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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes author Cathy Clamp offering a sneak peak into how Forbidden was created.

Welcome Ms. Clamp!





One of the things I’ve always loved best about the creation process is how a story can change during the writing. A lot of times when I’m writing, I’ll cut out text that I’ve written . . . not because it’s bad text, but I changed my mind about a direction to go. In FORBIDDEN, I completely changed the first three chapters after writing about half of the book. It just sort of wandered, instead of getting right to the action. So I thought I’d give readers a little bit of what wound up on the cutting room floor. When you read the book (and I hope you’ll follow along), this scene is set in the nurse’s office, and originally happened BEFORE Alek and Claire meet the Sheriff and Mayor, just before Alek races to the post office. Enjoy!

******************

Alek was moving with quiet efficiency around the room, grabbing gauze, new cotton swabs, sterile stitch thread and scissors. When he was done, everything was lined up in an exact line on the rolling tray, in the order they’d be needed. It seemed in keeping with the personality she’d already noticed. His mind was quick and organized. It was the sign of a good cop . . . or a proficient serial killer. She’d met both, and had learned that the difference between the two was very small.

The woman Alek had identified as Marilyn returned to the room. Her long dark hair had been pulled back into a ponytail, showing a face with strong angular lines. Her high cheek bones and dusky skin told her she was Native American, so it was likely the feathers she smelled under the skin was a golden eagle. Maybe even a bald eagle. She didn’t know enough eagles to smell the difference between the two. “Golden or bald?” Sometimes it was just easier to ask.

She smiled, showing white, even teeth. “Golden. Not many balds in the world. I think one of the few is down in your neck of the woods.” She pulled a padded stool close to the table and patted it. “How about you sit here? I need to see the top of your head.”

Oh. Yeah, that made sense. Claire nodded as she hopped down off the table and sat on the stool. “Will Kerchee is part of our pack. He’s a good man.”

Marilyn chuckled. “Well, hardly part of your pack. You’re a wolf. But I have heard good things about him.”

Claire felt her smile tighten. It wasn’t really worth arguing. She knew that most people didn’t understand how the Tedford pack worked. But Will, Wolven agent, Texas Ranger, and celebrated seer, was most definitely part of their pack. There were wolves, birds and a few cats in the pack—all mentally connected into one stronger whole. It wasn’t normal, but then they didn’t have a normal alpha female. She was all about family, familia she called it. Nothing was more important, so when she’d heard about children disappearing up here, she had to act. “Definitely.” She’d let the other woman guess which comment she was responding to.

**********************

Interested? Go pick up the book and find out more about the characters. You’ll enjoy it. I promise!

LR: Thank you for stopping by and for the insight!
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Blurb: As childhood sweethearts growing up in a small Texas town, Jordan and Cassie were the golden couple of their generation—the epitome of the All-American couple one only saw portrayed in movies. But after high school ended, and with the promise that nothing could break their relationship, Jordan moved to California to play football in college, leaving Cassie with a broken heart while residing in their sleepy little town.

Six years later, Jordan is now the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. At the peak of his career, he returns home following his father’s health scare, and in the process, learns he fathered a child with his former flame.

While Cassie may have had her reasons for concealing her son from his father for five years, Jordan is determined to be a part of his child’s life—despite being worlds apart from each other.

Unions will be tested as two worlds collide once more in an attempt to restore a former spark, but will it be enough to make a family whole again? Will Jordan believe home really is where the heart is?

Review: I found the book to be an enjoyable read - especially the characters. I enjoyed how the characters, well, 'danced' around each other and worked things out. I liked how Jordan and Cassie worked things out.

What caught my attention, though, is the possible relationship between Nick and Gabby. Maybe a look at a future book in the making? :)

Very nice debut read from Ms. Mack and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.
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Today, Lily's Reviews welcomes Brandy L. Rivers with a guest post.

