It’s a Sweet (Somethings) Giveaway!

With the holidays just around the corner, you know what I think it’s time for?

A GIVEAWAY!!!!

What kind you say?

How about a sweet giveaway?

A Sweet Somethings giveaway, to be precise.

What can you win?

When you enter via Rafflecopter, you’ll be in the running to win the Grand Prize, which consists of:

  • Signed print copies of ALL FOUR SWEET SOMETHINGS books
  • A chocolate truffle assortment from Kilwins
  • A photo book full of amazing pictures from Rome and Taormina, Italy
  • A $25 gift card to The Cheesecake Factory
  • A set of three Bath & Body Works Red Velvet Scented Mini Candles
IMG_20181209_204800887

Not pictured is the When in Rome: A Photographic Journey photo book.

Three runners-up will win a $10 Amazon or B&N Gift Card (your choice).

The Fine Print

The giveaway will run from December 7th through December 14th.

Due to the cost of shipping, only residents of the continental United States are eligible for the Grand Prize (sorry Alaska, Hawaii, and the rest of Planet Earth).

If your entry is selected for any of the prizes, you will be contacted by email by 11:59pm on Saturday, December 15th, and must respond with the necessary shipping/contact information by December 17th. Winners will be announced here on the blog no later than December 19th.

Ready to Enter?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Ribbon of Light (Virtual Tour & Giveaway)

Ribbon of Light

by Claire Yezbak Fadden

GENRE:   Women’s Fiction

Julie Rafferty’s life-long dream is within her grasp. But just as the toy company she founded verges on becoming a multi-million-dollar enterprise, her husband abandons their marriage.

Trevor had no choice but to walk away from Julie. How else could he show his wife that the business was her priority, not him and their three children? His drastic stunt backfires though, jeopardizing the family business and seemingly pushes Julie into the arms of a younger man.

Just when Julie and Trevor find their way back to each other, a ruthless competitor escalates a bogus lawsuit. Together they plot to reclaim control of the toy company, only to uncover a shattering betrayal that puts them in unimaginable danger.

Can they overcome their dreadful mistake and reclaim the passion, trust and commitment that once drew them together? Or will the greed of an evil man irreparably destroy everything they hold dear?

Read an Excerpt

Julie gazed around the gymnasium, hoping for a sign of Trevor. During the timeouts, she spied Jason’s blue eyes scanning the stands, searching for his father, too. His broad shoulders and solid frame reminded her of a young Trevor. Her firstborn, a full head taller than most of his teammates, knocked hard on the door to manhood, seemingly overnight.

Trevor was staying away on purpose, she realized, her eyes misting over. His way of getting even because she was leaving on a business trip.

“Hey.” A familiar hand touched Julie’s shoulder, causing an electrifying charge to pulse through her body.

“I was wondering if you were going to show up,” she said with more bitterness than she meant.

She was relieved to see Trevor. She wanted to be near him, touch his face, hold hands like they used to. Instead, she made a snarky comment, driving another wedge between them. Seemed like inflicting hurt and pain became the goal of every conversation they shared recently. Somehow their loving, supportive relationship had turned spiteful and vindictive.

Julie couldn’t put her finger on when things changed, but she knew why. Trevor never understood her need to stand on her own two feet and take pride in something she created. He would never understand how her company gave her a sense of security he never could.

She moved her jacket to make room for him. Instead, he squeezed in between the girls. “Don’t start with me. I work too, you know. I got here as soon as I could.”

“Jason went on a scoring run. He has twelve points, eight from free throws.” Julie allowed her pride to slip out.

“Guess all that time you spent in the driveway teaching him how to draw a foul paid off.”

“Someone has got to be home with our kids,” Trevor said, his words dripping with judgment.

“Nicole, Emily. Go wash that sauce off your hands,” Julie ordered.

“I can just lick them clean,” Emily said.

Nicole stood. “Come on, Em. Let’s go. I think they’re going to fight again and Mom doesn’t want us to hear.”

“We’re not fighting,” Trevor said. “Just go wash your hands like your mother asked.”

She watched the girls head toward the bathrooms.

“They’re right, you know. All we do anymore is argue.”

