Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lucky 13 by Cat Gardiner + Giveaway!!

I cannot begin to express how excited I am to have author Cat Gardiner visiting Leatherbound Reviews today. From what little we have be talking online, I can tell she has a heart of gold, cares deeply for others, and would make a totally rockin' friend. 
Just the other day, I began reading Lucky 13, and let me just say, this is a book I do not want to put down. We are leaving today for the weekend, and I still have yet to pack the kids' clothes or mine, and it is all because I do not want to stop reading Liz and Darcy's story. 
Today, Cat talks about friendship and its role in her life and in Lucky 13. Cat is also offering a copy of Lucky 13 for you to win for your dear friend. See below for more details!

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Thankful for Friendship

“With that said, it seemed appropriate that on Thanksgiving Day I was mindful of what I had to be thankful.  I’m blessed with the loving sisterly-friendship bonds of Jane and Charlotte.”  ~Prologue, Lucky 13

It all began on Thanksgiving … Elizabeth’s decision to embark on a 26-day mad-cap dating blitz.  Maybe you’ve experience dating madness at some point in your life or maybe finding your soul mate came easily, but I guarantee you there was a dear friend beside you – even if that friend was a sister or a mother.  Maybe she was with you the night when your eyes locked with Mr. Right’s across the bar, or perhaps she was the one who set you up on the blind date.  Maybe she was on the other end of the telephone when you squealed, “I met a great guy!”  Perhaps, she’s now helping you navigate the ins and outs with advice.  The point is – a dear friend is a special gift when it comes to matters of the heart.  Why?  Because a true friend who cares that much will need to know that the person she “passes the torch to” better be damned-near perfect for the likes of her BFF.
Years ago, I was blessed to have close friends there beside me through my dating journey.  Some are still in my life, others have gone where life has led them, but I’ll never forget them and remain thankful to them for the gift of their friendship, support, and strength.  I hope they, too, have fond memories.
Lucky 13’s Liz is truly blessed to have two BFFs: her sister Jane and childhood friend Charlotte, two women who desire above all things to see her find happiness in companionship. Jane wishes Elizabeth could find a love like she has found in her fiancé Charlie.

Chapter Three
“Charlie do you know anyone we can set Lizzy up with?”
Muffled words of foaming toothpaste replied, “Are you eating those chocolates before bed? Man, Janie you’re insatiable.”
“Don’t blame me – you’re the one who brought them home. Do you know someone? I think Lizzy is really lonely this time of year, and I would hate to see her sitting by herself again at Christmas dinner. She puts on a good front, but I know it’s bothering her and my mother just makes it worse. You heard her at Thanksgiving, she was merciless toward Lizzy.”

Charlotte wants Elizabeth to heal the dating scars of her past by giving one man in particular a chance: Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Sometimes, though, being a friend means tough love, strong actions, and every once in a while a good swift kick in the backside, and Charlotte delivers.

Chapter Six
With only minutes before Rick’s arrival with Darcy, she had to work fast if that hunky man was going to get knocked on his butt a second time and make him forget their horrific first meeting. “Shut up and let me work here. We only have a few minutes to transform you from schoolmarm to vixen.”
Ever prepared, she withdrew a sewing kit from her handbag, removing a tiny pair of scissors, and held them before her friend’s eyes. “If you scream or say one word, I’m going to tell your mother that you’re my lover and you strap it on.”
With a few well-placed snips to the neckline facing at her décolletage, the offending ruffle separated and abruptly was tossed onto the floor like a hot potato. Looking at newly visible mounds, Charlotte ordered, “Pull your girls up.”
“I don’t like this, Char. Please don’t ruin this dress – Jane is going to kill me.”
“You don’t have to like it. You just have to go along with it. Santa’s not going to bring you a blessed thing unless you ask for it, and once altered properly, this dress’ll ask for it – and you’ll get it. Before the night is over, you’ll be sitting on Santa’s lap.”
Finally acquiescing, Elizabeth reached into her bra, acknowledging that when her best friend was determined about anything, there was no stopping her.
With a knowing smirk she inquired, “Are you going to tell me about that hickey?”
Charlotte toyed with the sleeves of the dress. Snip, snip, snip – off with the sleeves at the shoulder seam.
“Let’s just say, I had a date last night.”
She withdrew hem tape from the handbag and made a nice finished edge at her shoulder bone. Finally, she knelt on the floor and, using the tape again, drew the skirt up another three inches, displaying her friend’s long, beautiful legs.
“A date with Rick?”
“No comment – we’re focusing on your love life tonight, not mine.”
At last, turning to the sink, she rummaged through Elizabeth’s handbag and withdrew the small emergency contact lens case she had recently begun to carry. “Off with the glasses, now.”
“Char … I …”
“Now, Lizzy. Do you want to go solo to Jane’s wedding or not?”

