Friday, August 21, 2020

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Blackhorse Road by Merida Johns

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Blackhorse Road by Merida Johns. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt as well as a guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Blackhorse Road
Author: Merida Johns
Publisher: Coffee Cup Press
Publication Date: July 21st 2020
Print Length: 304 pages
Genres: Women's Fiction, Romance
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Under another hand, Blackhorse Road could all too easily have been a singular romance. Johns provides more as she follows Luci down the rabbit hole and out the other side of life experience, bringing readers into a world where . . . transgression changes everything and challenges carefully-constructed foundations of belief and values. As Luci lets go of her lifesavers and navigates obstacles to happiness, her story becomes a vivid portrait of hope and self-examination which ultimately moves into unexpected territory. Novel readers seeking a tale that closely considers deception and forgiveness, love gained and lost, and family ties will welcome the multifaceted Blackhorse Road's ability to come full circle in a satisfyingly unexpected way. - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

It’s the turbulent mid-1960s, and Luci, an eighteen-year-old Southern California girl, is on the quest for self-determination and new beginnings. Three powerful forces influence her values: the grit of her Irish great-grandmother, Lucinda McCormick; the philosophy of choice of her father, Sam; and the 1960s ideals of equity and altruism. But potent foes thwart Luci at every turn. Her budding romance with a handsome United States Air Force Academy cadet sets the stage for conflict and deception that last for two decades. When Luci discovers how her autonomy and her love affair were hijacked, she struggles with anger and bitterness. But from a surprising source, she finds a forgiveness path that restores her well-being and hope and, in the end, faith in herself.

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EXCERPT:
Uncertain what to make of Luci’s stillness, Barry brought his head close to hers and asked, “What are you thinking?”

Luci held back, still gazing ahead. She turned and drilled into Barry’s blue eyes. “I guess, using an Irish term, I could say, ‘What a bunch of malarkey!’” She drew back her lips in a saucy grin and weighed his reaction.

Luci’s response was unarming but charming. Barry laughed. “No one has ever told me in such a nice way that I’m full of bullsh*t.”

“Well, I guess there’s that!” Luci chuckled, then turned thoughtful. “Putting the ‘BS’ aside, I’d say the story is about choices, not a lovestruck fairy tale. It’s about risks and consequences and being true to your values. It’s about living who you are and not how someone else expects you to live.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Merida Johns takes her experience as an educator, consultant, and businesswoman and writes about the human experience. In 2018 Merida took an unlikely off-ramp from writing textbooks and motivational books to authoring women’s fiction. Her stories are learning lessons where awareness and curiosity transport readers to the most unexpected places within themselves. Merida hails from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, grew up in Southern California and has lived from coast-to-coast in the United States. Besides writing, she enjoys fabric arts, including weaving and knitting. She makes her home in the serene Midwest countryside that gives her the inspiration and space for storytelling.

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GUEST POST:
- If you could live in any era throughout history, which would you choose and why?

It may sound strange, but I’m a “live in the present” kind of gal. While I write stories about the past, the present is what turns me on. Living in the present gives me the energy and engagement to spend sixteen hours a day meshing my curiosity, creativity, and imagination to create stories and characters that transport readers to the most unexpected places within themselves.

Noticing and being curious about new things in the present is uplifting and stimulating. A ton of studies shows the benefits of living in the present by silencing the horrible inner critic who makes us ruminate about the past and future. By living in the present, the inner critic goes poof! It evaporates, and we’re free to live and experience the moment.

Mindfulness and silencing the inner critic are themes that thread their way through my novel Blackhorse Road. It’s one of the learning lessons that the protagonist’s father, Sam, and other cheerleaders in her life impart to her.

In Chapter 7, Choices, Luci is ruminating at breakfast over a disappointing event. Her father, Sam, debates how to move Luci out from brooding—whether to challenge his daughter or show empathy.
“Pondering his next move, Sam didn’t know whether he should be empathetic or challenge Luci to look at her options. Believing where there is a will, there is a way, he made the latter choice. ‘So what are you going to do about it?’ 
Luci’s mouth fell open. ‘What do you mean, do about it?’ she asked. ‘The past is the past. I can’t change it.’ 
Sam shook his head and got up to fill his coffee cup while Luci silently fumed. ‘True enough, the past can’t be changed. But what can you do in the present? The choice you make now drives your future.’”
Staying in the present and fighting the inner critic is not for the weak—it takes perseverance and grit, and throughout the story, the reader may wonder if Luci will be able to succeed in squelching Doris for good. The following quotes give a hint of what Luci is up against.

