Holding On by Karen Stivali – Guest Post/Review/Giveaway

Holding On by Karen Stivali – Guest Post/Review/Giveaway


Holding-ON

Tour Prizes – Karen will be giving away one of her backlist at each tour stop and a grand prize of a $20 Amazon or B&N gift card.  Grand Prize winner will be selected Jan 31.   Rafflecopter and tour link is at the bottom of the post.  Good Luck!

HOLDING ON Blurb: When you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of, the hard part is Holding On.

British NYU professor Daniel Gardner thinks life can’t get better than the day his three-year-old stepdaughter, Ella, calls him Daddy for the first time. Then his wife Marienne tells him she’s pregnant. Daniel is thrilled, but worried about Marienne’s health. Not wanting to cause her stress he turns to writing to calm his nerves. He pens a screenplay, thinking it’s nothing more than a mental health exercise, but when a colleague reads it and hands it to a producer, it turns into a production contract. Daniel accepts the offer and transfers to a teaching position at Dartmouth, hoping that small town living and a shorter commute will simplify his life.

As he attempts to juggle his new responsibilities he gets an unexpected letter from Roger, the father he never knew. For the first time since they met, Daniel and Marienne are at odds; she wants him to give Roger a chance but Daniel wants nothing to do with the man he thinks abandoned his mother. As Daniel and Marienne struggle they must contend with interference from Daniel’s sexy ex-wife, who appears to want him back, and a handsome, all-too-helpful single dad who desires Marienne as more than a play-date pal. They must both confront deep-seated issues with trust and acceptance if they’re going to find a way to make their marriage work and hold on to the love they share.

Guest Post:  How difficult was this book to write? I loved Meant To Be, did you plan to write a sequel?

I’m going to answer those questions in reverse order.  I had the idea for Meant To Be in my head for over eight years before I sat down to write the actual book. Once I started writing it, the story poured out of me in a few months because I already saw it so clearly in my head.  Meant To Be is a love story. It’s one long prelude to a kiss. When I finished, it was definitely an ending. They had finally admitted the feelings they’d been developing for the duration of the story. At the time I had no plans to write a sequel, but I did already know what happened to Daniel and Marienne once they got together.

I started submitting Meant To Be to agents and editors in September of 2010. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get Daniel and Marienne out of my mind. I kept thinking about them as a couple. There was so much left for them to go through now that they were together. So, for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, where you try to write at least 50k of a novel in the span of one month) I decided to tell the rest of their story. I wrote 56k of Holding On (2/3 of the book) in the first 19 days. I don’t know that anything has ever been easier for me to write. I knew the characters so well after writing them in Meant To Be that I didn’t question any of the story for Holding On. It simply had to be written.

They say you should never write a sequel to a book you haven’t placed/sold yet, so when I wrote Holding On I wasn’t writing it with publishing in mind, I was writing it for me. And for Daniel and Marienne. I think that brings a lot of honesty to the story, because I didn’t think about plotting or rules, I just thought about them. To be honest, as a writer, I don’t tend to think about rules. I like to see a story play out in my head and then write down what I saw. I decide later what genre it fits into. It’s very important to me to tell stories that stay true to my characters.

Part of what I love about Holding On is that it’s about the struggles Daniel and Marienne have as a couple. Even though they worked so hard to get together and they love each other as much as they do, relationships are never easy.  Like the tag line of the book says: When you have everything you ever dreamed of, the hard part is holding on.

The characters in these stories are so real to me that I’m still not done writing them. There is a short story in the Foreign Affairs Anthology (by Turquoise Morning Press) that is a prequel to Meant To Be. That story, ALL I NEED, shows how Daniel and Justine wound up together in college. Another short story will appear in the Wedding Anthology coming from TMP in June. That story, WHITE WEDDING, takes place between Meant To Be and Holding On and shows Daniel and Marienne’s trip to the altar. In addition to that I have a full length novel coming out January 26, 2014. JUST IN TIME will be Justine’s story (Daniel’s ex-wife) and Daniel and Marienne will play a significant role in her journey.  A lot of readers love to hate Justine, but she’s a character that has a lot of story left to her and she needed her own book. I’ll never rule out a third book or further short stories that focus on Daniel and Marienne either. In the meantime, if you want more glimpses at them, keep an eye on my blog. Soon I’ll start posting short free reads in the form of letters, IM conversations and short scenes that don’t appear in any of the books.

