Friday, February 22, 2013

Heart Like Mine - Coming Soon!



Synopsis: Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?
At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again. But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover that there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.
Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant, hopeful portrait of womanhood, love, and the challenges and joys of family life.

I can't wait to read Heart Like Mine, which came out March 19th! 

Meet the AuthorAmy Hatvany is the author of Outside the Lines, Best Kept Secret, and The Language of Sisters. She lives in Seattle with her family.





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Thursday, February 21, 2013

S.E.C.R.E.T - TLC Book Tours Review & Giveaway



Synopsis:  In S.E.C.R.E.T there are…
No judgments. No limits. No shame. 
Cassie Robichaud’s life has been filled with regret and loneliness since the death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.

My Review: If you are looking for a quick read, with some s*x, I would suggest S.E.C.R.E.T.  However, this novel is much more than that.  It is also about self discovery and becoming the person Cassie was meant to be.  I really like all the characters in S.E.C.R.E.T.  My favorite was Cassie's guide, Matilda.  

S.E.C.R.E.T is a fast read and very predictable, but I still really enjoyed it.  I can't remember reading too many books that take place in New Orleans and it was a nice change of venue.  On an erotic level....not Fifty Shades of Grey, but definitely rated R!  S.E.C.R.E.T is getting great ratings by others too!  I recommend it for a quick weekend or vacation read!


Meet the Author:  L.M. Adeline is a pseudonym for a bestselling author and television producer.

Purchase:  You can purchase S.E.C.R.E.T online at Amazon for $15 ($9.99 Kindle version).

Giveaway!  I am so excited to be able to host a giveaway.  I have one copy of S.E.C.R.E.T to give away to one lucky person!  All you have to do is complete the form below.  Contest ends March 1, 2013 (midnight EST).  Good Luck.

Make sure you check out other reviews on the TLC Book Tour.
Monday, February 4th:  Romancing the Book
Monday, February 4th:  Love to Read for Fun
Tuesday, February 5th:  RTBookReviews.com  Q&A/giveaway
Wednesday, February 6th:  From the TBR Pile
Thursday, February 7th:  Passionate Encounters
Friday, February 8th:  Melody & Words
Monday, February 11th:  Feeling Fictional
Tuesday, February 12th:  Smexy Books
Wednesday, February 13th:  The Romanceaholic  Spotlight/giveaway
Thursday, February 14th:  Luxury Reading
Friday, February 15th:  Babbling About Books, and More!
Monday, February 18th:  Close Encounters with the Night Kind
Tuesday, February 19th:  A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, February 20th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, February 21st:  Seaside Book Nook
Monday, February 25th:  Book Lovin’ Mamas
Tuesday, February 26th:  All I Want and More
Wednesday, February 27th:  Chaos is a Friend of Mine



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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen - Author Interview



SynopsisWas Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why! His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight? Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?

Author Interview: I am so excited to bring you an interview with Sally Smith O'Rourke, Author of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen.


Favorite color, food, drink and animal?

Favorite color, huh? I like blue and green equally and don’t really have a favorite food. I drink mostly ice tea and water although I love milk. I drink wine with celebratory meals and have an occasional cocktail (Gin gimlet, Long Island ice tea and margarita are my preferences).

SBN: Margarita's....YUM!

Except for camels, I like all animals. Have had as pets (some for my grandson), dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, lizards, snakes and turtles. I like dogs and cats best. I have a cat, a grey tabby named Rambi.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

As I have a full time job (I’m a surgical scrub nurse) my free time is taken up mostly with writing and promoting my books. But I occasionally I still sew, cook, bake and make candy. I also dabble in gum paste flowers, etc. for cake decorating.


SBN: Candy making!!!??  YUM again!  I LOVE, LOVE milk chocolate!  I am a corporate controller for a health system!  I always wanted to be a nurse.)

Aren't these beautiful? So Amazing!

When/Why did you start writing?

