Welcome to FAB Lovelies!

A Lifestyle blog that focuses on all things from fashion to beauty; fitness to weight loss; recipes to coupons; books to movies; travels to entertainment; and everything in between.

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Twice Hung by Vanessa C. Hawkins - Book Tour - Blurb Blitz - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Twice Hung
Canadian Historical Mysteries Series
Book 10
by Vanessa C. Hawkins

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE:   Mystery / Suspense / Thriller

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BOOK BLURB:

Ethel Arsenault's been hearing noises in her brother's house ever since she arrived from Summerside, but when he turns up dead, could the supernatural be to blame, or her sister-in-law Dolly whose been caught talking to herself when night falls?

Ethel isn't sure, nor is she happy when she's left alone to care for Ernest's estate. Was her brother the victim of sweet, little Dolly Arsenault, or is some other sinister force at work? The city of Charlottetown is quick to point the blame at Dolly, but now Ethel has been hearing things in the house...

... or is it just her imagination?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT TWO:

The days were dandelions, sprouting and flourishing and wafting away in puffs to seed more weeds anew. Though the roads had been muck-filled and swampy when they’d arrived, gradually they were becoming less burdensome and easier to promenade when the days were hot. Ernest’s trip had been postponed, but that meant he spent the days at work, oftentimes taking a break to show Ethel the delights of Queen’s Square and Victoria Row or holed up in his study pouring over papers and the occasional glass of gin.

Ethel was enjoying her days at Eden Hall, wandering outside in the small gardens, or taking a stagecoach in town with Miss Murphy to appraise the daily catch and supply of vegetables hauled in from the neighbouring farms. Though the nights were seldom peaceful, Ethel had resolved to keep her concerns private. No one else in the house seemed bothered or affected, so she often napped during the afternoon, dozing after writing in her journal or upon finishing a few chapters of Little Women.

 “I’m certain there must be something in the attic,” Ernest grumbled at breakfast one morning. His departure had been finalised for the next day and a few men had been around to load up a few personal effects he had packed for the voyage. It was a beautiful midweek morning, and the windows in the dining room had been removed to let in the scent of grass and sunshine.

Dolly was sitting opposite her husband at the little breakfast table, while Ethel was in the middle. Both women looked up from their plates to regard Ernest as he poured a fresh cup of tea for himself.

“Adella-Ray, will you not check the liquor cabinet in the study for a bottle of the blueberry spirits? There’s a touch of maple in it that I’m sure will stir the tongues of the Americans.”

The serving woman was in the foyer, handing an order for milk to the carrier before she turned towards the study as asked.

“The attic?” Dolly piped up, directing the conversation backwards. She was picking around the sauce of her eggs benedict, combing it over the white poached pillow like a toupée on a bald man’s head. “Is there something up there that you forgot to pack?”

Ernest shook his head. “No, but I think an animal has gotten up there somehow. I’ve been hearing it scuttling around the last few nights.” He looked up and smiled, as though to excuse his ramblings. “I’ll ask Al to take a look. I don’t want it scaring you ladies while I’m gone for work.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR BIO & LINKS:


A life-long lover of horror, Vanessa wrote her first story in the genre when she was only in grade five. It was titled Mutilated and it warranted her a trip to the school guidance counsellor. A lifetime later, she continues to write about anything that suits her fancy. She was afforded second place in the David Adams Richards Prize this year, and honourable mentions in the WFNB writing competition for her novel A Child to Cry Over. With over a dozen publications under her belt, Vanessa was celebrated as a bestselling author with Books We Love Publishing for the sale of over a thousand copies of The Curious Case of Simon Todd! She lives with her husband Brendon and daughter Bernie in New Brunswick.

Vanessa is the author of the following BWL Publishing Inc. releases:

The Curious Case of Simon Todd
Bunker Blitz
&
Ballroom Riot
by Vanessa C. Hawkins & Tara
Woodworth

Facebook:

BWL Author Page:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AMAZON BUY LINKS:


Amazon US Kindle eBook:

Amazon US Paperback:

Amazon CA Kindle eBook:

Amazon CA Paperback:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFO:

Vanessa will be awarding a $10 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble (Winner's Choice!!!) Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those fabulous community outreach projects and awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Beautiful One by Mary Cope - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Beautiful One
by Mary Cope

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE:  Young Adult Romance

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BOOK BLURB:

Transformation, empowerment, love and music come together in the book, Beautiful One.

