Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Blurb Blitz and Giveaway: Journeys (The Archers of Saint Sebastian #1) by Jeanne Roland

Welcome to my stop on the blurb blitz for Journeys by Jeanne Roland. This blitz was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the blitz wide giveaway for a chance to win a $40 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Journeys
Series: The Archers of Saint Sebastian #1
Author: Jeanne Roland
Publisher: Nepenthe Press
Publication Date: November 13th 2021
Print Length: 536 pages
Genre: Historical Romantic Adventure
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A barracks full of beautiful boys. A girl in disguise, living among them.

It’s the 14th century, and the longbow is king. But in the northern European principality of Ardennes, archery isn’t just the nation’s defense. It’s the national obsession.

MEET THE JOURNEYS
12 young Journeyman archers, the best in the country

2 years of public competitions, in which looks count almost as much as ability

6 will win a coveted membership in the Archers’ Guild of St. Sebastian

1 will become the prince’s new Guardsman

MEET MARIEKE
15-year-old Marieke is as obsessed with St. Sebastian’s as everyone else in Ardennes. Only it’s the middle ages, and girls just don’t become elite archers. Except Marieke's prospects as a girl aren't promising either, after a well-timed kick from a mule has left her with a face that’s badly scarred and ruined for marriage. But when circumstances force her to leave her old life behind and flee to the guild for refuge, there are only two things Marieke really knows about the place. One is that a mysterious accident ended her own father’s time as a Journey. The other?

There are no women allowed inside St. Sebastian’s.

Marieke knows disguising herself as a boy and infiltrating the guild means embarking on a dangerous deception. But it may be her only chance to find out the truth about her father’s past and to stop a murderous plot from coming to fruition. When the dashing young Journeyman Tristan takes her under his wing as his squire, she’s got to stay – at least long enough to help him beat out his brutal arch-rival to win the competitions.

Keeping her identity a secret will be hard. Living in close quarters with a pack of gorgeous boys? That will be harder still. But the hardest thing of all will be keeping the vow she makes for herself: to see Tristan become the next Guardsman, without ever letting him find out she’s a girl - a girl, who loves him.

Part Robin Hood and part Princess Bride, with a pinch of Mulan and a dash of Cyrano de Bergerac in the mix, The Archers of St. Sebastian I: Journeys is a humorous action and adventure saga inspired by late medieval/early Renaissance Belgium and packed with romance, wit, and longbow archery. Perfect for young adults looking for an immersive read and for adults who love young adult themes, Journeys is an escape into the past that reads more like romantic historical fantasy than pure historical fiction.

Unrequited love? Ugly heroines who stay ugly? Friendship, coming of age, romance, adventure, and plenty of archery competitions? A unique setting inspired by the glorious city of Bruges, with a richly imagined world set within the walls of a male-only archers' guild? Journeys: The Archers of Saint Sebastian has it all, so if you're looking for a great escape, don your disguise and join Marieke as she enters the forbidden world of Saint Sebastian's, and prepare to fall in love with the Journeys - that is, the twelve best and most beautiful archers in all of Ardennes, the Journeyman archers of St. Sebastian's.

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EXCERPT:
(Context: 15-year-old Marieke is disguised as Marek, and she’s serving as a squire to the Journeyman archer Tristan at the archers’ guild of Saint Sebastian. She’s in love with him, but she’s sworn an oath never to let him find out she’s a girl. In this scene, Marieke’s gone along with a group of the Saint Sebastian boys on a ‘hunt,’ only to find out that the quarry is a local beauty that Tristan’s long had his eye on).

In the center of the girls is a figure more impressive than the others. From her clothing, she must be from a family of rank. Her head is covered with a filmy veil, but she has a graceful line and I can tell without really seeing her two things at the same time: she’s lovely, and she’s the real reason we’re here.

As we cross the narthex, Tristan grabs a single white rose from an arrangement under the chapel icon, strips the leaves and thorns, and tosses them away. At the font, he stops for holy water, but to my surprise instead of dipping his fingertips into the water, he sticks his whole hand into the basin.

“What is he doing?” I ask the boy next to me, who turns out to be Gilles.

“Watch and learn, Marek. Watch and learn,” he says.

“Give the master some room to work, boys!” Jerome exclaims, putting his hands out as though to hold us all back from crowding Tristan, who is sprinkling the water all over his face and neck, and pulling the unruly lock of his hair down from his widow’s peak and over his forehead. I knew he did that on purpose!

He untucks his tunic from its waistband and pulls the neck open, and splashes more holy water onto his chest.

“What’s with all the water?” I ask.

“The fever of love, Marek!” Jerome says with admiration. “If you thought he was good drunk, wait until you see him sober.”