My late husband, Michael was a writer; film and television, medical and aviation and a published author as is my step-daughter, Kelly so I never really thought of myself as a writer since I was surrounded by so much talent. However, looking back, I wrote a lot I just never took what I did very seriously. I was a speech and drama major in college so wrote speeches and the occasional scene but didn’t really consider it particularly creative. I tended to think of my hand work my creative outlet. Mike told me I was a good writer that I simply needed practice but I thought he was just being nice as was his nature. Although I continued to fool around with writing and learned a lot from him, I still wasn’t the writer in the family.

We wrote three books together although he did a bulk of the actual writing. He always denied that but it’s the way I remember it. We never attempted to get them published mostly because his agent wasn’t particularly interested in anything that wasn’t in one of Mike’s genres (dark fiction and political thrillers), love stories didn’t fit with his plan. We did option the film rights to The Man Who Loved Jane Austen to a British production company but Mike died suddenly and I assumed they would want to invalidate the option but instead they wanted me to write the screenplay. So the first thing I felt like I wrote on my own was the adaptation of our book. The film didn’t get made but I did realize that I could write on my own.

First I decided I wanted to get the books we wrote together published as a tribute to Mike, particularly The Man Who Loved Jane Austen because he considered it the ultimate Valentine as it came from the love we had for each other. 
It was published in 2006

The Maidenstone Lighthouse followed in 2008 

Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage in 2009. 

Working on all of them gave me some great practice, particularly Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage since Meteor’s Tale (its original title) was not a Christmas story.

All of that gave me the confidence to write my own novel. My first solo effort, Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, was published last November 29th (Mike’s birthday)

SBN: That is so cool.  I have goosebumps.

Where/When do you feel most comfortable writing?

I write anywhere and anytime. I always have a pad of paper with me so I can write and when I know I’m going to be somewhere waiting (Doctor’s office, airport, etc.) I take my laptop.


Have you ever been inspired by another author? If so, who?

Mike was and continues to be my main inspiration. It is a large part of why I keep writing, it helps me continue to feel connected to him.


Is it hard to let the characters go once you complete a novel?

One of the things that Mike taught me is to not get emotionally involved with the story or characters and that lesson as served me well. It makes it much easier to make revisions for editors if you are not attached. So I’ve never had a problem of letting my characters go and generally by the time I’ve finished a novel I have already started making notes and researching my next project and am ready to move on.

Where does your inspiration for a story come from?

I’m not really sure where the inspiration comes from. Sometimes a story is full blown in my head and other times it’s nothing more than a seed that blossoms as I write as with Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. It actually started out as a journal by Jane that covered the five days the American Fitz Darcy was in Chawton. One of the journal entries ended with “I wonder what Mr. Darcy is doing right now?” I started writing what Mr. Darcy was doing and the book just flowed from there, leaving the journal in the dust.

Do you have a favorite author?  Who?

Besides Mike, I’m partial to Jane Austen, Ann Rice, Dean Koontz and David McCullough. However, since I started writing regularly most of my reading is research based.

SBN: Sally, thank you so much for letting us get to know you today.  You can connect with Sally at her website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Purchase:  You can purchase Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen online at Amazon.


Giveaway:  Sally has graciously allowed me to offer you all a giveaway!  I have one copy of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen to giveaway.  Complete the attached form for a chance to win.  Thanks again Sally!


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Friday, February 15, 2013

Witness to Fitness - TLC Book Tours & Giveaway



Synopsis:  A 28-day program to help you lose weight while you nourish both your body and your soul In Witness to Fitness, Donna Richardson Joyner brings together faith, food, and fitness in a way no one else has done before. She inspires the reader to follow her on a journey, strengthening mind, spirit, and body. Her program will help you get the results you are destined for and create lasting change in your life.

