Join Claire Cook as she virtual tours the blogosphere in July ’10 to promote her new book, Seven Year Switch (Hyperion), which is the perfect beach read this summer!
Claire is the bestselling author of seven novels including Must Love Dogs which was adapted into a Warner Brothers movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, The Wildwater Walking Club, Life’s a Beach, and her latest, Seven Year Switch. Her reinvention workshops have been featured on The Today Show, and she has been a judge for the Thurber Humor Prize and the Family Circle fiction contest. Her books have been featured on Good Morning America and in People, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and more. She has two kids, seven brothers and sisters, and one husband. She lives in Scituate, MA.
Seven Year Switch centers on Jill Murray who is perfectly happy living a man-free existence. She’s got Anastasia, her ten-year-old daughter, and a sweet little bungalow to call home. Life as a cultural coach didn’t turn out quite the way she planned, but between answering phones for Great Girlfriend Getaways and teaching Lunch Around the World classes, the dust in this Jill-of-all-trades life is starting to settle.
Then her ex-husband comes back.
They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, and Jill has long ago stopped wishing her deadbeat husband would return. Now she has to face the fact there’s simply no way she can be a good mom without letting Seth back into their daughter’s life. But why can’t she seem to hold herself together around him? And then there’s Billy, the free-spirited, bike-riding entrepreneur who hires Jill as a consultant. When their business relationship seems destined for something more Jill’s no-boys-allowed life is suddenly anything but.
It takes a Costa Rican getaway to help Jill make her choice — between the woman she is and the woman she wants to be. It’s a wild ride, sure to thrill Claire Cook’s many fans, complete with laughter, revelations, and one heckuva big tarantula.
People Magazine says, “Bestseller Cook charms again with this lively warm-hearted look at changing courses mid-life.”
Publishers Weekly says, “Cook creates an impossible-not-to-love cast of imperfect, funny, wistful, and wise characters.”
Kirkus Reviews says “Cook hits her marks…a beach tote couldn’t ask for more.”
If you’d like to follow along with Claire as she tours the blogosphere in July, visit her official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store including giveaways. Find out things about Claire you never knew before on her Seven Year Switch Virtual Book Tour ’10!
You can visit Claire’s website and find reinvention and writing tips at http://www.ClaireCook.com. Friend her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ClaireCookbooks/. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ClaireCookbooks/.
Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.
Join Kailin Gow, author of the young adult novel, Rise of the Fire Tamer: Wordwick Games Book 1 (The EDGE), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in July ‘10 on her third virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
Kailin Gow is the author of over 30 books for all generations, but her specialty is the young adult/teen genre. Her books have been recommended by PBS Kids, the PTA, homeschooling organizations, and on the Best Teens Books list. She is a mentor for young women, has founded 3A for Autism (Actors, Artists, and Authors for Autism), and runs a publishing and production company known as Sparklesoup, a mid-size publisher and production company.
Rise of the Fire Tamer centers around a popular game called Wordwick Games in which five teens – Gemma, Sparks, Rio, Kat and Jack – end up winning and are invited to stay at Wordwick Games inventor Henry Word’s mysterious castle and play the newest level of Workwick Games. Little do they know, the castle is the doorway to a wondrous world call Anachronia where words can be used as weapons, power, and commodity. There is unrest in Anachronia, and if the five teens can follow the rules of Wordwick Games and prove to be the best player, one of them will be crowned Ruler of Anachronia.
Teen Books Reviewer calls Rise of the Fire Tamer “…A fast-paced exciting read!”
The Bookshelf calls it “A must read for those who love adventure and fantasy, competition and suspense…”
If you’d like to follow along with Kailin as she tours the blogosphere in July, visit her official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store as you travel the blogosphere to find out more about Kailin and her young adult fiction novel, Rise of the Fire Tamer. Join us for the Rise of the Fire Tamer Virtual Book Tour ‘10!
You can visit her website at www.sparklesoup.com.
Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.
Join Leonora Pruner, author of the historical novel, Close to His Heart (Nordskog Publishing, May 2010), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in August on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About Leonora Pruner
Leonora Pruner was born in Dubuque, Iowa, but has lived most of her life in California. Writing has been an important activity since junior high. She graduated from Westmont College in 1953 and earned an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1981.
Fascination with a possible eighteenth-century English character led to five years of extensive research, which resulted in the 1981 and 1987 publication of two period novels. That time remains of great interest to the author, and she continues to use eighteenth-century England as a setting for her work.
Leonora married in 1953, and her family has expanded from two children to thirteen grandchildren and five great-grand-children.
She lived in the Republic of Maldives from 1987 to 1997, where she collected folklore and taught economics and computer science. While there she wrote the first drafts of this book.
Other books by Leonora Pruner include Love’s Secret Storm and Love’s Silent Gift. The title of her next novel is The Aerie of the Wolf.
For more information please visit http://nordskogpublishing.com/book-close-to-his-heart.shtml.
About Close to His Heart
In this eighteenth-century romance, a young and naive Grace Carstares plans a midnight elopement with a handsome stableman with suspicious motives. Their plans are thwarted, however, when Grace discovers a mysterious stranger lying guard at her bedroom threshold. All is explained the next morning when, to her dismay, Grace learns her nighttime guardian is young Lord Buryhill, a suitor approved by her father who caught rumor of her misguided romance and decided to protect her from ruining her life.
Determined to marry this particular young woman, Lord Henry Buryhill comes to deeply love Grace and hopes to win her love in return. Yet buried beneath this determination is his own abandoned hope that he would meet a woman who might share his commitment to God.
Henry wins Grace’s heart as well as her hand in marriage. But Henry cannot overcome his nagging fears that Grace clings to her affection for the stableman. His distrust darkly clouds their wedding night and shatters their hopes for a joy-filled union. Unaware of the reasons driving her husband’s suspicions and jealousy, a devastated Grace withdraws from Henry, busying herself in gardening and taking solace in God’s love.
An ensuing pony-cart accident, through which Grace loses all memory of former things, presents both Grace and Henry the opportunity to either abandon their shattered marriage or begin anew. A guilt-ridden Henry is determined to win Grace’s heart once again, but Grace must decide whether to accept the courtship of a complete stranger or continue her life in the small community among the people who found her and nursed her back from a head injury. Will Henry’s determination, forgiveness, and tender care be sufficient to rebuild a foundation for their marriage?
Read the Reviews!
“Pruner’s third novel is a superbly researched historical romance set in eighteenth century England, and a profound study of true love. Jane Austen fans who have wondered what Kitty Bennett’s life might have been like if she had had a grain of good sense and had fallen into the hands of an honourable man will love this story.”
–-Donna F. Crow, Author
“The longing of both Grace Carstares and Lord Henry Buryhill for a loving, faith-minded spouse results in a romantic courtship. Serious misunderstandings shatter their marriage until Grace’s loss of memory offers an opportunity for renewal – if they can forgive each other. “This story transports readers to a beautiful world of romance and leaves them with a sense of joyful hope.”
–-Kay Marshall Strom, Author
Leonora Pruner’s CLOSE TO HIS HEART VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR AUG ‘10 will officially begin on August 2nd and end on August 27. You can visit Leonora’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the month of August to find out more about this great book and talented author!
If you are interested in participating in his tour, please contact Cheryl Malandrinos at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com.
Join Jonathan Williams, author of the Christian adventure novel, Jungle Sunrise (Nordskog Publishing, April 2010), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in August on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams served as a missionary with the International Mission Board’s Xtreme Team in the jungles of Peru for two years. It was there, lying under a mosquito net in a hut in the middle of the Amazon Jungle, that Williams began to write his first novel, Jungle Sunrise.
