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Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter's Magic by Cynthia Gail (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Cynthia Gail, author of Winter's Magic!

Author Guest Post

The Story Behind Winter's Magic 
By Cynthia Gail

Everyone I know was surprised that I’d written a book. English was a subject I never liked growing up. I was always a math and science girl, I’ve never considered myself creative, and my day job is a retail analyst. That’s miles away from being a romance writer.

But I love to read. A Lot.

Three years ago, my husband was working the early morning shift and always went to bed by eight o’clock. I would stay up reading or watching TV. Then one morning I woke up with a storyline in my head. I was intrigued, but didn’t give it much thought. Then I woke up a second morning with the same storyline—this time it was longer. Eventually, the story grew, just in my head, to be a full chapter. So I decided to write it down.

Instead of reading or watching TV, I started staying up late to write. Sometimes until midnight or later. I had no idea what I was doing, but the ideas kept flowing and I kept writing. I couldn’t wait to see where it would lead. And the further I got into the story, the more I wanted to know the ending.

A full year later, I told my secret to my best friend, Angie, who encouraged me to do something with the two and a half manuscripts I’d finished. Within a week, she introduced me to Trish Milburn, an award-winning author she’d grown up with in Kentucky. Trish just happens to live in Nashville, now, less than ten minutes away from me.

Trish was a godsend. I hired her to edit one of my manuscripts, then she introduced me to RWA and the local chapter. Most of all, she encouraged me and gave me a list of books to read about how to write. The important stuff about goals, motivation, and conflict that all good manuscripts include. I started taking on-line classes and going to workshops on emotional intensity, show vs. tell, and dialogue.

In the spring of 2011, I started entering contests and took every ounce of feedback from the judges to improve my manuscript. By fall, I’d finaled in the Heart of Denver’s Molly contest and decided it was time to query publishers.

I write category length, contemporary romance, which limited the publishers that fit my style. But one of my critique partners landed a contract with Soul Mate Publishing and recommended that I send them a query. On November 12, 2011, Debby offered me a contract.

It’s been a long year, waiting for Winter's Magic to be released. Yet it’s given me time to work on the rest of the Music City Hearts series. Spring's Surprise is under contract for early 2013, Summer's Family Affair is almost ready to submit to my editor, and I’ve just finished the outline for Fall's Redeeming Grace.

About The Author

My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our teenage son and three dogs. Life is busy, but when I have free time, I love to read. A math/science girl at heart and a retail analyst by trade, I never thought I’d be writing romance. But one day, a story popped into my head and I had to write it down. The fantasy, escape, and wonder of just reading multiplied by ten-fold and I couldn’t stop my fingers from typing my own fairy tales.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.

Cynthia’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Winter's Magic (Book 1 in the Music City Hearts series).

Cynthia Gail ~ Winter's Magic ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours

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Contest Dates: Nov 5 - Jan 11

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Book Review

Winter's Magic by Cynthia Gail (Book 1 - Music City Hearts series)
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: October 24, 2012
Format: eBook - 174 pages / Kindle - 2837 KB / Nook 2 MB
Genre: Contemporary Romance 

BUY THE BOOK: Winter's Magic

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

Beth Sergeant and Nick Chester come from opposite ends of the social food chain. While he sees a beautiful woman without an agenda, she sees a wealthy playboy. Can he convince her to let go of her insecurities and take a chance on love, when challenges from his past force her to reveal her most guarded secret?

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

Book Excerpt:

“You’re not leaving without saying goodbye, are you, Beth?”

Her breath caught at the sound of Nick’s voice. “I didn’t want to interrupt.”

“I forgot how demanding playing host can be,” he said. “Every time I thought I was getting closer to your crowd I got sucked back into another one.” His voice softened into a low caress. “I’m glad I caught you before you left. Do you have a minute?”

“I’m not in a hurry.” Wrong. She was in a hurry. In fact, she should be running—as fast as she could.

“Come with me.” Nick turned and led her back toward the front of the house to a room not open to guests. Stepping inside, she realized they were in his grandfather’s study. She took her time admiring the room, trying to steady her pulse.

A large mahogany desk sat at the near side of the room with a black leather couch and matching wing chairs facing it. The far side of the study held a conference table. The sound of a grandfather clock filled the air with twelve deep chimes.

“I wanted to talk to you about Midnight Mass.” Nick motioned for her to sit on the couch. “Let me explain.”

Beth sat, though she suddenly preferred to end the discussion quickly. She could tell from his awkward stance, he didn’t want to have this conversation any more than she did.

She had been right about him. Nick may have checked out her legs and caught her eye a few times, but it didn’t mean anything. And he seemed tired. Still incredibly sexy, but his eyes held exhaustion.

She should give him a break and make this easy. “I understand, Nick. Christmas Eve Mass is really a family affair. Your grandfather may want it to be just the two of you.”

“No!” He paused. “I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant.”

“It’s okay. You were just being nice. It’s really no big deal.” She needed to leave. The air was so tight she could barely breathe.

“Beth.” He met her eyes with a commanding gaze that refused to let her shy away. “Would you go to dinner with me tomorrow night?”

Wow. Her gut had been way off base.

Dinner? Translation–real date? His words took a moment to sink in. But when they did, she couldn’t stop her mind from funneling through the numerous events already scrambling her weekend.