“Not true. You’re not at home long enough. I can’t believe you have another week-long business trip.”

“I have a commitment to the company and the people who work there,” Julie said in hushed tones. “If you can’t or won’t accept that, then there is nothing I can do to make things better between us.”

Claire Yezbak Fadden will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Enter the rafflecopter giveaway here.

Meet Claire Yezback Fadden

When she’s not playing with her granddaughters, Pennsylvania native Claire Yezbak Fadden is writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature strong women who overcome life’s challenges, always putting their families first.

There’s a special spot in Claire’s heart for carousel horses – quite possibly the result of watching “Mary Poppins” 13 times as a young girl. She loves butterflies, ladybugs and confetti! Just ask anyone who’s received a birthday card from her.

The mother of three lives in Orange County, California with her husband, Nick and three spoiled dogs.

Claire’s work as an award-winning journalist, humor columnist and editor has appeared in more than 100 publications across the United States, Canada and Australia. Ribbon of Light is the third novel in her Begin Again series.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | Goodreads | iTunes

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GZTZK3T/ref=sr_1_1

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ribbon-of-light-claire-yezbak-fadden/1129446496

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/892576

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ribbon-of-light

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41578682-ribbon-of-light

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ribbon-of-light/id1434756246?mt=11

 

Follow Claire @claireflaire,

Email her at claire@clairefadden.com,

Like her Facebook Fan Page  https://www.facebook.com/claireyezbakfadden/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Visit her at clairefadden.com.

Join her mailing list: http://eepurl.com/cclBRv.

Woman@Heart Blog. https://clairextraordinaire.wordpress.com/

Who’s Ready for a Scavenger Hunt?

It’s that time of year again!

Night Owl Romance is about to launch this year’s HALLOWPALOOZA event, and once again, I’m one of the sponsors with my featured title, BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE.

There are over 100 prizes for eager book lovers, including book giveaways by participating authors, Amazon gift cards, and the Grand Prize, a Kindle Fire HD 8 with Alexa!

For more info, be sure to check out the Scavenger Hunt, happening October 11th through 31st over at Night Owl Romance.

The Back-to-School Balancing Act

Today I wrapped up Day 6 of my fifteenth year in education. Honeymoon period notwithstanding, I am already 99% less stressed out than I was at this time last school year.

I’m not exactly sure what’s got me feeling different. I definitely haven’t lessened my workload, having taken on some curriculum-related responsibilities at the district level that I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’ve slacked off on the past couple weeks.

(Word is I’m not alone in the slacking department. I think everyone’s gotten a bit behind. We’ll catch up.)

It’s certainly not due to a stress-free summer, because that has definitely not been the case. I feel like I barely had summer break this year. I had all these grand plans to relax with books, take a nap on my screened in back porch, take my daughter to the little local beach on Lake Norman. None of that happened.

So why do I feel so much better going into this school year, after a year that had me questioning my career trajectory?, I’d like to think it’s because I’ve started thinking very carefully about the level of balance in my life and the way I’m choosing to self-care.

I’ve take a few smallish steps toward ensuring that I not only keep a decent work-life balance, but that I also take care of myself and better manage my stress.

