Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tri-Giveaway DAY 3 featuring the Jewel Trilogy by Hallee Bridgeman

This week we are featuring author Hallee Bridgeman and her Jewel Trilogy, which is garnering rave reviews at both Amazon and Goodreads. Yesterday I dropped the deets on books 1 & 2 and told you about our interesting Tri-Giveaway. Today I'll scoop you in on Book 3 (as well as more on that giveaway!) and Friday...bonus! I'll dish on the bonus novella in the series!


Book 3: Topaz Heat

The very moment Derrick meets Sarah, he realizes he has a reason to live. Sarah sees only an unshaven tough kid covered with tattoos and shuts down every advance.

Sarah Thomas has no memory of her broken young life leading up to the tragic murder of her mother. Her memory begins the morning she wakes in the home of her loving adoptive parents. She doesn't even know her sisters exist until her 15th year. She learns to love her siblings, but always feels a little out of place in their presence. 

A benevolent billionaire offers Derrick DiNunzio a home and an education. Fresh off the streets and rescued from a criminal future, Derrick sheds his old life. He trades his ripped leather jacket for silk suits; dealing drugs for mentoring "at risk" youth; lock picking and back door jobs for the rigors of mountain climbing and hotel management.

Sarah cannot seem to see beyond the past Derrick left behind … until one day she does. When they finally come together, an indictment threatens their future. Now the heat is on. Will Sarah finally set aside her prejudices and open her heart to true love or will the long forgotten past tear them apart forever?



TRI-GIVEAWAY!!!
Hallee Bridgeman has generously offered her Jewel Trilogy for giveaway here at EIR. Since it's a trilogy, I've decided to do a 3 post entry process! To enter, do this:

1. Leave the message: "Three for three!" in the comments section of this post.

2. Leave a comment on Hallee's guest post from Tuesday, 2/26/13 (CLICK HERE FOR LINK) with your spam-free email address (jane dot doe at jmail dot com)

1. Leave the message "I came back!" in the comments section of yesterday's post about books 1 & 2 (CLICK HERE FOR LINK)

The fine print: To win the trilogy, you must leave a "trilogy" of your own -- a comment including required text -- following each post. Thanks for stopping by! Giveaway winner must have entered the required text (quotation marks not necessary!) at appropriate posts by Sunday, March 3, 2013. Qualified entrants will be chosen using www.random.org and contacted via the email address provided on day 1.

And, just to make it easier, I will leave a comment each day as an example! Good luck!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tri-Giveaway DAY 2 The Jewel Trilogy by Hallee Bridgeman



This week we are featuring author Hallee Bridgeman and her Jewel Trilogy, which is garnering rave reviews at both Amazon and Goodreads. Today, I'll give you the scoop on books 1 & 2 as well as on our interesting Tri-Giveaway. Come back tomorrow for the scoop on Book 3 (and more on that giveaway!) and Friday for the dish on the bonus novella in the series!

Book 1: Sapphire Ice
To Robin Bartlett, men were nothing more than violent users. After a hair-raising childhood, Robin and her two younger half sisters battled simply to survive. Determined to give her sisters a very different life from that of their mother; to never have to rely on a man for anything, she worked two jobs and put them both through college, while accepting help from no one. Her heart had turned to ice and she had no use for men or God.

Antonio "Tony" Viscolli had grown up on the streets, homeless. At seventeen, he entered a downtown church with the intent of casing it, but found himself on his knees at the alter. After being fostered by the youth minister, Tony followed God's leading and eventually became a very successful and powerful businessman. In a fallen world, he was a gem.

When Tony bought the restaurant where Robin bartended, she immediately resented his intrusion into her well ordered, but exhausting, life. She suspected his offering her special attention and constant kindness was merely his way of expecting something from her in return, something she wasn't willing to give.

Tony knew God had led him to Robin. Would she ever allow herself to trust him? Could she ever allow herself to trust God? Or would the winter of their tragic youth rise from the shadows of the past and freeze any chance at happiness?

Book 2: Emerald Fire
A terrifying past imprisoned Maxine Bartlett all her adult life, shackling her with fear anytime a man even touched her.

In a spontaneous weekend, she unintentionally elopes with an unlikely groom. After a magical wedding night filled with love and passion, "Maxi" finally discards her dreadful chains.

