Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Shoe Diaries (The Friendship Chronicles #1) by Darby Baham

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Shoe Diaries by Darby Baham. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post about second chances from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 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: The Shoe Diaries
Series: The Friendship Chronicles #1
Author: Darby Baham
Publication Date: January 25th 2022
Print Length: 288 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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It’s never too late to put your best foot forward

From the outside, Reagan “Rae” Doucet has it all: a coveted career in Washington, DC, a tight circle of friends and a shoe closet to die for. When one of her crew falls ill, however, Rae is done playing it safe. The talented but unfulfilled writer makes a “risk list” to revamp her life. But forgiving her ex, Jake Saunders, might be one risk too many…

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

The Friendship Chronicles/Book 1: The Shoe Diaries

"Reminiscent of Sex and the City and the Shopaholic series in the best possible way. Her stories are a lot of fun and yet she still tugs at your heartstrings."--Gail Chasan, Special Edition Editor

** Click here to sign up to receive books from Harlequin Special Edition. The Shoe Diaries will be included in the January edition.

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EXCERPT:
October 28, 2019

“It was barely 7:00 a.m. when I heard my alarm blasting the sounds of Nicki Minaj’s “Pound the Alarm.” “Not yet, Alexa.” Groggy and yearning for at least five more minutes of sleep, I stretched my arm over the length of my bed and pressed down on the snooze button with my eyes still closed. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get up, necessarily; it was just that the cocoon of my comforter in my queen-size bed felt so much better than whatever could have been waiting for me outside it. I pulled the cover over my head as an extra protection against the sun.

“Pound the alarm!”

“Agh!” I screamed out as it went off once more. “Fine, fine. I’m up now.”

The music still blaring, I finally acquiesced and rolled myself out of bed, one leg coming free from my cover cocoon, then the next, and made my way to my closet for what had become my daily routine: pick out shoes for the day, figure out the outfit that goes best with them, take a shower and then, of course, post my #shoeoftheday photo to Instagram before heading to work. Conveniently, I passed right over the red pumps that spelled disaster for me the night before. “Hmm, now what do I feel like wearing today?” I questioned, dancing to my closet and scanning all the shoes I own with my eyes, from my flats to my heels, boots to sneakers, in every color one can imagine. They were all intricately displayed on the shelves—heels facing out to show the length and style of the pump, flats facing forward to make it easier for me to see if it was a peep toe, curved toe, pointed toe, or square. “Oooh, these!” Something about my deep red, almost maroon peep-toe heels from BCBG caught my eyes, and I knew they were the ones for the day. The shoes were adorned with a silver buckle on the side of each peep toe and would go perfectly with my red-and pink floral blouse, black pencil skirt and peplum blazer to match. It was amazing how the rest of an outfit could come together for me once I picked out the shoes, and today was no exception. These might even be the ones to help me finally convince my boss to let me do the article I’d been pitching to him for months. Excited about my choices, I laid them out on my bed and hopped in the shower, continuing my best rap impressions as my playlist toggled through my favorite female rappers.
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It was 9:00 a.m. when I walked into work at Washington, D.C.’s premier political news online magazine, my heels clacking on the linoleum floors they must have purchased just to make it that much easier for women to alert everyone of their comings and goings in the office. Seated at her desk already was my always-early, no-holds-barred freckle twin, and the best IT specialist in the office, Rebecca, her reddish-blond hair pulled up into a loose bun and a smile on her face the size of a kid in a candy store. “So…” she said, dragging out her first word. “Tell me about last night.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Darby Baham (she/her) is a debut author with Harlequin Special Edition and a New Yorker of five years who sometimes desperately misses the sprawling shoe closet she had while living in Maryland. She’s had personal blog posts appear in The Washington Post’s relationship vertical and has worked in the communications industry for more than two decades. The New Orleans, LA native is also a lover of big laughs and books that swallow you into their world. The Shoe Diaries is her first book.

