Wednesday, November 25, 2020

NBtM 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 $20 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:
Monday, July 18, 1966 – Buffalo, NY

Dear Luci with an i,
Here I am at 2:00 a.m., a lonely lover whose sole comfort comes from the cherished memories we made together a few hours ago. My desk is a witness to the completion of many term papers and homework assignments, but it has never been my partner in a confession of love. Can words convey the depth of my thoughts, rampant emotions, and gratitude to you? I’m uncertain they exist, and if they did, it’s unclear that I could assemble them to explain how you have captured my heart and what you mean to me.

I’m no John Keats or Robert Browning, but my feelings are no less potent than their descriptions of love. Being “in love” is a passion like the flames of a blistering fire that race across the prairie. It’s fierce and red, self-serving, and out of control. It feeds upon itself until there is nothing left. “To love,” though, is a passion like the embers of a flickering fire that lingers within the hearth. It’s gentle and glowing, crackles with surprise, and permeates the senses. It’s warm and steady. It rekindles itself, and it endures.

With you, Luci, being “in love,” is inadequate for me. No, I love you. You unexpectedly and beautifully transformed my life the evening you entered it. Because of you, my world flourishes in joy, compassion, amusement, serenity, and awe. I feel, for the first time, that I am entirely immersed in the bounty of life. I would be lost and hollow without you. You’ve made me complete. I can face any hurdle and accomplish anything with you beside me. Our time is just beginning, Luci, as we walk across the stepping-stones of life together.

For all of this and more, I seal my love with gratitude for our memory making. I send you a cascade of Bois Blanc Island kisses, placing each one where I know it will please you the most.

Barry
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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:
- What is your number one tip for staying calm in an upsetting situation? 
What a great question! My go-to technique for staying calm in an upsetting situation is to practice mindful behaviors. (And by the way, it is probably no surprise that mindful behaviors show up in Blackhorse Road).

So what exactly are these mindful behaviors? 

Studies have demonstrated over and over that the practice of mindful behaviors help people reduce stress and anxiety and make better decisions. 

The first behavior is to listen with intent, often called self-regulation and focus. Often we make poor choices because of miscommunication, not picking up on essential cues from other people or the environment. Essentially listening with intent means that we begin to control our fight or flight impulses, which puts us on a path right away to make better decisions. 

The second mindful behavior is noticing and being curious about new things and asking powerful questions. When people focus on the present, they are more likely to perceive and be curious about new things. This has several benefits. First, it makes you more sensitive to your immediate surroundings, helps you be open to information, and enables you to be aware of things from different perspectives or points of view. When you are curious, you ask questions. And asking questions prompts you to find out answers. So noticing and being curious expands the ability to accumulate new information, solve problems, and improve communication with others.

The third mindful behavior is attending to thoughts non-judgmentally—This doesn’t mean that you don’t have an opinion about something. What it means is that you control your automatic impulses and biases and refrain from making snap decisions. How many times has someone made a snap decision about you or about something you did that was wrong? Or how many times have you come to a snap decision, and it was wrong? Or how many times have you seen someone lose emotional control? 

There’s a really great technique called the STOP method that anyone can use to implement mindful behaviors in an upsetting situation. In its basic form, this is what it is:

S: Stop and step back from your emotions
T: Take a deep breath
O: Observe the situation and your own emotions, suppress knee-jerk reactions and analyze the situation
P: Proceed by making a conscious choice, not an emotional one.
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GIVEAWAY:
Merida Johns will be awarding a $20 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

88 comments:

  1. I appreciate getting to read about your book. With sisters and daughters who love to read, this helps so thank you.

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    1. Thanks, James. Readers from book club groups are telling me that they think the story is a perfect mother-daughter or grandmother-daughter read. One reviewer advised for parents and sons and daughters.

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  2. Thank you for sharing the details about this book and author, I enjoyed reading the guest post, synopsis and excerpt and am looking forward to reading the book.

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    1. Great, Bea. Looking forward to having you as a reader and hearing what scenes, characters, or events connect with you.

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

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    1. Hi Bernie. Thanks for your question. The actual writing took about a year. Then there was copyediting and revisions and more copyediting and revisions. So all-in-all it took almost two years from start to publication.

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  4. I enjoyed the post. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Rita, for reading and commenting. It's always wonderful to have people take the time to read the post. Mindfulness is something that is near and dear to my heart.

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    1. Thank you, Peg, for commenting. I hope that you have an opportunity to read and join Luci and the others on their journey.

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  6. I like the cover. It has very nice artwork.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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    1. The cover is the artwork of Rena Hoberman. I thought she did a great job, too. All of the elements on the cover have a special meaning within the story. Hope that you have a chance to read and enjoy.

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  7. Sounds like a great book. I like the cover.

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    1. Thank you, Susan, for commenting. The cover is the work of Rena Hoberman and I think she did a fantastic job. Each of the elements on the cover, the envelope and the key have a special meaning within the story. Hope you have an opportunity to enjoy.

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  8. Interesting summary. Looks like a good read.

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    1. Thanks, Paula, for commenting. Hope that you have an opportunity to enjoy the journey, the family conflict, clash of values, romance and how Luci overcomes some fairly big challenges.

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    1. Thank you, Sherry, for adding your comment. Readers so far have told me that they like the story and each has found specific parts that has special meaning to them. Hope that you have an opportunity to enjoy.

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  10. Thank you so much for hosting me and Blackhorse Road. Your interview question was spot on for the times that we are living through. A bow of gratitude. Merida

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  11. thanks this sounds like a great book

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  12. It was nice to learn about your romance book.

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  13. How did you come up with the story, which sounds intriguing.

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  14. nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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

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  16. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  17. I enjoyed the excerpt. Does a book in this genre take longer to write than a traditional romance novel?

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  18. I enjoyed reading the excerpt for this book.
    Thank you for sharing this review.

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  19. Happy Official Start to the Christmas Shopping Season Day!

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  20. I like the cover. The red really caught my eye.

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  21. I always enjoy reading the "about the author" section when I read any book review. I enjoyed reading about you!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  22. Sounds like a great read can't wait to read it 😀

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  23. I think that the cover of your book is colorful and interesting.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  24. The cover makes me think of a Victorian love letter.

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  25. What part of the writing process brings you the most joy?

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  26. What was your best success as a writer?

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  27. What was your best Christmas memory?

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  28. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  29. I like the cover and would love to read it too.

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  30. Do you have a specific writing spot?

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  31. What are some tips for writer's block?

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  32. What are your writing resolutions?

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  33. What will you be doing to help your writing career in the new year?

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  34. What's your tips for dealing with road blocks?

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  35. What do you do when you're feeling sad?

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  36. What's your favourite ghost story?

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  37. What do you do when you feel lost?

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  38. How has quarantine affected your writing?

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  39. What was yr favourite book as a kid?

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  40. How do you stay awake when you want to sleep?

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  41. Have you ever written a six word story?

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  42. Do you have a favourite snack that fuels your writing?

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  43. What was your most exciting writing moment?

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  44. I like the book cover. The key and red envelope definitely grab my attention.

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  45. What question would you ask an author if you had to think up a question to ask them every single day for the rest of your life?

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  46. What's your main character doing today?

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  47. sounds like a fun one

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  48. I love to cover and would so enjoy reading it too

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  49. Sounds like a good read! Thank you for sharing!

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  50. I enjoyed learning about this book. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  51. Sounds interesting! Thank you for sharing!

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  52. Where do you get inspiration to write?

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