She doesn't know that her new husband has turned his back on God. Worried over how the world might see the completely unexpected – and some would certainly say inappropriate – marriage, in his pride he promises Maxine a quiet annulment.

Unwilling to let their marriage disappear as if it never happened, Maxine refuses to cooperate. Seeking God's will, she moves in with him and informs him that when he decides to act like her husband again, he will find his loving wife waiting for him right there in their home. As the days stretch into weeks, the newlyweds slowly begin to trust and even love each other.

Then, just as they begin to live the "happily ever after" love story that neither of them ever dreamed could come true, a sudden and nightmarish catastrophe strikes that could wreck everything. Will her husband realize that he must trust God once more? Can he find peace and strength enough to carry them through the flames?

TRI-GIVEAWAY!!!
Hallee Bridgeman has generously offered her Jewel Trilogy for giveaway here at EIR. Since it's a trilogy, I've decided to do a 3 post entry process! To enter, do this:


1. Leave the message "I came back!" in the comments section of this post

2. Come back tomorrow (Wednesday 2/27/13) to read about the final book in the Jewel Trilogy and leave the message: "Three for three!" in the comments section.

3. Leave a comment on Hallee's guest post from Tuesday, 2/26/13 (CLICK HERE FOR LINK) with your spam-free email address (jane dot doe at jmail dot com)


The fine print: To win the trilogy, you must leave a "trilogy" of your own -- a comment including required text -- following each post. Thanks for stopping by! Giveaway winner must have entered the required text (quotation marks not necessary!) at appropriate posts by Sunday, March 3, 2013. Qualified entrants will be chosen using www.random.org and contacted via the email address provided on day 1.

And, just to make it easier, I will leave the first comment of the day each day as an example! Good luck!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

From Edgy Romance Author -- To Edgy Inspirational Romance Author -- Guest post by author Hallee Bridgeman +GIVEAWAY

Submitted by Hallee Bridgeman

I've been writing romance novels since my sixteen year-old was a toddler and sat in a high-chair by my desk, watching me work. I wrote my first book in six weeks - a 100,000 word romantic suspense that turned out to have an amazing story line. I was surprised because I had no idea this passionate writing lived inside of me. After I finished it and researched the market, I thought my next step was to write a book tailored to a romance publisher's specific line and attempt to get it published so that I could go to an agent and say, "I'm a legitimate author, I have an entire series plotted out and I need an agent." So, I pulled up the guidelines for that line and wrote a romantic suspense novel using said guidelines like a checklist.

I edited it over and over again, wrote a brilliant cover letter praising them for all of their brilliance in publishing, and mailed off my synopsis. They wrote back asking for the full manuscript. To say I jumped for joy is putting it mildly. After several weeks of sweating and nail-biting, they sent me a one page revision letter. I was so green to the writing world at the time I had no idea how unusual and how lucky such a letter was. A one-page revision letter? Unheard of! I had only a single element to change. But, it was an element crucial to the plot, and me in all my naive arrogance told them thank you, but they could keep my plot point as is, or not publish my book. I'm sure you can guess their response.

That was the last time I submitted anything for publication, but I didn't stop writing. Within a few years, I cranked out ten books while both working full-time and raising a family . All of them were fast-moving, often suspenseful stories, completely secular, filled with sex, drinking, smoking, and cussing.

Post 9-11, life took on a different focus. My national guard/government contractor husband spent more time than either of us would prefer in the Middle East, and in between distances of 8,000 miles, our two sons were born. I started blogging, and Hallee the Homemaker was born.

In 2009, our family went through a deeply spiritual renewal. We looked at our life and realized that we'd fallen into a world view trap. While we loved God, we did not love Him with all of our hearts, minds, strength, or souls. We loved Him on our terms, and that wasn't going to work for us anymore. So, we changed, and made our world fit into our worship of God rather than making God fit into our world. Part of that change meant cleaning out our entertainment -- books, television, movies -- we became very selective in what we allowed into our homes and into our minds.

When our youngest son was 2, I decided to refocus on my writing. I pulled up the old files and started looking through them. I settled on my Jewel Trilogy as the first one I'd refresh, because those stories are timeless, and world events wouldn't necessarily change the plot. I re-wrote, edited, edited, edited, wrote another brilliant cover letter, an even more brilliant synopsis, and mailed book 1, Sapphire Ice, off to a secular romance publisher.