Elizabeth Ryan is a beautiful, shy, naïve high school senior. Having never dated she meets the boy of her dreams, Aidan Mitchell. Despite his history of womanizing Liz is drawn to him. Soon Liz becomes the envy of all the girls on campus, when they become a couple and her dream boyfriend sweeps her off her feet and into the dating world that is all too new and strange for her. When other guys start to take notice of Liz, Aidan is troubled with fits of jealousy.

Elizabeth then meets the ruggedly handsome, Spencer Hayes and they quickly bond over their passion for music. Liz begins to struggle with the feelings that spark between them. In the end Elizabeth finds herself torn between helping Aidan overcome his jealousy and anger and giving into what her heart truly wants.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT TWO:

“Elizabeth.” My heart leapt as I opened my eyes, and my breathing stopped for a second. My eyes roamed over his handsome face. His jaw was slightly swollen and bruised, but other than that, his face was untouched. His grey eyes were unusually light from the angle where I sat, and his dark hair was tousled in a way that made me ache to run my fingers through it.

“May I?” He motioned to the bench next to me.

I was still surprised to see him, so I just nodded.

Spencer sat and shifted his body so it was facing mine. “I’ve been looking all over for you. Didn’t you get my calls?”

In my rush to see Aidan, I had left my cell phone at home, so I shook my head no.

Spencer gave me a ghost of a smile and softly chuckled. “Are you gonna talk to me or just nod your head?”

“I’m sorry. I’m just shocked to see you.” I shifted my body so it was facing his.

“After last night, I wanted to make sure you were okay.” His soft gaze traveled from my face to the length of my body. When he saw the bruises, his jaw clenched before he frustratingly blew out a breath of air. He gently lifted my arm to examine it further. I could sense he was trying to rein in his anger. “Did he hurt you anywhere else?”

Spencer reached to place a stray lock of my hair behind my ear.

My eyes didn’t leave his. I whispered, “No.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GUEST POST:

My Take on Critique Groups

When I began my writing journey, I knew absolutely nothing. The only thing I did know was that I needed help. So, I decided to look up writing groups in my area. I found a critique group at a local bookstore, and since it was not too far from my home, I decided to give it a try.

Talk about intimidation…

I walked into a room surrounded by a bunch of strangers. Some were welcoming and friendly, while others were not. As the newbie, I was quite aware that all eyes were on me. I quickly pulled up a seat and sat across from an elderly gentleman with a warm smile. He introduced himself as Mike. I would later refer to him as “Beta Mikey.”

The group consisted of approximately fourteen novice writers, but one of the attendees was published. I remember being in awe of her, wondering if that would ever be me.

Each person sat with their chapters in front of them. The group had a mediator who handed out red pens to everyone and began the group. The mediator explained that we would be critiquing each other's work and that each person would have a chance to share their writing while the rest of the group provided feedback. My heart raced as I realized I would be sharing my story for the first time.

When it was my turn, I nervously read the opening chapter. As I read, I could hear the sound of their red pens scribbling. When I finished, there was a moment of silence before the group began offering their feedback. Some of the critiques were great, while others were tough to hear. Then there was Mike, offering constructive criticism with a kind smile.
As the weeks went by, I grew more comfortable with the group. I learned so much from their feedback and the discussions we had about writing techniques and storytelling. I started to feel more confident when I returned after missing a few weeks, and the group was excited to hear the continuation of my story.

One day during class, it was suggested that we pair up and become each other’s beta readers. Mike offered to be mine. During that time, Mike became more than just a critiquing buddy; he became a trusted friend. As our friendship deepened, I learned more about Mike’s own journey as a writer and his battle with cancer. Despite the challenges he faced, he remained optimistic and full of life. When his cancer returned, I was devastated. Months passed, and I watched helplessly as my dear friend became frail; then eventually, Mike passed away.

