Monday, June 30, 2014

Lory Lilian author of The Perfect Match ~ Guest Post and GIVEAWAY

Hey Everyone! I'm so pleased to have Lory Lilian visiting us! She has written and published a new Pride and Prejudice novella, The Perfect Match.

The Perfect Match : where did the short sequel came from? 
About eight ago – when I used to be much more active on JAFF sites – I entered into a short story contest and wrote this ‘mini sequel’ called The Perfect Match. The original was focused on Jane and Charles’s marriage, and it started from the premise that, despite their happily ever after, neither of them changed much during the course of Pride and Prejudice events, and the problems that occurred from their lack of understanding of each other’s feelings might appear again. 
This small story was long forgotten in a folder, until a couple of months ago when I discovered that it was still posted online on two sites. 
At the same time, I was working very hard on a long and much more complex story, called “My Husband, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.” As I used to do every time I work on a new story, I started re-reading (for the 100th time!) Pride and Prejudice. I need to have the characters fresh in my mind, especially when I write difficult scenes ☺. Anyway, once I got to the end of our beloved book, the inspiration struck me so intensely that I put the WIP aside and I started to write the sequel. 
The last two pages of Pride and Prejudice offered so many clues, so many small details, such clear indications of the happily ever after that the sequel practically wrote itself. So I kept the old title, as I found it very adequate, but I changed almost everything else. The focus turned to Elizabeth and Darcy, although Jane and Charles still had their fair share of attention.  So in less than a month, the story was up online – a true record in quickness for me.  
Since the genius Jane Austen indicated nothing about any problems, sufferings, major conflicts or other similar issues in ODC’s marriage, I thought it would be best to follow her description, with humble respect; after all, nobody knows Elizabeth and Darcy better than she does, right? ☺ 
The first major problem with this sequel was that the Regency rules completely ruined the idea of a ball for me; as a married couple, especially if they were hosting the ball, Elizabeth and Darcy were essentially not allowed to dance together. Darn! How can that be? Well, it was – and I had no other choice but to have Darcy and Bingley express my frustration by their words. ☺ 

The ballroom was decorated with floral arrangements and garlands, and Elizabeth required that some arrangements be redone three times as she was not satisfied with them. The servants only smiled and obeyed her orders; it was the first time the mistress had been displeased with anything, but her distress was easily understood.
In the library, Darcy, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Gardiner, Bingley and the colonel were discussing the day, savouring a glass of wine.
“So Darcy, may I ask Elizabeth to dance, since you are not allowed to dance with her?” asked the colonel in good humour. Oh, and Bingley—I will surely dance with Mrs. Bingley, too.”
“You know, I have always loathed this arrangement; who invented the rule that I cannot dance with my own wife as much as I like? Forgive me, but this is nonsense,” Bingley said, visibly distressed. “What is the point for a married couple to go to a ball if they are not allowed to dance together as they like? I would find it more logical that, since I am married, I do not have to count how many times I dance with my wife without raising gossip.”
“You may dance, Bingley; I allow you to do what you want,” Darcy said in conciliation.
“I beg to differ!” the colonel intervened. Mother instructed all of us for about two hours yesterday; you know that very well, Darcy. She specifically insisted that it is your job—and Bingley’s—to make certain everyone is feeling comfortable and entertained, that every lady has a dance partner, that everything is beyond reproach. She said she will be very upset if there are ladies without partners and if either of you do not comply with the duty of dancing.” The colonel could hardly restrain his laughter, joined by Mr. Gardiner, while Darcy rolled his eyes.

The second major challenge was to keep the story pretty “clean” – considerably less steamy than I would like to make it! ☺ It was so tempting to go on writing hot sex scenes – as the story itself was offering generous opportunities for that.  However, I succeed (at least I hope so) to convey the passion and sensuality without any explicit intimate scenes. It was like a small gift for all the readers who, during the years, complained about the mature content of my books.  However, the biggest surprise was that I got quite a lot of messages, asking why I did not “enhance” the story more.  
(Well, well – this is quite a dilemma, right? How much hot sex is too little or too much? ;-). Anyway, the dilemma will be easily solved in my next story, where the intimacy will be a major issue and will be thoroughly explored. ) 
Returning to The Perfect Match – here is a short excerpt from it – hopefully enough to raise your curiously about my interpretation of Elizabeth and Darcy – the happiest couple in the world. 

