Morning Coffee Break

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Why my characters aren’t ‘saved by love’

Welcome to the first post in my new blog series called “Morning Coffee Break”!

Today, I’d like to talk about a decision that I’ve made to avoid the ‘saved by love’ plot device. I write romance, so love always factors into the character’s emotional growth and healing. But I didn’t want to use the love of another person as a magic wand to wipe away all life’s problems.

In Home Field, Julie is deeply grieving the loss of her husband. When she first meets Reagan, falling in love again is not even a blip on her radar. In the end, she does open her heart to Reagan (what girl could resist?) but not after some time to let herself heal. I felt she needed time alone to come to terms with the loss and then find the strength to let herself fall in love again.

In True Horizon, Heath Carter suffers from severe PTSD. In an effort to be true to the struggle, I did not want to downplay the work that goes into recovering from the effects of war. Heath falls in love and love is his motivation for wanting a better life, but his healing only comes after professional therapy and hard work. In real life, most people with PTSD will still experience symptoms even after therapy. They learn techniques to cope. I wanted Heath’s journey to reflect that reality as well as offer hope.

Through out the rest of the books in the Warriors of the Heart series, I’ve tried to maintain the same model. My characters use love as a motivation to grow, but the real change comes by their own strength of will.

A TEA-RIFFIC GIVEAWAY

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Congratulations to Lori Holcroft for winning the prize package!

 

In celebration of the release of HOME FIELD on June 30th, I am offering a tea-riffic giveaway! I’ve put together the ultimate cozy, custom-made package for one lucky reader. Contest ends June 29th at midnight.

  •  A beautiful, custom Alice in Wonderland inspired tea cup and saucer, inscribed with the words ‘DRINK ME‘ on the inside on the cup. (pictured above)
  • Crocheted fingerless gloves made by Primrose Craft & Decor of Green Bay, WI. Perfect for wearing while reading on cool days and nights. (pictured above)
  • A box of my favorite tea – Yogi Calming blend.
  • A $10 Amazon gift card to purchase another book to read after you’ve finished with HOME FIELD

How to Enter:

Preorder HOME FIELD and email me a proof of purchase (photo of receipt or forward an email receipt) to lauriewinterauthor@gmail.com with ‘HOME FIELD’ in the subject line. It’s that easy! I will randomly select a winner on release day-June 30th.

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Buy Now- Amazon

Buy Now – B&N

Buy Now- Paperback, The Wild Rose Press

also available in the iBooks store

  • Giveaway open to individuals with US mailing addresses only.
  • Entering drawing does NOT automatically sign you up for my newsletter. Although, if you’d like to be, just let me know!

Review- Missing The Crown Jewels

 

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Review:

What’s not to love about this book? A Kentucky horse ranch, a troubled vet who’s hopelessly in love with his best friend’s sister, and a woman who isn’t afraid to fight for what (and who) she wants.

I really rooted for Peyton and Storm. After they got together, I wondered how the story would keep its tension. Well, I didn’t need to worry. With the threat on the family and their prize race horse, and the push and pull of attraction between Peyton and Storm, I was hooked until the end. But what I want to know is…who won the Derby???

I thought the dynamics between the main characters was both true to life and mature. They had problems, and then talked about them like adults. Kudos to Valerie Clarizio for building a world I would love to live in.

 

Blurb:

After a devastating divorce, Peyton Crown is finally surfacing from a dark hole of despair. She finds herself hoping for a new life with Mason ‘Storm’ Starr, her brother’s best friend.

Storm’s intent is simple: hide in the quiet confines of his best friend’s family horse ranch in Kentucky. The perfect place to sort out his life after walking away from the Army, and fight his internal demons. His solitude is interrupted by his buddy’s little sister. The chemistry between them is off the charts, and he willing surrenders the battle.

