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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Fighting Attraction by Sarah Castille

Author: Sarah Castille
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: April 4, 2017

My sweet, sexy Penny has a dark side. Just like me.
I will have her. And then I will lose her, and suffer a lifetime of regret.

Rampage. Everyone loves him. He is Redemption's top heavyweight fighter and the biggest gossip in the gym. But he isn't the teddy bear everyone thinks he is. He's hiding a dark secret-and he hates himself for it.

Twice a week, Rampage transforms into Master Jack, a notorious dom only the most hard-core submissives will play with. How can he-a Southern gentleman, bred to respect and protect women-want to dominate them?

But Penny Worthington wants him. Beneath her pearls, kitten heels, and prim British exterior beats a tortured heart...Master Jack is the only one who can set her free.

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

Enjoy this excerpt:

Jack “Rampage” Caldwell is the first MMA fighter I created for the Redemption series, and even when I first brought this Southern gentleman to life, I knew he had a secret. But Penny has a dark secret, too. After Jack discovers what she hides from the world, he makes her promise to come to him if she needs him. But trust doesn’t come easily for Penny. She breaks her promise, never expecting that Jack will find out. But, of course, he does…and crossing a sadist is never a good idea!

“I’ll call you back. Jack is here.”

Cora sucks in a sharp breath. “I’ll see you at class tonight. I can hardly wait to hear all about it.”

I end the call and swallow past the lump in my throat. It’s only been three days, and yet it feels like I haven’t seen Jack in forever. He’s wearing a white T-shirt that clings to his taut, muscle-ridged abdomen, and worn jeans that ride low on his narrow hips.

“What are you doing here?” I ask, trying to keep my gaze above his belt.

He pins me with a direct stare, his eyes fierce and hard. I feel like he’s trying to see into my soul, but my heart is pounding so hard I’m not sure enough oxygen is getting to my brain to make any sense of what’s going on.

“Jack?”

His gaze rakes over my body, lingering on my thighs as if he can see beneath my skirt. He tenses, and his eyes narrow. If I didn’t know X-ray vision was impossible, I would swear he knows I broke my promise.

“Are you alone?”

“Yes.” My pulse kicks up a notch. “Everyone’s out for the rest of the afternoon.”

He takes a step toward me, and the hair on the back of my neck stands on end.

“Lock the door.”

A thrill of fear shoots through me, and sweat beads on my forehead. What if he knows? Or suspects? What will he do?

“Now.” His deep, commanding Dom voice ripples through me, fanning the flames of my desire. Do I trust Jack enough to lock myself in the office with him, especially when I know what is coming? Do I trust myself?

I brush past him and lock the front door.

“Your office,” he snaps after I return.

I jump at his sharp tone and scramble out of his way as he brushes past me and through my office door, a lithe and powerful animal herding its prey.

“What’s going on?”

“Stand in front of the desk.” He gestures to the big oak desk Amanda and I refinished when we first moved into the building.

Puzzled, I do as he asks, my breath catching in my throat when he closes and locks the door behind him.

“Jack?”

He gives me his back as he draws the curtains at the side of my office. “Don’t move.”

A sting of disappointment hits me in the chest. Has he come to reject me all over again? Does he want to make sure I understand there is nothing between us? It shouldn’t bother me because I got the message the other night. I’m nothing. Nothing special. Nothing extraordinary. Not worth his time, especially since he’s on the cusp of fame. I’m just his pal. Plain old quirky Pen. But he doesn’t have to be so cold.

Worthless, no-good piece of shit.

No. No. No. My fingers tighten on the lip of the desk. I haven’t even started to heal from last night. I don’t need the past intruding on the present.

Jack leans against the door across from me, thick arms folded over his massive chest.
“Lift your skirt.”

Shock steals my breath away, and all I can do is stare.

“What?”

“You heard me. Lift your skirt. Now.”

Bang. Bang. Bang. My heart thuds frantically against my ribs. Adrenaline pounds through my veins, and I feel a rush of heat between my legs. He knows. I can see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice…

“Why?” I whisper, stalling. And why is this turning me on?