After Mike’s passing, I found it difficult to return to my writing. The pain of his absence was too raw, and every time I sat down at my computer, I was reminded of all the moments we had shared. I would often find myself re-reading a chapter he had edited, his humorous comments and gentle critiques still echoing in my mind. It brought me comfort but also deep sadness, knowing that he was no longer here.

So, I stopped going to the critique group; I stopped writing.

Despite the pain, I knew Mike would have wanted me to continue writing. He was my biggest fan and supporter, always encouraging me to pursue my passion. I could almost hear his voice urging me on, telling me not to give up. And so, after much time had passed, I made the decision to continue to write. But I can honestly say, even now, every time I finish a chapter, I think of him. Missing his sense of humor, wisdom, and support is something I will always cherish.

I had planned to write solely about critique groups, but I couldn't do so without mentioning my dear friend. Critique groups, in my opinion, are a valuable tool for your writing journey, offering not only feedback and encouragement but also the opportunity. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR BIO:


Mary Cope is a passionate romance writer known for her ability to craft characters that feel undeniably real. Drawing inspiration from both her personal experience and vivid imagination, Mary’s words resonate with readers. A romantic at heart, Mary believes true intimacy is what love is all about.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONNECT WITH MARY:

Website:

Instagram:

Twitter:

Facebook:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AMAZON BUY LINKS:


Amazon US Kindle eBook:

Amazon US Paperback:

Amazon CA Kindle eBook:

Amazon CA Paperback:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFO:

Mary will award a $25 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble (Winner's Choice!!!) Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those fabulous community outreach projects and awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Prophet's Death by Robert Creekmore - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Prophet’s Death
by Robert Creekmore

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE:   Southern Noir

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BOOK BLURB:

Death-cult leader Joseph Proffit has met his end! Along with him perishes the secret method for manufacturing indigo, the substance that imbued him with godlike abilities.

To the dismay of Naomi’s family, she succumbed to the injuries Joseph dealt her during their final battle atop the abandoned Coast Guard station, Frying Pan Tower, thirty miles off the North Carolina coast.

Both of their bodies were lost at sea when the one-hundred-foot-tall structure crumbled during Tropical Storm Gabriel.

Naomi’s beloved companions escaped aboard her dive boat, along with Joseph’s final victim, who is on the verge of death.

In the aftermath, Naomi’s family has no choice but to rebuild their lives in hiding, fearing reprisal from the handful of remaining Apostle loyalists.

Soon, their secret, dormant conflict will be thrust onto the world stage by a wealthy benefactor who funnels his personal hatred and unfounded grievances into throngs of ignorant followers.

Is this the end of Naomi’s family? Without her, how will they survive?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT TWO:

He guides the boat between the two wooden bunks of the boat lift. Nate fights his way onto the dock through the sheets of rain blasting sideways into his face. He activates the hydraulics. The lift pulls the boat out of the water and level with the dock.

The three of them drag Malcolm off the boat before Nate lifts it higher to avoid the rising water.

Exhausted after moving Malcolm from the dock to the side door, the three can go no further and lie him on his side atop the sofa in front of the picture window.

“We have to call home,” Nate says.

“Telling someone that their spouse is dead isn’t something you do over the phone,” Herschel replies.

“More urgently,” Rebecca interjects, “we have to get electrolytes into Malcolm. He drank plenty of water before passing out, so he’s not in imminent danger of thirsting to death. To regain some level of consciousness, we need to get something like Pedialyte in him.

But, no stores will be open in this storm.” “Would powdered Gatorade work?” Nate asks.

“Yeah,” she responds.

Nate gets up and begins rummaging through Naomi’s kitchen junk drawer. He excavates an old plastic container, half-filled with clumpy orange Gatorade powder. Nate mixes up a batch inside a large plastic cup with a flexible straw. Malcolm mumbles and occasionally opens his eyes. When he does, they encourage him to drink. Within the hour, he’s holding the cup himself. His eyes begin to regain life. He looks around, saying, “Where is the other woman?” “She didn’t make it,” Rebecca answers.