Or here, when our girl needs that swift kick:

Chapter Nineteen
Elizabeth wrenched her arm from Charlotte’s grasp. “It’s over – this whole dating nightmare is over! I failed at my endeavor and that’s that. This wasn’t what I had planned.”
Charlotte heard her mumble under her breath, "I'll just go alone."
“Stop with the pity party! This isn’t about finding a Christmas date any longer! This is about healing those scars my arrogant brother caused and you giving into the yearnings of your heart for the first time in seven years. This is about your soul mate! Darcy is your soul mate, and you know it! You love him, and he’s in love with you.”

Of course, Elizabeth didn’t listen and went on to have her Hunsford followed by an even bigger pity party of sugar cookies and watching “It’s A Wonderful Life,” on continuous loop.  However, there, in her darkness was her BFF on the other end of the telephone.

Chapter Twenty
“Char?”
“Yeah?”
“Thanks for everything. Thanks for being more than just a good friend and my support system during all this craziness. You’re a real sister to me - you always have been, and I just want you to know that if nothing comes of this experience other your happiness with Rick, then it’s been worth it.”
“Aww, thanks. You’re my sister too. I’d do anything for you and screwing Preppy has been the unexpected reward.” Charlotte giggled. “Now stop being such a hung over, depressed sap and get your ass off that sofa.”

Friends.  They help us navigate life with a measure of sanity.  They talk us down from the ledge when we’re acting irrational, and they provide that necessary remedy of laughter when we need it most.  We are all the same – emotional, sensitive, strong, overwhelmed, overworked and in need of the same things – love and friendship, joy and peace.  If we didn’t need those four things, we would be unthinking, unfeeling robots functioning unfazed within a demanding and complex world.  How sad that would be. 

True friendship gives us the opportunity to love unconditionally and share intimately in the joys and trials of their life.  Lift up rather than tear down. A dear friend once told me that her mother’s advice to her was “the bonds of friendship are strengthened when we accept our friend for who they are and not try to change them.” She has been my ami for twenty years. 

Yes, Lucky 13 is about one woman’s quest for a Christmas date and one man’s determination to be that date for the rest of their lives, but at its core, Lucky 13 is about friendship.  It is the basis of the story when dear friends of old work together with new friends to bring about a special holiday season for the ones they care for.

I am sure Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam would agree with me when I say, if it wasn’t for the tight bonds of two friendships formed through the JAFF world, I truly do not believe I would have come this far in my journey. 

A beta relationship grew to a sisterhood friendship, where literally she played the role of Charlotte in Lucky 13, even writing Char’s blog posts!  Within the novel and blog, there are, actually, very pointed messages to one another.  Sheryl talks me down from the anxiety ledge and believes in me as well as every project we have embarked on together.  Further – if it’s crap – she’ll tell me.  That’s more than the New York way.  That’s the way of an honest friendship.  We make each other laugh, and her life, her gifts, her example, inspire me to be a better woman.  She is my BFF.  The other dear friendship grew online with fellow author, Pamela Lynne.  From the very start of our relationship, I knew she was special, talented, and intelligent, and then I met her.  Her personal achievements, strength, and determination help me to see that all things are possible. Her heart of gold and quick wit has given me strength to get through this publishing craziness. Together we have formed Vanity & Pride Press where we focus on the other, not on ourselves.  We try to keep our “vanity and pride’ in check with a ton of self-deprecation and laughter!  Is it a coincidence that her debut novel is entitled Dearest Friends?  I believe there is no such thing as coincidences.

