A Rose In Bloom Cover Reveal

I’ve enjoyed this romantic comedy so much and I’m excited to share the cover reveal with you!

A Rose In Bloom, a serial romantic comedy by Tamie Dearen, is available to read at no charge on the blogsite for a limited time. The beautiful cover was designed by the multi-talented Victorine Lieske. The completed book will be available soon on Kindle, Nook, and iBooks!

Like all books written by Tamie Dearen, this is a Clean Indie Read!

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Finding Peace with Melanie D Snitker

findingpeaceI just finished a great book by Melanie D. Snitker, Finding Peace! I’m happy to share a little about this book, along with my review. Plus, Melanie has shared an excerpt for you to try out and see what you think.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. Jilted by his fiancée for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.  Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.

When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.

Will the past get in the way of their future?

MY REVIEW:

This was a wonderful, sweet love story about two people finding love and overcoming fears to let it happen. Laurie is determined to make it on her own and hesitates to accept help from anyone. Tuck, a police officer, is accustomed to helping people in trouble and instinctively reaches out to her, though his feelings for her scare him and remind him of past pain. It’s a wonderful tribute to police officers who sacrifice for others and genuinely care about helping their community. Tuck is very dedicated to his job and it really made me think about how hard it must be to be a family member of a police officer. They get called out at the last minute and have dangerous situations to deal with. I hope this book will also give you more appreciation for what they do.  The romance was sweet and clean and I found the characters very real and lovable on their way to finding peace in their lives. I first got this book’s Kindle version. When I read a Kindle book that I really love, I buy the paperback. I got this paperback!

BOOK EXCERPT:

Laurie Blake fumbled to fasten the buttons on her jacket. When she was finished, she plunged her stiff hands into the welcome warmth of the pockets. It was January in north Texas and cold weather was to be expected. But these exceptionally low temperatures almost made her want to dig out her gloves. Almost.

Each breath turned into a puff of fog that preceded her down the street. She chose her steps carefully to avoid the uneven sections of pavement.

Walking the two buildings between Daisy Belle’s Diner and the apartment above her photography studio, she was glad she chose a small bowl of vegetable beef soup for dinner. It would help keep her warm until she got home.

The evening sky bore hints of orange as the sun readied for bed. Perfect timing. She hated to be out after dark.

The neighborhood wasn’t in the best part of town. And that was an understatement. Most of the buildings were in dire need of a fresh coat of paint and the storefront for Capturing the Moment Photography was no exception. She was thankful that at least her building didn’t sport any of the paint tags many of the others did.

Her eyes flitted to her dusty-looking Honda Accord before turning towards the door of her place. Something snagged her attention and her head whipped back around, eyes quickly honing in on the trunk. It wasn’t latched. Thinking little of it, she went to shut it completely and that’s when she noticed that the passenger side window had been broken.

A groan came from her throat as she stood and stared at the damage. Tears gathered in her eyes.

This was fantastic. Just what she needed – to pay for repairs to her car. Because there was nothing else to use her limited funds on.

Shoulders slumped, Laurie unlocked the door to her studio, turned the lights on, and stepped inside. She pulled a cheap cell phone out of her pocket and dialed the police station. After reporting the damage, she was told to expect an officer to stop by.

Many of the portraits on the walls of her studio smiled at her. However, not even the photo of the cherub-faced baby sitting in a flower pot could lighten her mood.

By the time a truck pulled up in front of her place almost an hour later, the tears had disappeared. She stopped her swift pacing and looked past the reflection of herself in the window as an exceptionally tall man got out of a black truck.

She stepped out into the cold air, leaving her jacket hanging on a chair inside. Arms crossed in front of her, she watched as the man approached her. He wore the two-toned blue Kitner Police Department uniform which included a heavy coat. At over six feet tall, he was the definition of confidence.

He gave her a nod. “Hello, Ma’am. I was told that a car had been broken into. Was it you who made that call?”

“Yes, it was.”

He looked like he was expecting her to say something else. She raised an eyebrow at him.

The officer cleared his throat and reached for a small notebook in one of his coat pockets. He pulled it out along with a pen and flipped open to a blank page.

“I’m Officer Chandler. Can I have your name?”

“Laurie Blake.”

“Is it your car that has been damaged?”

“Yes.”

She gave him her contact information and answered a few other questions before he motioned to the car.

“Laurie, I would like you to show me the damage and make a list of anything that might be missing from your car.”

“Nothing was stolen.”