A wave of melancholy washes across his exhausted face.

“The sooner we leave, the better,” Nate says.

“Will he make the week-long boat trip back to Northern Virginia?” Rebecca asks.

“No. That’s why I’m going to take Tiffany’s Corolla.” 

“They’ll follow you,” Herschel says to Nate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GUEST POST:

Inspired by Headlines: How to Put Your Spin on Real-Life Events

The Prophets Trilogy takes place over twenty-nine years, from nineteen-ninety-three to twenty-twenty-two. The entirety of it is rife with commentary and allegory about the history of that period.

The overarching theme, however, is the resurgence of the Christian Nationalist movement and how it became intertwined with rural militias and white supremacy.

The first novel in the trilogy, Prophet’s Debt, begins in nineteen-ninety-three, specifically because it was the year of the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas. Their cult’s leader, David Koresh’s, real name was Vernon Wayne Howell. Vernon Proffit was the name given to the antagonist of the first book. Howell was the surname of the pastor whose church Naomi’s family attended.

Waco combined with the events at Ruby Ridge in Idaho, a year prior, was seminal in the radicalization of Timothy McVeigh. A book titled, The Turner Diaries, was the blueprint for his terrorist attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in nineteen-ninety-five.

I make mention of it in Prophet’s Debt because, despite the book being fifteen years old at the time, it’d seen a resurgence and had become influential in white nationalist and conspiracy circles. A direct line between those ideas, especially the acquiescence of stochastic terrorism and real-life violence, can be made between that period and the attempted insurrection on January sixth, twenty-twenty-one.

Today, the movement has distanced itself publicly from its roots in white nationalism. Its overarching assertion now is that the laws of the United States should be solely based on the tenets of their narrow interpretation of the King James Bible. I truly believe that Fundamentalist, Evangelical Christianity has morphed from the racist Jim Crow proponent it was in the nineteen fifties and sixties into a modern conspiracy theorist death cult.

I based the Solid Rock Church in Prophet’s Debt on the twentieth-century version of their religion. Their metamorphosis into the Apostles of the Clovenhand cult represents the church’s activity throughout the early twenty-first. Specifically, in Prophet’s Death, it represents the so-called “MAGA” movement.

Take for example this passage from chapter thirty-five. It sums up concisely.

#

“How did he look health-wise?”

“For a man in his late seventies, fantastic. He appears fitter. Even though he’s bald, Abraham keeps a neatly manicured beard. With the distinguished appearance of an elder white man and the ability to spin Biblical myths into modern relevance, he’s built a cult following. It’s growing faster than I would have anticipated. He’s even made the national news. Disciples are visiting every white Evangelical church in the state to hold court with their pastors.”

“It’s that bad?”

“Naomi was right. But it’s even worse. He’s weaponizing social media and encouraging violence against queer folk and anyone who dares to dissent openly against his message. Abraham has them frothing at the mouth over slights that never existed. Counter protests have mounted, but the police, whom he dotes upon, are flagrantly beating people bloody in the street. Even worse, he now has disciples who are black.”

“What?!” Rebecca says. “The Apostles are a white nationalist organization.”

“He has at least two men of color who are close confidants.”

“White supremacy isn’t just for white people. Hatred can be internalized. Ignorant people can be conditioned to become the agents of their own destruction,” Rebecca says.

#

As you can see, I represent their movement in all of its brilliant simplicity.

It boils down to this: ‘Our god said we are special. Those who defy us also defy him. The reason your life hasn’t turned out the way you wanted isn’t due to your shortcomings. It’s a direct result of the actions of people who think, love, and worship (or don’t) differently than yourselves. By merely existing, they’re thumbing their collective noses in the face of our God. Therefore, it is holy to disregard democracy, subjugate, imprison, and murder them to set things right.’

This may seem like hyperbole to some readers. It is not. I grew up in this movement. While the future is not yet laid, be aware that a significant minority would like to see one resembling what I have described.

