Thursday, September 22, 2016

NEW RELEASE: BETWEEN HOPE AND THE HIGHWAY

Today I'd like to share a NEW RELEASE with you.
I had the pleasure of beta reading this book and it is wonderful!
If you enjoy clean romance, then you'll love this book.





Sometimes things get so messed up you have to pick up and get the heck out of Dodge. That’s what Liz Ruthersford does. Memories can be weapons, and hers have become incoming missiles. Fleeing home and her parents’ pity, she seeks refuge on a remote ranch in Montana where no one knows her tragic past. When she meets Bentley and Rawson Law, brothers with wounds of their own, life veers off course. Embers of hope flicker to life, but will bias, bitterness, and misunderstanding smother them before they burn bright enough to warm her heart? Or will she hit the highway and run once again? For readers who crave a clean, yet heart-pounding romance and redemption story, this one’s for you. 


My review:

Between Hope and the Highway is an epic tale of romance, unconditional love, redemption, and the power of the human spirit to survive and transform amidst adversity. The metamorphosis of the hero makes this a highly gratifying read. He grows with each flip of the page, leaving behind a trail of optimism. This book will make you smile as you witness a true change of heart.


See the book trailers HERE.


About the author:


Charissa Stastny is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children who are the light of her life. She’s an avid reader, happy writer, BYU graduate, and lover of irises, clouds, chocolate, sushi, and nature. Though born and raised in Las Vegas, she has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She shuffles kids, laundry, and church responsibilities rather well! though. She currently lives in Utah with her family, where shuffling cards isn’t required.

Sign up for Charissa's newsletter and receive a FREE ebook!

Author Q & A:

How did you get started as an author?

I’d always wanted to write a book, but never seemed to have time between being a mother, a caregiver, and then a preschool and art teacher. As my children matured, I suddenly found myself spending lots of time waiting for them at sports practices. That’s when I started bringing notebooks and hashing out a story (which ended up being my Bending Willow Trilogy). That hooked me on the writing process…and now I don’t want to stop.


Most writers are readers. What are some of your favorite books?

I love The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, any of the Harry Potter books, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, and anything by C.S. Lewis. Contemporary romance authors I can’t get enough of are Jennifer Peel, Taylor Dean, and Amy Harmon. I can reread their stories and not tire of them.


What suggestions would you give a potential author to help them become a better writer?

There are so many great writing books out there. Read as many of them as you can, and apply new techniques as you learn them. Go to a writing conference each year if you can, and learn how to plot. I’ve done the pantser method for my first three books, and it’s fun…but very inefficient. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks has been the most helpful writing book I’ve found for me. 


Who is your favorite author and why?

Probably C.S. Lewis. His words are amazing; his thoughts so clear and inspiring. Everything he wrote deserves a place on my shelf and his quotes on my fridge.


Tell us a little about your family.

My husband and I are high school sweethearts and married after his mission. We have four children—3 daughters (one married who is an interior designer/architect, one who served a mission in S. Korea and is now in school for dental hygiene, and one who’s leaving on a mission to Armenia/Georgia and speaking Georgian for the next year and a half before studying to become a P.A.) and one incredible son in high school. We love being together and our favorite activities include biking, hiking, camping, and going to Disneyland. 


What got you started on your writing journey?

I’ve dabbled with writing since I was a kid. I loved reading clean romance as a teen and wrote many cheesy scenes between handsome cowboys and milkmaids in my journal. The world will NEVER see these! They are cheesier than a Walmart tuxedo.


Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?

After my husband read my first book, he commented, “It would have been better with a zombie in it.” Since then, the Search and Find feature on Word has become my best friend. I always use it before I send out drafts to readers, because unfortunately, my husband is skilled at sneaking zombies into files. There is nothing worse than when the masculine hunk in my story tells the girl of his dreams that ‘he wants to eat her brains.’ Ugh!


How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

Quite a lot. There is always one character I identify with—usually the shy, awkward one with a good heart who doesn’t know how to accessorize. My cool characters are my dreams of how I wish I could be. It’s fun as a writer to live vicariously through our characters.

What kind of trials do your main characters in your newest book have to endure?

