Tag Archives: Must Read

Out and In – Guest Post

OUT and IN
a mystery-thriller
MARIE DONOVAN MYSTERIES, #1
by
PAT DUNLAP EVANS
Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: A.M. Chai Literary
Date of Publication: April 27, 2016
Number of Pages: 316
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Stunning beauty and amateur cellist Marie Donovan finds herself in deep trouble after her pro-quarterback husband dives off a Dallas high rise—many say in shame after his shady investments go sour. Just months later, the grieving Marie faces capital murder charges for the death of a lecherous opera maestro. When hard evidence points squarely at her, only her best friend and defense lawyer believe her.
 
Marie is no stranger to struggle. During her six years as an NFL Football wife, she fends off groupies eager to take her man, all the while feeling lost in her husband’s macho culture. Studying the cello becomes Marie’s solace until her hard-drinking husband retires after an injury. Returning to Dallas, he plays with high society’s money in an investment scheme until winning at all costs leaves Marie and her twin sons on the hook for millions.
 
Scorned by society friends, charged with murder, Marie pins her hopes on hunky defense lawyer Ryan Ingles, one of Cole’s college football pals. After Ryan’s legal team discovers some of the maestro’s dark secrets, Marie and Ryan’s investigative troupe travel to exotic islands in search of clues Cole left behind. As the tropics weave a romantic spell, a corrupt offshore banker dashes Marie’s hopes. She wonders if she’ll ever be free of blame…and able to claim her own place in this world.


PRAISE FOR OUT AND IN

Out and In is the perfect mystery-thriller for the beach, a long flight, or to savor before bed…an exciting but heartfelt story about a beautiful woman who struggles to prove her innocence … As for the ending, I am still stunned.” — Lara Reznik, Amazon best-selling author of The Girl from Long Guyland and Bagels and Salsa.
 
“Could not put it down, once I started reading. Definitely a must-read. Look forward to reading more books from Pat Dunlap Evans. ” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Mimi”
 
“Awesome…flowed nicely … definitely kept you on your toes to who actually committed the murder. The lead character was a perfect blend of hard and soft. A great read.” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Tiffany”
 

 

Guest Post

Making a Boring Spectacle of Myself

Guest Post by Pat Dunlap Evans

 

I have scheduled a book promo for my mystery-thriller Out and In with Lone Star Literary Life, an e-newsletter for Texas writers and Texas readers. They want to use my “book trailer,” which is a short video like a preview for a Hollywood movie. I don’t have the cash to spend on such projects, so I thought I would make a simple “about the novel video,” using my trusty iMac and the Apple software iMovie.
All I can say is this stuff ain’t easy. Not only did I have to learn how to use the tricky iMovie software but also, I had to make myself and house look presentable. And the background music inspirational.

 
Remove All Traces of Dogs

First, I framed my computer camera so it would not record the dog toys, dog blanket on the sofa, and especially the dogs that populate my upstairs office.
Next, I donned a bright red top and applied as much makeup as my face could hold. I also put a lamp behind my computer for lighting. To my horror, my video camera revealed that I’m definitely not young. Or even close. Even the most makeup I could smear on my face cannot change that. So, I reminded myself that one of my favorite authors Joan Didion had a rather unflattering photo of herself in the back of The Year of Magical Thinking. She looked exhausted and devastated — and who would have blamed her?

A Bit Like Tricky Dicky

Next, I wrote a one-page script describing Out and In and did my best to memorize it. After about 10 takes, I realized I couldn’t memorize every word, so I taped the script to my iMac screen and glanced at it while I videoed myself for another 10 takes. Because my eyes kept glancing between the script and the green light on my computer camera, I looked like “Tricky Dicky,” which is what some used to call Richard Nixon.

Eventually, I decided to wing it without a script. After about 10 more takes — eyeglasses on, eyeglasses off — I settled on a version that was maybe sort of okay. But after I launched it on YouTube, I noticed that I had a bra strap showing! For gosh sakes, how have I missed that? In addition, I had used a clip from Rachmaninov’s Symphony Number 2, downloaded from iTunes, but YouTube warned me that was a copyright violation.

Oh No, Do the Whole Thing Over.

