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Monday, September 24, 2012

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey (Author Guest Post / Contest Giveaway / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Samantha Stroh Bailey, author of Finding Lucas!

Author Guest Post

Social Media Has Changed My Life

I grew up in a world without computers. And wow, does that make me feel old. In the digital era, though, I guess I am because it wasn’t even until my last year in university that I had my own computer. In fact, when I first started writing novels, I actually scratched them out in a notebook with a ballpoint pen. I didn’t own a cellphone until a few years ago and avoided the Facebook hype for as long as I could. For a good while, I had no clue what Twitter was and was just figuring out how to add an attachment to my emails.

Slowly, I began using the Internet and typing my novels on a laptop. And, as I began querying agents, eight long years ago, I became a lurker in a variety of online writing communities. The forums, advice and conversations helped me immensely, but I was always too scared to participate. Why would these people want to hear from me? And I was petrified to have the virtual world read a question I might ask.

But, two things happened that changed everything. The first occurred not long after my second child was born. Armed with my shiny new CHIP and PIN credit card, I took my baby girl shopping every chance I got. Well, that supposedly superior card led to my identity being stolen. Suddenly, Samantha Stroh Bailey was opening bank accounts, withdrawing massive amounts of cash and maybe she even bought a house in some far flung country. It was as horrible as you might imagine; yet, it also took away my fear of exposing my identity because someone had already taken it.

The second was that I finally, after years of almosts and rejections, decided to self-publish and start my own freelance writing/editing business. In a few short months, this former technophobe had to make her own website, open a Twitter account and finally reveal herself on Facebook. I started commenting on blogs and reaching out to people I’d never met. It wasn’t easy, and I’ve made so many mistakes along the way.

But, navigating social media and connecting with authors, readers, bloggers and reviewers has changed my life. I am part of a community of people who accept me and seem to enjoy hearing my opinions. My byline is all over the Net, and people are actually following, mentioning and liking me.

I cannot lie. I still get nervous every time I post a comment and re-read it numerous times to check for typos or any idiotic things I might say. But I’m still amazed that I’m following blogs, joining Twitter chats and commenting in reading groups. And the best thing I’ve learned has not been how to use the computer but the fact that I can.

So, if there are any aspiring authors out there who are daunted by the technical aspect of self-publishing, don’t be. Sure, it’s scary, and you’ll have to learn a whole new world, but if I can do it, you can too.

About The Author

Samantha Stroh Bailey has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen. In fact, she even sent her first manuscript, Freddy the Flame, to publishers when she was ten years old. Sadly, it was rejected, but a lifelong passion to write was born.

After 15 years of teaching ESL to adults, including at the University of Toronto, she decided to live her dreams of being a fulltime writer and editor. Now the owner of Perfect Pen Communications, she not only gets to write novels, but also writes and edits for magazines, websites, businesses, students and other writers.

Her work has appeared in Now Magazine, The Village Post, Oxford University Press, Abilities Magazine, on and many other publications. Samantha also has a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics.

She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. Finding Lucas is her first novel.

Samantha Stroh Bailey's Finding Lucas Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway 

Win A $10 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Dates: Sept 10 - Oct 1

Everyone who leaves a comment on Samantha Stroh Bailey's Finding Lucas Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Finding Lucas before October 1st and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Book Review

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey
Publisher: Samantha Stroh Bailey
Publication Date: April 18, 2012
Format: eBook - 416 pages / Kindle - 567 KB 
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Chick Lit / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Finding Lucas

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Can you ever really go back to the past?

On her fifth anniversary with boyfriend Derek, Jamie Ross finds herself in a Montreal hotel room wondering how the carefree guy she met in a Chicago bar has turned into “the quintessential metrosexual.” Weighed down by Derek’s disdain for her second hand wardrobe, her unusual family and her low-paying job as an associate producer of a daytime talk show, Jamie reaches a breaking point. And when her new boss plans to reunite lost loves on the show, she remembers Lucas— the boy she’d loved and lost ten years earlier. What follows is a quest that is at times hilarious and at others disastrous as Jamie’s life transforms from run of the mill to absolutely crazy. But will finding Lucas give Jamie everything she’s looking for?

Book Excerpt:

"You know, Jaim, there's nothing stopping you from leaving. You could always live with me. As long as you clean every now and then."

I nod glumly. "I know, Han. Things will get better. It's just a bit of a rough patch right now."