Review by Harlie from Harlie’s Books:

I jumped, yes jumped at the chance to find out the Happily After? for Daniel and Marieanne.  I’m a sucker for finding out what happens after the book closes.  Ms. Stivali didn’t disappoint in her continuation of their story.  Married for 6 months and settling in to marital bliss is something that most authors don’t write about.  Okay, I can think of a couple but that’s about it.

Well, after I closed the Kindle I sat and looked at my husband.  We’ve been married over 8 years and our marriage hasn’t been perfect.  We’ve moved to the country when we were married only 1 1/2 years with a baby from the big city.  Talk about nerve wrecking and stressful.  Plus, he had a new job (same company) and I wasn’t working outside the home for the first time in almost 20 years.  Talk about an adjustment.  We’ve had money troubles; making babies issues; my health; our son’s health and his stress level with work.  Ms. Stivali doesn’t stray from real issues that most married couples have every day.  My one nick pick is the introduction of the single dad to Marieanne.  I didn’t like that he was trying to come between Daniel and Marieanne.  I felt it unnecessary for their story.  Not everyone who is in a play group has the sexy, single dad.

That said, I loved that we were introduced to Roger, Daniel’s father.  It brought tension between them and Daniel’s fears came to light.  He turned somewhat secretive and at times I really wanted to shake Marieanne and tell her what the heck was going on.  Ugh!  Also, Justine’s back!  Woo Hoo!  I know that some people hate her but she is essential to Daniel and Marieanne’s marriage.  I don’t think of her as a villain or a temptress, just an ex-wife that realizes that she really messed up in her relationship with Daniel and needs that validation to herself.

The whole pregnancy thread was smartly done.  My own husband was a nervous wreck when I was pregnant.  It was refreshing to read about Daniel’s fears, excitement and stumbling’s with the whole thing.  It brought out my memories of that blessed time and the sheer terror of my husband.  BTW, he made it all the way through without fainting; he cried.  🙂

If you want to read a terrific book about what happens to the blessed couple after the end of their first book…pick up Holding On.  Ms.  Stivali doesn’t shy away from the everyday stresses that married couples deal with and that in itself is refreshing to read.  Not everything is sunshine and roses.  Daniel and Marieanne had real issues to deal with like trust, doubt, jealousy, moving and pregnancy.  Of course, I eagerly await Justine’s book now.  She really does deserve her own forever HEA.  🙂

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

At this time HOLDING ON is not at B&N. This is a generic buy link to B&N, so just use this one. You are welcome to change it if the book becomes available at B&N prior to your post, but you do not have to.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

January 21

Black Raven Reviews

January 22

Jessy’s Book Club

January 23

What’s On The Bookshelf

January 24

Literati Literature Lovers

January 25

Manic Readers

January 26

A Little Fiction of Every Flavour

January 27

Guilty Pleasures

January 28

Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books

January 29

My Life Beyond Lables

January 30

Love, Laughter, Friendship

Sugar and Spice Book Reviews

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I have a name…finally


Pink

Woo hoo!  I have a name now.  No more calling me Harlie’s little sister.  I hated that.  I have a name, so please use it.

When the name was suggested, all I could think was that I’m not “that” Pink…a girl can wish.  But I’m younger than my big sister and more hip than her, I like it.  No, I love it.  🙂

Thanks to Liza and her kittens!  I had to think about it for a while but I dig it now.  I’m a little slow.  I had to text everyone (and that took FOREVER) I knew to see if they liked it.  They did, so Pink it is.

Pink, formerly called Harlie’s Little Sister

Saving Casy by Liza O’Connor – Review


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MM: Okay. Oh I thought of a name for you.

HLS: A shiver just ran down my spine…

MM: Are you sickly? Because you can’t have this name if you are.

HLS: I’m not sickly.

MM: Okay, upon looking over your websites I think your name should be

Pink

HLS:  Why?

MM: Because it’s you favorite color.  No, that’s Harlie’s favorite color.  She says its her signature color like Elle Woods.  Yuck!  Elle is such a priss!  Think of another color.  🙂

HLS: How would you know that?

