The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti – Blog Tour

9781525823589_TS_SMP

 

Publication Date: May 12, 2020

Publisher: Graydon House Books

With a setting inspired by the real-life Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires where stars like Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lauren Graham, and Chris Pine have performed, THE SUMMER SET (Graydon House Books; May 12; $17.99) is a salacious rom-com, beach read perfect for Broadway nerds and Hollywood gossips alike.

 

Charlie Savoy was once Hollywood’s hottest A-lister. Now, ten years later, she’s pushing forty, exiled from the film world back at the summer Shakespeare theater in the Berkshires that launched her career—and where her first love, Nick, is the artistic director.

It’s not exactly her first choice. But as parts are cast and rehearsals begin, Charlie is surprised to find herself thriving: bonding with celebrity actors, forging unexpected new friendships, and even reigniting her spark with Nick despite their complicated history.

Until Charlie’s old rival, Hollywood’s current “It Girl,” is brought on set, threatening to undo everything she’s been working towards. As the drama amps up both on the stage and behind the curtains, Charlie must put on one heck of a show to fight for the second chance she deserves in her career and in love.

The Summer Set Sharable

Excerpt

2 I MISSED YOU TOO

 

Charlie studied herself in her bathroom mirror. In just a week her bruised eye had faded to the dull gray of rancid meat, now easily disguised by concealer. She flat-ironed her raven hair, securing it in a sleek, low ponytail, then rummaged the closet for her most professional-looking getup: that slim black suit, pale pink silk blouse with the bow at the neck and the stilettos she only wore when she felt compelled to impress. Her wardrobe from that perfume ad a decade earlier but timeless nonetheless, just like the moniker that had been etched in script on the curved bottle of the fragrance.

Outside, Boston did its best impersonation of her supposed hometown, London. (Though she had lived away from there enough during childhood to have eluded the accent.) The dreary May rain made her think of her mom: the estimable Dame Sarah Rose Kingsbury. News of Charlie’s incident had warranted mentions in a few celebrity weeklies and, unfortunately, made the hop across the pond. Her mother had called, texted and finally, after no response, emailed: Charlie, Did you receive my voice mail and text? I trust you’re alright. Another of your stunts? Please respond. Love, Mum. Her mom’s correspondence always scanned like a telegram, full of stops and full stops—much like their relationship itself. Charlie, reveling in being briefly unreachable and not in the mood to answer questions, hadn’t yet bothered to replace her phone and had indeed missed the call but wrote back assuring her mom that she was fine, though the accident had not, in fact, been performance art.

By the time Charlie reached the foreboding Suffolk County Courthouse, her lawyer/friend Sam—who had shepherded her through the theater purchase (while questioning her sanity)—was already there pacing, barking into her phone.

“This should be easy,” Sam told her, hanging up, hugging her while scrolling her inbox. Sam wore suits and radiated responsibility, two things Charlie found comforting in a lawyer. “Be contrite and it should be open-and-shut for community service.”

The sterile courtroom’s pin-drop silence made Charlie shiver. Next to her, Sam tucked her phone in her bag and rose to her feet, gesturing for Charlie to stand as the judge materialized at the bench. Charlie found it oddly reassuring that the judge was the kind of woman who wore pearls and a frilly collar outside her robe.

“You were okay with my email, right?” Sam whispered, as they sat again.

“What email?” she whispered back.

“My email. An hour ago? You have got to get a new phone,” Sam scolded.

“I know, I know—”

“There was this arrangement, last minute, I hope you’ll be amenable to but—”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Charlie pleaded.

The judge had begun speaking, so Sam hushed her. Too late.

“Ms. Savoy, this is the part where I get to talk.” The judge looked up from the paper she had been reading aloud. “Maybe it was different in your episodes of Law & Order?”

“No, ma’am, I mean, Your Honor, sir, ma’am, no,” Charlie stumbled. She had been wrong about the judge. The woman continued on about the damage Charlie caused and the significant hours of service required like Charlie was the honoree at one of those Comedy Central roasts, albeit one that could end with her in a jail cell.

Until finally, the judge cut to the chase: “…an assignment has presented itself,” she said slowly. “Which will make fine use of Ms. Savoy’s expertise…” Charlie caught Sam’s side-eye. “So Charlotte Savoy shall be required to complete sixty days with the Chamberlain Summer Theater in—”

“NO!” Charlie expelled the word, an anaphylactic response. The judge scowled as though jail might still be an option. “Sorry, Your Honor, I just mean—can I object?” Sam shot her a lethal glare. “It’s just that, well—” Charlie tried again as a door at the back of the courtroom creaked open, footsteps echoing. She turned to discover the equivalent of a ghost.