“I can’t. I’m sorry, it’s just really busy at the salon right now.” She told the truth. Even if Nick wasn’t off limits and completely the wrong man for her, the salon kept her too busy to even think about starting a new relationship.

“I’ve been wanting to try Carlino’s. Have you been yet?” he asked, ignoring her answer.

“I called to get a reservation last week and they’re booked through the holidays.”

“I’ve heard the same thing. But what if I can get one? Would you join me?”

“I really can’t.” She saw disappointment flash across his face before he could replace it with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “We’re having our staff Christmas party.” The gleam reappeared. His reaction shouldn’t matter as much as it did.

“How about Sunday? I happen to know La Bella Vita isn’t open on Sundays. Let me see what I can do. I’ll call you tomorrow and let you know what time I’ll pick you up.”

She chuckled. “I didn’t say yes.” But she wanted to, even if accepting went against every sensible conviction in her brain.

“You didn’t say no,” he whispered.

“I guess I didn’t.” His stare burned through the last of her fortitude and suddenly, she realized that turning him down had never been possible.

“I still have your card.” He looked at her with a ‘cat ate the canary’ grin.

Her card. The one she’d given him for Lauren? She knew she shouldn’t say anything. But if she was willing to let her guard down and accept his invitation to dinner, she needed to know the truth—from him.

“Speaking of my card, Nick. Where does Lauren fit in?”

“Lauren and I stopped seeing each other a few days before I met you.”

So, they really had broken up. But what about the rest? “According to the rumors—”

“She wants to work things out, but knows I don’t.” His firm answer gave no leeway to ask further questions.

Beth rose as soon as Nick did, prepared to follow him from the room. Jenny’s words came back to her. He’s very private and doesn’t talk about his personal life. Maybe she should have remembered that twenty seconds ago.

Instead of turning to leave, Nick reached down and took her hands in his. They were warm and soft. His thumbs gently rubbed across the top of her knuckles in a subtle stroke.

“I’ve moved on, Beth. At least that’s what I want to do.”

He seemed to be waiting for an answer. She could blame it on the wine and the way his eyes bore into hers, but she didn’t know what to say.

They stood so close she could feel the heat coming from his skin. A hint of his cologne, mixed with leather and the smell of old books, filled her nose. Her eyes moved to his lips and she wondered if he was going to kiss her.

Oh, God help her, she wanted him to.

In her dreams, his lips had been soft and sweet. He’d been gentle at first, slowly caressing her mouth as he held her face in both hands. Then he slid his tongue across her lips, coaxing her to open. When he took her mouth deeper, an electric current sizzled between them and her body tingled everywhere they touched. Every part of her melting into him. She was lost.

She felt his arms come around her, bringing her even closer, but it didn’t seem to be enough. She wanted to run her fingers through his hair. Slide her hands across the taut muscles of his chest. She needed—.

A sound from the hallway startled her and she raised her eyes to meet his. She had no idea how long she’d been staring at his lips and remembering the dreams she would never admit to having. Heat flooded her cheeks as she read the smugness on his face. It had been long enough for him to read her thoughts. But the intensity she felt from his gaze told her it didn’t matter—he wanted the same thing.

My Book Review:

For twenty-nine year old Beth Sergeant, growing up in a middle class Nashville family and attending a wealthy private school, had left her feeling like she never really knew where she truly fit in. And now with the success of her new five star salon and spa, La Bella Vita, she still doesn't feel like she fits in with Nashville's elite crowd. Beth's track record with men has been dismal. She has only had three serious relationships in the past ten years, each one had left her even more insecure and distrustful of men. She vows to never give anyone the opportunity to judge her worth or make her feel like she didn't measure up. Never again. Plus a closely held secret makes her think that she wouldn't be enough for any man to want to marry her.

Thirty-four year old building firm owner Nick Chester was born into the wealthiest family in Nashville. Every woman he has dated over the years has wanted something from him: status, money, influence ... but never just him.

When Nick enters Beth's salon and spa, a spark of attraction is ignited between them ... but is it enough to blossom into some passionate Winter's Magic when a scheming ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend, Nick's past and Beth's secret threaten their fledgling relationship? Or will the magical time of the season bring them everlasting love?

Winter's Magic is a feel good romance story about love at first sight and believing that true love really does conquer all. In her debut novel, author Cynthia Gail weaves a sensuous and passionate tale of romance between a man and woman during the magical Christmas season. Written in the third person narrative and set in the heart of Music City, the reader is transported to scenic Nashville to follow Beth and Nick's story of falling in love. Winter's Magic has a delightful mixture of sexual chemistry, sensuous love scenes, and passionate romance; personal issues; drama and scheming exes that will keep the reader engaged and turning the pages.

With a realistic cast of characters; engaging dialogues and sassy interactions; and a richly detailed description of the glittering holiday setting and sensuous romantic scenes; Winter's Magic is a wonderful romantic story that will simply touch your heart. It is a story that beautifully expresses the sentiment that love really is the greatest gift of all!

Winter's Magic is the first book in the Music City Hearts series.



  1. I enjoyed the author post and the review, thank you.


    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind comment, I appreciate it. :)

  2. Thank you for hosting me today, Kathleen. I appreciate the great review! I hope you and your family had a great holiday.

    1. Hi Cynthia! Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host your virtual book tour event. I really enjoyed reading Winter's Magic and can't wait to read the other books in the series. :)