“You know why,” he snaps. “You didn’t keep your promise.”

I smooth my hands over my cream skirt, silky underneath with a cotton macramĂ© overlay, pressing it tight against my thighs. “It doesn’t matter if I kept it or not. We’re not in the club. There’s nothing between us. You made that clear the other night.”

“I fucked up the other night.” He shifts his stance. “I’m not good for you, Pen. You need to be with someone normal. A nice guy who’s going to treat you right and doesn’t want to hurt you.”

My hand fists on my thigh. “I don’t like nice guys. They don’t understand me. They’re too gentle. My life is about pain. Emotional and physical pain. It’s what I know, what I understand, what I need.”

“So you hurt yourself?”

“I didn’t—”

He cuts me off with a scowl. “Don’t lie to me.” He pauses, and his voice takes on a deeper, cutting edge. “Show me.”

My mouth goes dry at his abrupt command, and I fiddle with the edge of my skirt, at once indignant that he would try to boss me around and aroused that he did.

“What if I did?” I say defiantly. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

His corded throat tightens when he swallows, and he fixes me with a level stare. “I’ll give you what you need.”

All the air leaves my lungs in a rush, and I feel a disconcerting wetness between my thighs. “You wouldn’t dare. I’m at work.”

“Try me.”

Electricity sparks in the air between us, and a curious mix of fear and arousal courses through my veins. Stiffening my spine, I curl my fingers under the edge of my skirt and draw it slowly, painfully slowly up my thighs. Jack stills. His eyes flick down and then back up again. He licks his lips, and his eyes darken.

I have awakened the beast.



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Author Links:



PRAISE for Sarah Castille's Redemption series:

"Powerful. Gritty. And sexy beyond belief. Sarah is a true master!"-Opal Carew, New York Times bestselling author of His to Claim

"Hilarious, hot and occasionally heartbreaking. I loved it! " - Maryse's Book Blog on Against the Ropes

"Castille's follow-up to the excellent Against the Ropes doesn't pull its punches." - Publishers Weekly, starred review for In Your Corner

"Emotionally charged, amazingly sexy, and flat out fantastic."-Fresh Fiction on Full Contact

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blog Tour: Review and excerpt of A Small Town Bride by Hope Ramsay


Author: Hope Ramsay
Series: Chapel of Love, #2
On Sale: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Forever

The second book in USA Today bestselling author Hope Ramsay's Chapel of Love contemporary romance series about a small-town wedding chapel is perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr, and Sherryl Woods.

Amy Lyndon is tired of being the Poor Little Rich Girl of Shenandoah Falls. In her prominent family, she's the ordinary one - no Ivy League education and no powerful career. But when her father tries to marry her off, she knows it's finally time to stand up for herself, despite the consequences. Now that she's cut off from the family fortune, her first challenge is to fight her attraction to her handsome new boss.

When Amy shows up looking for work with his landscaping crew, Dusty McNeil thinks there's no way such a pampered princess will ever get her hands dirty. But as Amy proves him wrong and gets down to the nitty gritty, Dusty's admiration turns to like, then lust - and then love. But can a high-society woman like Amy ever fall for a man like him?

A Small Town Bride is the second book in the Chapel of Love series.  I really enjoyed the first book.  While, I did ultimately enjoy this second book, I didn't love it as much as the first one.  Amy is part of the large Lyndon family.  She is the underachiever of the family and thought to be lazy and not all that bright.  When her father cuts her off, she finds herself on her own for the first time in her life. 

The one thing I really liked about this book was Amy.   I was cheering her on as she didn't wallow in pity and took her life into her own hands.  I loved watching her find out that she was smart and could be successful and useful,  It was really satisfying to see her finally tell off her many family members. The romance between Dusty and Amy was sweet and I loved the HEA at the end.

What I didn't love was the Lyndon family.  I don't remember them being SO snobby in the first book.  It was really grating the way they treated Amy.  That includes Willow and David from the first book.  I really felt badly for her.  I'm not sure who the next couple will be in the third book, but I do look forward to finding out.



Enjoy this excerpt!

