Monday, November 18, 2013

"A Message of Flowers (A Pocono Valley Romance)" by Rachel Walter

A Message of Flowers
(A Pocono Valley Romance)
by Rachel Walter

Rachel Walter stops by today to talk about her brand new book, A Message of Flowers. There are also two giveaways, one international and one for US only. Brought to you by Crazy Girl Book Tours.

White Carnations - pure love, sweet and lovely.
Daisy - Innocence, beauty, simplicity.
To florist, Georgina Nickols, every flower has a meaning and a purpose. Flowers are something she knows, lives, and breathes. But when they start mysteriously showing up on her porch, she’s unsure of their meaning, and of who is leaving them.
What do these flowers mean to the messenger?
An old friend from high school, Corbin Waylay, moves back to town. When he shows up, he stirs up all kinds of trouble for Georgina. Her life-long friend, Sid Trail, hates him and makes that fact clear to Georgina. But despite the warnings from her friend, she just can’t help the feelings that resurface. The feelings she hasn’t felt for anyone since high school graduation, the feelings that only Corbin can induce.
As Corbin moves closer into her life, it causes a rift between her and Sid. The mystery flowers continue to appear and begin to add to the stresses of life.
Love, secrets, pain, and lies surround Georgina, putting her trust to the test.
When the messenger is finally revealed, will the meaning of the flowers be enough to repair the damage of those hidden secrets?
Forget Me Nots - Remember me forever, good memories, hope.
Single Red Rose - I love you.

“Who’s that for?” A smooth male voice pulls me from my work.
I place the last white flower into the vase, and spin it, checking appearance at all angles. “This is actually for no one in particular, Sid.” I shrug to my best friend and employee.
“Come on, G,” he coaxes, using my nickname for effect.
I sigh. “I’m just puttin’ it together. They’re my flowers, so who cares why I arrange them?”
“Yes, I’m well aware who my boss is,” he deadpans. “I’ve seen you at work, and I’ve seen you work. There’s a difference.”
I glance up to him. His eyebrow is arched, daring me to deny what he’s said. His blue eyes are drilling into mine, knowing that I’m hiding something. If I hadn’t known him since grade school, I’d ignore him and tell him to mind his own business. But this is Sid, one of my best friends, who will eventually pull out my mystery flower messenger anyway. Quickly, I remind myself why I’ve hired him to begin with. I can trust him, and he’s known me for so long he knows how to help me and not be a distraction.
I blow out a slow breath of resignation as I side step him, placing the vase on the wide windowsill. “When I left my house this morning, there were four white carnations on my porch. There was no note either, so I just brought them here. And I can’t sell them - they’re not mine.”
His usually smiling mouth opens and closes like a fish sucking for air. “So you just bring stoop flowers in here?” While his eyes usually seem hooded, giving him that lazy surfer look, now his eyelids widen as his eyebrows disappear under the baseball cap that’s hiding his shaggy blonde hair, making his pastel blue eyes pop wide. The more he sputters, the more his nostrils flare. “Go wash up! There could’ve been poison on them!”
I burst out laughing. “Sid, calm your conspiracies. Who would poison carnations?” Ever since middle school, he’s always had crazy conspiracies. The teachers had a hidden agenda with pop quizzes and homework. Parents having evil plans by giving us chores, and then there was the driver’s license hoax. Thankfully we’re interrupted by the bell chimes above the door.
I work to calm my rolling hysterics, taking a deep breath, and trying to think about anything other than poisoned carnations or Sid as I walk to the front of my store. “Welcome to G-Quets. I’m Georgina, can I help you?” I ask to the back of someone’s head.
The man spins around so fast he’s a blur and wraps his arms around me, pulling me into a huge bear hug. “G-G! Is this your store?”
That voice, the familiar husky scratch.