Dreamwalkers

Devlin O’Shea is a Dreamwalker. It’s a rare gift. There aren’t many left.

He can find people in their dreams. Sometimes it’s random, but usually he needs a connection to them. In Jamie’s case, it was fate. He stumbled into her dream and has a hard time resisting her.

Imagine the kind of power you would have if you could really alter other people’s dreams, or visit them there. Most people wouldn’t believe it. They would think it’s a dream, or a nightmare even. How much trouble could you cause in someone else’s head? This is why I think the majority of Dreamwalkers wind up bad, or at least corrupted.

Of course there are exceptions, like Devlin. He’s a healer by nature. Harming someone, even those who deserve it, is the last thing on his mind.

I have always loved the idea of shared dreams. I’m a lucid dreamer and can manipulate my own dreams, but I always thought it would be cool to visit someone else, so I played with that idea in this book. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of this ability later on down the line.
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Today, Lily's Reviews is hosting S.L. Scott on a stop here as part of her blog tour for Naturally, Charlie.

I once had this dream where Jeff Probst released a lion with no teeth from its cage. It ran straight for me. I turned and ran towards this really hot…

Oh wait, you meant for me to talk about my dreams as in accomplishing lifelong dreams. Oops.  Sorry about that. I’ll save that other little story for Facebook since that dream gets a little steamy.

Naturally, Charlie being published is absolutely a lifelong dream come true. Too dramatic? I don’t mean it to be, but it’s the truth. When I was little, I would write little stories and color the pictures inside, fold the papers in half, add a construction paper cover to it and staple the seam to hold it all together. I have a book of Christmas carols with that kid-centric cover on it from when I was twelve, but we can’t seem to find any of the little stories I wrote.

Really though, my point is, I’ve always wanted to be an author. I was in my own head, but finally having a real book out is like winning the jackpot. Even though I don’t really know what that feels like, I can imagine it’s like publishing your first book. And that feels amazing.

I feel so fortunate that my first book is a story with characters I love. I really do miss spending time with them and sharing their experiences. I miss being inside their heads and their hearts and them being inside of mine. But the reward I get from holding a copy of their story—my story—,in my hands is like a proud parent. *Whispers* I’ve actually snuggled the book to my chest.

It’s good to have goals. It’s great to achieve them and mark them off of your bucket list. It’s even better if that dream is your passion. I’m a writer. I write all of the time. Some of what I write I keep and some I don’t, but I can’t not write. It makes my hand itchy and I become impatient. My characters force me to release them beyond the confines of my mind. It feels magical to have an idea that evolves into something that you treasure and want to spend time doing. Writing is not an escape but a way of life for me.

Writing is my calling. I write because I love to and now to see that begin a new career for me is rewarding on a much bigger level. From penning stories in crayon as a child to being a published author, this opportunity means the world to me and even more that I get to share that passion with others.

I hope when reading this story the readers will feel the emotion I poured into the book and enjoy the journey as much as I did creating it. By pursuing my dreams (and not the Probst one), I find myself very much like the two Charlies in this story. This is my new beginning and I’m creating my own destiny and happy ending.

Thank you for hosting me today.

Naturally, Charlie is released on November 1st.

About Naturally, Charlie:  Twenty-five year old Charlotte “Charlie” Barrow is caught between her old life and the one she is beginning to build when she crosses paths with a handsome stranger on the subway. Not looking for romance, she closes her heart off to the possibilities of love. With a knack for mishaps, Charlie maintains her sense of humor while befriending the kind stranger who seems to be there at all the right times.

New York freelance writer, Charlie Adams, is forging his own path beyond the expectations of the society circles of his childhood. Rejecting family money, and fast-lane friends, he is snubbed by his family as he follows his own compass to a life more extraordinary.

Through a coincidence of events, they come to rely on each other for comfort. This is the tale of two Charlies learning to trust again while fighting their fates to create their own destiny.