Williams, 30, writes and lives in North Texas with his beautiful wife, Jessica, where he pastors Body Life church and serves as the Campus Pastor for Trinity Christian Academy as he pursues a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His passion and desire is to inspire readers with creativity and truth.
Find out more by visiting www.JungleSunrise.com.
About Jungle Sunrise
A unique and captivating novel by a member of the Xtreme Team, who risk their lives and endure unthinkable physical deprivation while assisting native people in the most remote areas of the world. Living with a previously unreached indigenous tribe, the Amarakaeri, Williams experienced first-hand the beauty and danger of native life as he had the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, hunt with bows and arrows, fish with spears, navigate the rivers, and encounter every aspect of the tribe’s culture. This breathtaking scene of the Amazon serves as the backdrop for Jungle Sunrise.
Read an Excerpt!
Deep in the breathtaking but perilous Peruvian jungles, young missionaries Memphis and Abigail Jones constantly face death and disease as they hunt, fish, and provide medical care for a primitive tribe while living their witness to the love of Christ. But the couple’s success with the tribe has earned them a dangerous enemy, Dr. Basil Cosgrove, a radical but naïve anthropologist possessed with a boundless drive to thwart their efforts, even at the expense of all of their lives.
Their paths will soon cross that of professor and would-be author Jonah Frost who is frustrated by a nemesis of his own—himself. In the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt, Jonah accompanies his linguist brother to Peru to chart the language of a newly discovered indigenous tribe. As the Frost brothers’ plans coincide with goals of Memphis and Abigail, they embark on a jungle river trek only to run afoul of Dr. Cosgrove with results requiring supernatural bravery and selfless love.
Read the Reviews!
“Jungle Sunrise is a unique and captivating novel, written by a member of the Xtreme Team, an inimitable group of men and women who risk their lives and endure unthinkable physical deprivation while attempting to find and assist native people in the most remote areas of the world. Author Jonathan Williams has written this novel out of the rich background of that experience. He unlocks the secret of how to begin life anew, as the book’s central character moves from a depressing, direc- tionless life to a rewarding and incomparable adventure. One warning: do not start reading until you have some time because you won’t put it down.”
— Paige Patterson President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Jonathan Williams skillfully transports the reader between two worlds in a captivating and suspenseful book. Having traveled in this setting with young missionaries seeking to reach isolated jungle tribes, I can attest to the authenticity of experi- ences encountered in this rich yet challenging environment. It is evident the author has been there! A subtle Christian testimony is effectively woven into the novel through intriguing personali- ties as they discover the ultimate meaning in life through trials and tragedy.”
— Jerry Rankin President, International Mission Board, SBC
“This is a well-written, thought-provoking, and moving novel that you will speed through until you finish! The story centers around the lives of the six main characters, a missionary couple, writer, linguist, anthropologist and photographer, each with their own purpose for entering the jungles of Peru. The author follows their lives, with plenty of twist and turns along the way. It was a very entertaining, yet touching read.”
—Review by Book Bargains and Reviews
Jonathan Williams’ JUNGLE SUNRISE VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR AUG ‘10 will officially begin on August 2nd and end on August 27. You can visit Jonathan’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the month of August to find out more about this great book and talented author!
If you are interested in participating in his tour, please contact Cheryl Malandrinos at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com.
Join Sue Provost, author of the Christian spirituality novel, Where is God in Your Life: Three Retreats in Christian Spirituality (Trafford Publishing, November , 2009), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in July and August on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About Sue Provost
Sue Provost is an active spiritual director, religious education teacher for both children and adults, and author of Where is God in Your Life? Three Retreats in Christian Spirituality. Her vocation in the practice of spiritual direction supports lay men and women, as well as clergy and those in ministry formation, in discernment of God’s gifting and God’s calling.
Sue has a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation from Regis University, in Denver Colorado. She is on the board of directors for the national headquarters of Small Christian Communities Connect (SCCC), as well as being the chairperson for SCC in her local parish. She is a teacher of religious education to both children and adults. She writes a daily blog about the message of Jesus on her site “Let Your Life Sing” . Sue goal in writing this daily blog is to bring awareness of God walking with us on this earthly journey.
Her desire is to share her understanding of God’s love with others, so they can experience what she found in her own relationship with God. She feels that communication with God through prayer is the essential element needed to be able to see God’s movement in their lives.
You can visit Sue’s website at http://www.sueprovost.com
About Where is God in Your Life
As Christians, our spiritual journey constantly brings us back to Jerusalem, to the death and resurrection of Jesus, which gives meaning to all that we do. Strengthened by God’s Spirit we join on the walk to wherever, we share meals, and we tell our stories. We remember. God, as we go along our life’s way, will help us to be aware of His presence with us. He will open our eyes, makes us expectant, eager to be met by Him. We will never complete our spiritual journey.
Quite often people do not know how to develop a relationship with God, in order to be able to feel God’s love for them and to be able to share that love with others. They need to be given the tools necessary to develop a relationship with God and to understand how that relationship is celebrated in community.
Through the development of three two-day workshops, I have presented a program that will show readers and participants how to recognize God in their lives and to feel His love. I have designed these workshops to help people to continue their spiritual journey to greater connection with God. Finally, I have created these workshops to help others to see the importance of the Christian faith as a spiritual roadmap to be used on the path to God.
Read the Reviews:
“Where is God in Your Life? Do you feel stuck in your quest to know God? Have you been around a person whose pores breathe perfect and radiant peace? Fear does not define any part of their life; they are not driven toward recognition yet they clearly and brightly reflect God so that you can’t help but notice them. You may pray, go to a church, and have a great family, but you know you don’t feel satisfied on the same level as your glowing friend. Where is God in your Life: Three Retreats in Christian Spirituality by Susan M Provost, a new book available on Amazon, offers readers a pathway to reach a new depth in their relationship with God.”
K. Tomsic, Amazon Reviewer
Sue Provost’s WHERE IS GOD IN YOUR LIFE VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ‘10 will officially begin on July 6 and end on August 27. You can visit Sue’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the months of July and August to find out more about this great book and talented author!
If you are interested in participating in his tour, please contact Tracee Gleichner at novelnoise(at)live(dot)com. Thanks!
Join Sally Koslow, author of the women’s fiction book, With Friends Like These (Ballantine Books August 2010), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in August on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About Sally Koslow
Sally Koslow is the author of The Late, Lamented Molly Marx and Little Pink Slips. Her essays have been published in More, The New York Observer, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. She was the editor in chief of both McCall’s and Lifetime, was an editor at Mademoiselle and Woman’s Day, and has taught creative writing at the Writing Institute of Sarah Lawrence College. The mother of two sons, she lives in New York City with her husband. You can visit Sally Koslow’s website at http://www.sallykoslow.com/.
About With Friends Like These
When Quincy, Jules, Talia, and Chloe become New York City roommates in the early nineties, they become fast friends despite their drastically different personalities. Now, nearly twenty years later, their lives have diverged as much as they possibly can within one city: Quincy is mourning a miscarriage and lusting for the perfect Manhattan apartment; Jules, a woman with an outsize personality, is facing forty alone; Talia, married and the mother of a four-year-old, is her family’s reluctant breadwinner; and Chloe faces pressure from her hedge fund manager husband to be more ambitious. As these women grapple with the challenges of marriage, motherhood, careers, and real estate, they can’t help but assess their positions in life in comparison to each other–leading them to envy and disillusionment. Honest and entertaining, and written in Sally Koslow’s trademark wry, vivid prose, With Friends Like These asks serious questions about what makes female friendship endure, and to whom a woman’s loyalty most belongs.
Read an Excerpt!
