TITLE – Time to Begin
SERIES – Ward Sisters, #5
AUTHOR – Patti Korbet
GENRE – Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – September 15, 2014
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – estimated at 125k words
PUBLISHER – Patricia Korbet
COVER ARTIST – Patti Korbet
She'd been dealt too many blows to count. He'd always lived life on easy street. Are they Yin and Yang or a mistake of epic proportions?
Makeup artist Reggie Reynolds has endured a life as colorful as her ever-changing hair. After a painful childhood and a tragic adolescence, by sheer force of will, she found success – first in Hollywood, then on Broadway. Returning to her hometown offers a chance to help her aging grandfather and realize her dreams, not to mention soothe a broken heart. But even her storied past won't prepare Reggie for what happens in her next chapter.
When reporter Eddie Besson meets Reggie on a flight to New York City, he thinks he's at an all-time high-point in his cushy, perpetual-youth life. Twenty-four hours with Reggie changes Eddie's perspective. Despite the fact she doesn't want anything to do with him when he leaves, Eddie can't stop thinking about the girl from New York City long after he's gone from the Big Apple.
As Eddie's perfectly-orchestrated life falls apart, he has some tough decisions to make, with only one thing certain: there will be consequences to pay for his lackadaisical approach to adulthood. Reggie's own soul-searching reveals some painful truths, including guilt about passing judgment on the guy from Maine. When she runs into Eddie again – this time on his home turf – sparks fly and decisions must be made, choices that aren't universally well-received. Will this unlikely pair go all-in, find a way to balance the scales and live life on their own terms? Or will tragedy tear them apart for good?
BUY & TBR LINKS
The girl with the pink and black striped hair kept looking at him. Eddie thought he was just being paranoid at first, but she was definitely staring. He didn't think he could possibly know her – after all, she looked like part of a Punk crowd, and despite his appreciation for the genre, that was definitely not his speed of social group. Maybe they'd had classes together in college. She might be around his age. But though he felt like he knew her somehow, he didn't recognize her.
Pink Hair didn't make any effort to engage him. Nonetheless, there she was, staring again. This time, though, her eyes watered and she looked like she struggled to keep the tears away. Maybe she wasn't staring at him so much as through him. He should probably ignore her. But then her eyes drifted shut and a tear escaped, running down a surprisingly angelic face.
Shit, he thought. Don't do it, Besson. Just stay where you are.
He got up and moved to sit next to her. When he put his hand over hers, she jumped a little and looked at him, confused.
“Hey, you okay?” Eddie asked.
“Um, not really. But it's nothing. Don't worry about it.”
“If it was nothing, then you wouldn't be crying. Want to talk about it?” Jesus, what was it with him and providing an ear these days? First Kay and her marital troubles, now a stranger? Who next? Maybe she'd say no. Hopefully.
“No, that's okay.”
Oh, good. That's a relief, he thought. Eddie's hand was still covering hers and she looked down at it. Since she didn't pull her hand away, Eddie left his there. Maybe it comforted her. Maybe it would be enough and she wouldn't use him as a sounding board. She sniffed and when she looked up she smiled at him.
“Eddie. You headed to New York?”
He nodded. “I've got a meeting.”
“Oh? You in finance or something?”
Eddie laughed. Hardly. “No. Reporter. I work at a small-town newspaper up north. My boss is sending me to meet with a potential new buyer for the paper.”
She'd bristled a little at the word 'reporter', but relaxed again when he said he worked at a small-town paper. Huh.
“Because you run things?”
“Nah. They want to meet with all the editors and I was away when they came last month. I guess it's nearly a done deal and they want to figure out where we all fit in their organization.”
“Oh. How long are you in the city?”
“A day. Fly down today, fly back tomorrow. What about you? Why are you headed to NYC?”
“I live there. Well, in Brooklyn, anyway. I work in the city.”
“What do you do? If you don't mind my asking. Sorry. Reporter's instinct to ask questions.”
“It's okay. I'm a makeup artist.”
“Oh yeah? Where do you work? In the movies?”
“I did. For a long time I worked in L.A. on movie and TV sets. I've been on a Broadway play for the past seven months. We were supposed to be done after six weeks. Then it stretched to six months. We're regrouping right now, but we're back to work tomorrow. They're talking about a long-term run.”
