Friday, September 28, 2012

Blog Tour: Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone: Review/Guest Post and Q&A



Follow the tour HERE
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Author Bio:
Lucie Simone has a passion for travel, yoga, and writing. She has a degree in Journalism, a Master of Fine Arts in Television Production, and is a certified yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. Her love of comedy (and living under the delusion that she might one day be an actress) resulted in a stint studying improvisation, which, ironically enough, taught her to be a better writer.

Her short story, A Taste of Italy, won the New York Book Festival competition for best ebook and is a bestseller at Amazon UK. The release of her debut novel, Hollywood Ending, a romantic comedy about life in Hollywood for the not-so-rich-and-famous, marked the launch of her small press, Simon & Fig, which publishes Chick Lit, Lad Lit and Women’s Fiction exclusively.

Lucie lives, loves and writes in the City of Angels, but considers New York City her second home and visits as often as her bank account will allow.   

Connect with Lucie!
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About the book:  For Lauren Tate, a high-powered TV producer, sex, lies, and scandal make for a great movie-of-the-week, but when she becomes the target of a smear campaign, even the most salacious of Hollywood’s tales can’t compare to her real life drama. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband leading the effort to sully her reputation, and her former assistant threatening to snatch her hard-earned position at Timeless Television out of her hands, Lauren’s perfectly planned life quickly begins to unravel at the seams.

Clawing her way back to the top of the TV food chain is no easy task, especially in an industry where backstabbing is a sport and gossip is a full time business. But Lauren learns just how cut-throat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart is missing in action. Can she salvage her career, her reputation, and her love life? Or will Hollywood be the death of her?


Picture Perfect was an emotional roller coaster of love, drama, scandal and Hollywood.  I absolutely love the way Simone writes.  She has a way of pulling you into the life's of the characters that causes you to become invested in their stories.  I quite literally read this book in one sitting and was up well into the night to see how it would conclude.  Picture Perfect has the elements that I love in a great novel; humor, drama, a bit of mystery, great dialogue and characters I care about.  I highly recommend it and rate it 4.5 stars.

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Q.  What inspires your writing?
A. Most often, I’m inspired by my real life experiences. My travels, my friends, my family, and the lessons I’ve learned from them. But sometimes I get story ideas from my dreams, too. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, my head spinning with ideas and write down as much as I can remember as quickly as I can.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A. There’s a lot to love about being an author, but probably the most rewarding thing is hearing others say how much they enjoyed my work. I’m so glad that I can bring some pleasure into a reader’s day, and I’m so honored that they chose to brighten their shelves (or their eReaders!) with my books.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. Writing the book! Haha! But seriously, writing is a lot of hard work. It’s a lot of time spent sitting alone with your thoughts, trying to turn blank pages into a whole world of wonders. Not an easy job, but a fun one.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A. That’s an interesting question because this assumes there’s a world in which I would not be an author. If you’re a writer, you have to write. It doesn’t matter if no one ever reads one word of your prose, you just have to write. Sure, I have a day job, too. And I could easily tell you what I’d rather do for work instead of that: yoga teacher (I am, actually), aesthetician (love going to the spa!), makeup artist (free samples!), interior designer (I’m addicted to HGTV).

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Learning to Love – it would be a story about overcoming adversity, discovering my true path, and finally finding a good relationship with a Happily Ever After ending (hopefully!).

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A. My favorite book of all time is Anna Maxted’s Getting Over It. Truly brilliant and absolutely hysterical. A must read for any Chick Lit fan.

Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the easiest to write?
A. The relationships between friends. I have some wonderful friends and their support and love is often revealed in the friendships my characters have. I don’t have to do any research there. I’m drawing upon experience.

Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the hardest to write?
A. There isn’t really any particular aspect of writing my books that is hard to write. More often, it’s simply making the time to write that’s so challenging. With a demanding day job, I have to really carve out time to not only write but to decompress from my stressful workday. If my brain is taxed, there’s no way I can write anything worthwhile. So, I have to have a good work-life balance in order to write well.