“A fax hit my desk for an apartment that isn’t officially listed yet–you must see it immediately.” Horton’s voice was broadcasting an urgency reserved for hurricane evacuation. But in 2007, anyone who’d ever beaten the real estate bushes would be suspicious of a broker displaying even an atom of passivity. Shoppers of condos and co-ops in Manhattan and the leafier regions of Brooklyn knew they had to learn the art of the pounce: see, gulp, bid. Save the pros and cons for picking a couch. Several times a week Horton e-mailed me listings, but rarely did he call. This had to be big. “Where is it?” I asked while I finished my lukewarm coffee.
“Central Park West.” Horton identified a stone pile known by its name, the Eldorado, referring to a mythical kingdom where the tribal chief had the habit of dusting himself with gold, a commodity familiar to most of the apartment building’s inhabitants—marquee actors, eminent psychotherapists, and large numbers of frumps who were simply lucky. With twin towers topped by Flash Gordon finials, the edifice lorded it over a gray-blue reservoir, the park’s largest body of water, and cast a gimlet eye toward Fifth Avenue.
”I couldn’t afford that building,” I said. If Horton was trying to game me into spending more than our budget allowed, he’d fail. While the amount of money Jake and I had scraped together for a new home seemed huge to us–representing the sale of our one-bedroom in Park Slope, an inheritance from my mom, and the proceeds from seeing one of my books linger on the bestseller list–other brokers had none too politely terminated the conversation as soon as I quoted our allotted sum. What I liked about Horton was that hewas dogged, he was hungry, and he was the only real estate agent returning my calls.
“That’s the beauty part,” he said, practically singing. “You, Quincy Blue, can afford this apartment.” He named a figure. We could, just. “What’s the catch?” In my experience, deals that sounded too good to be true were–like the brownstone I’d seen last week that lacked not only architectural integrity but functional plumbing.
”It’s a fixer-upper,” Horton admitted. “Listen, I can go to the second name on my list.”
“I’ll see you in twenty minutes,” I said, hitting “save” on my manuscript. I was currently the ghostwriter for Maizie May, one of Hollywood’s interchangeable blow-dried blondes with breasts larger than their brain. While she happened to be inconveniently incarcerated in Idaho rehab, allowed only one sound bite of conversation with me per week, my publisher’s deadline, three months away, continued to growl. I hid my hair under a baseball cap and laced my sneakers. Had Jake seen me, he would have observed that I looked very West Side; my husband was fond of pointing out our neighborhood’s inverse relationship between apartment price and snappy dress. As I walked east I called him, but his cell phone was off. Jake’s flight to Chicago must be late.
Racing down Broadway, I allowed myself a discreet ripple of anticipation. Forget the Yankees. Real estate would always be New York City’s truest spectator sport, and I was no longer content to cheer from the bleachers. Two years ago, my nesting hormones had kicked in and begun to fiercely multiply, with me along for the ride. We were eager to escape from our current sublet near Columbia University. I longed to be dithering over paint colors–Yellow Lotus or Pale Straw; flat, satin, or eggshell–and awash in fabric swatches. I coveted an office that was bigger than a coffee table book and a dining table that could accommodate all ten settings of my wedding china. I wanted a real home. I’d know it when I saw it.
Horton, green-eyed, cleft-chinned–handsome if you could overlook his devotion to argyle–stood inside the building’s revolving door. “The listing broker isn’t here yet,” he said, “but you can get a sense of the lobby.” A doorman tipped his capped head and motioned us toward armchairs upholstered in a tapestry of tasteful, earthy tones. Horton unfurled a floor plan.
I’d become a quick study of such documents. “It’s only a two-bedroom,” I said, feeling the familiar disappointment that had doused the glow of previous apartment visits. Was the fantasy of three bedrooms asking too much for a pair of industrious adults more than twelve years past grad school? Jake was a lawyer. I had a master’s in English literature. Yet after we’d been outbid nine times, Jake and I had accepted the fact that in this part of town, two bedrooms might be as good as it would get.
“This isn’t any two-bedroom,” Horton insisted. “Look how grand the living room and dining room are.” Big enough for a party where Jake and I could reciprocate every invitation we’d received since getting married five years ago. “See?” he said, pulling out a hasty sketch and pointing. “Put a wall up to divide the dining room, which has windows on both sides, and create an entrance here. Third bedroom.” He was getting to how cheap the renovation would be when a tall wand of a woman tapped him on the shoulder.
“Fran!” Horton said as warmly as if she were his favorite grandmother, which she was old enough to be. “You’re looking well.”
The woman smiled and a feathering of wrinkles fanned her large blue eyes. The effect made me think that a face without this pattern was too dull. “Did you explain?” she said. Her voice was reedy, a piccolo that saw little use. She’d pulled her silver hair into a chignon and was enveloped in winter white, from a cape covering a high turtleneck to slim trousers that managed to be spotless, although they nearly covered her toes.
”We were getting to that, but first, please meet my client, Quincy Blue. Quincy, Frances Shelbourne of Shelbourne and Stone.”
I knew the firm. Frances and her sister Rose had tied up all the best West Side listings. I shook Fran Shelbourne’s hand, which felt not just creamy but delicately boned. She stared at my sneakers and jeans long enough for me to regret them, then turned her back and padded so soundlessly that I checked to see if she might be wearing slippers. No, ballerina flats. Across the lobby, elaborately filigreed elevator doors opened. Fran turned toward Horton and me and with the briefest arch of one perfectly plucked eyebrow implored us to hurry. When the doors shut, she spoke softly, although we were alone. “The owner’s a dear friend,” she said. “Eloise Walter, the anthropologist.” She waited for me to respond. “From the Museum of Natural History?”
I wondered if I was supposed to know the woman’s body of work and bemoaned the deficiency of my Big Ten education.
“Dr. Walter is in failing health,” she continued, shaking her head. “This is why we won’t schedule an open house.” Every Sunday from September through May, hopeful buyers, like well-trained infantry, traveled the open-house circuit. Jake and I had done our sweaty time, scurrying downtown, uptown, across, and down again, with as many as a dozen visits in a day. Soon enough, we began seeing the same hopeful buyers–the Filipino couple, the three-hundred-pound guy who had the face of a baby, a pair of six-foot-tall redheaded teenage twins who spoke a middle-European tongue. By my fifth Sunday, in minutes I could privately scoff at telltale evidence of dry rot. Silk curtains draped as cunningly as a sari could not distract me from a sunless air shaft a few feet away, nor could lights of megawatt intensity seduce me into forgetting that in most of these apartments I would instantly suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
“You’ll be the first person to see this one,” Horton added by way of a bonus. I could feel the checkbook in my bag coming alive like Mickey’s broom in Fantasia.
When we stepped out of the elevator on the fourteenth floor, Mrs. Shelbourne gently knocked on a metal door that would look at home in any financial institution. From the other side, a floor creaked. A nurse in thick-soled shoes answered and raised an index finger to her lips, casting her eyes toward a shadowy room beyond. The scent of urine–human, feline, or both–crept into my nostrils, followed by a top note of mango air freshener. “Doctor’s sleeping.” My eyes strained to scan a wide room where old-fashioned blinds were drawn against the noon sun. An elderly woman, her hair scant and tufted, was folded into a wheelchair like a rag doll, despite pillows bolstering her skeletal frame. Dr. Walter looked barely alive. Mrs. Shelbourne placed her hand on my arm. “We shouldn’t stay long in this room. I’m sure you understand. Alzheimer’s.”