“Hon,  are  you  all  right?  You’ve  been  in  there  a while, and I . . . ”
Amy opened the door. “I’m fine.” Her voice wobbled. She would not ask to borrow the phone. There had to be another way.
“No, I don’t think so,” Gracie said. “You come out and have your eggs and bacon.”
Oh crap. What was she supposed to do now?
“I . . . I . . . don’t. I mean I can’t . . . ” She let go of a long, trembling breath. “Daddy locked me out of the house yes- terday and told me I had to marry Grady Carson. Then he took all the money out of my checking account. And I probably should call Grady, but I have to borrow your phone.” The words came out in a terrible, hoarse whisper.
She expected Gracie to yell at her for using the bath- room without having any intention of buying food. Or, worse yet, to take her into the back room and hand her a phone. But instead Gracie draped her arm over Amy’s shoulder. “Come get your breakfast. You can pay me for it later, after you sort things out with your father. And no woman should ever marry someone she has second thoughts about. Shame on your daddy.”
The tense muscles in Amy’s neck and shoulders relaxed as Gracie led her to the counter, where a plate of eggs and bacon awaited. “Eat your breakfast. You’ll feel better.”
Amy did as she was told, downing the eggs and bacon like a starving person. She had no idea where her next meal would come from, so she allowed Gracie to refill her coffee cup several times while the diner filled up with the usual Saturday crowd.
Pippa Custis, the owner of Ewe and Me, the yarn shop in town, came in for a bowl of oatmeal. 
Walter Braden came in holding hands with his  new wife, the former Poppy Marchand. For a couple of old peo- ple, they were sweet. They ordered two big breakfasts and spent the entire time gazing into each other’s eyes.
Alicia Mulloy, the hygienist at Dr. Dinnen’s office, or- dered three different kinds of donuts. Amy wondered if Dr. Dinnen knew about Alicia’s sugar habit.
And then Dusty McNeil strolled through the door and turned Saturday into Man Candy Monday. Wow. He was like some unholy combination of Thor and Captain Amer- ica all rolled into one gorgeous example of maleness.
Gracie swooped down on him with a cup of coffee and a plate of eggs and bacon, as if she’d been expecting his arri- val. He gave Gracie a smile full of laugh lines and dimples and white teeth. And then he turned toward Amy.
Unlike the other customers, he didn’t pretend she was invisible. Oh no. He gave her a long, assessing gaze that made Amy’s pulse jump. Dusty McNeil had a badass repu- tation as a player who preferred the showgirls and cocktail waitresses who worked up at the casinos in Charles Town, West Virginia.
So why was he ogling her?
She had no idea, but she returned the favor. Who wouldn’t enjoy gazing at that chiseled face or those bright baby blues or all that golden blond hair?
And that’s when a crazy idea popped into her desperate head. Maybe she could invite herself over to his place for some Netflix and chill. Spending a night with him wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice. And it would probably be way more fun (and warmer) than sleeping in the Z4.
Or sleeping with Grady for that matter.
But no. Initiating a booty call would not be the right next step. She’d chosen to sleep in her car instead of falling back on a man. She’d taken a principled position. So she pushed the ridiculous idea of sleeping with Dusty McNeil out of her mind and concentrated on her coffee mug while she tried to figure out what her next step ought to be.
She came up with exactly nothing.
“Y’all seem to be busy up at Eagle Hill Manor these days,” Gracie said to Dusty. And since Amy didn’t have anything better to do, she eavesdropped.
“Yep. Ever since that article in Brides. Willow’s hiring another event planner. Know anyone who might be inter- ested?”
Gracie shook her head. “No, but I’ll keep my eye out.”
A job.
Why hadn’t Amy thought of that before?
A job would solve all her problems. And becoming an event planner sounded like the perfect fit except for the fact that she had zero real work experience. But she had been her sorority’s social secretary and had planned all kinds of themed parties and charitable events. She’d even had a hand in helping several of her sorority sisters with their wedding plans.
This was perfect. She’d get a job instead of a husband.
And wouldn’t that blow Daddy’s mind?

