Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jenny Colgan offers up some treats...plus a book giveaway

Photo courtesy of Facebook
Today, Jenny Colgan is here to tell us how she writes two characters in two different timelines. Her novel, Sweetshop of Dreams was published in the US earlier this month by Sourcebooks and they have a copy for someone in the US or Canada!

A former columnist for The Guardian, Jenny Colgan contributes regularly to national BBC radio and is the author of more than eleven bestselling novels, including her recent international bestsellers The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris published in 2014 and Welcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the 2013 Romantic Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists Association. She is married with three children and lives in London and France. You can visit her at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

How do you balance writing between two timelines in Sweetshop of Dreams? Did you find it difficult to switch between Lillian and Rosie?

Actually it wasn't my intention to switch timelines at all. It was Rosie's story really, I just included a flashback to Lilian's past to give her some context in terms of the type of woman she was.

Then, I got really caught up in her story, I loved writing it and just adored the romance. It is slipping out of living memory, the Second World War; the stakes were so much higher then. So it was fun, plus I really enjoyed Lilian's cranky voice when she's talking about contemporary candy- I like her absolute refusal to have chewing gum in her sweetshop because she thinks it's vulgar!- so I just put more in.

It also, I hope, contrasts nicely with Rosie who, although she is a lot younger, obviously is much more conventional than her great-aunt; she's a nurse, so she's always trying to be sensible and look after people. I really like their dynamic. I do think people who look after the elderly well are just about the best people on earth. It's rewarding to look after a baby; to help and be kind and sweet and patient with people at the other ends of their lives is much harder.

To get back to the book, that's the fun of writing too: you can always have a shot at trying something new, and seeing if it works or not. I remember the first time I ever wrote a flashback, about ten books ago, and sending it to a writer friend of mine, saying, 'does this work?' and her saying, 'why on earth do you think I know what I'm doing either?". Which made me feel a lot better! And that's why it's always worth giving everything a shot...

Best,
Jenny


Synopsis:
Rosie Hopkins's life is...comfortable. She has a steady nursing job, a nice apartment, and Gerard, her loyal (if a bit boring) boyfriend. And even though she might like to pursue a more rewarding career, and Gerard doesn't seem to have any plans to propose, Rosie's not complaining. Things could be worse. Right?

Life gets a bit more interesting when Rosie's mother sends her out to the country to care for her ailing great aunt Lilian, who owns an old-fashioned sweetshop. But as Rosie gets Lilian back on her feet, breathes a new life into the candy shop, and gets to know the mysterious and solitary Stephen—whose family seems to own the entire town—she starts to think that settling for what's comfortable might not be so great after all. (Courtesy of Sourcebooks.)

Buy Links:
Amazon * BAM * B&N * IndieBound * Indigo * Kobo

How to win:  Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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US/Canada only. Giveaway ends August 27th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chick Lit Cheerleader: Make no bones about it... (plus a book giveaway)

This month, our Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker, has decided to take a turn in the interviewer's chair. She invited one of her favorite authors, Eileen Goudge, to be the interviewee. Eileen is offering up THREE   e-books of her mystery novel, Bones and Roses, to readers anywhere in the world! (Such a rock star!)

Take it away, Jen!



Eileen Goudge is back in a big way.  Her newest page-turner, BONES AND ROSES, is a cozy mystery brimming with plot twists and turns.  No, she hasn’t walked away from women’s fiction for something darker.  Plenty of love interests, best friend issues, and hilarity abound in this novel for the fans who know and love her richly detailed novels.  Penning a mystery is something Eileen has wanted to explore for some time.  After writing 32 books for young adults (including several in the SWEET VALLEY HIGH series), and 15 in women’s fiction, I’m giddy she has finished the first installment in the Cyprus Bay Series.  Truly, she has written a gem.  Here’s the book description via Amazon:

Welcome to the northern California seaside town of Cypress Bay, where the surf's up, the sixties live on and long-buried secrets are about to surface.