Every day, I feel unworthy to know and to have such incredible women in my life. Therefore, like Liz, on this Thanksgiving, I am mindful of what I had to be thankful. I’m blessed with the loving sisterly-friendship bonds of Sheryl and Pamela.

So let’s talk about your friends.  Tell me how thankful you are.  Show your thanks for your BFF by entering her into Lucky 13’s Giveaway. One winner will receive a signed, gift wrapped, paperback of Lucky 13, shipped by me directly to your BFF. A special hang tag with your personal inscription to her will be included. 

Thank you, Jakki, for the opportunity to talk about friendship and to introduce your followers to what I love most about Lucky 13.  I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving – and of course, I hope you all Get Lucky!
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What a great post! Thank you so much, Cat, for the sweet post and excerpts, especially chapter six. That's a particular favorite of mine! 


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*** PRE-BLACK FRIDAY SALE!! ***
In honor of Elizabeth Bennet beginning her dating journey, Cat Gardiner is having a ONE-DAY SALE on Lukcy 13. Go to SMASHWORDS and enter code SH34X and you will score Lucky 13 for only $3.50. That is 50% off retail price! 
This sale is ONLY good for Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27, 2014). 
Don't delay; grab your copy today!


***GIVEAWAY TIME***

In keeping with the theme of Lucky 13, Cat Gardiner is giving away ONE (1) paperback copy to a friend of one lucky commenter. 
The winner will be winning the book for a friend. Cat Gardiner will gift wrap the book and send it to the winner's chosen friend with a special inscription from the winner.
Open Internationally!!
How cool is that?!
To enter, please leave a comment for Cat about the post. Tell us how a friend has helped you find a date, true love, or helped you out in a time of need. Or simply comment on the book.
Giveaway ends December 4, 2014!
Good Luck! :)




Connect with Cat Gardiner
Read It Now!
Kindle | B&N

25 comments:

  1. Hi Cat! Thanks for sharing your friends. Two of the most incredible women I have met through JAFF are Brenda J Webb and Carmalee Mitchell. Though we have never met in person, as Carma says we are "the three amigos." Both of my good friends are generous and caring beyond belief and I am very grateful to have them for my cyber sisters as my own sister passed on suddenly 5 years ago. Through them I have met many other wonderful JAFF sisters and know that I have been blessed. Best of luck with your continued sales. ~Jen Red~

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    1. Well, Jen, my mother always said that your friends resemble you, and judging from Brenda's reply below and what I know of each of you - like attracts like. It's amazing the friendships we can make online - some even making love matches! Thank you for sharing with me and thank you for the dear friendship that you give to me, as well. You are the best!

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  2. I really enjoyed your outlook on friends, Cat! I agree that friends can talk you down from the ledge . . . Jennifer talks me down at least once a week, while I keep Carmalee on her knees in prayer. I love them both like my sisters and since, like Jen, I lost my only sister years ago I feel I have finally found two sisters I can count on. I really, really enjoyed Lucky 13 when I read it on the forum as it never ceased to make me smile even when I was at my lowest. And, during that posting I got to know you and make a new friend. We love you and your stories at DarcyandLizzy.Com and I know that anyone who follows your writing will be entertained as you are one of the best writers I have come across in years. I hope that your sales are consistent with your talent.