The second it was out of my hands, I felt conviction. We'd cleared out our home and entertainment but never thought about my books. They were as secular as could be and glorified all sorts of sinful behavior. I spent the next three weeks completely "redeeming" the first book, knowing, without having to be told, that they would want the book. I knew the temptation to publish would be placed in front of me despite my convictions otherwise.

When that heavy, letterhead envelope came to my mailbox, I knew without opening it that they were asking for the full manuscript - and they were. I wrote them back a deeply appreciative letter explaining that I'd been convicted to change my genre to inspirational, enclosed the full manuscript, and asked them to forward it to their inspirational line.

I didn't think they actually would - but they did. A few weeks later, I received a hand-written note from an editor, explaining to me how much she personally loved my story and wished she could publish it, but that doing so would be too risky, because my book was too risqué, too edgy, for their readers.

I began heavily researching the inspirational market and realized most of the mainstream books published were what I'd call "safe stories". I think the appeal of "Amish" and "pioneer" is because there are social mores that work within an inspirational worldview and don't really push any of those boundaries. My books are modern, current, and the Jewel Trilogy deals with three half-sisters who grow up in the worst imaginable environment and how they are able to find peace, healing, and grace through Christ. There is nothing "safe" in my books. They teeter on the edge of dark and tackle topics like abuse, rape, adultery, death, starvation, and even desperation.
 
Once they were published, I discovered that there IS a whole "edgy" market. Readers don't want safe. They want life...real life with issues and lessons and redemption and love and God working through it all. The reviews have been amazing and yet again affirm that God has plans for my writing. I'm glad I listened to the convictions from the Holy Spirit and pray God continues to work through me to pass it on to others via the written word.


Submitted by Hallee Bridgeman

TRI-GIVEAWAY!!!
Hallee Bridgeman has generously offered her Jewel Trilogy for giveaway here at EIR. Since it's a trilogy, I've decided to do a 3 post entry process! To enter, do this:

1. Leave a comment below THIS POST with your spam-free email address (jane dot doe at jmail dot com)

2. Come back tomorrow to read the blurbs about the first two books of  Hallee's Jewel Trilogy and leave the message "I came back!" in the comments section of that post

3. Finally, come back Wednesday to read about the final book in the Jewel Trilogy and leave the message: "Three for three!" in the comments section.


The fine print: To win the trilogy, you must leave a "trilogy" of your own -- a comment including required text -- following each post. Thanks for stopping by! Giveaway winner must have entered the required text (quotation marks not necessary!) at appropriate posts by Sunday, March 3, 2013. Qualified entrants will be chosen using www.random.org and contacted via the email address provided on day 1.

And, just to make it easier, I will leave the first comment of the day each day as an example! Good luck!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Q... & craziness in my kitchen

What I THINK I look like
when I start cooking
I've literally been cooking all day. It's weird. And yet... I'm glad. I'm no Suzie Homemaker, although I may get the same sort of crazy-eyed look by the time I'm finished as that lady over there (see picture, right), but I love the freedom that comes after I've willingly given up a day to my kitchen; a few hours that, sacrificed today, will save me from saying, "Oh, crap! What am I going to feed these people!" for a few weeks!

So, I went to town yesterday and spent an insane amount of money at the grocery store (did I mention that it was Super Wal-Mart? That should take the "insane" ingredient to a whole new level.) The plan: buy enough food to make a GOB of meals for my freezer. Why? Well, in case you haven't come over and visited us lately, you may not have heard this, but... I have this little project I've been working on for about 7 years that is finally coming to fruition in the next month and... I'm going to be busy. And the last thing I (well, ever) want to think about is what the heck I'm going to cook for dinner.

So here are the meals I have in my freezer (so far) on this cooking adventure, for my family of 4 plus planned leftovers for hubs's lunches:

3+ meals of chicken noodle soup (hey, it's still flu season, ya'all. And none of us have caught it yet! Now stop breathing your germs so close to your webcam!)

1 meal of beef and barley soup

2 meals of Honey Mustard Chicken with White Wine sauce

2 meals of Balsamic Citrus & Basil Chicken

What I think I look like when I've finished
and have a freezer full of  meals.
1 meal of Spicy Tangerine & Orange Pork Chops

1 meal of maple & ginger marinated Pork Chops (sounds gross, but is awesome grilled or baked. And there's other stuff in it besides maple and ginger, btw.)