From home invasions to cheating spouses, Rest Easy Property Management owner Leticia "Tish" Ballard thought she'd seen it all. Almost four years sober after flambĂ©ing her real estate career in an alcohol-fueled blowout, she's finally in a good place in her life when the discovery of skeletal human remains rocks her world and plunges her headlong into solving a decades-old crime. Now she must delve into the darkness of her own past, including the one-night stand gone horribly wrong with Spence Breedlove, who happens to be the lead detective on the case. 

When the truth comes out at long last, Tish finds herself pitted against an enemy who will stop at nothing in a fight for her own life.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

In all transparency, I’m a lucky duck to know and love this amazing lady.  We text many mornings while sipping caffeine laced tea in respective zip codes.  She’s someone I turn to in the midst of bad days and her wisdom and wit inevitably take the weight of my world off of my plate.  We’ve decided we could room together in the old folks’ home one day, and that’s saying something!  Whether Eileen is a new author name to you, or you’ve loved her previous books, she’s excited to give you all an opportunity to win a digital copy of BONES AND ROSES!  Here she is, New York Times Bestselling Author, Eileen Goudge.

You took big leaps of faith with your new novel, BONES AND ROSES.  Tell me why you chose to pen a mystery after making your mark in women’s fiction.

It was a genre leap, but I didn’t go from women’s fiction to hard-boiled crime, so it’s not as big a leap as you might image. I think the fans of my other novels will find Bones and Roses (Book one of my Cypress Bay mystery series) similar in many ways. My heroine, Tish, not unlike the heroines of my women’s fiction titles, is flawed but has a good heart. She’s plucky and tries to do the right thing, though she occasionally puts her foot in it.  Bones and Roses is a mystery, sure, but it’s also about friendship and family and the dramas therein—plot elements that are my trademark.    

You made the decision to self-publish your new title after an established career with traditional publishers.  Why was the time right for you to make this move professionally?

I felt I’d hit a brick wall with traditional publishing. The triple whammy—recession, dwindling sales for all but front-list print books, and general atmosphere of caution that had publishers loath to go out on a limb for established authors who’d hit a career lull— more or less flattened me. Like in the Road Runner cartoons except I couldn’t peel myself off the wall, at least not in traditional publishing. That’s what made indie publishing so attractive – I could get a fresh start and be judged (by readers) solely on the merits of my work and not my prior sales figures.    

Where did the inspiration come from regarding the bug sculptures created by one of the characters in BONES AND ROSES?  It reminded me of the white mice Steve Carell’s character collected and—should I say—refurbished in DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS. 

My artist friend, Lisa Wood, was the inspiration for the character of Ivy in Bones and Roses.  She makes these amazing insect dioramas that you are like nothing you’ve ever seen. What might sound kind of icky is actually strangely beautiful, and of course utterly unique and as eccentric as Lisa herself.  One reader expressed a desire to own one. Well, guess what? You can purchase them if you live within driving distance of San Francisco, where her curiosity shop is located. Last I heard she doesn’t ship, due to how fragile her dioramas are.

The love and devotion you share with your husband, entertainment reporter, Sandy Kenyon, is such a lovely thing to see.  I know he’s your biggest cheerleader.  What’s it like being married to someone who’s been immortalized on an episode of South Park, and whose face pops up on TV screens, in New York City cabs, sharing the latest movie reviews?

Very cool, because he doesn’t let it go to his head. He enjoys interacting with fans who come up to him on the street, but that’s only because he’s a people person and loves to tell his stories.  The other day, a young man on the subway asked if he could take a selfie with Sandy. Sandy was happy to oblige, and the young man missed his subway stop as a result. “Totally worth it,” he declared cheerfully as he got off at the next stop.  What I like most is that my husband is totally not in awe of the celebrities he interviews, which includes glamorous actresses who are among the world’s great beauties.  Afterwards he always says to me, “She’s not as pretty as you.” The best part is, he’s not just saying it. He truly believes it. God bless the rose-colored glasses of love!