This book has it all and is definitely a must read. This is Rachel Walter’s second book but first to the New Adult scene and she pulled it off flawlessly. It’s not the typical NA either which I loved. Yes it has sex in it, but it’s not overly descriptive or "rough" in any way. In my opinion it’s perfect for this story. It’s a book I can continue to read over and over, in fact I’ve read it twice already.
Were first introduced to Georgina at her flower shop. Love her, she’s not the typical girl you read about. She’s not super skinny, she’s real and has insecurities like the rest of us. She has two best friends, Breeze who I absolutely adore and Sid who’s not who he pretends to be. Breeze and Georgina’s interactions are hilarious, hell Breeze is hilarious on her own and she’s obsessed with big bathrooms and hates Georgina’s tiny one. Sid, well he’s a guy that obviously has feelings for Georgina but she’s the only one that doesn’t see it. When Corbin Waylay walks into her store things start to change. Georgina is thrust back into her feelings over Corbin from high school and Sid has flipped his lid. Then the unexpected flowers start showing up on her porch each morning without a note and idea of who it could be. Who’s the admirer and what do the flowers mean to the person leaving them.?
Corbin Waylay is perfection. He’s also not the typical guy we read about. He’s not smoking hot with a body to kill for but that only makes him more appealing to me. It’s one of the things I love about reading Rachel’s books, her characters are real and can be compared to real people in everyday life. You can tell Corbin has some feelings for Georgina, but he doesn’t think he’s good enough. The way they come together is absolutely beautiful. But like all romance, someone’s hiding a secret? Is it Georgina or Corbin? And what the hell is going on with Sid and his jealousy? This book has everything you can look for in getting lost into a story. I will say this book ends HEA but you’re going to have to read it to figure out what happens!