“I do–too well,” I said, rapidly beholding the high ceiling and dentil moldings, while memories of my mother, scrupulously archived yet too fresh to examine, begged for consideration. I pushed them away even as my mind catalogued herringbone floors withan intricate walnut border and the merest wink of a crystal chandelier. Mrs. Shelbourne grasped my arm and we hurried into a small, dark kitchen with wallpaper on which hummingbirds had enjoyed a sixty-year siesta. In front of the sink, which faced a covered window, linoleum had worn bare. There were scratched metal cabinets and no dishwasher, and I suspected the stove’s birth date preceded my own. I thought of my unfinished chapter, and cursed my wasted time.
Halfheartedly I lifted a tattered shade. “Holy cow,” I said, though only to myself. Sun reflected off the park’s vast reservoir, which appeared so close I thought I could stand on the ledge and swan-dive into its depth. Far below, I could see tree tops, lush as giant broccoli. The traffic was a distant buzz. I felt a tremor. The subway, stories below? No, my heart. Picking up my pace, I followed the brokers through the spacious dining room and down a hall where I counted off six closets. I peeked into a bathroom tiled in a vintage mosaic of the sort decorators encourage clients to re-create at vast expense. We passed through a starlet-worthy dressing room and entered a bedroom into which I could easily tuck my current, rented apartment, with enough space to spare for a study. As Mrs. Shelbourne pulled the hardware on draperies bleached of color, I could swear that a strobe had begun to pulse. From the corner of my eye I saw a black cat slink away while Horton kicked a dust bunny under the bed, but I took little note of either. As I stood by the window, I was gooey with the feeling I’d experienced when I first laid eyes on the Grand Canyon.
The silvery vista spread casually before me might be the most enchanted in the entire city. I closed my eyes, traveling through time. Women were skating figure eights in red velvet cloaks, their hands warmed by ermine muffs. Bells jingled in the evergreen-scentedair as horses waited patiently by sleighs. I blinked again and the maidens wore organdy, their porcelain skin dewy under the parasols shielding their intricate curls. I fast-forwarded to my girlhood and could imagine the large, glassy pond below was the crystal stream beside my grandparents’ log-hewn cabin in Wisconsin’s northern woods, the bone-chilling waters of Scout camp, perhaps Lake Como of my honeymoon scrapbook.
Beside this champagne view, the fifty-four other apartments I’d considered seemed like cheap house wine, including the possibilities that cost far more–almost every one. I pulled myself away from the window and looked back. Walls were no longer hung with faded diplomas, nor was the carpet worn thin. Mirroring the reservoir, the room had turned gray-blue. I saw myself writing at a desk by the window, lit by sunbeams, words spilling out so fast my fingers danced on the keyboard like Rockettes. This time my manuscript wasn’t a twenty-year-old singer-actress’ whiny rant. It was a novel, lauded by the critics and Costco customers alike.
I could see myself in this room. My face wore deep contentment. The bed was luxuriously rumpled, since a half hour earlier Jake and I had made love, and now he was brewing coffee in our brand-new kitchen, as sleekly designed as a sperm. Perhaps he’d already gone out to bike around the park or was walking our shelter-rescued puppy. Tallulah, the little rascal, loved to chase her ball down our twenty-foot hall.
In every way, I was home. Then I snapped out of it. I was wearing my real estate heart on my sleeve, all but drooling. Quincy Blue, you dumb cluck. I sensed Horton looking at me as if he were a cannibal in need of protein, and checked to see if he and Fran had excused themselves to decide whether they should triple the apartment’s price or merely double it. We walked past another bathroom, this one housing a tub as long as a rowboat, ambled back through the dim hallway, and ended in the living room.
“The view’s even better from here–a pity we can’t pull up the shades,” Mrs. Shelbourne whispered as she walked toward the statue slumping in the wheelchair and greeted her. “Hello, Eloise dear.” She took the woman’s listless hand. “It’s Frances. I wish you could sit at that piano”–she pointed to a piece of shrouded furniture–”and play me Chopin.”
The woman emitted a dry rattle, craned her neck toward Mrs. Shelbourne, and smiled. She was missing several teeth.
“If you wish,” she said clearly. Suddenly Dr. Walter tried to raise herself in the wheelchair. “If you would be so kind as to assist me.” The nurse lumbered to her side. On her aide’s sturdy arm, Dr. Walter walked toward the piano, her posture better than my own. She settled on the cracked black leather stool and stretched her knobby fingers. I covered my mouth with my hands, afraid I might gasp. Her hands fondled the ivories and began to play an unmistakable Chopin mazurka. The Steinway was out of tune andthe pianist wore a faded housecoat, but Dr. Walter’s rendition pleased her audience to the point that even Horton was wiping away tears. The concert continued for almost twenty minutes and then, as if someone had pulled a plug, the pianist’s hands froze. Like a small child, she looked around the room, confused. I was afraid she, too, might cry.
We clapped. “That was exquisite,” Mrs. Shelbourne said hoarsely as the nurse helped her patient back to the wheelchair. “Simply exquisite.”
Dr. Walter closed her eyes and in less than a minute was sleeping. Mrs. Shelbourne thanked the nurse and hurried Horton and me to the elevator. I waited for his chatter, but it was she who spoke. “Tell me your story. I can see from your face that you have one.” She looked at me as if she were the dean of women.
Read the Reviews!
“Sally’s characters always have strong voices and presence, and she crafts a good story with sharp wit.” –Bookreporter.com
“Koslow packs a trove of wit and wisdom into a slick pink package.” – Publishers Weekly
Sally Koslow’s WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR AUG ‘10 will officially begin on August 2nd and end on August 27th. You can visit Sally’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the month of August to find out more about this great book and talented author!
About Lisa Gardner
Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include The Neighbor, Hide, and Alone. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England, where she is at work on her next D. D. Warren novel, Save Me, which Bantam will publish in 2011.
You can find Lisa online at http://www.lisagardner.com/.
About Live to Tell
He knows everything about you—including the first place you’ll hide.
On a warm summer night in one of Boston’s working-class neighborhoods, an unthinkable crime has been committed: Four members of a family have been brutally murdered. The father—and possible suspect—now lies clinging to life in the ICU. Murder-suicide? Or something worse? Veteran police detective D. D. Warren is certain of only one thing: There’s more to this case than meets the eye.
Danielle Burton is a survivor, a dedicated nurse whose passion is to help children at a locked-down pediatric psych ward. But she remains haunted by a family tragedy that shattered her life nearly twenty-five years ago. The dark anniversary is approaching, and when D. D. Warren and her partner show up at the facility, Danielle immediately realizes: It has started again.
A devoted mother, Victoria Oliver has a hard time remembering what normalcy is like. But she will do anything to ensure that her troubled son has some semblance of a childhood. She will love him no matter what. Nurture him. Keep him safe. Protect him. Even when the threat comes from within her own house.
In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s most compelling work of suspense to date, the lives of these three women unfold and connect in unexpected ways, as sins from the past emerge—and stunning secrets reveal just how tightly blood ties can bind. Sometimes the most devastating crimes are the ones closest to home.
Read an Excerpt!
Thursday night, Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren was out on a date. It wasn’t the worst date she’d ever been on. It wasn’t the best date she’d ever been on. It was, however, the only date she’d been on in quite some time, so unless Chip the accountant turned out to be a total loser, she planned on taking him home for a rigorous session of balance-the-ledger.
So far, they’d made it through half a loaf of bread soaked in olive oil, and half a cow seared medium rare. Chip had managed not to talk about the prime rib bleeding all over her plate or her need to sop up juices with yet another slice of bread. Most men were taken aback by her appetite. They needed to joke uncomfortably about her ability to tuck away plate after plate of food. Then they felt the need to joke even more uncomfortably that, of course, none of it showed on her girlish ﬁgure.