The Crown family begins receiving threats, just weeks before the Kentucky Derby. The overprotective men in Peyton’s life vow to keep 24/7 tabs on her and the family’s prize horse—Prince Bourbonville—a hopeful for the next Triple Crown. Circumstances arise that threaten to keep Peyton and Prince away from the derby, but Storm and her brother Coach are determined they’ll attend, no matter the sacrifice.

Buy MISSING THE CROWN JEWELS here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WRN6N8Y/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_xzqPybF0DYAPD

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/missing-the-crown-jewels-valerie-j-clarizio/1125729459?ean=2940154203811

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/missing-the-crown-jewels-a-chandler-county-novel

About the Author:

Valerie Clarizio lives in romantic Door County Wisconsin with her husband and two extremely spoiled cats. She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

She’s lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual. Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into an outdoors enthusiast, of which her favorite activity is hiking in national parks. While out on the trails, she has plenty of time to conjure up irresistible characters and unique storylines for her next romantic suspense or sweet contemporary romance novel.

Author’s Social Media links

Website/Blog: https://valclarizio.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Valerie.Clarizio/

Facebook Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clarizioscronies/

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/valerie-j-clarizio

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VClarizio

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/100928949465109415957/posts

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/valerieclarizio/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bn6QoD

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-J.-Clarizio/e/B00A87RJVS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_8?qid=1476915213&sr=8-8

Cover Reveal-From Russia, With Love

Today is the cover reveal for From Russia, With Love by Erin Lee. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The cover is designed by Lindsey Jayne.

From Russia With LoveFrom Russia, With Love
By Erin Lee
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: New Adult
Length: novella
Publisher: Bella Tulip Publishing
Release Date: 20 May, 2017

Blurb:
Ahha (Anna) Antipova was four years old the day her strung-out mother left her and her brother on the side of the road. After a year in a Russian orphanage, the siblings were brought to America by English-speaking people who promised a safe, forever family. Learning a new language and culture was nothing to Anna, who grew into an overachiever in a home with strict rules around biological verses adopted children.

The primary caretaker to her adoptive parents’ blood children, Anna spent most of her teen years doing anything she could to please her parents. In fact, she excelled in everything she touched. Abram went the other way, stirring up trouble and expecting his younger sister to clean up his messes. She didn’t mind, it was only another year or two, Anna reasoned. Besides, he’s all I have.

Until one day…

Two weeks before high school graduation, Anna sat in an emergency room surrounded by strangers. With permanent scars at the hands of her adoptive mother, she needed to escape a home that was no longer safe. The problem was, she was only sixteen. A minor with no legal rights to emancipate herself, Anna struggled to find a way out. Counting on the kindness of strangers and her boyfriend, Elliot, Anna found herself desperate to find a way out. But it was not easy. With the system working against her, she could see no escape.

Until another day…That was the day she became fearless.

You can find From Russia, With Love on Goodreads

You can pre-order From Russia, With Love here:
Amazon

From Russia With Love Teaser 1

Excerpt:
Anna sits on the emergency room bed on top of thin white blankets. Beside her, Delaney chatters about the class vote for senior superlatives while a tall paramedic named Gage checks on us from time to time. Elliot holds Anna’s hand and lets the two girls talk without interrupting. When he reaches for something or checks his phone, Anna jumps and grabs his hand. I stand in the doorway of the private room, the last one at the end of a long corridor. I’m grateful for the privacy she has here and know there’s no way her parents can get through those doors; we’ve already told social workers what’s going on. For now, she is safe. And Gage is standing guard.
Just back from an x-ray on her neck, Anna is waiting for a woman from the domestic abuse center to come and talk to her about what’s going on at her home. Hoping they will assign her an advocate, I try to keep my mouth shut. I’m not used to feeling helpless in these situations. Finally, unable to take just standing around, I ask the kids if they are hungry.
Ten minutes later, I return with seven types of snacks from the emergency room vending machine. I watch them fight over who gets what and smile. Finally, they look like normal kids. It’s the first time since Anna was assaulted that I’ve seen them laugh like this. I laugh too, telling Anna to throw me the chocolate-covered pretzels.
It’s three more hours before a woman named Cheryl shows up from the local domestic violence shelter. She asks Delaney, Elliot and I to leave the room within minutes. Anna looks at me nervously, asking the woman why we can’t stay.
“They’ve been here with me all day. They are my support system,” she pleads.
“I’m sorry,” Cheryl says, shaking her head. “You are a minor and I don’t have your parents’ consent to talk to anyone. The only person I can talk to is you. You are going to have to do this on your own.”
“Okay,” Anna says, looking down at the bed.
“Anna, it will be okay. Just explain what happened and answer all her questions. She’s here to help you. She does this for a living. It’s going to be okay, I promise,” I say, unsure about Cheryl’s gruff demeanor myself. You better not make me into a liar, lady.
“Okay. I trust you.”
Great.
“It’ll be fine, Anna. You can do this. I’m proud of you,” Elliot says, kissing her forehead.
“Yeah, this is nothing. You’ve got this,” Delaney pitches in. “You’re a soldier.”
I smile at her and mouth “I love you.” She doesn’t see me.