“Sounds like you're pretty excited about it.”
“It's basically my dream job. I always wanted to work on Broadway, but it's hard to get into the business there. Much easier in Hollywood, where there are a million different productions. Eventually, if you meet the right people, you're set. I got lucky and hooked up with a stylist when he was just getting started. That led to where I am now.”
Eddie smiled. “Seems like you made some smart moves.”
“I did. Now I get to work in my hometown and be near my family.”
Eddie laughed. “Me too. But somehow, I don't think my hometown quite compares with yours.”
“No? Population isn't in the millions? No loud noises, smelly exhaust or ridiculous traffic?”
“No all-night takeout, no clubs with up-and-coming music. No way to escape your family, even when they're driving you nuts. I love everything about New York.”
“Me, too,” Reggie said. “Those are just people's usual complaints. But everything you said, that's the reasons why I love living there. Plays, music, art, culture, food, history. It's all there.”
Now boarding Delta Flight 1220 to New York's LaGuardia at Gate 8. Please have your ID and boarding passes ready.
“I guess it's time to board. Where are you sitting?” Eddie asked.
“Um, 14C,” Reggie said, looking at her boarding pass.
“No way. I'm in 14A. Looks like we're sitting together.”
Reggie smiled. “Good. I was going to have to ask your seatmate if I could switch. Now I don't have to do that.”
Review - 4 Stars!
To begin with, I haven't read the other Ward Sister novels. Because of that I did feel there were some to the story I was missing, but not enough to make me confused or find this novel lacking. That said, I have to say the idea of a "has it all and easy" guy meets the 'had a rough life' girl is a great attention grabber for me. I like these types of stories because I find it interesting to see how the two mesh. Of course, I usually read stories about more damaged men, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy other types of protagonists.
In this case, I really did relate well to Reggie. The fact that she keeps on going despite everything that's happened to her is an amazingly positive personality trait I admire. I also loved how Eddie grew during this story. At first I wasn't sure I'd like him, but by the end, I was in love with him.
The romance between the two was also heated enough to keep any die-hard romance fan interested, but when you add in the story you're pretty hooked. I'm seriously glad I had a chance to read this one, and it only makes me want to start this series from the beginning now.
Beautiful Disaster – Jon McLaughlin
Falling – Jon McLaughlin
Faster – Matt Nathanson
Wake Me Up – Avicii
Love Stinks – The J. Geils Band
Who Says – Selena Gomez and The Scene
Thank You – The Shapes
Escape From New York – The Shapes
Claim Your Prize – The Shapes
Overflow – The Shapes
New Revolution – The Waking Hours
How Does It Feel – The Waking Hours
Survive – The Moog
I Like You – The Moog
All On Me – The Shys
Bom Bom Bom – Living Things
Not Thinking Straight – Pint Shot Riot
Five Year Rut – Supergarage
Turn Me On – Bromheads Jacket
I Couldn't Imagine – Julie the Band
Pretty Good Day – Best Not Broken
Take My Picture – Best Not Broken
Restless Heart – Matt Hires
The Mess I Made – Parachute
Hanging By A Moment – Lifehouse
Absolutely (Story Of A Girl) – Nine Days
It's Time (Live London Sessions) – Imagine Dragons
Static Waves (Featuring Katie Herzig) – Andrew Belle
Baby, I Love You – Ramones
Blitzkrieg Bop – Ramones
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend – Ramones
Family (featuring Tim Armstrong) – The Interrupters
Strangers – The Kinks
Eddie Besson is that guy, the one who still acts like he's in college, despite entry into his 30's. As the sports editor for his small, hometown newspaper, he lives above his parents' garage, spends his free time hanging out at the one bar in town and strings along his high school girlfriend. The kicker is that he doesn't really think there is anything wrong with his life. Until he meets Reggie Reynolds, and suddenly, his world seems pathetic and wasteful.
Broadway and Hollywood makeup artist Reggie Reynolds fought hard for the life she has now. Abandoned by her parents, she clung to her beloved grandparents as long as she could. But her grandmother was taken by illness, and now her grandfather is succumbing to age. She has never been lucky in love and is sure she is doomed for a life without it. Then she meets Eddie Besson and the world gets a little brighter, even if just for a moment.