Yeah, yeah, she had the appetite of a sumo wrestler but the build of a cover girl. She was nearly forty, for God’s sake, and well aware by now of her freakish metabolism. She certainly didn’t need any soft- middled desk jockey pointing it out. Food was her passion. Mostly because her job with Boston PD’s homicide unit didn’t leave much time for sex.
She polished off the prime rib, went to work on the twice- baked potato. Chip was a forensic accountant. They’d been set up by the wife of a friend of a guy in the unit. Yep, it made that much sense to D.D. as well. But here she was, sitting in a coveted booth at the Hilltop Steakhouse, and really, Chip was all right. Little doughy in the mid¬dle, little bald on top, but funny. D.D. liked funny. When he smiled, the corners of his deep brown eyes crinkled and that was good enough for her.
She was having meat and potatoes for dinner and, if all went as planned, Chip for dessert.
So, of course, her pager went off.
She scowled, shoved it to the back of her waistband, as if that would make a difference.
“What’s that?” Chip asked, catching the chime.
“Birth control,” she muttered.
Chip blushed to the roots of his receding brown hair, then in the next minute grinned with such self-deprecating power she nearly went weak in the knees.
Better be good, D.D. thought. Better be a fucking massacre, or I’ll be damned if I’m giving up my night.
But then she read the call and was sorry she’d ever thought such a thing.
Chip the funny accountant got a kiss on the cheek.
Then Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren hit the road.
D.D. had been a Boston PD detective for nearly twelve years now. She’d started out investigating traffic fatalities and drug-related homi¬cides before graduating to such major media events as the discovery of six mummiﬁed corpses in an underground chamber; then, more recently, the disappearance of a beautiful young schoolteacher from South Boston. Her bosses liked to put her in front of the camera. Nothing like a pretty blonde detective to mix things up.
She didn’t mind. D.D. thrived on stress. Enjoyed a good pressure-cooker case even more than an all-you-can-eat buffet. Only drawback was the toll on her personal life. As a sergeant in the homicide unit, was the leader of a three-person squad. It wasn’t uncommon for them to spend all day tracking down leads, interviewing informants, or revisiting crime scenes. Then they spent most of the night writing up the resulting interviews, affidavits, and/or warrant requests. Each squad also had to take turns being “on deck,” meaning they caught the next case called in, keeping them stuck in a permanent vortex of top- priority active cases, still- unsolved old cases, and at least one or two fresh call- outs per week.
Didn’t sleep much. Or date much. Or really do anything much. Which had been ﬁne until last year, when she’d turned thirty-eight and watched her ex- lover get married and start a family. Sud¬denly, the tough, brash sergeant who considered herself wed to her job found herself studying Good Housekeeping magazine and, even worse, Modern Bride. One day, she picked up Parenting. There was noth¬ing more depressing than a nearly forty-year-old single, childless homicide detective reading Parenting magazine alone in her North End condo.
Especially when she realized some of the articles on dealing with toddlers applied to managing her squad as well.
She recycled the magazines, then vowed to go on a date. Which had led to Chip—poor, almost- got-his-brains-screwed-out Chip—and now had her on her way to Dorchester. Wasn’t even her squad’s turn on deck, but the notiﬁcation had been “red ball,” meaning something big and bad enough had happened to warrant all hands on deck.
D.D. turned off I-93, then made her way through the maze of streets to the largely working-class neighborhood. Among local ofﬁ¬cers, Dorchester was known for its drugs, shootings, and raucous neighborhood parties that led to more drugs and shootings. BPD’s local ﬁeld district, C-11, had set up a noise reduction hotline as well as a designated “Party Car” to patrol on weekends. Five hundred phone tips and numerous preventive arrests later, Dorchester was ﬁnally seeing a decline in homicides, rapes, and aggravated assaults. On the other hand, burglaries were way up. Go ﬁgure.
Under the guidance of her vehicle’s navigational system, D.D. ended up on a fairly nice street, double lanes dotted with modest stamps of green lawn and ﬂanked with a long row of tightly nestled three-story homes, many sporting large front porches and an occa¬sional turret.
Most of these dwellings had been carved into multiple-living units over the years, with as many as six to eight in a single house. It was still a nice-looking area, the lawns neatly mowed, the front-porch banis¬ters freshly painted. The softer side of Dorchester, she decided, more and more curious.
D.D. spotted a pileup of Crown Vics, and slowed to park. It was eight- thirty on a Thursday night, August sun just starting to fade on the horizon. She could make out the white ME’s vehicle straight ahead, as well as the traveling crime lab. The vans were bookended by the usual cluster of media trucks and neighborhood gawkers.
When D.D. had ﬁrst read the location of the call, she’d assumed drugs. Probably a gangland shooting. A bad one, given that the deputy superintendent wanted all eighteen detectives in attendance, so most likely involving collateral damage. Maybe a grandmother caught sit¬ting on her front porch, maybe kids playing on the sidewalk. These things happened, and no, they didn’t get any easier to take. But you handled it, because this was Boston, and that’s what a Boston detec¬tive did.
Now, however, as D.D. climbed out of her car, clipped her creden¬tials to the waistband of her skinny black jeans, and retrieved a plain white shirt to button up over her date cleavage, she was thinking, Not drugs. She was thinking this was something worse. She slung a light jacket over her sidearm, and headed up the sidewalk toward the lion’s den.
D.D. pushed her way through the ﬁrst wave of jostling adults and curious children. She did her best to keep focused, but still caught phrases such as “shots ﬁred…” “heard squealing like a stuck pig . . .” “Why, I just saw her unloading groceries not four hours before . . .”
“Excuse me, excuse me, pardon me. Police sergeant. Buddy, out of the way.” She broke through, ducking under the yellow tape rop¬ing off portions of the sidewalk, and ﬁnally arrived at the epicenter of crime- scene chaos.
The house before her was a gray-painted triple-decker boasting a broad- columned front porch and large American ﬂag. Both front doors were wide open, enabling better trafﬁc ﬂow of investigative person¬nel, as well as the ME’s metal gurney.
D.D. noted delicate lace curtains framed in bay windows on either side of the front door. In addition to the American ﬂag, the porch con¬tained four cheerful pots of red geraniums, half a dozen blue folding chairs, and a hanging piece of slate that had been painted with more red geraniums and the bright yellow declaration: Welcome. Yep, deﬁnitely something worse than gun-toting, tennis-shoe-tossing drug dealers.
D.D. sighed, put on her game face, and approached the uniformed officer stationed at the base of the front steps. She rattled off her name and badge number. In turn, the officer dutifully recorded the info in the murder book, then jerked his head down to the bin at his feet.
D.D. obediently ﬁshed out booties and a hair covering. So it was that kind of crime scene.
She climbed the steps slowly, keeping to one side. They appeared recently stained, a light Cape Cod gray that suited the rest of the house. The porch was homey, well kept. Clean enough that she sus¬pected it had been recently broom swept. Perhaps after unloading groceries, a household member had tidied up?
It would’ve been better if the porch had been dirty, covered in dust. That might have yielded shoe treads. That might have helped catch whoever did the bad thing D.D. was about to ﬁnd inside.
She took another breath right outside the door, inhaled the scent of sawdust and drying blood. She heard a reporter calling for a state¬ment. She heard the snap of a camera, the roar of a media chopper, and white noise all around. Gawkers behind, detectives ahead, re¬porters above.
Chaos: loud, smelly, overwhelming. Her job now was to make it right. She got to it.
Read the Reviews!