I tucked in the bra strap and started over, trying to speak more quickly. I have a new admiration for TV personalities. Although I spoke as fast as I could, it seems I pause one whole second between every word.
Figuring out background music took a lot of time because I had to learn how to make the clip play loudly at first, softer while I spoke, then full volume again at the end. This took numerous searches through iMovie Help.
For royalty-free music, I Googled a website where musicians upload works for use solely with attribution. Because my heroine is a cellist, I selected a cello piece called “Full of Stars,” composed by Philipp Weigl, of Munich, Germany. Thank you, Philipp!

A Two-Minute Snore

My resulting video is not what I would call exciting. It’s very basic and perhaps a bore, except to readers who actually enjoy hearing from an author about her work. I’m not promoting the video heavily because I’m a bit embarrassed by it. But if you would like to hear my overview of my mystery-thriller Out and In, please check out this link on YouTube.

Again, many thanks for following me, and especially for reading and rating my work! Those stars mean everything to authors, and we appreciate your taking the time to post them.

 

Pat Dunlap Evans was born in Michigan but “got to Texas as soon as I could,” she says. Her family lived in San Antonio and later Dallas, where she attended South Oak Cliff High School and Southern Methodist University. Pat eventually completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, with emphasis on creative writing. She also taught freshman writing courses as a part-time lecturer.

 

After a divorce, Pat stressed her way as a single mom through twenty-five years of high-stress advertising and marketing roles before retiring to write fiction and screenplays. She lives in the Lake Travis area with her second husband Dr. Bill Evans and enjoys travel, golf, volunteer work, sailing, and the chaos of the couple’s combined five adult children, five grandchildren, and two cockalier dogs.

Pat has published two novels, To Leave a Memory and Out and In, with a third novel Those Who Try due out soon.

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September 12-21, 2018

 

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Author Video
9/13/18
Review
9/14/18
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9/15/18
Deleted Scene
9/16/18
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9/17/18
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9/18/18
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9/19/18
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9/21/18
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The Theory of Happily Ever After – Book Excerpt Part 2

THE THEORY OF
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
by
KRISTIN BILLERBECK
  Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: May 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 288
Scroll down for Giveaway!
According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious—serious science, that is. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream–fueled chick flick binge.
Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.
 
Filled with unforgettable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile—because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

PRAISE FOR THE THEORY OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER: 

“. . .the sweet will-they-or-won’t-they of Sam and Maggie’s courtship will please readers. . .”
                        —Publishers Weekly
“Billerbeck returns with a light Christian chick-lit novel just in time for the summer beach-read season, taking on stereotypes of femininity, intellect, and worth within an exciting cruise-ship setting with plenty of sunshine and gelato.”
                        —Booklist
“Billerbeck’s latest is full of memorable characters and witty dialogue. . . .The overall story reminds the reader that sometimes happiness will find you, no matter what you may do to avoid it.”
RT Book Reviews  Four Star Review

 

 
CLICK TO PURCHASE
64b37-excerpt

 

EXCERPT CHAPTER ONE, PART TWO OF

THE THEORY OF HAPPILY AFTER

BY KRISTIN BILLERBECK

 

Click to read Chapter One, Part One on Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/22/18 Tour Stop!

 

A harsh reality is better than a false fantasy. Life is not a fairy tale.

The Science of Bliss by Dr. Margaret K. Maguire

 

He doesn’t stop here though. Apparently he hasn’t completely destroyed me emotionally and professionally. “I’ll be back from our honeymoon on the 27th. I’ll see you in the lab on the 28th and we’ll work on your presentation skills. Anichka is anxious to meet you. I think you’d be a great mentor to her.”

Then he hangs up on me. He hangs up on me! I’m left shaking with rage, obsessing over everything I should have said.

I clamp my eyes shut and mumble some divinely inspired mantra to get his voice out of my head.

I am enough.

I am worthy of love and respect.

I choose success.

I forgive Jake as a gift to myself.

But it’s no use. The murderous thoughts don’t stop coming, and I’m pretty certain that my Lord Jesus along with all decent people would frown upon that. Without looking, I press the volume button on the television until the sickly-sweet movie channel, and not the positive thought mantras, quiets the phone call.