1 beef roast, marinated in 1 jar of mild banana peppers. Sounds crazy, but you just thaw it, dump it in the slow cooker for about 8 hours and.. voila! Best. Pot roast. Ever. (Honestly, I've never done it with the freezer before... always have just started with a hunk of meat and a jar of banana peppers. I was skeptical the first time, but even my picky one loved it! And I love anything that limits prep time to "rip open plastic, remove jar lid, put in crock pot, walk away.) So... hope it works from frozen.

And in case you were wondering what recipes I used? Well, I didn't. Except for the pot roast. I got that one from a cookbook that I would HIGHLY recommend if you like using a crockpot (see? there! I did manage to be something about a book in this post!) It's called My Family Meal Planner Crock Pot Only. And you can get it HERE You can even order pre-made grocery lists. I used this cookbook pretty much EXCLUSIVELY for two months last fall and all the recipes were crowd pleasers. I liked it so much, that I got the "meals for two" version for my recently engaged niece for Christmas.

So, if I didn't use recipes, what did I do? Well, for most of the meals I just lined up a bunch of bowls on the counter and started squirting, spooning, and dumping in ingredients for different marinades. I'm a mix-n-match cook and things don't always turn out super awesome, but when it comes to marinades and homemade chicken noodle soup, I've used enough recipes from trusted folk that I sort of have a good enough "base knowledge" to be able to whip up a good marinade. I'm not worried. (perhaps my family is, but I'm not.)

And, there's a turkey roast thingy (I'm so culinary, aren't I) in my crockpot right now and a freshly baked corn casserole that just came out of the oven that we're going to eat for supper. And in my fridge? There's still one meal left from January's trip to Naomi's Kitchen (my preferred method of cooking: Buy it. Thaw it. Throw it in a cooking device.)

But I'm not finished yet! There's more meat in my fridge that needs to find its way into a "recipe" and on to my freezer! And I'm sick to death of cooking!

So, I will call upon the wisdom of Brother Lawrence (Oh! That's a book, too!) and the prayer of his that I read the other night:  O my God, since Thou art with me and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech Thee to grant me the grace to continue in Thy presence; and to this end do Thou prosper me with Thy assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my affections.
Normally, I don't pray in thees and thous. Okay, I never pray in thees and thous. But that's how Brother Lawrence said it in the classic devotion, The Practice of the Presence of God (with Spiritual Maxims) and he did most of his monking in the kitchen, as I understand it. So it fits.

What's left to do:

Create 10+ more meals using a turkey ham, 2 pounds of ground beef, 2 pork roasts, half of the turkey breast thing that is in the crockpot, and a bag of frozen chicken breasts. But... even after praying with Bro La-ro, I'm tired. I think I'm ready to clean up for today and hit it again tomorrow. Starting, with a modern English, more Serena-like version of that prayer.

So after I comatose-dose myself at Pinterest for a few minutes, I think I'll go grab a book to read and eat a cookie. (I baked those the other day. Yes, it's been a strange week. I'm going to blame my random domesticity on Winter Storm Q.)

BTW: it just started to snow and blow here. It's fine snow right now. Probably mixed with rain that will turn to ice.

Suzie Homemaker I am not. There must be something wrong with me. But... at least once I've finally finished cooking (tomorrow!) I won't have to think up something for dinner for a few weeks! Unless, of course, I forget to thaw something out the night before...

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_6817737_pretty-retro-blonde-woman-in-vintage-50s-dress-with-bowl-and-spoon.html'>creatista / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Image credit:  Image ID : 8596252 123RF Stock photo http://www.123rf.com/photo_8596252_mad-housewife-with-rolling-pin-on-white-background.html

Thursday, February 14, 2013

HELP-PICK-A-COVER GIVEAWAY! Be one of the 1st to read Serena's debut novel!

Cover choice #1


In honor of Valentine's Day (and because I was in the mood to do a little not-quite-shameless self-promotion) I am giving away a pre-release electronic (Kindle) copy of my debut YA romantic fantasy novel, THE RYN! 

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me which of these lovely book covers is your favorite... and why! (additional disclosure at bottom)



To help with your decision, here's a little bit about the book: 


DESTINED by prophecy. 
GUARDED by deception. 
PURSUED by Love.