The inner critic makes her first entrance in the story in June 1966
“Luci’s inner critic always found a crack, no matter how small or convoluted, to wiggle into her unconscious and make itself at home. The undermining of her self-belief began with a nibble. A morsel here and bite there piled up and ground down the edges of her confidence until a broader vulnerability opened for deadlier attacks. Luci long ago recognized the crafty opponent. She even created a name and metaphor for it: Doris, the Cynical Intruder. Now, Luci faced a choice: control by Doris or autonomy. Oh, shut up, Doris! No, I’m not rolling over and letting you have your way. No, I’m having none of that! I’m kicking you out! You are getting a one-way ticket to the moon. Like a shot, Luci sent Doris into outer space. Once the gremlin entered orbit, Luci, unmarred by a deluge of unrealistic what-ifs, regained her freedom and . . .”
But the reader finds that Doris is still alive and kicking a few chapters later.
“Luci was confused, depressed, frustrated, dejected, grief-stricken, and pessimistic. Her inner critic, Doris, found a welcoming camp in Luci’s psyche and set up her tent, determined never to leave. The troll dug in and dished up a heaping platter of self-doubt, guilt, and blame, diminishing Luci’s confidence and leaving her feeling worthless. What did you do? How could you fall for his baloney? Why did you compromise yourself? How could you be so stupid? Why would anybody love you?
A quote in Chapter Twenty at a poignant time in the story reminds Luci of her father’s wisdom.
“As Luci looked at her parents’ last bank statement and their depleted finances, she wondered, In the end, what does life boil down to? Many times, Sam had counseled Luci and her sisters, ‘Take advantage of the present. After all, it’s the only thing that you ever truly have.’”
My favorite era is the present. I’m embracing it, loving it, and knowing that the choices I make now drive my future. Enjoy the moment!
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GIVEAWAY:
Merida Johns will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter after the tour. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment on a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

50 comments:

  1. How long did it take you to write your book?

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    1. Thanks, Bernie, for asking the question. The actual writing and developmental editing took just over a year. The additional production part, including copyediting, beta review, and another round of copyediting and proofreading took about nine months and a few more drafts until the launch date in July 2020.

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  2. Thank you, Heather, for hosting me and Blackhorse Road. I loved your interview question because it allowed me to highlight an important thread of the story in Blackhorse Road. Luci struggles with her inner critic, Doris, throughout the story as she tries to shed the should-ofs and could-ofs that hold her back. Many thanks!

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    1. You're welcome <3 Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you liked my question. =)

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  3. The cover definitely caught my eye..beautiful!!

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  4. Happy Friday! Thanks for sharing the great except!

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  5. The cover art seems appropriate for the book. Good job.

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  6. Sounds like a very good book.

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  7. I like the cover. It has great artwork.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  8. This sounds like an excellent book. I love the cover. It draws me right in. Thanks for being an author and sharing your stories with the world. Can’t wait to read!

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  9. The book sounds interesting, thanks.

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  10. Book sounds wonderful and such a pretty cover to it.
    @tisonlyme143

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  11. Sounds like a good read! I like the cover! Thanks for sharing!My

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  12. I appreciate getting to hear about your book. Thank you for sharing!

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  13. It sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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  14. Thank you for sharing the excerpt. I enjoyed reading it.

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  15. Very nice cover for this story and I enjoyed reading the excerpt.

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  16. The book sounds like a great read. The excerpt makes me want to read it even more.

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  17. Thank you for the excerpt.. the book sounds very interesting....

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  18. New author for me, sounds good!

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  19. Women's Fiction, Romance -I get excited about this!
    The cover is great too.
    Thank you for sharing the review.

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  20. Awesome cover! Thanks for sharing with us!😻

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  21. Sounds like a must read! Thank you for sharing.

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  22. Your book cover is amazing and looking forward to reading your book.
    @tisonlyme143

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  23. sounds like a fun one

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  24. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Red is one of the strongest collors, great cover

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  26. I really like the book cover and the story sounds good.

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