Thursday, August 1, 2013

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway for Crashing the Congressman's Wedding by Elley Arden

Welcome to my stop on Elley Arden’s Virtual Book tour for Crashing the Congressman’s Wedding.  Please leave a comment or question for Elley to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter below.

How I Keep My Writing Different by Elley Arden

We’ve all experienced the “same old song” phenomenon with certain musical artists. Every song they write and sing sounds the same. When they were new and a novelty, we didn’t mind so much, especially if the first song was catchy. But after a while, we got bored, started to change the radio station and now, we’re just annoyed, aren’t we?

The same goes for writers.

In an industry where I’m constantly being told what is trending and what is selling, it’s hard not to turn out the same sort of thing all the time in the hopes of catching a publisher’s eye. 

But readers want more.

How do I give them more? How do I stay fresh, true to myself and write something different than I wrote before in an industry with very specific wants and needs, and a tendency toward formulaic?

The key is to keep an open mind.

When I first started writing romance, I had some “absolutes”. I wasn’t going to use vulgarities of any kind. My heroes would be rich, classically handsome, and powerful. My heroines would be young and swept away. Sex would be in the context of love and exceedingly romantic. Stories would have a traditional ending with either a proposal or a wedding and baby epilogue.

Before long, I encountered a character that refused to fit that mold. He really wanted to swear. He liked older women and his sex quick and dirty. A baby would’ve sent him running for the hills. I refused to write him for the longest time, because “I don’t write those things”. Eventually, I had to get him out of my head.

That book was never published, but it was a valuable tool. It rid me of rules that were holding me back. On the other side was freedom to write any character, anyway I saw fit.

These days, I don’t worry I’ll run out of ideas. Fodder is all around me as long as I keep an open mind and remain insatiably curious about people and relationships. 

Crashing the Congressman’s Wedding
By Elley Arden
A Harmony Falls Novel

Publisher:  Crimson Romance
Release Date: July 15, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 180 Pages

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Book Description:

Alice Cramer is tired of being pitied for her family’s transgressions, so she resolves to break out of the gutter and into the spotlight. As long as her local congressman can forget about their checkered past and help her secure a federal grant to open Harmony Falls Little Theatre, she’ll be the brightest star in town. But when Alice stands up in church and stops the congressman’s wedding, she dives headfirst into fresh scandal.

Why is Harmony Fall’s golden boy, Justin Mitchell, speeding down the interstate sans a new wife but with the local drama queen he’s been trying his whole life to avoid? Alice Cramer may have saved him the hassle of an arranged marriage to a woman he didn’t love, but she’s put a business transaction big enough to save an entire town in jeopardy–not to mention his reputation.

Soon Alice and Justin are dredging up and indulging in an attraction that threatens all their dreams and aspirations. But what if life together is the dream that matters most?

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Alice jumped a wave, and Justin was assaulted by a flash of creamy skin and black lace. She was swimming in her underwear. Catching sight of a pile of clothes out of water’s reach, Justin shook his head. Apparently, she had ditched her dress. Why was he not surprised?

“What are you doing?” he called above the surf.

She flashed him a smile he hadn’t seen in years. “I’ve never been to the ocean.”

His untucked shirt tails whipped in the wind, and with the strength of his hands he fought the chaos. “I guess that explains it.”

She stayed smiling, considering him with the same hypnotic eyes he knew as a child. Back then, he wondered what she saw when she looked at him. Now, he was afraid to know the answer.

“I’m going to get the bags and the dog out of the car, and then I’ll bring you a towel. Be careful. No further. You hear? In fact, stay closer to the beach. The undertow is strong, and I’d like to avoid another rescue.”

A few steps up the beach and her wail hit his back. “I don’t need to be rescued.”

But she did. Somebody had to keep her from making rash decisions, like stopping weddings and swimming in the ocean half-dressed. He slowed his pace and closed his eyes. That someone couldn’t—shouldn’t—be him. On an inhale, he opened his eyes and returned to the surf. “Fine. No more rescues.”