You’re planning a dinner party at your home.  If you could seat anyone around the table, living or no longer with us, who are the lucky invitees and why?  *Jen crosses her fingers she makes the cut*  

You totally make the cut, Jen! Place of honor for my girl!  All the Beach Babes would have to be on the guest list: you, me, Samantha Stroh Bailey, Meredith Schorr, Francine LaSala and Julie Valerie (so named due to an infamous girls’ weekend at the beach where wine flowed & secrets were divulged that shall not be revealed – except maybe in the pages of our novels, and then heavily disguised so as to protect the identities of the real life people involved).  I would also invite Stephen King so he could entertain us with ghost stories.


The ultimate dinner party! (L to R: Jen, Julie, Meredith,
Eileen, Francine, Samantha)

What will readers see coming from you next?
Book two of my Cypress Bay mystery series, Swimsuit Body, in which Tish Ballard’s adventures and misadventures continue.

New York Times’ bestselling novelist Eileen Goudge wrote her first mystery, “Secret of the Mossy Cave,” at the age of eleven and went on to pen the perennially popular GARDEN OF LIES, which was published in 22 languages around the world, and numerous other women’s fiction titles. BONES AND ROSES is the first book in her Cypress Bay Mysteries series.  She lives in New York City with her husband, television film critic and entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon.  Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.


Thanks to Jen for putting this interview together for us and to Eileen for sharing her book with our readers!

How to win:
Tell us three guests (living or dead, famous or not) who would make for a memorable dinner party.

One entry per person.


Entries without contact information (e-mail address, Twitter account, Facebook page, etc.) will NOT be counted (and we do NOT count "Google +" as contact information).

Worldwide. Giveaway ends August 26th at midnight EST.

Guest Book Review: Fallen for Rock

By Bethany Petty

Ah, classical music. Beethoven, Bach, Mozart...does it get any better? Such is the opinion of Emily, bank associate and girlfriend of hard rocker, Nate. Emily just doesn’t understand her boyfriend’s obsession with rock music. It’s loud and angry and not “music,” according to Emily.

Differences arise in her relationship with Nate, and Emily decides to call it quits. Soon after the relationship ends, Emily receives backstage passes to a rock concert by Nate’s favorite band, MonX. As she ponders their relationship more and more, she realizes what a horrible mistake she has made and desperately tries to win him back.

Can Emily deal with Nate’s rock music affection, or is their relationship too broken to mend?

Fallen For Rock takes the reader on a wild ride as Emily falls out of and back in love with her rocker boyfriend, hangs out with a rock band, and really “gets to know” the lead singer of Nate’s favorite band. At one point in the book, I couldn’t decide which relationship to root for and who I wanted Emily to become! When I finished the book...and the wonderful epilogue that accompanied it...I found myself begging for more of Fallen For Rock!

Any Chick Lit fan will LOVE Fallen For Rock! Sequel! Sequel!

Thanks to Nicky Wells for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Bethany Petty is a mother, wife, full time high school social studies teacher, educational technology nerd, reader, runner, blogger, and more! Bethany holds a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Missouri - Columbia. She enjoys reading a wide variety of books, and is excited to pass her love of reading on to her two young daughters. Bethany maintains two blogs: Teaching with Technology, in which she discusses educational technology topics as well as their classroom uses, and My Eclectic Bookshelf, where she reviews awesome books and posts recipes, apps, ideas, and anecdotes for mommies!

More by Nicky Wells:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Laura Kenyon has her own "happily ever after"...plus a book giveaway

Laura Kenyon was here in the beginning of the year to introduce her debut novel, Desperately Ever After (reviewed here), which is the kick-off to her three-book series. She's back now to take us deeper into the woods with book two, Damsels in Distress. Since her last visit, she became a mom for the first time and while she's not getting much sleep at the moment, she's really happy with her little "princess."


Today, Laura is here to talk more about her "Desperately Ever After" series and she has a copy of Damsels in Distress for a lucky US reader (winner's choice of print or Kindle). You can find her at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

What inspired you to write the "Desperately Ever After" series?
The idea actually came to me decades ago (the result of a Disney-obsessed kid growing up) and was continually fueled by life experience and shows like Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City. I loved the happily-ever-after Disney films, but couldn’t stand how quickly the characters always fell madly in love. The implication was that because they were physically attracted to each other, they were perfectly matched in every other way…and their lives were going to be filled with butterflies and rainbows and infinite happiness forever after.

