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Posts Tagged ‘Women’s fiction’

Source: Book Reviews – The US Review of Books: Professional Book Reviews

 

This is the review for “September’s Song”, my recent women’s fiction/ metaphysical release.

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Earlier this year I welcomed Linda Bradley to come and talk about her Maggie Abernathy & Montana series. At that time, she had recently released book # 2 (“Maggie’s Fork in the Road”). Now book # 3, “Maggie’s Montana”, is available and I have partnered with CPL Book Tours to invite Linda back.

maggiesmontana

Welcome, Linda! Let’s ask a few nosy questions to get to know you and more about your series.  First, what is this book about?
LB: Maggie Abernathy, best friend Judy, and Judy’s two young sons travel cross country to visit John McIntyre and daughter Chloe at their Montana ranch. Maggie’s convinced herself that she’s only making the trip to fulfill her promise to visit Chloe, but once there she can’t help but fall in love with the horses, the land, the ranch, and the Montana ways of life. With Chloe’s loving antics, Winston’s gift, and a handful of wranglers showing her the ropes, will Maggie have the heart to say goodbye?

Second, why did you write it?

LB: When I wrote, Maggie’s Way, Montana Bound Series: Book 1, I intended it to be a single title, but when it was time to type “The End” something inside me told me Maggie’s journey wasn’t over. One book morphed into three, each with its own premise.  The second book in the series is Maggie’s Fork in the Road, and Maggie’s Montana is the third book.

Third, how long did it take?
LB: It took me about four months to have my first draft.

Can you describe your writing area?
LB: I write at my desk in an office that I share with my husband. I write at our dining room table, in bed, on the sofa. It depends on my mood. When it’s summer, I tend to find myself of on the deck or on our porch with my dog, Maisey. Now that it’s fall, we’re back inside most days.

blog-lindas-dog

And what is the hardest part about writing for you?

LB: Keeping my desk organized along with all the ideas that pop into my head.

 

Yeah, I have the same problem. I try though, to keep it organized. My problem isn’t so much ideas but just juggling all the balls I have up in the air. Okay, how about some ice-breaking questions.

  1. Most recent movie: Pretty Woman, again.
  2. Winning the lottery: I’d pinch myself, finish out the school year, and then retire.
  3. Invisible or x-ray vision: Invisible.
  4. Typical Day: I teach second grade full time, so it’s a lot of hustle and bustle during the school year. The summer is different. I own that and it’s a time to rejuvenate, get projects done around the house, travel, and write.
  5. Fall Days: Out walking with my husband and dog.

 

blog-lindas-walk

  1. Musical Instrument: I played the cello up until college. Some days I wonder if I’d be able to rekindle the connection.
  2. Foreign Language: None, fluently. I wish I did though. I took German in high school and French in college.
  3. Four people for dinner: Last time you asked me this question, I said Julianne Moore, Sam Elliott, Robert Redford, and Nicholas Sparks. Since it’s a new dinner party, I’d invite these Downtown Abbey regulars, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Phyllis Logan, Lesley Nichol. That would be a hoot!
  1. Growing up, what did I want to be: I wanted to be an artist. I spent many hours drawing and coloring. I took my first college art class when I was fourteen. My dad was an instructor at the local community college and he found an art teacher to take me under her wing. This is a hand-colored photograph I did last summer while working on Maggie’s Montana.

