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February is ALL THE LOVE (giveaway!)

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IMG_0197.jpgCan you believe it’s already February!? It’s a busy month at my house. Valentine’s Day and the Daddy/Daughter Ball and our anniversary–PLUS my little sister is having her first baby and the whole family is so excited. I truly love Valentine’s Day. We don’t go too crazy over here, but chocolate is a MUST and there are cards and usually some stuffed animals and the kids love all of it.

One thing I always think of around this time of the year is my novel Looks Like Love. Maybe because the cover is pink and white. Maybe because it’s a story of a girl seeking out adventure, and stumbling across a little romance along the way. It’s a novel that digs into the question What does love look like?  The main character, Kasey, has been dumped by her long-time boyfriend, so she heads off to visit her best friend, who just happens to be British. London is calling! So Kasey embarks on a trip of self-discovery, a touch of romance, and a lot of fun. When she gets back, things at work get crazy. The advertising firm where she works has finally landed LETA, a cosmetics company branching out with their first fragrance, called Love. Kasey’s tasked with finding out what love looks like, and then finding a way to sell it. From double-decker tour buses to glamorous galas–you’ll want to join Kasey on her journey to find out the truth about love.

The picture above includes a little “Book of Days.” I dug that out this morning when working on an Instagram photo post. This is one of my treasures. It’s the journal I filled out on my Europe trip, way back in college. I’m so thankful I wrote down even snippets of every day I was there. It was a trip of a lifetime and that little book helps me remember the details. The month I spent in Europe was the inspiration behind Looks Like Love. The places that Kasey visits–such as Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, Bath, and more–are places I went to on my tour and that were stamped on my heart forever. The last week of the month was spent in Paris and Rome and Florence with my dad. The next year I would get married, so those days of just the two of us were extra special. (Though, I will say that admiring the Statue of David with your dad is an interesting experience! Ha! But we made it through and had an amazing time, from exploring Paris, to traveling via train in a sleeper car on our way to Rome (two little grannies shared our cabin!), to dinner in Florence. Those are moments I cherish.)

So, in some ways, Looks Like Love is imprinted with the heart memories of that trip. It’s one of my favorites and I hope you’ll check it out. Hop over to Amazon and read the first chapter!

The fun of Valentine’s isn’t just romance, and that’s part of what I love about the book. (Though romance is wonderful of course!) It’s exploring the many ways we see love in our lives–family and friends and so much more. Being loved by the people closest to us, and loving them well in return, makes all the difference.

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I thought I would do a little giveaway as my Happy Hearts Day gift to you! I’m offering one free Kindle e-book download for Looks Like Love. All you have to do is leave a comment (click on the rafflecopter link) telling us a vacation spot that’s on your bucket list, and for an extra ticket (not required), hop over and like my Facebook page . Since I want you to have this before Valentine’s Day, the raffle will run until February 9th. So spread the news, grab some white chocolate (Kasey’s favorite), maybe a little pink champagne, click on the link below, and get ready!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour! Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce

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In Amy Inspired, Amy Gallagher is an aspiring writer who, after countless rejections, has settled for a career as an English professor in small-town Ohio just to pay the bills. All her dreams suddenly start to unravel as rejections pile up–both from publishers and her boyfriend.

But just as Amy fears her life is stuck in a holding pattern, she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. She struggles to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as staying true to her faith becomes unexpectedly complicated.

When secrets, tragedy, and poor decisions cause rifts in Amy’s relationships, she must come to terms with who she’s become, her unrealized aspirations for her life, and the state of her faith. Can she dare to hope that she will find love and fulfillment despite it all?

I loved this author’s witty voice! I kept laughing throughout the novel. To be honest, it took me a while to get through this novel, but I have to say that I loved it. I totally connected to the main character, Amy. For aspiring female novelists, this is a must-read. The main character is plagued with editorial rejections and stuck in this place where her heart’s desires are just not being filled liked she’d hoped. How many of us have been there? Yeah, me too. I thought the author did a fantastic job of really capturing the voice and feel of so many twenty-something/thirty-something women. Amy’s inner monologue is hilarious! The real heart of this novel is just that it’s a real-life kind of story that you can relate to. I was rooting for Amy, not necessarily that all her wishes would come true, but that she’d find that sort of happiness that really matters. Her faith is not heavy-handed in the book, but I love that the author explores Amy’s struggles with faith. Overall, I highly recommend this book. It wasn’t a quick read for me, but in the long run, I truly felt like it was an excellent story worth reading.  

Author Interview with Lynn Rush!

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Lynn Rush began her writing career in 2008, since then producing eighteen paranormal romance novels. She is actively involved with Romance Writers of America (RWA) and its special interest chapter Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FF&P). Lynn has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in the mental health field. When Lynn’s not writing, she spends time enjoying the Arizona sunshine by road biking with her husband of fourteen years and going on five-mile jogs with her loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.


BB: When did you discover you were a writer? Are you someone who’s scribbled away all your life? Or did a moment come where you just suddenly had a story in your head?

LR: Wait, I’m a writer? Really? *smile* It’s still weird to call myself a writer or hear someone call me that. But I am, and I’d say that realization came to me when I signed with an agent. I had to smile at the second part of this question, because I get asked that a lot. And ironically the answer is no. I never spent time scribbling down stories as a child. Writing was never a passion of mine, nor had I ever aspired to be a writer. It just kind of found me one day when a story popped into my head. I’m glad it did, too, because I really enjoy this journey.

My stories usually pop into my head at random times. It could be while having lunch with a friend, waking up from a dream-filled sleep, or while on a long run or bike ride. Like once, I was up in Sedona, AZ, for a “write-fest” with my good friend, KM Wilsher, and I said, “I’m not sure what I’m gonna write this weekend, so I’m going for a run and see if anything comes to me.”
About three miles into the run, I was sucking-dust up this steep hill and an idea hit.

I ended that weekend with nearly 30,000 words on Tainted Cadence.

BB: What genre do you write and why?

LR: Paranormal Romance is my genre of choice. I write to the twenty-something crowd. I’ve heard it termed New Adult and that’s pretty accurate. I’ve got a couple of novels that are for those who are a little bit younger (Frostbite and Light of Truth)—like maybe 16 and older, but for the most part, my target audience is the twenty-something crowd.

I love writing paranormal because it just intrigues me. I’ve always been into the crazy TV shows like Charmed, Heroes, Buffy, Angel, Dark Angel . . . So I’m not surprised my writing went that direction at all. And I love romance, so it came together just fine.

BB: What’s your writing process? Outline first? Ending first? Surprised as you go?

LR: Oh, wow, ending first? Do writer’s write endings first? I never would have guessed. But then again, I’m still pretty new to this writing-gig. I’ve only been seriously writing since 2008, so I learn every day.

My process is totally Seat Of The Pants (SOTP). I get such a rush sitting at my computer, staring at a blank screen, and have only the beginnings of an idea in my head to get me started.

I mean, I woke up one morning with a sentence on my mind. I wrote it down, and it morphed into Frostbite. I just finished the third book in that series a couple of months ago.

The only kind of planning, if you can call it that, I do is a quick mind map. It’s just a box with the character’s name (if I know it) in the middle, then a bunch of random thoughts/ideas/concepts flowing out from it. Other than that—I just sit and write.

BB: Name a few authors who’ve inspired you. What was it about their writing that moved you? Do you have any “favorite” books you read over and over?

LR: Frank Peretti was the first one to inspire me. I read his book, This Present Darkness, back in 2007 and loved the story. Piercing The Darkness was awesome, too. I loved how he described the various demons and how they toyed with humans. Absolutely loved it.

I’ve read the Twilight books over and over, and I’ve read a few of the Charlaine Harris’ Sookie novels multiple times. Bill Myers, too.
If I find a part in a book, I’ll go back and read it a few times, just to be reminded how well they wrote it. I try to learn a little from each book I read.

BB: Talk a little about your publishing experience. Did you get an agent first? Was that difficult?

LR: Publishing. . . well, in January 2010, I’d won a contest from which Violet Midnight was going to get published. I got my book cover (it was totally sweet, too), finished my first round of edits, but then the publisher closed its doors.

No more Violet Midnight in print.

My agent, Cari Foulk, from Tribe Literary Agency, has been shopping a few of my books around. Several publishers have shown some interest, but it’s early in that process.

In the mean time, I’ll keep on writing while I’m waiting. As far as finding an agent . . . it took a while, mostly because I started querying before I should have. *blush* I didn’t know what the heck I was doing all of 2008 and the first part of 2009, but after I got some experience under my belt, I went to a couple of conferences and took some classes to learn the craft, then I started querying again. It took me about a year to sign with an agent. So, press on, my writing friends!

BB: How important is faith in your novels?

LR: My faith is a part of everything I do. It’s the base of who I am, and my stories have a unique flavor as a result. I say unique because when writing paranormal romance, people expect a lot of—well—romance. So, I get to be really creative when it comes to that . . . But you’ll have to wait to read my books to see what I mean.

BB: What’s a “must know” about you?

LR: Besides how much I love to write? *smile* Everyone knows I love to exercise. My Facebook status updates are often about running and/or bike riding. It’s where I think, pray, and relax.

Funny story . . . I had a pitch session with an agent at a conference a long time ago, and when I sat down to start, she asked, “So, did you bike here from Phoenix?”

So, yeah . . . I do a lot of posting about my exercise. LOL.

BB: What are you working on now?

LR: I recently finished up writing Soul Saver and am working on editing my latest project. It’s so new I don’t even have a title yet. I stink at thinking up titles, so it’s usually the last thing I get done—and usually with a lot of help from my Blog followers and crit partners.

But NaNoWriMo starts November 1st, so I’m hoping to write the third book about Emma & Jake (Violet Midnight is the first book.) We’ll see what happens with that, though, because I’m a SOTP writer . . . you never know what I’ll wake up wanting to write on November 1st!

Catch the Rushhttp://lynnrush.wordpress.com/

FaceBookhttp://www.facebook.com/LynnRushWrites

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LynnRush

Blog Tour! Lydia’s Charm by Wanda Brunstetter

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In Lydia’s Charm, widowed and jobless, Lydia King moves her son and herself to Charm, Ohio, to be close to her mother and help with her grandfather. Menno Troyer, a furniture store owner, is also recently widowed and the father of four energetic boys.

Levi Stutzman, another newcomer to the area, is the only one in his family not handicapped by dwarfism and has dedicated his life to caring for them. As fall colors the countryside, will anonymous gifts left for Lydia bring her hope for a new life and romance, or will another tragedy flood her with infinite despair?

I enjoyed this book. I’d definitely call it a “light read.” Very easy, fast reading and an uncomplicated plot. Some of it was rather predictable, but I definitely thought there were some aspects that were unique. I liked the characters. The Frogmore Stew was an interesting dish to hear about! It ended well, though some of the plot was a little depressing. Overall, an easy read.