Friday, July 10, 2015

Book Tour: Guest Post by Elyse Douglas, author of The Other Side of Summer

Title: The Other Side of Summer
Author: Elyse Douglas
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Joanna Halloran, a best selling writer and astrologer, lives in a beach house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. After a violent storm, she roams the beach, glances seaward and spots a man clinging to a piece of wreckage, being tossed helplessly. She dives in and pulls him to safety. Robert Zachary Harrison is from a wealthy, political family. As he slowly recovers from a private plane crash, he and Joanna fall in love and spend passionate and secluded weeks together. But because of family duty, Robert departs, not knowing Joanna is pregnant.

Twenty five years later, Senator Robert Harrison is running for President of the United States.  In the midst of a contentious presidential campaign, Joanna’s beautiful daughter, who has a passion to expose secrets, seeks revenge on the father she has never met.  She also begins a passionate relationship with her father’s adopted son.

Joanna and Robert must confront the past and present.  While the world watches, they struggle with old passions and new secrets that could destroy them both.

Writers Aren’t Exactly People
by Elyse Douglas

“Writers aren’t exactly people… They’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald
I love to write about people’s eccentricities, weaknesses and shortcomings.  I love the endless variety of personalities, and the diversity of race and cultural background.  I find it utterly fascinating how crazy we all are and yet how successfully we manage to hide this behind facades of cultivated responses, religious beliefs and cultural brainwashing.  I love to observe myself and others and then create characters who struggle to be right and good and bad and, maybe, wise.  Then, I realize that a lot of the time I’m writing about pieces of myself and trying to put those pieces together. 
As Benjamin Franklin said:  “Who is wise?  He that learns from everyone.  Who is powerful?  He that governs his passions.  Who is rich?  He that is content.  Who is that?  Nobody.”
As a writer, I like to observe how people go about trying to achieve their goal of experiencing love and passion.  Will they steal for it?  Kill for it?  Die for it?  Work three jobs for it?  Will love cause a man to go insane?  Will a woman sacrifice family, career and respect to chase after a no-good lout?  “But he’s really good, and true and loving on the inside.”  It is the exposing of the “awful thing” that someone did or thought about or wanted to do that often sets up a good potential story.  And, as a writer, I must confess that I am daily attracted to studying these things in people.
If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others. ~Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld.
I once had a writing teacher who said you can build all your characters upon one simple emotion: fear.  What are your characters afraid of?  Fear drives everyone: fear of failure; fear of loss; fear of love and of not being loved; fear of dying; fear of inadequacy, fear of not fitting in; fear of fitting in; fear of doing a bad thing and fear of getting caught... and on and on. This intrigues me.  It is what I explore as a writer.  What motivates people to act and react, based on fear.

A good and true story can possibly make me put all of my diverse pieces together and become one person.  But then, who is that person?  Does Scott Fitzgerald have a quote for that?

Author Bio
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington.   Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a degree in English Literature.  She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a  speech-language pathologist.  Douglas has been a musician, a graphic designer and an equity trader.
Elyse Douglas, have completed seven novels: The Summer Diary, Christmas for Juliet, Wanting Rita, Christmas Ever After, The Christmas Town, The Christmas Diary and The Other Side of Summer.

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Excerpt

Joanna roamed the beach in the windy, unstable afternoon, shading her eyes as she viewed the expanse of sea.  It was after 4 o’clock and the beach was deserted.  The waves were breaking heavy on the shore.  It was one of her favorite times to walk the beach—just after a storm.  She drifted to the edge of the tide as waves splashed and foamed around her ankles.  The water was cool and refreshing and helped to ease some of the aching in her right foot.  She strolled with her hands locked behind her back, squinting into the gray moving sky.  She watched the raw surf curve and break across the beach, observing sandpipers skitter along the edge of the foam, pecking for food. 
She lifted the binoculars to her eyes and scanned the horizon, looking at white caps and distant sails.  Smoky white and purple wisps of clouds hugged the horizon.    She picked at the shells and toed the sand, exploring the stringy seaweed, driftwood and plastic trash, all pushed to shore by the storm.  Again she pointed her binoculars toward the sea.  She spotted something bobbing in the waves.
She jolted erect, adjusting the focus.  At first she thought it was a kayak.  She moved toward the water, straining her eyes.  Was it some kind of raft?  The current was drawing it toward the shore.
Her eyes shifted, and then focused.  She saw a body—a person—clinging to a piece of something, floating in toward the beach.  It drifted toward a large swell, was seized by the current and then tossed helplessly, bobbing and twisting in a surging wave.  It was a man!  He was desperately holding on. 
Joanna dropped her bag and binoculars, darted into the water, plunged into the cold surf and swam toward him.  Coming up for air, she saw him clinging to a piece of debris, wearing an orange life preserver.
As she closed in, another wave struck, smashing down on top of them, spinning him away from her.  She dropped under the wave, came up, recovered and relaxed, feeling her shirt swimming around her.  She allowed the current to do the work; to carry her in the same direction as the man.  Drawing near, she kicked and swam, using all her strength to reach him, before the next charging waves impacted.  One threatened, gathering rolling strength, rumbling toward them like thunder.  The man reached for her weakly, arms flailing, his pallid face stretched in agony.
“Help me…,” he called.
With her outstretched hand, she reached and snagged him by the collar of his shirt.  She yanked him toward her.
The wave struck.  Joanna wrapped him with her arms as it pounded them, shoving them carelessly toward the beach. 

Together, they thrashed toward shore, gasping.  Catching her breath, Joanna struggled to her feet, stumbling for balance across the rocky bottom.  Anchoring herself, she helped the man to find his footing.  She wrapped an arm around his waist and led him up the beach to safety.  

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