About S.L. Scott: S.L. Scott is a former high-tech account manager with a journalism degree pursuing her passion for telling stories. She spends her days escaping into her characters and letting them lead her on their adventures.

Live music shows, harvesting jalapenos and eating homemade guacamole are her obsessions she calls hobbies.

Scott lives in the beautiful Texas hill country of Austin with her husband, two young sons, two Papillons and a bowl full of Sea Monkeys.

Naturally, Charlie is Scott's debut novel.

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As part of a virtual blog tour, Lily's Reviews welcomes David Ebenbach with a guest post.

Failure
David Ebenbach

My new book, Into the Wilderness, was born out of a failure. In 2006, a new father, I started writing a novel about a new single mother. I was interested in exploring the really massive experience of parenthood, which was bigger than I ever could have imagined. Well, after a couple of years I finished the book, and started sending it around to agents. The responses started to come in pretty quickly; unfortunately, they were all rejections.

One agent was nice enough, however, to include a personal note, and what she said really clarified things for me. The agent wasn’t able to sympathize with the narrator at all, because the character’s reaction to parenthood was so extreme. Well, that was true. Because it was a novel, I’d felt the need to add lots of drama to keep the reader interested. This mother was so overwhelmed that she was going out, night after night, leaving the baby entirely alone in the apartment. Now, I’ve known some parents who have had guilty thoughts about doing that kind of thing, but I don’t know anyone who’s actually done it. So I had taken something real and blown it out of proportion, distorted it completely, in order to turn it into a novel.

At that point I backed away from the novel and spent some time writing short stories, my first love in fiction. After a while I found I had accumulated a good handful of new stories, and all of them were about parenthood. Interesting. I also took another look at the novel and saw that there were sections without all that extra melodrama, sections that might be able to stand alone as stories. I pulled those parts out and messed with them until I felt they worked. And suddenly there it was: enough material for a book. I still had to arrange the stories, but I was undoubtedly on my way to writing a book of fiction about parenthood. Not a novel, but something else—something truer to who I am as a writer.

I didn’t need melodrama. I just needed to show—like a good short story always shows—that little things are actually a big deal. You can talk about parenthood, for example, the way it really unfolds—the mundane sleep deprivation, all the regular and miraculous development and growth of the baby, the unexpected changes in friendships and marital relationships—and show people how much quiet drama there is to be found there. That’s plenty. My novel—my failed novel—taught me that. And here’s the other thing I learned: writers shouldn’t be afraid of failure. When I hold my new book, Into the Wilderness, in my hands, it’s all very clear to me that failure is just an early part of success.

IntotheWilderness_bookcoverInto the Wilderness: “For the very real people in David Ebenbach’s vivid and emotional stories,” says author Jesse Lee Kercheval, “becoming a parent—as Judith, the single mother in four of the stories, says—is going ‘into the wilderness.’” The collection Into the Wilderness explores the theme of parenthood from many angles: an eager-to-connect divorced father takes his kids to a Jewish-themed baseball game; a lesbian couple tries to decide whether their toddler son needs a man in his life; one young couple debates the idea of parenthood while another struggles with infertility; a reserved father uses an all-you-can-eat buffet to comfort his heartbroken son. But the backbone of the collection is Judith, who we follow through her challenging first weeks of motherhood, culminating in an intense and redemptive baby-naming ceremony. Says author Joan Leegant, “Ebenbach takes us deep into the heart of the messy confusion and terror and unfathomable love that make up that shaky state we call parenthood. These stories are fearless, honest and true.”

DavidEbenbach_authorheadshot

David Ebenbach was born and raised in the great city of Philadelphia, home of America’s first library, first art museum, first public school, and first zoo, along with his very first stories and poems – though those early efforts went on to become (deservedly) less famous than, for example, the zoo.

