Author Guest Post
A Free Rein
I grew up with Archie. He was my friend, my hero, my secret crush. The fact that he was dating two girls at the same time—Betty and Veronica—didn’t matter. Archie gave me the greatest gift of all—he put me on the path to reading.
Back in the olden days, my father had a catering shop that was located next to a convenience store. Every month he’d bring home a stack of comic books that the store couldn’t sell. The first time I picked up a comic, I was four years old. From that time on, I was hooked on Little Lulu, Dennis the Menace, Superman and Batman, and of course, Archie and his gang at Riverdale High. At first I was attracted to the pictures, but then the words began to take shape. I’d ask my father over and over what this or that word meant, and before long, I was reading on my own.
When I started kindergarten, I discovered a whole new world in the school library. It was there I met Betsy and Billy, Little Pear, and Maggie Muggins—I was in chapter book heaven. But a year later, a school opened closer to my home and my world imploded. My fancy new school didn’t have a library. Instead, we’d get brochures from various publishers such as Scholastics, and once a month our parents could order books. The school, however, deemed it necessary to ban certain authors, claiming they were either “inappropriate” or “too old” for my age group. Long story short, I was inundated with talking animals and a lot of Canadian geography—and I was bored to tears. My father, a self-proclaimed James Bond addict and a Sunday poet on the side, was outraged and thus began our weekly trek to the public library. There I discovered Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and the Hardy Boys, not to mention all those wonderful classics that my school had labeled too mature for someone my age. Mystery, excitement, and a hint of romance! Oh, how I loved Laura Ingalls and her little house on the prairie! Oh, how I loved Beverly Cleary’s Ellen Tebbits and her funny woolen underwear! My world flourished once again.
Over the years, my tastes grew. I began to devour everything in sight. By the age of thirteen, I’d read all of Jane Austin long before she became the rage. D. H. Lawrence? I’d gone through all his short stories and every one of his novels before my older cousin could even start blushing over Lady Chatterley's Lover. Philip Roth, Isaac Asimov, Edgar Allan Poe—I was insatiable. From Harlequin romances to the classics, I just couldn’t get enough.
Reading affects writing, just as writing affects reading. It fuels the imagination and presents new ways of looking at the world. I’m convinced that if it hadn’t been for my father’s wisdom, I wouldn’t be a writer today. His philosophy was that it didn’t matter what you read, as long as you kept reading. He also didn’t believe in holding me back when it was clear I was eager and ready for more. I took the same route with my own kids. Instead of dictating what they could or could not read, I let them make their own choices. Of course, it goes without saying I would have drawn the line somewhere—hate propaganda, for example, comes to mind—but thankfully, I never had that problem. Keep in mind that we didn’t have the same access we have today, namely the Internet.
My younger daughter was fourteen when she read The Silence of the Lambs. I admit I was somewhat concerned, but when I questioned her about it, she admitted to skipping over “the gross parts.” When I asked her why she kept reading, she answered, “The author made me want to turn the page,” which led to a lengthy discussion on the nature of suspense and how an author can pull it off. Today she’s a story producer for network TV.
Did I make a mistake in giving my kids a free rein? Was my father wrong? You decide. To date I’ve completed six novels and too many short stories to mention. As for my older daughter, she’s a YA and women’s fiction writer living in NYC.
About The Author
Elissa Ambrose's Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours
Publisher: Muttsoft, Inc.
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Format: eBook - 245 pages / Kindle - 400 KB / Nook - 721 KB
Genre: Chick Lit / Romantic Suspense / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs
BARNES & NOBLE
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.
If a woman tries to preserve a marriage that has been damaged by infidelity, is she heroic or is she delusional? How many times does her husband have to cheat before she calls it quits? How many times does he have to get caught?
