Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Interview and GIVEAWAY with Brandy Bruce!!!

Hi guys! V. Joy Palmer here! Since we are all friends here, you guys can call me Joy. ; ) And since we are all friends, one of my favorite things to do is talk with my friends, family, the teens I mentor, and everyone else at coffee shops/bookstores. Books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination, after all. So, consider this our virtual coffee shop. I’ll wait a second for you to get your warm drink and a fuzzy blanket before we chat with today’s guest. ;-)

We're going to pry into the private life chat with my friend, Brandy Bruce! I met Brandy online after reading and gushing about her novel, The Last Summer. (And it's AMAZING! If you need more convincing, read my review!) She is such a fun and genuine person, and if you don't know about her and her books, then you need to remedy that, like, RIGHT NOW! <3


Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.
 
Connect with Brandy on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest
 
Interview ~

First things first, would you order coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in our virtual coffee shop? Something else altogether? This is possibly the most important question... No pressure or anything. ;-)

Coffee! With sugar-free hazelnut creamer. It's my go-to every morning.

Delicious! It's amazing how essential that go-to drink in the morning really is... LOL! On to our second most important question: if you could order anything in the world to eat, what would it be?

Cheese enchiladas. They need to be Tex-Mex, with refried beans and Mexican rice, of course. And endless chips and salsa. Maybe a frozen strawberry margarita too.

Excuse me while I wipe the puddle of drool from the floor... I love anything with a hefty serving - or two - of refried beans. YUM! Where is your favorite place to write? And why is that your favorite place?

My home office. I like to be able to control the music for one thing! Also, I've got my coffee warmer. And I'm surrounded by my favorite books that inspire me, and photos of my kids.

Being able to control the music is essential! Confession Time: do you have any odd habits that are only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies? Safe space. ;-)

Probably several! Like a lot of writers, I can be kind of introverted. I love being around people, but after a while, I crash. I want to hole up at home for days alone and just focus on what I need to do, which is usually cleaning house or an editing project or helping the kids with something. I think I tend to come across as extroverted - and I really do enjoy people - but then I'll need to disappear for a bit and have quiet and regroup. It's that alone time where I find myself really diving into whatever story that's in my heart. Both having time with friends and people, and having time alone to write and focus on my family, are so vital to who I am as a person.

I hear ya, especially about holing up at home for days on end. Maybe we should invest in "Do Not Disturb the Introvert" signs. LOL! What inspired you to write The Last Summer?? *eagerly leans forward*

My first year of college was a difficult one for several reasons. I'd found myself in a place that was very challenging (emotionally and spiritually), and I was trying to keep my head above water with school and all the different factors of my situation. It was hard. (I read that and feel like saying, Understatement!) Writing had been part of my life since I was about twelve years old, and books had always been my favorite past-time. I'd filled spiral notebooks with stories for years. During that freshman year, writing became my outlet for creativity and so much more. It's not really surprising that a story centered on friendship would come to me at that time of life. Of course, in college, friendships are paramount. Everyone's finding out who they want to be and hanging out with friends and falling in love. That's what I wanted to write about. All the main characters came to me almost at once. Seven friends who love each other like family, entering a season of change. Through rewrites over the years, I was inspired to include other themes in the book, really just from more life experiences as I'd grown older. The story is truly so close to my heart. I'm so thankful it stayed with me for so long, and finally found it's place on my bookshelf.

Happy feelings abound! <3 *makes eye contact with the readers* The Last Summer is one of my forever and ever favorites. Read it! Seriously. *directs attention back to Brandy* What led you to write in this genre?

As a young writer, I was very influenced by Robin Jones Gunn. (I grew up on the Christy Miller series!) I really connected with Robin's Glenbrooke series, in which every book (except one, I think) focuses on a twenty-something woman who's finding her way. That series met me right where I was in my twenties. I was also a fan of chick-lit (Bridget Jones, Devil Wears Prada, Shopaholic, Something Borrowed, and so on). The Last Summer is sort of a blend of all those things I wanted to write about - a (hopefully!) relatable heroine who's someone you'd want to be friends with. Someone who's just doing the best she can to make her way. She loves her friends. She's got this crush on her best guy friend, but he's not reciprocating. She's got a little apartment she really likes and a good job, but dreams of having a house and someone to travel with. She's smart and capable and doing alright, but she also knows in her heart she wants more out of life. Things are changing for her and her friends, and change can be difficult.

