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BLOGWORDS – Saturday 17 June 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – NEW RELEASE EVENT – SOMEPLACE FAMILIAR BY TERESA TYSINGER

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – RELEASE DAY EVENT – SOMEPLACE FAMILIAR BY TERESA TYSINGER

 

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger. I’m posting today about this debut novel, a contemporary southern romance with themes of faith, hope in new love, and grace. It’s the first in a series of books set in Laurel Cove, a fictional town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I’m joining other bloggers this week to tell you a little about the book and spread the news about the giveaway Teresa is hosting! Be sure to enter to win a signed book and more from Teresa at the end of this post. And leave your comments and questions below—Teresa will be stopping by to visit with us!

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts to discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

 

Not much had changed about Laurel Cove, North Carolina in the ten years since Livy Johnson had last visited. Driving down Main Street, it was every bit as charming and picturesque as she remembered. American flags blew in the breeze in old store fronts. Two old men in overalls leaned lazily on the back end of a rusty pick-up, probably shooting the breeze.

A red traffic light.

Livy’s foot slammed against the brake pad, lurching the car to a stop about a foot into the quiet intersection. The cracking of wood behind her seat could only mean one thing. Her easel had broken. How was she going to get back into painting without the easel she’d used since art school? What a great start to her new beginning.

With no traffic waiting, Livy steered the car left as the light turned. She needed no GPS to find the Laurel Cove Inn, a short, steep climb off Main Street. The car came to a much gentler stop in front of the grand white building sitting at one edge of the town square. Livy’s muscles ached from the five-hour drive from Raleigh as she stepped from the car and stretched her arms toward a cloudless sky. The building was every bit as beautiful as she remembered.

The sight of a man looking down from a second-story window of the inn pricked at her insecurities. A gasp of cold, crisp mountain air stung her throat as her hand rubbed at the heat rising up her neck. Her eyes cut to the hood of her car, its engine still pinging as it cooled. The uneasiness of being watched eclipsed the serenity of her surroundings. She’d come to Laurel Cove to hide from her problems, yet someone had already found her.

Don’t be ridiculous. It wasn’t like she was hiding. Plus, everything, and everyone, she remembered of Laurel Cove was good. Curiosity pulled her eyes back to the window. The man’s tall figure filled most of the space between the frame. Flat palm facing out, he nodded in her direction.

Her heart skipped in her chest. Who was he? A tenant or maybe the owner? And why was he watching her so intently? She returned an awkward wave but not a smile, a tingling electricity traveling from her neck to her fingertips. Apparently satisfied, the man disappeared from the window.

Hiding had been effortless in New York City. Getting lost in a sea of people was as easy as stepping onto a crowded Subway car. Sweet Laurel Cove would be very different. Generations of families filled its church pews, ran its farms, and schooled its children. Anonymity was as rare as lightning bugs in wintertime—as her Gram would say. Being new in town and keeping a low profile might prove tough. Yet, the memory of feeling so safe and loved during summers here with her grandmother made it seem like just the place she was meant to be.

A cool breeze whipped at the few loose strands of hair around Livy’s face and pulled her away from her thoughts. She turned to gather her things from the backseat of the car. The easel fell apart as she removed a suitcase that had been holding it in place behind her seat. Ruined. But no time to dwell on more broken things. She straightened and retrieved the folded paper she’d carried in her purse the past two months, opened it, and scanned the contents. She refolded it with care and slid it back in for safekeeping.

Armed with a few bags and one large rolling suitcase, Livy took in the entirety of the picturesque inn. This would be home—at least for now. With its large pillars, wraparound porch, and grand hanging ferns, it epitomized southern charm. Her eyes wandered along the lines of the white siding, to cornices adorned with carved ornaments, and finally up to a red tin roof. It had been well maintained over the years.