The mortar between those archaic stones has yet to dry. Don’t wait before it’s too late, or you’ll need a chisel and decades to regain what you’ve already begun to lose.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR BIO:


Robert Creekmore is from a rural farming community in Eastern North Carolina.

He attended North Carolina State where he studied psychology. While at university, he was active at the student radio station. There, he fell in love with punk rock and its ethos.

Robert acquired several teaching licenses in special education. He was an autism specialist in Raleigh for eight years. He then taught for four years in a small mountain community in western North Carolina.

During his time in the mountains, he lived with his wife Juliana in a remote primitive cabin built in 1875. While there, he grew most of his own food, raised chickens, worked on a cattle farm, as well as participated in subsistence hunting and fishing.

Eventually, the couple moved back to the small farming community where Robert was raised.

Annoyed with the stereotype of the southeastern United States as a monolith of ignorance and hatred, he wanted to bring forth characters from the region who are queer and autistic. They now hold up a disinfecting light to the hatred of the region’s past and to those who still yearn for a return to ways and ideas that should have long ago perished.

Robert’s first traditionally published novel, Prophet’s Debt, was a Manly Wade Wellman Literary Award Finalist.

His second, Prophet’s Lamentation, was a Lambda Literary recommendation for July 2023.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONNECT WITH ROBERT:

Website:

Twitter:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AMAZON BUY LINKS:


Amazon US Paperback:

Amazon US Hardcover:

Amazon CA Paperback:

Amazon CA Hardcover:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFO:

Robert will award a $10 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble (Winner's Choice!!!) Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those fabulous community outreach projects and awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Playing Army by Nancy Stroer - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!


Playing Army
by Nancy Stroer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE:  UpLit / Domestic War

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BOOK BLURB:

It’s 1995 and the Army units of Fort Stewart, Georgia are gearing up to deploy to Bosnia, but Lieutenant Minerva Mills has no intention of going to war-torn eastern Europe. Her father disappeared in Vietnam and, desperate for some kind of connection to him, she’s  determined to go on a long-promised tour to Asia. But the Colonel will only release her on two conditions—that she reform the rag-tag Headquarters Company so they’re ready for the peacekeeping mission, and that she get her weight within Army regs, whichever comes second. Min only has one summer to kick everyone’s butts into shape but the harder she plays Army, the more the soldiers—and her body—rebel. If she can’t even get the other women on her side, much less lose those eight lousy pounds, she’ll never have another chance to stand where her father once stood in Vietnam, feeling what he felt. The Colonel may sweep her along to Bosnia or throw her out of the Army altogether. Can you fake it until you make it? Min is about to find out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT TWO:

My heart raced, not in a good way, as a helicopter thudded overhead toward Hunter Army Airfield twenty miles away. Had my father died in a helicopter assault? The notification only said he’d gone missing in a fire fight, but he’d been assigned to the air cavalry. He hadn’t been a movie star like Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, though—just another Air Cav soldier who disappeared in the Mekong Delta in April of 1969. I imagined myself crouched backward over the skids of a Huey. Terrified, with the sound of AK-47s firing below and nothing to connect me to safety but a nylon rope. Nothing but the empty black maw of my ignorance waiting to swallow me whole. You would think, if my father had been liked and respected, the soldiers from his platoon would have responded to the letters I’d written but no one ever had, leaving me only questions so corrosive my insides burned.

It was strange how the absence of a person could occupy so much mental real estate, but the Army—all of America, really—was obsessed with the bodies of the soldiers left behind. The dead were probably at peace—I had to believe that—but those who remained were not. For me, nothing but boots on the ground in Vietnam would satisfy my relentless drive to understand, and Korea was the closest place to Vietnam the Army would send me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GUEST POST:

Playing Army – the backstory!

Of the pile of manuscripts I have lying around, Playing Army is not the story that is set chronologically the earliest, but it is the first novel I completed (more than twenty years ago)! We were living in Ankara, Turkey and there wasn’t any paid work for me right away. There were, however, an abundance of cheerful, hardworking and attentive Turkish women more than happy to look after my infant daughter for a few hours a week, and we had a mother-in-law suite at the top of our apartment going unused. I’d always wanted to write, and this was my chance.

