26 March 2020

Happy Valley & Return to Edisto | Excerpts + Giveaway

JustRead Publicity Tours

ABOUT THE BOOKS


Escape to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in this sweet tale of two young people who meet by chance, their paths soon overlapping and intertwining amid a cast of warm-hearted characters in the small rural community of Happy Valley.

With Grandpa suffering a heart attack, Juliette Hollander saw little choice but to head back to their Tennessee mountain farm in Happy Valley to help out. She didn’t expect, or want, to leave behind her life and work in North Carolina to return to her grandparents’ home so soon. Nor did she imagine meeting, and working with, the mysterious man she met briefly last summer and never thought to see again.

Walker Logan spent the last two years traveling the United States, seeing the beauty of the country and running from his past. But an old rock house he sees while hiking near Abrams Creek Campground unexpectedly calls to his soul. With danger close behind, he never stayed in one place long enough to put down roots. Yet now, with a new vision, he decides to take the risk.

Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 2, 2020



Return to Edisto Island in the rich, Lowcountry story of a young woman’s difficult decision to run from threat and danger, changing the course of her well-ordered life and, in turn, the life of the young man who loved and lost her.

It was a long trip back to Edisto Island, South Carolina, and the beach house that shaped so much of Mary Helen Avery’s early life. Now her mind flashed between anger and hurt over the difficult situation she’d left behind at the job she loved. Was she doing the right thing to leave? Should she have stayed to fight? She hoped at the quiet, beloved island she knew so well, she’d find the answers she needed and peace from all this turmoil.

J.T.’s heart took a familiar lurch when he saw the car with New Jersey plates parked at the Avery’s beach house. Even after ten years, the memory of Mary Helen Avery still tormented him. Finding her on the porch weeping lit old fires he thought long dead. Was he a fool to hope for something more between them with all their problems of the past? Probably so, but if she stayed long enough, he’d find one more chance to try.

Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 2, 2020


OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES


EXCERPT FROM HAPPY VALLEY

Over coffee and banana bread, the women chatted and caught up on their lives and news, enjoying being together again. …After a pause in their conversation, though, Lenora leaned forward across the table, a hand under her chin, and asked, “And how is Juliette deep inside where no one sees?”

It was an old familiar line of Lenora’s and brought tears to Juliette’s eyes to hear it.

“Talk to me,” Lenora said. “You’re unhappy. I can feel it.”

“Well, I feel guilty to be unhappy. There’s nothing wrong with my life. … There’s no reason I should feel edgy, restless, and discontent.”

“But you do.”

“I do.” She shook her head. “I shouldn’t either. I don’t know what in the world is wrong with me.”

Lenora smiled. “Sometimes it takes a while to sort ourselves out in life, to know who we are within ourselves.” …

She sighed. “I always feel so torn. Like I can’t figure out who I am or what I should be.”

Lenora sat quietly for a time and then said, “Forging an identity takes hard work and involves some struggle and searching for most people. For women especially, raised eager to please, we hope for an affirmation from others that we’re on the right course, pursuing the right thing, becoming what we should become. But frankly, Juliette, the courage to be who you are and to pursue your own dreams must come from within. You have to decide personally that your goals are worth pursuing, your talents valuable, your contributions and service good—despite what others may say or think. You need to be willing to pay the price to follow your heart and your destiny.”

She smiled at Juliette. “You are an artist, and a gifted one…. There is a rich creativity inside you, a gift placed there—yes, put there by God—that yearns to find its place in the world. It would be wrong to suppress it. Why would you want to do that?”

EXCERPT FROM RETURN TO EDISTO

“Hmmm.” Kizzy put a hand to Mary Helen’s face, lifting her chin until she could look in her eyes. “You’ve been hurt, girl.” She stroked a hand gently over Mary Helen’s cheek. “But don’t you worry none. The island is a good place for healing and the good Lord lives strong here. He’ll help you work things through.”

Mary Helen bit her lip, trying not to let tears leak out at the kind words. Kizzy had always been intuitive about things. …

Kizzy followed Mary Helen to the door and out on the porch, walking with her to the car. After Mary Helen put her groceries inside and climbed in, Kizzy put a hand on the door before Mary Helen closed it, leaning over to study Mary Helen’s face once more.

“You’re a preacher’s girl, but I’m seeing you’ve drifted off and away from your faith. Leaning only to your own understanding won’t help you find the best answers at this time.” She paused, shaking her head. “You know the One who’s got the best answers for everything, girl. You may be mad at Him right now and think He hasn’t been watching out for you like He should, but it’s you that’s distanced yourself from Him. You do a little seeking and you’ll find Him drawing near again.”

Mary Helen mumbled something in reply as Kizzy closed her car door. Pulling out onto the highway, she started crying and wept all the way to the beach house at Oleanders, hardly noticing the familiar scenery along the way. All the emotions she’d pushed down and held back this week seemed to suddenly overtake her.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, businesswoman and educator. A New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon best-selling international author, Lin has eighteen published books, including her twelve beloved Smoky Mountain novels, all set in different Tennessee and North Carolina locations, her newest Mountain Home book, a novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies, and two novels in her new Edisto Trilogy, set on the South Carolina coast. Lin and her husband J.L. also write regional guidebooks, including a Smoky Mountain hiking guide and a Tennessee state parks book.

Stepp’s latest 2020 releases are Happy Valley, set in a quiet rural valley near the Smoky Mountains, and Return to Edisto, set at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Lin’s previous title Claire At Edisto was the 2019 Best Books Award Winner in Fiction: Romance, sponsored by American Book Fest, her novel Welcome Back a finalist in the 2017 Selah Awards, and Lin and her husband’s guidebook Discovering Tennessee State Parks a 2019 American Book Fest Best Books Award Finalist in Nonfiction: Travel Guides and Essays.

Lin enjoys speaking for events, festivals, libraries, and book clubs, reading, hiking, exploring out of doors, and keeping up with her readers on Facebook, Twitter, and through her monthly blog and newsletter, which you will find on her website.


GIVEAWAY


(1) winner will receive a print copy of Happy Valley & Return to Edisto, matching bookmarks, and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 23, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on March 30, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

TOUR SCHEDULE

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