She stopped and looked at him, a smile lighting her face. “You know very well that I am teasing you now. I will be happy to receive my family’s visits and to have Georgiana with us, but I could never be bored with you, nor can I wish or need any other company but yours. How could I want anyone else around when I have the fortune of marrying the most worthy and most handsome gentleman? The most perfect husband, indeed.” She continued to tease him, though her loving eyes proved the seriousness of her words.
“I am not perfect, by no means. As I told you some time ago, I have faults enough. If I am a good husband to you, it is only because you made me this way; your love for me and my love for you made me a better man—you made me a better man, Elizabeth. I cannot forget that, in my mind and in my heart, I had been waiting for you for so many years, and when I found you, I almost lost you because I could not see how perfect you were for me.”
“Oh, but it is I who failed to see how perfect you were for me, William. Had I been wiser and less hasty in my judgments, I would have known better than to refuse you so harshly. I often think that we lost eight months; had I accepted your first proposal, we would have had eight more months of happiness.”

“Those eight months were not lost; they helped me to understand what true love and passion mean, to become the man I am now, the one who will do everything to give you a lifetime of happiness. So, my beloved Elizabeth, I can say without a doubt that you accepted me at the right moment.”

Oh, isn't that lovely! I'm looking forward to reading this! Not only has Lory Lilian incited us with a peak into The Perfect Match, she comes bearing gifts! See below.

Book blurb:

“The Perfect Match” is a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” that takes place a year after the events of Jane Austen’s novel. Her beloved characters are approaching their first wedding anniversary as the Darcys and Bingleys experience somewhat different marriages.

In addition, Elizabeth Darcy has the burden of organizing her first ball while she encounters the challenges of the high circles of Regency London, not to mention a mysterious “affliction” that has Mr. Darcy in a panic . . .

This novella is light and sensual, with several scenes suggested for a mature audience. There is no explicit sexual content.

~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~

Now's your chance to enter to win to copy! Lory Lilian is generously giving away one paperback and one e-copy of The Perfect Match! To win, just fill out the Rafflecopter below and leave a comment! Last day to enter is July 7th, 2014.

Thank you, Lory!

  • One person will win a paperback.
  • One person will win an e-copy (kindle or Nook).
  • Open Internationally.
  • Last day to enter: July 7th, 2014
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We'd love to hear from you! Please, leave a comment! Remember, to enter the giveaway, you MUST fill out the Rafflecopter above. If you need any help entering, email me! Just click on the icon at the top of the sidebar. Thanks! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Compass North by Stephanie Joyce Cole ~ Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY

Hey Everyone! I'm delighted to be taking part in the Compass North Blog Tour! This is Stephanie Joyce Cole's first novel, and she's stopping by here today to tell us what inspired her to write 
Compass North.

The Inspiration Behind COMPASS NORTH
When you ask an author where the idea for her book came from, you might get a blank stare in return.  Often, a writer won’t know where or how a story is born.  Characters and story lines will pop into her head, unbidden, and who knows where they’ve been lurking up to that point? That’s often been true for me, but it wasn’t the case for the concept behind COMPASS NORTH. 
Although COMPASS NORTH is a positive story of hope and personal reinvention, the inspiration for the book came from a dark place.  After 9/11, when the towers fell in New York, I thought of all the people who had lost their lives and whose remains would never be returned to their loved ones because of the total destruction at the scene.  I also realized that it was likely that some must have escaped certain death just by luck. Perhaps, when the planes hit, they were late for work in the World Trade Center that day, perhaps they had just gone off-site for coffee.  For most people, a tearful reunion with friends and family would follow.  But what if, after a terrible event like that, a desperately unhappy person discovered that the tragedy was also an opportunity, a chance to escape and become someone else entirely?  
As COMPASS NORTH opens, Meredith has been betrayed by her husband and worn down by years of abuse.  In the middle of her misery, a terrible accident hurls her into a new identity and a new life in a small town in Alaska.  At first she is swept away by circumstances, but then she starts to make her own choices.  She begins to rebuild her life anew–but she also discovers that leaving behind her old self isn’t that easy.  COMPASS NORTH is about secrets and the costs of keeping them.  It’s a book of joyful rediscovery too—Meredith has to find the courage to take chances again and to move forward in a new way in her life.  
Alaska, where I lived for many decades, was the perfect place for Meredith’s story to unfold.    Meredith is inspired and challenged by the beauty and harshness of Alaska, and its rugged “end of the road” environment gives her an opportunity to disappear and start anew.  (Haven’t we all yearned to do that, at some point in our lives?)