As Livy took the uneven stone walkway toward the front steps, she dared to revisit the window. Empty. The encounter with the man had been harmless, yet something inside her stirred. Would she make friends easily here? Would they treat her differently once they found out she’d been living up north? Southerners may be known for their hospitality, but some could be wary of outsiders. Her future here was anything but clear. Yet she’d made it this far. With a deep breath, Livy opened the door.

 

rem:   Hullo Teresa!! Congrats on your debut novel!! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

TERESA:   Thanks so much for having me! I’d live right now, but in the mountains of North Carolina. Seriously my happy place!

rem:   They are breathtaking aren’t they? Where did you find this story idea?

TERESA:   The plot sort of just came to me as I kept writing. But the setting was inspired by my time spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia North Carolina. I knew I wanted to write a story set in these beautiful hills and valleys – in a quaint, quiet Southern town.

rem:   Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

TERESA:   The easiest was Jack Bowdon, our handsome and sweet hero. For some reason, I felt like I just knew Jack before I even knew the story. He’s probably made up of part my own real life leading man with a few tweaks. The most difficult was Claire, Jack’s ex-wife. Even though she’s our typical antagonist in many ways, I knew I wanted her to also be redeemable in a way. That proved tough!

rem:   And I’d say you done good. #nospoilers What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

TERESA:   My favorite is iced coffee. If I have food, I tend to eat mindlessly (which means too much!) so I try not to have snacks out.

rem:   I love iced coffee, used to drink it all the time. What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

TERESA:   Mindless television or movie watching! Best decompressor for me.

rem:   Ah yes, mindless is the way to go! For however long it lasts….

 

Teresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She also offers graphic design and marketing services to other authors through her freelance business, Good Day Publishing. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

 

www.teresatysinger.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16536072.Teresa_Tysinger

https://www.facebook.com/teresatysingerauthor/

https://twitter.com/tmtysinger

https://www.instagram.com/teresatysingerauthor/

https://www.pinterest.com/teresatysinger/

http://amzn.to/2qHqhro

 

  • Hiding had been effortless in New York City. Getting lost in a sea of people was as easy as stepping onto a crowded subway car. Sweet Laurel Cove would be different. Generations of families filled its church pews, ran its farms, and schooled its children. Anonymity was as rare as lightning bugs in wintertime—as her grandmother would say.
  • Their eyes locked. Again, heat rose to Livy’s cheeks. He needed to stop looking at her that way. She never should have noticed the captivating hue of his sky-blue eyes. When was the last time a man flustered her like this?
  • The place reminded her of a refined lady, full of subtle beauty and without any entitlement or pride of position.
  • She looked again to the dilapidated cottage. Her mind’s eye resurrected colorful flowerbeds, musical chimes swaying in the wind, and the vision of Gram standing on the porch in her housecoat waving her white handkerchief and calling Livy go supper. She drew in a deep breath that fanned the ember into a flame of determination. It wasn’t the end, but rather the beginning. It had to be.
  • Jack’s compliments collected inside her like shells in her pocket during a walk on the beach.
  • “He said that the love they shared flooded into the deep cracks of his grief like grains of sand. That it didn’t stitch the cracks closed, just filled in the wounds so that they were bearable.”
  • If a smile had a sound, Jack’s voice delivered it.
  • Relationships were such funny things. Some broke your heart and some healed it.

 