“You already went through everything?” His brown eyes looked surprised and she realized that they were the exact same shade as the close-cropped hair on his head.

“I don’t keep anything in my car. I know what part of town I live in.”

Officer Chandler’s eyes went to her crossed arms. She had been rubbing them to keep warm and stopped immediately under his gaze.

“You should go inside and get a coat. This could take a few minutes.”

~

Laurie’s arms dropped to her sides and she pierced Kentucky with a glare. She turned on a heel and went inside the studio behind her. He followed at a distance and stopped just inside.

He watched her shrug on a dark green jacket. Hair hung to the middle of her back, the ringlets tangled together in a mess of copper red.

He stared at her eyes. They were so green, they reminded him of jade.

“My jacket’s on. Let’s go.”

He moved out of her way as her shoulder brushed his chest. He raised an eyebrow. If she was this frigid with the guy who was here to help, then it was a good thing the person who broke into her car was long gone. Kentucky might have been called in to investigate a homicide instead.

Black boots that looked tiny compared to his own carried her around the car to the passenger side. She gestured to the broken window and buried her hands in her pockets.

Kentucky reached for a small camera in his coat and took a few photos before pulling on the handle. The car door yielded with a creak and he leaned inside.

His gaze swept over the faded seat covers, the stained floorboards, and landed on the dash.

“That’s odd, the stereo is still here. It’s usually the first thing they take.” He stood up again. Laurie was watching him. “If you had nothing stashed in the car, what was the point?”

She shrugged. “They checked the trunk, too. It’s an old car. Probably wasn’t worth their time.”

“Maybe.” He examined the trunk and made a few more notes. “At this point, all you can do is make a claim with your insurance company to get the window repaired.”

At his words, a look of defeat crossed her face.

“What is it?”

“I have liability only.”

He gave her a nod. He remembered when Capturing the Moments Photography had opened up about six months ago. He had even commented to his partner about how the area of town was an unusual place for a business like that. Looking at Laurie’s car, he assumed she was here because it was all she could afford.

He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “We will investigate this. If we can find the guy who did it, we’ll let you know. I’m sorry there’s not much else I can do.”

The light from the studio reflected in her eyes. The frown on her face softened as she kicked one of the car’s tires with the toe of a boot.

His eyes were drawn to her mouth as she worried her lower lip with her teeth.

“Do you have any trash bags?”

Her brows came together. “What?”

“If you have a trash bag and some packing tape, I’ll help you cover up that window.”

Her pretty eyes opened wide and she blinked at him as if she were seeing him for the first time.

“Um. Yeah. I do.”

Without another word, she disappeared into her studio. As he waited for her to return, Kentucky wondered about Laurie Blake. Her emotions seemed measured and she certainly was a woman of few words. But he had seen vulnerability – even if it was only for a moment.

She came back with the materials he needed. Together, they sealed off the broken window. When they were finished, he nodded towards her place. “It’s getting colder out here and you have to be half frozen. You should go in for the night. I’ll file all of this first thing in the morning.”

He half expected her to argue with him. Instead, she took the tape back from him and jabbed a thumb at her car. “Thanks for the help.”

“You’re welcome.” He withdrew a card from his wallet and handed it to her. “If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me.”

Their fingers brushed as she plucked the card from his hand. The warmth he felt at the touch surprised him.

Without looking at the card, she slipped it into her jacket pocket. She walked to the door and turned slightly towards him again.

The light lit her face and he admired the smattering of freckles across her nose. “I’m sorry this happened to you.”

She shrugged her shoulders, copper curls falling forward to frame her delicate face. “It is what it is.”

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON HERE

melaniesnitkerMelanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing fiction for as long as she can remember. She started out writing episodes of cartoon shows that she wanted to see as a child and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children, who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs, who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics.  In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crochet, baking, archery, camping and hanging out with family and friends.

 

Connect with Melanie:  WEBSITE    FACEBOOK    TWITTER    PINTEREST

Blue Hydrangeas with Marianne Sciucco

Today, I’m hosting Marianne Sciucco, who is excited to tell us about her book, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story. This is something you must check out if you’re planning to see the new movie, Still Alice, which also deals with Alzheimer’s. Also, check out the video below, and hear Marianne talk about her book, Swim Season, coming soon.

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What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn’t remember your name?

A nursing facility is everyone’s solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband Jack can’t bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas. Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving complicated by her progressing Alzheimer’s and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home.

With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.

What inspired you to write a book about Alzheimer’s?