MM: Let’s ask your followers. Why do you think that I think pink is HLS’ fav color? First to answer correctly get’s her motorcycle.

HLS: No, they don’t.  My sister will NEVER EVER part with her Harley.  We might have to bury her in it.  Of course, that would be over my brother in law’s dead body.  I don’t think my nephew would mind.  LOL!

MM: Never mind then! Have you seen the Saving Casey trailer? It does a great job explaining Liza’s book.

Link: http://youtu.be/WxcaMP0Dgzc

HLS: Wow, that’s really good. Did you do this?

MM: No. Danielle Fine/Definition did it. But I like it all the same. Once you watch it. You want to buy the book, so here are the buy links:

SAVING CASEY BY LIZA O’CONNOR IS AVAILABLE AT THESE SITES 

AND MORE:

Bono Books     Amazon    Barnes&Noble

LO-SC-300x450

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR

SAVING CASEY:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

Review:

*wipes tears from my face*  I’m not really sure where to start.  When Harlie gave me this book to read, she said it should be required reading for every teenager on the planet.  She also said that about the movie “The Breakfast Club”.  That should be a the ONLY teenage movie that we should watch because the movie had a message.  I watched the movie and I spent too much time looking at Judd Nelson to even bother with the “message”.  *giggling*  I did go back and watch it again and my big sister was right.  I hate when she’s right.  I would never tell her that so mum’s the word.  *Judd Nelson is hot*  Sorry, I’ll get serious…sorta.  Harlie’s right about some things and most of the time I don’t listen to her until it’s almost too late.  This book is one of those “it’s almost too late” moments.  Let me try to explain…

I’m older than Casey and I didn’t go to prep school.  Public high school and no uniforms.  Thank goodness.  Ugh!  Nor were we Uber rich like her.  A butler, cook, maid and a driver?  Seriously?  Harlie hated driving me anywhere when we were growing up.  Jeez…now I’m driving my nephew everywhere because Harlie is just sooooo busy.  :/  Whatever…Back on task…  Some other differences are I would NEVER be Goth.  Seriously Cass?  Attention much?  No one is Goth anymore.  It’s too 5 minutes ago.  Now, the tats were interesting but Ouch on getting them removed.  I hate needles so I’ll never get a tat.  Too much pain involved.  The cover scared me enough not to read it.  When Harlie kept badgering me to read it, I watched the YouTube trailer.  Okay, that alone changed my mind about the book.  I’m too much like Harlie when it comes to covers.

Okay, okay here is my review…I cried when I started reading.  Yes, Cass’s story made me relive both of my sets of grandparents funerals.  I was very close to my grandparents and 2 out of 4 died from cancer.  I still have flashbacks from the funerals.  Now when she woke in Casey’s body, I was laughing.  The whole time she thought God was being cruel to her in the body of a Goth teenager with the WORST parents ever…she must have thought she was in hell, or worse.  I know I would have been.  As Cass began to learn about Casey, I was kinda glad that she didn’t want to know everything that she had done.  Only the really, really bad parts.  Talk about a really screwed teenager.  But you know what, I had faith that Cass would turn around Casey’s life.

This book is so much more about bullying by kids and their parents.  It’s also about having faith in yourself and believing in yourself.  Casey stopped believing after what had happened to her when she was 13.  She gave up.  She didn’t have a support system to help her out.  I think I had too much of a support system but I’m extremely grateful now that I did.  High school is a bitch and kids are cruel.  Parents are even weirder sometimes than kids these days.  It’s all about one upping little Suzie’s mom because little Suzie didn’t get the invite to a birthday party when she was four.  Think about the mom that hired a hit man to kill another cheerleader mom? wackos!

My sister was right.  This book should be required reading for any teenager out there.  Casey should have been heard and supported in her situation and it almost cost her everything that she had in the end.

The one thing about the romance in the story…I didn’t get the attraction at first with Troy.  I mean, really?  The age difference was gross but when I thought about it afterwards, it made sense.  It was Cass not Casey anymore.  This story was as much about Cass as it was about Casey.