  1. Someplace Familiar was originally titled Good Graces, until a literary agent pointed out that there aren’t really “bad” graces, are there? So, new title! And I love the title I settled on.
  2. I wrote the first (very rough) draft of the book for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month) in 2013. That’s 50,000 words written in one month. Whew!
  3. Livy’s grandmother’s cottage that she and Jack work to renovate in the book is based heavily on my own memories of my great-grandmother’s little bungalow, though hers was in West Palm Beach, Florida.
  4. The Laurel Cove Inn where Livy stays while working on the cottage is based on the NuWray Inn in Burnsville, North Carolina.
  5. As a graphic designer, I designed the book cover, though it took me over a dozen different designs before deciding on this one. Oh, the choices!
  6. In one scene, Livy mentions tasting “Patti’s peanut butter balls” at a fair. These are real treats that my best friend’s mother (Patti “with an I”) makes and is a favorite of my husband!
  7. Speaking of my best friend, she is the inspiration for Jen Barnett, Jack’s best friend Owen’s wife who befriends Livy. In this instance only, I didn’t even change the name, but decided to honor my friend by keeping the name.
  8. If Someplace Familiar had a theme song, it would be “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells. I listened to it a lot during final edits and the lyrics speak very well to God’s faithfulness in both good times and bad.
  9. Originally, the opening scene of the book was set in Livy’s New York City apartment after she and Sam break up and he leaves her in an emotional mess. Thanks to help from several experienced authors and editors, I decided to start more in the action as Livy returns to Laurel Cove.
  10. Good Day Publishing, my self-publishing imprint, is based on one of my favorite Bible verses, Psalm 118:24. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.”

 

After ten years in New York City, a failed relationship drives Livy Johnson to the small town where she spent her childhood summers. She has her heart set on restoring the cottage where her grandmother lived, her home away from home that made those early summers so memorable.

 

Enter Jack Bowden, childhood friend and owner of the local supply store. Their friendship revives, and sparks begin to kindle.

But can Livy trust Jack’s kindness after years of debilitating criticism? And can Jack trust another woman after being betrayed by his wife?

 

 

Ms. Tysinger’s story is a portrait of life, the ordeals and the delights, the raw colors on a canvas blending to a final masterpiece. The pain and issues that both Livy and Jack have to contend with are real and cruel, the stuff that can make or break a relationship. The stuff that can make or break a man or woman. The struggle Livy faced with the abusive voice of her past wasn’t pretty; Livy grew as she dealt with it, gaining a confidence she hadn’t known before.

Anger rips through Jack like a knife through a canvas, ugly and unexpected. The wounds he bears are deep, and have not healed. Ms. Tysinger has given her characters depth and authenticity as they fight their pasts, in their failures. And in the triumph of forgiveness, even unexpected, unthinkable forgiveness.

 

 

I purchased this book on Amazon. I offer my review of my own free will, and the opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

To win a signed paperback copy of Someplace Familiar, a custom 8×8” canvas painting by artist Cyndi Browning (in honor of the book’s heroine, Livy, who is an artist), and $10 Amazon Gift Card.

 

ENTER HERE

(https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e36c22633/)

 

Winner will be announced on Teresa’s website on June 18 once the tour wraps up. (Open to continental US residents only; sorry international readers!)

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, New Release Event, Someplace Familiar, Teresa Tysinger

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 11 May 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – TERESA TYSINGER

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – TERESA TYSINGER

“They say “write what you know.” I’m fortunate to know grace and love pretty well – the grace of a heavenly Father who forgives me without my deserving it, and a love deeper and wider than my vast imagination can comprehend.”

 

“I yearn for connection – as I’m sure many of you do. It’s part of our make-up as human beings. True relationship building takes time and effort.”

 

rem:  Hello, Teresa, welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

TERESA:  My twin sister and I were born in Honolulu, Hawaii (father was stationed there in the Navy) and raised in Central Florida. I then spent more than ten years in North Carolina attending college and marrying my husband. We now live in North Texas with our daughter and fur baby. I work full time as a director of communications for a large church—a career I’ve enjoyed for about 14 years.

rem:  Remind me to ask for some twin antics… 😉 Tell us three things about yourself.

TERESA:

  1. On paper, I test extremely introverted, though friends would never suspect that based on my outward interactions; I must recharge with quiet alone time.
  2. My home library is pretty lean because, more often than not, I give books away to friends or family once I’ve read them.
  3. I have a master’s degree in editing and publishing but focused on book design, which led me to a career in graphic design as part of church communications. I love it!