Inspiration pictures at my Pinterest page
For a majority of her life, two things have been true about Patti Korbet: she loves to read and she has a very active imagination. You can often find her with a book or her Kindle in hand. And in the last few years, she's frequently been typing away at her little netbook, turning the myriad thoughts that run through her head into story ideas.
Her career path to author has had many twists and turns, but Patti has been making up stories in her mind for as long as she can remember. Just as her son turned 9 months old, she made serious work of molding those stories into works of fiction. She put her nose to the grindstone in the fall of 2012 and hasn't looked back since.
When not reading or writing, Patti pretends to be a gardener, loves to dance, watches a variety of shows with compelling characters and most importantly, takes care of her family of four. She hopes one day to convince her husband that fiction writing is a worthy pursuit. In the meantime, she's proud to see the seeds of imaginative storytellers and prolific readers in her daughter and son.
AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS
When did you start writing?
I've been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember, but my official moment happened in January of 2010, when I decided to make writing a regular goal. It has only become more important to me since then.
What made you decide to start becoming a published author?
A wise mentor told me I had talent and that if I didn't publish within a year, she'd kick my butt. I met that goal, and I've been going strong for the last year.
Which authors inspired you?
This is a tough question, because the list is pretty long. I'll name some and if I miss anyone, I'm sorry! Jane Austen, Laurie Breton, Melissa Foster, Brenda Rothert, Marie Hall, Minx Malone, Diana Gabaldon.
Which genre do you generally write in?
At the moment, I'm writing contemporary. My work to date has been a hybrid of Contemporary Romance with the frank storytelling of New Adult, the Happily Ever After of traditional romances and the depth of story found in Women's Fiction.
How many unpublished stories do you have?
So many! I have 5 more Ward Sisters series books, plus two spin-off series that currently have 4 books each. Those are all in-progress, either partially written or at least planned. The first spin-off series, Vega Brothers, will launch in early 2015. I also have a separate series which will happen later and encompasses at least a half dozen books. And I have several other stories started. All told, there are 20 or more books lined up and surely more to come.
What have you written?
I've written many things, but what I have published at the moment are the first four (and soon, five) books in my Ward Sisters series: Back to December (#1), Only One (#2), Right Here Waiting (#3), This Year's Love (#4) and my latest, Time to Begin (#5). I'll be publishing a boxed set of the first four books, which will include some deleted scenes from each book.
What are you working on at this moment?
I've just completed Time to Begin and am assembling the Ward Sisters 1-4 Boxed Set. Once that's uploaded to the various places, I'll be finishing Ward Sisters, #6, Just Realized, which focuses on honorary Ward Sister, realtor Nina Jacobs and Army Sergeant Owen Nichols.
What is your favorite type of hero/protagonist to write? Bad boys? Damaged men? The boy next door? The sensitive soul?
I'm currently writing stories about ordinary people, so I'm not focused on guys who are really bad or heavily damaged in Ward Sisters. I do have some soldiers and I've definitely written guys who have sensitive souls, some whose lives haven't been perfect and need to overcome their personal demons.
What is your favorite type of heroine/protagonist to write? Feisty women? Strong women? Weak women? Flighty women?
I'm a strong, fiesty, intelligent woman, and I prefer that my female leads reflect that archetype. I can't imagine writing stories for women that focus on weak, flighty or stupid females, and while men have read (and liked) my books, I'm writing for women because I write for me first.
How hard is it to research for you novels?
It depends on the story. Some characters have professions I don't know well or are from places I've never seen. When that's the case, I do a lot of research. I personally enjoy a story more when it speaks to me, and if I've been somewhere or had a certain job, I hate when a story gets it wrong. So, I try, very hard, to avoid writing contemporary stories that don't feel real. In rare cases, I need to take dramatic license and write something that's not 100% accurate, but I like to know if that's what I'm doing. I research and prove to myself what's reasonable and what is not, and then determine if dramatic license is necessary.
How is your day structured to include writing?
I've been a Stay at Home Mom since just before my daughter was born (she's now 7). In the past, I've worked writing around my life in whatever way I could. I'd write late at night or while the kids napped. Now, I have two school-aged kids, so I focus on writing when they're at school, unless I'm on deadline, and then I push to make it happen. But typically these days, I write, or work on the other aspects of self-publishing, weekdays from 7am to 3pm.
