Monday, April 25, 2016

Beth Fehlbaum's The Patience Trilogy Guest Post + Giveaway

The Patience Trilogy
Beth Fehlbaum
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Steady On Books
Date of Publication: March 29, 2016
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Courage in Patience begins Ashley's story. . .
Courage to endure.
Courage to survive.
Courage to overcome.
Tenacious 14-year-old Ashley Asher claws her way back to normalcy after enduring six years of an unimaginable Hell. Uprooted from her negligent and selfish mother, Ashley finds solace in the safety of her father's home. Building a relationship with her stepmother, she's finally able to open up and confront the past that haunts her. With the help of her stepmom, therapist, and a group of troubled adolescents, Ashley battles her demons, struggling to find the normal teenage life she's always wanted. Can Ashley find the strength and courage to overcome the horrors of her past while fighting for the future she so deserves? PURCHASE LINKS:      AMAZON      BARNES & NOBLE
Hope in Patience continues the story. . . 
Hope to heal. 
Hope to grow. 
Hope to evolve. 
Still shattered from the horrific events of her childhood years, 15-year-old Ashley Asher is barely holding it together. Battling her vicious and vile mother who still sees her as the villain and not the victim, Ashley's stuck in a cycle of self-injury and self-hatred as a result--despite the many people who trying to pull her out of it. Adolescence is hard, but throw in a new school, a new family, and a father she hardly knows, Ashley's need for self-destruction and pain intensifies. Her new therapist, Dr. Matt, may be unconventional with bizarre antics, but he'll do whatever it takes to pull Ashley out of the doldrums. Ashley just wants a crack at normalcy. But can her counselor and the friends and family who love her teach her that "crazy is the new normal" and that nobody has it easy?
Truth in Patience concludes the story. . .

Truth in the past. 
Truth in reality. 
Truth for tomorrow. 
Finally adjusting to life in small town Texas, Ashley Asher sees a glimmer of what happiness really is. Even her new relationship with the attentive Joshua Brandt shows promise of a first romance. But Ashley's fear of intimacy after years of unspeakable abuse may cause friction and distance in their relationship. Determined to prove to her that she's healing, Dr. Matt, her beloved therapist, shows her that "life is messy." And he doesn't know how messy it is about to get. When her mother decides that Ashley belongs back in their hometown with her, Ashley is forced into another family feud that she isn't prepared for. Refusing to leave behind the new life she created in Texas, Ashley and her mother go head-to-head. But can Ashley finally find the courage and strength to battle her demons when her mother might be the biggest demon of all? PURCHASE LINKS:     AMAZON      BARNES & NOBLE 
Beth Fehlbaum: Guest Post # 1

The Patience Trilogy: Courage in Patience, Hope in Patience, and Truth in Patience, are the story of a fifteen-year-old girl's rocky path to recovery from a childhood of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. I was inspired to write them by the therapist I worked with for six years as I fought to recover from a traumatic childhood with the same experiences.

I had been writing short stories and poems and sharing them with my doctor, and one day he suggested that I try writing a novel. I was struggling mightily to pull myself out of my grief, rage, and sense of disbelief at the fact that my mother turned her back on me--and it took about four months of stopping and starting, always ending up in the same place: asking "Why did this happen to me?!" and of course finding no answer.

I imagined what it would have been like if I had made an outcry when I was a teenager instead of keeping the secret for years until I broke, unable to manage my life any longer. (A better way to put it is this: I was batsh*t crazy, honey.)

Then I imagined a girl, Ashley, who had never known her biological father, and I created a situation in which the girl is removed from her abusive home and placed with this man. The only impression Ashley has of him is the horror stories she's heard from her mother about his violent temper and alcoholism.

Ashley was unaware that her father, David, stopped drinking the day Ashley's mother left him when Ashley was three months old, and that he carried great shame within himself for abdicating his duty as her father. When he finds out that his ex-wife's husband is sexually abusing his daughter, he steps up and meets Ashley then brings her home to Patience, Texas.
That's when Ashley's path to recovery begins.

People are often surprised when they read The Patience Trilogy and find a lot of humor in the pages. I know, I know: how could I even think of anything funny related to Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA)?

There is nothing funny about CSA, to be sure, but humans are funny creatures, and I populated fictional Patience, Texas with eccentric characters for comic relief.
There's Billy Ray Sublett, Ashley's classmate Dub's stepfather, who has a racing lawnmower named "Bubba's Dream."