Nick Blunt—director, ex, first love, disappointment, invertebrate—heading her way.

“Mr. Blunt, thank you for joining us,” the judge said, unimpressed.

Charlie’s posture straightened, heartbeat ticking faster than seemed medically sound. She felt betrayed by her own being, muscles, nerves, ashamed of this reaction.

“Sorry, Your Honor,” he said in that deep rasp.

Charlie wished she hated that voice. And it seemed an abomination that he could still be attractive—physically at least.

Rugged with an athletic build, he wore black jeans, a blazer and aviator sunglasses, which he pulled off as he walked (pure affectation since, to her knowledge, it was still raining outside), tucking them into the V of his slim sweater.

He took his place beside Charlie, flashing that smile he deployed when he aimed to be his most charming.

“Hi there,” he said, as though surprised to be meeting this way.

“Shouldn’t you be wearing a cape?” Charlie rolled her eyes, focused on the judge reading again, and returned her body to its proper slouch, recalibrating her expression between boredom and disgust.

“I missed you too, Charlie,” he whispered back.

From the corner of her eye, Charlie spotted the sharp beak of that tattoo—the meadowlark—curving around from the back of his neck. It was still there, which gave her a pang of affection, a flare-up she forced herself to snuff out. She imagined how they might look to those few people sitting in the rows behind them. Nick and her with these identical birds inked onto the backs of their necks, midflight and gazing at each other anytime he stood on her right side, as he did now. Mirror images, bookends, the birds’ once-vibrant golden hue as faded as the memory of the hot, sticky night she and Nick had stolen away from campus to get them together.

Over the years, she had considered having hers removed or morphed into some other design, but why should she? She liked it. At face value. Charlie sighed again, more loudly than intended, as her mind sped to how this summer would now be.

“Ms. Savoy, is there a problem?” the judge asked, irked.

“Your Honor, I just wondered—is there a littered park or something? Instead?”

“We’re fine, Your Honor.” Sam patted Charlie’s arm in warning.

“Ms. Savoy will report to service June 1.” The judge slammed the gavel, which, to Charlie, sounded like a nail being hammered into a coffin.

“I had a client last week who’s cleaning restrooms at South Station this summer,” Sam said apologetically as they walked out.

Charlie just charged ahead down the hall, an urgent need to escape, her mind struggling to process it all.

“So, craziest thing happened,” Nick launched in, catching up to them at the elevator. “I was reading the news and saw about your little mishap—” He sounded truly concerned for a moment.

“Don’t pretend like you don’t have a Google alert on me,” Charlie cut him off, stabbing the down button too many times.

“You always were a terrible driver—”

“That river came outta nowhere—”

“But a stellar swimmer—”

She nodded once. She couldn’t argue with that.

He went on, “So I made a few calls and—”

“Don’t be fooled by…that.” She waved her hand back toward the courtroom. “You need me more than I need you.”

The elevator opened.

“We’ll see about that.” He let them on first. Charlie hit the button again-again-again to close the doors, but he made it in. “How long has it been, anyway?”

“You know how long it’s been,” she said as the doors closed so she was now looking at their reflection. It had been six years, three months, two weeks and two days since they last saw each other. At the long-awaited premiere for Midnight Daydream—which should’ve been a thrilling night since a series of snags had pushed the film’s release date back two years after filming. But instead of celebratory toasts, it had ended with a glass of the party’s signature cocktail—a messy blackberry-infused bourbon concoction the shade of the night sky—being thrown. In retrospect, she thought, there’d been so many signs the movie was cursed.

“You’re just mad your self-imposed exile is over.” He smirked.

“Always with the probing psychoanalysis.” She watched the floor numbers descend, doors finally opening.

Sam scurried out ahead of them. “My work here is done. I’m sure you two have a lot of catching up to do.” She gave Charlie an air-kiss before striding off.

“Wait, no, I just need to—” Charlie tried to stop her, but Sam had already hopped in a cab.

“So, I have an office not too far, off Newbury Street, off-season headquarters for Chamberlain—” Nick started.

“Luckily you’re usually phoning it in, so I haven’t had the privilege of running into you around town.” She walked ahead in the cool, pelting rain.