When he looks artfully disheveled, Tristan squares his shoulders and heads down the aisle, turning back before he goes just long enough to say, “Just follow my lead, Marek.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jeanne Roland hails from Davis, California, where she spent most of her youth lounging at the pool, soaking up the sun, and daydreaming. She had a key ring that read 'I’m running away to join the circus,' and her favorite moment of the day was when the local movie theater went dark, and the slogan 'escape to the movies' appeared on the screen. As an adult, her passions include all things melodramatic and beautiful — everything from classic movies, British romantic poetry, ancient tragedy and epic, to Italian opera. She is now a professor of Classics in a small midwestern town, where she lives with her Greek husband, her fraternal twins, and a Bernese mountain dog named Franco Corelli.

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GIVEAWAY:
Jeanne Roland will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility for this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

142 comments:

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

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  2. Sounds like an interesting read!

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  3. Good morning, and thank you for posting! I love the colorful layout. And thank you all for your comments. there's a long "look inside" feature for the book on Amazon, if you liked the blurb and want to check out the beginning of the story.

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  4. Sounds like a great read and its an interesting cover.

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  5. Do you have a breakfast that you especially enjoy? I like an omelette with bacon and lots of vegetables and a biscuit with jam.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  6. I like the cover and excerpt. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I really enjoyed the excerpt! Thanks!

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  8. Hi Nancy, what a unique question! Your breakfast sounds amazing. I have to confess that today I had a piece of caramel brownie cheesecake for breakfast ... and it was outstanding (though probably not very healthy, so I can't recommend it or repeat it on a regular basis). I'm a sucker for a good Belgian waffle w/ powdered sugar, or eggs "over easy." Not sure what that says about me (but it was probably predictable). Thanks for asking, and thank you to all of you who read the excerpt!

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  9. Where do you get inspiration for your books?

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  10. Hi Deborah, that one is easy! Journeys was inspired by a trip I took to Bruges in Belgium long ago with my family. We visited the archers' guild of Saint Sebastian there, and ever since the idea of a romantic adventure centered on a girl disguised as a boy in an all-male archery guild has been rattling around in the back of my mind. There was also a beautiful painting of Saint Sebastian inside the guild that inspired the one which plays a role in my book - and which inspired me to use the Xavier painting on my cover (which is not the one in the Bruges guild, of course, but it is gorgeous!). Thanks for the great question!

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  11. Sounds like a interesting book.

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    1. It's a fun, light read, I think - some humor, lots of book boyfriends, and a unique setting.

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    1. You too, Zelda - thanks for reading the post and commenting. I appreciate all of you helping me to spread the word that the book exists, so hopefully people who might enjoy it can find it!

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  13. Sounds interesting. Adding to my TBR list.

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    1. Thanks so much, Dianne! I hope you enjoy it. Do feel free to find me on Facebook and let me know what you think of it, if you get a chance to read it!

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  14. The book sounds very interesting. :)

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    1. So glad you think so, Deb! If you know of anyone who might be looking for a well-written escapist read, please pass the word along!

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  15. Great excerpt, Journeys sounds like a fantastic adventure and I like the cover! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a wonderful day!

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    1. Thank you, Stormy! What kind of books do you usually read/ recommend? Have a good evening, and thanks for stopping by to read the post

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

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  17. Thank you again for the lovely post, and for hosting! And thank you to everyone who commented and who asked such interesting questions.

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  18. David HollingsworthJanuary 6, 2022 at 1:48 AM

    How did you become a writer?

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    1. Hi David, I'm not sure that I did become a writer. I don't make a living off of it - that's for sure! I can't really claim it as a profession. I'm a big daydreamer, so I've always had escapist stories running through my head. One day, I simply got the urge to write one down, and it became a compulsion. And when I'd finished Journeys, I loved the world I'd created so much, I felt another compulsion - to share it. It's like the old saying, "if a tree falls in a forest ..." If no one reads your story, it feels like it doesn't really exist. I suppose I also used to think that I couldn't write a novel unless I had something meaningful to say. But I've realized that you don't really know what you have to say until you start writing. I still can't claim that my book is meaningful, but I've escaped into it by writing it, and I'd like to think that others might find an escape in it, and some pleasure in it, too.

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  19. Sounds like a great book. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  20. As a fellow archer since childhood (and Historical Romance fan), this sounds awesome! Added to my Goodreads TBR and Amazon wish list!

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    1. Hi Mick! That's awesome. I'd be very curious to know what a real archer makes of it (I may have stretched the truth a bit, ahem, w/ respect to the distances ... but I have tried to be accurate and detailed about medieval longbow archery - and the main character is also a fletcher. It would be amazing if you read it, and liked it! And if so, spread the word to your fellow archers! Thanks so much for this comment. It made my day!

