Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway with Jana Richards


Have you been invited to your high school reunion? Did you go? How did you plan for it? Author Jana Richards gives a few tips on how to survive your high school reunion. Today on the blog, let's give a big Texas "Howdy" to Jana Richards, author of THE GIRL MOST LIKELY

Meet Jana:

Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, along with two university aged daughters and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou.

Where To Find Jana: Author Site | Blog | Facebook

Guest Post:
How to Survive Your High School Reunion 

When I first received the invitation to my 25th year High School Reunion, my first emotion was disbelief. How could it possibly be 25 years? Wasn’t it only yesterday I was a cheerleader? My second emotion was panic. I’d gained about twenty-five pounds over the last ten years, much of it in the three years since my ex-husband dumped me for a younger woman. Did I mention that Peter was my high school sweetheart and that he was planning to attend the reunion with his latest hot, young girlfriend? How was I supposed to compete with firm thighs and perky breasts?

If left to my own devices I would have chickened out and avoided the reunion entirely, but my best friend Nancy and my teenage daughters Beth and Jenna convinced me to go. And they were right. Just because I was no longer my exact high school weight didn’t mean I couldn’t attend. But going to this reunion was going to be difficult. You see, back in high school I was one of the popular girls, and sometimes I wasn’t always the nicest person. I was sure some of my former classmates would be pleased that I’d received my comeuppance in life. They’d be thrilled that my perfect figure had gone south along with my perfect marriage and perfect life. And really, I wouldn’t blame them. Back in high school I’d do anything to be part of the ‘in’ crowd, including dumping a good friend because the popular kids didn’t like her.

But I still had a little pride left. If I was going to go to this reunion I was going to go a few pounds lighter and a few inches smaller. That’s where Finn came in. He was my personal trainer during the six weeks leading up the reunion and he took me from couch potato to jogging fiend. In the end I didn’t lose all the weight I wanted to, but I gained self-confidence, self-acceptance and a fantastic new love.

So, without further ado, here are Cara’s tips for surviving the high school reunion:
  1. Chill out! Don’t be like me and freak out when faced with attending your high school reunion. Remember that everyone will have aged twenty-five years, not just you. And you will definitely not be the only one with a little ring of pudge around her middle.
  2. Be prepared. Okay, just because you accept yourself the way you are doesn’t mean you can’t stand a little self-improvement. To feel your best, get a new haircut, or buy a new outfit. But don’t stress yourself out like I did by thinking you have to look perfect.
  3. Keep your sense of humor. There are likely going to be people at the reunion who will test your patience and your good humor. Don’t lose your sense of fun, or your sense of the absurd. Case in point, Nadine Archer. She took great delight in telling me and others that my ex was there with his girlfriend and she was almost young enough to be his daughter. So I decided to give Nadine something to talk about. Let’s just say she was very surprised!
  4. Be a good listener. Ask others about their lives. Some of your classmates will have done fascinating things over the years.
  5. Get over yourself. I was so focused on my appearance and on what people would say about me that I almost forgot to connect with the people who really mattered to me back in high school. I almost missed reconnecting with my old friend Mitzi and learning the lessons about love that she taught me.

So there you have it. High school reunions can be stressful, but in my case it was a blessing in disguise. My whole life changed for the better because of my reunion!

Thanks for letting me share my hard-earned expertise today. It was great fun!
Thanks Jana for guest posting. Those are some great tips I'll keep in mind for when I get invited to my first one. :)

The Girl Most Likely:
Cara McLeod, the girl most likely to have the perfect marriage, is now divorced and, in her own words, “fat, frumpy, and over forty.” The thought of facing former classmates—and the ex-husband who dumped her—at her high school reunion terrifies her. Cajoled into attending by her kids and her best friend, Cara enlists help at the gym to lose weight and look great for the reunion. Personal Trainer Finn Cooper is more than willing to help—but does he have to be so to-die-for gorgeous?

Finn thinks Cara is perfect just the way she is. She’s everything he wants in a woman, except for one thing—she can’t get past the fact that he's eight years younger. To Finn, age and weight are just numbers. But can he convince Cara the numbers she worries about add up to only one thing for him—love?
Cara floated into the ladies’ locker room on a wave of happiness.

She finished her shower and was drying off in her stall when she heard two women talking. Cara scarcely paid attention, until she heard, “Did you see the cow eyes she made at Finn?”

She stopped drying and listened intently.

“As if he’d be interested in a woman who’s got to be ten years older.”

“Have you seen the outfits she wears? Where does she shop? The Salvation Army?”

They laughed uproariously. Shame and embarrassment welled up from the pit of stomach. They were right. What could a gorgeous younger man like Finn possibly see in a frumpy, overweight, middle-aged woman like her? What a stupid, middle-aged fool she’d been.

She waited until she heard the showers running before she dressed and made her escape. Finn waved at her as she left the locker room.

“Cara, wait. Do you have a minute?”

“Sorry, no. I’ve got to get home to my daughters. Bye.”

She ran to her car and drove to a park near her home, then into a parking lot used only by maintenance staff. She pulled her car to a stop between two city trucks, finally feeling alone.

Slumped over the steering wheel, tears of shame crashed down her cheeks as waves of humiliation engulfed her. Had she been so starved for affection she’d latched on to the fantasy that Finn felt something for her?

Finally, she started her car, adjusted the rear view mirror, and wiped her eyes one last time before heading home.

It was a nice fantasy while it had lasted.
Book Extras: Read another Excerpt

Thanks Jana for guest posting!

Giveaway: One lucky commenter during the book tour will win a $20 gift card to The Wild Rose Press and another lucky commenter during the book tour will win a $20 Amazon gift card.

*Leave a comment for Jana.
*Leave your email ninja style: yourname at gmail dot com
*Comment at all the stops on Jana's blog tour to increase your chances. Keep updated with the tour schedule below.


Giveaway ends 12/9. Winners will be announced here.

November 28: Wendi Zwaduk - Romance to Make Your Heart Race
November 28: REVIEW ONLY: Reviews by Molly
November 29: Carrie Ann Ryan's Blog
November 30: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
December 1: Romancing Rakes
December 2: Realmantic Moments
December 5: Lisa Sanchez Romance Author
December 6: Book of Secrets
December 7: Sherry Gloag The Heart of Romance
December 8: Books Read 'N' Makeup Done
December 9: Romance in the Backseat

A HUGE thank you to Jana for guest posting and offering a $20 gift card to The Wild Rose Press to one lucky winner and a $20 Amazon giftcard to another lucky winner. Also, thank you to Marianne at Goddess Fish Promotions for forwarding all correspondence between Jana and I.
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