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GUEST POST:
SECOND CHANCES
by Darby Baham


I used to be firmly on #TeamNoSecondChances. I think it's partly because I saw my parents get back together many times when it seemed like they were ending. Each time, it would bring just slightly less hope in an incredibly observant kid, seeing what felt like my mom losing her power every time she let my dad stay around when he refused to give her what she needed. Ultimately, it ended, and in my haste to process what wasn't mine to understand, I took from that relationship one simple lesson: people show you from the jump what they want with you. "It don't take a day to recognize sunshine." Shout out to Common and my high school brain.

Then, I became an adult and had my own complicated relationships. "We don't look backward," I'd say, totally denying the fact that, sure, generally I didn't date exes, but one managed to be the exception for 14 years. An exception who made it that much harder for me to see the utility in giving anyone else a second chance because that relationship only reinforced what I knew from childhood: people show you from jump.

Four years into therapy, I realize now that belief is what psychiatrists call "black and white thinking." It can certainly help you protect your heart, but it is grounded in perfectionism. What black and white thinking doesn't do is allow any grace for people being humans that make mistakes and occasionally grow and learn from them. It expects people to be perfect, to get it right all the time, and if they don't, then cool--I know where I stand. It puts up guards. It doesn't allow for grey.

That might be an interesting confession from someone who wrote a book partially about second chances. But part of me writing The Shoe Diaries was my attempt at beginning to process what it might look like to trust myself enough to be a person who isn't afraid to forgive. To look at someone with an open heart, and if they are willing to put in the work, try again. Better yet, to be willing to give someone a second chance without a guarantee for the future.

That takes courage. Faith. A desire to think about the best that could happen and not always the worst.

Basically, what I'm saying is it’s not easy and certainly not something you should do allll the time. But every once in a while, it just might be worth it to do as the great Maya Angelou suggests: “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

#TeamSometimesSecondChances loading.
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GIVEAWAY:
Darby Baham will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to one 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

120 comments:

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

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  2. Sounds like a book I will enjoy.

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  3. Both shoes and romance. To good to be true. )

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  4. I enjoyed the guest post and excerpt, Darby, and The Shoe Diaries sounds like a great book for me to enjoy! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a spectacular day!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! And I hope you have a great day too.

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  5. Thanks for participating in the blog tour!

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  6. Oh my gosh, Darby!!!!

    I am so team no second chance in real life. Yes. I am DEFINITELY a black and white person. It took me a while to like and embrace second chances in romances. I do like them and believe in them, in books. As I said, I not like that in real life. Probably because my exes were exes for a reason and there was no mistaking what happened and no amount of growing up that could be done.

    I seriously LOVED this post.

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    1. hahaha I COMPLETELY understand, Kim! I'd say 95% of the time I'm right there with you still, but I've seen a few success stories lately that, I don't know, gives me some hope in exceptions. It's rare, I know, but if the person is willing to put the work in, sometimes things can be different... let's just blame this on the hopeless romantic in me that likes to peek out every once in a while hahaha.

      So glad you loved this guest post :)

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  7. Do you love to shop for shoes? Do you have a big collection?

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    1. Absolutely! And I do; it's not as large as it used to be. I once had more than 200 pairs, but then I moved to NY and had to downsize lol

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  8. David HollingsworthJanuary 26, 2022 at 6:27 PM

    I should add this book to my reading list.

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  9. The contemporary romance book looks fun to read.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jen!! Let me know if you decide to give it a chance.

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  10. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. Cute story idea, and I love the book cover.

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  12. I have to read this book! I love shoes and have way too many. Looking forward to reading the book.

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    1. Haha join the club with me on having too many shoes! And I hope you enjoy :)

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  13. Do you listen to music when you write?

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    1. Actually, no. I usually need it to be pretty quiet while I write (or as quiet as it gets in NYC). I do sometimes listen to music before I write, however.

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  14. David HollingsworthJanuary 28, 2022 at 1:28 AM

    How many books have you written?

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    Replies
    1. Two so far (the 2nd will be out this summer!). I am writing the third right now.

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  15. What author do you most admire?

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  16. Is there lots of snow this weekend where you live?

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    Replies
    1. There was a pretty good amount this weekend. Not so much that it stopped anything from happening in the city, though :)

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  17. This sounds great! It's on my birthday wish list!

