Category: Guest Blogger (page 1 of 2)

Cool Gus Book of the Week: Note by Note by Janice Maynard

Welcome Janice Maynard to the House!

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Thanks to Bob and Jen at Cool Gus for the invitation to “hang out” with all of you today! I’m sitting here in my little corner of East Tennessee waiting for the temps to drop and the leaves to change. Yes, I’m one of those people. J I love sweaters, what can I say??

Note by NoteMy husband and I live in the foothills of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. I had a feeling that sooner or later I would set a book here. Note By Note is the result. If you’re familiar with the area at all, you’ll probably recognize Statlerville as Sevierville, Tennessee. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Ha…

 Statlerville is a fictional community like many small rural communities. The original downtown of the real Sevierville is anchored by a brick courthouse. The surrounding square is home to a number of shops and restaurants. On the lawn of the courthouse, you’ll find a statue of Dolly Parton, Sevierville’s most famous citizen, playing her guitar.

It’s not uncommon for a large bus to pull up and offload a group of tourists who want to take advantage of the photo op. It’s funny and kind of sweet to see men in their eighties giggling like school boys as they pose beside the statue with their hands on one of Dolly’s assets.

As an important aside, Dolly is phenomenally generous. Her foundation has provided all sorts of benefits to schools in the area. Her most famous project is the Imagination Library. Parents of a newborn can sign up their baby and begin receiving a book a month until the child is five. If you do the math, that 60 books! Not a bad way to introduce a little one to the joy of reading.

One other interesting thing about Sevierville is that you’ll find a core of natives who have grown up together. That was the theme I wanted to pursue in Note by Note. The hero and heroine have literally known each other since grade school. Their friendship has ebbed and flowed over the years. The heroine now has a romantic interest in the hero, but how can she tell him? What if he’s appalled? Or embarrassed?

On the one hand, similar backgrounds and shared interests can make for a solid relationship. But only if both parties feel the same spark. This struggle is “real”, because the hero and heroine have seen each other at their best and worst.

Small-town living has its good and bad. People tend to meddle in your business. Keeping a new relationship private is virtually impossible. But in a crisis, those same busybodies will come out of the woodwork to help you when your barn burns down or your house is flooded.

My husband and I don’t actually live in Sevierville. But we know it well. If you’re a resident, you’ll find yourself welcoming the hordes of tourists coming to see the area. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an annual visitation of over 10 million! That’s more than any other park in the entire country.

As I write this blog, I realize that today (August 25th) is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. For our family, the parks really are a national treasure. Haven’t made it to all of them, but we’re making progress.

I enjoy writing contemporary stories about interesting characters in unique settings. I had a reader tell me once that she would like to be friends with my characters. I took that as a high compliment.

If you have a chance to read Note by Note, I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Ethan and Jane. And if you haven’t visited eastern Tennessee, I predict you’ll be intrigued by these mountains that the native people called the Land of Blue Smoke.

Thanks for stopping by. As we say here in Tennessee, Happy Fall, Y’all…

Janice Maynard

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google

Fashion and Sin… Let the Fun Begin…

Please welcome to the house, NY Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Probst!

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I love summer. And fashion. Which is really funny since my daily wardrobe consists of yoga pants, t-shirts, and bare feet. Still, I was always a bit of a girly-girl and enjoyed putting together fab outfits, paired with accessories. I have a terrible crush on Rachel Zoe. Eventually, I decided it would be fun to incorporate some of my love for good style into a book, and what’s more perfect than a short, sexy beach read about three best friends gathering for a wedding in the Hamptons?

The series contains three books but each can be read as a stand-alone.

Sun. Sand. Sex. Fashion.

Perfection.

When I discovered the Poshmark App—a shopping online paradise that features thousands of women’s closets, designer deals, and a way to sell your own stuff, I was hooked. I thought it would be fun to include Posh in the book and mention some of my favorite closets I consistently shop. I began creating A Posh Picks Pinterest page, and regularly share #JensPoshPicks on my social media page. Follow me at @AuthorJPro and say hello, then get hooked! When you register, use this code JAGEU and you’ll get a 5$ credit! And don’t forget to read Summer Sins to check out Storme’s wardrobe.

With August slowly wrapping up, it’s a perfect time to dive into a beach book before Fall is forcing us to think about boots, holidays, and school shopping.

Only 2.99 available at all online outlets! I’ve included the link to the book trailer to tease you.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. Happy reading and happy shopping!

summer sins by Jennifer Probst 72dpi

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Amazon | Nook | iBooksKobo

Just a 90’s baby in my 80’s Mercedes…

Every time I hear that song, I think of the year I graduated from high school… 1984. Why? Because I was completely and utterly mortified that I had to drive to school on the few days I got to drive to school in my mother’s 1974 Mercedes. I guess that was better than when she had the 1966 (the year I was born) Mercedes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure back in the 70’s it was a sweet ride. But not so much when the ‘it’ cars back then were either a Black Trans Am with a T-Roof and an after factory installed stereo system with a tape player! Or a Yellow Camaro, with the similar system. Not a brown Mercedes with an AM radio!

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This I remember from 1984 without having to think about it:

Like Oh, My, God!

Someone, can’t think of their name, made the “first untethered space walk”. I remember because I thought, wow, wouldn’t that be cool. I want to do that. And back then, I think I did want to do that. Now. No freaking way.

I also remember that Apple Computer started selling the Macintosh Personal Computer and I thought, that will never take on. PC all the way baby! What the hell did I know back then. I was a business/computer major. Macs were for dorks.

I voted in my first election. Ronald Regan defeated Mondale (and not saying I voted one way or the other). During that election I kept thinking back to when I was just in elementary school in the 70’s and there were long lines at gas stations and my dad would tell this horrible joke all the time: “Hey Jenni, guess what I saw today? I saw a Ford on a truck and a Dole on a Banana.” Har har, real funny Dad.

Who can forget the famous Oscar speech by Sally Field, “You like me, you really like me!”

Like a Virgin was hot.

Purple Rain. Saw it a few oh…dozen times.

I fell in love with Kevin Beacon in Footloose.

But, mostly I think back to the first half of my senior year where I took a Media course and we had to read the book 1984 by George Orwell. The chant at school that year was always, “big brother is watching!” And we often thought the world was spying on us since we kept getting caught doing things we weren’t supposed to be doing…

 

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Even back then, I was a bit of a tech nut. Typewriters were considered ancient. If you didn’t have at least a word processor, you were so not cool in my book. Of course, I had an original IBM personal computer long before the schools had them. Now Bob’s going to go all, but I had the original Mac whatever. I’m still the coolest tech nut in Cool Gus, just saying. So, the concepts in 1984 fascinated me and actually, the book is what sparked my interest learning more about technology and studying computers and informational systems when I first went to college. I was already into science fiction, but only when it involved Aliens, like ET, but that was summer 1982, so I really digress.

While the 1984 I lived in, with all its bad fashion and big hair bands was not much like the novel (though the overall uniforms was a tad freaky since overalls were kind of hot back then too), there was a scary undertone that the entire class could not deny. As the generation that grew up “learning technology” as opposed to those before me who are still fighting it and those after me who are, well, don’t know life without it. The idea that a fiction writer could be so forward thinking as to write 1984, not knowing that our current world would not only have the capabilities, but using them? And of course, the super secret underground agencies. All so fascinating. Makes you really wonder about the Hunger Games and will our future look something like that, doesn’t it?

Final thought: Did you know that many technologies of the world today came from people and inventors watching the Star Trek TV show? Really. Its true. A topic for next time.

So what do you remember from 1984? The year? The book? Both?

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