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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Body And Bone by L.S. Hawker (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Body And Bone by author L.S. Hawker!

Author Guest Post

My Journey to Publication: What a Long, Strange Trip it's Been by LS Hawker

I got my first rejection slip when I was 14.

I wrote a short story that my freshman high school English teacher thought was brilliant. She told me I should try to get it published, so I chose the highest-paying magazine to send it to, and eagerly awaited their inevitable yes.

Oddly enough, Playboy Magazine politely declined to publish my story.

I've always aimed high.

I wrote my first novel that same year, and it was awful. Of course it was—I was 14. Then I took some writer's workshops in college and wrote another one, which was better, but I stuck it in a drawer and told myself, Someday I'm going to try to get this published.

Life went on. I graduated from college, worked in radio and magazine, and then got married. I told my shiny new husband about the manuscript in my drawer and he challenged me to take it out, polish it up, and send it off. So I did. The first place I sent it was the Delacorte Press First YA Novel contest. It finaled, and I made a great contact at Delacorte who gave me names and addresses of editors to send it to. I spent the next two years sending it around to those editors, and got dozens of encouraging handwritten rejections.

But I got discouraged. By this time, I had a toddler, and I didn't have the time or energy to write. So I didn't for six years, during which time I had another baby.

Then 9/11 happened. I sat out on our deck the next day, staring up at the silent, planeless skies weeping, and thought, What if this is it? What if the end is here? What if I never accomplished my heart's deepest desire?

The day after that, I started writing again. I wrote a novel called Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, and everybody loved it. My writers critique group. My friends and family. It won first place in the Pikes Peak Writers Paul Gillette Memorial contest. It finaled in several other contests and made it to the quarter finals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I thought, This is it. It's going to happen now!

It didn't. I pitched it, queried it, changed it, prayed over it. But it wasn't quite right. I have more than 100 rejections on that bad boy. By this time, I'd been in the same critique group for ten years, but the personnel had completely turned over except for me. This new group of writers was determined to get published—they went to seminars and workshops, retreats and conferences, and they dragged me along with them. In 2013, I started a brand-new novel, which was called Deep Forbidden Lake. I pitched it at the 2014 Pikes Peak Writers Conference to Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency.

She loved the concept and asked to see the full manuscript, which I sent to her two months later. Then…crickets. Nothing.

By this time, I was a grizzled veteran of the literary wars, so I wasn't too upset or surprised about it. I knew it takes a long time to get to yes. In the meantime, a well-known and respected small press asked me to make some changes and they'd consider publishing it. I was overjoyed. But like most small presses, they were understaffed and overworked, and it took many months to get back to me. An offer was imminent, they assured me. But when?

On Super Bowl Sunday 2015, I received an email from Michelle Johnson, asking if I'd be willing to take a phone call. I figured there was only one reason she'd want to talk on the phone on a Sunday—Super Bowl Sunday, no less. So I emailed in the affirmative and she called and offered me representation.

This was one of the happiest moments of my life, but there was still work to do. I told her about the small press, and she said, "We need to get it out to the big five before they come through with an offer so we have some bargaining power." She asked me to make some minor changes, and I stayed up all night making them before returning it to her. She submitted it to the big five and a few others by Tuesday.

Well, folks, my brilliant agent sold my manuscript (eventually renamed THE DROWNING GAME) within fifty days, in a three-book deal to HarperCollins.

This ride has been everything I'd dreamed of and more. I didn't expect for my very first published book to become a USA Today bestseller, or for my second book, BODY AND BONE, to be headed in the same direction.

For all the doom and gloom that writers hear about how difficult it is to get published (it is) and how unlikely your book is to sell once it is published (ditto), it is possible that your wildest dreams can be realized. I am living proof of that.

So the question is: is my book better than yours? Maybe. Am I luckier than most people? Probably. But more than talent or luck, persistence has been the key that finally unlocked that illusive door. The more "no"s you collect, the closer you get to "yes."

And it only takes one yes. 

About The Author

L.S. Hawker grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.

Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called “People Are So Stupid,” edited a trade magazine and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.

She’s got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland.

Author Website

Book Review

Body And Bone by L.S. Hawker
Publisher: Witness Impulse / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: eBook - May 3, 2016 / Paperback - June 14, 2016
Format: Paperback - 320 pages 
               Kindle - 1229 KB
               Nook - 814 KB
ISBN: 978-0062435217
BNID: 978-0062435224
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Psychological Thriller

Buy The Book: 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

LS Hawker returns with another atmospheric, twisting tale of suspense that questions the nature of identity and how far a young mother is willing to go to run from the mistakes of her past.

He wants to destroy her reputation.
He wants to destroy her life.
He wants to destroy…her.

Nessa Donati used to be a happily married mother with a successful music blog and satellite radio show. But that was before her husband John relapsed on drugs and went missing. That was before he was presumed dead. And before she was framed for his murder.

When a commenter on Nessa’s blog starts harassing her online, Nessa shrugs it off. Trolls are a part of internet life. But eventually the troll begins threatening her safety and releasing personal details… details only her husband would know.

As Nessa’s life is dismantled piece by piece, her only option is to find John and put a stop to the lies. But when their son becomes a pawn in his twisted game, she must face a disturbing truth: Maybe John isn’t tormenting her, after all. But if he’s not…who is? And how far will this monster go to exact revenge?