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    1. Hi Brenda! Dear friends like you have in Carma and Jennifer are the purest of treasures. As we navigate life, it is difficult to find those we can truly trust. You - and they - are blessed! I'm so happy that L13 was with you, seeing you through a dark time in your life. I believe books can be good friends, too. For me, its also movies. My one and only "go to" movie when I am feeling low is "The Sound of Music." For L13's Elizabeth it's "A Christmas Story." Thank you for the warm wishes, generous compliment and your sincere friendship. :)

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  3. Hi Cat! What a wonderful post! Friends. I been blessed with many friends. Right now, most of my friends are long distance friends. After moving to a new state I have yet to find a friend to go to lunch with or go to the movies. But I have a few really good friends that I've met online. One of which is Jakki. I've been blessed to have her as my friend. We talk on the phone often. I take pictures of the projects I'm working on and send them to her. I'm very grateful to her, and some day we will meet in person! :) I have a few other cyber sisters as well (I like how Jen put that! I don't have a real sister.) Meredith, Monica, and Ceri to name a few! Love you guys!

    The book sounds great, Cat! I hope to read it sometime soon!

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    1. Hi Candy! It is wonderful to meet you and make a new friend! I can empathize with you about being separated from dear friends. My ami of 20 years lives in Louisiana, and we haven't see one another in years! Like you, my online friends have grown and become true blessings - cyber sisters as you and Jen state. :) I wish you a joyous season and the arrival of a new friend for you to share it with in your new home! Good Luck in the giveaway! :)

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  4. Thank you for sharing wonderful experiences about your BFF. I don't know if I have any BFF per say. I have categories that people fit into. My nearest and dearest is "my closest friends", then comes "good friends", "friends", etc... The categories become less personal to acquaintances. Those categories having their own meaning... How close I am to them to drop everything should they need my support in anyway. It also goes both ways, I know I can count on them.

    I'm a pretty private person so having close friendships is great. People come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime to teach us lessons about ourselves and life. I think Oprah says it best " A good friend will bail you out jail, but your best friend would be sitting next to you in the cell".

    Looking forward to reading your novel. Thank you for hosting and for the giveaways!

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    1. Hi Dung! Having friends who fit different 'categories' makes perfectly logical sense and I think allows you to have realistic expectations - sort of like Oprah says. A "friend" might not be so willing to sit beside you in the jail cell. LOL But, I just love when people surprise us, doing things for us or with us that we'd never expect? Better yet, allowing us to be more of a friend to them than they expected! Thank you so much for commenting and I wish you the joys of the holiday season. Good Luck in the giveaway!

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  5. Hi Cat! Thanks for sharing your story of friendship to us. I really love reading this inspiring stories to know that there are people out there who cares. Thanks for offering a giveaway too. I hope to win it for one of my close friends.

    I'm a quite reserve and rarely shares my thoughts with other people. I count a number of people as my close friends and they are my former colleagues. I am comfortable with sharing what I like and dislike, intimate thoughts and dishing out on people that we know. However they are not JAFF readers.

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    1. Hi Luthien84. Great to see you and thank you for commenting! There is something to be said about being reserved. Trust is hard to give, and sometimes I regret being such an open book, sharing myself. Believe me, I have been burned by "so called" friends, but even then there was that BFF beside me, scraping my disappointed self from the pavement. And thankfully that BFF understands, even partakes in my JAFF obsession! LOL I hope your holiday season is magical in every way and wish you Luck in the giveaway.

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  6. What a cool idea for a giveaway! One of my friends did something similar for me once. She knew I was a big fan of Richard Armitage so she wrote to him asking him to send me a signed photograph. I was having a particularly bad day one day then I got home and there waiting for me in the mail was the photo! I had a fan-girl moment and screamed - which is very out of character for me lol. Made my day - I still have the photo.

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    1. Brenda, any friend who writes to Richard Armitage on your behalf is a keeper!!! That is the tenderest of heart to have gone to such lengths to bring a smile to you. Do you have her telephone number?? LOL Just kidding. I recently have a JAFF friend contact David Gandy's publicist to introduce him to Lucky 13 with the idea of "let's make a movie!" Such a generous heart. :) Thank you so much for commenting. I wish you Good Luck in the giveaway and a very happy holiday season.