“Boston police detective D. D. Warren returns in another gripping thriller… In addition to telling a compelling story, Gardner also explores an issue that is rarely discussed in fiction: children who are psychotic. Gardner never sensationalizes her story, and the book ends with a resolution that is creatively and emotionally appropriate. An excellent novel.” — Booklist, starred review
“Gardner has another hit on her hands” – Kirkus Reviews
“The lives of three women collide in Gardner’s amazingly chilling new thriller… The devastating, sometimes tragic consequences of childhood mental illness are the backdrop for this electrifying tale of murder and family secrets.” – Jill M. Smith, RT Book Reviews – 4-1/2 Stars – Top Pick
Lisa Gardner’s LIVE TO TELL VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR AUG ‘10 will officially begin on August 2nd and end on August 27th. You can visit Lisa’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the month of August to find out more about this great book and talented author!
The publisher is offering bloggers a chance to give away a copy of Live to Tell for hosting Lisa Gardner in August. Please be sure to mention you are interested in a giveaway copy when you contact us to host this author.
Join Jackie M. Johnson, author of the relationship book, When the Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty (Moody May 2010), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in July and August on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About Jackie Johnson
Jackie M. Johnson is an accomplished author and freelance writer who has a passion for helping people who’ve experienced brokenness. Her first book, Power Prayers for Women has sold almost 200,000 copies. A Milwaukee native and graduate of Trinity International University, Jackie lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
About When the Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty
While most books for singles tell readers how to get the next guy, When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty encourages a healthy healing process. Practical and biblically based, each chapter guides the reader through a metaphorical day of restoration. Twilight recognizes and deals with endings, night validates and grieves the loss, dawn awakens hope, and day is the new beginning based on the solid assurance of Christ.
Read an Excerpt
Twilight is a time of transition. As late afternoon fades into evening, the vivid colors of day disappear, and the sun, low in the horizon, dips slowly into earth’s edge. In the dimness before nightfall it becomes increasingly hard to see. Soon it will be dark. Likewise, a relationship ending is your own “heartsunset.” Good-bye day; good-bye love.
WHY BREAKUPS HAPPEN
As early evening settles in, dusk becomes an ambiguous zone. With less light, things can seem uncertain or unclear, like why your relationship ended. Sometimes you are left without the answers or closure you want, and you wrack your brain trying to figure out what went wrong. He was indifferent, he just couldn’t commit, or he was immature. Maybe you were the one who couldn’t do it anymore, and you were just plain done. Perhaps you finally realized that you didn’t really have that much in common after all, or the timing was bad, or he found someone else. Maybe you know exactly why you split up, and it makes you livid, depressed, or resentful. There are as many reasons as there are relationships. There’s always the “I don’t know what I want right now” explanation or the fear factor. Maybe you never had any good role models in your life of what a healthy love relationship or marriage looks like and it scares you to death. You’re afraid to trust because you don’t want to end up in an unhealthy, dysfunctional, or boring relationship—or one
that falls apart again.
I was surprised when a man I’d been getting to know online for a few months sent me an e-mail to break things off by saying, “I was looking at my calendar for the next year and I’m going to be really busy.”Well then what were the past four let’s-get-to-know-each-other-better months about? Was he really busy or was he afraid of a commitment? I guess I’ll never know. Sadly, you may never know the real reason why the person you once shared everything with will now tell you nothing.
Whether the final send-off came gradually or you were blindsided, endings are never easy. Katy and Will enjoyed a year of Saturday night indie films and Starbucks runs before Will shocked her one summer afternoon when he said he couldn’t see himself marrying her. But he still wanted to “hang out,” and Katy,
not wanting to lose him entirely, continued to see Will for six more months—and in the process lost herself and her self respect. Finally, she could no longer endure the emotional turmoil of longing and lack, hoping that one day he would come around. As she began to learn more about her true worth and value, she courageously broke it off entirely.
Unlike Katy’s drawn-out breakup, Chaundra’s ending was sudden. Darren exited as quickly as he entered her life. He was a “comet” dater—burn fast, burn
bright, and burn out. From the day they met at her best friend’s house, Darren called her every day (sometimes two or three times a day). After a few weeks of spending all of their free time together, he just stopped calling. No explanation. The next Saturday Chaundra saw Darren with another woman at a café and she was heartbroken.
RESPONDING TO “THE END”
Then there’s your story. When you end a significant relationship, you may feel a hundred different emotions, from some snarly name-calling or a disillusioned, “I really thought this would go somewhere,” to a despondent, “How am I going to get over him? ”You’re sad, angry, confused, hurt, depressed, and some days you just want to sob with your two new best friends, Ben and Jerry (and their ridiculously good frozen treats).
Everyone responds to loss and pain differently. For some of us it takes longer to absorb the changes, adjust, and begin again. Whether you were together for a long time or a short time, you may have had a close, deep connection. Your personality, temperament, and background all make a difference in how you deal with emotional pain (or don’t) and how long it takes to heal.
If you’re the one breaking it off, you may be hurting someone you care about (or once cared about) and that can bring a host of emotions from guilt and shame to remorse and blame. No matter what the guy says—like the classic, “it’s not you, it’s me”—or how he says it (in person or by phone, fax, letter, e-mail, text, or other electronic media), your relationship has ended .Game over. You’re not together anymore. Now what?
Jackie Johnson’s WHEN LOVE ENDS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR JULY & AUG ‘10 will officially begin on July 6th and end on August 27th. You can visit Jackie’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.comduring the months of July and August to find out more about this great book and talented author!
Join Nancy Thayer, author of the women’s fiction book, Beachcombers (Ballantine Books, June 2010), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in July on her second virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About Nancy Thayer
Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, The Hot Flash Club, The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again, Hot Flash Holidays, The Hot Flash Club Chills Out, and Between Husbands and Friends. She lives on Nantucket. You can visit Nancy Thayer’s website at www.NancyThayer.com.
Abbie Fox hasn’t seen her father or two younger sisters in almost two years, during which she’s jetted around the world and experienced life, if not love. But now Lily, the baby of the family, is sending Abbie urgent emails begging her to return home to Nantucket. Their middle sister, Emma, has taken to her bed, emotionally devastated after the loss of her high-powered stockbroker’s job and a shockingly unexpected break-up with her fiancé. Also, Lily is deeply worried that Marina, the beautiful, enigmatic woman renting their guesthouse, has set her sights on the sisters’ widowed father, Jim. The Fox girls closed ranks years ago after the haunting, untimely death of their mother, but seeing their dad move on with his life forces each of them to take stock.
Over the course of the summer, the sisters’ lives grow as turbulent as the unpredictable currents encircling Nantucket. When Abbie encounters an incredibly appealing married man, she breaks her own rules in the name of love, fearing all the while that she’ll regret it. Meanwhile, type-A Emma learns a new definition of success, and strong-minded Lily must reconcile her dreams with reality. Even Marina, who has come to Nantucket to forget heartbreak and betrayal, faces an astonishing turn of events that will find her torn between fate and freedom. At summer’s end, these unforgettable women will face profound choices—and undergo personal transformations that will surprise even themselves.
Read an Excerpt!
So here she was, on Nantucket. In a small rented cottage in the middle of an enchanted island. At least she hoped it was enchanted. She was waking to another day without family or love or plans for the future.
Still, she felt just a bit better.
Lying curled in her bed, she forced herself to name just five things for which she was grateful. It was an exercise Christie had advised her to perform first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If nothing else, Christie had told her, it will give you a little bit of structure, one tidy line to start the morning and end the day to make you feel enclosed and on task.
All right then.
Marina was grateful that she’d slept through the night without needing a sleeping pill. She’d been afraid she was becoming addicted to them. Over the past few months, the divorce had plunged her into a state of grief and despair that at night turned into a raging anger and a kind of burning terror—what was her life about? Did she mean nothing? But here on the island, for the past three weeks, she’d discovered that something in the sea air worked like a charm to make her fall into a deep, relaxing sleep. Christie had been right to tell her to come here to heal.
