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Friday, July 11, 2014

PRP New Release: Cast Away Heart by Sarah J. McNeal -- Giveaway


CAST AWAY HEART by Sarah J. McNeal

An abandoned piano, rejected love, and hope

Blurb:
After her fiancé humiliates her and breaks her heart on what was to be their wedding day, Ella Dubois has vowed never to open her heart again.

Nickoli Vesa, a Romanian pianist, has loved Ella for years, but she sees him only as her best friend.

How can a deserted piano heal a shattered spirit and inspire it to sing again?

Excerpt:
   There it stood like a brave soldier, silent in its despair and covered in snow.  One of the ornately carved legs had rotted away and lie on the ground beside it causing the piano to list to that side.  It resembled an old ship that had taken a huge wave and, as the water began to fill its hull, was sinking slowly into the sea.  The wooden underside of the keys had begun to swell and dislodge from the smooth white pads.  The black keys had eroded into splinters and the top of the piano had caved in on the piano wires.
   Ella choked back a sob at the sorrowful sight.  How could that awful man watch this happen to such a beautiful instrument? The piano could have brought the joy of music to so many.  How much hatred could he possibly have to find delight in watching the destruction of his wife’s piano?  What a despicable human being.
Nickoli drove the car to the side of the road and stopped.  He turned to Ella and gathered her up into his arms.  “You must stop mourning, inima mea.  Until you stop longing for things to be different, you cannot change your future.  You cannot let happiness in.  You understand, yes?”
   She knew he was not talking to her about the piano.  He was talking about Mark.  There was no way for him to understand the pain she still felt from Mark’s rejection.  The memory of her standing there at the front of the church with her friends and family all present as her father announced there would be no wedding that day was still sharp enough to cut into her heart.  “I need time, Nick.  I can’t just let it go like it never happened.”  She pushed back from his embrace and met his eyes.  “It’s the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
   He did not take his eyes from hers.  Removing his hands from around her, he moved back into his seat.  “All is required, you let go.  Stop looking back or you cannot see where you are going.”

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23 comments:

  1. Sarah--the cover is beautiful. Very classy and emotional.
    The excerpt is well-chosen, for it gives a wonderful glimpse into these two people's lives and connection, without giving anything away.
    Congratulations. I know it will be a good story--just like your others.

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  2. Congratulations on your new book Sarah. The nice cover is an eye-catcher!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. My first comment disappeared.
    Thank you for your kind words, Celia. This book first came out with another publisher who required spicy sex scenes. With Cheryl's terrific editing skills, it has really evolved. It's spicier than I usually write, and it's contemporary without any paranormal elements, so it's different in that way. I created the hero from a Romanian doctor I worked with in the ER who had an interesting family history and was among the kindest people I ever met. I hope readers will love this character and the heart of this story.
    Thank you so much for all your kindness and support, Celia.

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    1. That comment did finally post, but since it was a repeat, I ditched it.

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  5. Linda, the cover was designed by Livia Washam Reasoner who does amazing covers for PRP. She really captured the essence of this story. Cast Away Heart is based on a real life event. On my way to work, I saw a beautiful baby grand piano sitting in the front yard of a house. At first I thought the people were trying to figure out how to get it into their house, but as time went by, and it stood out there in the weather until it dissolved into a pile of rubble, I knew it was put there to rot intentionally. It broke my heart.
    Thank you so much for coming by and commenting.

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  6. You had me at piano. Sounds wonderful, is on the list already. Music, love, finding yourself and that someone special...I'll stop now. Doris

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    1. Hey Doris, thank you so much for coming by and leaving a sweet comment. All I can say is, I wish I had a Nickoli Vesa in my life. LOL

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  7. Sarah, that is one of the most poignant descriptions of neglect I have ever read. Cuts straight to the soul for anyone who has ever loved anything, not just musical instruments. I know I'm going to love this story.

    Big congrats on the release, sweetheart! Cheryl said you cut the hot sex, but it sounds to me like you're happier with the result -- and that's very, very important. Only when the author is pleased with her story will readers be pleased. :-)

    HUGS!!!!

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    1. That's true, Kathleen. This story first came out at another publisher who required strong sex scenes. When they decided to go solely as an erotic publisher, I just couldn't stay there. I let this story just sit there for a long time--years. I wanted the story to be about the central theme, not sex, so Cheryl helped me achieve that. I had to leave in some of the spicy stuff to keep Nickoli's dialogue in there and show where his heart lay, but I'm a whole lot happier with the result. I love the way you describe it.

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    2. And Sarah, I really believe it achieves what you wanted it to even better this way! We really know what Nickoli's heart is.
      Cheryl

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  8. I loved this story, Sarah. I had a beautiful white baby grand piano years ago, and when I was reading this, all I could think of was that piano, and of course, the wonderful, poignant analogy you made. I really liked the way this story turned out. Sometimes, less is more, as we say, and I know you are happy with the outcome, too! That makes it all worthwhile for me as an editor--to know I've made a difference in someone's "baby" -- and I sense this story is very close to your heart.

    Congratulations on your new release! FLY BABY, FLY! LOL Love that cover that Livia did for you, too--I don't think that woman EVER does a cover I don't like! LOL

    Hugs, Sarah!
    Cheryl

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    1. Yes Cheryl, I am so much happier with the toned down sex scenes so this story could have more meaning and depth to it. When I saw that piano crumbling to its death, not allowed to even be used in a school for kids, it just got me right in my heart. How could anyone intentionally do such a thing? I'm happy this book will finally go on the journey it was supposed to.
      It is extraordinary how Livia really "gets" each of us and intuitively knows what cover is best to display the heart of our stories. So far, she has been right on with each of mine. I especially liked her cover for Harmonica Joe. Wow! And this one for Cast Away Heart just blew me away. Nickoli is represented exactly the way I imagined him. Ain't she great?
      I really appreciate how much you helped me get those scenes redirected, Cheryl. It made so much difference in the core of the story.

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  9. Congratulations Sarah. Nice cover and blurb, it sounds wonderful.

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  10. Thank you so much for commenting, Connie. I appreciate it.

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  11. It looks like a great book, awesome cover. T hanks for the giveaway.

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  12. Sorry I'm late to comment. Sarah, the cover is lovely and fits the story. The story line is bittersweet. Sometimes we can't see what's right in front of us----we are so busy looking back and trying to relive the past. Congratulations!!

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    1. You're right, Barb, we do take those who love us for granted, or don't see the degree of their love for us. And sometimes we pin our hopes and dreams on the wrong person.
      I appreciate you taking the time to come by and comment.

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  13. I didn't realize it was spicier before. I thought it had just the right amount of spiciness. You and Cheryl did a great job.

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    1. The original was very spicy, Livia. It took some work to get the right amount of spice to allow the heart of the story to come forward.
      You're such a busy woman, Livia, I really appreciate you taking the time to come by. I guess you can see from the comments what a wonderful cover you created. The work you and Cheryl do produces the writer's dream team. My thanks to you both.

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  14. Laurel, the magnificent cover is by Livia W. Reasoner. It is thing of beauty. Thank you so much for dropping by.

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  15. The winner of a digital copy of CAST AWAY HEART is.......
    Connie Bowen!! Congratulations!
    Connie, please email me with your email address at
    starcriter at yahoo dot com and I will send you your prize. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog.

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  16. Email sent to you this morning Sarah. Wow! I'm so excited. Thank you, and congratulations on your new book! ~Connie

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