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Who to trust? The policeman, the handsome Senator, or the secret agent? Claire Wilding must decide and soon, before the murderer strikes again.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Please Welcome Courtney Giardina and her Heroine Haylie

Courtney Giardina published her debut novel, Tear Stained Beaches in February 2013. Tear Stained Beaches is a novel about the strength and struggles of a woman dealing with her crumbling marriage. Rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads include these gems:
"This book was so good, it made me angry and it made me cry. I would recommend it to everyone!!!” and "Can't wait for her next book as her writing is superb.”


The story:
Haylie Julian wants nothing more than to put her crumbling marriage back together. Chase used to be a fun-loving, light-hearted husband but had lately become an obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder.  His secretive phone calls and late nights at the office leave Haylie feeling alone and afraid of what he might be hiding.  Ignoring his pleas to leave well enough alone, she continues to dig for answers and discovers a heartbreaking truth.

Struggling with what she has just learned, Haylie sets off to a quaint little North Carolina beach town to decide if her marriage can survive. It isn’t long after she arrives that her world is once again turned upside down as Chase’s secret stares her right in the face.

Tear Stained Beaches explores what happens when a marriage isn’t the happily-ever-after you thought it was. Can trust be rebuilt? Can a wife forgive the ultimate betrayal?


Courtney, I see you brought Haylie along with you today. Perhaps we could get her to give us some advice on some of life’s common struggles. 

Thank you so much for having Haylie and me on your blog today, M. S.! Tear Stained Beaches is meant to be an empowering novel, showing women that they should never settle for less than what they deserve—that they always should stand up for what they think is best for them and nobody else.
   
Let's get right to the interview then.
  
CAG: So a big thank you to Haylie for taking the time to chat with us today.

HJ: Absolutely! Of course I have all the time in the world for the girl who brought me to life. Well, almost all the time. I do have to get a run in today. You know me and my running.

CAG:
That is very true. Let’s get this show on the road then. We are going to get inside your head today. So let’s get started with the first question. What are your thoughts on the title of the book?

HJ:
Oh I think the title, Tear Stained Beaches, is just awesome! It really captures the true emotion that is conveyed throughout the novel. At some point or another we all struggle with big decisions that can be painful and that truly is what this story is all about. But it’s also a story about finding your inner strength that helps you past those hard times. This is the point where the tide sweeps in and washes those tears away. It’s a great title because if we look at it that way, we understand the book is also about how sad times don’t last forever and something more exquisite will surely come along!

CAG:
I think that is well put! Can you tell us a bit about your move to Charlotte from Copper Grove? I know you struggled a lot with starting over and finding your place in a new city. What sort of advice would you give women in your shoes?

HJ:
Yes I certainly did. We moved to Charlotte for a new job opportunity for my husband Chase. I was ecstatic for him, but for me it was hard. I didn’t know anyone there and I left a great job back in Copper Grove. I was miserable at first because while Chase was working crazy hours, I had no one.
I would definitely recommend putting effort in finding social activities around your area. What interests you? I love running and fitness, so perhaps finding a running club, joining a fitness center or boot camp would be a great way to meet new people. I started hanging out with the other ladies on my block after awhile. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself; it’s a great first step. And even though it wasn’t a necessity, finding the part time event planner job was a nice way to get me out of the house. I could interact with people all day and not feel so closed off.  If it’s something you can fit into your schedule that would be a great idea as well.

CAG:
There is one point in the book where you reveal something pretty serious to your neighborhood lady friends as you were in need of some support. However, the reaction you got from them was quite shocking. Can you offer any insight into friendships and what to do when your friends don’t see it from your point of view?

HJ:
The one great thing about friendships is that everyone brings something different to the table. I love that all of my friends have something unique about them. As for offering advice, real friends will tell you like it is. They will share their opinions on the topic with you because they only want the best for you. So it is quite common that you may not see eye to eye on a lot of things. Especially when each of you has not walked in the other’s shoes. However, when all is said and done, the choice is yours and a real friend should support the decision you make even if it’s not what they might have done. A friend is supposed to be someone you can lean on, who holds you up at your weakest moments and if they are loyal, they will do that. Those are the people worth holding on to.

CAG:
Great advice Haylie. I love your way of thinking. A lot of your story takes place on Kettlewood Island and that’s where you headed once you discovered the truth about Chase’s sudden change in behavior. Some people may have seen this as running away from your problems. Do you agree?

HJ:
Yes, I have certainly heard that as well, but in my opinion I didn’t see it as running away. The whole situation was a lot for me to handle and I needed to face it with a clear head. I didn’t want to make a rash decision or say something I was going to regret in the long run. What I think Kettlewood Island did for me was help me listen to my own thoughts. I needed that time by myself to really understand what it was that happened. Throughout my time there I began to really see what it was that I wanted out of life, what I needed from a partner and what I deserved to have for the future.