Joyner's plan is to inspire you to lose weight and feel and look great. The exercises can be followed by anyone at any fitness level. Each day in Witness to Fitness, you are given:
  • daily meal plans with delicious, easy-to-make recipes
  • awesome daily workouts with photographs that clearly demonstrate the exercises
  • uplifting affirmations to keep you encouraged every step of the way
In addition, you get:
  • a scripture to inspire you daily
  • a success story to motivate you
  • a song of the day that keeps you energized and moving
Donna's energy is contagious! Her philosophy is that you can have victory in your health by practicing faith, perseverance, and courage to achieve your goals. Witness to Fitness provides a unique wellness program that focuses on changing your mind-set, living in the spirit, and loving your body. Donna encourages us to strengthen our body and soul to live our best life ever. Her joyful spirit and inspirational program will transform your health and your life.

My Review:  I loved Witness to Fitness.  I have read a lot of fitness books, but Witness to Fitness offers some things that I really liked and haven't seen in other books.

Sweet Tweets - these are awesome little tweets (like what you would see on Twitter) that motivate you...get you up and moving!  They are very cleverly written.  LOVE them!

Transformation Tidbits - More very motivating quick one sentences.  I put them in a jar and pull one out each day as a reminder.  Several actually work with every day challenges, not just fitness!    Here are a few examples (and some of my favorites):
Make a choice, not an excuse!
Move to live, move to give!
When your faith is rooted in a higher source, you have strength beyond yourself.

There are also Donnamite Sound Bites - clever little sayings related to each of the chapters/topics.  They are Step Out! that challenge you to go beyond your (well mine) typical comfort zone.  

Included in the book is a 28 day plan to fitness.  Each day has suggested menu, real success stories, a positive message for the day, song of the day, and suggested workout.  It all really works great together and I love the way it is all laid out and easy to follow.  I am a VERY picky eater and have to admit I don't follow the meal plans.  I am sure I would have much better success if I did, but I do feel better.  Getting up, moving, and being aware of what I am eating always puts me back on track.  Now if I could just get Donna to show up on my door step at 5 am every morning to be my workout partner, I would be all set!


Meet the Author:  Donna Richardson Joyner is a renowned fitness and lifestyle expert who has traveled to 50 states, 50 countries, and 7 continents motivating and empowering people to walk in the newness of good health. The only member to have served under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama on the President's Council for Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, she has appeared in and sold millions of fitness videos, including Buns of Steel and the number one inspirational fitness video program Body Gospel. She is a former fitness expert for the NBC Weekend Today Show and ESPN Fitness Pros, and the producer and host of Donna Richardson: Mind, Body, & Spirit. An active philanthropist, she serves as an advisory board member of the Robert Wood Johnson foundation, the LPGA Foundation, and as a consultant for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Donna is the founder of Grow Green Get Fit. She has been inducted into the Fitness Hall of Fame and has been named one of the "25 most inspiring women in America" by Essence magazine.

SNB: Buns of Steel is still one of my favorites....I only have it on video....I need to update it to DVD, since my VCR is on its last leg! 

Connect with Donna:  You can connect with Donna on her website and Twitter.

Purchase It:  You can purchase Witness to Fitness online at Amazon for $25.99 ($12.74 Kindle version).

Giveaway:  I am so excited to be able to offer one copy of Witness to Fitness to one lucky person!  I am going to make it very easy....just leave a comment telling me why you would like to win a copy of Witness to Fitness.  Contest ends February 22, at midnight EST.
TLC Book Tours:  Please make sure you check out all the other reviews.
Tuesday, January 22nd:  Miss Aleck & Co.
Thursday, January 24th:  DopeReads
Monday, January 28th:  Lena Sledge’s Blog
Wednesday, January 30th:  Running with Spoons
Monday, February 4th:  Living Outside the Stacks
Tuesday, February 5th:  Reflections of a Bookaholic
Wednesday, February 6th:  The Brain Lair
Monday, February 11th:  EmpowerMoments
Tuesday, February 12th:  My Faith and Fitness 
Friday, February 15th:  Seaside Book Nook
Monday, February 18th:  Running Rachel
Monday, March 4th:  My Faith and Fitness




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Monday, February 11, 2013

The Long Way Home - TLC Book Tours


Synopsis:  As the only child of a wealthy investment manager, Ellie Chapman has never known anything besides a life of perfect privilege. But her years of good fortune come to an abrupt end when her father is exposed for swindling billions of dollars from innocent investors in a massive Ponzi scheme. And just like that, Ellie loses everything: money, job, home—even her fiancé, who’s jailed as her father’s partner in crime. With no job prospects on the horizon, no cash, and her family name in tatters, Ellie has only one place to go.