Kevin Cooper, another of Ashley's classmates, is a mountain of a boy with a baby face, thinning blonde hair, a heart of gold (especially when it comes to his girlfriend, Roxanne Blake), but not a whole lot going on upstairs. That's why Roxanne's ready to kill him in Truth in Patience, when he whips out his wallet and shows everyone the condom he carries "just in case" when dating and relationships are the topic in Human Ecology class.

K. C. Williamson, newly moved to Patience in Hope in Patience, has a mom who recently acquired a Bejeweler machine, which she uses, to K.C.'s horror, to create a sequined diaper on K.C.'s classic Nirvana t-shirt depicting the Nevermind album cover that features a nude baby boy in a swimming pool. Mrs. Williamson thinks the rainbow symbols K.C. collects are related to her loving her My Little Pony doll when she was little. But then, again, she also thinks that if she subs at the high school enough and keeps an eye on her daughter, K.C. won't "keep" being gay.

Marvella Brown, the Patience High School secretary, can't stand Mr. Walden, the principal, so whenever he does something especially repugnant or boneheaded, Marvella calls her friend, a newspaper reporter, and gets the story splashed on the front page.  

Ashley's best friend, Zaquoiah "Z.Z." Freeman, is five-and-a-half feet of solid rock. Her beaded braids sound like rattlers when she's especially put out with Pam Littlejohn, who acts as if she's the only girl on their track team able to win. Pam will be lucky if Z.Z. doesn't knock her upside the head, unless someone else does it first.

Ashley's stepbrother, Ben, wears Christmas boxers all year round, and he and his cousin, Steven, conspire with Steven's dad, Frank, to blow a toilet skyward with Fourth of July fireworks.

Finally, Ashley may be a mess, and she may have a long way to go, but she's equipped with a dry sense of humor and perseverance that won't quit. She's not a sad sack, and the people in her life wouldn't allow her to be one if she was so inclined. Ashley's got a sharp sense of humor about her mental problems, for example, she wonders, when completing a school assignment about self-identity, if she can just list her disorders instead of personality traits that make her who she is.  (Those of you with disorders are hearing a rim-shot (ba-dum-bum!) just about now. Hopefully.)

These are just some of the characters inhabiting Patience, Texas. I hope you'll love them as much as I do, and find yourself laughing out loud at them the way I did when I wrote their stories.

In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is a secondary English-Language Arts teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading. Beth is a featured author on the 2015-2016 Spirit of Texas Reading List- High School. She is the author of the Kirkus Starred Reviewed Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014) and The Patience Trilogy: Courage, Hope, and Truth (Steady On Books, 2016). Beth is a member of the RAINN (Rape , Abuse, Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau. She has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups. She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope.”   Beth is a survivor of a traumatic childhood, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope. Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.
Each win autographed copies of all three books in The Patience Trilogy  
Plus a $50 Amazon Gift Card
Each win autographed copies of Courage in Patience 
Winner names drawn 4/19, 4/24, 4/27, 4/30, 5/3
  April 19 - May 3, 2016
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out these great stops on the Lone Star Literary Tour!Truth In Patience by Beth FehlbaumApril 19-May 3, 2016

4/19: Margie's Must Reads - Review
4/20: Books and Broomsticks - Author Interview #1
4/21: Missus Gonzo - Courage Excerpt
4/22: The Librarian Talks - Review
4/23: The Crazy Booksellers - Promo
4/24: The Page Unbound - Review
4/25: It's a Jenn World - Guest Post
4/26: StoreyBook Reviews - Author Interview #2
4/27: My Book Fix Blog - Review
4/28: Forgotten Winds - Hope Excerpt
4/29: Byers Editing Reviews & Blog - Author Interview #3
4/30: Because This is My Life Y'all - Guest Post
5/1: Hall Ways Blog - Truth Excerpt
5/2: Country Girl Bookaholic - Review
5/3: Blogging for the Love of Books - Review

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tri Color Pasta Salad

I've been trying to make some healthier dishes lately and pulled this bad boy out of my mental list of recipes. This tri color pasta salad is stock full of fresh veggies and a healthy vinaigrette that really enhances all elements of this dish and sends the flavor off the charts. You can use any type of pasta you like or any mix of veggies you choose to. The recipe makes a lot of pasta salad so feel free to cut it in half if you want to.