Author: Stephanie Joyce Cole 
Author Location: Seattle, Washington 
Genre: Women’s Fiction; Romantic Suspense 
Release Date: December1st, 2013 (digital) April 1st, 2014 (print) 
Pages: 224 pages 
Publisher: Champagne Book Group 
Format: Digital eBook, Trade Paperback 
ISBN: 978-1-77155-008-6 

Synopsis: Reeling from the shock of a suddenly shattered marriage, Meredith flees as far from her home in Florida as she can get without a passport: to Alaska. After a freak accident leaves her presumed dead, she stumbles into a new identity and a new life in a quirky small town. Her friendship with a fiery and temperamental artist and her growing worry for her elderly, cranky landlady pull at the fabric of her carefully guarded secret. When a romance with a local fisherman unexpectedly blossoms, Meredith struggles to find a way to meld her past and present so that she can move into the future she craves. But someone is looking for her, someone who will threaten Meredith’s dream of a reinvented life. 

Author Bio 
Stephanie Joyce Cole lived for decades in Alaska. She and her husband recently relocated to Seattle, where they reside with a predatory but lovable Manx cat named Bruno. Stephanie has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. When she's not writing, she's hiking, creating ceramics, practicing yoga, traveling, volunteering and discovering new ways to have fun--and oh yes, reading, reading, reading. 

Find out more about COMPASS NORTH in this exclusive interview with Stephanie Joyce Cole!

Follow along the official blog tour for an inside peek at COMPASS NORTH!

Tuesday, June 10th at Read Me        

Friday, June 13th at Lush book reviews        

Tuesday, June 17th at Zee Monodee - Author's Corner        

Wednesday, June 18th at Archaeolibraianologist - I dig good books!          

Thursday, June 19th at Hines and Bigham's Literary Tryst   

Thursday, June 26th
at Chick Lit Club   

Friday, June 27th at So Little Time...    

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

W... W... W... Wednesdays ~ June 25, 2014

W... W... W... Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. To play along, just answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll read next?

What am I currently reading? I'm currently reading One Last Blind Date by Erin Brady. I just started it, but it looks like it's going to be a fun read. 

What did I recently finish reading?
I finished reading Just One Thing by Holly Jacobs. It was good! It wasn't what I thought it was going to be. By the description and even the book cover, I thought it was going to be a light Contemporary Romance, but I would put it in the Women's Fiction category. Learning to get over loss, finding yourself and love again. I hope to have a review up soon. I'm so behind on writing reviews! 

I also read We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt. I enjoyed reading this YA story. It dealt was some interesting sister/teen issues. 

What do I think I'll read next? I'm thinking about reading Matched by Ally Condie. =)

What are you reading?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Winners to the Accidentally Yours Giveaway!

Hey Everyone! Rafflecopter has picked the winners of the 

Accidentally Yours 

But first, I would like to thank Robin M. Helm for generously offering to give away two copies of her new book!

Thank you, Robin!!

Without further ado...  the winners are:

Deborah ~ signed paperback

Chiara Lanzi ~ e-copy

I also want to say thanks to all who entered. I appreciate that you take the time to read my reviews and comment.
Thank you!

I have emailed the winners. They have 72 hours to respond to the email. If they don't respond a new winner will be picked.

Accidentally Yours
by Robin M. Helm

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

W... W... W... Wednesdays ~ June 18, 2014

W... W... W... Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. To play along, just answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll read next?

What am I currently reading? I'm currently reading Just One Thing by Holly Jacobs. I just started, so I don't have a real feel for it yet, but it's good so far!

What did I recently finish reading? I finished reading Pride and Persistence by Jeanna Ellsworth. I hope to have a review up soon. I've been traveling this week, and while driving I did listen to two audiobooks, Bewitched, Body and Soul: Miss Elizabeth Bennet by P.O. Dixon and Easy by Tammara Webber. Both were rereads and both very good! The miles flew by!

What do I think I'll read next? One Last Blind Date by Erin Brady. I'm looking forward to this! I would have started it already, but it wasn't loaded onto the kindle I had with me. 

What are you reading? I'd love to hear!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Accidentally Yours by Robin M. Helm ~ Review and GIVEAWAY!

Accidentally Yours [Yours by Design, Book 1] by Robin M. Helm 

Publication Date: January 8th, 2014 
Publisher: Robin Helm 
Pages: 252 
Received: paperback from the author for my honest review. 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Accidentally Yours! It’s an interesting story following two men, two centuries apart, in love with the same woman.

In 1795, Fitzwilliam Darcy was struggling with his feelings for Elizabeth Bennet, someone far beneath him socially, but perfect for him in every other way.