Sleepy St. Dennis, Maryland, is hardly where Ellie intends to stay, however. Keeping her identity a secret, she plans to sell the house her late mother left her in the small town and use the proceeds to move on with her life. Unfortunately, her ticket to a new beginning is in dire need of a laundry list of pricey improvements, many of which she’ll have to do herself. And until the house on Bay View Road is fit to be sold, the sole place Ellie will be traveling is the hardware store. But as the many charms of St. Dennis—not to mention Cameron O’Connor, the handsome local contractor who has secrets of his own—begin to work their magic, what begins as a lesson in do-it-yourself renovations might just end up as Ellie’s very own rejuvenation.

My Review:  The Long Way Home is part of a series (The Chesapeake Diaries) that takes place in St. Dennis, which is on the Chesapeake Bay.  I have not read the other books in the series, but without a doubt, I will be.  They can be read as a stand alone.  I have been told that the characters grow through the series.

I really enjoyed The Long Way Home.  Ellie is the main character in the story.  Her past reminded me of the Bernie Madoff scandal, which makes a great story.  I like Cam and the relationship the blossoms between Cam and Ellie.  They are connected through the past and the house that Ellie has come to "flip" in St. Dennis.  However, she has to stay in the house for six months.....A lot can happen in six months!  Not only does a lot happen within six months, but there are twists along the way.

I loved the setting of The Long Way Home...is there really a St. Dennis out there?  If so, I want to live there.  The Long Way Home was an easy to read, very enjoyable, wanting more type of book.  Lucky for me, I haven't read the other books in The Chesapeake Diaries series, so I can read more!!!

Again, The Chesapeake Diaries Series books stand on there own.  See below for The Chesapeake Diaries Series:
 #1 Coming Home
#2 Home Again
#3 Almost Home
#4 Hometown Girl
#5 Home for the Summer
#6 The Long Way Home
#7 At the River's Edge (Coming Soon) 


Meet the Author:  Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and their dogs amid the rolling hills and Amish farms of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she gardens, reads, and enjoys country life.

Interview with Mariah!:  She is too cool!


SBN: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Mariah: I am so boring – I read, I garden, I write, I shop. No sky-diving, marathon running or bull fighting!

SBN: When/Why did you start writing?
Mariah: I started when I was around seven – was very ill one summer (the entire summer!) and after having read through the local library’s children section several times, I started writing my own stories. Black and white composition books, #2 pencil. Would I ever love to get my hands on those now!

SBN:  Where/When do you feel most comfortable writing?
Mariah: Mostly in my office, at my desk. When I find myself stuck – which happens on a fairly regular basis! – I pack it up and take a pad and pen to my favorite restaurant where they let me sit in the corner and mutter to myself for as long as I need to.

SBN: Have you ever been inspired by another author? If so, who?
Mariah: Truthfully, the writer who inspired me the most was Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote the Anne of Green Gable series. Anne was the first character I ever really related to – the first time I saw, on paper, that someone else thought the same way I did.

SBN: Is it hard to let the characters go once you complete a novel?
Mariah: No, because I write series connected either by place or characters, so I can bring them back whenever I want. I constantly bring characters from one series into another, so we never really have to say goodbye to anyone!

SBN: Where does your inspiration for a story come from?
Mariah: No where and everywhere. As a general rule, I can’t point to one thing or another and say that that one thing inspired me. There are exceptions, of course. For example, THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER was inspired by a book I read about Mary Meyer, who was a mistress of JKF. Back in the 60s, while certainly people knew this was going on, it was kept out of the public eye. I got the idea for CRY MERCY after reading an article about donor siblings – children who were all fathered by the same sperm donor and who were seeking each other on the internet.