Two—well, she was grateful she’d found the cottage. It resembled a dollhouse, with wild roses rambling all over the roof and clematis and wisteria blossoming on the trellis on the outside walls. The windows were mullioned like a fairy-tale cottage. The door was bright blue. Inside, one large room served for living, dining, and kitchen areas. A ladder led up to the loft with the bed. Windows on three sides provided views of the birds nesting in an apple tree on her right, a pine tree on her left, and a hawthorn tree straight ahead.
Inside, the décor was—well, there was no décor, actually. The few furnishings had a cast-off and shabby air, but were basically sound and comfortable. No curtains hung from the windows. No paintings graced the walls. No rugs brightened the floors, but she could understand that. It was so easy to track sand into the house, and the floors were wood and felt cool and smooth to the soles of her feet.
She was grateful to be in the heart of the town. That was the third thing, and it had been on her list every morning and every night. The cottage was off an idyllic lane in the illustrious historic district. She could walk to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office, the library. Tucked away at the far end of a long garden, it had once been the Playhouse for the family that had grown up in the huge old house at the front. The owner and one of his daughters lived in the house. Their presence made Marina feel not so alone. She liked seeing the lights come on in different rooms of the house. The daughter, Lily, was pretty, but not very friendly. Well, she was only twenty-two. Marina must seem ancient to her.
Jim Fox, on the other hand, was really nice. He’d brought her fresh fish several times already, and often in the evenings when he came home from work, he jumped out of his red pickup truck and sauntered down the lawn to chat with her. Did she need anything? If she did, she had only to ask, he’d be glad to help. Had she enjoyed the bluefish? Would she like some more when he went out fishing again? He was so attentive that Marina sometimes wondered if he were hitting on her. She doubted it. She was sure she wasn’t giving off any sexual vibes, since her sexuality was hiding under its shell like a wounded turtle. Although she could still recognize that Jim was an awfully attractive man, tall, muscular, and comfortable enough in his powerful body to be easygoing and kind.
Fourth, she was grateful for Christie’s enduring, sustaining friendship and especially for her wisdom this summer.
Odd, how things turned out.
Long ago, when she started seventh grade, Marina had teamed up with two very different best friends. Christie was her good friend, pretty, cheerful, popular, and smart. Dara was her exciting friend, always ready to try something new and outrageous, more sexy than good-looking. They remained best friends when they all started at the same gigantic university in Columbia, Missouri, but by their sophomore summer, things changed. Christie and Marina decided to go off to Nantucket to work as waitresses. They’d heard that the pay was good, the island was gorgeous, and they could party like crazy on their time off. Dara couldn’t believe they were going to be waitstaff—she considered such a job way too far beneath her. She didn’t need the money the way Christie and Marina did, and she went off with other college friends to backpack in Europe.
Marina and Christie had so much fun, they returned to the island for the next two summers. During the academic year, they still spent time with each other, but Dara ran with a new, fast crowd, and the trio was never the same after that. After graduation, they went their separate ways. Dara wanted money. Marina wanted to turn her love of color and design into a career. Christie just wanted her high school sweetheart, Bob.
Christie married Bob right after college—Marina was her maid of honor. A few years later, when Marina married Gerry Warren, Christie was Marina’s matron of honor, lumbering down the aisle, eight months pregnant. After that, Marina had seen little of Chris?tie. Their lives were so different, and they were so busy. Christie and Bob lived in happy chaos with their hundreds of children—really, only an eventual five—on a lake outside Kansas City.
Marina and Gerry met in college. He was handsome, with thick, straight blond hair and sapphire eyes. He was smart, too, and witty. At first she thought he was just a bit too smug and shallow, but he wanted Marina, he pursued Marina, and his varied and creative attempts to charm her were irresistible. Perhaps she didn’t love Gerry, but she was helplessly seduced by his desire.
Their ambitions were similar, too, and that drew them together as a natural pair. He was a dynamite salesman; she was artistic and creative. Marina and Gerry started a graphic design/ad agency in the Kansas City area. They invested their own time and some start-up money borrowed from their parents, and they worked day and night. For a few years, work was the very air they breathed. They established themselves, grew a name, became successful, and paid back their parents. They bought a condo and the posh cars they displayed as ads for their success—a Jag for Gerry, a Saab convertible for Marina. But somehow, as the months and years went by, they never found time to relax. They were like a clock, their lives the two hands ticking around the face of the day and night, with never a second to stop.
Read the Reviews!
“Nancy Thayer has a deep and masterly understanding of love and friendship, of where the two complement and where they collide.” –Elin Hilderbrand
Nancy Thayer’s BEACHCOMBER VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR JULY ‘10 will officially begin on July 6th and end on July 30th. You can visit Nancy’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the month of July to find out more about this great book and talented author!
BEACHCOMBER VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR JULY ‘10 TOUR SCHEDULE
July 6 Pump Up Your Book
July 9 The Knowlton Nest
July 12 Life in the First Draft
July 16 Star Shadow
July 19 The Review Stew
July 20 Pudgy Penguin Perusals
July 22 Book Tours and More
July 27 Lynn’s Corner
July 28 Pump Up Your Book
July 29 Coffee Books and Laundry
July 30 A Room without Books is Empty
Join Marilyn Meredith, author of the paranormal romantic suspense novel, Lingering Spirit (Oak Tree Press, June 2010), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in July on her sixth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About Marilyn Meredith
Marilyn Meredith is the author of nearly thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Dispel the Mist from Mundania Press. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, An Axe to Grind is the latest from Oak Tree Press.
She is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/
About Lingering Spirit
Nicole Ainsworth’s husband, Steve, has a premonition of his death and moves his family to a mountain community where he serves as a deputy sheriff. He is killed in the line of duty and his wife, Nicole, is left behind to struggle with the changes forced upon her life. While trying to cope with her grief, raise her two little girls, her husband’s spirit visits her on numerous occasions. She soon learns that someone else is watching over her too.
Read an Excerpt!
“You’re going to have to talk to her, Steve,” Nicole said as soon as Steve entered the house. He looked handsome in his crisp khaki Goldfield County deputy’s uniform, but she still liked the navy blue uniform he’d worn as a police officer better. Though she was truly trying, she still considered everything in Southern California far superior, but she tried not to complain too much.
“Who do you want me to talk to?” Steve asked, as he settled his large frame into his place at the dining room table.
Nicole brushed his tan cheek with her lips and patted the top of his golden head. “Sarah, who else? She won’t do anything I tell her. Her room’s a mess. I told her to pick it up, but she won’t do it.”
“She’s only four, after all.”
Nicole put a steaming bowl of stew in front of him. Butter and a partial loaf of sour dough were already on the table.
“Smells wonderful. It’s cold outside. Might get some snow tonight.” He began eating.
With one hand on her hip, Nicole said, “Steve, listen to me. What are you going to do about Sarah?”
“I’ll have a talk with her before I leave. Why don’t you sit down and visit with me while I’m eating?”
Nicole smiled. Moving had made a difference in Steve, he wasn’t so agitated. “What’s going on out there?”
His grin was huge. “Not much. It’s downright boring. Only had one call. Had to get a cow out of the road. Cited a speeder. Talked to Marsh Wilder, he and his wife want us to come to dinner on my day off.”
Wilder was a senior deputy. His wife had been very helpful to Nicole. In the four months since they’d lived in Quail Meadow, one of many small towns in the county, Page had taken her to the best stores, introduced her to the other wives, and organized picnics and various outings for both the families. Their son, though older, attended the same grammar school where Kimberly was enrolled.