In 2013, Will Darcy fears he will never find someone that measures up to the woman he fell in love with, a woman that lives between the pages of a book. Elizabeth Bennet.

The story begins shortly after Fitzwilliam Darcy delivers that letter to Elizabeth, the morning after his disastrous proposal. He is in an accident and is thrown from his horse and slams into a tree. In the future, Will is hit by a speeding car as he steps off a curb. At the time of both accidents, one is hoping he would never have to see Elizabeth again and the other is praying he could meet the real Elizabeth. Their prayers are answered as they switch places!

I loved this story! The way the chapters alternate between the past and present. We follow the lives of both men as though it's happening at the same time, only centuries apart.

I found I did not like Fitzwilliam Darcy very much in this story. I have a feeling before the end of the series I will love him again, but in the beginning, he is more than arrogant, he is harsh and mean in his thinking. This is one of his thoughts after Elizabeth refused him:

“Had you been brought up with any discipline, decorum, or respect for your betters, you would not speak to me thus. Your father should have taken a sterner hand with you. Women and horses require breaking and had you accepted me, I could have done it handily.”

That makes me cringe! That’s not the Darcy I love! But, by the end of this book I'm already seeing him softening. I'm so curious to see what is going to happen to him by the end of the series! 

Now, Will Darcy, on the other hand, is so sweet! The way he takes care of his grandmother is adorable. She raised him after his parents were killed in an accident. Her love of Jane Austen rubbed off on him as they would read Jane’s books and watch the BBC mini-series and movies together. He is well versed in all things Austen, and he is also a history buff, so when he found himself living in the late 1700s, he adapted quickly!

A few things I loved about this story: I like the mystery of the missing money at Rosing! With Fitzwilliam in the 21st century, Will has to figure out who is to blame for it, and find a way to replace it. I love Colonel Fitzwilliam in this story! He believed Will’s story and is there to help him in any way he can. I also love the way Fitzwilliam learns what happened to him. It must have been confusing for him to wake up in the emergency room with the bright lights, beeping machines and tubes attached to his body! 

What I didn’t like about this story: It ended with many questions hanging as the story will be continued in the next book. It is a three book series, and I fear I will have to wait a long time to have all my questions answered. The good news is book 2, Sincerely Yours, is about to be released! Book three, Forever Yours, due to be released fall 2014. So we won't be waiting long!

Accidentally Yours is a fantastic story! I am totally looking forward to reading the whole series!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book for my honest review. 

Add to goodreads.
Buy: Amazon

Connect with Robin M. Helm

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

W... W... W... Wednesdays ~ June 11, 2014

W... W... W... Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. To play along, just answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll read next?

What am I currently reading?
 I'm currently reading Pride and Persistence by Jeanna Ellsworth. I'm about a third of the way through and it's pretty good!  This Pride and Prejudice variation has a  "50 First Dates" thing going on, where Darcy has a head injury and doesn't remember proposing to Elizabeth, so he proposes again, then again and again! Funny. 

What did I recently finish reading? I finished reading The Earl's Enticement by Collette Cameron. I loved it! I think it is Ms. Cameron's best work yet! I should have a review up in a couple of weeks.

What do I think I'll read next? I think I'm going to read One Last Blind Date by Erin Brady. I've read and enjoyed Ms. Brady's other books, The Holiday Gig (my review), The Shopping Swap (my review), and And the Winner Is... (my review), so I'm sure I'm going to enjoy her newest book! 

What are you reading? I'd love to know! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Winner of A Little Bit of Everything LOST Giveaway!

Hey Everyone! Rafflecopter has picked a winner of the 
A Little Bit of Everything LOST

Before I announce the winner, I would like to thank Stephanie Elliot for being a guest here on So little time... and offering to give away a copy of her new book.

Thank you, Stephanie! 

Without further ado, the winner is!

Tami (Tessa B)!

Thank you to all who entered! 

For those trying to guess the lie, here is Stephanie's answer:
In college, I shared a double-dorm suite with two evil twins and that's where I got the idea of the 'Bopsy' Twins.

A Little Bit of Everything LOST
by Stephanie Elliot

Amazon •   goodreads

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, should you purchase a copy of the book through the link here, I will receive a small commission. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

W... W... W... Wednesdays ~ June 4, 2014

W... W... W... Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. To play along, just answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll read next?