SBN: Do you have a favorite author?  Who?
Mariah: I love to read (see first question above!) – my list is all over the place! I have SO many favorites! James Lee Burke and Harlan Coben, Tess Gerritsen and Lisa Gardner – I’m obviously a big suspense reader! Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb, Victoria Alexander and Janet Evanovich, Karin Slaughter and Robyn Carr. I’ve never really been a fantasy reader, but I devoured every one of the Song of Fire and Ice books by George R.R. Martin.


Purchase It:  You can purchase The Long Way Home online at Amazon for $7.99.

Giveaway:  I am so excited to be able to offer you all a chance to win one copy of The Long Way Home.  All you have to do is leave a comment.  Contest ends February 18th at midnight EST.  Good luck.

To read more reviews on The Long Way Home from the TLC Book Tour, please click here. 

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Soul's Calling - Interview with Author, Scott Bishop


Synopsis:  A Soul's Calling is a memoir about a man who listened to his heart instead of reason. 

Scott, a forty-something attorney, is average in every way except one. He has a connection to the Other Side. He speaks to Spirit and Spirit speaks to him. He sees, hears, and interacts with an invisible realm that is beyond ordinary human perception. When Scott learns his soul has been spiritually compromised he travels to the ancient kingdom of Nepal to win it back. Once there, he hikes the Himalaya carrying a mysterious bundle and a stick laden with prayers from Luminous Beings hoping to come face to face with the greatest mountain on earth: Mount Everest. As his journey unfolds, Scott is called on to battle his fear of heights, the thin air, and his physical limitations.

A Soul's Calling transports readers to the rugged but enchanting Khumbu Valley where mountains speak and nature is imbued with a special kind of magic. The novel is an inspiring modern day adventure that weaves the timeless themes of living an authentic life, the consequences of power, and what a man would do for unrequited love. Powerful, sweeping, and deeply moving, readers will search their hearts as the book draws to a stunning conclusion. 

A Soul's Calling is a book for our time and for anyone who believes the world can be a better place.


Interview with Scott Bishop: Favorite color, food, drink and animal?
My favorite color is purple followed closely by yellow and electric blue.

Favorite food? Chocolate. Definitely chocolate. But I love all kinds of foods like Italian, sushi, the classic American cheeseburger. Bring that burger with a side of onion rings, please.

And, oh! I looove roast lamb! There is something about the smell of rosemary when it’s cooking in the oven, with potatoes of course, that I absolutely adore. Really though, there’s so much good food out there it’s hard to pick just one favorite.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 
Typical activities, reading, watching movies, photography, being in the outdoors.

When/Why did you start writing A Soul’s Calling?  
When I was on the trail—I distinctly remember this—it was somewhere between Debuche and Pangboche, I thought that once I got back home I was going to leave the Himalaya behind. I mean, hiking to Everest Base Camp is hard work. I could never have imagined how hard it’d be going into the trek. Had I, I may never have gone. 

So here I was on the trail, headed for Dingboche, climbing these huge stone stair cases, up and down, ad nauseam as I write in the book, and I just kept muttering to myself that once I got back home to New Jersey, I was going to put this expedition behind me. Far behind. I didn’t want anything to do with it. Though at the time, I had to admit to myself that after a couple of weeks, once I rested up, I’d probably want to take a look at my photos.

When I returned from Nepal, it took me a good two weeks before I unpacked anything—that includes my dirty clothes. My duffle and daypack sat in the middle of the living room floor. I just ignored them, walking over the bags as I needed to. After two weeks went by, I began slowly looking through the photos I had taken. But that wasn’t enough, so I began posting some of them up on a blog. But that wasn’t enough. So, along with my photos, I decided to post excerpts from the journal I had kept while on the trail. After three or four posts with the excerpts it felt like the blog posts needed more. So I began to write short narratives to go along with the photos and journal excerpts. At the time, I limited myself to about 1000 words so I could have a post finished in a week. But the narratives grew on their own accord anyway. And then, one day, I decided not to hold back, not to limit the word count of the narrative I was currently working on. That’s how the first chapter came to be. Before I knew it, the narrative I was working on had blossomed into 5000 words.

