Saturday, April 30, 2016

LSLL Book Tour: The Patience Trilogy Promo and Guest Post!

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 
Although The Patience Trilogy: Courage in Patience, Hope in Patience, and Truth in Patience are novels, I am very open about my personal connection to the storyline. Thus, I am often asked "Which parts are true?" ... "Did _______ really happen?"

Well, you sweet readers, you, I've decided to spill a little. Here, then, are the Top Eleven Real Life Secrets Behind The Patience Trilogy!

(Drumroll, Maestro?)

11. Ashley Nicole Asher's name came from an inauspicious beginning: I was pregnant with my second child and we were considering naming her "Ashley Nicole." A family member heard it and blurted out, "Hey! You could call her Ash-Hole!" Now, y'all don't go callin' anyone with the name Ashley Nicole "Ash-Hole," mmkay? You'll see that nickname in Courage in Patience, too: it's what Ashley's stepfather, Charlie, who is her perpetrator, calls her.

10. Like Ashley, I am a transplant from the Dallas metro area to East Texas. My husband's business took off when he was working out of a shop on the edge of East Texas, about an hour southeast of Dallas, and we moved onto family land in a town near his shop in 2003. We built a house in the woods. It's not a log cabin, though, like David Asher's house is.

9. I used to have ducks and turkeys in a pen up the hill from my yard, and when I wrote Courage in Patience, their sounds were like background noise since I wrote a lot of it on my front porch.

8. At one time, there was a store in our town that is similar to Dixie Pride that is a plot point in Truth in Patience, and they sold the same sorts of t-shirts and racist propaganda that Jeff Foster's dad sells in the book.

7. I used to have an outside cat named Orange Kitty, and the evil gray cat, Loki, in The Patience Books is actually based on my daughter's cat. Like the fictional Loki, the real life one does, indeed, hate all things except himself. Sadly, Orange Kitty passed away last summer. She was over ten years old.

6. The principal of Patience High School, Mr. Walden, has hunting and fishing trophies in his office, and a pair of hip waders draped over a chair in his office. That character was inspired by two people: a high school principal I used to know, and a superintendent I witnessed at a Back-to-School staff development day who spoke to us while wearing rubber boots like those on fishing waders-- and a suit. I kid you not. He wore those boots with a pinstripe suit.

5. When working in a small East Texas town several years ago, I had a student who wrote about hunting a coyote, making a rug out of its skin, and cooking it. Unlike Travis Hager in Hope in Patience, however, my student did not make a hat out of the coyote's head...that I know of.

4. Like Uncle Frank and Steven living on the other side of the family land, I have in-laws who live up the hill from my house. When Ashley goes through the gate to see her mother at Asher Automotive in Courage in Patience, I envisioned my green gate at the top of our hill by the turkey & duck pen. In the summer, huge grasshoppers really do spring up out nowhere when I walk through the field to my in-law's house.

3. Ashley Asher is very much me as I was going through recovery, although I never scratched or cut myself like she does. Her stepmom, Beverly, a high school English teacher, is very much who I am as a teacher.

2. Ashley's dad, David, is a heavy equipment mechanic. My husband, Daniel, is a heavy equipment mechanic, although his shop is not in a big red barn in our pasture. Physical appearance-wise, "David" is based on my husband. However, real-life Daniel has never had a drinking problem, and we have been married since we were 18 and 19. He's never abandoned a child, but he totally would have beat the snot out of Charlie Baker if given half a chance.

1. Dr. Matt is real, y'all. Although my "Dr. Matt" is older and dressed a little differently than Ashley's "Dr. Matt," the interior of his office, where he counsels Ashley, is pretty much spot-on to the real thing. The waiting room, the building itself, and location, however, are very different. My therapist was still practicing at the time I wrote the books, and he made me disguise him and his office better than I initially did. ONE thing I can tell you that is the same, appearance-wise, is that laser-like blue-eyed stare that can see inside people's minds. The real "Dr. Matt" retired around the time I completed my journey to recovery. Although I jokingly say that I broke him, I didn't. His retirement was planned way before I darkened his door. And, just like Ashley's Dr. Matt, my Dr. Matt was and is AWESOME.