Q.  Which character from any book are you most like?
A. The character of Trina from Hollywood Ending. She’s a lot like I was a few years ago, trying to find her dream job in Hollywood while also figuring out how to make love last. We share a lot of traits, and certainly not all of them are good. But she’s definitely got my sense of humor and can laugh at herself and her mistakes.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your book cover(s)?
A. I think cover design is SO important! I usually take inspiration from the story itself. The cover should represent not only the subject matter, but the mood and tone of the book. For a couple of my books (A Taste of Italy and The Waterdance), the covers were designed using my personal photos of the places where the stories are set. For Hollywood Ending, what could be better than blending the title in with the actual Hollywood sign? For Picture Perfect, I wanted to go abstract with it, and more than anything, I wanted it to be pretty. And pink. I think the cover really captures the tone of the book well, and reflects the idea of trying to project an image of perfection.  I work with a wonderful graphic artist who practically reads my mind when it comes to interpreting my visions. Together, we make a great team! 
Q.  What is your favorite season?
A. Well, I live in Los Angeles where we don’t really have 4 distinct seasons like in other parts of the country. But I’d have to say my favorite is Spring. In LA, it’s the time when everything is bright and colorful and it isn’t too hot to enjoy being outside.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s).
A. I do virtual book tours, so I have the benefit of editing out anything dumb I might do or say. (Thankfully!) But I can tell you the most FUN thing has been meeting so many wonderful book bloggers. You guys are the best!

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A. Right now, I’m developing a Women’s Fiction novel entitled Roses in Bloom about two sisters who are faced with life altering situations and who have to learn to support each other as they overcome their fears in order to find their greatest joys.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. A simple THANK YOU for being a part of the wonderful world of reading. There is nothing better than connecting with other readers who are passionate about books.


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I Love LA!
By Lucie Simone

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over eighteen years, and it isn’t always easy here. It’s expensive, crowded and often seems like it was erected simply to crush the dreams of Hollywood hopefuls. But despite all its faults, I still love living here.

Five reasons why I love living in Los Angeles:

1.       Star sightings: You can dine beside a megawatt movie star eating dim sum for ten bucks on Sunset Strip. Or hike the trails of Griffith Park behind an action hero. Or take spin class with a TV detective. Yep, it all happens here. LA is crawling with celebrities of all sorts. And you’re bound to run into a couple now and then. And, yeah, even after years and years living in LA, it’s still fun to spot your favorite pop star as she crashes her SUV into your parked Prius.

2.       Sunshine: I didn’t always live in Los Angeles. I grew up in Indiana and went to high school and college in Georgia. To say that I worshipped the sun is an understatement. Not that I spent all my summer vacations lying by the pool, mind you. To this day, I am still as pale as the inside of a marshmallow. But being exposed to 300 plus days of sun just makes life a little, well, brighter!

3.       Rain: So, because we have so darn many sunny days, the times it does rain are really magical. Seriously, you’ll find us Angelenos wistfully gazing out the window on rainy days, marveling at the little droplets streaking across the glass. And it’s one of my favorite reasons to curl up in a cozy chair with a good book, the sound of rain and wind in the background. It is really a special time of the year. And apparently, it only happens here when my brother and sister-in-law come to visit. Honestly, they believe Los Angeles’ reputation for sunshine is a myth perpetuated by weather casters.

4.       Food: Being the cosmopolitan city that Los Angeles is, it serves as home to many, many different cultures. And one thing those cultures often bring with them is food! Before moving to Los Angeles, I had never had Thai food, Indian food, Japanese food, Greek food, Ethiopian food, Korean food, Vietnamese food, and so on. The only other culture’s dishes I was exposed to were Mexican, Italian and Chinese. Really. This may simply be because my parents didn’t wander too far in the neighborhood, but when I arrived in LA, my palette was completely overjoyed to discover the diversity of not only the people who live in Los Angeles, but their culinary delights as well.

5.        Showbiz: I can’t deny that one of my favorite things is seeing the Hollywood sign every morning on my way in to work. It reminds me that I live in the wonderful land of make-believe every day. Having long been enamored with the film industry, I always wanted to live in Los Angeles just so I could visit the movie studios and glimpse the magic that goes on behind the silver screen. And thus far I have visited every studio in town at least once – except for Warner Bros. Studios. I haven’t yet finagled a walk-on pass to that bastion of movie-making as of yet. But, it will happen. It’s in my neighborhood, after all. 


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon




Wife 22Review:  Wife 22 was a funny, quick read that held my interest.   Honestly,  I could not put it down.  Alice thinks her son is gay, thinks her daughter is bulimic, and thinks her marriage is in trouble.  She, with all this going on, then agrees to participate in an online research study about marriage.  To protect her identity she is assigned to the name “Wife 22” and is assigned to “Researcher 101”.