  1. No bringing school work home. One thing I’ve always sucked at, especially at the start of the school year, is bringing the school day home with me. In past years, it hasn’t been a big deal because I didn’t have a tiny person reliant on me. If I had to spend an hour or so grading papers or making presentations, whatever. No biggie.  But I need to protect my planning time at work, use my workdays to the max, and keep school work at school so I can devote my evenings and weekends to my family first, and then to my writing.
  2. Use a planner. This is a small thing. When I was in college, I was great about my planner. Assignments and tests and meetings and everything else were all written down. For a long time, I’ve valued a good desk calendar at work with upcoming important events jotted down from September to June. We have a family wall calendar that is full. But my personal planning game tanked somewhere around 2008, and I never really got it back. This year, I have vowed to turn that around. I bought a nifty 18-month calendar that not only has monthly and weekly pages – which are already filling up at an alarming rate – it has monthly goal setting pages and weekly exercises in self-reflection. And stickers! It comes with stickers, y’all!
  3. Eat better and sleep more. It’s been a struggle to step away from the soda and junk food (I type as I snack on Milk Duds), but I’m trying. I need to be more proactive in packing my lunch and making sure I eat a breakfast with enough protein to get me from 6:30am to 12:05pm (when I finally can sit down to shove my proactively packed lunch in my mouth in twelve minutes flat). Sleep is also essential to deal with, since my school day is shifted fifteen minute earlier. I’ve got to put a 10:30 bedtime in place and stick to it.
  4. Treat yo’self. Read a book that has nothing to do with work. Get a pedicure. Get my hair done. Soak in the garden tub. Play the piano. Snuggle those extra ten minutes with my child at bedtime – it’s as good for me as it is her, because we do have so little time together during the work week.
  5. Keep moving. I’d gotten into a good routine of taking a 20-minute walk right after putting Babycakes to bed, but that’s dropped by the wayside since school started. I guess I could argue that since my job isn’t sedentary that I shouldn’t stress too much. But I want to try and build in a solid time to exercise. If I can get the commute home done by 4:15 (possible most days if busses are on time and I’m in the driver’s seat by 3:50), I think I can squeak in a short workout of some sort as soon as I get home.

The work-life balance is important, and I’ve known for a long time that my balance has been way off. I feel like I can figure it out this year. I’m optimistic about my students, I’m excited for new idea and opportunities on the horizon, and I want to make these positive changes in my life.

So here goes the balancing act!

The Good Things That Have Come Out of July 2018

I’m going to flat out say it, and pardon my French. But overall, July 2018 has proven to suck ass.

In the hope of brightening my own spirits, I’ve decided to share the bits of good news that have surfaced this month.

Contests!

As you all already know, I was named a finalist in this year’s The Sheila Contest, run by the Valley Forge Romance Writers.

I placed 2nd in the Historical Romance category!

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Congratulations to all the finalists! I am honored and thrilled to be counted among you.

I also received word that I am a finalist in the TARA Contest‘s historical category as well, and am waiting with baited breath to get the final results of that, as well as a third contest I entered my post-Civil War historical into at the end of June.

A Signing!

Once again I’ll be participating in the Carolina Romance Writers’ Sip & Sign event, happening September 8th. Full information about the signing and event will be posted on the CRW website, but if you’re local to the greater Charlotte area, mark your calendar!

HE TAKES THE CAKE in Print at LAst!

It’s been a bit longer in the making than I’d expected, due to technical issues outside my or my publisher’s control. But at last, the print release of HE TAKES THE CAKE is available!

And please remember… If you’ve enjoyed an author’s work (and I’m speaking on behalf of all authors, not just myself), the two best ways to say “thank you” are to spread the word and leave a review on Amazon/B&N/Goodreads, etc.

Guest Blog – Rachel Brimble: Challenges of Writing Historical Romance for Modern Readers (Virtual Tour & Giveaway)

Today I’m hosting author Rachel Brimble, whose historical romance THE MISTRESS OF PENNINGTON’S  is now available. She shares a bit about the challenges of writing both contemporary and historical romances. Read on!

Challenges of Writing Historical Romance for Modern Readers

I’m often asked how I manage to write both contemporary and historical romances – do I approach each project in the same way? How much research goes into my historicals compared to my contemporaries? Which sub-genre do I prefer?

These are all valid questions, but the most important thing for me is that my lovely readers love every one of my books, whether contemporary or historical!

When I’m starting a new book of any sub-genre, I begin by focusing on the emotions of the protagonists. What do they want? Why? What happened in their past to make them the people they are today? What’s their biggest fear? They’re biggest life wish?

It’s by focusing on these things that the lines between writing contemporary fiction and historical fiction blur.

Once I’d decided on a department store setting for The Mistress of Pennington’s, I began researching the beginnings of these new, mammoth stores, the people who worked and shopped at them, the retail processes and every other detail I could uncover. Accurately portraying a bygone era is definitely the biggest challenge when writing historical romance for modern readers.

Why? Because readers READ!