CAG:
There is one particular scene I love in the book. It’s on Kettlewood Island when you’re standing in the bathroom looking in the mirror. You’re struggling with the flaws that you see in yourself.  I know that is something many people, women especially, have a hard time with. Can you let us in a little bit on why you focused so much on it at this point and how you look at yourself now?

HJ:
I think that when you hit a point in your relationship where you aren’t communicating anymore or you feel like you’re competing with something, not necessarily another person, but anything. It could be your significant other's job, friends, hobby—it's just in our nature to wonder what it is we are missing. I did a lot of soul searching on the Island about how maybe I could’ve been more supportive, skinnier or prettier. It was an emotional roller coaster that drove me crazy and that point in the bathroom was really the climax of it all. Once all of those thoughts stopped creeping into my head I started to fill it with all of the amazing things I had to offer. It’s one of those mind games that you really have to focus on. Stop looking at the negatives you think that someone sees and start looking at all the positives that you see. Everyone has so much to offer and the right people will always appreciate it.

CAG:
Oh goodness, look at the time. I better let you get ready for your run before the sun goes down. Thanks so much for talking with me today and the wonderful advice you had to share.

HJ:
It was my pleasure! I hope all you lovely readers out there take the time to read about my journey in Tear Stained Beaches and it gives you inspiration you can use in your own lives. Thanks everyone!

Thanks so much for being here today, Courtney and Haylie! Courtney, could you tell us a little about yourself?

     I'm a Rochester, NY native who currently resides in Charlotte, NC. After 9 months of wearing out the delete button on the keyboard, Tear Stained Beaches was completed. I'm currently working on my second novel to be published in 2014. When I'm not writing, I'm an avid health and fitness lover. I've currently taken up a love of boxing as a member of Title Boxing Club and I love trying out new healthy recipes from Pinterest.

Where can readers get in touch and find the book?

Please visit
www.courtneygiardina.com or follow her on twitter (www.twitter.com/sweetangeleyz)

Tear Stained Beaches (158 pp. Take Two Publishing, 2013) is available in both paperback and ebook at  http://www.amazon.com/Tear-Stained-Beaches-ebook/dp/B00BIP6CQW




Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Teaser for Artful Dodging at Time for Love

Zip over to Christina Cole's 25 Words of Less : http://kcchristinatime4love.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/25-words-or-less-april-2014/  for a teaser to my romantic suspense/murder mystery Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders.You're in luck too—Artful Dodging is now ON SALE at all sites.
For a piddling $3.99 you can enjoy murders,  misunderstandings, misfits, and misadventure with Milo Everhart and her happy band of artists.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

HUGE Sale on Books Now at SCP and All Fine eBook Stores

The sale prices are finally up on all sites. 

Great news for all who have been holding off buying my books, hoping for a good deal! Secret Cravings Publishing is holding a HUGE sale on books published in 2011 and 2012. That means you can get LosersKeepers, the story of a romantic triangle enmeshed in murder, set on the Atlantic barrier island of Chincoteague, AND Triptych, a tale of lost artworks, jealousy, sex, larceny and genius set high above the mighty Potomac, for a piddling $2.99 each! Best-selling Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, a story of murder, misdirection, mistrust, and misfits set in Old Town Alexandria, is going for a measly $3.99This price is good for ebooks at Secret Cravings, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BookStrand and AllRomanceEBooks.

Here are the blurbs for all three, to refresh your memory:


Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.
Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?


Both Miranda Cabot and her sister Honor prefer their solitude to romance, Miranda having watched her husband die in flames on the Potomac River rocks called the Three Sisters. Not so the youngest, Sybil, who invites a mysterious Frenchman calling himself the Chevalier du bon Arnaque to stay with them in their mansion overlooking the Sisters.
Misgivings about the stranger’s intentions lead Miranda and Honor to ask their neighbors Dieter Heiliger and his grandson Corey to chaperone. Three beautiful, strong-willed women living in a house with three handsome, virile men results inevitably in an intricate web of jealousy, sex, and intrigue. Add in long-lost master artworks, stolen prototypes and a resident genius and you have a recipe for romance. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend calls for?


Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar.  Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.
Tristram Brody waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.
Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.

Click on the titles to take you to the buy page or here:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Before We Had Monuments Men There was........... Triptych


A new movie, the Monuments Men starring George Clooney, tells the story of a group of academics drafted by the U. S. Army to comb through the rubble at the end of World War II and try to protect and preserve the glorious monuments of Europe. In honor of this movie (and the book it's based on)  I'd like to give readers a chance at another thrilling story of long-lost art works, preserved and protected in a secret place beneath a castle in Strasbourg. Triptych is romantic suspense at its best, a novel in which legend, history and romance intertwine in a triptych of suspense. 