PRAISE FOR THE CHAPEL OF LOVE SERIES
“Ramsey charms in her second Chapel of Love contemporary...[and] wins readers' hearts with likable characters, an engaging plot (and a hilarious subplot), and a well-deserved happy ending.” –Publishers Weekly on A SMALL-TOWN BRIDE

“With skillful precision, Ramsay nails the political dynamics and small-town vibe and launches an endearing series fans will savor.” –Library Journal on A CHRISTMAS BRIDE

“[Ramsay’s] pun-filled, witty dialogue fits each realistic character and every lushly vivid scene perfectly.  Watching love bloom for this opposites-attract couple, the downtrodden heroine and hero with major issues with his Kennedy-esque family, is poignant and impactful.” –RT Book Reviews on A CHRISTMAS BRIDE

BUY THE BOOK HERE


THE CHAPEL OF LOVE SERIES

A FAIRYTALE BRIDE, #.5
A CHRISTMAS BRIDE, #1
A SMALL-TOWN BRIDE, #2
HERE COMES THE BRIDE, #3



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hope Ramsay is a USA Today bestselling author of heartwarming contemporary romances.  Her books have won critical acclaim and publishing awards. She is married to a good ol' Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her Southern heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Virginia where, when she's not writing, she's knitting or playing her forty-year-old Martin guitar.


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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher by L.D. Crichton

By: L.D. Crichton
Publisher: Pocket Star EBooks
Publication Date: March 13, 2017
ISBN: 9781501152313

After Emma Fletcher is viciously attacked and left for dead, she flees to her old childhood hometown where she’s confronted with bitter memories of her damaged past and alcoholic mother. Emma is determined to make her stay temporary and get out with minimal emotional damage. What she doesn’t count on is Tristan Banks: auto mechanic, coffee addict, and town hottie with dark secrets of his own.

Tristan’s track record of saving girls has historically led to failure. The last thing he needs is trouble in the form of a leggy brunette with an attitude, but when he starts to fall for Emma, Tristan realizes the only way he can save her is to help her save herself.

In The Enchantment of Emma Fletcher, Emma has come to live with her mother after an attack to try to get her life back.  In reconnecting with old friend, she gets to know Tristan again.  He is dealing with his own demons.  They may just be able to find salvation in each other.  

I really enjoyed this one.  I guess it would fall into the New Adult category since the characters are younger.  But they honestly felt much more mature than their age, which was refreshing.  I loved watching Emma and Tristan go from friends to lovers. One of my favorite scenes was the photo booth scene.  It was such a sigh worthy romantic moment! I also loved the secondary love story of Marley and Mateo.  Can you say "too cute"? I don't want to give away too much of the plot.  I'll just leave you with a recommendation that you definitely check this debut book out.  


See what others are saying:

“The character development will draw readers into the story and have them rushing to find out what happens…Verdict: Romance readers who prefer a love story with a thriller twist will enjoy this page-turner. It’s perfect for those jumping from YA contemporary romance to more adult fiction.”
Library Journal STARRED REVIEWstarred review star

“L.D. Crichton has written a compelling story of overcoming tragedy and moving forward. I truly experienced the wide range of emotions felt by all the characters, as all feelings are conveyed with genuineness. THE ENCHANTMENT OF EMMA FLETCHER is heartfelt and very realistic…THE ENCHANTMENT OF EMMA FLETCHER is emotionally rewarding…L.D. Crichton has created an interesting story about true-to-life people, and I look forward to more books from this author.”
—Always Reviewing

About the author:
L.D. Crichton is the author of the only official fan fictions for both One Direction and Emblem3, commissioned by Sony Music Entertainment and Faculty Management Group. Crichton has over 7.5 million combined reads on Wattpad and her work has been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, the Daily Dot, Marketing magazine, Just Jared, VentureBeat, and Contently. She lives in Alberta, Canada. 

Please visit ldcrichton.com, and L.D. Crichton on Facebook and Twitter.


