Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blog Tour: Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

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I mentioned a while back that I love airport bookstores because the limited selection often forces me to try books I might have otherwise missed. Well, the same can be said for the book aisles in grocery stores.

A few years ago I was stuck out at a house that I rent waiting for someone to come and turn the gas back on so the new tenant could move in. In the grand tradition of such things, this was going to happen sometime in a four hour window.

I was stuck in a house devoid of furniture, television or computers. I had yet to succumb to the lure of the smart phone. And, horror of horrors, I was without a book. It had been one of those days. I'd been twenty minutes into the hour and a half drive to the house before realizing that I'd forgotten the house keys and had to go back and start all over. It wasn't overly surprising that I'd also managed to leave my book on the bedside table.

So, to the local grocery store I went, for a much needed jolt of Dr. Pepper and literary balm for my diminishing sanity. I grabbed the first book that seemed interesting and beat a path back to the house in case the gentleman from the gas company arrived on the early end of the spectrum.

He didn't.

And I didn't care.

Sitting on the floor of the unheated living room, with my coat securely fastened against the December chill, I was first introduced to Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor. Between my Dr. Pepper IV and Maddie & Tara's stories, the three and a half hours I spent waiting seemed like nothing. By the time I was on the road home again, I knew that I had made a whole new group of literary friends and also had a new location to add to my list of fictional places I'd like to reside. I've happily gone back to visit with every new addition to the series and am always anxious to return again.

Which is why I was super excited Once In A Lifetime was released on Tuesday. I couldn't wait to get to know Aubrey and Ben better. Particularly after receiving this from Ms. Shalvis:

Top 5 Favorite Quotes from ONCE IN A LIFETIME

1. He was in jeans, wearing a tool belt slung low on his hips, his T-shirt clinging to him. He seemed a little irritated, a little sweaty, and just looking at him Aubrey got a whole lot hot and bothered in places that had no business being hot and bothered by this man at all.

2.  He was back in his tool belt, which was made of leather and crinkled all male-like when he moved. Plus, it forced his jeans a little low on his hips. She couldn’t stop staring, because there was something about the way he wore his clothes that suggested he’d look even better without them.

3.  She had no idea how long they kissed—and kissed—but she didn’t think about stopping until she ran out of air. Breathing hard, she slowly opened her eyes and stared directly into his.
      They’d heated. Darkened. And something else. He wasn’t looking so relaxed now. In fact, he was looking the opposite of relaxed. He looked…feral.
      And she was his prey.

4. “You’d better say it again,” he said very quietly.
     “That you don’t want me.” He gave a slow shake of his head. “Because you’re looking at me like I’m dinner and you haven’t eaten all day.”

5.  His mouth should be illegal in all fifty states, but she bet he could do things with it. Things she wanted.

So, I decided to read just the first few chapters last night before bed. You know, a nice way to unwind. (This is how I've been tricking myself into reading later than I should for the last twenty odd years. I fall for it every time.)

Naturally, I read the whole thing. And today, as I suffer from chronic yawnies, I can't even find it in me to be annoyed at Past Kelly. Because, if I were in her shoes right now...I'd probably make the same decision.

It would totally be worth it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ONCE IN A LIFETIME by Jill Shalvis (February 18, 2014; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market; $6.00)
After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

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About the author:
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Mind - Crowded, Noisy, But It's Home

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By Ardfern (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Only not really. I'm kind of full up here. 
You know what is buckets of fun? When I see an old idea and suddenly it seems brand new.

A little over a year ago, I was working on a story. I loved the characters, the world, the plot. All the pieces made me happy. Unfortunately, they just weren't quite coming together right. I knew something was off, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what. Frustrations galore.

I went the route of tough love. Moved those characters to a special room in the back of my mind - told them to work it out and get back to me when they had.

Let me tell you, they took their sweet time. At first I was annoyed with their playing hard-to-get, then I was grateful. Some new characters were asking for attention and I was happy not to have them battling it out in my brain pan.

So, I focused on the new guys. They were much more forthcoming with their tale. So much so that I finished the MS right before celebrating the coming of the new year. I really love these folks and am happily drafting the next segment of their story. But the other night, just as I was drifting off to sleep, there was a little knock on that door at the end of my mind hallway.

Before I could even open it, they all started talking at once. They knew how to fix the story. I'll be honest with you, their timing could have been better. I was looking forward to the whole sleep thing and suddenly I was completely wide awake. They insisted upon it, seeing as I haven't figured out how to take notes in slumber yet (I'm working on it). The only thing that kept me from a sleep deprived fury storm was that they had really good ideas. Maybe even great ones.

And it all started with the main character saying, Yeah, I don't think I'm as old as you think I am.

For the last three days, it's been pretty much an avalanche. All the aspects that I couldn't quite connect the first time around are suddenly making sense as a whole. Major, all consuming rewrites need to be done on the work that I started way back when and a whole bag of new inserts must be crafted. The amount of work to get this all done will be massive. And big time exciting.

How about all of you? Any visitors in your mind motel making noise lately?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Vomit Test

My nephew has recently started understanding that certain things are funny. As a result, he's big into laughing now. Last night, we really had him going. Something about bringing our heads really close, really fast without smashing them together just does it for him. He handled his mirth well - laughing as hard as he could until the only possible next move was completely emptying the contents of his stomach all over me. 

He handled it with panache. Quick, quiet expulsion and then he was back to laughing. Honestly, it took me a second to process what happened. 

But what I'm sure was my comical expression of horror as the realization dawned is not the point of this retelling. The point is laughing not only until you vomit, but through the vomiting itself. 

I mean, that is a high level of merriment. We've all laughed until our faces hurt. Or our stomachs cramped. Or maybe even until our bladders weakened. But throwing up and smiling about it? I don't know about you, but I haven't hit that tier of excitement yet. 

I have, however, decided that I'd like to see every fictional character have a moment like this. Okay, it doesn't have to actually involve vomit, but I'd like to see a character so overjoyed by something that in that moment no adverse thing spewed at them is enough to make them stop smiling. That would tell us a lot about the character. What passes his or her vomit test? What is it that can make him or her that completely happy? 

And then, because I'm mean, I'd like to take it away from them. Because if something can make you smile through vomiting, I'm willing to bet you'd do a lot to get if back. 

And that's a story in which I could really get invested.