He stayed where he was. “I’d invite you out for a drink—”

“It’s, like, 10 a.m. That’s too early. Even for you—” She glanced back.

“Summer is gorgeous in the Berkshires, as you may recall,” he shouted, sunglasses back on, absurdly, and that smile again. “Welcome back to Chamberlain, Charlie.

 

Excerpted from The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti, Copyright © 2020 by Aimee Agresti. 

Published by Graydon House Books.

Author Bio

Aimee Agresti by Abby Greenawalt_Folger Library

Aimee Agresti is the author of Campaign Widows and The Gilded Wings trilogy for young adults. A former staff writer for Us Weekly, she penned the magazine’s coffee table book Inside Hollywood. Aimee’s work has also appeared in People, Premiere, DC magazine, Capitol File, the Washington Post, Washingtonian, the Washington City Paper, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer, and she has made countless TV and radio appearances, dishing about celebrities on the likes of Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, Extra, VH1, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and HLN. Aimee graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and lives with her husband and two sons in the Washington, DC, area.

Visit Aimee on her website or:

Twitter: @AimeeAgresti

Instagram: @aimeeagresti

Facebook: @AimeeAgrestiAuthor

Goodreads

The Summer Set Banner

Pick up your copy here:

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Fog Lit Books For Young People Prize

unicorn fondant cake
Photo by malcolm garret on Pexels.com

Hiya friends!

I’m super thrilled to share that I placed third in the Fog Lit Books For Young People Prize :). I wrote The Magical Confectioner in February.

After receiving the news a week or so ago, I’ve been thinking about how I could lengthen the story. Currently, the story is 4000 words. It’s different from my YA fantasy novels and is more of a Middle-Grade project.

Happy weekend, friends! Hope you are doing well, and staying safe ❤ Let me know what you’re working on in the comments below.

Loie

Forever Summer by Nicole Bea – Blog Tour

Forever Summer
Nicole Bea
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: February 24th 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Morrigan Westhaver isn’t convinced anything could make her forget her abusive ex-boyfriend—not even if she travels all the way from her home in Michigan to her father’s ranch in Alabama. Saved text messages and voicemails haunt her life with poisonous words and crippling self-doubt, but she can’t seem to let them go. On the ranch, much to her surprise, she immediately takes to a rescued horse, Stormy, as well as Levy, an attractive ranch hand. Will their understanding and gentle support help her heal, or is the damage too deep?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

“We could have texted if you wanted to talk,” I remind him, patting the spot on the bed where my phone has slipped down to.

He pulls an elastic band from his wrist and snaps it into place around his hair, making a perfectly small bun before taking the towel, squeezing the excess water from the style, and taking a seat at the edge of my bed.

“You’re trying to make it sound like you don’t want me here, but I know you do. You wouldn’t have let me in otherwise, and you wouldn’t have kissed me this afternoon.” There’s a pause, the night dripping in and our faces drawing closer. “Do you believe in love at first sight, Morrigan?” His voice hangs heavy and warm in the bedroom air.

The question might be a rhetorical one, but I feel compelled to answer because I think I gave a shit answer the first time he asked me the question.

“I used to,” I reply softly, a whispered lilt to my voice that matches his own. “You know, before.” I tuck a loose strand of hair behind my ear.

“That’s interesting.” He clasps his hands together and rests them between his thighs. His eyes tell me that isn’t the answer he wanted. “You stopped believing in love at first sight when I finally started.”


Author Bio:

NICOLE BEA is a short story author and novelist who primarily focuses on contemporary teen fiction. An avid storyteller since childhood, she has honed her skills through a variety of educational programs including management, sociology, legal studies, and cultural diversity in the workplace, most recently engaging in coursework about communication for technologists. In addition to writing for young adults, Nicole is also a technical writer for a global manufacturer of CPAP masks, machines, and other products that manage sleep-disordered breathing.

When she isn’t busy updating her manuscript portfolio or catching up on her To Be Read pile, Nicole can usually be found gardening, horseback riding, or pursuing her new hobby of learning to cook. She and her husband share their home in Eastern Canada with a collection of multi-colored cats and a lifetime’s worth of books.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

 

On the 2nd and 3rd Day of Writing

heart shape multicolored stand
Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

Hi writing friends,

I have two anthology submission opportunities for you to check out. Let’s take a closer look.