I wonder how many of us twenty-something authors grew up on Christy Miller and Robin's other amazing books... I think (and my opinion is gold, y'all) that you really achieved blending all those elements into The Last Summer - love, friendship, humor, and faith. What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

That no one is perfect and that's okay. I love romance stories and rom-coms, but have you ever finished reading a story, feeling a little dissatisfied with your own relationship, or maybe more unhappy with your own life? I was chatting with someone and mentioned my book to her, and her reaction was that she avoids reading romance because it can leave her feeling so disappointed in her own husband. That spoke to me! I completely understood and respected her choice to focus on other kinds of fiction. I love swoon-worthy male characters as much as the next girl, but anyone who's been in a relationship for more than fifteen minutes knows that we're all human and can hurt each other and disappoint each other at times. (I really understand this. It's hard to even think about sexy, smoldering looks when what you really need is help with laundry and someone to pick up rotisserie chicken and mac-n-cheese on the way home from work. Ha!) Real romance can look like so many different things in our lives. Sometimes it looks like forgiveness. Or letting go. Or holding hands when a parent is sick. I wanted to write a story about real characters who are growing and learning and changing. Falling in love is part of that, so is experiencing disappointment and rallying when things go wrong. The Last Summer definitely has romance in it, but I consider it more women's fiction, because this story is about my main character finding out who she is. She's learning to see her parents in a new light. She's trying to be a good friend when it's really hard. She's holding on to her faith when things are confusing.


This is everything I love about The Last Summer! <3 <3 <3 Can you tell us a little about your next project?

Yes! I'm super excited to share that the follow-up novel to The Last Summer is slated to release in January, possibly February, at this point. We've just finished up the content edits. The Last Summer was in my heart for years and years. I'm very happy that this book did not take quite as long! I can't wait for readers to see what happens after The Last Summer ends. And here as we get closer to warm summer days, I really hope readers will grab The Last Summer for their beach read or vacation read or on-the-back-deck-while-the-kids-play-outside read! And get to know these characters before book two releases in the new year.

YESSS! SOOO EXCITED!!!! <3 *makes awkward eye contact with readers again* Seriously, guys, The Last Summer is amazing; this follow-up novel is amazing! Don't miss out! *grins at Brandy* What is your favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

Really, different verses speak to me all the time. Lately I've been reminding myself of Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer." I need that reminder every day.

Love that verse! <3 What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds - mine - want to know. :-)

I'm reading The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Conner and next on my stack is Unblemished by Sara Ella.

The fact that Kelly O'Conner's book title starts with "The Lost Summer" makes me laugh! ;-) And Unblemished is AMAZING! Jealous that you get to experience it for the first time! <3

Thanks for answering all my prying questions in the name of cyber chatting, Brandy! ;-)

Giveaway ~

Brandy has generously offered to giveaway one (1) eBook of The Last Summer!


A group of seven friends navigate relationships and personal growth during a season of change.
 
For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara's longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara's forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends' relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

Available on Amazon!

Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away one eBook copy of The Last Summer.

This giveaway is open internationally.

This giveaway will close on June 27th, 2018, at 12:00 A.M. for all the night owls.

A winner will be drawn within four days of close of giveaway. If the winner does not respond to our e-mails within one week of notification, then a new winner will be drawn in their place.

May the odds be ever in your favor. ;-)

Enter using the handy Rafflecopter here ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by, my writerly, bookish friends! <3 See you next time!