Book Excerpt:

Tuesday, May 31
Nessa Donati was going to have to sell her brand spanking new car. And all because the rear-view mirror hung in the perfect position to display an accidental glimpse of her reflection whenever she reached into the back seat. Typically she prepared herself before facing a reflective surface. But when she was caught off guard, without fail, her mother's disappointed, sour Resting Bitch Face stared back at her.
It wasn't that her mother was unattractive. She was, in fact, far more beautiful than Nessa could ever hope to be. It was that her mother had always used Nessa as a mirror in which to see herself without ever truly seeing Nessa.
So the new black Chrysler Pacifica would have to go.
It was nearing sunset when Nessa parked it on Crestview Drive by the Randolph Bridge, which spanned not only the Big Blue River but the northern tip of Tuttle Creek Lake as well. This was the last stop on a four-day camping trip, just Nessa, her three-year-old son Daltrey, and their Wheaton Terrier, Declan MacManus.
She checked on Daltrey, asleep in his car seat, listing to starboard, mouth open. He'd be okay for a moment, and she was glad she wouldn't have to explain what she was about to do. She felt silly enough about it already.
Nessa and Declan MacManus exited the Pacifica, the dog running ahead, while Nessa locked and shut the door.
She walked the eighth of a mile to the river's edge beneath the bridge as sparse traffic droned by overhead, tires making that phut phut phut sound as they traversed the seams in the asphalt. Nessa stood and watched the water flow past, appearing deceptively tranquil until a tree branch rushed by at break-neck speed. Declan sniffed happily around, pausing to mark every object he encountered with a lifted leg.
Nessa looked around to make sure she was alone, then reached into her pocket and withdrew the six-inch-long braid of her husband John's hair. He'd cut it before their wedding five years ago. She had kept it in a velvet box all this time, never dreaming this day would come. She looked at the sky and the water, remembering all their good times on the river. This was the right place to let John's braid go.
The water lapped against her tennis shoes as she wound up and let the braid fly. She watched it arc through the air, hit the rushing water with an inconsequential splash, and disappear. She watched for a moment and let herself cry a little. She needed this sort of closure ritual to move on with her life, like spreading his ashes. Except he wasn't dead. Yet.
Nessa trudged back to the car, Declan MacManus meandering behind her. She unlocked and opened her door, and the dog jumped in and settled in the passenger seat. Nessa noted that Daltrey hadn't even changed position while she was gone.
Nessa started the car, put it in gear, and headed toward home.
Forty minutes later, she parked in the converted hay barn garage behind her house and decided she'd wait until morning to unload the camping gear.
Declan MacManus jumped from the car and ran, whining, toward the other outbuildings, hops vines, and woods beyond, as Nessa climbed into the back to struggle with Daltrey's carseat restraints. She draped him over her shoulder, and took him inside and upstairs to his big-boy bed. There, she pulled off his sandals and kissed his fat little feet before slipping him between the sheets. Good. He was out for the night. She left his door ajar, and went downstairs and out the back door to get their suitcase from the Pacifica.
Outside it was full dark, and the woods buzzed with late-spring insects. When she hit the bottom step, she saw Declan MacManus curled up in front of the outbuilding they called the boathouse. He sprang to his feet as if he'd just noticed royalty entering the room. This slowed Nessa down—what was he doing?—but she continued on to the garage, where she retrieved their luggage. When she closed the garage door, the dog jumped to his feet again, in the exact spot she'd left him.
Nessa stood staring at him, and he gazed expectantly back at her.
And then she saw it. The wooden carriage-house door's lock was gone. In its place was a jagged hole, as if God himself had punched a massive fist through it in a fit of righteous anger.
Nessa froze, her breath captive in her throat.
She set down the suitcase and, after a moment of indecision, pulled out her phone and dialed.
Marlon Webb didn't say hello, just, "With a student." This was his way of saying he could be interrupted only for a very specific kind of emergency.
"Call me back," she whispered. "I'm rethinking that whole restraining order thing."

My Book Review:

In Body And Bone, author L.S. Hawker weaves a chilling psychological thriller that follows the harrowing tale of cyber-stalking and bullying that turns successful music blogger and satellite radio show host Nessa Donati's life upside down.

Body And Bone is a riveting and intense story that is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, addictions, murder, and dark secrets. The author takes the reader on one hell of an emotional roller coaster ride as Nessa races against time to find out the identity of the dangerous cyber-stalker. As the reader follows the unraveling of Nessa's tumultuous life, the multitude of suspenseful plot twists and turns and growing list of suspects will keep them captivated and sitting on the edge of their seats, while making sure that they hold their breath as they turn the pages, and easily keeps them guessing what will happen next until the surprising conclusion.

This gritty dark tale deals with serious realistic issues of addiction, rape, dysfunctional family issues, personal demons and secrets, murder, and cyber crime. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed the 1970-1990s musical references that are interspersed throughout the book.

Body And Bone is riveting psychological thriller that you won't be able to put down, and it will leave you wanting more!


Book Trailer

Contest Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for LS Hawker and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Body and Bone by LS Hawker. The giveaway begins on June 1st and runs through July 3rd, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

6/02 - Guest Post @ Lazy Day Books
6/04 - Showcase @ Hott Books
6/06 - Showcase @ Fiction Zeal
6/08 - Review @ The Phantom Paragrapher
6/09 - Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
6/14 - Showcase @ A Bookaholic Swede
6/15 - Guest Post @ Books Direct
6/20 - Interview @ BooksChatter (her own giveaway)
6/22 - Interview @ Deal Sharing Aunt
6/27 - Showcase @ CMash Reads
6/28 - Review @ fundinmental (her own giveaway)
6/29 - Review & Guest Post @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
6/30 - Review @ Wall-to-wall books
7/01 - Review @ Bookishly Me
7/12 - Interview @ Writers and Authors

1 comment:

  1. Another awesome post. After reading your review, I HAVE to read this one, and soon!!