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  7. This is actually one of the best modern P&Ps that I have read. You have topped the original Mrs. Bennet in her shear obnoxiousness, there is absolutely NOTHING salvageable in her what-so-ever. I could NOT believe that she set her 6-figure a year daughter up with that, that, that.....sputter..... I really pity Mr. Bennet; but, he is just a wimp. Mary had it right -- run away. He should have, too. Anyway, I'm wishing you lots of sales and lots of snow ;-)!

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    1. Wow! Thank you, Julia! I am so happy that you enjoyed it. I enjoyed painting Mrs. B on the fringe of sanity. Of course, that can unfortunately only translate to a "poor Mr. B and poor Lizzy." She was definitely insane! LOL I appreciate your feedback on L13 and the good wishes! No snow in Florida, but one can hope that luck will come my way - it did for Lizzy! Good luck in the giveaway. :)

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  8. This sounds super cute and fun! I love that you had so many great things to say about it, Jakki! Really makes me want to read it! :) And I love how Cat highlighted the theme of friendship with her post today. The excerpts were intriguing - I like how Charlotte didn't let Elizabeth have a say to the clothing transformation. Strong Charlotte's are great! Brilliant idea for a giveaway! Literary gifts for your friends are a sure-fire hit!

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    1. Hi Meredith! Thanks so much for commenting on the post. As usual, when I write a story, I have absolutely no direction where I'm going or what will unfold. Friendship was never the intended result, but once I brought my BFF on board to play the part of Char, it was only natural that the story would take on deeper form. I have always loved a strong Charlotte and my BFF is that! I hope you get to read Lucky 13 during the season, and I truly hope you enjoy it. Good Luck in the giveaway for your friend. :) Happy holidays.

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  9. I have two very different BFF: one is very shy and reserved, the other one always open and friendly with everyone (they have quite opposite characters). We met just a couple of years ago, but as much as a cliché as it can sounds, we all feel as though we've know each other for all our lives. A few months ago one of us had to move to continue her studies: to compensate the fact that we cannot see each other every other day, now we hear from the other two all day long, it's as if we were living together ;)
    I wonder why is it always a group of 3 BFFs that has bonds so thighs...

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    1. What a wonderful friendship you three have. Even though one isn't near in distance you are closer than ever. Thank you for sharing that! They will be in your heart always. Now ... you did give me a chuckle this morning with that last sentence. LOL. Thank you Luisa! I wish for you and your girlfriends a joyful holiday season. Now here is the tough question - should you win the Giveaway, how will you choose? Good Luck!

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  11. Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts abour friendship!! I am a private person, it is not easy for me make friends, but with time and with right people I become more confident. I have two BFF. One is more like me but the other is more sociable. I love both of them and love spending time together, although now we move to different course of studies so we do not see each other very often. Sometimes we do not agree on some point but we always respect what the other think!!
    Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. Hi Chiara! I am very much the same way. I have many acquaintances, but only four (including my dh) who are BFF. It is funny because one of my BFF's is so opposite in my views/beliefs on politics, yet like you and your BFFs, we respect and dialogue. Thank you for sharing with me your friends. I wish you all a joyful holiday season and Buona Fortuna in the giveaway.

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  12. My best friend, Cat, is my husband John. He is truly the kindest, most compassionate human that I know who is all man with a bit of boy still left in him. I have many close friends, but he tops my list. Great post and excerpt.

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    1. Aww!! I knew that, Joy! I could just tell by your Facebook avatar that you had that special kind of marriage - the type where there is deep abiding respect and a depth that every marriage should have. I'm so glad that you have such a good man by your side! Thank you for sharing with us. Glad you like the excerpt! Good Luck and wishing you and your DH a Blessed and Lucky Holiday Season.

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  13. Thanks, everyone, for telling Cat about your BFF and your friendships! I do enjoy learning more about my readers, and this was perfect! Whether your best friends are out of state, online, your spouse, or you are very cautious as to whom you allow into your private life, they are all special and help make life easier at times.

    I love how Austen has brought so many people together!
    Thanks so much, Cat, for the great post and generous giveaway! And like many others, I *loved* Lucky 13! Can't wait for your next book. :)

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