Liz has been brought up by a hen-pecking mother who has always belittled her because her dreams didn’t align with hers. This has caused internal strife with regards to her self-esteem that she has to overcome (once she realizes it’s there). Liz has also just lost her fiancé in a terrible automobile accident. That’s why she leaves home to escape painful memories. Rawson and Bentley Law are dealing with survivor’s guilt from an accident they were involved in five years ago as well. They each have secrets that have the power to destroy their present happiness.

Why should we read your books?

Two reasons: 1) there is a powerful message of forgiveness and redemption woven into the pages that will make you appreciate life more fully, and 2) the characters are witty, vulnerable, charming, and just plain awesome! If you’re like me, you will fall in love with them.

FOLLOW CHARISSA:


Enjoy the following excerpt from BETWEEN HOPE AND THE HIGHWAY:

As I finished loading the last horse, Rawson materialized and wrapped his arms around me. I jumped as he nestled his stubbled chin into my neck. The tingling sensation he evoked sent delightful shivers clear down to my toes.
“You ready to go, babycakes?”
Goosebumps erupted as he rubbed his chin against my neck. I tried to escape, but Blondie stood nearby and Rawson acted for all he was worth. Twisting me, he pulled me close and leaned in to kiss me. I threw my hand over my mouth just before his lips made contact. At this angle, the bimbo couldn’t tell he kissed the back of my hand quite passionately. Thank goodness for small mercies. I might have passed out if he’d gone at my lips with such gusto. 
When he paused to wink at me, I whispered, “I hate your guts.”
His blue-green eyes crinkled. “I know.” He grabbed my slobbery hand and said over his shoulder, “It was a pleasure meeting you, Kelsey.” He doffed his hat and closed the trailer. Opening my door, he helped me inside his flashy truck. “There you go, sweetheart.”
When he climbed in the driver’s side, I hauled off and punched his leg. “I can’t believe you kissed my hand like that.”
“I was going for your lips.” 
“Gross!”
He laughed and glanced out the window. Catching Kelsey watching us like lab rats, he leaned over to peck my cheek.
“Kiss me again and I’ll deck you,” I said between clenched teeth.
“It might be worth it, especially if you move your hand.”
“You’re impossible.”
He waved as we pulled away from the arena. “I owe you big time for saving me from that blond nightmare. Thanks for playing along.” 
“You kind of forced me to,” I grumped. 
His grin caused havoc in my heart. “Did you see her face when you said all that garbage about what thing implied? It was difficult to keep a straight face.” 
I stuck my tongue out, making him chortle. 
“Ah, Lizzie, you’re all right.”
“And you’re an idiot.”

I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE BOOK AS MUCH I DID!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER

Congratulations to the last WORDLESS WEDNESDAY 
winner: Britney!

I liked her answer entitled:

Image courtesy of  [alex_ugalek]  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

LEAVE A TRAIL OF LOVE WHEREVER YOU GO

To view, go here.

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!



Image courtesy of [atibodyphoto] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "Long Distance Relationship."

My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email or I will be unable to name you as winner!
You may leave multiple answers to increase your chances of winning.

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, September 19, 2016

MONDAY MUSINGS

My newest book is entitled STONE SILENCE. It's the first in a series called the SOUND OF SILENCE series.



Background Image courtesy of 9comeback at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Book two will be entitled JAILBIRD and book three will be entitled HOTHOUSE FLOWER. At least those are my working titles. They are subject to change as I write each book. The covers are almost done and I can't wait to share them with you!

Recently, I was working on my book and a few strange coincidences happened, reminding me that sometimes I feel compelled to write a story--as if the universe is saying, "YES, write this book. Write this book NOW!!"


I realize that all of these happenings are coincidence, but I like to imagine there are bigger forces at work here, so indulge me on this!!


STONE SILENCE takes place in the summer of 2015 during the GREAT TEXAS FLOODS. We had to travel to Austin to visit our son during this time and it was during our drive home that I felt inspired to write STONE SILENCE. More on this in a future post.

So, what are these amazing coincidences that happened?

I'll tell you.

Keep in mind, they're just little things, but they seemed BIG to me at the time.