Hugs,

V. Joy Palmer 

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

JULIE COSGROVE -- 'TIL DICE DO US PART



Hi everyone, I must begin by saying "I'm sorry." When husbands retire households can sometimes be thrown into a tizzy...which is what happened to me yesterday. So let's get on with this interview, Julie. And I see you've brought your side-kick and star of the past Bunco Biddies books. Janie, we're delighted to have you with us today.Can you tell us a little about Janie before we hand the microphone to her?




Sure DiAne, Janie Manson is the widow of a renowned big city detective. She has a sixth sense when it comes to solving crimes. (Much to the chagrin of her son-in-law who is now Chief Detective in Alamoville, a boom-town in Central Texas.)



Oh, I see family turmoil as well as a mystery. Janie, tell us a bit about yourself.

Well, I live in Sunset Acres, which is a 55 plus community outside of Austin and Alamoville on the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country. I host Bunco games in my condo every Thursday night. I try to visit my friends in the assisted living section as often as I can, and help out part-time in the manager’s office. Oh, yes. I do power walk most mornings around the community streets and golf course. It works out to about a mile and a half.  I am fairly active in my church. And, occasionally I help out my son-in-law, Blake, in solving crimes. Mostly background work, you know. Though a couple of times it has gotten a bit, well, dicey.

QUESTION TO THE READERS: Have you ever participated in a research project, or helped solve a mystery?  You can answer in the comments. If you do, you may win an ebook copy of my latest sleuthing, Til Dice Do Us Part. (You can answer any one of the four questions in this interview.)

Janie, what happened on this latest caper? Did you get Blake in trouble with his superiors again?

Well, no.  Actually, Blake really took the bull by the horns this time. Made me proud as punch. But I inadvertently hurt one of my dearest friends in the process. I didn’t mean to, you understand. I was only trying to keep George from pacing the floor the day of the wedding.  Afternoon weddings are so hard on grooms-to-be. Besides, he’d helped Blake before. How was I to know he’d disappear and get into danger?

QUESTION TO THE READERS: Have you ever done something with good intentions only to find it didn’t turn out well?  How did you handle that?

I hope all turned out okay and the crime was solved…

I can’t go into detail, of course. That would ruin the mystery. But new characters are introduced, including a very intuitive little waif who frequents the ER and clinic waiting rooms. She becomes instrumental in finding out what dicey deals are going on behind the curtains at Memorial Mercy Hospital.

How in the world did this adventure begin?

Innocently. We were all decorating for Betsy Ann and George’s bridal shower when dear Ethel
wobbled on the ladder and fell. I went with her in the ambulance to the ER to check on her injured shoulder (thank the Lord it was not broken) but while she was waiting for an MRI, she thought she overheard a crime being plotted in the next curtained-off unit. Except no one was admitted to that bed. Blake thought it might have been the pain killers, she is sensitive to them. But my detective tickle told me otherwise.

QUESTION TO THE READERS:  Do you ever have an inkling something’s not quite right even when others dismiss it? Or do you think it is just your imagination?

Well, it sounds as if you got into a bit of a mess this time. Where can people find out whodunit and what happened?

All of my adventures with the Bunco Biddies Mysteries are available on Amazon.com in ebook or print. You can read about them on my author’s website www.juliebcosgrove.com . This one, Til Dice Do Us Part releases June 15th but the ebook is on preorder. https://amzn.to/2Iy8Zb1



Oh, and be sure to come to Julie's Facebook party on Monday, June 18th from 6-9 p.m. CDT. My author is giving away an ebook every hour and some lucky US commentor will get the whole four-book collection in paperback!

Wow, what a treat. I know of several readers who will love this. And to the rest of you, the best way to say thank you to an author is to go to Amazon and leave a review of how well you liked her gift of words. Thank you ladies. This was fun. And don't forget to comment to the questions for your chance to win!

Today, one commentor will receive an ebook of Til Dice Do Us Part.

Oh, one more thing, DiAne. Did I mention that my author, Julie B Cosgrove, is also a digital missionary? She is on staff with The Life Project and writes and edits devotionals and inspirational articles which have over 600.000 clicks a month! She could use your prayers and financial support in any amount to continue this vital ministry. No mystery there!