StormDance Publications: Be My Grumpy Valentine! V6

Submit a speculative fiction story between 3000-4000 words and include one goddess or god. Show your main character finding their happy ending, regardless of the ‘help’ from the deity. Perhaps the love god/goddess needs to retire soon.

They are anticipating a lot of stories with Cupid, so find a different one to add. Read more about the submission details here if this sounds interesting. The deadline is January 3rd, 2020

Note* I wrote a short story last year for their first anthology. It wasn’t accepted, but they gave me kind and helpful feedback. I was able to lengthen that original story into something longer, and hope to return to it early next spring.

World Weaver Press – CLOCKWORK, CURSES, AND COAL

For this anthology, Rhonda Parrish is looking for steampunk fairy tales. What is steampunk? It’s a genre that explores an imaginative 1800s, where people use steam-powered technology. Include airships, exploration, and high teas in your story. Don’t forget bustles and parasols. Keep reading about steampunk here.

You can create an original fairy tale, but Rhonda also invites retellings. You can set your story all over the world; it doesn’t have to be in Victorian England or the wild west of America.

Learn more about the submission details here. Keep the story length under 7,500 words. The deadline window is between February 1st-March 31st, 2020.

Happy writing, friends!

 

On the 1st Day of Writing: Cast of Wonders

abstract blur branch christmas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the #12DaysofWriting blog series. Today, I found a fantastic submission prompt. Without further ado, let’s check out the submission opportunity with Cast of Wonders.

Cast of Wonders

If you write YA short fiction, consider sending in a story up to 6000 words. They tend to prefer flash fiction below 1000 words, and stories between 3000-4500 words. They seek stories that spark a sense of wonder in the reader. Read a few of the staff’s favorites.

 

Their deadline is December 15th. If you don’t have time to write something new, consider editing an older piece.

Cast of Wonders read the chosen stories out loud. They are a qualified market for the SCBWI and SFWA. Learn more about the submissions process.

Happy writing, friends!

Loie

12 Days of Writing

christmas tree with baubles
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Last year, I created a blog series called 24 Days of Writing 🙂 This year, I thought it might be more manageable to have 12 days instead. I’m excited to kick this series off starting tomorrow. I hope some of you will join me.

Throughout this series, I will find fantasy submission opportunities. I’ll share the opportunity here and challenge myself and others to submit a finished story. Last year I was accepted to a few spots. One of my shorts turned into a much longer piece. You never know what you’ll come up with 🙂

If this sounds interesting, check back tomorrow ❤

Talk soon,

Loie

DeepMagic E-Zine Submission Opportunity

blank paper with pen and coffee cup on wood table
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re having a lovely summer so far. Hard to believe it’s August. I have decided to post writing opportunities as I find them.

Here is a submission call for those of you who write sci-fi and fantasy. Consider sending your stories to DeepMagic.

DeepMagic Submission Details

They seek science fiction and fantasy stories ranging from 1,000 to 40,000 words. Please note, DeepMagic caps payment at 10,000 words. They pay $.06 per word.

They do not accept multiple or simultaneous submissions. DeepMagic seeks family-friendly stories. Don’t send them stories with mature sexual themes, profanity, or graphic violence. Read more about how to submit your story

If you want to get an idea of what stories they publish, pick up a copy of their inaugural issue. For this submission period, they close on September 30th! Happy writing, friends.

Until next time,

Loie xo

 

Fairy Tale Poetry Submission

FB Rapid Fire Graphic

Hey friends! Do you write poetry? Have you always been interested in poems? Write a poem based on the 12 Dancing Princesses for Timeless Tales Magazine!

Submission Details

Deadline for 12 Dancing Princesses Poetry: June 9 – 14, 2019. You can send multiple pieces totaling up to 1,500 words. You could also send one poem.

They aren’t looking for poems from the shoes’ perspective or a setting around ballet. They have stories with those angles already. They suggested on their website to mix the tale with elements from Bluebeard or the 12 Tribes of Israel.

For more information about formatting, pay rate, and response time, go here.

Poetry Resources

Check out these articles for some help on writing poems if you’re new to it 🙂

Top Ten Fairy Tale Poems

5 Ways to Write a Poem

36 Poetry Writing Tips

Happy writing, friends!

Loie ❤

 

Submit Your Stories: Grumpy Old Gods Anthology

close up of hand over white background
Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

March 6th, 2019

Hi friends, how are you making out?