Blog Tour Schedule:
March 13th

March 14th

March 15th

March 16th

March 17th

March 18th

March 20th

March 26th

April 3rd

April 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spotlight: Excerpt of Tamara Morgan's STEALING MR. RIGHT

Author: Tamara Morgan
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of publication: March 2017

I'm a wanted jewel thief.
He's FBI.
What's that saying? Keep your friends close...and your husband closer.

Being married to a federal agent certainly has its perks.

1. I just love the way that man looks in a suit.
2. This way I always know what the enemy is up to.

Spending my days lifting jewels and my nights tracking the Bureau should have been a genius plan. But the closer I get to Grant Emerson, the more dangerous this feels. With two million dollars' worth of diamonds on the line, I can't afford to fall for my own husband.

It turns out that the only thing worse than having a mortal enemy is being married to one. Because in our game of theft and seduction, only one of us will come out on top.

Good thing a cat burglar always lands on her feet.

  

Enjoy this excerpt:

When Grant returned, I could tell any chances of that happening were gone. The relaxed, playful mood we’d been in for most of the evening had vanished, replaced by a wide step and a straight back. His mouth was set in a grim line. I’d have been lying if I said that version of Grant—man of action, FBI agent to the core—wasn’t as much of a turn-on as the softer one.

“I hope you’re the kind of woman who doesn’t get mad when her date walks out halfway through,” he said. There wasn’t nearly as much apology in his voice as I’d have liked, but something about the anxious expression that replaced the crinkles around his eyes put me in a forgiving mood.

“I don’t know what kind of woman I am in that situation. I’ve never had a date walk out on me before.”

The anxious expression lightened a touch, and a surge of pleasure moved through me at having lifted it myself. “Do you feel a strong urge to throw that plate of fettuccini at me?”

I toyed with my fork. “Surprisingly, no.”

“How about the water? Is there a chance it’ll end up in my face?”

“Such juvenile tactics you resort to in times of anger.” I made a soft tsking sound. “If I wanted to seek retribution for the outrage I’ve suffered at your hands, I’d be much more subtle than that. My revenge would be years in the making.”

I got a flash of his teeth, a real smile, before he carefully tucked it away. “That I believe. The bill’s taken care of, and you can feel free to order more dessert while you wait. The cab should be here in about fifteen minutes.”

“Wait—you’re not going to drive me back to town?”

He winced. “I’m really sorry, but I can’t. I shouldn’t even be taking this long to get on my way. We’ll pause the date, okay? Pick up again later?” Pause the date? Was that even allowed?

Some of my annoyance must have shown on my face, because he took two massive strides and pulled me out of my chair, holding me so close, our chests bumped and tingled. Well, his bumped; mine tingled. I’d never wanted any man to touch me as much as I wanted Grant to touch me in that moment. It was impossible not to imagine how the solid weight of his hand would feel sliding between our bodies, skimming my curves, settling on the softest, roundest parts, and staying there for hours.

Something told me that Grant was a thorough man in this, as in all things.

To my shivering delight, his hand did come up, but only to cup the side of my face. His thumb grazed my lips just long enough to trace the outline before falling away again. I couldn’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure a groan of my frustration escaped before he finished.

Then again, the sound could have just as easily come from him.

“I’m sorry. As much as I’d like to bring this date to an end the proper way, I have to run.”

“You aren’t going to tell me why?” I asked.

“You know how it goes. I could tell you, but…” He didn’t have to finish. Then I’d have to kill you.

Despite my frustration—a mounting feeling lodged in my stomach and working like liquid bolts down my thighs— I managed a smile. “Then off you go. Rid the world of thieves and bad guys so it’s safe for the rest of humanity.”

I was careful not to place myself on either side of that equation.

Grant nodded and did a quick survey of the restaurant to make sure he hadn’t forgotten anything before heading efficiently out the door. Predictably, it didn’t make a sound as it closed behind him.

As soon as he was gone, I took a moment to make the same survey. The stucco walls, which had seemed so quaint and charming when we’d arrived, now looked dingy. A light in the corner flickered intermittently, and the mandolin music playing softly in the background picked up an almost country twang.

For the first time, I saw this evening as exactly what it was: a half-assed attempt at seduction, a cheap ploy to get information from a woman who was too stupid to know when she was in over her head.