Meet Ellen Dunwell, doting wife, loving mother, high school teacher extraordinaire. She’s worried that her husband, the respected Dr. Jeffrey Dunwell, successful dermatologist, wonderful father, great lover, is having another affair. A man of many interests, Jeffrey also dabbles in real estate. But Ellen won’t confront him about what she’s sure is his latest interest, his perky new lab assistant, Keeley Wilder. She doesn’t want to sound like a shrew, but worse, what if she’s right? As if that’s not bad enough, her friends don’t understand her, her neighbor’s son is a Peeping Tom, and her angst-ridden teenage daughter is stashing pot in her room and dating a control freak. When Jeffrey suddenly disappears, Ellen nearly slips over the edge. Instead, she pulls herself together and sets out on a mission to find him—only to get caught up in a web of intrigue and danger, where nothing is as it seems and the stakes are her life.
My Book Review:
What's a woman to do when she hits the milestone age of fifty, has a cheating husband and a rebellious seventeen year-old daughter? And the husband suddenly disappears? She obsesses about her marriage, soaks in the hot tub and searches for her missing husband of course!
Ellen Dunwell had just turned fifty years old when a week later her life turned upside down. Married to successful dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Dunwell for twenty-eight years, this Scottsdale, Arizona couple has had their share of ups and downs in their marriage. Two years ago Jeffrey had an affair and left Ellen for a week, only to return to their marriage hat in hand full of apologies and promises that it will never happen again. But now two years later Ellen is once again suspicious about Jeffrey's possibly cheating with his new young and perky medical assistant Keeley Wilder. Ellen begins questioning the trust she has in Jeffrey to the point where she begins obsessing about their marriage and her overactive imagination is put on overdrive!
With blocked calls and hang ups; a husband who comes home late every night and doesn't return phones calls; a constant battle with their rebellious daughter; friends who give her a range of advice to either suck it up or have an affair; to a creepy twenty year old neighbor boy who is a peeping tom ... it's enough to send any woman over the edge ... that is until Jeffrey suddenly disappears from his medical office, and Ellen has to put on her sleuth cap and go in search of her missing hubby, only to get caught in a web of intrigue and danger that could put her life at stake!
Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs is an entertaining story full of drama, mystery and wry humor that will keep you turning the pages. Author Elissa Ambrose weaves an intriguing tale told in the first person narrative by the quirky protagonist Ellen Dunwell, who takes the reader along for the ride as her crazy marital life story unfolds before her eyes. Ellen's story is full of humor, romance, drama, mystery and surprises ... the twists and turns that Ellen encounters in her marriage and in her search for her missing husband Jeffrey grabs the reader's attention and keeps them guessing what will happen next.
The author has created a quirky cast of characters who quickly pulls the reader into their lives. I found myself at odds with Ellen's character, I wavered back and forth between wanting to shake her because of her nativity over her marriage and Jeffrey's cheating ways, only to make me turn around and embrace her when she finds her backbone during the search for Jeffrey. I know I wouldn't have been so forgiving if my husband had a wandering eye. I have to admit that I loved Ellen's gritty sense of humor, I sympathized with her insecurities and loved how she was able to laugh at her own foibles. Her sleuthing abilities kept me in stitches, their was some pretty hilarious instances that she found herself in that made the story that much more entertaining. The supporting cast of characters added their own unique personalities to the story: husband Jeffrey and bratty daughter Claire were not my favorite people; neighbor Sherryl Turners, whose "be grateful you have a husband" speech made me grit my teeth; Sherryl's creepy peeping tom son Eric, just ewwww ... enough said; co-worker and friend Patricia "Trish" Manning, was a hoot; and Jeffrey's ditzy and naive medical assistant Keeley Wilder, *rolling my eyes*, all made the story that much more interesting.
With great attention to detail and description of the Arizona and Mexico settings; a humorous first person narrative; engaging character dialogue and interactions; and an intriguing mystery thrown into the mix, Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs kept me laughing and thoroughly entertained!
Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs is a fast paced witty story that has enough comedy, mystery romance, and real life drama that will keep you hooked until the surprising and shocking ending!
RATING: 4 STARS ****