Today, I’m going to share a fun submission opportunity. I shared about the first Grumpy Old Gods Anthology during #24DaysofWriting. Well, they had nearly 100 submissions and 11 spaces to fill! They’ve decided to send out a call for volume 2.

What’s the Call About?

The editors want stories about mythical Gods or Goddesses who are retired, missing from their post, waning, or ignoring their job responsibilities. They’re seeking speculative fiction at around 3000-4000 words.

The deadline to submit is March 30th, 2019. You can send your submission to grumpyanthology@gmail.com. Find out more information about the call here.

Why You Should Consider Submitting

Personally, I find these submission opportunities a lot of fun. I get to flex my creative muscles and work with a specific prompt. The story I wrote for the first call was a ton of fun. I wrote about Beira from The Winter Crone and created her origin story.

Even though this story wasn’t selected for the anthology, I know where I can use it someday. I’m hoping to research and outline a novel based on Beira and Alaor this summer when I get a chance.

These prompts are fun. You can take a break from editing/drafting novels 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

Until next time,

Loie xo

A CIRCLE OF ELEPHANTS

circle of elephants cover 7-16-18

Title: A CIRCLE OF ELEPHANTS

Author: Eric Dinerstein

Pub. Date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 288

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

 

From the author of What Elephants Know, a 2017 ALA Notable Children’s Book and winner of the 2017 South Asia Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, comes this stunning companion novel about the complex relationship between people and nature coexisting in the Borderlands of 1970s Nepal.

Thirteen-year-old Nandu lives in the newly established Royal Elephant Breeding Center on the edge of the jungle. Here, the King’s elephants are to be raised under the protective watch of the stable. Nandu-along with his adoptive father Subba-sahib, his mentors, friends, and the rest of the elephant drivers-is tested by man and nature as earthquakes, drought, wild herds, and rumors of poachers threaten the Center.

When Nandu’s world is thrown into turmoil, so, too, is the world of Hira Prasad, the Center’s powerful bull elephant. An unbreakable bond of brotherhood drives Nandu and Hira Prasad together as they struggle to maintain the delicate natural order of life in the Borderlands.

Dinerstein’s poetic prose and scientific expertise come together in this breathtaking tale that transports the reader to the center of dangerous conflicts and heartbreaking friendships.

Review

This book was beautifully written. I really enjoyed Eric’s writing style. This story is a companion to WHAT ELEPHANTS KNOW. I found the story was understandable on its own and didn’t feel lost without the previous book.

You’ll find out below more about Eric but I can see how his experience would have helped when crafting this book.

I loved the message about conservation. Personally, I adore elephants but I have yet to meet one. Someday, I hope to. The country of Nepal is drawn out with wonderful description in this book. I felt like I was there.

Nandu and his elephant, Hira Prasad, have a special bond. Their connection is unique and I enjoyed reading about them during stressful times in the book. The characters were flawed but likeable. 5 stars

eric dinerstein hi res

About Eric:

Eric Dinerstein is Director of Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions at RESOLVE. Previously, he was Lead Scientist and Vice President for Conservation Science at the World Wildlife Fund. His areas of specialty include tropical mammals, large mammal biology, biogeography, bats, rhinos, seed dispersal and community ecology. With the World Wildlife Fund, he led many of the organization’s most important scientific projects, including the Global 200 Ecoregions, examples of which form the basis of his book TIGERLAND AND OTHER UNINTENDED DESTINATIONS. Dinerstein is also the author of THE KINGDOM OF RARITIES, THE RETURN OF THE UNICORNS: The Natural History and Conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros and WHAT ELEPHANTS KNOW: A Novel, among other articles and publications.

 

He attended Northwestern University and Western Washington University, and did his post-graduate studies at the University of Washington (Organization of Tropical Studies) and the National Zoological Park’s Conservation and Research Center.

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
Giveaway Details:

3 winners will win a finished copy of A CIRCLE OF ELEPHANTS, US Only.

Giveaway Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2879/?

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/14/2019- The Reading Corner for All– Review

1/15/2019- BookHounds YA– Interview

1/16/2019- Rhythmicbooktrovert– Review

1/17/2019- Confessions of a YA Reader– Excerpt

1/18/2019- dwantstoread– Review

 

Week Two:

1/21/2018- Lifestyle of Me– Review

1/22/2018- Loie Dunn– Review

1/23/2018- YA Books Central– Interview

1/24/2018- The Layaway Dragon– Excerpt

1/25/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review