Real life just doesn’t work that way. So I began to imagine what happened next. I wanted the untold story. Would Cinderella be happy ten years down the road, when she had four kids, could no longer fit into her ball gown, and was responsible for running a kingdom? How long would it take “Beast” to go right back to his old, selfish ways after Beauty broke his curse? And for Book Two, how would Sleeping Beauty fare being uprooted from the life she knew, tossed centuries into the future, and ushered into marriage with a stranger who went about kissing comatose women in the woods?

You feature a lot of authors at your blog. What is something you learned from one of them that you could apply to your writing going forward?
Despite my initial fears that this industry would be filled with cutthroat competitors only looking out for themselves, I've found nothing but encouragement and guidance from the authors I've met. Hazel Gaynor, author of The Girl Who Came Home, is truly my inspiration because she turned a self-published book into a reprint-plus-one deal with HarperCollins. She also gave me loads of wonderful advice while I was gearing up to publish Desperately Ever After--including the importance of making your product as professional as possible, connecting with other writers, being proactive about spreading the word, and never ever ever giving up the dream.

What is the best compliment you received about Desperately Ever After?
One reader said she smuggled the book into the bathroom at work because she couldn't wait to find out what happened to Belle. I thought that was fantastic!

With all this Frozen craze going on, do you think you'll get on board to feature the Snow Queen in a future book in the series?
Right now I intend to end the main series with Book Three, and I want to focus on developing the characters I already have. But it will be hard to let go of this world entirely, so I've planned a few DEA novellas (the first spotlights the "witch" who kept Rapunzel in that tower), and there are tons of spinoff options. So there's always a chance you might see a modernized take on The Snow Queen ... but it would draw from Andersen's tale, not Disney's.

Now that you're a mom, what is the first fairy tale you plan to introduce to your daughter?
Oh this is a fun question! Well, I loved the Little Mermaid movie, but the actual story by Hans Christian Andersen is just horribly depressing--and the message isn't all that great either, now that I think about it! Beauty and the Beast, on the other hand, teaches some very valuable lessons about the importance of inner beauty, the dangers of vanity, and the eventual rewards of humility/sacrifice. I think that will be her first.

How did the name "Skipping Midnight" come about for your blog?
Thanks to Cinderella, midnight has come to signify the end of the fairy tale--whether that's the quest to marry a prince, win the NCAA tournament, or achieve a seven-figure publishing deal (hint hint). It's the moment when reality sets in and all the magic/hope comes to an end. In Book One, the fear of this is a recurring theme, but there's a key scene in which one of the characters (I'm being vague to avoid spoiling!) realizes her fairy tale isn't over after all. The metaphorical midnight never came, and she can't imagine it ever will. I really liked that sentiment. I named my blog "Skipping Midnight" because I never intend to give up on my dream. I never want to reach midnight. It's also the name of Book Three, by the way, which will come out in 2015.

Thanks to Laura for visiting and sharing her book with our readers!

~Interview by Melissa Amster

How to win:  Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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US only. Giveaway ends August 25th at midnight EST.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The price is right for Karin Tanabe...plus a book giveaway

Almost 13 years ago my mom gave me her mom's cedar chest. I always knew I'd get it one day as an inheritance, however my mom decided she didn't want to wait until then.  She wanted me to inherit it while she was alive so she could see me enjoy it.  I appreciated my mom doing this for me.  I had spent many years as a child admiring this piece of furniture and its history.

Today, we talk to Karin Tanabe whose latest novel, The Price of Inheritance, focuses on the history of an item and the impact it has on someone who isn't necessarily the one who was next in line to get it.

Karin is a graduate of Vassar College and currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband Craig.  She's a former reporter for Politico  and made frequent appearances as a celebrity and politics expert on television, including on Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, and CNN.