Centuries ago, an oracle foretold of a young woman who would wield the power to defeat E’veria’s most ancient enemies, the Cobelds. But after two centuries of relative peace, both the prophecy and the Cobelds have been relegated to lore—and only a few remain watchful for the promised Ryn. 

Finally, a child is born who matches the oracle’s description, but a Cobeld’s curse accompanies her birth. Led to believe they succeeded in killing the prophesied child, the Cobelds emerge from hiding, whispering infirmity and death upon anyone who dares to cross their path.

But the child survived.

Cover choice #2
Secreted away and called “Rose” for the first nineteen years of her life, Rynnaia E'veri has no idea of her true identity until a chance meeting with an injured knight reveals not only her parentage and true name, but the task assigned her by the oracle: discover the Remedy that will destroy the Cobelds' power.           

Now, her time has come.

Offered the assistance of pirates, scribes, storytellers, a young woman who died centuries ago,  and the knight who is quickly working his way into her heart, Rynnaia is fortified with friends. But if the Ryn is to complete her task, she must come to terms not only with who she is, but for whom she must be willing to die. For the kingdom’s survival depends on her.

Releasing 3/26/13, THE RYN begins an expanded re-imagining of the classic Grimm fairy tale, Snow White & Rose Red. Book 2, THE REMEDY, is scheduled for release April 2013.


GIVEAWAY RUNS THROUGH 11:59 pm on 2/20/2013 and is open to anyone with a valid email address unless prohibited by law. Please see the additional fine print below. If you do not have a Kindle you can download the FREE Kindle app for Android devices HERE. There is also a Kindle app for PCs. (Perhaps it's the same. I don't know. I am not a nerd and I do not possess that sort of tech knowledge.) Winners will be chosen using www.random.org. 

THE FINE PRINT (that I'm nice enough to make big enough to read): By entering the contest you agree that, if you are chosen as the winner of this giveaway of THE RYN by Serena Chase, you will not share, copy, or otherwise distribute this Advance Reader e-Copy by any means physical, electronic or otherwise unless given express written permission from the author or from the publisher, Candent Gate LLC.

I hope you all have a lovely, romantic Valentine's Day and that somewhere in the midst of the hearts and flowers and chocolates you take a moment to remember the One True Love who chases after your heart.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

VALENTINE SPECIAL! Non-Fic GIVEAWAY! THE ART OF FALLING IN LOVE by Joe Beam



We don't talk about non-fiction books very often here at EIR, but being that tomorrow is Valentine's Day and all, what could be more helpful to our readers than the chance to win a book that might just help them find love, save love, or make the REAL romance in their lives deepen and grow. That's why, courtesy of Savannah at Howard Books, I am giving away THE ART OF FALLING IN LOVE by Joe Beam.

What it's about (from the back cover):

The Book of Love
This is a book about love--how to fall in love, stay in love, and renew lost love.

The Art of Falling in Love is the culmination of years of research by marriage and love expert Joe Beam. In these pages, Beam reveals a tried-and-true process for finding genuine, lasting love. In fact, this process--or "LovePath"--consists of four concrete steps that anyone can follow. Those who walk this path will fall in love whether they intend to or not, and those who stray from it won't find true love no matter how hard they try.

This book describes, in a way you won't find anywhere else, what love is, how to find it, how to keep from losing it, and how to get it back if you've already lost it. Insightful, revealing, and practical, yet full of gentle humor, this book leads you through the process that will keep you in love for the rest of your life.


About the author:  Joe Beam is an internationally known speaker and author. He founded Family Dynamics Institute in 1994 and led it through rapid growth for fourteen years. In 2008, he founded LovePath International because he wanted to do more than just educate couples; he also wanted to benefit singles and change the way both married couples and singles live and love so that their relationships will be all they can be. He has appeared on television and radio, including ABC's Good Morning America, Focus on the Family, NBC's Today show, and The Dave Ramsey Show. He and his wife, Alice, live in Nashville, Tennessee, and have three grown daughters.


GIVEAWAY!
To enter, simply leave your name, spam free email address (jane dot doe at jmail dot com)---and (if you feel so inclined) a Valentine's Day greeting to someone special---in the comment box below. Giveaway will be open through 11:59 pm on Sunday 2/17/2013.