Then the door flew open again, revealing Grant’s dark, impressive profile against the evening sky. He crossed the restaurant without a word and pulled me into his arms. My head tipped back, my lips parted in anticipation, and my body lit up where it touched his.

“Fuck it. End of the date or not, I’m kissing you.”

Grant’s mouth crashed over mine in the arrogant, masculine sweep of energy that characterized everything he said and did. I toyed briefly with the idea of feigning outrage or chiding him for going back on his word, but what was the point? I wanted this as much as he did.

Who was I kidding? I wanted it more.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Review Blitz Tour: Take Me Back by Meghan March

Author: Meaghan March
Date of publication: March 2017

We fell in love on a beach, got married in paradise, and I carried her off into the sunset. It should have been perfect, but saying “I do” doesn’t guarantee a happily-ever-after.
Two years later, I barely recognize either of us behind the walls we’ve built.
It’s time to bring it full circle. Back to a tropical paradise. Back to find out if we can still make this work.
I’m not willing to give her up, but to save us, I have to risk everything.
Two damaged people.
Countless secrets.
The fight of our lives.
We might be broken, but we’re not done.

I was really excited when I was given the chance to review Take Me Back for this tour.  After reading, I was even more excited after because I loved the story.  Then, I  as told, I had to review without any spoilers.  As a reviewer, that can be a real challenge so I will do my best.  The basic set up of the story is after two years of marriage, Dane and Kat are almost strangers.  They go on a vacation to try to find their way back to each other. 


The story waffles between past and present, so the reader gets a pretty good idea as to how they lost their way.  I was really rooting for these two. I loved their chemistry. It’s heart breaking when you have two people who obviously love each other, but have seemed to drift apart because of secrets.  There are a lot of surprises packed into this book.  That’s ALL I will say.  Just go buy it, read it and spread the word.  You’ll love it!


Sign up to be notified when it’s available on Amazon: http://bit.ly/TakeMeBackAmazon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She's also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she's ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Virgin River by Robyn Carr


Author: Robyn Carr
First published in 2007 by Mira

"Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against the backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included." When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she's made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.

But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans...and a former marine cements them into place.

Melinda Monroe may have come to Virgin River looking for escape, but instead she finds her home.


I'm not sure why I never read this series.  I loved the Thunder Point series, so it shouldn't have been a big surprise that I would enjoy visiting the town of Virgin River.  I really enjoyed this first book.  Ms. Carr has created a wonderful little town with great and caring characters.  

I'll admit that I didn't warm up to Melinda right away.  She was a little too "city" for me and was kind of a snob.  I loved Jack right off and watching this couple fall in love was a real pleasure for me.  I also ended up loving Mel's journey through rediscovering herself and working through her grief.  The one story-line I could have done without was Liz and Ricky's budding romance.  Because of their age, I felt it was a little too much detail for me.  I have a feeling that situation will be a story arc over the series, but still it was a little TMI.  

I definitely want to pick up the next book, Shelter Mountain.  I loved Preacher and can't wait to read his story!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blog Tour: Guest Post and excerpt of Beethoven in Love; Opus 139 by Howard Jay Smith


Welcome to author, Howard Jay Smith as he promotes his book, Beethoven in love; Opus 139.  Make sure to check out his guest post as well as an excerpt from the book.

Author: Howard Jay Smith
Publisher: SYQ
At the moment of his death, Ludwig van Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him a final wish—one day, just a single day of pure joy. But first he must confront the many failings in his life, so the great composer and exceedingly complex man begins an odyssey into the netherworld of his past life led by a spirit guide who certainly seems to be Napoleon, who died six years before. This ghost of the former emperor, whom the historical Beethoven both revered and despised, struggles to compel the composer to confront the ugliness as well as the beauty and accomplishments of his past. 

As Beethoven ultimately faces the realities of his just-ended life, we encounter the women who loved and inspired him. In their own voices, we discover their Beethoven—a lover with whom they savor the profound beauty and passion of his creations. And it’s in the arms of his beloveds that he comes to terms with the meaning of his life and experiences the moment of true joy he has always sought.