I was reluctant to say I was writing a book. But by the beginning of January, something had taken such hold of me that I just surrendered to the process. I mean, there was really nothing else I could do. It was a powerful feeling that took hold of me. It felt like I was being woken every morning and dragged to my word processor by an otherworldly force. It was like some spirit entity was leading me to my word processor every morning and insisting that I sit and write. It was only then that I allowed myself to acknowledge that I was writing, and commit to writing, a book. There seemed little choice in the matter for me. There was a story that needed to come out. So I wrote.

When/Where do you feel most comfortable writing?
First thing in the morning, after a cup of coffee, that’s when my muse and I get together best. That’s when hammering out words is easiest for me.  I sit at my desk in front of the computer and bang away at my keyboard, looking up from time to time to watch the cars drive by on the main street that runs past my home. I watch people walking past on the sidewalk, too. But when I’m editing, polishing my words up, I’ll print whole sections and chapters, curl up into an oversized comfy chair, and, with pen in hand, engage my muse until the words, their rhythm and tone, feel just right. I need perfect quiet for all this to come together, too.

Where does your inspiration for a story come from?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write a novel. The only problem was, I’ve never been drawn to any particular story strong enough to spend the time to set it down on paper. That is, until A Soul’s Calling came along. Actually, that’s not entirely true. In January 2010, I had begun writing the first pages to a book, but I didn’t get very far. My law practice steered me away from it and I just didn’t have the time to make any headway with it.

Writing a novel takes a huge commitment. I’m in awe of authors who can write at night, or find time to write even though they have a day job they go to. If I had to write A Soul’s Calling under those circumstances, it would never have gotten done. For me, the only way to write a book is by committing myself to the endeavor, immersing myself into it, one hundred percent. If I had to estimate, I’d say it probably took me 1800 hours to write A Soul’s Calling.  

Connect:  You can connect with Scott online at his website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads

Purchase:  You can purchase A Soul's Calling online at Amazon for $14.95 ($4.95 Kindle version).

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Soul's Calling - Free Kindle Version


Synopsis:  A Soul’s Calling is a memoir about a man who listened to his heart instead of reason. 

Scott, a forty-something attorney, is average in every way except one. He has a connection to the Other Side. He speaks to Spirit and Spirit speaks to him. He sees, hears, and interacts with an invisible realm that is beyond ordinary human perception. When Scott learns his soul has been spiritually compromised he travels to the ancient kingdom of Nepal to win it back. Once there, he hikes the Himalaya carrying a mysterious bundle and a stick laden with prayers from Luminous Beings hoping to come face to face with the greatest mountain on earth: Mount Everest. As his journey unfolds, Scott is called on to battle his fear of heights, the thin air, and his physical limitations.

A Soul’s Calling transports readers to the rugged but enchanting Khumbu Valley where mountains speak and nature is imbued with a special kind of magic. The novel is an inspiring modern day adventure that weaves the timeless themes of living an authentic life, the consequences of power, and what a man would do for unrequited love. Powerful, sweeping, and deeply moving, readers will search their hearts as the book draws to a stunning conclusion. 

A Soul’s Calling is a book for our time and for anyone who believes the world can be a better place.



Meet the Author:  Scott Bishop was born and raised in northern New Jersey, earned a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University School of Law, and is a member of the New York State Bar. He currently resides in New Jersey where he continues to chip away at his law school debt. For more information, visit his website at www.scott-bishop.com.

FREE:  Today, A Soul's Calling is FREE! at Amazon (Kindle version).  

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen - Chapter Excerpt



Synopsis:  Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why!

His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?

Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?