I'm still working my way through this book, but I can say that, even after nearly 20 years of marriage I am learning a lot (like the fact that I still have a lot to learn!) from the examples in this book. Joe Beam's conversant style of writing is very easy to jump into and he writes from the heart of one has been in a seemingly hopeless place in his marriage and has made it to the other side with joy.

I hope this book will be a blessing and an encouragement to you and your valentine (or, for you single gals, for you and for the one out there who is your as-of-yet-unknown valentine-to-be!) Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love Locks! Guest Post by Sandra Byrd

Please welcome our guest, bestselling author Sandra Byrd 
and allow her to accompany you on a romantic stroll in Paris 
as we join her in celebrating the re-release of her
French Twist Trilogy.


Locked Lips & Love Locks in Paris
by Sandra Byrd

When I first told a friend that I was writing a post on the Love Locks of Paris, she teasingly asked if they related to chastity locks: those early medieval belts by which a Crusaders was supposed to reassure himself that his girl would remain true. Not quite!

Wander along the lovely Seine in Paris; stop at any number of bridges to enjoy a crepe, and the view. Many places you'll notice the webbed metal railings alongside the stonemasonry and clasped to them are hundreds, often thousands, of padlocks. Sometimes they're thinly scattered, with ribbons aflutter, sometimes they're as thick as hoarding like bees on a honeycomb. Although locks with lovers names have a history throughout European bridges dating back perhaps a hundred years, in Paris, they only began to show up in 2000. Most often they have "his" and "her" names on either side of the lock and then are hooked, permanently they hope, to the side of a bridge in the City of Light and Love. As long as the lock, lasts, so goes the hope, so shall the love.

According to an article in The New York Times, "The Paris town hall expressed concern: what about the architectural integrity of the Parisian landscape? One night about two years ago, someone cut through the wires and removed all the locks on one of the bridges. But in just a few months, locks of all sizes and colors reappeared, more conspicuous than ever."

Alas, keeping love alive requires more than simply firmly clasping a lock to keep your lover true, whether it be a chastity lock or hooking a Shlage or Kwikset through the rails of a Parisian bridge. As French philosopher Marcel Proust, "We only love what we do not wholly possess." Isn't that the very opposite of a lockdown? Much better to lock lips, and perhaps put a ring on it, instead.

What do you say - delightful ode to eternal love or deadly-locked display? What makes love last for you?
Let Them Eat Cake (French Twist #1)
Bon Appetit (French Twist #2)
Piece de Resistance (French Twist #3)


Mouthwatering fiction+ a few tasty recipes! Find Sandra's French Twist Trilogy with these awesome, redesigned covers at Amazon.com. 

Click on the title in the caption below each picture to go directly to that book's page! I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how affordable it will be to own the entire set! 



Image credit:for Paris bridge photo: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_15050462_the-alexander-iii-bridge-across-river-seine-in-paris-france.html'>nikonaft / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Friday, February 08, 2013

GIVEAWAY! Teetering Stacks #3

Every possible surface in my house has at least three books on it. And I'm not even counting the bookshelves. To help save these books from falling off my teetering stacks and coming perilously close to the jaws of Albus, the Goldendoodle wonder who has developed quite a taste for literature (see THIS POST for more on that!), I thought I would  give you a chance to WIN 3 for yourself! (Giveaway details will follow below)

The first book up for grabs was BEES IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN by Maureen Lang CLICK HERE to read more about it! The next book offered was: WHERE THE TRAIL ENDS by Melanie Dobson CLICK HERE for more information on that title!

The final book in our giveaway is: QUEEN OF THE WAVES by Janice Thompson

Is it just me, or does this cover model look a little like Princess Leia? Regardless, it is lovely and, having recently passed the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy, the book is timely and sounds really good. Here's what it's about (from the back cover):

When pampered Jacqueline Abingdon makes secret plans to elope with the family gardener, she concocts a scheme for another woman to take her place on the much-anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. From a poor corner of England, Tessa Bowen has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime--a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there's a catch: she must assume another woman's identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in expensive quarters, dresses in luxurious gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy young American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa must struggle to keep up the ruse even as she finds herself falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and Tessa's life is forever changed.

I am entirely bummed that I didn't, nor do I foresee having, time to read this book! It sounds so good, doesn't it! But I hate to see it sitting in a teetering stack, enjoyed by no one, but for the occasional glances I give its cover. So now... it's up for grabs. Here's how to get your hands on it!