Interview With the Author
Hi Rachel Walter, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, A Message of Flowers.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I have such a long list of authors that have influenced me in some way, but I’ll pick two. They are both completely different and have influenced me in different way.
First, Shannon Dermott. She’s an amazing writer. Her stories completely sucked me into another world where these characters existed. Tying in intelligence, wit, humor, and she had the ability to reduce to me a blubbering mass of tears on more than one occasion. And it wasn’t just with one book, it was EVERY book in the Cambion Series, plus every other book she’s written. I’m sort of obsessed with writing. ;) She made me want to write a story that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go until it’s over.
The other, Madeline Sheehan. Her books are not your typical reads. In fact, I was skeptical to even try reading Undeniable at first. It wasn’t until I saw her first teaser for Unbeautifully that I knew I needed to try out Undeniable. And I’m so glad I did. It was completely out of comfort zone for reading, but I loved it. I loved that the story wasn’t traditional romance. I loved that it was raw, gritty, sometimes raunchy. But most of all, I LOVE that Madeline reaches out to her fans. I LOVE that she takes the time to speak with each and every person who contacts her. Hated, bashed, loved, cherished she’s still there connecting with her fans in different ways. I hope that I can do what she’s done, creating a connection with readers outside of novels. I want my readers to know that I’m real. :)
What age group do you recommend your book for?
Definitely 18 and up.
What sparked the idea for this book?
My husband actually. He’s the gardener of the two of us. I have a brown thumb and kill off house plants quicker than most change their undies. He has the green thumb and love/passion for his plants and flowers. One day early this spring, he was transplanting a rose bush that was unwanted at my sister’s house, and he asked me, “I know red roses are for love and each color has a different meaning … But do other flowers mean something?” As I started looking up flower meanings, my florist, Georgina in A Message of Flowers, started speaking up and planting her own ideas in my mind.
That's a great story! Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
For me it’s never the same with each book, or Work in Progress. For A Message of Flowers, it was mostly the story idea first. I had a partial story for the florist and a name, but not much else. Not until I started writing.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Sid. He’s Georgina’s (main character) best friend and he was a tough cookie to figure out.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope readers remember that sometimes it’s nice to take the long way, stop and smell the flowers ;), and fall in love.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Five to six months.
What is your writing routine?
It varies day to day. But usually it goes something like this:
Coffee (or pink lemonade)
Sometimes a snack, but mostly I just sit where I’m more comfortable, set up the kid/s with something entertaining, and go to town on the keyboard.
How did you get your book published?
I published it myself. AFTER, I wrote, rewrote, rewrote, rewrote, edited, sent out for beta readers, rewrote, rewrote, edited, sent out to my editor, and rewrote and edited more.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Just keep writing. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others in the writing community. If you find someone like me - who isn’t afraid to read anything and give critiques/advice - I suggest doing it. Sometimes all you need is another set of eyes to see something you didn’t and it could improve your novel. Also, a Critique Partner or group is highly recommended. Someone or several people, to read what you have (a chapter, a short story, an outline, a whole novel) and all of you come together to find the weak spots, find errors, or share opinions openly It’s a great thing to have.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m a HOCKEY NUT and it’s hockey season, so I’ve been watching NHL (GO PENS!!! Pittsburgh Penguins!!). But I absolutely love getting together with friends, family, just the husband, or alone, around a bonfire.
What does your family think of your writing?
I’ll stick with immediate family ONLY:
Husband - supportive (but enjoys interrupting me far more than I like LOL)
Fifteen year old stepdaughter - proud
Fourteen year old stepdaughter - LOVES IT. BEST FANGIRL EVER.
Thirteen year old stepson - indifferent, but thinks my typing speed is awesome.
Four year old daughter - Proud that mommy writes books for all the kids all over the world. 
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was a horrible kid. No really. I was so mean and such a little brat. But at least I was cute. ;)
We lived in a pretty nice area (at the time, not so much anymore) and it was one of those neighborhoods where you didn’t have to lock your door all the time or even at night.
Some of my favorite memories come from visiting my Grandpa’s farm (completely described as Corbin’s farm in the story). I remember going to various places for vacations, Hershey Park (PA), Busch Gardens (VA), Colonial Williamsburg (VA), Luray Caverns(VA), beach trips they were fun at the time. But they didn’t stand out like visiting my Grandpa’s farm. Acorn races, peek-a-boo at the sawmill (no, I did not get close enough to be dangerous lol), exploring various coops, barns, and buildings, hide-n-seek, attacking my uncles with hugs before they started up the combines … I loved it there.
Did you enjoy school?
Sometimes and certain grades. I was bullied a lot and had my troubled years and a bunch of bad stuff going on … but I did have some years of fun, and wish I would’ve learned more.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Not until I was in my freshman year of high school.
What was your favorite book as a child?
As a teen I loved The Outsiders, Salem’s Lot, Watchers, and lots of other horrors and crime novels.
Who were your favorite authors as a child?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Not until I finished my first novel, True Connection. I thought I would never finish it. Then after I finished it, I thought I’d never publish it. (I’m a bit of a chicken ;) )
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I think so, yeah. I include loads of things from my life into each of my books. I think it’s fun when someone who knows me reads it and tells me “OH MY WORD! I REMEMBER THAT DAY!” And a lot of it is very relatable. You can read them and think, “I know someone just like this character.” Or, “I’ve said that before.” And sometimes, “I have go to try this on my brother!”
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I don’t hear from readers very often, though I’d LOVE IT SO MUCH if I did. But I’ve had readers tell me that they just reread my book for the "nth" number of times, or they’re going through withdrawals, or just that they loved it and wonder when the next one is coming. No matter what they tell me, I love hearing from them! I love hearing how my story has affected them and what they think about it. Sometimes it takes me a little bit to get back to them, but that usually because I’m too busy geeking out or crying to respond at the moment. It warms my heart when they contact me :D
That's great, Rachel! What can we look forward to from you in the future?
OH! This is a very good question! Next up is Soul Promise, book two of The Soul Mate Series. And I’m still undecided on what will be the next release … I’m torn between another YA Paranormal Romance and an NA Paranormal. But I will be making the announcement as soon as I decide! :)
I look forward to it. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Rachel.
Thank you so much for having me! I loved your questions! :) <3

About the Author
Rachel lives in Central Pennsylvania, is a stay at home mom, and has a wonderful husband, total of 4 kids, 3 of which are step kids. She’s a true Pittsburgh Penguins and Steelers fan. She’s an insomniac that loves coffee, Johnny Depp movies and bonfires, dislikes driving on the interstate, bugs of any kind, and a too quiet house. When she’s not playing with the people inside her head, making her family think she belongs in the loony bin or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, finding new music, new books, helping someone or plotting something equally crazy with her Critique Partners. Be sure to check out her debut YA Paranormal True Connection.

International giveaway:
US only giveaway: