Character Interview & Giveaway, 8 Days a Week by Amber L Johnson

 

Eight Days a Week
by Amber L. Johnson
A “manny” should always mind his own business. And he definitely shouldn’t fall in love with his boss.  
 
Release Date: November 6 , 2014
Genre: Romance / Contemporary
ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-329-4
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

 

~~SUMMARY~~

Eight-Days-a-Week-3D-Bookstack-2

Gwen Stone has secrets she’s not ready to reveal. After a recent promotion at work, she needs a caretaker for her children. She’s frenzied and in a lurch and pretty much ready to hire the first person who comes along. So she does.

Andrew Lyons needs to get out of his sister’s apartment, and a Craigslist posting may be the answer to his prayers. But what he thought was an ad for a room rental turns into a job offer he can’t refuse. Accepting the nanny position could change his life, if only he had a clue how to be a grownup.

A working mother, a shirtless “manny” who looks good in a towel, two children who need more than a babysitter, and hours of kids’ TV can only spell disaster for everyone involved. Because a manny should always mind his own business. And he definitely shouldn’t fall in love with his boss.

 

Character Interview: Gwen Stone

Hi, Gwen! Good to meet you.

You too! Thanks so much for having me today.

You have two kids. What are they like?

Id say theyre polar opposites, but theyre more alike than I think they like to admit. Brady has grown exponentially over the last year. Hes much more open and vocal than he used to be. Hes a little joker now. Takes after Andrew in that way, I guess.

Bree, on the other hand, is serious and way too mature for her age. But were working on it.

You have a lot on your plate. Tell us about your average day.

I dont know if theres such a thing as an average day anymore. Im up early to get out the door and go to work where I am slammed all day. But my mind never wanders too far from my family at home. Andrews schedule doesnt allow us to see one another during the day, and he brings the kids home to do homework and chores. I try to be home as early as possible now because I dont want to miss out on anything.

Hiring a nanny for your kids must have been a difficult decision and process.

Truthfully, it was a decision that I knew I would have to make. The promotion and our need for stability was the driving force behind the decision. I was unprepared for the process and I think thats why I decided to hire Drew.

So. Andrew Lyons. What was your first impression of him?

Before I knew he was Ceces brother? I remember thinking that he was really confident. Like he knew he already had the job. Apparently Im really bad at reading people.

It seems like as soon as you knew he was your co-worker’s brother, he was a shoe-in for the job. Were Cece’s stories about him that amusing?

Oh my god. She used to tell me all these stories about the stuff he would do to her when they were younger. I think my favorite story was when she had a sleep over and he snuck into the living room to put a glob of jelly on her face. She woke up and smeared it everywhere. It was probably that level of fun that led me to believe hed be good with Bree and Brady.

And is Andrew everything you’d hoped he’d be?

Hes more than I could have asked for. Had I hired another person wed probably just be going about our days the same as theyd always been. Quiet. Tip toeing around each other.

Is there something a little special about him?

It would be cliché to say everything about him is special, right? He has this way about him that brings out the best in us. Maybe not his sister, though

LOL! I’m glad things are going well for you. Thanks for chatting with us today.

Thank you!

 

AuthPhot

~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~

Amber is a full-time mom and a full-time wife who is employed full time and writes when she can. She believes in Happily Ever Afters that occur every day—despite the obstacles real life serves up on a regular basis. Or perhaps they’re sweeter simply because of them. She always has two rubber bands on her wrist, a song in her head, and too much creamer in her coffee cup that reads ‘Cocoa,’ because she’s a rebel.If she’s not at her desk, with her boys, or behind the computer, she’s supporting live music with her arms raised above her head and her eyes closed, waiting for the drop. 

Amber swag pack 8 Days
~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~

 

Praise for Eight Days a Week
“Laugh-out-loud story about a guy who goes to look at a room to rent and discovers it comes with a job – that of live-in nanny to two damaged kids. So Andrew Lyons accidentally becomes the “manny”. Written in his POV, this book chronicles his hilarious escapades as he looks after and grows to love Bree and Brady, and his employer, Gwen. His pranks and spot-on observations about kids’ TV shows had me giggling, but there were a few serious moments worthy of a sniffle as well. The star of the show may be Don, though – you’ll just have to read this book to find out about him! Highly recommended.” 
 – Andrea Goodreads Review
 

Release Day Blitz: Beatless by Amber L. Johnson

screenhunter_03-feb-21-17-21Synopsis:

Mallory Durham has been left behind and it is making her feel less like an adult and more like an afterthought.

Divorce, sickness, educational aspirations being shattered, and her Aunt Sam moving into her home, have made Mal’s life nearly unrecognizable to her.

When Tucker Scott re-enters her life along with his band, will they offer what she needs to once again find her voice and self confidence or will it strip her of it even more?

Told through the dual voices of Mallory as she navigates her new world, and Aunt Sam’s letters to her niece, Beatless tells the story of two women at very different points in their life, fighting the same battles; proving that no matter what age a person is, there are always lessons to be learned.

About the Author

Amber is a full time mom, full time wife, is employed full time, and writes when she can. She believes in Happily Ever Afters that occur every day – despite the obstacles that real life serves up on a regular basis. Or perhaps they’re sweeter simply because of them. She always has two rubber bands on her wrist, a  song in her head, and too much creamer in her coffee cup that reads ‘Cocoa’ – because she’s a rebel. If she’s not at her desk, with her boys, or behind the computer, she’s supporting live music with her arms raised above her head and eyes closed, waiting for the drop.

Buy Links:

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Add BEATLESS to your Goodreads shelves!

Connect with Amber

Website: amberlynnejohnson.com

Twitter: @WhereIsJakeRyan

Facebook author page: Amber L. Johnson Author

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Review: Gabriel’s Redemption by Sylvain Reynard

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From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Gabriel’s Rapture and Gabriel’s Inferno comes the epic conclusion to the captivating romantic trilogy.

 

Professor Gabriel Emerson has left his position at the University of Toronto to embark on a new life with his beloved Julianne. Together, he’s confident that they can face any challenge. And he’s eager to become a father.

 

But Julianne’s graduate program threatens Gabriel’s plans, as the pressures of being a student become all consuming. When she is given the honor of presenting an academic lecture at Oxford, Gabriel is forced to confront Julianne about the subject of her presentation—research that conflicts with his own. And in Oxford, several individuals from their past appear, including an old nemesis intent on humiliating Julia and exposing one of Gabriel’s darkest secrets.

 

In an effort to confront his remaining demons, Gabriel begins a quest to discover more about his biological parents, beginning a chain of events that has startling repercussions for himself, Julianne, and his hope of having a family.

 

 

Bio: I’m interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition – particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself.

 

I’m also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.

 

I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House. For more information, see my Twitter account.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Barnes & Nobel Nook

Barnes & Nobel Paperback

iTunes iBook

Chapters Indigo Paperback

Chapters Indigo Kobo

 

Social Media Accounts

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Facebook
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Goodreads

 

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Gabriel’s Redemption: My Review

I’ve been a fan of Sylvain Reynard for some years, right back to his days of fan fiction. Gabriel’s Inferno is one of my go-to reads when I want to lose myself in a heady romance with an alpha male. I own paperbacks of these books.

The content of this volume was entirely new, which I enjoyed immensely. The illustrations and quotations greatly enhanced the text and as always, I loved the references to Dante. We get familiar characters, and we get to see how previous events turned out for them. But there are a lot of new plot points that are beautifully raised and addressed. Both Gabriel and Julianne evolve a lot in this book.

There’s something unique about Gabriel Emerson and it comes across in his diction (he picked up a bit of an accent in England when he worked there. I’d like to know where he picked up his romantic nature and his tendency to wax poetic. ). He’s a learned academic and I don’t think it’s off the mark to call him an aesthete. And you know what? I’ve met not a few Canadian artistic types who greatly resemble him.

Way to go, Canada!

One of Gabriel’s tragic flaws is his condescending attitude. He’s got a touch of a superiority complex that can rub off on his relationships. I was really impressed with how that was addressed in this book.

Gabriel’s dad, Richard is pretty smart when it comes to ‘how to get along with a spouse’. This is something from which not just characters, but readers, can benefit.

For a fair portion of the book, Gabriel wasn’t having a good time dealing with his skeletons. Every experience plays on his insecurities. At one moment, he almost breaks, and I just wanted to say, “Silly Gabriel! All will be well.” But in this book, he learns how to cope, have faith in God, himself and Julianne, and practice some optimism.

This is going to be another book that I read and reread. To ice the cake, SR has a new series coming out that touches on part of this story and I can’t wait to read it.

Much thanks to Penguin Berkley and Sylvain Reynard for including me on the tour and granting me an ARC. Five stars.

 

 

An Interview with Abria Mattina

Wake - AbriaMattinaEighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to her hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.

http://www.amazon.com/Wake-ebook/dp/B005OMWXZE

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wake-abria-mattina/1106355960?ean=9780986957918

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/wake-9

 

Pigeons feather front cover smallIn this companion novella to Wake, Frank invites the Kirk family home to Smiths Falls for Thanksgiving weekend. Holidays are always a trial for the family that lost their daughter and sister, but Frank is hopeful that this Thanksgiving will be the exception. He has some happy news to share. If only he wasn’t so reluctant to talk about it.

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Among-Pigeons-Wake-ebook/dp/B00EPSJBAI

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-among-pigeons-abria-mattina/1116798951?ean=9780986957956

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/love-among-pigeons

 

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Today, I’m chatting with Abria Mattina, who is a published author, editor, respected blogger, book reviewer and book designer. She loves to mentor writers and I’ve learned a lot from her.

Jess: When did you decide to be a writer? How did you get your start?

Abria:

I don’t think it’s something I consciously decided. Born gay, born straight, born an artist… you get it. Smart money was on me ending up in some creative field, and I tried them all as a kid – visual art, dance, gymnastics, piano. I knew I liked to write as a kid, but I didn’t have my first don’t-eat-don’t-sleep-just-write episode until I was fifteen. I have had many more joyous episodes since, and I’m lucky enough to have a partner who understands them.

For a long time I resisted the thought of writing as a career, though. I thought the only way to make any money at it was to be a journalist, and I hated the thought of writing assignments. I felt that if I was going to write, I was going to do it for myself and write what I wanted.

 

Jess: What’s the one thing you’d tell an aspiring author?

Abria:

Being an author is very different from being a writer. Nobody tells you that, but it’s true. When you’re a writer you write for pleasure, and there’s no pressure because any success or failure is still hypothetical. Once you’re an author, all that changes. You have to perform for your audience. You have to be engaged, consistent, and you have to keep churning out material. Whatever you publish next will be compared to what you published last. There’s a whole new world of pressure waiting and the end of your journey as “just a writer.”

I like to blog about my mistakes in publishing, especially when it comes to marketing, because that’s information that I wish I had known beforehand. Maybe someone else will benefit from knowledge of my mistakes.

 

Jess: You’re very accomplished. How do you balance the many facets of your life and career?

Abria:

Honestly, I don’t. The thing about juggling so many things is that you can only hold so many balls at a time. Something always has to be up in the air while other things are firmly in your grasp. Learning to let go, to accept that I don’t always have to be on top of everything, is how I manage. When my writing life is going well, I find I don’t blog as much. When I experience writing slumps, I tend to blog more or try out new hobbies. It’s okay to fluctuate because it keeps the mind active and engaged.

 

Jess: We’re both Canadian. What do you consider the challenges of being an artist in Canada?

Abria:

Although my books are set in Canada, I can never see myself writing “Canadian Fiction” for two reasons: the market is much smaller and Canadian fiction has a reputation for being grim. There’s an emerging publisher in Toronto whose mandate is to publish “non-depressing Canadian fiction.” It’s a little sad that they had to say that openly in their mission statement. The vibrant, wonderful things about Canada never seem to make it into supposedly “great” works of Canadian fiction.

As for the practicalities of being a Canadian author, there are hoops to jump through, from ITIN acquisition to working with foreign agencies to making sure your work is protected and your pay deposited. I have an ITIN, and I would recommend that any Canadian author get one before working with an American publisher or retailer (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.). It makes payouts so much easier.

 

Jess: Do you self-edit, or do you have pre-readers? Your published works are pristine. If you tell me nobody looks at your drafts, I’m going to scream.

Abria:

I have beta readers and I hired a professional copy editor for Love Among Pigeons. Never underestimate the value of the ARC, too. I had a few early reviewers email me before the book launched to share any last typos they spotted.

 

Jess: How much time do you spend on research?

Abria:

This is difficult to quantify because research is always an ongoing process. I don’t spend six months doing nothing but research and then write. Most often, I research a subject that interests me until I feel that I know enough to write about it competently. After that, I keep going back to my sources in order to get the details and nuances right. I particularly like journal-style blogs for this reason, so I can read the perspective of someone who has firsthand knowledge of my topic. If I can talk to someone directly, even better.

The tricky bit about research is resisting the urge to insert little factoids into the text simply because you know them. Sometimes I see this in the books I read, and it kills me every time. There is a limit to what the reader needs to know to enjoy the story, and it’s the author’s job to keep a handle on that.

 

Jess: I adore ‘Wake’. It’s one of my go-to reads. What inspired you to write it?

Abria:

The first scene that came to me was the scene where Jem and Willa are taking a walk through her neighbourhood, just chatting like normal teenagers – talking about death and serious illness. Once I started, it was one of those stories that just kept coming. I went with it and enjoyed the ride, because there are few occasions in a writer’s career when a story comes so easily.

pigeons-mate-for-life-300x190Jess: ‘Love Among Pigeons’, the companion novella, distills complex elements into a strong, meaningful story. I tend to write epic-length tales. How different was it, going from writing a novel to writing a novella? What were your biggest challenges in each?

Abria:

If I’d tried to write them back-to-back, it would have been much harder. After producing that mammoth, Wake, I worked really hard to cut down the length of my projects. The longest draft of anything else I’ve done since was 70k words. Length wasn’t a problem with Love Among Pigeons, especially after I decided to frame it in the setting of Thanksgiving weekend. Because it centers around a holiday, it has a natural three-day trajectory.

About six months after I published Wake, I started playing around with the idea of a prequel because people had requested it. I couldn’t make anything work, and at the time I chalked it up to my state of mind (my mother was undergoing chemo and radiation), so I shelved the project for a while. A few of those scenes ended up in Love Among Pigeons, and it was nice not to have to reinvent the wheel. I’d been thinking about the story far longer than I’d been writing it. I didn’t feel like a challenge to write. The hardest part was finding the time to write.

As for Wake, the biggest challenge was editing a work of that scope. It still makes me shudder.

Keith Quintanilla, Deviantart

Keith Quintanilla, Deviantart

Jess: Your books deal with some tough, controversial subjects with compassion and tact. You don’t shy away from difficult moral questions. How have your experiences shaped you?

Abria:

I think being fundamentally obnoxious helps. The thing about taking on difficult, controversial subjects is that you’re always going to offend somebody. There were so many things about Wake that offended people – that Willa didn’t handle Jem with kid gloves, the way Tessa died, the way Frank deals with problems, and so on. It happened. I could have gotten my panties in a twist about it, but on the contrary, I was glad. Books that challenge us, piss us off, and make us think, are books that we remember. They’re books that we pass on to friends just so we have someone to talk to about our opinions.

I didn’t feel like I compromised on anything with Wake, even when I knew I was handling a scene or situation in a way that wasn’t conventional or even politically correct. That’s why I could stand by it.

I’ve always been a pretty opinionated person, especially about issues with lots of gray area, but what drew me to writing about disability and illness in particular is my adolescent experience with severe scoliosis. I wore a spinal brace for 23 hours per day, every day, from the age of twelve until the age of eighteen. You can imagine how cool I looked, walking around school in that. The experience toughened me mentally and physically. There were stares, questions, and plenty of pain. By the end I had convinced myself that none of it bothered me, but when offered a chance to wear the adult Spinecor brace, I burst into tears at the thought of putting on a brace ever again. I had a lot of negativity and self-consciousness stored up, just waiting to be channeled into Wake.

 

Jess: One of the things I love most about these books is their clean, direct style. Who has influenced you?

Abria:

I don’t know if I can pin it down to a definite source, because I read so much and always have. I suppose it boils down to the way I perceive tone and topic. I prefer florid language in the historical fiction I read, and spare language in contemporary fiction. I think sci-fi should be very detailed, but fantasy novels don’t have to be. I wrote in a style that reflects my tastes within the genre.

 

Jess: Your characters’ banter is so engaging. Willa, in particular, has a snarky sense of humour that cuts through bull and causes other characters to re-evaluate their behaviour. Where did you get the inspiration for her character?

Abria:

Willa is the person I would have been at seventeen if I’d had the guts to say what I was thinking every minute of every day. Willa feels that she has very little to lose, so she doesn’t care about offending people or being ostracised. She’s brash, but also clever and insightful, and that’s how she gets away with voicing unpleasant truths – sometimes.

Jem’s behaviour is a little closer to my actual teenage experience. He’s always putting his foot in his mouth and then wasting time by agonizing over it.

 

Jess: You’re a synaesthete. I know someone who sees music in shapes and colours. What kind of synesthesia do you have and how do you think it influences your work?

Abria:

I read in color, perceive sounds as colors, shapes, and tactile stimuli, and I perceive inanimate objects as having genders or personalities. Often tastes have colors, but that one isn’t universal for me. I don’t know that it really influences my work that much, but it definitely gives me a better-than-average memory.

 

Jess: How do stories germinate for you?

Abria:

They either start with a color or a character. With Wake that color was turquoise and it had a sound similar to the bridge of I Believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake. With one of my other projects, it was the color of the protagonist’s name. I rarely outline because I like having the freedom to let the characters surprise me. I find the story doesn’t grow organically when I outline, because I’m too focused on fulfilling a checklist of plot points.

 

Jess: If there’s one thing readers could take away from your books, what would it be?

Abria:

I think the value of my books lies in the way people use them to explain difficult situations or emotions to others. Over the past two years I’ve received emails from cancer patients and survivors who recognized themselves in the characters. Some of them couldn’t even finish the book because it cut too close to the bone for them. What these emails generally have in common is that the people writing them have used Wake to guide their friends and family into conversations about their feelings or experiences. The characters become stand-ins for their real-life problems, and it becomes easier to talk about it.

 

Jess: What’s the one thing you wish an interviewer would ask?

Abria: I guess, What’s the weirdest comment on your work that you’ve ever heard?

The answer would be: “I expected them to just stop arguing and start making out.” The person who said this was talking about the argument in the middle of Wake. That scene is loaded with tension, and in a typical romance book it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the protagonists let the passion of the argument turn into sexual passion. But I absolutely hate that. It’s such a cop-out, every time. If you’re going to start a fight between characters, finish the fight! It’s more believable, more satisfying for the reader, and better for you as a writer.

 

Jess: What do you think you might be doing 10 years from now?

Abria:

Pursuing world domination from a bunker in Greenland.

But seriously, being able to write full time someday would be sweet.

 

NOTE TO READERS: Wake is one of my favourite novels. I’m guest-blogging today at http://www.firstpagetothelast.com/ . Please visit to read my review.

You may visit Abria on her websites, http://www.abriamattina.com , http://www.shallwrite.com/ , and follow her on Twitter @AbriaMattina. Thanks for spending time with us today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal & Review: Where We Fell, by Amber L. Johnson

Where We Fell is the debut novella by Amber L. Johnson. Keep reading to learn more about Amber and her upcoming New Adult release. Also, be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win an ebook copy, iTunes gift card, and a handmade cancer awareness bookmark!

Summary:
Oliver Bishop is having a seriously bad day. With one diagnosis, his life suddenly has an expiration date. Confused about the numbness he has to the idea of it, he unwittingly puts himself directly in the sights of a girl that just may give him a reason to fight – and to live. 

Genre: New Adult
Word Count: 25,000 words

Available October 28 on Amazon Kindle
Amber is a full-time mom, full-time wife, is employed full time, and writes when she can. She believes in Happily Ever Afters that occur every day – despite the obstacles that real life serves up on a regular basis. Or perhaps they’re sweeter simply because of them.  She always has 2 rubber bands on her wrist, a song in her head, and too much creamer in her coffee cup that reads ‘Cocoa’ – because she’s a rebel. If she’s not at her desk, with her boys, or behind the computer, she’s supporting live music with her arms raised above her head and eyes closed, waiting for the drop. 

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My Review: Where We Fell, by Amber L. Johnson

I’ve been annoying Amber L. Johnson for some years by urging her to get published. I know she heard that from an awful lot of hobby fiction readers. And finally, here’s her debut!

Oliver Bishop is about to graduate high school when he gets terrible news: he has lymphoma. As all his peers prepare to enjoy their last summer before college, he’ll be commencing treatment. He’s not really able to bring himself to hope; it’s much easier not to think about the future.

Enter Hannah, a cheeky young lady who refuses to let him give up on life. She is an awesome friend, caring for him during bad moments, making him and his parents laugh, and generally encouraging Oliver to remember he’s still the same person inside, not diminished by a disease.

This story made me curious about lymphoma and its treatment, prognosis, etc. Plus, the side effects it causes. Oliver’s cancer was caught quite early and the story spans about six months. But this isn’t a story about cancer. It’s a love story.

petorachan/deviantart

petorachan/deviantart

Throughout the novella, Oliver never stops being himself. I like that.

There are some interesting male characters in this story. I loved how affectionate Oliver’s dad was. You don’t see that a lot in fiction and I appreciated it.

The dad of Oliver’s best friend, Terrence, is a big contrast. He’s a minister, and when Oliver falls particularly sick, he arrives and starts praying over him. It struck me as a negative, unwelcome experience. I’ve been in situations where ministers prayed with our family, and the tone was much more upbeat and encouraging. Mind you, the prayers came at the ill person’s request. It must have felt like a wake-up, you’re dying moment for Oliver, especially with Terrence acting solemn. Made me shiver.

Where We Fell is an uplifting story that contains a couple of moments like that, that absolutely killed me. Amber has always known how to tug at heartstrings and she doesn’t need to write a lot of words to get her readers attached. Her fans will be pleased. Loved this novella, as I knew I would. Five stars.

 

Character Interview with Justin Thatcher from The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan

My Rating:


 

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The End of All Things

by Lissa Bryan

After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.

But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.

This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.

 

Come what may, they will face it together with courage and love.

 

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Jess: Hello, Justin. Thanks for joining us today. I must admit to having a bit of a crush on you.

Justin: Do I know you?

 

Jess (laughs): Not really, but I’ve read Lissa’s book about you. When the pandemic hit, wiping out the majority of humans and domesticated animals, you were in Alaska. Please tell us how you came to be there.

Justin: I came up for the Deadhorse Motorcycle Rally, but I arrived earlier than I’d planned, so I decided to camp in the woods near Juneau. It’s very quiet once you get out about a mile or so. Almost pristine, without all of the noise and bustle of city life. It helps to clear my head.

 

Jess: You have a very specialized set of survival skills. How did you attain them?

Justin: Picked ‘em up here and there.

 

Jess: As a member of a specialized military unit, you have acquired special skills. How are they useful in these terrible times?

Justin: I don’t want to talk about The Unit. I’ll just say I acquired some skills along the way. I learned how to look at a situation rationally, logically, and not let emotion get in the way of what has to be done. If I could teach Carly one skill, that’s what I’d pick. She can’t seem to protect her heart and she’s still hanging on to the ethical codes of a dead world.

I learned wilderness survival; Carly’s picking that up fast. I also learned self-defence, tactics, weapons … practical stuff that will help us survive out here. Carly doesn’t seem to like guns much, and she’s going to have to get over that one, quick. She needs to be able to protect herself.

 

Jess: In your travels south, you have encountered other survivors. What makes certain of them fit to survive, and others not? How do you make a judgment call on whether to assist someone? What must you see in them?

Justin: It’s like the warden says in Cool Hand Luke: “Some men, you just can’t reach.” Some people just aren’t cut out for life without modern society and all its technology. You can see it in them. They don’t want to adapt. Maybe they can’t. Who knows? Either way, it amounts to the same thing. They’re not going to strike out on their own and figure out what they need to do to make it now. They’ll need someone to take care of them. They’re dead weight.

 

Jess: Tell us about Carly Daniels.

Justin: She’s a survivor, even if she doesn’t know it yet. I’ve seen her type before. When the shit hits the fan, they’re left unprepared, but you can see it in their eyes. There’s a stubborn spark in there that says, I refuse to lie down and die. She’s a smart girl, Carly. I don’t think anyone ever told her that. She may not yet know the skills she needs to survive now that the old world is dead and gone, but she’s a fast learner and adaptable, and a lot tougher than she realizes. If she wasn’t so soft-hearted, I’d say she was perfect for The Unit.

 

Jess: Survivors of this plague have lost almost everything that society holds dear. How do you cope with that?

Justin: I never needed that stuff. I mean, it was nice to have and all, but I spent a lot of time without it.

And maybe I was more prepared, mentally, for this because I’ve seen it before on a smaller scale. I’ve been in countries where the centralized government collapsed and it devolved into the law of the jungle, the strong preying on the weak. Things fall apart; the center does not hold. And now there are a lot of people out there who don’t know what to do without the police to protect them, without the laws of polite society to keep everyone playing nice.

When I found her, Carly was still in shock, expecting the government to start up again any day now. I think that was one of the hardest thing for her to accept: that the laws of the land, the Constitution, elections, all of that’s gone. I’ll admit, I wasn’t much of a fan of the government, probably because I worked too closely with it, but I don’t think we’re going to see anything like it for a long time. Carly, though, thinks we’re going to rebuild and create something even better. I’m not going to argue with her about it. Her hope is one of the things that keeps her going.

 

Jess: What are your values?

Justin: We had a code in The Unit. Honor, loyalty, trust… Maybe I’ve got a little bit of Carly’s idealism because I still honor it. I may be the last man standing, but I’m not going to let that code die, too.

It’s one of the reasons I’m glad I found Carly. I know I can trust her to watch my back. That’s invaluable out here in the wasteland. And that wolf of hers… I’m not entirely sold on Sam, but he’s growing on me. She trusts him. Maybe he’ll watch my back while I’m watching hers. Wait—That came out wrong. I didn’t mean I was watching her. I meant … Well, okay, maybe I am watching her a little. She’s cute. What can I say?

 

Jess: Perhaps I ought to add, ‘What do you value’?

Justin: Right now I’ve got to think about practicalities. Food and the means to obtain it. Weapons. Transport. Medication. I’ve got to find a way to get whatever Carly needs. Right now, that just means scavenging and trying to think of places others might have missed. But later it may mean something different. Carly won’t like it, but I promised I’d protect her. Carly is the daughter of one of the men who used to be in The Unit. It’s part of the code: if a man should fall, the rest of us will take care of his family. And I’ll do whatever it takes.

 

Jess: What does ‘family’ mean to you?

Justin: Carly said the other day that a home is where people love you. I guess a family is like that, too. I wouldn’t know.

The closest I ever had was the guys in The Unit, but that wasn’t a bond based on emotion. It was loyalty and honor that tied us together. I like to think some of them are still alive out there, somewhere. If anyone had a shot at survival, it’s those guys.