Excerpt (Chapter 5):

Although the sun was fully up in the Virginia summer sky, it was not yet hot. Fitz found jumping exhilarating; the cool morning air caressing his face, and Lord Nelson, so strong and graceful, took all the jumps with no effort.
Heritage Week was over so things could get back to normal. He shrugged. Whatever normal is. He realized there was a very good chance that his normal was about to change radically. Eliza’s letter—the one she had found written to him from Jane—had ended his search for the truth of his Regency encounter. But Eliza did much more than give him the letter.
He had been merely surviving, not living, in the years since his mother’s death. He’d thrown himself into the business of Pemberley Farms to the exclusion of almost everything else. Eliza’s arrival had heralded an acute awareness of that fact. It was as though a light was suddenly shining so he could see the world around him. She made him want to live again. And she had given him the letter… Jane’s letter.
Fitz reined Lord Nelson to a walk as they entered the cool shade of the woods on the edge of his property.
Jane. He had spent more than three years seeking proof of his meeting with her and of her feelings for him. Almost as if he’d been transported again back to Chawton in 1810, the image of Jane’s sweet face flooded his mind. He thought back to that morning and his inauspicious entrance into Jane Austen’s life.

The combination of his head injury and the laudanum prescribed by Mr. Hudson, the Austen family physician, caused Darcy to slip in and out of consciousness. He tried to sit up, the effort making him dizzy.
Jane gently laid a hand on his chest. “Please, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Hudson wants you to remain still.”
Through a cotton mouth, his head spinning, Darcy asked, “Mr. Hudson?”
“The doctor,” Jane said. “You must rest now Mr. Darcy.” The American looked at her face. Her curiosity was palpable even in his drugged state. Unable to think clearly, never mind responding to questions he wasn’t sure he could answer, he closed his eyes completely and turned his head away.
Jane returned to her vanity table where she continued to write; a single candle and the flames in the fireplace her only light. Interrupted in her writing by a low murmur from Darcy, she took the candle and quietly approached the bed. He was tossing back and forth, his face flushed and contorted; he was speaking in quiet tones, a hodgepodge of words that meant nothing to her. He spoke what she could only suppose were the nonsensical ramblings of a sick brain; she attributed words like television and jet to his head injury and delirium. She placed her hand softly on his cheek and was distressed by the heat radiating from him. Using fresh linen soaked in water from the pitcher on her wash stand, Jane swabbed his face and neck, then laid it across his forehead. It seemed to calm him and she went back to her writing.
Each time he grew restless Jane stopped writing and went to the bed to refresh the linen with cool water. After three episodes in close succession she remained on the edge of the bed so she was at hand, and each time he started to toss and turn she would caress his face and neck with the cool, damp linen in hopes that it would, in time, reduce his fever.
She stayed there until Darcy’s features turned placid and he was breathing more evenly. He finally seemed to be sleeping comfortably. She laid her small, soft hand on his cheek. The fever was broken. She dropped the cloth into the basin. Stiff from sitting in one position for so long without support, she stood up and stretched. She was not particularly tired but needed to get some rest.
Quietly she crossed the wooden floor and slipped the small pages of writing she was working on into the drawer of the vanity, then took a nightgown from the closet next to the fireplace. Glancing back at the bed she stepped behind the screen.
He opened his eyes just enough to see her slender, full-breasted figure silhouetted on the muslin screen, back-lit by the remnants of the fire as the light fabric of her nightgown floated down to envelope her.
Jane stopped at the bed before making her way to Cassandra’s room for a few hours of sleep. As she stood over him he watched surreptitiously through the veil of his eyelashes. She leaned down and whispered, “Good night, Mr. Darcy,” almost brushing his lips with her own. In spite of his continuing laudanum haze, he could see that her eyes were filled with a tenderness that caused him to grab her hand as she straightened up; he didn’t want her to go.
Without opening his eyes or letting go of her hand he said, “Please don’t leave me.”
Unsure whether this was further evidence of the delirium or whether he was actually requesting her presence, she pulled her hand away. He did not move to take it again but said, “Please, stay.”
Cognizant of Mr. Hudson’s admonition of keeping the injured American calm and concerned her leaving might agitate him, Jane sat once again on the edge of the bed. Darcy smiled in the flickering flame of the dying fire. He said nothing more but gently took her hand. He did not relinquish it again until she rose to move to a chair by the side of the bed where she finally slept.
The movement woke him. His mind finally clear of drugs, he scanned the room in the dim, pre-dawn light. There were no electrical outlets or switches, no lamps, television or telephone, and the only clock appeared to be pendulum driven. Everyone he’d seen wore costumes similar to the ones people wore to the Rose Ball. Those things and the medical treatment he had received led him to the inexplicable conclusion that somehow he’d fallen into another time—a time when Jane Austen was alive.
And there she sat, serene in what had to be an uncomfortable position for sleep; his nurse, his savior and much prettier than she was depicted in the only portrait of her to survive to the twenty-first century. She was not the brazen hussy of Darcy family lore but a sweet and loving woman who took care of him without concern for her own safety or expecting anything in return. His mother would have said she was a true Christian.
As he watched her in the pale light of the dying embers his head started to throb as though a nail was being driven through it. He closed his eyes and blessed sleep overtook him.
  