From the start you only see Alice’s replies to the questions she is asked (which makes you want to see what the questions are).  Her connections with Researcher 101 deepens.  Through the survery questions, facebook and emails, you watch Alice question her marriage and question if it can be saved.  I absolutely love the ending and rate this novel 4 stars.

Book Description
Release Date: May 29, 2012

For fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It comes an irresistible novel of a woman losing herself . . . and finding herself again . . . in the middle of her life.

Maybe it was those extra five pounds I’d gained. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other.

But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101).

And, just like that, I found myself answering questions.

7. Sometimes I tell him he’s snoring when he’s not snoring so he’ll sleep in the guest room and I can have the bed all to myself.
61. Chet Baker on the tape player. He was cutting peppers for the salad. I looked at those hands and thought, I am going to have this man’s children.
67. To not want what you don’t have. What you can’t have. What you shouldn’t have.
32. That if we weren’t careful, it was possible to forget one another.

Before the study, my life was an endless blur of school lunches and doctor’s appointments, family dinners, budgets, and trying to discern the fastest-moving line at the grocery store. I was Alice Buckle: spouse of William and mother to Zoe and Peter, drama teacher and Facebook chatter, downloader of memories and Googler of solutions.

But these days, I’m also Wife 22. And somehow, my anonymous correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn. Soon, I’ll have to make a decision—one that will affect my family, my marriage, my whole life. But at the moment, I’m too busy answering questions.

As it turns out, confession can be a very powerful aphrodisiac.




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: Theft by Chocolate by Luba Lesychyn




REVIEW:  I love a good mystery.  Especially one that involves chocolate.  Lesychyn did a wonderful job of writing both with wit and with a heroine that I could relate to.  There is a little romance brewing, which always kicks things up a notch.  I really enjoyed this cozy little mystery.  I would highly recommend this book for a good read.  I give it 4 stars.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Chocolate addict Kalena Boyko wasn’t prepared for this. Heading to work at Canada’s largest museum as an administrator, she hopes for quiet and uninterrupted access to her secret chocolate stash. Instead she’s assigned to manage the high-profile Treasures of the Mayaexhibition with her loathed former boss, Richard Pritchard.

With no warning, her life is capsized and propelled into warp speed as she stumbles across an insider plot that could jeopardize the exhibit and the reputation of the museum.

After hearing about a recent botched theft at the museum and an unsolved jewel heist in the past from security guard and amateur sleuth Marco Zeffirelli, Kalena becomes suspicious of Richard and is convinced he’s planning to sabotage the Treasures of the Maya exhibition.

Her suspicions, and the appearance of the mysterious but charming Geoffrey Ogden from the London office, don’t help her concentration. The Treasures of the Maya seems cursed as problem after problem arises, including the disappearance of the world’s oldest piece of chocolate, the signature object in the exhibit.

Theft By Chocolate is inspired by a real-life and never-solved heist at a Canadian museum in the 1980s.

To view Emily's Q&A with Luba, click HERE

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Weak and Loved by Emily Cook



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Weak and Loved by Emily Cook

I really enjoyed this book.  Here is a mother who is struggling with her daughter's illness and has no control over what is happening.  She is a woman of faith and looks to God for help and guidance during this time of trials.  Through out the book it talks about her daily struggles and her love for her daughter Aggie.  I love that she realized it's okay not to be super woman, it's okay to lean on friends and most importantly lean on God.  It's okay to be weak and loved.  I give it 4 stars.





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ABOUT THE BOOK:  Weak and Loved: A Mother-Daughter Love Story

This story includes no clich├ęs or easy answers, and it is not an attempt to answer complicated questions of human suffering. Rather, it is a demonstration of God's faithfulness toward one sick child and her imperfect mother: both weak, but both loved. Aggie had a brain tumor that disrupted her young life; her mother’s sin and selfishness disrupted her best attempts to care for her. Written from the perspective of a mother who suffers with her child, Weak and Loved allows readers to experience the struggles of faith and encouragement of God. Readers will enter the difficult, earthy, and sometimes humorous world of a sick child, and be pleased to find the beauty of God's love in Christ even there. 


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Read Q&A with Emily HERE
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Showcase: Fallen by Laury Falter




Fallen - the first book in the Guardian Trilogy...

Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger. 

As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived. 


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Laury Falter is the author of the bestselling Guardian Trilogy. She writes young adult paranormal romances when she's not taking her stray dogs for a walk or enjoying a date night with her husband.