What am I currently reading?
I'm reading The Earl's Enticement by Collette Cameron. It's really good! I like how it's covering the last bit of the first book, but we are seeing Adaira side of the story, and then the book goes further into Adaira and Roark's story. I like her feisty personality! 

What did I recently finish reading?
I finished reading Haunting Mr. Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory. I loved it, and I hope to have my review up in the next couple of weeks. (I'm so behind on writing them! Yikes!)

What do I think I'll read next? Again, I'm not sure. I really need to get some reviews done before I read anymore....but I'm really craving some dystopian. I'll let you know next week what I decided on! ;)

What are you reading? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Winners of the J Dawn King Quest Post Giveaway!

It was my honor to have J Dawn King visiting here with us! Thank you for bring with you such wonderful gifts! You are so very generous!  

I also want to say a thanks to you the readers who made Joy feel very welcome! You are all amazing! 

Without further ado... 

Rafflecopter has picked:

Stephanie Hamm ~ A Father's Sins (e-copy)

Chavonne H ~ A Father's Sins (e-copy)

Loren Dushku ~ $50 Amazon Gift Card

Again, Congratulations to the winners! And thank you to all who entered!

Book Blurb: 

How do Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet overcome the consequences of poor decisions made by their fathers when Darcy and Elizabeth were young?

In A Father's Sins, Mr. George Darcy, father of an illegitimate child raised by his steward, Mr. Wickham, agreed with his wife, Anne, that the firstborn son of their marriage would be heir to Pemberley. However, Mr. Darcy loved his eldest son, George Wickham, and indulged him by bringing him to Pemberley to live after the death of his wife. His heir, Fitzwilliam Darcy, paid a heavy price for this decision.

Mr. Thomas Bennet, an educated gentleman and father of five daughters, favored his second born, Elizabeth. Unexpectedly, his wife gave birth to a son and heir. Mr. Bennet, at the persistent urging of his wife, chose not to have his youngest children vaccinated for smallpox. When the plague hit Longbourn it devastated their family. Elizabeth paid the heaviest price for this decision of her father.

What happens when Darcy and Elizabeth meet? Will they be able to overcome the consequences of the choices their fathers made? When George Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. William Collins, and the Fitzwilliam family arrive in Meryton, how will that impact their growing attraction? How does the same decision by Mr. Bennet influence the relationship between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley? Will love have a chance?

This is a stand-alone story.

I have emailed the winners.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu ~ My Review

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu 

Publication Date: June 3, 2014 
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press 
Pages: 208 
Received: ARC e-copy from publisher, via NetGalley 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Rumors... It’s amazing how quickly rumors spread and grow. Especially in a small town where everyone knows your business. It started with a rumor of Alice sleeping with two guys at a party, which is bad enough, but when one of the guys (Brandon), who also happens to be the star quarterback of the football team, is killed in an automobile accident, Alice is blamed for that too. Soon there are more rumors. Alice has gone from being semi-popular to trash. That’s what happen to Alice... and only a few people know The Truth About Alice.

I loved how this story unfolds. Told from the point of view of four key people, Eliane [the popular (mean) girl], Kelsie [Alice's (supposed) best-friend], Josh [Brandon's best friend] and Kurt [nerdy boy-genius, also Brandon's neighbor]. The truth is slowly revealed as they tell their story, more like clear their conscience, to only the reader. These are secrets about themselves that they would never tell anyone else.

It’s a pretty quick read, and I was able to finish it the same day I started. It was hard to put down. I had to know what happens to Alice! We do finally hear from Alice, and I found the ending very touching!

The Truth About Alice shows how damaging rumors can be and even though they weren’t physically bullying Alice, they were definitely emotionally bullying her. My heart went out to Alice. I think it would be a great read for older teens. Some of the subject matter might be too mature for some younger teens and tweens.

I really enjoyed reading The Truth About Alice! It is a fast-paced, emotional read! This is Jennifer Mathieu’s debut novel, and I hope to read more from her!

Disclaimer: I received an e-copy from the publisher, via NetGalley for my honest review.

Buy a copy: Amazon • B&N

Add to goodreads.

Connect with Jennifer Mathieu

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Stephanie Elliot author of A Little Bit of Everything Lost ~ Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hey Everyone! I'm happy to welcome Stephanie Elliot to my blog! A while back I reviewed her book, The Cell Phone Lot, (my review). She has a new book out called, A Little Bit of Everything Lost, and she would like to share an excerpt with you! She also would like to give one lucky person a copy of A Little Bit of Everything Lost!