From Russia With Love Teaser 2

Erin LeeAbout the Author:
Erin Lee is a freelance writer and therapist chasing a crazy dream one reality at a time. She is the author of Crazy Like Me, a novel published in 2015 by Savant Books and Publications, LLC, Wave to Papa, 2015, by Limitless Publishing, LLC and Nine Lives (2016). She’s also author of Alters, Host, and Merge of the “Lola, Party of Eight Series,” When I’m Dead, Take Me As I Am, Greener, Something Blue, Once Upon a Vow and 99 Bottles. She also penned Her Name Was Sam, an LGBTQ awareness novella. She is author of Losing Faith, and co-author of The Morning After with Black Rose Writing. These days, she spends her free time working on the sequels to this novel, Jimmie’s Ice Cream and Thing Fifteen.

Lee is a co-founder of the Escape From Reality Series. She, along with authors Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson, are working with twenty other authors to bring the hopes, dreams, fears and terrors of a tiny fictional town alive. The town and its setting is exactly the type of place a man like Jimmie might escape to as the bodies thawed.

Lee holds a master’s degree in psychology and works with at-risk families and as a court appointed special advocate. She cannot write horror with the lights off. However, these days, she’s getting braver and dimming them. She’ll get there . . .

You can find and contact Erin Lee here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of From Russia, With Love. One winner will win an e-copy of their choice of one of Erin Lee’s books.

For a chance to win, enter the giveaway below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Cover Reveal – Before I Shatter

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Today is the cover reveal for Before I Shatter by Mandy Peterson. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The cover MSN Art Studio (Maduranga Sampath).
This is an exciting rebranding of the original cover as the author prepares to release book 2 in the series.

Before I ShatterBefore I Shatter (Before I Shatter #1)
By Mandy Peterson
Genre: Science Fiction
Age category: Young Adult/ New Adult
Release Date: July 2016

Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Vita is the next step in human evolution.

The daughter of two prominent scientists, Vita is content to live in the spotlight. After all, it affords her a lifestyle most only dream of: living in a Lunar Colony, luxurious gifts, and her unique ability to project her consciousness onto different planes without the aid of injections.
Succeeding where others have failed has a price. A growing population of Shells – people whose minds have shattered from the stress of experimentation – shows just how ruthless the Director can be in pursuit of his goal.

When Vita makes a startling breakthrough, the ambitious Director takes over her development, and he wants to see just how far she can go. It’s up to Vita’s young Processor, James, to catch her before she breaks.

But he’s keeping a dangerous secret.
Someone is playing games with her.

A game where the loser ends up shattered.
Vita must make the choice:
Continue risking her life for a cause she doesn’t believe in
or make an unprecedented escape?