“Good, because I’m not a baby. I can take care of myself. Stop telling me what to do. Stop treating me like you’re my father or my brother. You’re not. You’re just a guy. I’m just a girl. And you make life too complicated.” She raised her arms to her side and fell backwards into the sea.

Justin’s heartbeat quickened as he searched the choppy water, waiting for her to surface. Her father died an alcoholic and her brother looked destined to follow. Not being lumped in their category was a good thing, but where did that leave him?

Relief flooded him when her head broke the surface. She pushed soggy curls from her face, and raising her arms over head, spun until a wave knocked her off her feet. She was definitely not a baby. But if he was just a guy and she was just a girl, then bringing her with him was an even bigger risk. He had obligations, expectations and an image to uphold. In trying to avoid a scene at the church, he’d put himself in one hell of a compromising situation.

Author Bio

Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.

Elley has been reading romance novels since she was a sixteen-year-old babysitter, sneaking Judith McNaught and Danielle Steele novels off the bookshelves of the women who employed her. She started her first manuscript when she was twenty-five, writing during babies’ naps. A total of three children and ten years later, the manuscript was complete. Little did she know, her journey to publication was only beginning…

Elley writes provocative contemporary romances for Crimson Romance.

Twitter - @ElleyWrites

My Review

A sweet second chance love story, Crashing the Congressman’s Wedding by Elley Arden was more than I expected.  Well developed characters with real problems, good dialogue and smoking chemistry kept me turning the pages to discover what was going to happen next.  Set in the fictional city in Pennsylvania, this is the first book in the Harmony Falls series.

All of her life Alice Cramer has known she comes from the wrong side of the tracks.  A lover of all things dramatic, Alice has plans to develop the dilapidated theatre in town and turn it into an updated venue where she can become a star.  She just needs her local congressman to forget her past mistakes and help her get a federal grant to redevelop the theatre.  Too bad she stopped his wedding and dove headfirst into a new scandal.

A successful businessman and local congressman, Justin Mitchell can’t afford to make mistakes if he’s going to have a chance at the White House.  Finding himself agreeing to marry a woman he doesn’t really love is stressful, finding out that she might be in love with someone else while standing at the altar is something else.  Walking out on his own wedding is bad, but not as bad as taking Alice Cramer along on his “honeymoon”.

The scenes between Alice and Justin are fun, full of lively dialogue and smoking chemistry.  It’s clear from the very beginning that their attraction is real, even if they’ve never acted on it.  While Alice is somewhat overly dramatic, which by the way is well done, she’s real and suffers from a tremendous lack of self worth based on years of dealing with her father and brother’s drinking. 

On the other hand, Justin suffers from an over abundance of self worth, and has lost sight of what it is he really wants in life.  He’s let someone else take over making all of the decisions in his life and things have gotten way out of control.  Ms. Arden does a good job developing both characters throughout the book as individuals and as a couple and it’s really great to watch both of them grow.  

While there aren’t a lot of secondary characters, I really enjoyed getting to know Charlie, Alice’s brother, and Justin’s brothers, Mark and Will.  We also get to see the man who attempts to create problems for both Alice and Justin, and who tries to keep them apart.  I hope we get to see him get the justice he deserves in a future book.

Will Alice realize she’s worthy of being loved by someone from the “right” side of town?  Will Justin learn to love Alice and the drama she’ll bring to his life?  You’ll have to read Crashing the Congressman’s Wedding to find out.  I enjoyed it and look forward to seeing what happens in Harmony Falls next. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I was not given any additional compensation for my opinion of the reading material provided.

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  1. Great post! I agree, you've got to stay true to yourself and your writing...write the story of your heart. As for characters...haha, I know how that goes. Some of them go against what you want and they tell us quickly how it's their story, not ours!
    Crashing the Congressman’s Wedding sounds like a great book!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commiserating with me, Nikki! :)