A few months ago, I heard the song GIRL CRUSH and it spoke to me. The feelings that are evident in the beginning of the second book in the series match the feelings in the song perfectly. The song has really inspired me as I write the beginning scene of book two.


           


There is a scene in book one where the two characters are in a restaurant. I wanted to have a significant song playing in the background--and I wanted it to be a country song. I searched around for a while, not finding a song that appealed to me. Then I thought, it's supposed to be 2015, what were the top country songs that year. I looked it up and guess what?

Yep, you guessed it! GIRL CRUSH was the number one song.


I sat there and stared at my computer screen for a full minute, feeling awestruck. Such an amazing coincidence. I love when the pieces of a book just seem to fit together so perfectly.

I'm not sure how I've never heard this song when it was popular in 2015. The first time I heard it was when I'd already written the first draft of STONE SILENCE in 2016. And like I said, it just spoke to me. It captures the emotions at the beginning of book two. (Which will be entitled, JAILBIRD.)

The next few things that happened are just odd little coincidences that inspired me as well. Perhaps they are silly, but each moment made me more and more determined to write this series.



#1 While writing STONE SILENCE I ran across this version of the SOUND OF SILENCE and I felt inspired: 



           



#2 One evening while deeply absorbed in STONE SILENCE, I was sitting in a restaurant and another version of this song began to play over the radio. It was another one of those moments where I felt like the universe was singing to me and inspiring me. (Warning: the accompanying video is SAD!)




             


I know, weird, and I'm imagining things. As an author sometimes small things inspire me!


#3 Next, I was watching the finale of DWTS and my favorite freestyle dance was danced to the SOUND OF SILENCE. The young man dancing in the video is DEAF and he is AMAZING. He ended up winning the season.

Just to reiterate, a deaf man won DWTS!!! Incredible!


As for me, yep, I was inspired once again! Not just by the music, but by the heartfelt emotions expressed through dance.




So, yes I have concluded that I NEED to write this series! Reminders are all around me!
Time to get to work!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER

Congratulations to the last WORDLESS WEDNESDAY 
winner: BN!

I liked her answer entitled:


Image courtesy of  [hadkhanong]  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

SHOWERED WITH LOVE


To view, go here.

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!



Image courtesy of [alex_ugalek] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "I was led to love."

My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email or I will be unable to name you as winner!
You may leave multiple answers to increase your chances of winning.

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, September 12, 2016

MONDAY MUSINGS--GUEST POST: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE



I'm very excited to share this guest post with you today!


Before we dive in, just wanted to give you all a quick heads up about a giveaway for GIRL OF MINE on these two fabulous blogs:
(TWO chances to win! Good luck!)


FUONLYKNEW


FUNDINMENTAL


And now on to our guest post . . .


How to Make the Most Out of Your Local Bookstore


When Amazon arrived on the scene, book giants like Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble and little indie bookstores on the block breathed a breath of utter terror—at least that’s how I imagine it.

How could they not when books were being sold online, delivered next day and at a fraction of the cost? Brick-and-mortar bookstores had to rethink the old business model, and it meant a lot of rearranging, but to me that just made them better for customers and indie writers on the rise.

So if you’re like me and still love visiting your local bookstore, check out these five ways to make the most out of your trips there.


1.     Go for the bookstore “feel.”

Authenticity is the reason people head to a locally owned bookstore, and it’s certainly a big factor for me. I want to go into a store and browse, sit and read a first chapter or two. I want to get comfy in a book nook, maybe snuggle with the store cat or ask for advice about how to find the book that’s best for me. It’s why I go to the bookstore: I get an authentic experience.

In my town, there are local writers and readers who grab the window seats at the best local book spot and perch all day as if they were their offices. Bringing laptops and mugs of coffee, they borrow the local WiFi and live a life straight out of Nora Ephron’s imagination. Most of them are ghostwriters and content writers, but occasionally I’ll find a Nook reader who’s downloading or reading PDFs and just trying to take part in that authenticity. No one seems to mind; it’s just all part of the experience.    


2.      Chat with people about books.

Even if I plan on buying an e-book, I like to go in and chat with people about books, people who like books, who live for books. I don’t want to know the spoilers, but I do want to know if a book is right for me, and you don’t get that unless you talk to people.  