You can find Before I Shatter on Goodreads

You can buy Before I Shatter on Amazon

Before I Shatter full wrap

Excerpt:
“Vita!” James is panicked, shaking my shoulders, when my eyes begin to crack open. The bright light violates my pupils, and I slam my eyes shut again. My head is pounding.
“Stop shaking her, boy. We don’t know what damage that could cause.” I relax a bit as my body takes in the grandfatherly voice of wisdom. James’s hands release me. “She’s coming around. Give her a moment.”
I moan, raising an arm to cover my closed eyes. “I’m fine.”
“She could pave a road with those words.” The Old One’s voice gets farther away.
Before I can even wonder what that means, the light mercifully wanes, and I dare to peek out from under my arm. I begin to piece together where I am. The tiny white room. Lying on my monitoring station.
A visibly shaken James is sitting next to me, tears threatening to spill out of his eyes, face ashen.
“Hey,” I coax. “It’s okay. Nothing to be worried about.”
James shakes his head and looks down. A sniffle seems to actually compose him, and he looks up at me. “Vita, I’m so sorry. If I would have known, I would have warned you.”
Still hazy, I recall my experience in the meadow with the solider boy. Before speaking, I resolve to never let myself be that helpless again. Starting right now. Just like James said, I will be the one doing the breaking. Well, maybe not right now. After I recover from whatever this is.
“Warned me about what?”
“The dazers,” he practically whispers, but I still hear the George’s tongue cluck from the computer station. His disapproval is thick. “You passed out on the steps. I couldn’t wake you up. When I brought you here, I thought you were dead.”
“Yes, the drugs caused your heart to race,” the wizard explains, less emotionally. His eyes never leave the tablet in his hands. “Your heart didn’t care for that so it shut down…for a bit.”
“It shut down?” I echo as panic begins to rise from my toes.
“Only for a moment.” His hand waves dismissively. “Everything’s fine.” The Old One smirks, finally looking up at me as he turns my own words around on me.
“I died?”
“For a second.” George holds up two fingers very close together in an attempt to keep us positive.
Whoosh. “I came as soon as I heard.” Long brown hair whirls through the room. Mom busies herself snatching the tablet and replacing James at the side of my bed. She grasps my hand, leans in, and begins examining my eyes. I have no idea what they look like, but her fear and disgust focus across the room. “George, thank the stars you are still here! How could this have happened? I’m not even sure what this means.” She shakes the tablet at him, the data revealing itself to me shortly. “Where was she? Who was with her?”
James makes a move to step forward and the Old One stops him. “She was just doing as I instructed. Taking time off. Meeting new people. Trying out a party. I’m sorry. I didn’t know she would be confronted with…substances.”
Mom visibly calms down. I guess maybe she couldn’t be too angry with the man who had just saved her daughter’s life? She lays the tablet down gently. “What can I do for her?”
“Nothing, I’m afraid. The drugs have to work their way through her system. She won’t be able to start training until they are flushed out. Her new friends just may have bought her enough time to completely restore before the next round.”
My eyelids feel as though they are made of lead. My hand is nestled between stronger ones. I fight to stay awake behind the fading light.
“What will we ever do without you?” My mother’s whisper floats across the room to me.
His firm response slices through the darkness closing in around me. “The director has plans but so do we. Stick to the plan. Thanks to your husband’s—ex-husband’s—news story, she’s about ready to enter a world where everyone knows her and what she can do. She needs you two more than ever.”
I didn’t know then that when I awoke, it would be to a new world. A world without George, without visits from my dad, and without panic attacks. A world where I was a celebrity, a scientific wonder, and no longer alone. Never mind that I put my life at risk each time I pushed one the boundaries of human capability. I lived by the words I was never meant to hear:
“Vita’s never going to be broken. She’s going to be the one doing the breaking. She’s stronger than any of us will ever know.”

Mandy PetersonAbout the Author:
Mandy Peterson grew up all over Nebraska and eventually settled down there with a family of her own: husband, daughter, and son.

When she isn’t writing about herself in third person, Mandy the high school librarian can be found digging through young adult and new adult lit. An avid reader of all genres (but she secretly told me she loves sci-fi the most), you will usually see her with her nose in a book or face to her Kindle app, iced or blended coffee drink in hand. A former roller girl and roller derby referee, she can also be found watching roller derby online or dragging her family behind her to cheer on teams in person all over their great state.