 

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Lovely! You have a hidden talent I see. Okay, now the speed round:

  1. Favorite Food to Cook: Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Favorite Animal: Maisey, my rescue dog, but I think she really rescued me.  (Linda, they always do)
  3. Favorite Color: Green
  4. Favorite Book: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  5. Favorite Sport: Tennis
  6. Favorite Music: 70’s
  7. Favorite Song: There are too many!
  8. Favorite place to visit: The Peanut Shop in Lansing, Michigan. This store has been there forever. It’s the best place to buy fresh roasted peanuts while enjoying a slice of yesteryear.

blog-lindas-peanut-shop

  1. What makes me laugh: A good joke or a classic rerun of Match Game.
  2. 3 adjectives: Creative, Resourceful, Determined
  3. Favorite Season: Summer
  4. Strangest thing I ate: caviar
  5. Strangest thing I’ve done: Oh boy, not sure I can divulge that information.
  6. Dance or sing: Definitely not dance, but I can carry a tune on a good day.
  7. Second home: Mountain cabin for the summer and a beach home for the winter.
  8. Dessert: Anything chocolate.
  9. Whom do you admire: My parents. They were married 53 years. Here’s a groovy seventies photo of them on a family trip. Every summer, we’d load up the station wagon and they’d take us on a trek somewhere in the continental United States. Thanks to them I’ve been a lot of places. Thanks to them, I’ve got a lot of great memories!

blog-lindas-grandparents

  1. Car: Silver Malibu
  2. Favorite Art: Impressionism
  3. 3 wishes: 1) Retire early 2) Make a movie 3) Beach house
  4. Favorite Vacation Spots: Montana, Italy, Ireland, the beach.

 

blog-lindas-vacay

Awesome, Linda. I love your answers. Ireland is on my list too.  Before we go on to showcase “Maggie’s Montana”, do you have any parting thoughts to share?

  1. Quote I love: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” -Ernest Hemingway
  2. One thing few people know about you: I have stayed in touch with my oldest and dearest kindergarten friend from elementary school all my life.
  3. Do you believe in love at first sight? – Yes!
 
Maggie’s Montana
Excerpt from Chapter 20
 
I squeezed my eyes tight as chills ran down my spine. A gentle hand rested on the nape of my neck. The touch grounded me and for a split second, I thought maybe it was my father. Tears welled and I pressed the palms of my hands into my eyes, trying to stop the longing I felt for my dad who’d left me years ago. I saw Chloe perched on John’s hip with her arms around his neck in my mind. It seemed like eons since I was that little girl in my own father’s arms.
Through the tears, I stared at my dusty boots. John ran his fingers up my neck and into my hair. I squeezed my eyes tighter, hoping this wasn’t a dream.
John knelt beside me, his hand on my knee, and his finger under my chin. “Saw you leave. Wondered if you were all right?”
I shrugged. Cocoa ran past, and then nestled in the straw at my feet and stretched out, letting her kittens suckle. “No, guess not,” I said.
“Anything I can do to help?”
I scooted over on the bench and John sat beside me. “I don’t think so.” I tucked my hair behind my ears.
“Well I think there is, but I’m going to let you solve your own dilemma.”
I wiped the corners of my eyes and watched the kittens nuzzle up to their momma’s belly, safe from the world around them until she went out to hunt. “Probably best.” Locking my elbows, I rested my hands on my knees. I liked the feel of worn blue jeans, inside, and out.
“Dinner is almost ready,” John said.
Our gazes met. My stomach wasn’t the only thing growling. “I don’t know if I want dinner. I kind of like it out here.” The barn truly was a sanctuary.
“Well, you’ve got to eat, darlin’.” John wrapped his arm around my shoulder and drew me close, his green eyes trying to hide his own disappointments.
I couldn’t help but think I was one of them.
“A girl your age can’t live on s’mores and beer, ’cause that’s what we’re having later.”
“I beg to differ.”
John’s breath brushed up against my neck. His lips followed. Tension oozed from my shoulders like dripping wax, my guard giving way to the heat. He whispered in my ear, “Let me love you.”
I swallowed the temptation, but it stuck in my throat and lingered at the back of my tongue like bitter sweetness. “I don’t know how.”
Afraid, I prayed again. From under my lashes, I saw a man earnest and true, his eyes fixed on me yet not demanding, something I wasn’t used to. Flecks of passion danced in his irises.
“How the hell do you know what you want?” I asked.
“Because I know,” he said.His strong hands held my face. His thumbs stroked my cheeks like he was settling a skittish filly. “Let me ask you this, neighbor lady . . .”
“Why do you keep calling that?”
“Does there have to be a reason?” he asked.
“Isn’t there a reason for everything?”
“No. Sometimes things just feel right.” John kissed me as I took in his words, his breath in sync with mine. My stomach rolled over and I let myself kiss him back as if it were the very first time.
 maggies-montana