So go in and talk about the books you love, the books that changed your life. Strike up a conversation with others who are browsing. Talk to the employees. The staff is likely to remember you, maybe stockpile options for your next visit or even let you in on exclusive events or deals. It’s about making a friend, and a friend who knows a lot about books is never a bad thing.

What’s even better is if you’re an aspiring writer, the connections you make with the local community can be a big step in your literary career. Just think: you could host future book signings and events at the store with familiar faces.


3.      Find the handpicked content.

If the store features a spotlight table, you’re going to want to get all over it. It’s not something the bookstore does just for fun; it’s to help book lovers find great new content. It might be a local book group that’s got really great taste and rearranges the table weekly, or maybe it features famous authors from your town or state. Plus, if you don’t like anything that’s highlighted for shoppers, just do what I already encouraged: ask the bookshop workers! 

4.      Shop for meaningful gifts.


I think books are one of the best things to give a person: birthday, Christmas, housewarming, what have you. I’m always handing over tomes I hope will help someone later in life. While it’s one thing to give a gift card to Barnes and Noble, I think it’s a completely different thing to take the leap and give a personal gift.


You can go to Google or Goodreads all you want and read reviews to decide whether someone might like a book, but your details and your connection, plus a bookstore staff’s knowledge, is going to be more tailored, more personal and a better fit for everyone involved.


5.      Connect with the store owner.


A person doesn’t open a bookstore to make a lot of money, and I think that was true even before book sales started moving online. It’s just not a cutthroat business at that level; it’s a personal one. Store owners love books and know a lot about them. So if you wander in with a nagging memory of picking up a book with a boar on the cover and only one word of the title, they’re there to help. 

For book lovers, there is no dumb question about which book you should move onto after you finish Harry Potter (even if you’re thirty-something like me). Ask them for an obscure title, have them make a special order—that’s the beauty of the local bookstore, and that’s why you’ll keep coming back.


From books to friends to experiences, getting the best at your bookstore is all about relishing what they can do outside of just getting a book into your hands. Ask about your favorite genre or what’s the latest in local authors. Bookstore owners and staff live for these opportunities, and you’ll learn to live for them too.

Cassie @ Culture Coverage's profile photo

About the author: 
Cassie Phillips is an entertainment blogger and bookworm. When she’s not hanging out at her local coffee shop, she’s investigating the bookshelves at her favorite bookstore, searching for her next great read. Check out her other work at Culture Coverage and Secure Thoughts.  

Thank you, Cassie, for sharing your thoughts about local bookstores. I appreciate you taking the time to write a guest post for my blog. I'm sure my followers appreciate it too!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER

Congratulations to the last WORDLESS WEDNESDAY 
winner: Britney!

I liked her answer entitled:




Image courtesy of  [thewats]  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

BURSTING WITH LOVE

To view, go here.

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!



Image courtesy of [hadkhanong] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "Cloudy with a chance of love."

My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email or I will be unable to name you as winner!
You may leave multiple answers to increase your chances of winning.

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, September 5, 2016

MONDAY MUSINGS--POWER OF THE MATCHMAKER

With all that happened last month, I neglected to give a shout-out to August's Power of the Matchmaker release. And now here it is September and another book has been released as well.

I'm behind on my reading and I need to catch up. Both of these books look AMAZING!

August's release: 
I've started this one and I can't wait to finish it!

Between Heaven and Earth (Power of the Matchmaker) by [Holmes, Michele Paige]

Cassandra Webb’s every waking minute is devoted to being a great mother and wife. She takes five-year-old Noah to the library each week, volunteers in his kindergarten class, and even coaches his soccer team. She makes sure her husband’s uniforms are always laundered—even though he hasn’t worn them the last six years—always has his game day snacks on hand, and meets him for date night every Friday—which consists of one sided conversations at his bedside and watching his favorite take out remain untouched. 

Pearl, a mysterious visitor at the care center, suggests that it is only Cassie’s love still tying Devon to Earth when he has been ready to move onto Heaven for quite some time. If Cassie will but open her eyes and heart, she will discover the path she should travel, one that will bring relief to Devon and much joy to her own life. But Cassie vowed never to give up on him. She never has and she can’t now, even after meeting hapless, single soccer-dad Matt.


