Monday, August 12, 2019

The Year I Left (+Giveaway)


The Year I Left
Christine Brae
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: August 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction
“A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.”
Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.
Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.
An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.
EXCERPT:
Sometime in the late summer when the air began to tingle and the leaves started to fall, I opened my eyes one morning and my view of the world had changed.
Just like that. I can still see it in my head. The way I let it all unfold. It was a train wreck waiting to happen, and I let it.
I left for a business trip that morning with my house in total disarray. I had no good reason for refusing to take Charlie to his school bus, and despite having some time to change our dog’s water bowl, I chose not to do it. There it lay, next to the unwashed food dish, crusted with the remains of last night’s dinner. I figured Jack would get home from the gym and handle it all.
Piles of paper gathering dust on the floor and debit card receipts busting out of a little white box screamed for my attention. I ignored them. My home office, the place where I used to hide all day, was like a war zone.
And it wasn’t like we had money issues. Paying our bills was the least of my worries. Jack had made a killing when his startup was bought out, and I was the head of client services at a global real-estate company.
I just stopped giving a damn. Nothing interested me. I was beset by indifference. I just couldn’t keep up anymore. The sleepless nights, the exhaustion, the constant streaming in my head. Everything seemed so insignificant, so mundane. My successes, my accomplishments, they had lost all meaning.


Author Bio:
Christine Brae is a senior executive with a full time career, who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Christine has written six books since her first release in 2013. She is the author of The Light in the Wound and His Wounded Light (2013), Insipid (2014), In This Life (2016) and Eight Goodbyes (2018).
Her latest book, The Year I Left is scheduled for release in August, 2019.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope this excerpt has tempted you to find out more about this intriguing book and author. Do you enjoy stories about the frailties of the human heart?

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Highlander Walks into a Bar


I’m delighted today to welcome author Laura Trentham to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her latest release, A HIGHLANDER WALKS INTO A BAR.

The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland comes to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…

Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…

          Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?

A HIGHLANDER WALKS INTO A BAR can be purchased HERE.

Join me now for a Q&A with the author.

What inspired you to write A Highlander Walks into a Bar?

Laura:
It was actually a Buick car commercial from a couple of years ago where a grandson picks his grandmother up from the airport and she says saucily, “I did a lot of shopping in Italy.” From behind her luggage steps an Italian gentleman. Of course, my writer brain kept picturing what happened after the three of drove off and twisted it into an entire story but had to make up a town for them to return to!

Another big inspiration is a real-life place: Helen, Georgia, is a town that has transformed itself into a German village. It’s picturesque and they celebrate Octoberfest every year. I twisted that concept and made my little town of Highland, Georgia, into a Scottish village including an annual Highland Games that the Buchanan ladies put on every summer which is an important aspect of the book.

Introduce us to your main characters!

Laura:
Isabel Buchanan is the daughter who picks her mother up from the airport only to be surprised by the appearance of Gareth Blackmoor, who happens to be keeping his title of Earl of Cairndow a secret from everyone in Highland, Georgia, including Rose Buchanan, Isabel’s mother.

Alasdair Blackmoor is Gareth’s nephew and heir to the title and castle in Scotland. He’s been sent to round up his wandering uncle and to make sure he isn’t being taken advantage of by some pushy American women. Complications ensue, including love (of course!)

Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

Laura:
To become a better writer, you must write. Sounds simple, but I know so many aspiring authors who get stuck in their own head. They plot and make inspiration boards and talk about writing, but when the fingers hit the keyboard, they get mired in doubts. Just get the words down. They don’t have to be perfect; they don’t even have to be good, but you can’t fix a blank page!

How is A Highlander Walks into a Bar different from your other books?

Laura:
While it’s still a Southern small-town romance, it has a definite rom-com vibe. Expect low angst and lots of laughs! I love to read reviews where they reader has literally laughed out loud at several points.

I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

Laura:
Two series I have loved lately are Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy (a fantasy retelling weaving medieval Russian history and folklore) and Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell’s mysteries (a Victorian butterfly hunter teams up with a taxidermist to solve mysteries. I mean, seriously, how can you beat that combo?!)

Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

Laura:
If you need a pick-me-up, good-time, laugh-out-loud book, then read A Highlander Walks into a Bar!

Favorite quote or scene you wrote in A Highlander Walks into a Bar?

Laura:
As the woman continued to stare at him as if he were the bearer of the bubonic plague, his smile faltered. He stuck out a hand. “I’m Alasdair Blackmoor.
Although he registered a split-second hesitation on her part, she took his hand. “Isabel Buchanan.
Her handshake was firm and no-nonsense, but her palm was soft and her hand small in his. On closer inspection, her eyes striated into all different shades of brown and amber, and freckles dusted her cheeks. He hung on to her hand for too long, but couldn’t seem to pry himself away.
Breaking the spell, she wrested her hand from his, pulling it into a fist. Was she planning on throat-punching him? He rubbed his neck and took a step back, out of the radius of her magnetic energy, and her reach. On her approach, she’d seemed birdlike, insignificant even, but up close, he was having a hard time not staring like a first-class prat.
He was punch-drunk with exhaustion. It was the only logical explanation.
She stuck her hands into the back pockets of her jeans, stretching her red V-neck T-shirt tight. His gaze dipped instinctively and then stuck around to read the print on the pocket over the soft curve of her left breast: Highland. The Heart of Scotland in the Blue Ridge.
She cleared her throat. His gaze shot to hers, and he blinked to try to refocus his thoughts. “I was admiring . . . I mean, reading your shirt.”
“It’s not a novel.”
His face heated. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d blushed this hot and fierce.