Do you write from an outline or just where the story and characters take you?
I'm a cross between a plotter and a pantser. I have the plot structure of the story in my head, and I sometimes make notes of details in email so that I have them for reference, but when I write, I don't use an outline. The characters tell me the story and how it needs to unfold. Sometimes, they surprise me.
Do you get the dreaded writer's block and how do you combat it?
I don't get writer's 'block' so much as have a story grow stale in my head. I write through the blocks by focusing on another story. That's one of the reasons I have so many works-in-progress. The only time a 'block' is an issue for me is when I'm on a deadline, but that hasn't happened often. I've learned some recent lessons that I think will help combat the issues I found with my last two books.
Do you prefer to read ebooks or paper books?
I like both, but if I have e-books, then my husband can't see how many books are part of my library. *wink* If I can snag a paperback for less than the cost of an e-book, I will, but that hasn't happened often in the last year. Sometimes, it's nice to bring a paperback to the beach.
What TV shows & Movies are your favorite? Or the genre you prefer?
I tend to gravitate toward character-driven stories, regardless of their overall genre. In my books, many of my favorite movies and shows will make appearances. Current favorite shows? Outlander, Once Upon a Time, Big Bang Theory, Scandal, Revenge, Grey's Anatomy.
How many proofreaders/editors do you use before publishing your work?
That has changed over time. Originally, I had one editor/proofreader in my mentor/critique partner. I've since used beta readers to help with story and even with editing. I'm the kind of person who becomes efficient as I do something more often, so I'm relying on my support team differently than I did in the past. But I still have my editor/critique partner look at every manuscript before it's officially published. If I get to the point where I'm making enough to afford a separate editor, I'll consider it.
Do you have input in your covers? Who designs them?
I've designed all my covers. A graphic designer friend helped me learn a few tricks of the trade, and I've been playing with my software ever since. I create the covers and teaser images. One of the things I love about self-publishing is that I can be so hands-on.
What are your thoughts on good & bad reviews? (We aren't counting bashing reviews, simply negative reviews that are respectful)
When one of my very first reviews was negative and not very kind, it hurt. A lot. However, now that I've had more people reviewing (and with most of them positive), I think bad reviews can be very helpful. Not everyone likes the same thing – reading is a subjective endeavor – and the negative reviews can validate the positive ones.
How do you relax? Or activities you use to relax?
Reading is probably my favorite activity to use for relaxation, along with watching tv/movies. I love going to the beach, and before kids, that was relaxing, but now, not so much!
What is your favorite quote?
Without Art we are but Monkeys with Car Keys – Tery Fugate-Wilcox (but ask me tomorrow and I might have a different one – I like quotes!)
What is the funniest moment you had while marketing, selling, having reviews, etc. of your books?
It's tough to name anything specific. Nothing stands out as blatantly hilarious. Give it time!
Is there anyone who supports you that you couldn't do without?
My three most important supporters were the ones who saw me through the last two books, beta reading and kicking my butt to get the books done. The first is Laurie Breton, who is my aunt/mentor/editor/critique partner. She encouraged me to do this and she keeps supporting me over and over again. Then, there is my superfan, Mandy, who is my champion, but who also gives it to me straight. And finally, my sister-in-law, Jen, who has been a fabulous beta reader. My writing has brought us closer, and I'm grateful for that.
I also have a core group of fans who have been so supportive over this past year, including the ladies of Christopher's Minions (my fan group), Anita, Kaitlyn and Shannan (along with Jen and Mandy), who help keep me sane. My sister, mom, friends Erin and Debra, and cousin Kaitlyn have all been beta readers and big supporters. And my jewelry designer cousin, Andrea, has helped me grow my fan base by promoting me like crazy through her jewelry business. It's a great give and take, because I have inspired her creations and helped support her too.
Likewise, I've had some amazing authors become friends, including Marie Hall, Bethany Averie, Brenda Rothert, Rene Folsom, S.L. Dearing and Minx Malone. They've given me some great advice and generally been a huge help – sometimes literally, sometime just emotionally – along this crazy path.
What is the most blatant lie you've ever told?