It’s inevitable that, one day, a reader will know more about a subject than you. They might have an avid interest in the period. Might know more about the social climate at the time or be an expert in (help!) retail history. A writer cannot allow the prospect of a reader telling the world about an inaccuracy in your work to scare them away from writing the story bursting to be told. All they can ensure is that they do all they can to avoid making a huge, jarring mistake. Research is paramount.

Once I’ve done my research (and any that might arise as I’m writing), I embark on my historical novels in the same way I do my contemporary work. For me, it’s about the story unfolding, the development and changes in the characters, that all-important emotion and bringing the tale to a satisfactory ending that leaves my readers with a clear feeling of the period and an empathy for all that the characters have endured.

If I achieve that, I’m happy and, hopefully, I’ve overcome the challenge of writing historical fiction for the modern reader. 🙂

Happy Reading!

Rachel x

Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.

Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.

Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

Read an Excerpt

He moved to walk away, and she reached for his arm before she could think just how dangerous such contact could be. He halted, and even when he looked at her fingers clutched on his forearm, she did not remove them. It suddenly felt important she touch him; that he understood she had care for what he said or asked her.

Even though the physical contact set her heart racing, she held her grasp. ‘Why do you ask me about your family?’

He closed his eyes and dropped his chin to his chest.

Disquiet whispered through her. What had caused such uncharacteristic hesitation in him?

‘Joseph…’ She slid her hand from his arm, ignoring the pang of loss that the break of contact brought. ‘If there’s something bothering you, please, share it with me.’

He slowly raised his head, his blue eyes full of irritation once more. ‘I will, but not here. Not on the street. I’d prefer to come to your office tomorrow.’

How was she supposed to wait until tomorrow? Her curiosity was rife. It was clear something had changed between them. Something, it seemed, of which she was the cause.

She nodded. ‘I’ll send a message to you first thing in the morning.’

‘Thank you. Until then, I bid you good day.’

He walked away, leaving Elizabeth with questions and words flailing on her tongue. She stared after him, fearful of the pull deep in her chest that Joseph’s concerns had somehow become hers. No good could come of such caring. Her only goal should be proving her worth and capability in Pennington’s and beyond. She could not allow one man, any man, to have such an effect on her.

She inhaled a long breath and walked towards Pennington’s doors.

Rachel is giving away a $25 Amazon/B&N Gift Card to one lucky winner. Click here to enter the rafflecopter giveaway now!

About Rachel Brimble

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s, will release in July 2018.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Write

you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

rs of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing,

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Links:

http://rachelbrimble.com/

http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.com/

http://www.twitter.com/RachelBrimble

https://www.facebook.com/rachelbrimbleauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RachelsReaders/?fref=ts

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

Summer Semi-Hiatus

In case you haven’t figured it out by the relative radio silence, I’m on something of a hiatus now that summer vacation has arrived.

I’m reveling in summer vacation. Three days into it, I’d completely lost track of what day of the week we were on, let alone the actual date. (But let’s be honest – most of the time I only know the date because I write it on the board every morning.)

Time to cook and bake? Yes, please. Hanging with Babycakes in SAHM mode? Check. Finally powering through a friend’s copy of Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager because I’ve lost track of how long ago I borrowed it? Working on that.

The need for the hiatus is work-related, though. I’ve joined a cohort of history-minded colleagues in a rewrite of our district’s secondary social studies curricula, whilst also planning to present with one of those colleagues at our August curriculum days. I’ve also picked up a couple freelance jobs, one of which is a pretty big project and will take up a big chunk of my writing time.

Travel to visit family is in there somewhere, as is working on, you know, my newest novel.

So if there’s a lot of radio silence from me over the next couple months, fear not. I’m just being productive.

Other Fun Information

No specific word yet on the print release of HE TAKES THE CAKE, but I do know it’s visible in the pipeline. Once I know, you’ll know, and there will be a chance at a BIG GIVEAWAY once everything is set in stone.

I’ve entered my post-Civil War historical romance in a handful of contests this spring, and have a couple others pegged for possible entry. This leads to the second coolest thing that’s ever happened to me, after landing my first book contract.

Final round results are supposed to be announced soon. This is a huge accolade, even if I don’t even make honorable mention. Good luck to all the other finalists in The Sheila!