To celebrate the recent publication of The Price of Inheritance, thanks to Karin we have THREE copies to give away to readers located in the US.

You can find Karin at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

What are the top three things that make writing difficult for you?
1) Social Media. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but man oh man does it become my black hole of procrastination. “Ou! New friend request. Oh look! She had a baby. It’s so cute. There’s a video of him eating macaroni through his nose! Wait, is my ex-boyfriend on Instagram? Is he married?!” You know how it goes.

2) Reading a book that is insanely good. I absolutely love to read a great book. I’m sure every reader here does! But there are certain ones that you finish and you’re like, “Wow! I could never ever pen anything this good. Might as well stop trying.” Sometimes I can get intimidated and that will slow my writing down.

3) FOMO, better known as Fear Of Missing Out. All the writers out there know that the hardest part of writing a book is writing a book. There are a lot of days where I have to hide in my cave of loneliness and become one with my writing, but I know my husband or friends are out doing something super fun. I’ll sneak glances at the aforementioned social media and just get jeal-ous. “Look at them drinking! Wine! And laughing! And I’m alone in my pajamas and I’ll probably get one million varicose veins from being glued to this chair, and this computer is making me blind and just…wah!!” And I’ll forever complain about it, but it’s still totally worth it to me. Because they get hangovers and I get a book!

On average, how long do you write each day?
I’m pretty good with my word count discipline. When I have a project, I keep a very strict 10,000 words a week rule. Ideally that means 2,000 words every weekday with weekends off, but sometimes I will goof around on a day and be like, “I work from home! I’m driving to the beach, getting tan and eating all the things!” and then I get stuck writing 5,000 words in one day.

Where is your favorite place to write and why that location?
I do a lot of writing in my bed (Don’t judge! Edith Wharton did too), but I also love to write in the Kogod Courtyard at The National Portrait Gallery. It’s such a gorgeous space, there is wifi, a cafeteria, empty tables, and if you’re a good enough sleuth, even power outlets. Plus, you can procrastinate by going to look at masterpieces. My favorites are the portraits of writers. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Maya Angelou, Henry James, Louisa May Alcott—all chilling in those halls.

What do you consider your greatest asset?
Since we are talking about writing, I will say that my best assets for writing are discipline and passion. Whoops that’s two. Clearly my asset isn’t humility! I am pretty decent at getting the job done. I think the grind of writing isn’t for a lot of people, but I enjoy the journey and I can sequester myself with my computer every day and still manage to be pretty sane. And then there’s passion. I just straight up love the written word.


My dream vacation would be to:
Go off the grid in France! I am a huge Francophile. As in I would like to name my firstborn child France, but my husband will have none of it. So I would have to say an entire month in Provence with magical money for me to spend and lots of theatre, museums, shopping and endless rosé to drink. And truffles. Copious amounts discovered by one of those enterprising pigs.


If I were ruler of the world, I would:
Abdicate and go back to writing books. After I cured AIDS/Cancer/Famine/Ebola/Illiteracy and all those other pesky things, of course.

Thanks to Karin for visiting us and sharing her book with our readers!

~Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers

How to win:  Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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US only. Giveaway ends August 24th at midnight EST.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: Gravel On the Side of the Road

By Kathryn Hamilton

How do you define extraordinary? What do you consider ordinary? When it comes to life experiences, many of us would say we lead ordinary lives that are really "nothing to write home about." After all, most of us are not journalists who have gone to war zones or worked with the FBI. Kris Radish has done all that and so much more, creating the foundation for remarkable stories. Gravel on the Side of the Road is a collection of moments/experiences/anecdotes that Ms. Radish has written throughout the years and put together in this memoir that stays with you long after you turn the last page.

I'll be the first to admit that initially I was unsure how I was going to review this novel as it is written in a style I am not used to and does not have the elements that I typically discuss. Each "chapter" is a separate memory that is not connected to the next. My poor organization-obsessed brain struggled to find the reason it was ordered the way it was (it is not chronological or thematic). Eventually, I had to force my mind to abandon this need and simply read.