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  21. I love the book and can't wait for number 2. My mother in law is also enjoying it and has requested future books for her birthday!
    Angi H.

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    1. Angi, I'm so thrilled to hear that! I'm hard at work on getting the sequel ready, so I hope it is out in time! How kind of you to take the time to stop by and comment. There is nothing in the world that can compare with hearing that someone read what you wrote, and enjoyed it. Thank you so much for that!

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  22. I cant wait to read your book

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    1. Thank you, Zelda! I really hope you enjoy it.

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  23. Do you have a favorite color? I like deep rich jewel colors and my favorite color is cobalt blue.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  24. I've always loved shades of blue, too - lapis lazuli blue, robin's egg blue, periwinkle. But I'm also a fan of wisteria purple and dusty rose. I don't think I really have one favorite color - I'm more about color combinations, or artistic styles and the colors that they tend to use in combination. I love neoclassical art (obvious from my book cover), classical (of course), pre-Raphaelite, and art deco, among others.

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  25. I can't imagine being the only girl among that many boys and somehow manage to keep my mouth shut and pretend to be one of them! I think I would give myself away so fast!

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    1. Funny you should say that! I'm afraid keeping her mouth shut is not one of Marieke's strong points, lol.

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  26. thank you for a chance to win :)

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  27. David HollingsworthJanuary 7, 2022 at 8:25 PM

    The story sounds really good.

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  28. I am always looking for a good "escape book" to read. You book sounds like a great "must read" for me, especially with the cold temps and wanting to stay inside! Good Luck on your book!

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    1. Thank you! It's definitely a good 'curl up in front of a fire' read.

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  29. Does it snow where you live? We have had one snowy day this year.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. It does! Which is nice for my Bernese mountain dog, who is grumpy because it hasn't snowed much yet here.

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    1. Thank you, Jodi! I hope you'll pick up a copy and try it

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  31. The book sounds very interesting. Great cover!

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    1. I'm so glad you like the cover! I think if you like the cover, you'll like the book. It's a pretty good indication.

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  32. David HollingsworthJanuary 8, 2022 at 5:57 PM

    How did you come up with this book?

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    1. Hi David, it was inspired by a long-ago family trip to Bruges. We visited the archers' guild of Saint Sebastian there, which was also all-male except for 2 honorary memberships for queens. The romance of a girl in disguise in an all-male guild lingered in my daydreams, and I've always loved archery and old swashbuckling movies (Like the Errol Flynn Robin Hood, w/ its archery competition). There was also a gorgeous painting of Saint Sebastian hanging in the guild (not quite as gorgeous as the Xavier painting on my cover, but evocative!). Finally I just decided to write it all down. Thank you for the question!

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  33. what a nice compliment, thank you!

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  34. What is your all time favorite book that you have read.

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    1. I have so many favorites, in different genres. But I stick by my opinion that Homer's Iliad is the greatest work of western literature.

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  35. Do you enjoy hot oatmeal when the weather is cold? I like oatmeal with butter and brown sugar!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  36. Sounds like a great read and I love the cover.
    heather
    hgtempaddy

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    1. Thank you, Heather! I'd love it if you gave it a try, and thanks for commenting.

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  37. David HollingsworthJanuary 9, 2022 at 8:38 PM

    I like the cover.

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  38. How could a female hide in such an environment?

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    1. Actually, there are plenty of documented cases of females passing themselves off as males in the early modern and pre-modern era. For example, scores of women dressed as men to fight in the Civil war. There were strong gender expectations, and in the past people judged on "face value" and on clothing/ actions much more than they would today. But I'm not simply "guessing" that it probably would have been relatively easy; there are many documented cases. That said, this book is a fun, fictional romp - it is escapist fun, and not meant to be wholly realistic. It's historical fantasy but without magic, a humorous romantic adventure story.

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  39. David HollingsworthJanuary 10, 2022 at 7:08 PM

    How did writing this book change your life?

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  40. Where is your favorite place to write?

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  41. I like to write in a cafe, if I can. I got used to studying in cafes in college, and I like the combination of relative isolation at my table, and being out in the world (but away from the distractions of my own house). Plus coffee!

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  42. David HollingsworthJanuary 12, 2022 at 1:18 AM

    What's your next novel going be about?

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    1. I'm working on the sequel to Journeys right now, Squires

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  43. How do you like your bacon cooked - extra crispy or regular? I like crispy bacon!

    Nancy

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  44. I hope your day is going awesome

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  45. Do you have characters living in your head?

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    1. Hi Siehan, great question. Actually, no. But I try to live in my characters' heads, and to think myself into their situations and their emotions. It's necessary for my main character, since I write in first person. We need to hear some of what she is feeling, since we are literally insider her head!