The Truth Vs. Fiction

I think when writers discover a story they want to write, the initial thought comes from some sort of a truth, whether it's a piece of a news story they've heard or read about, or a part of something that may have happened in their own personal life that they want to expand upon. The idea or kernel of the idea comes from a piece of some truth. At least it did for me with A Little Bit of Everything Lost

When I started writing this novel, the truth was I had gone through my old college journals and discovered lots of entries about a guy who had occupied many of my thoughts, and a lot of my time between sophomore and junior year. I didn't like how it turned out so I decided to create my own ending.

I took this person and started to create a story about him and I needed another character so I built Marnie. It turns out she's nothing like I was, and then as I kept writing, I made Joe into something completely different. So in the end, when I thought I would tell something like my story, I ended up telling all of Joe's and Marnie's story. EXCEPT… yes, there is an exception… there are teeny truths of mine sprinkled throughout the story. Why? Because it's fun to do! Just little things that probably I'll ever only know, or maybe really close friends of mine who were around during my college years might figure out if they think about it hard enough. These little truths don't matter to anyone but me, but they tell a part of my story, my own personal story, and I wanted them in A Little Bit of Everything Lost. So, here for you to guess, are THREE TRUTHS and a LIE about the book:

*In A Little Bit of Everything Lost, Joe shaves Marnie's legs one afternoon. I had a person who was practically a stranger shave my legs once in college.

*The Omega really does exist but I never did what Marnie did in the bathroom at the real Omega.

*When I first starting writing this book, Marnie was going to be a librarian at the local community college and have a crush on a college guy.

*In college, I shared a double-dorm suite with two evil twins and that's where I got the idea of the 'Bopsy' Twins.

If you would like to leave a comment and guess the LIE, you can be entered to win a copy of A Little Bit of Everything Lost, either in Kindle format or as a trade paperback, and once the winner* is chosen, I'll tell you which one is the LIE!

*Winner must be U.S. or Canada only. To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below!


At 19, Marnie plunged into first love with Joe, a guy who was completely wrong for her. Their romance was fast and exhilarating and like nothing Marnie had ever experienced or understood. Just as quickly as it began, it was over, with no explanation. He left her with unanswered questions and unexpected feelings of loss and regret, and a quiet grief she would carry with her for the next fifteen years. 

When Joe returns, Marnie is a 34-year-old wife and mother to two rambunctious little boys, who is slowly healing from a devastating loss. All the emotions she suppressed from the past fifteen years surge to the surface, threatening to ruin her marriage and destroy her family. She'll need to confront the one person who hurt her the most to realize that love and loss sometimes go hand in hand… and that you have to live with some of your toughest choices for the rest of your life. 

A Little Bit of Everything Lost is part coming-of-age/part love story. It's a story about a woman desperate to make peace with the past. It's for all women who have ever experienced the magnitude of first love, whether it was a lasting bond or a fleeting moment. Because first love - while it might not have been the best love - is a love none of us ever forgets.

Chapter One
1988: What Marnie Remembers
Don’t go any lower, don’t go any lower. Oh my God, that feels so good, don’t go any lower.
“Because, it feels too good.”
He looked at her and smiled. A smile that took her breath away, and scared her all at the same time.
“Plus, I don’t even know your name.” She thought it started with a J.
“I told you. It’s Joe. And you’re Marnie."