So! Baby downstairs with a lovely woman named Sevgi (which means, literally, “love”), I plopped on the little sofa in the upstairs room and waited for the decades of bottled up words to pour forth. I knew I wanted to write about ordinary women in the Army – the cooks, the clerks, the mechanics – not women trying to be fighter pilots or Navy SEALS. All hail those badasses! But I think in a not-so roundabout way those stories still center the male experience. They are about women trying to prove themselves against male standards. Again – so many interesting issues to explore in a story like that! But I wanted to center women’s stories. Women having their own, perfectly legitimate (and absolutely hard enough) military experiences without having to answer the always present and forever tedious question of, does this man or group of men think I’m worthy of being among them? Women have been street-legal in the military for a long time now. I’m super-tired of having to prove the legitimacy of that over and over again, one woman at a time, to each individual man who takes it as his right to be there.

But as I sat there, hand poised over notebook, mostly my ideas stayed locked in my head. It took great effort to squeeze them from my pen. That first summer in Ankara we didn’t have air conditioning and it was about 120F up there. The heat took my fluid thoughts and baked them solid.

Anywho. The actual writing of an ordinary military story was hard, y’all, especially since I had not the first clue of what makes any kind of story “work.” But you have to start somewhere, right? I imagined my way into some scenes and forced them onto the page. I wrote about a young woman watching water boil (a lot of those early scenes were influenced by the temperature in the room!) and two female soldiers in the barracks, getting ready to go out drinking on a Friday night. One of them drank too much and got sick on the First Sergeant’s open-toed sandals (the First Sergeant being another woman). Eventually the scenes started to hang together and I had a story about a character whose father had gone missing in Vietnam, and who had something to prove to him, and to herself, but was struggling in life. Eventually I even had an offer of representation from a literary agent (more about that story HERE), but I was aware on a deep level that I’d written this novel in a kind of overheated, dreamy state without any real awareness of what I wanted to say or how to say it. The story was a mess and the agent would have wanted me to change it and he would have been right to require it but I wouldn’t have known how to fix anything.

Don’t query before you know what the hell you’re doing, y’all.

So I passed on the offer of rep (I KNOW. THIS WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY UNTHINKABLE NOW. IT WAS HOT IN THAT ROOM. But also, I wasn’t wrong).

I put a hard copy of the manuscript in a bag and stashed the bag among the stack of hard-backed notebooks I use for all my early drafting, and left it there for years and years and years. The stack of notebooks grew, and traveled with us to two more continents and a couple of islands and the bag stayed with them, growing dust.

Fast forward a bunch of years and a lot of learning later. I pull out the bag during a time when I’m letting other manuscripts rest, and casting about for a project to distract me. I find that I can look at the old manuscript without curling into a human roly-poly of cringe. I read the dusty pages and they are surprisingly…fresh? Not so terrible? The story needs complete gutting and rebuilding but the bones of it are still there and all those early characters are good. I want to walk around in their heads again, seeing out their eye holes. And that is how this version of Playing Army got its start.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR BIO:


Nancy Stroer grew up in a very big family in a very small house in Athens, Georgia and served in the beer-soaked trenches of post-Cold War Germany. She holds degrees from Cornell and Boston University, and her work has appeared in the Stars and Stripes, Soldiers magazine, Hallaren Lit Mag, Wrath-Bearing Tree, and Things We Carry Still, an anthology of military writing from Middle West Press.

She’s a teacher and a trainer, and an adjunct faculty member of the Ellyn Satter Institute, a 503(c) not-for-profit that helps individuals and families develop a more joyful relationship to food and their bodies. Playing Army is her first novel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONNECT WITH NANCY:

Facebook:

Twitter:

LinkedIn:

Goodreads:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AMAZON BUY LINKS:


Amazon US Kindle eBook:

Amazon US Paperback:

Amazon US Hardcover:

Amazon CA Kindle eBook:

Amazon CA Paperback:

Amazon CA Hardcover:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFO:

Nancy will award a $25 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble (Winner's Choice!!!) Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those fabulous community outreach projects and awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.