Saving Casy by Liza O’Connor – Kitty Interview (Seriously, I’m not making it up) and ….

Saving Casy by Liza O’Connor – Kitty Interview (Seriously, I’m not making it up) and ….


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Maniac thinks she has a name for me.  I’m not so sure.  You decide in the comments.

Welcome to Love, Laughter, Friendship or Harlie’s Little Sister’s Blog

Maniac Marketing kitten: * stares about from her cup perch*

That’s one giant bicycle.

HLS: That’s a motorcycle.

MM: Can I have it?

HLS: Uh…NO.

MM: Why not? Liza gave me her cup. Why won’t you give me the motorcycle?

HLS: From what I hear, Liza gave you that cup after she realized you’d pissed and pooped inside it.

MM: Oh…That’s not a problem.

HLS: Hold on! Don’t you take another step toward my Harley.

MM: I just want to sit upon it.

HLS: Yeah right. Leave my Harley alone.

MM: But I really need it. A brilliant marketing idea just popped into my head. I can use the bike to pull a giant banner all over America.

Harley SC ad

HLS: You do realize that pulling a banner that size by a motorcycle would not be possible, right?

MM: Why? Is your bike wimpy?

HLS: Never, ever, say that to a Harley rider…that is if you want to live long enough to become a cat.

MM: *frowns* Are you threatening me? I have PETA on speed dial you know.

HLS: No threats. I’m just trying to keep you from losing your head. Harley drivers do not take insults to their bikes well. What you need is a blimp.

MM: I have one. I bought it online. I thought if I could attach Jess to a blimp, then she could walk herself so Liza would have more time to write. Only it turned out to be a bit too much for a thirty pound dog to lead about.

HLS: Oh dear, is Jess okay?

MM: She’s developed a fear of blimps.

HLS: I can imagine.

MM: I’ll just texted the blimpie guy. He says his blimp is not a wimp. It can pull the banner. *smiles* Look he sent me a picture.

Blimp pulling banner

HLS: Holy Cow! You’ve got a real blimp. That must have cost you a fortune!

MM: *shrugs adorably* I don’t have to pay for stuff. Humans never ask kittens for money. That’s just silly.

HLS: So who bought this?

MM: I may have given them an address in Homosassa Springs, Florida, Hopefully they’ll give up collecting the bill after the gators in the swamp eat a few bill collectors.

HLS: Manic, you didn’t send them after a winner of Saving Casey’s tats did you?

MM: Clever, huh? She’ll answer the door with those tats on her face, looking just like the face on the blimp.  Thus, they won’t believe her when she insists the blimp isn’t hers.

HLS: Does Liza know about this?

MM: This is MY job. Liza is better off not knowing. She get’s grumpy when she gets too deep into the details of my brilliant marketing ideas.

HLS: Maniac, this is serious. Bill collectors are horrible people. They will make this woman’s life hell.

MM: Not after the gators eat them.

HLS: You have to cancel the purchase of the blimp.

MM: Okay. Oh I thought of a name for you.

HLS: A shiver just ran down my spine…

MM: Are you sickly? Because you can’t have this name if you are.

HLS: I’m not sickly.

MM: Okay, upon looking over your websites I think your name should be

Pink

HLS:  Why?

MM: Because it’s you favorite color.

HLS: How would you know that?

MM: Let’s ask your followers. Why do you think that I think pink is HLS’ fav color? First to answer correctly get’s her motorcycle.

HLS: No, they don’t.

MM: Never mind then! Have you seen the Saving Casey trailer? It does a great job explaining Liza’s book.

Link: http://youtu.be/WxcaMP0Dgzc

HLS: Wow, that’s really good. Did you do this?

MM: No. Danielle Fine/Definition did it. But I like it all the same. Once you watch it. You want to buy the book, so here are the buy links:

SAVING CASEY BY LIZA O’CONNOR IS AVAILABLE AT THESE SITES 

AND MORE:

Bono Books     Amazon    Barnes&Noble

LO-SC-300x450

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR

SAVING CASEY:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

HLS: Liza, thank you for sending Maniac over. She’s a handful, but a delight to interview. However, you really need to check on the winner of your tats.

MM: No you don’t. Everything will work out. Gators are reliable problem solvers.

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