Chapter Two
October 2004
The whole process irritated the hell out of Marnie.
The microwave timer buzzed, frozen pancakes warmed and ready.
“You’re going to be late for the bus!” she yelled as she searched the meat drawer for ham. 
“Why don’t I do this the night before?” Marnie muttered into the fridge. She found meat, made sandwiches, and moved to the pantry to grab syrup for the pancakes. 
The lid was sticky. 
She heard the boys arguing about who got to play Xbox first when they got home from school. They were going to be late. Again. And the lid was covered in syrup. Again.
“Damn it, boys! Get down here. Now!”
They were still arguing as they bounded down the stairs and Marnie knew Jeremy had taken his forefinger and thumb and whacked his younger brother on the head because Trey yelped, “I’m telling!” 
“No tattling,” Marnie threatened. “Or there’ll be no soccer after school.”
“Good. I hate soccer practice,” Jeremy said.
“Me too,” Trey agreed with his older brother.
Marnie shook her head. There was no winning here. She was losing the battle that was good parenting, and she didn’t know how she was going to survive. High school – hell, junior high school – was still eons away. 
The rumble of the bus wheels turning onto the street signaled panic in the boys’ eyes.
“The bus!” Trey screamed.
“Grab a granola bar, your lunches and backpacks, and run!”
No matter what chaos each morning brought, Jeremy and Trey were endearing still, her little boys, taking the time to kiss her, and to tell her they loved her. Every morning, no matter what, they managed to love her. If only that were enough. If only.
As Trey buried his head into Marnie for a hug, she inhaled the little boy smell of him. Oh God, how she wished they didn’t have to grow up, didn’t have to become big boys. Big ones – well, big eight-year-olds like Jeremy – were already showing signs of pulling away, of needing her less and less. Of asking for fewer cuddles, and practically no more bedtime stories, wanting rather to stay up late to watch basketball with Dad when he was home. At least six-year-old Trey could still be babied. He and Marnie would snuggle at night and make up stories about worms named Pinkster and Swirmy, who lived in huts in their backyard, and ate muddy cakes filled with flies.
Marnie sighed. “I love you boys. Have a good day.” She touched her belly.
“Love you too, Mom. Bye!” And the door banged behind them. Her double tornado gone. She heard them screaming down the drive, Trey shouting for Jeremy to wait up for him, always, always chasing after his older brother. 
Marnie opened the microwave and took out the mini pancakes the boys hadn’t had time to eat. She grabbed the syrup bottle again, forgetting it was sticky.
“Damn it,” she said to no one, because no one was home. It was Tuesday, and Stuart was gone.
She pulled a paper towel off the roll and noticed it had a Fourth of July stars-and-stripes pattern on it. Summer seemed like forever ago. She didn’t want to remember the summer that didn't happen. She didn’t want to think of fireworks and pool parties, barbecues and sparklers. And her boys, their tanned little bodies, their goggled faces, swimming until they were so tired they would collapse into their beds with no coaxing. She didn’t want to think about parades and fresh sugary-tart lemonade, neighborhood get-togethers, of weekend trips to her parent’s lake house, all the things they didn't get to do. She didn’t want to think about what she should be doing now.
Marnie turned the faucet on cold, saturated the paper towel, and rubbed the top of the syrup bottle as best as she could to clean it off. Then she doused the pancakes with syrup and popped the mini pancakes into her mouth, one by one, filling the void with the golden yeasty fluff, not feeling or tasting, just chewing… chewing until they were all gone; until the anxiety settled in the pit of her stomach and she felt like she could begin her day. 
She ran a mental list through her head: the dry cleaners, she had to proof photos from last weekend's shoot, a trip to the grocery store. And she would have to stop by the post office to mail that package that had been sitting on the foyer table for over a week now. The one Stuart had asked her to mail. 
When he got home last Thursday and spotted it still there, he had sighed. “I didn’t have time today,” she said. “Tomorrow,” she promised. “I’ll get to it tomorrow.”
“I’m home now. I can mail it tomorrow,” he had said, but he hadn’t gotten around to doing it either.
The phone rang, Marnie wiped her sticky fingers on another paper towel, and checked Caller ID. It was Collette. She hadn’t talked to Collette since last week so she settled onto a kitchen bar stool, ready for one of her usual pep talks. Marnie was desperate for one today.
“Hey you,” Marnie answered.
“Mar, hon. He’s back in town.”
Marnie felt a glob of doughy pancake she had just devoured rise to a lump in her throat.