“I know. Page called me today. I pointed out it was really their turn to come to dinner here, but she’s having some other people over she wants us to meet.”
Steve buttered another slice of bread. “You’ve told me about Sarah, what’s Kimberly up to? She usually greets me at the door with a hug.”
“Don’t you remember? She’s spending the night with the little girl down the street. That’s part of Sarah’s prob¬lem. She thought she ought to go too, threw a fit when I told her she couldn’t because she wasn’t invited. Haven’t been able to get her to do anything since.”
“Got to admit it, we spoiled the kid.”
“What do you mean ‘we’? You’re the one that always lets her get away with everything.”
Steve lifted his blond eyebrows and shrugged his broad shoulders. “That’s because she looks so much like you, she’s got me wrapped around her little finger, just like you do.”
Nicole couldn’t think of a response. Her husband’s flirtatious teasing had been one of many benefits from the move. Even though they’d taken a drastic cut in pay, the pluses far outweighed the minuses. She smiled and asked, “Do you want some more stew?”
“Love some, but I really don’t have time. I’ll eat what’s left for lunch tomorrow. Bring that little darling on out here while I’m finishing.”
It didn’t look like Sarah had moved since the last time Nicole peeked in her room. Clothes and toys were still scattered everywhere. The tiny girl sat in the middle of one of the twin beds, arms and legs crossed, her lower lip protrud¬ing. Head down, dark curls fell across her eyes.
“Daddy’s home. He wants to talk to you.”
“Don’t wanna talk.”
“Come on, Sarah. Let’s go.”
Stepping carefully to avoid the litter on the multi-colored rug, Nicole snatched her daughter into her arms.
“Put me down!” Legs kicked in the air.
Nicole ignored the kicking and screaming as she carried her daughter into the kitchen. She plopped her into the chair.
“Hey. What’s all the noise about?” Steve asked, lean¬ing toward Sarah.
“What’re you mad about?”
“Kimberly’s spending the night and Mommy won’t let me go.”
“You weren’t invited.”
“I coulda just gone. They wouldn’t care.”
“No, sweetie. That’s not how we do things. Mommy tells me you won’t pick up your toys.”
“Your room is going to be nice and neat when I get home, isn’t it?”
Sarah brushed the curls out of her eyes and stared directly at her father. “No.”
Steve’s cheeks brightened. “If you don’t pick up your toys, Sarah, you’ll have to stay in your room until you do.”
Steve stood. “Yes, you will care. I mean what I say. You’ll be staying in your room tomorrow until you’ve made it nice and neat. I’ve got to go back to work now, how about giving me a hug and kiss.”
“No.” Sarah slid down from the chair. “Go away and never come back.”
As she ran from the room, Steve called after her, “I love you no matter what. I just don’t like it when you won’t mind your mother and me.”
“Sarah.” Nicole started after her.
Grabbing her arm, Steve stopped her. “Let her go. She’ll get over it. Since I didn’t get a hug and kiss from her, how about you?”
Standing on tiptoe, Nicole reached up to kiss him. His arms pulled her close, and he squeezed her so tightly it almost took her breath away.
He parted her lips with his tongue and kissed her passionately. They clung together for several moments making Nicole wish he didn’t have to go back to work.
“I love you,” he said. “Can hardly wait until I get back home tonight. Hope you won’t mind if I wake you.”
“I’ll be looking forward to it.” She winked at him saucily, “Have I ever minded?” Some of their best love making had been when he’d crawled into bed at the end of his shift, waking her with tender caresses.
“That’s my sexy Nicky.” Steve opened the front door, tucking in his rear to avoid the whack Nicole aimed at him.
“You know I don’t like anyone to call me that!”
“You never seem to mind me calling you Nicky when we’re making love,” he teased as he quickly slipped through the door and closed it.
Grinning, Nicole peeked through the front drapes and waved as her husband climbed into the white official sedan he’d parked beside the curb. It was too dark to see much, just the shadowy shapes of the fir and cedar trees around the house. From across the street, came the yellow glow from the neighbor’s windows and smoke curling from their chimney.
That reminded her, it was time to put another log in the wood stove, something she’d certainly never had to do when she lived in Channel Harbor. She waved one last time as Steve drove away.
Letting the drapes fall together, Nicole turned toward the brick hearth that ran the length of the wall. Steve had brought in the evening’s supply of wood before leaving for work. Nicole tended to the fire, still amazed how the small stove heated the entire three bedroom, A-frame house.
Smaller than their home in southern California, their furniture comfortably filled the space. Every window looked out onto a tree filled vista. From their redwood deck outside their kitchen they’d seen raccoons, possums, a skunk, and deer. Even Nicole enjoyed the scenery. It had snowed a few times since they’d lived there, entrancing the children.
Deciding to leave Sarah alone for awhile, Nicole began picking up after her husband’s meal. When the kitchen was spotless, she sat down in her favorite chair near the wood stove.
Thoroughly enjoying her contentment, she realized how much had changed since they’d moved to Quail Meadow. Of course she missed her family and friends. But everyone had traveled the nearly four-hundred miles to visit at least once, and they called regularly. And she’d been warmly welcomed by the other deputies’ wives and the few neighbors.
The cost of living was cheaper, and everything moved at a slower pace in the mountain community. It was almost like they’d stepped a few years back in time. Crime was almost nonexistent. Steve complained good-naturedly about being bored while on duty, but she knew by his drastic change in attitude that the overwhelming dread that had driven him from Channel Harbor had completely disappeared.
The big difference for Nicole was that she was no longer afraid when he worked late hours. The beach communi¬ty they’d come from had all the problems of a big city. Drugs and gang activities had infected the entire area.
The biggest problem she had right now was her youngest daughter. Sighing, she left her comfortable place. “Sarah,” she called, as she headed toward her child’s room.
Nicole was pleasantly surprised when she entered. Nearly all the toys had been put away. Sarah busily shoved books into the bookcase. She smiled brightly at her mother when she entered.
“I did it. Won’t Daddy be happy?”
“Oh, yes. You’ve done a wonderful job.” Nicole held her arms out to. “Come give me a hug.”
Sarah scampered across the floor and threw herself into her mother’s arms. She squeezed tightly, reminding Nicole of Steve’s breathtaking hugs. Though she didn’t like to admit it, Sarah resembled Nicole in more than just looks. She remembered spankings she could have avoided as a child, if she hadn’t been so stubborn and always done what her mother or father asked of her.
“Oh, sweetie, why didn’t you just do this in the first place instead of making all of us angry?”
Sarah pulled away from her mother. “‘Cause I didn’t wanna.”
“I know sweetie, but life would be so much easier if you’d do what you’re told.”
The lower lip came out. “I cleaned my room. Don’t you like it?”
“Yes, I do.” She knew it wasn’t worth the effort to try and explain any further. “Why don’t we make some pop¬corn and see if there’s anything good on TV?”
* * *
Was that the doorbell? Nicole raised herself on her elbow and squinted at the illuminated numerals on the clock. It was after three. She must have been dreaming.
She was about to snuggle under the covers, when she heard it again. It was the doorbell, followed by the sound of knocking.
Leaping from the bed, Nicole yanked a housecoat from the closet and ran down the stairs, her heart beating wildly.
Marilyn Meredith’s LINGERING SPIRIT VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ’10 will officially begin on July 6th and end on July 30th. You can visit Marilyn’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ during the month of July to find out more about this great book and talented author!
If you are interested in participating in his tour, please contact Cheryl Malandrinos at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com. A limited number of copies will be offered for bloggers to use as giveaways. These will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
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