 

Jess: What does ‘humanity’ mean to you?

Justin: Carly seems to think it’s all the old values of altruism, generosity and mercy. But from what I’ve seen of humanity when civilization is stripped away, those things are in short supply.

 

Jess: What do you see as the future of the human race?

Justin: I’m not all that convinced it has a future, but Carly does. And as stubborn as that woman is, she may rebuild the whole damn civilization herself.

 

Jess: Thanks for spending this time with us today. Best of luck in the future!

Justin: Thanks.

 NOTE TO READERS: This is one of my favourite novels. I’m guest-blogging today at http://www.firstpagetothelast.com/ . Please visit to read my review.

Lissa Bryan’s website: http://www.lissabryan.com/

 


 

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: Sandi Layne, Eire’s Viking

At the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, many of my readers were still on

TA7

Well, in the second book in the Éire’s Viking trilogy, Agnarr is the hero.

EV6

Cover art by Megan Dooley, to be published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop

Summary:

It’s been years since Agnarr met his wyrd on the Green Island. Years since he left Charis, his former trell and medicine woman, with her new husband in her new village. Even though he lost her, he cannot help but feel his destiny lies with her people of Éire, so he returns with his final raiding party. Once there, a chance encounter strikes him speechless and without his memory, alone in a foreign land.

He is taken to Aislinn, a physician who is serving in Bangor Monastery. Born in Ragor, the village Agnarr destroyed when she was a child, she is now the adopted daughter of Charis and Cowan, and has herself trained in healing. Drawn to her tall, blond patient in a way that she never has been to a man before, she is horrified and angry to find that he is the one responsible for the loss of her home.

These are turbulent times in Éire, and there are volatile tempers all around. Still, Agnarr Halvardson would stay on the island, wed, and sire sons to live in strength and plenty in his adopted home. He wants Aislinn to be his wife and the mother of his children, but she won’t marry without love. He worships Thor and Odin; she worships Jesu the Christ. Can two from such opposing backgrounds find happiness with one another? Might they even find a love that will change both their worlds?

This title will be available via NetGalley in October for reviewers, with a January, 2014 book release.

The first book of this trilogy, Éire’s Captive Moon, is available here:ECM small

Amazon Kindle, Paperback

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

 

Congratulations Sydney Logan on the First Anniversary of Lessons Learned

September 6 marks the one year anniversary of the release of Sydney Logan’s debut novel, Lessons Learned. To celebrate, Sydney is offering a fantastic giveaway! The Blurb:A young girl needs to spread her wings, but a young woman needs roots.

English teacher Sarah Bray never thought she’d return to Sycamore Falls, but a traumatic event at her inner-city school leaves her desperate for the sanctuary of home. By returning to her roots, an older and wiser Sarah hopes to deal with the demons of her present and confront the ghosts of her past.
She discovers a kindred spirit in Lucas Miller, a teacher from New York with demons of his own. As the newest faculty members at Sycamore High School, they quickly become friends – bonding through Lucas’s culture shock and their mutual desire to build new lives. When they open their wounded hearts to each other, their friendship effortlessly evolves into romance.

Their love is put to the test when Matt, the quarterback of the football team, shares his deepest secret with Sarah. When the conservative community finds out, Sarah and Lucas – along with the town of Sycamore Falls – are schooled in the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and love.

Praise for Lessons Learned

“Lessons Learned is a book that isn’t easily forgotten. I urge you to give it a read. You won’t regret it. Also, did I mention it starts with a bang? Talk about the best prologue ever. -JM Darhower, author of Sempre
“I haven’t read a book in a long time that I can compare to my favorite author Nicholas Sparks. THIS book is that book.” – Becky, Book Blogger

 

To thank her readers for an amazing year, Sydney is celebrating with a giveaway! You can win a signed copy of Lessons Learned and a $25 Amazon or iTunes gift card! The Rafflecopter is below. 

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, iTunes, or Blogger. We hereby release all names listed of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. Let me know if you have any questions or issues by contacting me: @SydneyALogan. – Good Luck!