Sunday, May 4, 2014

Author Lynn Steward’s A Very Good Life (+Giveaway)

A Very Good Life Book CoverI’m delighted today to tell you about an incredible new book, A VERY GOOD LIFE, from debut novelist Lynn Steward.

The story is set in glamorous New York City in the 1970s. It’s the first installment in a planned five book series. To celebrate the release, Lynn is sharing an excerpt and giving away one print copy of A VERY GOOD LIFE to a lucky visitor. Please see the end of the post for the details.

First, here’s a brief synopsis …. 

      Dana McGarry has it all – a fantastic job at a prestigious New York City department store; a handsome and successful husband; a beautiful home in the best part of the city; great friends and family. But Dana’s life isn’t quite as perfect as it appears. Her marriage is unraveling and her career has not only stalled, but unethical demands are placed on her at work. Dana is at a crossroads. 
      Set in 1974, A VERY GOOD LIFE recreates a unique time in New York City when women like Dana hungered to have it all. From lunch at Cipriani’s to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estee Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a women’s quest for self-fulfillment.


Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. 

Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Lynn created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. 

For more on Lynn and her writing, visit her website and connect with her Pinterest.   

Now, here’s the excerpt for your reading pleasure.

Chapter One

      Dana McGarry, her short blond hair stirred by a light gust of wind, stood on Fifth Avenue in front of the display windows of the B. Altman department store on the day after Thanksgiving, November, 1974. Dana, public relations and special events coordinator for the store, pulled her Brooks Brothers camel hair polo coat tighter around her slim, shapely frame. Shoppers hurried past her, huddled in overcoats as mild snow flurries coated the streets with a fine white powder. It was now officially Christmas season, and Dana sensed a pleasant urgency in the air as people rushed to find the perfect gift or simply meet a friend for lunch. The frenetic pace of life in Manhattan continued to swell the sidewalks, but pedestrians were more inclined to tender a smile instead of a grimace if they bumped into one another. Dana often told her friends that Christmas was a time when there was a temporary truce between true believers and grinches. As far as business was concerned, she was pleased to hear the cash registers of B. Altman singing their secular carols inside the store, but she also still believed that the holidays brought magic and balance, however briefly, into a world of routine and ten-hour workdays.
      Balance? Dana smiled wistfully, for balance was becoming harder to achieve. She was only twenty-nine, but the pressures of life were already assaulting her mind and spirit in numerous ways. She tried to please multiple people in B. Altman’s corporate offices on a daily basis, not an easy task given that the seasoned professionals who were grooming her had various agendas, not all of which tallied with each other. And then there was her marriage to Brett McGarry, a litigator at a Wall Street law firm. Brett was as busy as she, and simultaneously attending to her career and the needs of her husband was sometimes difficult, if not downright burdensome. His needs? Well, “demands” would be a more accurate description of what Dana had to contend with. Although Brett didn’t overtly order Dana around, he informed her of what he would or would not be able to do with her on any given day. His growing air of superiority was extremely subtle and couched in affable smiles that most of Dana’s friends could not accurately read.
      Dana’s eyes had become unfocused as she stared past the display window, but she quickly snapped her attention back to the present moment. People, coated with a dusting of light snow, continued to stream through the portico outside B. Altman’s. Magic and balance still held the better claim on Friday, November 29. She’d worry about Brett later.
      “I think they like it,” commented Joe Mondi, display director for the store, as he stood to Dana’s left, referring to the happy, animated shoppers. “Good idea, Jeffrey. Christmas was the right time to bring in live mannequins.” Joe, slender and dressed in a gray suit with sweater vest, wiped snowflakes from his salt and pepper hair, wavy and combed straight back. Even as Joe said this, a little girl waved both hands, trying to get the attention of one of the Sugar Plum Fairies behind the window, saying over and over, “I saw her blink! I did! I saw her blink!”
      Jeffrey Tepper was the president of the Tepper Display Company, and B. Altman had been a good account for ten years. “You’re welcome. I want you guys to look good. Bloomie’s is just twenty-five blocks away,” said the suave president, dressed in a blue pinstripe suit. He stood to Dana’s right. His light brown hair was parted neatly above a broad forehead, and he had intense blue eyes that could capture the slightest nuance. He was of average height, in good physical shape, and his ideas seemed to emanate from a bottomless reservoir of energy. “You can’t go wrong with a Nutcracker theme.” Jeffrey stepped back and surveyed the scene. “Now if I could only figure out a way to make the live mannequins stop blinking,” he said with a grin.
      Dana and Joe laughed at Jeffrey’s quick wit, the result of keen intelligence combined with a sophisticated playfulness. He could be highly focused without taking himself too seriously.
      Joe rubbed his hands together and exhaled, his breath drifting away in a small cloud of vapor. “Say, would you two mind coming inside to look at the blueprints for the cosmetic department? I have to make one change.”


This giveaway is for one print copy of A VERY GOOD LIFE. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and will end on Monday, May 12. When notified the winner will have 72 hours to reply to my email. After that time period if the winner hasn’t responded, another winner will be selected. To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instruction. The widget may take a few seconds to load, please be patient.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Hope you’re having a great Sunday and the weather is treating you well. Have you ever worked in the fashion industry or wanted to?

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  1. Mason - Thanks for sharing this. Stories of crossroads in lives and how we meet those 'watershed moments' can be absorbing.

  2. That's an interesting question. I do enjoy seeing new fashion and the process of creating it fascinates me. I love Project Runway and try to never miss an episode. However, the world of fashion seems like a terribly difficult and stressful place to work. I've never really had a serious urge to try to find a job there.

  3. I have never worked in the fashion industry but I am in awe of the talent. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. sounds like a nice book, and I love the winter theme on the cover

  5. No I haven't worked in the fashion world and haven't ever wanted to.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.