Laury has a second series out now as well - Residue Series - which is a spinoff of the Guardian Trilogy. The first two books are released with the third installment coming out in November 2012.

Find out more news and information about Laury and her novels at her website: http://www.lauryfalter.com  on Twitter (@LauryFalter) or on Facebook.
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Q&A

 Q.  What inspires your writing?

A.  I started writing my first book in January 2009, after Joyce Durham lost her battle to colon cancer. I am good friends with her daughter, Erika, who was then faced with the very difficult task of learning how to deal with the loss of her mother. Witnessing her struggle and that of the Durham family, I wished there was someone who could visit with those who had passed over to the other side and bring back messages to the living, reassuring them that all was fine with their loved one. And from it, Magdalene Tanner was born. I went on to write FALLEN in just under two months, releasing it in March 2009. It since has since been given top rankings by readers on Goodreads for: Best Paranormal Romance Books Of All Time, Books That Should Be Made In to Movies, Books I Became So Obsessed With I Stopped Everything Else In My Life To Finish, Best Break Out Author Novels!, Best Unknown Young Adult Books, Books Good Enough To Read Again, Best Inspiring Books, YA Fallen Angels, Young Adult Romance.

Beyond that, it is incredibly fulfilling when readers get excited about any one of my books. To put it simply, I write for them.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A.  Bringing a couple’s love to life on the pages so that they can rouse the reader’s emotions. Along those same lines, knowing I’m taking my readers away from the onslaught of daily life for a brief vacation is incredibly rewarding.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

A.  Deadlines! I try to turn around a book every few months and that can be a grueling schedule. Ugh!

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

A. I was a full-time marketing professional until I lost my job last summer. To pay the bills, I wrote the second book of the Guardian Trilogy. Thankfully, people liked it! If they didn’t, I’d still be putting together marketing plans.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  The Memoir of an Odd Little Writer

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A.  The Bridge to Terabithia. It was the first book I read as a child that made me cry, and it still makes me tear up when I think about it now. An absolutely wonderful read!

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A.  Margaret Simon, from Judy Blume’s book “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”. Like her, I have great inner dialogue that is constantly rambling through my head.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?

A. Magdalene “Maggie” Tanner. I completely connect with her unwavering dedication to protect others.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. Fall. I LOVE Halloween. What other day of the year can you dress up like a zombie and no one will think you’re crazy, or run screaming from you?

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A. The online versions of the Guardian Trilogy have a lot of white space in the background because I sold Fallen first on my personal website and didn’t want to waste anyone’s printer ink when printing the book.  The remaining novels followed suit. This worked out, thankfully, because the colors (or lack of) represent a great contrast between good and evil.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. To be honest, I haven’t really promoted my books. Isn’t it funny that marketers are the least likely to promote themselves? My books have been promoted mostly through word-of-mouth. The Orange Country Children’s Book Festival on September 30th will be my first book signing. If anything funny happens there - and I’m crossing my fingers something does because I love to laugh - I’ll be sure to tell you!

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A.  Yes! I have a new series out - the Residue Series - with two of the four books in the series now available, Residue and Birthright. Simplifying the summary, it’s about a teenage girl who learns she comes from a long line of distinguished witches and falls in love with a handsome, charming boy in the midst of their families’ feud.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  If you enjoy being taken away for a little while by a romantic story set in a paranormal world, check out Laury Falter’s books at www.lauryfalter.com

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What am I doing today????


ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus Half Marathon 
Sunday, September 23, 2012 

WHAT MOVES ME????
I am not a runner. Period.  I am not trying to win first place.  But I am an active person who wants to stress health and wellness for her children.  I believe that is really what moves me.  I want my kids to aspire to do more physically, to enjoy getting up and moving.  

I walked the half last year with a great group of lady friends and it was a blast.  To walk 13.1 miles was no small feat.  That is not a short distance.  It was an amazing moment crossing the finish line with my dearest friends by my side.  

This year my sister and I are run/walking it.  My poor knee can only take about 3 miles at a time (plus I am getting over a terrible cold), so I will see what I can do.  If nothing else, I got myself up early to do something amazing with my sister.  My boys will be at the finish line and although they may not really understand what I did today, they will know that I always try to push myself a bit harder each and everyday...that they move me to get moving!!!

Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Showcase: How Lucky Are You by Kristyn Kusek Lewis



About the author:  The subjects that I cover, both in my fiction and my magazine work, reflect what I’m most curious about in my own life: how to navigate modern-day motherhood, how to live healthfully, and how to obtain a thoughtful, fully realized life and enjoy the journey while you’re at it.
My debut novel, HOW LUCKY YOU ARE (Grand Central/Five Spot) is available at bookstores nationwide and at Target, where it is an Emerging Authors pick. Rights have been sold in the UK (where it is published under the title THROUGH IT ALL) and in Brazil. I am hard at work on my second novel, a love story about two overambitious doctors and the tragic accident that changes their lives.
My career began at Glamour magazine, where I fell in love with health reporting. I went on to hold editing positions at Child magazine, where I was Lifestyle Editor, and New Woman, where I was Health & Fitness Editor. In 1999, I gave up editing to write full-time. Since then, I’ve written dozens of articles for many of the nation’s top, front-of-the-newsstand publications, including the New York TimesO: The Oprah MagazineReal SimpleReader’s DigestGlamourSelfRedbook,CosmopolitanMarie ClaireParentsAllureGood HousekeepingCooking LightHealthMen’s Health, and more. I’ve written health and relationships columns for Redbook, I’ve been a health writer for the New York Daily News, and I was a contributing editor at Organic Style.
I’m a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where I earned an MFA in creative writing. I live in North Carolina with my husband, my daughters, and two big dogs.
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HOW LUCKY YOU ARE is an engaging and moving novel about three women struggling to keep their longstanding friendship alive. Waverly, who’s always been the group’s anchor, runs a cozy bakery but worries each month about her mounting debt. Kate is married to a man who’s on track to be the next governor of Virginia, but the larger questions brewing in their future are unsettling her. Stay-at-home mom Amy has a perfect life on paper, but as the horrific secret she’s keeping from her friends threatens to reveal itself, she panics. As life’s pressures build all around them, Waverly knows she has some big decisions to make. In doing so, she will discover that the lines between loyalty and betrayal can become blurred, happy endings aren’t always clear-cut, and sometimes you have to risk everything to gain the life you deserve.
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 Q&A
Q. What inspires your writing?
 
A. I’m most inspired by ordinary, everyday moments—what you talk about with your partner at the end of the day, the activities you play with your kid on a quiet afternoon at home, what happens at the dinner table. To me, those seemingly insignificant moments are what shape our lives, and I find them endlessly interesting. 

Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?

 
A. Making up stories for a living is a pretty excellent job. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. 
 
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
 
A. The work itself can be frustrating—when you’re working on a story and it’s just not happening the way you want it to, it can be pretty maddening. But I’ve found that the only way to deal with those tough days is to just write yourself out of it. 
 
Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
 
A. I would teach. I loved school. 
 
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
 
A. Ha! That is a tough, tough question! I’m stumped! The last autobiography I read was Rob Lowe’s so I think I’ll steal his excellent title—Stories I Only Tell My Friends. It’s good, right? 
 
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
 

A. Ooh…I can’t pick just one! The Awakening by Kate Chopin is the first book I read over and over, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, all of Judy Blume’s books, all of Jhumpa Lahiri’s books, To Kill a MockingbirdA Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman. Charlotte’s Web
 
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
 
A. Again, stumped! My kids are young, and like every mom I know, I’m trying to get the balance right between work and family and everything else, so I’ll say Kate Reddy in I Don’t Know How She Does It.
 
Q. What character from your book are you most like?
 
A. Waverly. Though as a friend pointed out, the similarities between us are all superficial details—we’re both half Polish, we both enjoy a “Cosby Show” rerun, and we both overuse the word “awesome.” 
 
Q. What is your favorite season?
 
A. Fall, hands-down. I despise hot weather so I live for that first cool, crisp morning. 
 
Q. What inspired your book cover? 
 
A. The designer did a phenomenal job with my cover (in my humble opinion, as I had nothing to do with it!). Waverly, the main character, owns a bakery. For a variety of reasons, her life isn’t working, hence the broken plate. 
 
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
 
A. I honestly can’t think of a thing! It’s been a glorious, celebratory whirlwind. 
 
Q. Are you working on something new?
 
A. Yes! My next book is about two overambitious young doctors in Durham, North Carolina. There’s a tragic accident and trouble ensues. Believe it or not, it’s a love story.  
 
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
 
A. So nice to meet you! I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl, so the fact that I’m actually doing it, and that people are actually reading it, is a dream come true. I pinch myself daily. Thank you!
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Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Author, HOW LUCKY YOU ARE:  
on sale NOW

Check out her website * Find her on Facebook * Follow her on Twitter 
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