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  18. Thank you for the excerpt and contest. Best of luck with the publication.

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  19. Thank you for a chance to win!

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  20. David HollingsworthJanuary 29, 2022 at 7:50 PM

    Sounds like a great book.

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  21. Replies
    1. I'm pretty simple... I just use Microsoft Word on my MAC laptop.

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  22. Are you a fan of high heels? I must confess that I prefer flats.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    Replies
    1. I loooove high heels! But honestly, I have a lot of flats too.

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  23. Do you set an alarm so you don't write for too long at a stretch?

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    Replies
    1. No, I don't. I usually have an idea of how much writing I want to get done before I sit down for that point in time, and I haven't had any problems stopping once I reach that.

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  24. David HollingsworthJanuary 30, 2022 at 6:49 PM

    How's the weather where you are?

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  25. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jodi! I hope you'll pick it up and enjoy it.

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  26. Do you have a favorite color in shoes you buy? Do you tend to buy basic colors or more extravagant ones?

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. I don't have a favorite color. In fact, I try to get different colors as much as possible. That means I have everything from lime green shoes to sequins gold ones to a classic black pair.

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  27. David HollingsworthJanuary 31, 2022 at 6:35 PM

    Do you ever read your own books?

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    1. David, one thing I have learned is that you will have to read your own books over and over and over again, whether it's through the editing process or picking out excerpts to read/share. So, yes, definitely.

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  28. Do you have characters living in your head?

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    1. Actually, yes! I have started creating a running list of characters I'd love to develop more.

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  29. Great cover and I would love to read your book.

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  30. Do you have any advice for new writers?

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    1. My best advice to new writers is don't try to make it perfect while you're working on your first draft. Just get something on paper/on screen, and then you can work out the knots. I saw someone tweet the other day that you can't fix what's not written, and that's so so true.

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  31. David HollingsworthFebruary 1, 2022 at 7:21 PM

    What the best advice that you've received from other authors?

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    1. To read a lot but not get caught up in trying to do what others are doing... just write what feels good to me.

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  32. Are you glad when a book is finished?

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    Replies
    1. So glad, and relieved. And then I have that voice that starts wondering if people will like it lol

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  33. What did you want to be when you grew up?

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    Replies
    1. I wanted to be a writer/author actually :)

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  34. Do you relax on the weekends?

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    1. Honestly, I don't get to relax as much as I wish I could. But I try to find moments to relax when I can.

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  35. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  36. looks like a fun one

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  37. This so sounds like one that will keep me reading and interested.
    heather
    hgtempaddy

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  38. David HollingsworthFebruary 3, 2022 at 6:41 PM

    I like it cover.

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  39. How long did it take you write the book?

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    Replies
    1. It took me at least a decade to write this one. Wild, right?

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  40. Are you working on another book?

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    1. I am! I am in the middle of writing the 3rd book in the Friendship Chronicles series.

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  41. Replies
    1. Actually, yes, my mom's best friend is named Karen lol

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  42. Sounds like a great story and definitely a fun cover!

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  43. Do you find writing during the day or at night is more creative for you?

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    1. It kind of depends, Diane. During the week, I tend be more creative at night. But if it's a weekend or I'm writing while on vacation, then the morning works better for me.

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  44. I enjoyed the guest post and the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  45. Cute cover and the excerpt is very entertaining.

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  46. I like the cover and excerpts. Thanks for sharing.

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  47. David HollingsworthFebruary 4, 2022 at 7:53 PM

    Have you ever came across your book in stores?

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    Replies
    1. Not yet! But I have a book signing event in New Orleans soon, so I'm excited to it seen in the bookstore then.

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  48. Replies
    1. I don't really have one, other than the fact that I try to start getting ready for bed no later than 11:30p

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  49. My question from yesterday doesn't seem to have posted - what's the furthest you've been from home?

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    Replies
    1. Great question! I think probably Dubai. It was certainly the longest flight I've ever taken.

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  50. Do you write more or read more?

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    1. Well, I write/edit for my job, so technically I do both pretty nonstop. But in terms of creatively, these days I feel like I write more, just because I'm on deadline. I think it goes back and forth, however.

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