Here's how you enter the giveaway!

Simply leave a comment on this or the preceding 2 posts, including your spam-free, spelled-out email (jane dot doe at jmail dot com) and you will be entered to win ALL THREE books  mentioned in this series of posts. Giveaway is open until 11:59pm Saturday, February 9, 2013. The winner will be chosen by using www.random.org and contacted via the email address provided.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Teetering Stacks #2 GIVEAWAY!

Throughout my house, stacks of books are overflowing onto the floor, the counters... pretty much every possible surface. To help save them from falling off my teetering stacks, I thought I would tell you about a few of them this week AND give you a chance to WIN 3 for yourself! (Giveaway details will follow below)

First up was BEES IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN by Maureen Lang CLICK HERE to read more about it!

And the next book in the giveaway is: WHERE THE TRAIL ENDS by Melanie Dobson

Here's what it's about (from the back cover):
For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. Together they weather autumn storms, hunger and thirst, and the dangers of a wild and unfamiliar country. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on British exporter Lord Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy waters.

Alex escorts Samantha and her young brother, Micah, to Fort Vancouver. There Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections, but the only one who intrigues her--Alex--is the one she cannot have. The ship will soon arrive from England to carry him home, back to his betrothed and a different world. Samantha becomes determined to create a home for herself and Micah in the fertile valley far away from the fort, but how will an unmarried woman support herself and her brother alone? When Micah disappears into the wilderness one rainy night, Samantha must rely on the man she loves--the man she's trying desperately to forget--to rescue her brother before it's too late.


Here's how you enter the giveaway!

Simply leave a comment below, including your spam-free, spelled-out email (jane dot doe at jmail dot com) and you will be entered to win ALL THREE books that will be mentioned in this series of posts. Giveaway is open until Saturday, February 9, 2013 and each post will have an opportunity to enter in the "comments" section. The winner will be chosen by using www.random.org and contacted via the email address provided.

Monday, February 04, 2013

TEETERING STACKS GIVEAWAY -- ALL WEEK LONG!

Soon after I began reviewing books for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog, my mailbox became smaller, due to the number of books I receive from publishers, publicists, and authors. Some I've requested... but most I have not. (Not that I'm complaining!) Unfortunately, I don't have time to read and review every book that is sent to me. Over the last few months I've gotten several that look really good... but I just haven't been able to fit them into my schedule. Once again, my stacks of books are overflowing onto the floor, the counters... pretty much every possible surface of my home. So to help save them from falling off my teetering stacks, I thought I would tell you about a few of them this week AND give you a chance to WIN 3 for yourself! (Giveaway details will follow below)

First up: BEES IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN by Maureen Lang

What it's about (from the publisher, TYNDALE HOUSE BOOKS): 
Raised in an exclusive boarding school among Fifth Avenue’s finest, Meg Davenport has all she’s ever needed . . . but none of the things she’s wanted most, like family, or dreams of a future that includes anything other than finding a suitable match. So when her distant father dies, she seizes the chance to throw etiquette aside and do as she pleases. Especially when she learns that John Davenport wasn’t the wealthy businessman she thought, but one of the Gilded Age’s most talented thieves.

Poised to lead those loyal to Meg’s father, Ian Maguire knows the last thing his mentor would have wanted is for his beloved daughter to follow in his footsteps. Yet Meg is determined, and her connections to one of New York’s wealthiest families could help Ian pull off his biggest heist yet. But are they both in over their heads? And in trying to gain everything, will they end up losing it all?

Here's how you enter the giveaway!

Simply leave a comment below, including your spam-free, spelled-out email (jane dot doe at jmail dot com) and you will be entered to win ALL THREE books that will be mentioned in this series of posts. Giveaway is open until Saturday, February 9, 2013 and each post will have an opportunity to enter in the "comments" section. The winner will be chosen by using www.random.org and contacted via the email address provided.