Author Bio

Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.
Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.
Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.
 linda-bradley
Links:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2dA3ZlW
Book 1: Maggie’s Way at Schuler Books: http://bit.ly/2etN7iC
Book 2: Maggie’s Fork in the Road at Schuler Books: http://bit.ly/2esL2Sq
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LB_MaggiesWay_400x600      LB_MaggiesForkInTheRoad_Kindle_2400x3600

Today I am pleased to introduce author Linda Bradley. Her second women’s fiction novel, “Maggie’s Fork in the Road” of the ‘Montana Bound’ series is releasing July 6th with Soul Mate Publishing. This is the follow up to her critically acclaimed multi-award finalist, “Maggie’s Way“. Welcome, Linda. Can you share what this book is about?

Linda:
Maggie Abernathy learns that pesky neighbors, John and Chloe McIntyre are moving to Montana. The only problem is…she can’t fathom living without them now that they’ve stolen her heart. While trying to digest the news and accept John’s decision to leave Michigan, Maggie ventures to Chicago with Chloe to see Chloe’s Hollywood mother in a photo shoot, where the three kindle a quirky bond making it even harder to say goodbye. With the support of Maggie’s meddling mother, best friend Judy, and a surprise visit from Montana rancher, Winston Ludlow McIntyre, Maggie begins to wonder which fork in the road leads home.

Ryan: Um, very full of twists and supporting characters. Why did you write it?
When I wrote, Maggie’s Way, Montana Bound Series: Book 1, I intended it to be a single title, but when it was time to type “The End” something inside me told me Maggie’s journey wasn’t over. One book morphed into three, each with it’s own premise. Maggie’s Fork in the Road is the second book in the series.

How long did it take?
It took me about four months to have my first draft.

That is not too bad. Where do you write?
I write at my desk in an office that I share with my husband. I write at our dining room table, in bed, on the sofa. It depends on my mood. When it’s summer, I tend to find myself of on the deck or on our porch with my dog, Maisey.

LB MaiseyShe’s a beauty!

Some days her friends from the neighborhood join us, so writing becomes a group effort.LB Group effort dogs

Are you working on anything else right now?
Yes, I am. I am working on edits for Maggie’s Montana, Montana Bound Series: Book 3 due out this fall. I’m also working on another Montana based series and a Women’s Fiction book with a thread of Spirit.

Thread of spirit? Sounds great.  Okay, here are some ice-breaking questions to get to know you better, beyond the writing hat you wear.

1.    Most recent book I’ve read: Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin
2.    Favorite town: Positano, Italy. It’s the place I traveled to with my husband in celebration of getting married and being cancer-free.    (Hey, big congratulations!)

LB cancer free w hubs

3.    Be Invisible or x-ray vision: Invisible.
4.    Typical Day: I teach second grade full time, so it’s a lot of hustle and bustle during the school year. The summer is different. I own that and it’s a time to rejuvenate, get projects done around the house, travel, and write.
5.    Rainy Days: At home writing or hanging with my hubby and dog.
6.    Musical Instrument: I played the cello up until college. Some days I wonder if I’d be able to rekindle the connection.
7.    Foreign Language: None, fluently. I wish I did though. I took German in high school and French in college.
8.    Four people for dinner: Only four?
This is tough, but today, I’d have to go with Julianne Moore, Sam Elliot, Robert Redford, and Nicholas Sparks. Julianne Moore because I’ve had people tell me that I look like her, even ask me if I was her, although I believe she is much more elegant than I am. I have this crazy idea to write a book in which the main character, me, spends a day in her shoes. It has comedy written all over it. Sam Elliot because I’ve always been intrigued by him and if someday, one of my Montana Bound books should find its way on a big screen, he’d be a perfect Winston Ludlow McIntyre. Robert Redford, well because he’s Robert Redford. And my fourth guest would be Nicholas Sparks because I’ve read many of his books and I’m intrigued by how his writing fuels the big screen.