Since then David has lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, Philadelphia again, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Ohio again, picking up some education (formal and otherwise) and more than a few stories along the way. He has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

In addition to his short-story collection Into the Wilderness (October 2012, Washington Writers’ Publishing House), David is the author of another book of short stories entitled Between Camelots (October 2005, University of Pittsburgh Press), and a non-fiction guide to creativity called The Artist’s Torah (forthcoming, Cascade Books). His poetry has appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Subtropics, and the Hayden's Ferry Review, among other places.

He has been awarded the Drue Heinz Literature Prize; fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center; and an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.

David currently teaches at Georgetown University and very happily lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and son, both of whom are a marvel and an inspiration.

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Please welcome Sara Lunsford to Lily's Reviews on this stop in her blog tour:

Marriage and the Job



9781402270765-PR

And I know what that’s like because I was one too. We worked at the same prison.

I speak a lot about my husband and what life was like then in my memoir Sweet Hell on Fire, but I haven’t spoken about what it’s like to be married to him now—since he still does the Job and I don’t. It was a special kind of hell to be at a post where I couldn’t respond to an emergency alarm in the cell house my husband was working, but at least there I felt like I had some control. Being at home and out of the loop is another flavor of fear altogether.

Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss. Since I’m a writer, my fevered imagination can come up with more horrible scenarios than what’s actually possible in any given situation. Except this one. The things that happen behind the walls could rival any horror story with the sheer depravity of what human beings are capable of inflicting on each other.

Even though this knowledge sometimes feels like a burden, it’s worth it because it helps me to be a better wife. I can truly be his haven and his best friend because I understand what he’s dealing with and the pressure he’s under.

In the book, one of the first things I discuss is how they teach us that we have to be two different people. The person we are behind the walls and the person we show to the rest of the world, shrugging the other off like a cloak as we walk through the gates. But it’s not that simple.

How strong can a relationship be if there are some things that you just can’t share with each other? I think that’s a big reason why there’s such a high rate of substance abuse and divorce among law enforcement. The Job creeps into that separate life, spilling like an ink stain over everything we touch. Instead of trying to hold back the tide, my husband and I have chosen to embrace it, to work with the flow instead of against it. He can tell me anything.

Before he goes to work, I make sure I kiss him and tell him how much I love him because there’s always the chance that he might not come back out through those gates. Yet, still I say I got my Happily Ever After because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone no matter what career path they’ve chosen.

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Lily's Reviews welcomes Martha H. Fitzgerald on a stop during her blog tour for The Courtship of Two Doctors.  The contest portion of this blog tour can be found by clicking here.







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Daughter pours her heart into “Courtship”

By Martha H. Fitzgerald

Compiling “Courtship of Two Doctors,” a medical romance and history told in letters, wasn’t a matter of simply sifting through nearly two years of correspondence. It required, first of all, a resourceful transcriptionist to decipher the handwriting of two physicians-in-training, then months of research to verify names and dates, song and movie titles, medications and treatments. I traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, and Rochester, Minnesota, to peruse newspapers, medical archives, and other resources in person.

Other steps included a published research article on medical training of the late 1930s and a yearlong process of editing—that is, selecting excerpts from roughly 300 letters to tell the story, then polishing them for clarity and consistency. I edited with a light hand, to preserve the character of the writers and the vernacular of the times: Gee, everyone wishing me luck and
all—it’s a grand feeling.

What drove me was not just the training of a historian and the skill of a journalist, but the heart of a daughter. The subjects, Alice Baker of New Orleans and Joe Holoubek of Omaha, were my parents, who died in 2005 and 2007. My father, before his death, entrusted to me his private papers, including their courtship letters. We started on the book together, in the last months of his life, and he wrote the first draft of the prologue, describing how they met during a summer fellowship program in pathology at Mayo Clinic.