Bees in the Butterfly Garden has gotten rave reviews from many book bloggers I trust and I really wish I had time to read it! But since it has been taunting me for months from its place on my teetering stacks (and considering it released in June and I haven't gotten to it yet) I think it's time to bid it adieu... and give it to you!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Late Night Guilt Disorder

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_11545463_woman-sitting-on-windowsill-at-moon-night.html'>mikekiev / 123RF Stock Photo</a>














I suffer from night guilt. Because disorder acronyms are so popular these days, I'm going to call it LNGD (Late Night Guilt Disorder) Generally caused by a combination of self-centeredness, obsessive creative pursuits, and being a mother, it has been known to strike many woman without warning. Here are the symptoms:

Insert calm announcer voice and, maybe, a picture of a sad dog with a tennis ball:

Announcer: "You know those regrets you feel at the end of the day? 


(Woman's voice) 
"I should have..."
"I shouldn't have..."
"Why did I...?"
"Why didn't I...?"

Announcer: "If you find yourself asking those questions when you should be sleeping and then staying up to concoct a list of 10 wild ways to be a better person, you could be suffering from LNGD."

Lately, I've been having those symptoms a lot. As it turns out, starting a business, preparing to birth a book, and promoting it (as well as your other writing activities)... takes a lot of time. And money. And planning. And... time.

And somebody always gets the shaft, don't they? And when you're a mom, and nighttime comes, and everyone is asleep, it hits you... the guilt. (also known as LNGD) Why does it happen?

Maybe LNGD symptoms first appeared when your teen decided to make her own supper because you were too engrossed in editing that chapter to realize it was 7:30 p.m. Or perhaps when you had to ask your 6th grader to repeat her question on the vocabulary homework five times just because your brain was so otherwise engaged that her words just weren't making it through the other noise. Or maybe it's 12:37 a.m. and you just realized that you have no bread with which to make the requisite school lunches in the morning. Or perhaps you turn on the computer because your friend trusted you to mind her blog and make it grow during her sabbatical and you have neglected it. A lot. (Sorry, Joy.)

Or maybe that's just me.

In launching one area of my life, I've let so many other areas slide,leading to many reasons for my persistent LNGD symptoms; but, as you will see from the list below, the most well-greased slides in my life are relational, and my bum is planted in the cat-sand at the bottom of the slide. Yes, I pretty much suck at relational maintenance. (LNGD) And that is just plain sad. That's no way to live, regardless of how successful or derelict you become, relationships are why we're HERE. Color me ashamed of myself. (LNGD)

In any case... here's what I'm proposing I should do. Whether or not I follow through with it is yet to be seen. (LNGD)

1. Office hours on weekdays -- with the computer actually OFF by 5:30 p.m. and me, out of the cave and transplated to the same actual room as another human. And one day each weekend with NO COMPUTER at all. (I'm already shaking from withdrawal.)

2. Dinner at the (cleared off) table with no electronics allowed, for whomever is home at the supper hour -- even if the teen is off at an activity or the hubs is at a community theater practice.

3. Blogging (here) twice a week, minimum. Even if it's just dropping in to say "Hi."

4. Getting to bed at a decent hour so that I can be "present" and awake in my daily life outside of writing.(okay, it is nearly 1:40 a.m. as I'm typing this, so... LNGD! )

5. Exercise. I'll get back to that. Just typing the word makes me feel like I'm going to fail, so...? (LNGD!)

6. Make time for an in-person friend interaction twice a month. (imaginary friends don't count) For some of you, this may cause a gasp. But when it comes to my time, I am probably THE most selfish person on the planet. (LNGD) My to-do list (especially when it comes to my writing) almost always takes precedent over my to-love list. That's gotta change.

7. Make one morning a week a time to visiting other blogs. Spending so much time in my selfish little bubble, I've let even my world wide web world grow too small.

8. Find a way to integrate personal worship into every day. If you want a relationship to be vibrant and alive, you have to make an effort to connect, right? Man, do I need that connection with the one who made me and is allowing me to be a vessel. That sounds selfish, I know. But when worship is done right (and I'm not saying I achieve that very often) it's a reciprocal benefit, I think. Not that he needs me, but he does love me.
(somehow, my symptoms seem suddenly... less.)

9. I will thank people. More often. For the little things.

10. I will be thankful. More often. For the little things and the big things.

So there's my "should do" list, brought on by my persistent LNGD symptoms. It's something to aim for, at least. It may have been brought on by late night guilt, big to-do lists, and a selfish heart, but it does put some things in perspective.

Just putting that out there. Cuz I have the feeling I'm not alone in this disorder. (Even if I did just make it up.)

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