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
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Friday, April 15, 2016

LSLL Book Tour: Hell to Pay by Pamela Fagan Hutchins; Guest Post!

(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.

The Making of a Story: Behind Hell to Pay of the What Doesn’t Kill You
Romantic Mystery Series
By Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Authors largely write what they know. Certainly I do. When I started the What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery series, I had four vivid female protagonists in mind. The first was comically insecure Katie. She introduced us to my “inner world,” the dramas and mysteries and tragi-comedies that for years have looped through my mind as I walked, ran, hiked, day-dreamed, bicycled, swam, drove, slept, and everything in between. By her side was her paralegal: big-haired former rodeo queen (and star) Emily. Quickly on their heels we met Katie’s island BFF, the sexy and talented Ava, and Katie’s uptight but witty law school roommate Michele. We romped through Katie’s adventures in the first three books in the series, then took a detour to meet Michele, then we dived into Emily’s world headfirst.

While I already knew Emily well, what I didn’t know until I started planning her role in the series was which stories I would tell about her. When you pin a character down into a romantic mystery, you’re including only a brief time period of her life. Emily was near and dear to me, a hybrid of several beloved friends from my hometown of Amarillo. But at the time I planned her books, I was impacted by current events, namely immigration issues (Heaven to Betsy), race and law enforcement (Earth to Emily), and, finally, terrorism in the name of religion became the driving force behind Hell to Pay.

If you follow my novels, you’ll see some common elements:
- a female protagonist with both strengths and vulnerabilities
- deep dives into setting and point of view (I favor first person for this reason)
- a fast-paced, three-dimensional life with romance, family, work, and mystery
- a mystery only the protagonist can solve, as an amateur
- an exploration of historical/cultural religious beliefs (sometimes viewed as mythology) that plays out in something that must be taken on faith (can’t be touched or objectively proven to exist)
- a novel—ultimately—with heart, humor, suspense, romance, and (I hope) intelligence.

As I consider plots/mysteries for each, I want them to be:
- unique from my other novels
- unique to the setting of the mystery
- interact with the historical/cultural religion/mythology element
- call on the “super powers” of my protagonist (her special skills and abilities).

In the Emily protagonist books of the series, I used West Texas and Southern New New Mexico as settings. I tapped into the beliefs of the Mescalero Apaches for Heaven to Betsy (Mountain Spirit Dancers/coyotes) and Earth to Emily (the Owl man, harbinger of evil) and the Hopis of the Texas Panhandle (you’ll have to read to see for yourself) for Hell to Pay. But in all three I also used as contrast conservative Christianity. And in Hell to Pay, I had a particular reason for doing so: religious terrorism.

I hate when people kill other people. I also hate it when people terrorize other people, whether they kill them or not. We live in a world full of terrorism—of late, especially by radical Muslim groups. But terrorism isn’t unique to radical Islam, by any stretch of the imagination. Militant Christian groups commit terrorism all the time. Ku Klux Klan and Westboro Baptist Church ring any bells? And having been raised in the Bible Belt of the U.S. to do unto others as I would have done unto me, domestic Christian terrorists upset me greatly; I feel like they’re betraying my faith. I can only speak as a Christian, but I would imagine this is how people of other religions also feel about terrorism in the name of their faith.

Anyway, I became aware of some of these types of groups operating in and around the geographic locations I had chosen for Emily’s novels in the What Doesn’t Kill You series. Every single thing I wrote in Emily's novels is complete fiction, but inspired by learning these groups exist and terrorize their own communities. They made me angry, and, well, don’t make a writer mad or she’ll put you in her book, right?

The challenge became keeping the pace, romance, and humor I try to achieve while tackling a serious topic like religious terrorism. But I’d tried, and—I think—succeeded at some level in my previous novels with drug cartels, custody battles, obsession, human trafficking/immigration, bad cops/interstate fencing, and adultery/corporate greed, so maybe it wasn’t such a stretch. I’ll let you be the judge of Emily, Jack, and the gang in Hell to Pay. Let me know what you think.

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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