You can find and contact Mandy here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Before I Shatter. One winner will win a 10$ Amazon Gift Card.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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IN DEFENSE OF LATE BLOOMERS

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I love reading stories of people who found success later in life. They prove that there is no expiration date on a person’s dreams.

I’m not one of those writers who can say they always wanted to become a published author. When I was younger, I loved to read but never thought about writing my own stories. The worlds I created lived in my head. I was happy letting them stay there.

Over the years, I’ve tried many creative pursuits and enjoyed them all, but I never felt such a earth tipping love as when I started to write. All those crazy ideas I dreamt up finally had an outlet. Through hard work and hundreds of hours in front of the computer, I found success. My first book, HOME FIELD, will be traditionally published this summer. Book two, TRUE HORIZON, is next.

Last week, I celebrated my 44th birthday. I didn’t start writing until after I’d turned 40. I am a late bloomer and proud of it!

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WHO ARE YOU?

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We women tend to take on many identities. How do we balance them all – mother, wife, employee, creative soul…?

We work hard to make time for everything in our day. We make lists, prioritize, and give up sleep in order to get it all done.

Personally, I’m at a point in my life that leaves room of self-reflection. Two of my kids are college age and live away from home. My youngest will be a sophomore in high school. After many years of my focus being placed on others, I am able to do things I want to do. I’ve started running and attending yoga classes. I’ve written six books. I’m able to give more attention to my marriage.

I’m finding out who Laurie really is, and what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

Take a moment to shed all your other identities and answer this simple question – Who are you?

Moving

Does anyone really enjoy moving? I sure don’t. Today is the first day of my family’s move from our rental into our newly purchased house. I’m excited to be making the transition, but man…it’s so much work! We have almost 25 years of stuff that I’m ready to set on fire so I don’t have to move it. I wish my life could be as simple as a snail’s. He’s always moving but his home is on his back. It goes where ever he does.

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Life isn’t static. We’re always moving. Sometimes forward. Others backward. If we’ve stopped moving that means we’ve stopped trying. A rejection from a publisher or agent will sting but don’t let it stop you from taking another step. A review might leave you angry or dejected. Keep working on your next story. Learn and move forward.

Keep moving!

Laurie

Publishing Dreams Come True

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I’ve got some great news! Home Field has just been picked up by The Wild Rose Press. I’m so excited to have my Warriors Of The Heart series find such a wonderful home. My experiences so far with my new publisher have been great. After the last three months of upheaval and heartbreak, it’s a welcome change.

Edits on Home Field will start soon. I’m looking forward to getting to work again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to announce a release date for Home Field soon.

Love,

Laurie

When To Give Up

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Who can’t relate to that picture? A young player who stepped up to the plate to give it his all, only to strike out.

This is kind of how I’ve felt lately. It’s been almost two months since I got the news that my contracted publisher was going out of business. So instead of counting down to my release date, I have been standing with my head facing the wall, struggling with disappointment.

To be honest, I wanted to quit.  Writing is one thing, but the journey to publication is full of too many landmines. It simply hurt too much to put myself out there again, only to end up disappointed.

So I spent some time wallowing in self-pity before coming to the conclusion that I can’t quit. There is something inside me that won’t let me. A little voice cheering me on. It comes from around me, my family and friends. It also comes from the burning desire to keep on creating. I have stories to tell and I want to share them with the world. I want others to find enjoyment and connection with my words, just like I have done with so many other author’s books.

When is it time to give up? For me, not now. Things with my contracts are still in limbo but I’m continuing to write. I recently finished the 1st draft of book 6 in my Warriors of the Heart series. Book 5, Know You By Heart, is complete and sent to my agent.

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I hope to see you all soon with some good news that my series has found a new home. Until then…pick up that bat and start swinging again. Next time might be a home run!