Ms. Radish is an exceptionally talented writer. She is also compassionate, brave, insightful, and given her career choice in journalism, a definite adventure seeker. She has the ability to write with such detail and emotion that the reader gets a sense of being in each situation. For me personally, this meant that while reading two of the stories, I had to physically put the novel down and walk away because Ms. Radish had so poignantly expressed experiences that took me right back to a very emotional place. This is by no means a criticism; it takes a special kind of writer to be able to describe something in such a way that the reader is transported to their own experiences. She is so eloquent and beautiful in her craft that I am in awe. If I'm honest though, I found myself in awe of her simply because of the person she is. Readers immediately get a sense of this woman from the first paragraph and she is nothing short of fabulous for many reasons.

Despite her insistence in the introduction that many of her experiences have been ordinary, to the reader, it doesn't seem like this is the case. However, I do appreciate the message: there are extraordinary moments in all of our lives and we need to learn to revel in those as well as appreciate them for what they are. It is these moments that shape our lives and give them meaning.

Thanks to BookSparks for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Kris Radish:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Go To Gay: Nurture and Nature

Introduction by Tracey Meyers

In the past couple of days I've noticed a few signs that point to the fact that autumn is not that far away.  I noticed this the most the other day when I was heading home during a 13.1 mile run.  It was after seven p.m. and it was starting to get dark out.

 "Where has the summer gone?" I thought to myself.

Answering that question was just as easy as asking it.  My summer has, for all intents and purposes, been focused on getting ready for a marathon debut.  In that moment I felt a sense of sadness that that was all I had done during the majority of my summer, however that then turned to pride because I knew that I had accomplished what I had set out to do.

Today, Chick Lit Central's Go-To-Gay, Gary Edwards, shares with you what he's been up to all summer long and why he is celebrating the season of "Nurture and Nature."


Nurture and Nature

I saw my first fall leaf today. While being premature in letting me know, it still gave me a hint of what is to come in the next few weeks. The peak of summer is winding down and soon kids will be back in school and we will all be back inside.


What were your goals this summer, what did you want to do and still have not done? I am so grateful that I have learned and fallen in love with gardening. I have managed to meet one of my summer goals by spending many of my days out nurturing my perennial beds and watching the tiniest of buds open into flowers. Gardening is something that does not come easily for some, but for me it is a passion. It is a place for me to feel centered and to grow spiritually, as much as it is a reward to see all the beautiful color that these sunny summer days bring. My Great Grandfather Jesse loved to garden and had beautiful flower beds I am told. He taught my Mother the secrets of how to love and nurture the most tender spring flowers and how to keep them strong during the hot summer months. When I was young my mother passed on his secrets and stories as well as many of her own. Her love for nature and gardening was contagious to me. It is something I feel I am able to share with her and also with so many others. 

Many of my plants have a story, a history; some are starts from Wade’s Mother and some mine. Many of those starts trace back to Grandparents and Great Grandparents. I am so grateful for the beauty they bring and the stories I am able to share. I am so happy when I can dig up a start for a family member or good friend. Many of my friends share starts of plants with me and also the story of how the plant came to their garden. 


So my garden has no real design or formality, mostly it is just a gathering place for family & friends. A place to honor stories from the past, but also knowing that each of my flower beds has a future, has room to grow and expand. I feel blessed each day I look at my gardens, blessed for all my Mom has taught me, blessed for all of my friends and blessed to be able to be out in nature and experience the beauty it has to offer.


Gary Edwards is the marketing and events manager for bestselling author Wade Rouse. Edwards arranges Rouse’s tour schedule, speaking engagements as well as coordinates and facilitates his writing workshops and retreats.  Additionally, Edwards has helped market and promote all five of Rouse’s books. Edwards also has a background in hospitality, and sales as well as design. 

With his vast professional back and a love to listen and help friends he is a perfect storm of love and nurture. Edwards is Martha Stewart meets Dear Abby with a dash of Mrs. Doubtfire.  For more, please friend him on Facebook and Twitter.