Quite honestly, I put the project aside for a couple of years, not certain how or if I should proceed. I recognized the immense historical and social value of the letters, recreating the medical era before antibiotics and illustrating the 1930s social barriers challenging women in professions. Eventually I realized this book could pay tribute not only to my parents, but to all members of healing professions. And I could benefit causes we shared: the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, Louisiana, which my father co-founded, and a local marriage ministry.

In editing and researching these letters, I’ve had a rare privilege—getting to know my parents before they were parents, before they were even a couple. I like who they were as young people.

It was a great delight recognizing in the young Alice and Joe some of the character and personality traits I knew in my parents, Dr. Alice and Dr. Joe. Even as a young woman, my mother excelled in a man’s world with a surprising ease and self-confidence. She did not take offense easily at slights against women. My father was a young man less sure of himself, but
with high ideals and a gentle wit.

Why, even then, he named his cars. In 1938 he was driving a 1928 Studebaker. He called her Nancy. She was a great pal, but no longer young and beginning to suffer aches and pains. “Nancy is running, on occasion,” he wrote one night. “Very interesting case, her illness. Diagnosis—malfunction of the gears. Etiology—old age. Pathology—a few teeth broken out of
the flywheel.”

MarthaFitzgerald_headshot_credit_NeilJohnson

Martha Holoubek Fitzgerald, an award-winning journalist of 27 years, served the Shreveport Times as columnist and associate editorial page editor. Now an independent editor, writer and publisher, the Louisiana native earned a B.A. in history and American studies from Loyola University-New Orleans and a master’s in history from Louisiana Tech University.

She’s the youngest child of the late Drs. Alice and Joe Holoubek, who met as senior medical students from New Orleans and Omaha and corresponded for two years before their marriage.  Fitzgerald drew on this collection of nearly 800 letters to create The Courtship of Two Doctors: A 1930s Love Story of Letters, Hope & Healing (Aug. 15, 2012). Proceeds from book sales benefit Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport, which her father co-founded, a local marriage ministry, and other causes she shares with her parents.

Fitzgerald owns Martha Fitzgerald Consulting (marthafitzgerald.com) and Little Dove Press (littledovepress.com/). She edited and published her father’s 2004 novel Letters to Luke (letterstoluke.com/), which won the Writers Digest Award for inspirational literature and the Independent Publisher Award for religious fiction.

Fitzgerald also writes a blog, “Catholics & Bible Study: Sharing Our Journey Through The Wilderness.” She serves on the board of Shreveport’s LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation.

She and her husband enjoy living on a quiet country road in a bend of the Red River in Louisiana. Like her parents, she has an adventuresome spirit and relishes far-flung travel.

Ms. Fitzgerald may be found at: marthafitzgerald.com and @MarthaHFitz (twitter)


TheCourtshipofTwoDoctors_bookcoverBOOK DETAILS

Synopsis

Hardcover, $29.95
ISBN: 978-0-9753766-3-8
Trade paper, $19.95
ISBN: 978-0-9753766-4-5
EBook, $9.95
ISBN: 978-0-9753766-5-2
Biography/Medical, 400 pages
Little Dove Press, Aug. 15, 2012

The Courtship of Two Doctors: A 1930s Love Story of Letters, Hope & Healing

Edited by Martha Holoubek Fitzgerald
Adapted from The Holoubek-Baker Letters, 1937-1939: An Annotated Collection

From a private collection of nearly 800 courtship letters, the daughter of two remarkable physicians has crafted a timeless valentine to long-lasting love and the healing profession.

Senior medical students from New Orleans and Omaha meet in 1937 and begin a two-year correspondence across 1,100 miles. They set their sights on a return to Mayo Clinic, the medical mecca where they found each other and danced to the haunting “Harbor Lights.” Grave illness and career setbacks shake their confidence, but the two decide to face an uncertain future together, trusting in each other and the relationship they built letter by letter.

The Courtship of Two Doctors recreates the medical era before antibiotics, when health workers were at risk of serious infection, and vividly illustrates the 1930s social barriers challenging two-career marriages.

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