Beethoven & the Quest for his Immortal Beloved
  
“Your love makes me at once both the happiest and the unhappiest of men. . . Love me today, yesterday . . . . What tearful longings for you, you, you. My life, my all. Farewell. Never cease to love me. Never misjudge this most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever yours . . . Ever mine . . . Ever ours. . . .”

Thus concludes one of the most famous love notes in history; Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” letter written to a mysterious and as yet unknown woman. Not only did he fail address her by name, he further baffled music historians by simply dating the letter, July 7th, leaving off the year. Outside of Beethoven’s actual music, there is more speculation about the women in his life than anything else. 

So who was this woman, this Immortal Beloved, that has been the focus of such fevered study in the nearly 190 years since his death in 1827, when a copy of the letter was found in his apartment by accident alone?

Will we ever know her true identity and give this woman her due?  Was she a married aristocrat with whom he had an affair? Or a childhood sweetheart he longed to see once again? Or was she even the mother of a child he never knew?

Speculation is rife, even today, when the descendants of over a dozen women, including the dedicatee of the “Moonlight Sonata,” claim him as their own. 

At the moment of his death, in his last seconds of conscious, Beethoven raised his fist and shook it at his Creator.  Did he demand to know why it is, that he, whose hearing once surpassed all others in sensitivity and degree had been cast out as history’s cruel joke, a deaf composer who was also denied the comforts of family and the affections of his Immortal Beloved?

For all his creative genius, Beethoven was a flawed man who led a troubled life.  In my novel we explore the depths of that love and pain.  In that last tick of the clock, our Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him one final wish… One day, just one day of pure joy in her arms.   Thus begins a spiritual journey to the borders of Elysium, where Beethoven re-experience each of those precious moments. He struggles to come to peace not only with all the failings of his life but to also to find solace in the embrace of his Immortal Beloved.

Will he succeed? As one of the characters Beethoven encounters so on the road to paradise proudly proclaims, “What is a novel but a collection of lies we tell to reveal greater truths?” 

Enjoy this excerpt:

Prologue:
The Death of Beethoven
Vienna, 5:00 pm, March 26, 1827  
Outside Beethoven’s rooms at the Schwarzspanierhaus, a fresh measure of snow from a late season thunderstorm muffles the chimes of St. Stephens Cathedral as they ring out the hours for the old city.
    Ein, Zwei, Drei, Vier… Funf  Uhr.  Five O’clock.
    Beethoven, three months past his fifty-sixth birthday, lies in a coma, as he has now for two nights, his body bound by the betrayal of an illness whose only virtue was that it proved incurable and would, thankfully, be his last. Though his chest muscles and his lungs wrestle like giants against the approaching blackness, his breathing is so labored that the death rattle can be heard over the grumblings of the heavens throughout his apartment. 
     Muss es sein? Must it be? Ja, es muss sein. Beethoven is dying. From on high, the Gods vent their grief at his imminent passing and hurl a spear of lightening at Vienna.
     Their jagged bolt of electricity explodes outside the frost covered windows of the Schwarzspanierhaus with a clap of thunder so violent it startles the composer to consciousness. 
     Beethoven’s eyes open, glassy, unfocused. He looks upward – only the Gods know what he sees, if anything. He raises his right hand, a hand that has graced a thousand sonatas, and clenches his fist for perhaps the last time. His arm trembles as if railing against the heavens. Tears flood his eyes.
     His arm falls back to the bed… His eyelids close… And then he is gone ...

About the author:


Howard Jay Smith is an award-winning writer from Santa Barbara, California. BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139 is his third book. A former Washington, D.C. Commission for the Arts Fellow, & Bread Loaf Writers Conference Scholar, he taught for many years in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has lectured nationally. His short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Horizon Magazine, the Journal of the Writers Guild of America, the Ojai Quarterly, and numerous literary and trade publications. While an executive at ABC Television, Embassy TV, and Academy Home Entertainment, he worked on numerous film, television, radio, and commercial projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Symphony - "The Best Small City Symphony in America" -  and is a member of the American Beethoven Society.

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