Welcome to the Name Before the Masses Tour for All Bags to Cleveland, a clever paranormal romantic comedy by C.S. Hale! I'm letting you know what I thought of the book, plus sharing an excerpt. You can also get a sneak peek into the author's life as she talks about balancing life and writing. Lots to enjoy here and then as you follow the tour! Plus there's a great giveaway at the end.
Angela Grimalke appears more blonde bombshell than the gremlin she is. But there is no denying her supernatural truth after her clumsiness gets her fired from her modeling career. Forced to work for her family’s upscale airline, she spends her days slinging luggage and wishing her parents would get off her back about finding a nice gremlin guy to settle down with.
Relationships were the last thing on her mind, not that her family would accept that.
However, as Angela’s parents bombard her with a parade of "eligible" gremlin men at their weekly family dinners, she finds herself torn between who she longs to be and her family’s expectations. Will she give in and live the life of magic they want for her? Or risk it all by to confessing to Dave that she isn’t human?
“You owe me.”
Angela glanced up from her computer screen. Dave Ford stood in front of her. The blood drained from her face. “Do I?” She raised her “helpful” smile.
“Yes.” Dave handed over his passport and put the Louis Vuitton garment bag on the scale. “Last time, you sent my bag to Cleveland.”
“The system isn’t perfect,” Angela said, punching Dave’s information into the computer. “Things do happen sometimes.”
“You control the system. I think you owe me a glass of wine for having to find a tailor at six a.m. I had a nine o’clock business meeting and just my jeans and sweatshirt.”
“Hmm. By that reckoning, I think I’d owe the tailor for having to get you a functional suit so quickly at that early hour.”
“I tipped him £100. Least you can do is buy me a glass of wine in return.”
Angela lifted her gaze. Dave—all six feet of him with his fabulous hair— had a hopeful expression on his face.
“I’m not in the habit of buying strange men alcohol.”
Dave stuck his hand out. “Hi. Dave Ford. Business traveler.” Angela laughed. “All I’m asking for is a glass of Malbec. Or maybe pinot noir. Small price to pay in comparison to my having to fight off jet lag via acupuncture.”
Dave shrugged. “It was early for the tailor. His aim wasn’t quite what it could have been.”
Angela dipped into Dave’s mind. The tailor had stabbed him a couple of times. And Dave was playing with her. He wanted to see what she’d do.
I am a slow writer. Usually. While I plan out all my plot points via Save the Cat, I pants my way from point to point. I love that gasp out loud I get when something is finally revealed. From start to finish, most of my books take a year to write. I do first drafts longhand in a notebook. I usually require two. And more Pilot G2 pens than I can count. I once had to go hunting for them in London when I ran out, and I was shocked at the £3.50 price for a single pen! Sometimes I make it all the way to “The End” before I do my first edit, typing everything up, and sometimes I make it 4/5 of the way through before I type it all into a Word document.
In my day job, I’m an elementary teacher. I work 12 to 15 hours a day nearly seven days a week. I find it much easier to edit when school is in session than to write new words. The advantage of being a teacher is that I do have several weeks off during the summer. This is when I get the bulk of my new writing done. Though I have found it’s easier to write if I go away somewhere. I love writing in London and have found I can write an average of 34 longhand pages a week if I’m holed up in my favorite studio apartment (a whopping 14 sq meters) not far from Euston Station. I walk to the parks every day and write, as well as write in my room as I watch all of London drive by. My favorite example of life colliding with art came when I had just written that my character needed to “stop viewing everything as a life or death situation” and I looked up to see a ladder fire truck pull up and park outside my second story window.
My critique partner Bethany Adams writes with two young school age children. She’s even managed to get her word counts in while homeschooling during this pandemic. I don’t know how she does it. Balancing life with writing needs to happen. You can’t create beautiful words if your soul is dry. Cleveland took an initial three years to complete, and it would not be the book it is if I had had to finish it under deadline. While I can force myself to put out one a year, I’ve given myself permission to take two years to get out the companion novel to Cleveland - Ghost Chilis Are Real. This new school year is going to be incredibly stressful, and I want to be mindful of that and be kind to myself. But my characters also want me. I’ve got 7 different books that are begging for my attention but only so much time and energy.
So write. Put words on the page. But also give yourself time to breathe. The characters will still be there waiting to welcome you.
About the Author:
Catherine “C.S.” Hale has been writing fantasy since she could hold a pencil. When not holed up in a comfortable corner writing all her books out by longhand, she can be found somewhere by the sea, enjoying tea and pastries.
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