Well, if I tell you, then it won't be a secret. *wink* That said, I don't tend to lie. It's a lot easier to tell the truth or just keep quiet.
What is the best or worst or both thing said about you as a writer or your novels?
The worst came from a negative review that basically implied I hadn't bothered to edit my book. It was a huge insult to both me and my editor, was completely inaccurate, and seemed like an intentionally malicious statement, even when it first appeared. I've only seen that complaint from that one person.
The best came from more than one source. Many readers have praised my ability to illustrate characters who feel like real people, and since that's my goal, it's a huge compliment to know I've succeeded in the minds of others.
How do you come up with character names? How do you come up with novel titles?
Sometimes, character names just come to me or feel right. Others, I run through a series of names until something works. I've had instances when I've changed a name because it felt wrong or was too close to another name I'd used before. There are certain cases where a name is intentionally a reference to something specific. For example, Emily, Anne and Charlotte Ward are named after the Bronte sisters, and the Daigle boys in Time to Begin all have very biblical names. Some characters have distinctly ethnic or cultural names that anchor them to a geographic area, where certain family names are commonplace. One thing I definitely do not do is seek names that are intentionally odd. I wouldn't have given my children names that are hard to spell or pronounce, and my characters are my babies.
As for book titles, for me, each one needs to speak to the story in some way. I might take the title from a song or lyrics, but that's not always the case. If the story title is a song or from a song's lyrics, however, then that song speaks to the narrative, sometimes in a very literal way.
Do you feel upset if you kill off one of your main characters?
I haven't killed any main characters. Yet. But if I do, I will feel very sad, because my characters are like friends and family. I often cry when I write, so I'm sure killing a main character would be painful.
How do you feel once you complete a book?
Like I've birthed a baby! Every time, it's like childbirth, without the actual physical pain, but with the same basic structure of labor, delivery, and elation after the birth. And then it happens all over again, because I love it so much.
Coffee or Tea?
I like both, but I'm a daily coffee drinker. I cut coffee out of my diet for many years and drank tea all the time then, but I went back to coffee. I've been drinking it since I was 12! Eddie, the male lead in my latest book, is addicted to his coffee and is a royal jerk if he hasn't had it yet.
How do you take your coffee?
I used to be a cream and sugar girl, but I drink it with cream and no sugar these days.
Starbucks or Seattle's Best? Or what IS your favorite coffee shop?
I actually prefer the local coffee shops. To me, they're like microbreweries – you get the best stuff when it's not mass-produced (yes, I'm a beer snob!) A couple of my favorites from when I worked and lived in Portland, Maine, were Arabica and Coffee By Design. They've made appearances in my stories.
How many cats do you own?
Sadly, none. My hubby is allergic to cat dander. We'll surely have a dog someday.
As a Trekkie, do you go to conventions? Perhaps speak Klingon? Or simply just love the Star Trek universe? (I'm not really making fun, I'm an anime fangirl and some of the people that go to those conventions are as dedicated as Trekkies. ^_^)
I love Star Trek! But no, I don't go to conventions, dress up, or speak Klingon. Just a big sci-fi fan in general. That said, I'd LOVE to go to ComiCon someday!
Do you write about military men and women because it is something you're very familiar with, kind of like the old adage, write what you know? Or you just REALLY like the military men and women?
I'm a sucker for a soldier in a story. My first soldier character, Captain Neil Murphy in Right Here Waiting, was inspired by people in my life who have served. I have a lot of friends and family who are military, many of them active duty, some who have served in combat and lots who are or have been part of the National Guard or Active Reserves. I wanted the story to feel real, so I asked three women connected to the military (two Army Vet friends and my cousin whose boyfriend was deployed to Afghanistan while I wrote the book) to beta-read for me, so that I'd get it right. I'll do that again for my next book, which will feature Neil's best Army buddy, Sergeant Owen Nichols.
Lastly, how does your life experiences show up in your stories?
Like any writer, a little of me bleeds into each story, sometimes blatantly, other times in subtle ways only I'd really understand. The list is actually long, but some of the life experiences that have appeared: I write about places where I've lived and visited; several of my characters went to college at my Alma mater; many characters share personality traits with me or people I know; the Ward sisters are a trio, like me and my two sisters – though, aside from their friendship and typical, birth-order traits, they're not actually like us.
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