Jane was an incredibly strong, intelligent, willful and virtuous woman who followed the propriety of the day… mostly. During the last three years he’d often wondered what might have happened between them if he’d been forced to stay in early nineteenth-century England. Of course with the way her brothers felt about him, he probably wouldn’t have seen her again.
If the circumstances had been different would he have married her? He could have been happy with her, he supposed, but over the years he’d come to realize that the love he felt for her was based on who she was, the awe in which he held her, caring for him when she certainly didn’t have to, loving him. Then again, did she love him? She had never said it and the letter Eliza had found and given him showed obvious affection but she urged him to find his true love. Apparently she didn’t think she was it. Had they ever loved each other or had it just been a fling across the ages?
He laughed. What difference did any of it make? Jane Austen had been dead for almost two hundred years. Still, the undisputed icon of witty English romance had kissed him whether she loved him or not. He still had to pinch himself to believe it had ever happened.
He had no such questions about Eliza. Everything felt right when he was with her. This was no fling. He had no idea where they were headed, but for the first time in years he was looking forward to the rest of his life. As long as Eliza was with him he didn’t care where they were headed.
Fitz and Lord Nelson crossed the bridge at a leisurely gait; the ground fog was burning off in the warm morning sun. Had it really been only two days since he and the great stallion were galloping across the bridge before the fog had lifted and run Eliza off the road and into a muddy drainage ditch? He hadn’t even realized she was there until it had happened. When he did, he brought Nelson to a stop and, without questioning who she was or why she was walking along a road on his property, he had lifted her onto Lord Nelson’s back and then swung up behind her. She was slightly light headed from the sudden fall, and once on the horse she had leaned against his chest and he’d had to control a strong desire to kiss the top of her head. He still didn’t understand how a complete stranger could make him feel that way, but he didn’t really care. From the first moment, being with her felt right and wonderful and that was all that mattered.
She had touched something in him that no one else ever had, including Jane, even before he knew her. At the Austen exhibit at the New York Public Library he had found himself staring at her. He laughed remembering that he had thought of her as a raven-haired beauty. Then two days ago she had come out of the fog and into his life.
He had told her his story about jumping through a rift in time and meeting Jane Austen. It had been very difficult at first, but once he started it tumbled out and had been a relief that he wasn’t carrying it around anymore. It was as though a weight had been lifted and this slight, feisty New Yorker had done the lifting. She had listened to him with an intensity that had made her a part of the story. She had been kind and compassionate—he had seen real grief when she asked him about leaving Jane—and she had given him the letter that answered his questions about whether he’d actually met Jane Austen and how Jane felt about him.
Jane would always hold a special place in his heart, but Eliza held his heart. Maybe it was too early to take it all for love, but it certainly felt the way he'd always thought love is supposed to feel.
Horse and rider stepped out from the cool canopy of the woods and into the warm summer sun. Spurring his favorite horse to a full gallop Fitz guided him over every fence and stream on their way back to the barn.


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