(Great choices, and some very good looking ones too. I’m an Elliot and Redford fan)

9.    Growing up, what did I want to be: I wanted to be an artist. I knew my main character, Maggie Abernathy needed a hobby, so I depict her painting photographs. Here’s a hand colored photo I did in college. This one was done with colored pencils. The photo was taken on Belle Isle here in Michigan. LB Belle IS MI

Ok- now how about a speed round?:

1.    Favorite Food to Cook: Chocolate Chip Cookies
2.    Favorite Animal: Maisey, my rescue dog, but I think she really rescued me. (they usually do)
3.    Favorite Color: Green
4.    Favorite Book: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
5.    Favorite Sport: Tennis
6.    Favorite Music: 70’s
7.    Favorite Song: There are too many!
8.    Favorite place to visit: Petoskey, Michigan. My grandparents lived there so we took many treks to northern Michigan. It’s the only place I can find Penuche. Penuche is a kind of maple fudge and my grandmother used to make for my siblings and me every time we visited.
9.    What makes me laugh:  A good joke or a classic rerun of Match Game.
10.    3 adjectives: Creative, Resourceful, Determined
11.    Favorite Season: Summer
12.    Strangest thing I ate: caviar
13.    Strangest thing I’ve done: Oh boy, not sure I can divulge that information.
14.    Dance or sing: Definitely not dance, but I can carry a tune on a good day.
15.    Second home: Mountain cabin for the summer and a beach home for the winter.
16.    Dessert: Anything chocolate.

17.    Whom do you admire: My dad. Here he is in Panama City, Panama on December 7, 1941. LB dad inpanama

 

18.    Car: Silver Malibu
19.    Favorite Art: Impressionism
20.    3 wishes: 1) Retire early 2) Make a movie 3) Beach house
21.    Favorite Vacation Spots: Montana, Italy, Ireland, the beach. LB favor vacation Ireland the beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wonderful, Linda, thank you for sharing such great photos. How about some parting thoughts?

1.    What 3 items would I take if I were stranded on a tropical island for a year: 1) A bag of books. 2) A friend 3) Bug spray
2.    Quote I love: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” -Ernest Hemingway
3.    Real life situation in which you stood up for someone or something: At the age of fifty-one, I’ve stood up for a lot of things, students in my classroom, and especially myself. My husband always tells me that doing the right thing doesn’t always feel good. He’s right, and I try to remember that when it’s time to pick a battle that should be addressed.

I am happy to announce that Linda’s debut novel,  book 1 “Maggie’s Way”, is a finalist in the Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best Award 2016 and was a finalist for The Romance Reviews Readers Choice Award.  That’s pretty cool! Congratulations and not a bad start for 2016.  I’d love to share an excerpt of book 2 “Maggie’s Fork in the Road” now.

John’s news knocked the wind out of me leaving me breathless, speechless . . . paralyzed.

Breathe, I told myself.

The dim room grew foggy as my eyes searched John’s face. “Really,” I said. “Why now? And why here?” What was it about delivering bad news in a restaurant? First, Beckett, now John. For the love of God, I wondered if breaking a woman’s heart in public got them into a secret men’s club.