September's release:
This one is anxiously waiting on my kindle. It's calling to me.

King of the Friend Zone (Power of the Matchmaker) by [Pratt, Sheralyn]

Esme Taylor has an amazing fiancé, a lifelong best friend, and a problem. The problem stems from the fact that her best friend is named Hunter and, well. . .he’s kind of (totally) hot. It’s hate at first sight when her fiancé, Jon, and Hunter meet. Jon’s convinced that Hunter is in love with Esme, and that Hunter must be out of the picture if their upcoming marriage is to succeed. 

Esme thinks Jon is paranoid. 

The truth is, Jon’s not that far off. Hunter is in love with his best friend and always has been. What Jon has wrong, however, is that Hunter never had any plans of ruining Esme’s happily ever after. Hunter wants what’s best for Esme, even if that’s not him. 

When Jon pushes hard to end Esme and Hunter’s friendship, opposition comes from the most unlikely of places. It’s an eccentric lady with a cookie cart who suggests a different solution to Esme’s problem: Hunter and Esme should give each other a chance. 

They’ve both thought of the possibility over the years—of course they have. But with a ring already on Esme’s finger and a heap of hurt feelings and broken trust in the mix, there hasn’t been a worse time to explore the depths of their feelings for each other. 

Both Esme and Hunter think it’s time to move on and leave childhood crushes in the past. The question is: Can one woman and the taste of one cookie change their minds? 

Note to Reader: This book is a "clean" read with mainstream values and minor language.

AMAZON


I just want to drop everything this week and curl up on the couch and read both of these books.

You know what, maybe I will!

In other book news, CHASING FIREFLIES has been nominated for a Whitney Award!!

I'm so honored by this reader-based nomination. A special thank you to the readers who nominated it.



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER

Congratulations to the last WORDLESS WEDNESDAY 
winner: Mary!

I liked her answer entitled:



Image courtesy of  [lekkyjustdoit]  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

BROADCASTING OUR LOVE

To view, go here.

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!



                     
Image courtesy of [thewats] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "My heart is ripped to shreds."

My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email or I will be unable to name you as winner!
You may leave multiple answers to increase your chances of winning.

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, August 29, 2016

MONDAY MUSINGS

Well, it's that time again. 

Monday morning.

The start of a new day. The start of a new week.

Time to re-set and turn my thoughts to my new book series. 
It's hard to get back to work after the eventful summer I just had.
But I need to move forward.

Image result for monday morning

Book One of my new three book series, SOUNDS OF SILENCE, has been written. It still needs a lot of work, but the basic story is there.

Image result for swoony awards

I wish I was faster at producing books. But if I rush the process, I produce sloppy work. And that won't do!

The covers for all three books are nearly complete and I am LOVING them.
I used family members for my covers this time around and the results are AMAZING.
 I can't wait to show you my new covers!!!

***

CHASING FIREFLIES is eligible for two awards, and if you feel so inclined, please hop on over to these links and vote! MUCH APPRECIATED! Both of these awards are "reader nominated" and it means so much to me just to be on their lists!

Image result for whitney awards


(currently at #62)




(currently at #74)

***

This weekend we celebrated my cute little grandson's 3rd birthday.
I love this little guy!



That's all for today. Hope your Monday is WONDERFUL!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY WITH WINNER

Congratulations to the last WORDLESS WEDNESDAY 
winner: Jana!

I liked her answer entitled:


Image courtesy of  [Stuart Miles]  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

LOVE IS THE BEST CATCH

To view, go here.

Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!


                                                             
Image courtesy of [lekkyjustdoit] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

Or, in other words, "TITLE THIS IMAGE."

I'll start: "Tell the world I'm in love! "

My favorite answer wins a $5.00 dollar Amazon gift card.
Don't forget to leave your email or I will be unable to name you as winner!
You may leave multiple answers to increase your chances of winning.

Contest is closed by Thursday at midnight and the winner will be contacted. Winner will be announced the following Wordless Wednesday.

Open only to those who can legally enter. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be emailed. If email is incorrect, a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is sponsored by Taylor Dean Books. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.