 

rem:  Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

TERESA:  My favorite coffee drink is an iced caramel macchiato…mmm!

rem:  Caramel—sounds delectable! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

TERESA:  There is currently a pair of my daughter’s socks in my purse. Ah, motherhood!

rem:  LOL Classic motherhood. What’s your favorite recent discovery?

TERESA:  My daughter and I love the show The Zoo on Animal Planet, a behind-the-scenes show about the Bronx Zoo.

rem:  Do you use sarcasm?

TERESA:  All. The. Time. It’s my favorite tool to get through life. Ha!

rem:  What is the first thing you notice about people?

TERESA:  Whether they are kind or not. Sometimes it’s in their eyes, and you just know.

rem:  Very true. Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

TERESA:  I chose my life verse when I was going through confirmation in sixth grade. I think God knew then that my anxious nature would need it: “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid for I am your God.” Isaiah 41.10.

 

rem:  And that’s what His presence is all about, peace. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

TERESA:  I believe Christian fiction is only different from secular fiction in that it sheds light on the only true conflict resolution: God’s grace and salvation. This can be really subtle, yet poignant in well-written Christian fiction. For me, writing has become my sacred time with God. It’s when I feel the closest to him—like he’s my co-author.

rem:  Ooohhh, I love that—He’s your (our) co-author! When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

TERESA:  I guess my pet peeve would be characters who are too perfect or whose lives are hard to relate to. I want to read stories about characters I can see myself and my own struggles in. I am really drawn to stories with a strong sense of place. Setting is really important to helping me experience the story.

rem:  Like mine in the swamp???  wink wink… Which is more important: plot or characters?

TERESA:  I think the two go hand in hand; one can’t survive without the other.

rem:  Seems to be the consensus. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

TERESA:  Something else creative. In the past I’ve enjoyed crafts and home decorating.

rem:  Yes, well, home decorating, Interior Designer here—you’re speaking my (other) language! LOL What are you reading right now?

TERESA:  Nothing!  This book launch has taken so much of my time. My pile of books to read is tall!  I particularly can’t wait to open up The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson.

rem:    NO | KIDDING! What do you munch on while you write?

TERESA:  Usually just coffee. If I have snacks around me, I’ll eat too much!

 

rem:  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TERESA:  I started writing Someplace Familiar over three years ago for National Novel Writer’s Month, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Since then, it’s been through so many rewrites and edits to get to where it is today.

rem:  Ah yes, good ol’ NaNoWriMo! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
TERESA:  Because of my full-time job and motherhood duties, I don’t really have a set routine. But when my husband is off on a weekend, I most enjoy camping out at my local coffee shop. I’ve been known to have a 6+ hours writing marathon when I can find the time. Otherwise, it’s a few hours a night after my daughter goes to bed if I’m not too tired.

rem:  Wait, is a mom ever not tired??? What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

TERESA:  TIME (see above answer). In an ideal world, I’d love to write full time. Since that’s not my current reality, I am learning to be kinder to myself. I try and focus more on what I can do and not on what I can’t. My number one priority is my daughter and husband, so the writing comes second. I pray a lot about finding contentment in every day, trusting that God is there always.

rem:  And Father honors those priorities. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TERESA:  Creating, for sure!  There are no rules when you’re just writing ideas down. The story feels more alive to me in that phase. Editing can be very satisfying, but it doesn’t feel as organic to me.

rem:  I love the way you said that! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

TERESA:  I most enjoy the outlet it gives me to create people and worlds that only exist in my head. I’m also learning how amazing it is when readers are moved by my writing. The best feeling!

rem:  So true! I’m like a little kid when people tell me their (ahem, positive) response to my stories! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

TERESA:  Since I’ve decided to self-publish, the hardest thing is having to manage all of the moving parts on my own. It’s overwhelming some times. The easiest part is having a lot of friends who’ve done it before and are more than willing to help. The author community is really incredible!

rem:  I hear tell, though, that trad pubs have to manage much of it on their own anyway… What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

TERESA:  I’d tell new writers to not think too much (just write!), read all you can (about the craft of writing and books in your genre), and realize that you’re not alone (all writers have been where you are; reach out if you need help).

rem:  I so love the connections and camaraderie amongst fellow authors. How do you choose your characters’ names?