Chapter Three
July 1988
What Marnie really remembered about that night, the night she met him, was bad choice of underwear. She wasn’t looking to meet anyone, didn’t consider she might be taking off her Zena jean shorts and striped tank top; didn’t think a guy would be slipping her bra straps from her shoulders to feel the firm flesh of her breasts, to pinch her nipples until they tightened.
The underwear. The one thing – the only thing – that held her back. Because she didn’t know if her underwear were sexy enough for a guy to peel from her hips, to slide down her thighs, to toss to the floor.
“I can’t.”
“Why?” He nuzzled into her, his stubbled chin sending goose bumps everywhere, and then he licked her neck, and she melted into his shoulder, smelling beer and cologne. They were both buzzed. She shivered, in the dimly lit room, on a bed with a guy she hardly knew. She didn’t know how far it would go, how far he would try to go, how far she would let him go.
She decided she wouldn’t go any further. Only because she was probably wearing her Hanes yellow cotton panties. Instead of giving him an answer, she felt for his face, and kissed him again, biting his lower lip and pulling his hands back up to where they had been. That was feeling pretty incredible anyway, and he was a great kisser.
He hadn’t asked again, and for that, he won some major points. She liked him. 
The party was loud. She remembered Phil Collins’ song, Take Me Home blaring on a tape deck, and him whispering, “I’d like to take you home.”
She lifted her hips, and although he kept on his shorts, she could feel him through the denim. He felt big. Really big. Marnie liked knowing he was so turned on. And Marnie knew if she stopped him right now, he’d probably call. And that’s what she wanted.
“Stop,” she breathed heavily into his ear, and nipped at his lobe. “We gotta stop.”
“We just do. You’re turning me on too much.”
There, she said it. Other times, with other guys, she said it only to be a tease. This time she said it because she meant it. And she really, really didn’t want him to see her yellow cotton undies. They’d have to wait. Plus, she wasn’t quite sure about his name. She thought it started with a J.
He rolled off her, frustrated, she could tell, but then he sighed, leaned onto his elbow, hooked his leg over hers, and played with the strands of her hair. This gesture felt more intimate than everything else they had been doing.
“Your eyes are pretty.”
“Oh, come on,” Marnie laughed. “What kind of crap line is that? They’re brown.”
“No they’re not. They’re chocolaty.” He stared at her. Kept staring. 
Marnie stared back. Like a game. She decided she wasn’t going to say anything, just wanted to stare into his hazel eyes.
Finally, “Don’t you want to know my name?” he asked.
“Do you want to know mine?”
“I think I’m interested in that, yes.” He continued to twirl the piece of her loose hair. “And a lot more. Later. Okay?”
“Marnie. Marnie’s my name.”
“Marnie. That’s different.”
“I never knew a Marnie before. That short for something?”
“Actually, long. For Mar.” She touched his shoulder, just to feel that he was there and real. His skin was warm. And tan. 
“Mar. I like that. I’m Joe. Short for Joseph.”
She giggled. “Nice to meet you, Joe.”
He smiled back at her, and then settled his head down on the pillow. They were on the bed of one of his friends, she guessed, because he had led her into the room after the party started dying down, after the game of “Have You Ever” ended with him asking her, “Have you ever seen the bedroom here?” 
Marnie hadn’t even known whose house it was; she just knew Collette had a friend who knew the kid who was having the party, and that maybe there would be some cute guys there. Collette had definitely been right.
“Give me your number?” he asked, still playing with her hair, tickling her neck with his fingers. It made her tingle, and she thought of her damned underwear again, wishing they had been different. Maybe. 
She rattled off her number and when he said he needed to write it down, Marnie replied, “You want to call me, you’ll remember it.”
“Tell it to me one more time. Slower.”

Chapter Four
October 2004 
“Who saw him?”
Collette was barely in the door when Marnie shot the question at her. 
“What’d he look like? Was he with anyone? How long’s he in town?”
Marnie felt on the verge of a breakdown reoccurrence, and after what she’d been through the past summer, the reappearance of Joe was going to bring her to the edge. 
She was so fragile, and Collette of all people had known her history, had been there when she had first met Joe, fifteen years ago, when he had stormed into her life, and created a whirlwind, changed her from being the person she might have been. And even though they had been together for just a short while, he had thrust himself upon her so abruptly and passionately, she hadn't seen it coming. And just like that, he was gone.
Marnie’s face was flushed, she paced the room like a caged animal, plumped pillows, and wiped non-existent dust. She was a nervous wreck at the mere thought he could be back.
"So, where is he?" she asked again.
“Whoa, Marnie, how about, ‘Hey Collette, would you like some coffee?’”
“Sorry. Coffee?” And Collette followed Marnie into the kitchen where she poured one cup for Collette, cream and sugar, and one for herself, black.
“Thanks. So anyway, no one’s actually seen him yet. Fran's mom ordered something from their family bakery last week and found out his grandmother’s turning ninety, and that the whole family’s coming into town for it. So, technically, I guess he’s not officially back yet. But he’s coming back. For the party.”
“His grandmother’s still alive? When’s the party?”
“I don’t know, around Thanksgiving maybe?”
Marnie sat with her head in her hands, the scent of coffee filling the room, steam wafting from their cups. Collette knew enough to wait quietly while Marnie let her thoughts form, the history of her past churning through her mind.
“What am I going to do?” Marnie said, more to herself than to Collette.
“What you’ve wanted to do all of these years, I suppose.” Collette said.
“I have to see him.”
Collette nodded.
“I have to tell him.”


Stephanie Elliot is the author of A Little Bit of Everything Lost, What She Left Us, and the novella, The Cell Phone Lot. She is also a writer and editor and has written for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. In her spare time she edits manuscripts for other writers and proofs executive documents. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

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