It isn’t five minutes until my peace is once again shattered. My front door slams against the wall with a loud crash, and a framed photograph falls from the top of the TV. Ironically, the picture in the silver frame is of my two best friends, and they are now standing across my living room by the open front door. A flash of blinding sunlight forces me to shut my eyes again, but there’s no mistaking their distinctive forms. When I open my eyes the tall, muscular outline of Kathleen and the petite, girlish figure of Haley begin to take shape in shadows.

“Go away,” I moan.

“Enough of this.” Kathleen’s bark is like a drill sergeant’s. “Get up!” She’s pushy like that. A personal trainer by day, she gives marching orders as if protests are not allowed. Usually Haley and I follow blindly, but not today. Today I want one more bite of gelato and to finish my movie.

As I lift the spoon toward my mouth, Kathleen yanks it away, and ice cream splatters onto the dingy brown carpet. Neon is there to lick it up.

“You’re in my way,” I say, trying to see the television screen. I try to watch around her, but Kathleen has a booty and fills out her yoga pants well, so I can’t see around her Nicki Minaj impression.

I love my friends. They’re amazing for being here and trying to rouse me from my binge-watching stupor, but I’m not ready yet. It’s not time.

“I’m blocking the screen on purpose,” Kathleen says, too loudly through my sugar hangover. “We’ve given you more than enough time to wallow. It’s time to get up. Jake’s moved on, and you’ve got no choice but to move on too.”

I point at the television. “The hero just found that dog. Look how sweet. It just appeared like that, and there’s no one to take care of it. He’s going to take care of it because there’s no one else to do it. Where are the men like him?”

“Are you crying?” Haley asks. She has the sweetest voice to match her tiny, pixie figure, and I wish I possessed an ounce of her honeyed charm. Maybe Jake would still be here. Maybe he wouldn’t have been out scouting the circus talent that had come to town. “Maggie, this is insanity! This TV hero wouldn’t take care of the dog if it wasn’t scripted that he had to take care of the dog. Let’s go.”

Kathleen moves my legs onto the floor and scares the cat in the process. I do my best to ignore her, thinking she will eventually give up and leave me be. I try to explain the importance of the moment—the dog, the hero . . .

“The hero is going to fall in love with the heroine because of the dog. Isn’t that the sweetest thing? I mean, who doesn’t love a dog?”

“You’re going to get bedsores from that sofa,” Haley warns, bending over me with her long strawberry-blonde hair that I’ve coveted since childhood. She pets Neon. “Maggie, whose cat is this?”

I shrug, but my eyes widen.

“You stole that little old lady’s cat from outside, didn’t you?” Kathleen’s face settles into incredulous accusation.

“I didn’t steal it. He meowed at me, and he wanted some attention, so I left the door open and he wandered in. There’s raccoons and stuff out there. Maybe even a bobcat or two.” Orange County, though in the heart of Southern California, was still very rural in places.

“There is a little old lady outside on a walker looking for that cat.” Haley picks up Neon, opens the front door, and gently deposits him on the porch.

“That was mean,” I tell her. I call to Neon, but he ignores me and shoots out of sight.

“Don’t bother talking to her.” Kathleen shakes her head and sighs. “She’s gone. She stole a cat. What sane person does that?” She pulls my slippers off. “Just go get her packed. I’ll force her into the shower.”

“Shower?” I sit up quickly. “I don’t want a shower! Oh.” I zone back into the screen and try to block out the chaos around me. “Look at the dog. Who could give up a dog like that?”

“No one,” Kathleen says gruffly. “That’s a two-thousand-dollar dog. Only a TV movie thinks we will believe that a two-thousand-dollar designer dog is a mutt running loose in town needing to be rescued. This is fantasy, Maggie. Reality is better than fantasy. You said it yourself. Page 218.” She points to my book on the shelf. “I looked it up.”

 

Click to finish reading Chapter One!

 

Kristin Billerbeck is the author of more than thirty novels, including What a Girl Wants and the Ashley Stockingdale and Spa Girls series. She is a fourth-generation Californian who loves her state and the writing fodder it provides.
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3RD PRIZE: Copy of The Theory of Happily Ever After
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  August 22-31, 2018
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8/22/18
Excerpt, Part 1
8/22/18
BONUS Post
8/23/18
Excerpt, Part 2
8/24/18
Review
8/25/18
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8/26/18
Review
8/27/18
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8/28/18
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8/30/18
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