God, the words sound empty even to me, but when I think of the night Derek and I met, and I remember those heady feelings of lust and excitement, I have to believe I'll get them back somehow. And that he'll turn back into the man I met at Blackie's that fateful winter night five years ago. Hanna and I were seated at a table near the door when it burst open, bringing in a blast of icy air and a tall, scruffy and oh so sexy man in torn jeans, a leather jacket and shaggy chocolate brown hair lightly dusted with snow. Hanna and I both noticed him, and even though I knew it wasn't a competition, if it were, she surely would have won.

As I said before, Hanna is stop-in-your-tracks-gorgeous, and I'm not just saying that because she's my best friend, but because she's one of those women who is undeniably beautiful and everyone's type. And normally, when a guy would practically sit on top of me (thinking I was part of the furniture) to get closer to Hanna, I really didn't mind (honestly) because I'm not so good at being the center of attention. It's probably why we're such good friends because most women hate her. But that night, and that guy, well, I wanted him.

He caught me gawking, ordered two beers from the bartender and wandered over to the table with the two beers in his hand. My heart sank because I just knew he was going straight for Hanna, and I was in utter shock when he put the beer next to me, leaned in close and in a husky whisper said, "Hi."

That's pretty much all it had taken for my hormones to go into overdrive and to follow him to a dark corner of the bar to furtively rub and grope. And I was going to get all I could because I knew I wouldn't get a second chance with a guy like that. And I'd never had a one night stand (more like a one night everything but), and that night it was a rite of passage I was about to check off. Lubricated with a large quantity of alcohol, we ended up back at his apartment, and I never left.

My Book Review:

Have you ever been in a relationship that has hit a really rough patch and you find yourself thinking about a past love and playing the "what if " game?

Jamie Ross and her live-in boyfriend Derek are celebrating their fifth anniversary with a trip to Montreal, Canada. While on the trip, Jamie wonders what has happened to their relationship, it seems like the guy that she has fell in love with has become a new person. Instead of the laid back fun loving guy he used to be, he's become the ultimate metrosexual. Realizing that she is unhappy in the relationship, Jamie breaks up with Derek.

Jamie works as an associate producer for a TV talk show in Chicago, and when her boss Andrew announces that they will be doing a show reuniting past loves, Jamie thinks about her old boyfriend Lucas while taking a trip down memory lane wondering "what if" ... so she decides to search for Lucas while embarking on a journey of self-discovery that will change her life.

Finding Lucas is an entertaining story about a woman who embarks on a journey to find a past love, but ultimately finds herself. Written in a witty and humorous first person narrative, the reader follows Jamie on her journey to find Lucas. This was such a fun story to read: it has quirky characters, sassy dialogue and a storyline that everyone can relate to, come on you know you've gone down memory lane and played the "what if" game once or twice. Rich in detail and description, the story takes place in Chicago, and the author does a wonderful job of transporting the reader to the Windy City.

The author has created a quirky cast of characters who are realistic and fun to get to know. Jamie is a sassy lady that made me laugh, I certainly could relate to her! I couldn't help but feel for Jamie as she embarked on her journey, hoping that she would find the person that would bring her happiness. I did not like Derek at all, I know I wouldn't have lasted with him for five minutes let alone five years, I probably would have smacked the hell out of him before dumping his pompous ass. I really enjoyed Jamie's crazy family and friends, their antics kept me in stitches, and I really loved how they provided Jamie with a great support system. Andrew was my favorite character, I could just hug that man, and I loved the friendship and growing relationship that he and Jamie shared. The dialogue and interactions between the cast of characters were very entertaining, I loved the author's sense of humor, her witty writing style kept me laughing as I turned the pages.

Finding Lucas is a wonderful story about relationships, friendships, family, love and life lessons ... it will engage you to go down your own memory lane where you'll reminisce about past loves, and you'll learn even more about yourself!



  1. Replies
    1. Hi Samantha! I really enjoyed reading Finding Lucas. You have such a great sense of humor! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)

  2. Great post, Samantha! It's amazing how something that seems so intimidating can turn out to be so rewarding and fun! Like you, I avoided Twitter and Facebook like the plague until I decided to self-publish. I knew I had to put myself out there or I'd never sell a book. Thankfully, social media has been nothing but a positive experience for me. I have met the most wonderful people (like you!) via Twitter and Facebook. So, I say, "Just dive in!" to anyone who's trepidatious about networking online. You can learn as you go and there will always be plenty of Tweeps and Facebookers who will be happy to help you!

    1. Hi Tracie! Thank you for stopping by and leaving Samantha a comment. :)

  3. Can't wait for more from this author!

    1. Hi Samantha! I can't wait to read more of her books too. Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host the virtual book tour event. :)