Three sisters host a mysterious Frenchman who comes to Washington to peddle artworks—artworks that turn out to be lost masterworks of the greatest European painters—Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer. The heroine's misplaced suspicion leads to their disappearance, and it takes the ingenuity of all three sisters and their three lovers to solve the mystery.

Here's the blurb:

Both Miranda Cabot and her sister Honor prefer their solitude to romance, Miranda having watched her husband die in flames on the Potomac River rocks called the Three Sisters. Not so the youngest, Sybil, who invites a mysterious Frenchman calling himself the Chevalier du bon Arnaque to stay with them in their mansion overlooking the Sisters.

Misgivings about the stranger’s intentions lead Miranda and Honor to ask their neighbors Dieter Heiliger and his grandson Corey to chaperone. Three beautiful, strong-willed women living in a house with three handsome, virile men results inevitably in an intricate web of jealousy, sex, and intrigue. Add in long-lost master artworks, stolen prototypes and a resident genius and you have a recipe for romance. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend calls for?

Triptych has three Five-Star Reviews and tied for Best Cover and for Best First Chapter at D. Renee Bagby Presents First Chapters (November 2011).

Starting April 1 Triptych is ON SALE at Secret Cravings Publishing for a significant savings.

Excerpt (PG): A Masterpiece is Discovered

Forty minutes later she waited while her friend Polly Needles, one of the curators of Renaissance art at the National Gallery, frowned at the painting. The woman’s ice blonde hair, cut in an unfashionable bob, swung thoughtfully to and fro in the slight breeze from the ceiling fan in the tiny office. She fingered the fine set of pearls at her throat. Lips pressed together, she stood and straightened the skirt of her severe gray flannel suit.
“At first glance I’d say it’s authentic. By which I mean not a forgery, but a genuine original. Unless I miss my guess, it’s from the 17th-century Dutch school at Haarlem. It’s eerily reminiscent of some of Hals’ group portraits. Tell me again where you got this?”
“I told you, the man who’s staying with us brought them from France. He calls himself the Chevalier du Bon Arnaque. He claims to be acting as an agent for a collector who wishes to remain anonymous.”
Polly stopped and stared at Miranda. “What did you say his name is?”
“Chevalier du Bon Arnaque. Why?”
Polly put a hand to her mouth in an uncharacteristically girlish gesture. Through muffling fingers she gurgled, “Do you have any idea what it means?”
“N…no. Nothing came up on Google. And Dieter Heiliger, my neighbor, hasn’t been able to find any trace of his family in Alsace. Why? Do you think it’s an alias?”
By this time tears of laughter streamed down Polly’s face. She gulped, wiped her nose, and sat at her desk. “Yes, Miranda,” she managed between gasps for breath, “I do.”
Miranda sat down hard on the other chair. She realized that, subconsciously, she’d been hoping Polly would confirm Luc’s legitimacy, that her doubts and fears would prove unfounded. “Well?”
“Miranda, a “bon arnaque” is argot—French slang—for a good ssscccam artist!” And she went off into a long spasm of giggles again. “What a perfect choice for a charlatan!”
Her friend watched with alarm, trying to dispel the feeling that bits of her heart were breaking off and crashing into her veins like tiny ice floes. She let Polly’s mirth subside. “So, okay, now we know he’s a crook. But what about the painting?”
Polly sobered immediately. “Ah, yes. I’m almost positive it’s valuable and old. How long can I keep it? I’d like to have our conservators examine it.” She started to pick it up, then suddenly bent and peered at the upper right corner of the painting. “Wait a minute.” She grabbed a magnifying glass from her desk. “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait…a…minute.” She straightened and turned to her friend, her eyes wide. “Miranda, I…I think this may actually be a Hals! I’d swear that’s his signature. I don’t think I’ve seen this one before, not in any catalogue I can think of.”
“What do you mean—how could there be any unknown Hals?”
“Frans Hals had a very long career, and toward the end of his life his style went out of vogue. There could be several works out there that we’ve never seen. He was a pauper by the time he died, and many of his paintings disappeared or were sold quietly for cash. If it’s real, that means your friend the scam artist has obtained a painting worth millions.” She tapped a finger on the frame. “But from where?”
Secret Cravings Publishing, November 2011
eBook, 70,055 words, Print (206 pp)
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames
Starting April 1 Triptych is ON SALE at Secret Cravings Publishing for a significant savings.

Buy Links:



Book Strand: http://www.bookstrand.com/triptych

To have your ebook autographed, click on Kindlegraph at my blog.

For more information on the real Monuments Men, check out this article in the Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-monuments-men-180949569/?no-ist