Letting my guard down proved one thing. Hurt was inevitable. John and Chloe’s absence would leave a hole in my heart, a gorge of sharp edges. We were more than neighbors. We’d become friends that navigated life’s ups- and-downs together. And now they were moving. I’d have new neighbors and I didn’t want new neighbors. I wanted John and Chloe. I needed John and Chloe. We bonded last summer when I dealt with breast cancer. Their craziness made mine seem normal. John and Chloe weren’t any ordinary neighbors; they were family, eccentric misfits, like myself that conformed to the beat of life while traversing the bumps in the road.

Massaging my temples, I caught my breath. The throb pierced my skull. Since John and Chloe’s arrival, there’d never been a dull moment. Mom came around more often. And Chloe’s mother, Brook. Jesus, she flitted in and left like a summer storm leaving sky-high humidity and heat that scorched everything in its path.

Broken-hearted, Chloe had wept over false promises, her bags packed, her hopes magnanimous. And God, Beckett.

My ex-husband found his footing with a new lifestyle that didn’t include me, or any other woman. I’d heard through the grapevine that he was dating and wondered if his better half was as handsome as he was.

I searched John’s face for an answer.

“I didn’t know how to tell you. I’m sorry, Maggie. I don’t belong here,” he said, lowering his voice. “I can practice medicine in Montana and my dad could really use the help.”

Montana was one hell of a long ways away. I swallowed the sting of disappointment. John’s eyes searched mine. His news left a bitter taste at the back of my throat. “You can’t leave. I love you,” I whispered.

The pressure behind my eyes burned something fierce. How was it possible that I felt so much for someone I wasn’t romantically involved with? I certainly thought about it enough and the few recent kisses we shared established a deeper connection spurring buried promises that I’d made to myself. Moving forward in the wake of waiting for perfect timing proved difficult.

The corners of John’s mouth drooped. His jaw clenched.

“I can’t believe I said that.” I stared into my half-empty glass of Merlot, my cheeks smoldered from the realization that he didn’t return my sentiments. My chin quivered as he touched my hand from across the table.

“I want to put the house up for sale when Chloe’s school year ends.”

My forced smile hurt. It was the kind that everyone knows is fake and by John’s expression, my attempt to lighten the moment had failed. He squeezed my hand. I sipped my wine trying to avoid eye contact with the waitress. Her return with the dessert tray came at the most inopportune moment. After listening politely, John asked for the check. I wrapped my shawl around my shoulders trying to hold myself together. “I’ll meet you outside,” I said, fumbling with my purse.

“I won’t be long,” he said. “Maggie—”

The leg of my chair got stuck on the carpet. I shook it loose in disgust, studying the face of a man that I thought just might be a permanent fixture in my life. His eyes sadly apologetic.

“Damn, you’re beautiful.” With a heavy sigh, he paused. “I’ll be out in a minute.

The cool spring breeze sent shivers down my spine as I exited the restaurant. I caught my breath. How could I have told John I loved him? Why now? I wrapped my arms around myself. If I could survive cancer, I’d survive this. Hearts mended. Beckett taught me that lesson the hard way, but this was John and Chloe. Our attachment was the seam that mended that wound, made it invisible.

Okay, here are Linda’s social media links to stay in contact to see what is next:

website: http://www.lindabradleyauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Linda-Bradley

twitter: https://www.twitter.com/LBradley/author

Buy links to start your own set:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Maggies-Way-Montana-Bound-Book-ebook/dp/B00ZSOX4BA?ie=UTF8&keywords=maggie%27s%20way&qid=1434509844&ref_=sr_1_2&sr=8-2

Barnes & Nobel: https://www.amazon.com/Maggies-Way-Montana-Bound-Book-ebook/dp/B00ZSOX4BA?ie=UTF8&keywords=maggie%27s%20way&qid=1434509844&ref_=sr_1_2&sr=8-2

Linda, thank you so much for stopping in today. It has been a great visit. Before you go, you did say something earlier about a giveaway. What are your giving away?

I would love to giveaway two Amazon e-books. Winners decide which of my books they want. Just leave a comment below.

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