question our goal as to whether it has merit or is truly worthy of attaining. What was once a goal that excited us, is now tossed to the junk pile of things we thought we could do, but didn't.

Rest assured, it is not our goal that is unworthy. It is the belief we have in ourselves that is at fault. In order to achieve any goal, we first need to have a solid foundation of belief in our own abilities. Goal reaching is like building a house. If you build the house on a solid foundation of concrete, your house will rise toward the sky, straight and tall. If you build your house on sand, the result will be an unstable, crooked, slanting structure that a good gust of wind could topple.

Something to keep in mind is that no matter who you are, goals are meant to be a challenge. You most certainly are supposed to be tested along the way. The goal will make you weary at times, but that is when you grow the most and gain the most. It is easy to look at the superstars of the world and think how lucky they are to have it so easy. That is merely an illusion of fame. We have only seen the rise to success, we have not been witness to the struggle or challenges faced by each individual, famous or otherwise.

The difference between those who succeed in reaching their goals and those that do not, is the belief they have in their own self. The key element to reaching a successful outcome is to believe in yourself when nobody else does. Belief in oneself does not happen overnight. It is a constant, steady, thought changing dialogue we have in our own mind each and every day. It is the moment that you tell yourself, "I am enough". It is in finding the joy within the journey of attaining the goal. It is the moments that you push through the discomfort of being the only one in your own corner. Believing in yourself is the crucial element to attaining all of your goals.

A worthy goal deserves a worthy goal chaser. Be the best version of yourself that you can be, nobody can ask for more than that. Trust that you were created to offer the best of yourself to the world and hold onto that belief as it will see you through the rough bits of the goal seeking journey. If you are looking for a little more inspiration on this particular topic, I highly recommend reading Marianne Williamson's work on, Our Deepest Fear, from her book titled, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles. Her words will not only give you comfort, but also the gusto you may need to love and believe in yourself whether you have a particular goal in mind or not.

An intriguing component to reaching your goal is that though, you will be satisfied and pleased with your journey and its outcome, those emotions will be somewhat surreal in nature. Once you arrive at the pinnacle of your goal, those around you will gather and congratulate you. You or your work will be celebrated and enjoyed. You, however, have already celebrated each and every moment along the way where you believed in yourself. In the end, it almost feels like the rest of the world is coming to your party a little late. That is precisely when you know you've not only reached your goal, but you've also changed how you live and how you love yourself.  

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of Becoming Mrs. Smith! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Becoming Mrs. Smith