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  46. Would you rather have a home made biscuit or toast with breakfast?

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. to be honest, I haven't thought about it much. I don't have the option of a home-made biscuit very often. I think if I could have it with clotted cream and fresh strawberries, there would be no question! But otherwise, I suppose I'm a toast kind of gal.

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  47. thank you for a chance to win

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  48. David HollingsworthJanuary 13, 2022 at 10:15 PM

    Just saying hi.

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  49. David HollingsworthJanuary 14, 2022 at 9:15 PM

    I hope your books win acclaim!

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    1. From your lips, to the ears of the publishing gods, Dave! I appreciate the sentiment. I'll settle for finding a nice group of readers who genuinely enjoy the book - to me, that's the best success.

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  50. Do you remember to get up and stretch when you're writing?

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  51. It will be interesting to see how your lead character keeps her real identity a secret!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  52. The cover has a very classical style. It looks great. Best of luck with the book.

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    1. Thank you, Christy! Yes, I've got a neoclassical painting, even though it's wrong for the time period - but I think it evokes the right mood. I always say, if you like the cover, you'll like the book ;)

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  53. David HollingsworthJanuary 17, 2022 at 2:14 AM

    How do you feel about snow?

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    1. It's beautiful when it is fresh and crisp, and my Bernese mountain dog loves it!

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  54. Have you ever been sledding on a snowy day?

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Many times! I grew up in California, so sledding wasn't part of my experience as a kid. But now I live in the midwest, and I have twins - so most snow days will find us out on the hill behind our house. It's wonderful, even as an adult - although having the drag the sleds back up to the top gets pretty old, fast!

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  55. What inspires your book plot ideas?

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    1. They're usually stories I'd like to have lived myself. That, and a touch of old Hollywood and opera, to add some melodrama ;)

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  56. Have you noticed that the days are getting longer?

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    1. Not really! I've been spending too much time inside, with my computer.

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  57. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

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    1. Good question. Yes, and no. I suppose I did always want to tell escapist stories to myself, but I used to think that I had to have something meaningful to say, or that if I wrote a book, it had to be "important" somehow. I finally realized that having a good story into which to escape is important - and even if it isn't, it is good fun!

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  58. David HollingsworthJanuary 18, 2022 at 9:04 PM

    Just saying hi, again.

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  59. Is there snow and ice in your region this week? We have snowy conditions here.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  60. What is your favorite childhood book?

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    1. Winnie-the-Pooh, classic A.A. Milne versions. In fact, I only recently realized that some of my characters speak a little like Milne's animals!

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  61. I love the book details sounds like a great read.

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    1. Thank you, Laurie! Give it a try! It costs less than a cup of coffee, and it's free for Kindle Unlimited readers.

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  62. Do you take a daily walk to clear your head?

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    1. I try, but I find walking fills my head (with ideas) more than clears it!

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  63. This sounds like an interesting book to read. I also like the cover.

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  64. When you were little, did you ever build a snowman?

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. I grew up in California, so it only snowed once in my childhood. We scraped the whole yard and built a snow squirrel. There wasn't enough snow for anything else!

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    1. Xmas, for sure. I'm also a fan of Groundhog Day.

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  66. sounds like a fun one

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  67. Do you have any advice for new writers?

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  68. This so sounds like my kind of read and I love the cover too.
    heather
    hgtempaddy

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  69. David HollingsworthJanuary 20, 2022 at 8:12 PM

    What do you when you're not writing books?

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    1. I'm a professor of Classics at a midwestern university.

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  70. LAST DAY
    Thanks for the contest.

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  71. Replies
    1. You're welcome! I wish all of you who have commented could win.

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  72. What's your New Year's Resolution?

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    1. Not to make any, because I never keep them. So hmmm ... does that mean I won't be able to resist making some?

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  73. David HollingsworthJanuary 21, 2022 at 7:34 PM

    How are you keeping warm?

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    1. Hot tea, hot coffee, scalding-hot baths, and electric blankets! And I'm still cold.

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  74. I think that the cover of Journeys Series: The Archers of Saint Sebastian #1 by author Jeanne Roland is very elegant in its design.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thanks, Nancy! You can't go wrong when you use great art on the cover, can you?

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  75. This book has a wonderfully interesting storyline and the cover is great.

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    1. I'm so glad you think so, Jen! I hope you'll pick up a copy from Amazon, and give it a try. I'd love to have you as a reader

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  76. To all of you who have asked such fun questions, followed the tour, and commented - thank you all so much! It's been a blast, and I wish you all luck in the giveaway. To "alltheupsandowns," thank you for including me on your wonderful page, and letting me share my book with such an engaged readership. You've all been lovely!

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    1. Thank you for being so active and for answering all the readers' questions! And thanks for stopping by =)

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