TERESA:  This is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. Sometimes, it is as simple as choosing a name I personally like. Other times, especially with last names, I research common names to the region the book is set in.

rem:  And let’s not forget when they introduce themselves… no name selecting involved. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

TERESA:  No! At least in the case of Someplace Familiar, I really wrote as it came to me. That was a good approach for my first book, but I think for future books I will do a little more outlining so it goes faster.

rem:  Ah, you “pantzed” it! KUDOS Your debut novel comes out the 30th of this month. Tell us about it.

TERESA:  Someplace Familiar is my debut contemporary southern romance novel. Here’s a short description:

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Together they must find a way to survive the destructive pain of their pasts and ultimately discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts.

rem:  Sounds delightful! Can’t wait to read it! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

TERESA:  Laurel Cove is inspired by the small town where my best friend grew up. I fell in love with the place while attending college in the mountains, so it’s been a real treat to introduce readers to a similar quaint and charming town. I think readers will also enjoy the story of renewed hope in love as our main characters work together to restore Gram’s cottage.

rem:  How fun is that! And I love the mountains. Tell us about why you wrote this book.

TERESA:  I felt called to write a story of redemption and grace—both grace we can receive freely from God and the grace we can extend to others. Other than that, writing this book was really to prove to myself that I could do it.

rem:  Well done. Please give us the first page of the book.

TERESA:

Not much had changed about Laurel Cove, North Carolina in the ten years since Livy Johnson had last visited. Driving down Main Street, it was every bit as charming and picturesque as she remembered. American flags blew in the breeze in front of old store fronts. Two old men in overalls leaned lazily on the back end of a rusty pick-up, probably shooting the breeze. 

A red traffic light.

Livy’s foot slammed against the brake pad, lurching the car to a stop about a foot into the quiet intersection. The cracking of wood behind her seat could only mean one thing. Her easel had broken. How was she going to get back into painting without the easel she’d used since art school? What a great start to her new beginning.

With no traffic waiting, Livy steered the car left as the light turned. She needed no GPS to find the Laurel Cove Inn, a short, steep climb off Main Street. The car came to a much gentler stop in front of the grand white building sitting at one edge of the town square. Livy’s muscles ached from the five-hour drive from Raleigh as she stepped from the car and stretched her arms toward a cloudless sky. The building was every bit as beautiful as she remembered.

The sight of a man looking down from a second-story window of the inn pricked at her insecurities. A gasp of cold, crisp mountain air stung her throat as her hand rubbed at the heat rising up her neck. Her eyes cut to the hood of her car, its engine still pinging as it cooled. The uneasiness of being watched eclipsed the serenity of her surroundings. She’d come to Laurel Cove to hide from her problems, yet someone had already found her.

Don’t be ridiculous. It wasn’t like she was hiding. Plus, everything, and everyone, she remembered of Laurel Cove was good. Curiosity pulled her eyes back to the window. The man’s tall figure filled most of the space between the frame. Flat palm facing out, he nodded in her direction.

 

rem:  Well, I’m right there with her in Laurel Cove, and now m’wanna read the whole thing! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

TERESA:  I hope readers see that no love story is perfect and without obstacles, but can be breathtaking and inspiring all the same. Jack nor Livy are perfect; they each struggle with forgiveness, insecurities, trust, etc. I hope readers see themselves in these characters and that they, too, find hope within God’s grace.

rem:  God’s grace indeed, wonderful. Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today! And welcome to the world of author hood!

 

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“… if my writing can speak of these sorts of grace and love to others – maybe even you – then what a gift it is, indeed.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Teresa Tysinger, Someplace Familiar

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