One day at work as a hospital case manager, I met a fascinating couple who were in their 80’s. She was a lovely woman, so pretty, and had Alzheimer’s. I’d ask her a question and she’d try to answer, but then say, “Oh, I’m so mixed up,” and laugh, quite charming.  Her husband was frail, an amiable sort of guy, and devoted to her.  My job was to assist with the discharge plan, which was for her to go to a local nursing home for rehab (she’d broken her pelvis) the next day. I discussed the arrangements with her and her husband. Their son was also present, and he told me to make sure his parents didn’t leave the hospital without him; he planned to drive them to the nursing home and assist with the admissions process. Later on, I couldn’t stop thinking about that couple, wondering what would happen if they left the hospital without their son. Where would they go?  What would they do?  Thus, the seeds of Blue Hydrangeas were sown, my wild writer’s imagination took off, and the story began to grow.

I worked on this book eleven years.  It sounds crazy, I know, but after I finished what I thought was the final draft and sent it out into the literary market place with no takers, I continued to tweak it, cutting scenes, adding others.  In the midst of all this, I developed repetitive strain injuries from an inappropriate computer workstation at my job, and everything just stopped. I could no longer write.  I put everything aside for a couple of years.  But the story haunted me, and when I was able to I continued to revise and rework the manuscript.  Two years ago a friend suggested I publish on Kindle and I figured I had nothing to lose.  It took me a year to prepare and publish the book.  My book is unique because there aren’t many novels about Alzheimer’s, although 5.5 million people are suffering from it right now.

Also, check out this video interview with Marianne Sciucco about Blue Hydrangeas:

Here’s an excerpt from Blue Hydrangeas:

(Sara has had an accident and is in the hospital.)

After dining on the cafeteria’s daily special, Jack returned to his wife, now sleeping peacefully, her face devoid of any stress. Jack stared at her for a long while, seeing vestiges of a young Sara, remembering the first time he had seen her fifty-seven years ago. Sara was nineteen, a blue-eyed beauty with rich auburn hair and tiny freckles splashed across her tiny nose. The face he saw now was older and well seasoned, but at seventy-six she was still a beauty.

The auburn hair had turned snow white and covered her shoulders like a silken shawl. Her blue eyes still sparkled like jewels, but now tiny lines framed them. He smiled, thinking of how she lamented those wrinkles, blaming herself, a redhead living her life in the sun. She had taken care, but her love for the outdoors, the ocean, and her gardens had gotten the better of her.

Jack thought the wrinkles added character, a testament to a life well lived. Her hands, though, revealed the most about her. Once as soft as rose petals, they had become calloused and worn by her life’s work. As a commercial artist, she had dipped them into oil paint and turpentine for decades. And, when her hands were not commanding a paintbrush they had dug deep into the earth, creating a spectacular garden that reaped awards from gardening groups throughout New England.

Jack loved those hands, and held both of them in his own. Over the years, he had lavished her with exquisite jewelry, but these days she wore one simple gold band on her wedding finger, delicately inscribed with the words: “Always, my love. Jack.” He stroked the ring, gazing at her with a mixture of love and grief. The last nine years had been tough and promised to get tougher. He sensed change, and loss, and death ahead and it filled him with fear deeper than he had ever known. The realization that one of them would die, would leave the other, paralyzed him. How could he live without her? What would she do without him?

“Oh, Sara,” he whispered, a catch in his throat. Tears formed in his eyes and he brushed them away. He did not know whom he pitied more: Sara or himself.

He pulled away from her bedside and went home to call their son.

Available on AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   SMASHWORDS   KOBO  

COMING SOON: SWIM SEASON

marianneMarianne Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. Her debut novel, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller, IndieReader Approved, a BookWorks Book of the Week, a Reader’s Favorite, and winner of IndieReCon’s Best Indie Novel Award. A native Bostonian, she lives in New York’s Hudson Valley and, when not writing, works as a campus nurse at a community college. She loves books, the beach, and craft beer, and especially enjoys the three of them together.

Connect with Marianne:

BLOG    FACEBOOK   GOODREADS   GOOGLE+    PINTEREST    TWITTER     

 

Rocket City Lit Fest

I’m going to have a table at the Rocket City Lit Fest October 10 and 11th in Huntsville, Alabama. It’s an exciting opportunity to participate in this event with other authors. Check out their website for more information on the event and who is going to be there. I’m listed on their site: http://www.rocketcitylitfest.com/#!who-to-see/cpg0 .

If you or anyone you know will be in Huntsville in October, stop by, say hello and get a signed book!