What inspired you to become a writer?

Laura:
I’ve always been (and still am) a huge reader. My youngest child started preschool and I wasn’t ready to go back to work in what I’m trained for (chemical engineering) so I sat down one morning and started writing a book. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing until I was around halfway done and loving every minute! That book became a Golden Heart finalist, got me an agent, and is published as An Indecent Invitation, a Regency historical.

What is a typical writing day like?

Laura:
During the school year, I work while the kids are in school. I love the flexibility of being there to pick my kids up and drive them to soccer or gymnastics or chaperoning field trips, etc.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

Laura:
My only habit is a bad one in that I drink *way* too much coffee while I’m writing! It’s become a ritual, I suppose.

What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author?

Laura:
How slow the industry can move, but also how quickly changes have come because of indie publishing.

Can you tell us about what’s coming up next after this for you writing wise?

Laura:
For my contemporary fans, I have my second women’s fiction releasing early February 2020, An Everyday Hero. The second book in the Highland, Georgia, series, A Highlander in a Pickup, releases late February 2020.

For my historical romance fans, look out for A Wicked Wedding in the Once Upon a Christmas Wedding anthology releasing in October 2019. And two more full length books in the Spies and Lovers series, A Sinful Surrender and A Daring Deception, coming sometimes in mid to late 2020!

How can readers connect with you online?

Laura:
Or join my reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1733284316920632/
Sign up for my newsletter:  https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/w7o6b1
Follow me on Bookbub for new release or sale announcements: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/laura-trentham
Author Laura Trentham

For those who aren’t familiar with Laura, here’s a bit of background on her.

Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, including Then He Kissed Me and The Military Wife. She is a member of RWA and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

Now for an added treat, here’s an excerpt from A HIGHLANDER WALKS INTO A BAR.

From A Highlander Walks into a Bar. Copyright © 2019 by Laura Trentham and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
Chapter One
“I brought home a surprise!” Rose Buchanan threw her arms out wide as if embracing the world. From the sto- ries she told to the way she entered the room, Rose was exuberant and entertaining and enjoyed being the center of attention.
Isabel Buchanan, who was perfectly content on the fringes, pushed her wavy hair off her sticky forehead with hands that trembled from the nightmare drive through At- lanta to the airport to pick up her mom. Her mom’s trip to Scotland had doubled as both research and vacation. The jammed stop-and-go traffic had left Izzy flustered and al- ready dreading their exit from the airport.
Rolling her stiff shoulders, Izzy stepped around the bumper of the car, popping the trunk open on the way. Her mom had a beautiful plaid scarf of greens and browns and blues tossed over her shoulder and what appeared to be new earrings. Either purchase might inspire her mother to gush, and she would expect reciprocal gushing from Izzy. Making an educated guess, Izzy asked, “Are those ear-
rings your surprise?”
Without waiting for an answer, she hauled one of her mom’s giant wheeled suitcases closer and prepared toheave it into the back. The sooner they got out of Atlanta, the sooner she could get back to work planning the High- land festival. Or she might pour an extra-large glass of wine and escape into a book. A guilty pleasure, consider- ing how much she still had to get in order in three scant weeks.
“Allow me, please.” A bearded man who had been roll- ing cases to the curb stepped forward with a grin and an accent Izzy couldn’t place.
She checked her pockets and winced. No cash to tip the man, and no hope her mom had thought of something so inconsequential.
“Do you like them? They’re hammered silver.” Her mom flipped her bobbed matching silver hair to the side and displayed one earring with her fingers. “And as a matter of fact, I did buy them from a lovely shop in Edin- burgh, but I brought something bigger home. Something more exciting.”
“Your scarf? It’s lovely.” Izzy gave her mom limited attention while she watched the man load suitcase after suitcase into her trunk, fitting them together like a puzzle. More luggage than her mom had left with. She waved to catch the man’s attention. “Hang on. That’s not all my mom’s stuff.”
For the first time, Izzy really looked at the man. He was close to her mom in age, and good-looking in a bear- like way with a gleaming white smile highlighted by a salt-and-pepper beard. His full head of hair was a shade darker, but graying heavily at the temples. The expres- sion on the man’s face when he looked in her mom’s direction—a mix of adoration and amusement—cleared the fog of confusion.
Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six- foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.

Thanks for stopping by during Laura’s visit. Have you ever watch an event unfold and/or saw an action between people and thought “that would make a great story”?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill


I’m excited today to tell you about author Abbi Waxman’s new release, THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL (Berkley Trade Paperback Original, July 9).

Inspired by the incredible young female booksellers she’s met while touring, Abbi’s third novel introduces confirmed introvert and twentysomething bookseller Nina Hill—whose carefully plotted life is about to go way off-script.

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL is what happens when Liane Moriarty’s skewering of suburbia meets the endearing quirkiness of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.
 
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is? 
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Author Abbi Waxman/Photo:
© Photo by Leanna Creel
Abbi Waxman, the author of Other People's Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings, is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction.

She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband. She can be found online at abbiwaxman.com, Facebook.com/abbiwaxmanbooks, and on Twitter @amplecat.

Thanks for stopping by today. What are your thoughts on the solace and sanctuary of a good book? When someone asks for a book recommendation, what’s your first response?