1 box tri color rotini pasta
2 broccoli crowns, cut into bite size pieces
2 green zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
2 yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces
2 bell pepper (you choose color), cut into bite size pieces
1 package grape tomatoes
1 tbs Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb
1 tbs dried basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan (optional)

Ingredients for Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and black pepper to taste

1. In a large pot filled with boiling salted water, add broccoli and let cook for a couple minutes.
2. While broccoli cooks, use this time to chop veggies. Place cut veggies in a large mixing bowl.
3. Remove broccoli after 5 minutes and place in mixing bowl.
4. Add pasta and let cook until al dente (just a tiny bit of a bite to it).
5. Use remaining time to chop rest of veggies.
6. VINAIGRETTE: To make vinaigrette, mix all liquids until emulsified. Add seasonings one at a time. Make sure everything is blended well. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed.
7. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to veggies.
8. Mix pasta and veggies then add vinaigrette. Mix until veggies and pasta is well coated.
9. Add basil, Mrs. Dash, and parsley and mix well.
10. At this point, you can add the Parmesan and serve. I like to let it refrigerate overnight because that gives the vinaigrette a chance to create some magic.

As you can see, the dish is delectable! The vinaigrette really offsets the natural flavors of the veggies and the pasta. This pasta salad is very filling and guilt free! Other ways to change it up would be to add fresh baby spinach or even add some red onion. If you want, you can remove all the spices and add Asian inspired flavors or even Tex Mex spices would be delicious here. Get creative with this dish as it lends itself to be as versatile as you want it to be. If you are not a traditional "cook", this is a great first dish to try. The only thing that's actually "cooked" is the broccoli and pasta! I'm telling you this is a foolproof dish.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out. I may actually have to make this and change it up with some new spices and veggies.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hell to Pay by Pamela Fagan Hutchins Book Review + Giveaway

(What Doesn't Kill You, #7)
An Emily Romantic Mystery
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Genre: Romantic Mystery

Publisher: SkipJack Publishing

Date of Publication: March 26, 2016

# of pages: 383
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Big-haired paralegal and former rodeo queen Emily has her life back on track. Her adoption of Betsy seems like a done deal, her parents have reunited, and she’s engaged to her sexy boss Jack. Then client Phil Escalante’s childhood buddy Dennis drops dead, face first into a penis cake at the adult novelty store Phil owns with his fiancĂ©e Nadine, one of Emily’s best friends. The cops charge Phil with murder right on the heels of his acquittal in a trial for burglarizing the Mighty is His Word church offices. Emily’s nemesis ADA Melinda Stafford claims a witness overheard Phil fighting with Dennis over a woman. Before he can mount a defense, Phil falls into a diabetic coma, leaving Nadine shaken and terrified. Meanwhile Betsy’s ultra-religious foster parents apply to adopt her, and Jack starts acting weird and evasive. Emily feels like a calf out of a chute, pulled between the ropes of the header and the heeler, as she fights to help Phil and Nadine without losing Betsy and Jack.
I absolutely loved Hell to Pay! I read Hell To Pay without having read the previous in the series and I was so afraid that I'd miss out on something. Luckily, Pamela gave me just enough to keep me informed as I read about Emily and her world. I quickly got sucked into who killed Dennis. All the while, there's all these other factors going on in Emily's life frustrating her and myself! She's a strong woman and handled things a lot better than I would! 

Pamela created such a vivid world that I could just see this turning into a TV series. I love Emily's character and how she deals with life. I imagine talking to her about her problems and already knowing what she would tell me to do. I love her go get em spirit and how strong of a woman she is. We need all the strong females we can get in our books and Emily is as tough as they come! 

I've started reading Pamela's series from the beginning and I must say she's just fabulous. Give Hell to Pay a read and when you're done, go back and read all the others! Trust me on this, you are going to enjoy them as much as I am. 

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes overly long emails, best-selling, award-winning mysteries (WINNER USA Best Book Award, Fiction: Cross Genre, Finalist) and hilarious nonfiction. The Houston Press named her as one of Houston's Top 10 Authors (2014). She is a recovering attorney and investigator who resides deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and in the frozen north of Wyoming. Pamela has a passion for great writing and smart authorpreneurship as well as long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs, traveling in the Bookmobile, and her Keurig. Download her mystery Saving Grace, free everywhere, and visit her  website or drop her a note pamela at pamelahutchins dot com. And if you would like her to visit your book club, women’s group, writer’s group, or library, all you have to do is ask.



April 11 - 20, 2016

Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

4/11     Margie's Must Reads                Review

4/13     The Page Unbound                   Author Interview #1

4/14     All for the Love of the Word      Review

4/15     Because This is My Life Y'all       Guest Post #1

4/16     My Book Fix Blog                      Excerpt

4/17     It's a Jenn World                       Review

4/18     A Novel Reality                         Author Interview #2

4/19     Texas Book Lover                      Guest Post #2
4/20     Hall Ways Blog                          Review

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