Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Q&A With Beth Albright & A Giveaway

I would like to welcome Beth Albright back to Book Mama Blog.  On Monday we celebrated her new book, Christmas in Dixie, with a review post.  Today, Beth is back with a little Q&A and she has brought along a special prize pack for one lucky winner.

Welcome back Beth!  We love having you at Book Mama Blog!

Thank Y’all so much for having me!! I LOVE BOOKMAMA!!

Holiday traditions are so special.  When our kids were younger, we’d wait for everyone to get up and open gifts together.  Now that our three oldest children are grown and out of the house, this Christmas will be a little different, but we still have our little Bella to bring us lots of Christmas cheer.    What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Oh heavens, there are so many! We always cook lots of food, and try to see a show, Like Scrooge on-stage, watch tons of sappy Christmas movies—and a few comedies. I LOVE The Holiday, with Kate Winslet, and I LOVE Fred Clause---‘cause I am a crazy Vince Vaughn fanatic. We have a huge Christmas Eve and usually go to church around 9PM. So still and soft. It’s usually a candlelight service. But I think what I love the most is decorating with my husband and son. We always try to get to a tree farm and pick several, yes SEVERAL trees, go home and make hot cider or hot chocolate, Toll House cookies, Christmas music and go nuts—indoors and out! I try my best to keep it classy but inside it definitely looks like a little old lady’s house! I have decorations out everywhere—even in my laundry room!

I love holiday desserts.  I don’t care if it’s a simple sugar cookie or an extravagant dessert.  What is your favorite holiday food?

Oh dear—only one? Hmmmm. My aunt Patsy’s magic cookie bars! Her appetizers and snacks are in the recipe section of CHRISTMAS IN DIXIE! After many years of me eating about a dozen all by myself, she started sending me a box all to myself! Besides these little treats, I know this is crazy, but I love that green bean casserole. :/ And even worse—Fruitcake! I am starting to see a pattern with that previous old lady comment! J

Our holidays are spent with family.  We always make a bunch of food and, as people stop by, we eat and chat.  How do you spend the holidays?

I used to go home to Alabama. But now it is crazy expensive and so hard to travel during the holidays! And my family is all over the state doing their own thing now. So we usually stay home and do very traditional holiday things. Take out hot chocolate and ride through Christmas lights. We almost always take a short trip—one we can drive to and not fly. I love spending time with my husband and son and am so aware these days will be passing by too soon. As my son graduates from college and his own adult life begins to blossom, time spent travelling as a family, spending all our time together will soon change, as life always does. So I try to take every holiday slow and deliberate so I don’t miss a thing.

We all love getting gifts.  What's the best gift you've gotten?
Anything my son gives me. He is 21 now and graduating from college in May. I LOVE getting letters from him. They are long and detailed and full of memories. I always cry when I read them on Christmas morning. He has used his Christmas money to get me such sweet meaningful things, but those letters—he most certainly has a way with words. And they are from his heart. I have them all tucked away safe…and one even framed. My mom gives pretty amazing gifts too. One year she gave me a wonderful scrapbook of my dad. Daddy died in a car accident when I was 4 years old and she had filled the book up with as much of his life as she could. I immediately burst into tears! She has given me things of my grandmothers, like cookbooks written in their own hand. I love those types of gifts the most.

At our house, we go all out for Christmas.  As I type this, I’m admiring all of the decorations in our house.  Do you just put up a tree or do you go all out with your decorations?

We are crazy decorators here…every room is full of Christmastime! Inside and out—our house screams Christmas—and I Love it!

Which do you prefer … Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

I use both. If I know you well I will say Merry Christmas…I use it almost all the time—but if I am talking to a stranger in the grocery store—, which is every time I am in the grocery store, and I live near such a huge city—I say Happy Holidays. Since I have no idea if they might be of another faith, like maybe they are Jewish. I try to be respectful of that. But for me personally—Merry Christmas!! For sure!

If I could get any gift, it would be more time with my daughter (who passed 8 years ago).  If you could get anything for Christmas, no matter how expensive or out of reach, what would it be?
I would give anything if I could live closer to my mom. She is my best friend and I miss her all the time. We are on the phone on and off all day every day but I need to see her and hug her more than I get to. I would give anything if she had her health back too!

This question is super tough! After my mom, I immediately think of my bucket list. I think of something I have always wanted to do. I would LOVE to take my son to see the Northern Lights. It is a dream of his and I want to be there when he sees this miraculous sight in the universe. He is such a lover of space and the stars. Experiences with the people I love most will always top my list!

Thank you, Beth, for stopping by.  It’s always a pleasure.  We love chatting with you.  We wish you the merriest of Christmases and much success with your new book!

Purchase Christmas In Dixie at:

About the Author:
Beth Albright is the author of the award-winning, nationally best-selling series The Sassy Belles, and now her new nationally best-selling series In Dixie.
 After knowing Beth for just a few short seconds you’re sure to learn she is from Alabama. No, it’s not the lilt of magnolia you can still catch in her voice, or even the way she lovingly describes her undying love for her famous alma mater's football champions. She will tell you she loves Tuscaloosa, even after living quite literally all over the country. Though Beth has had a remarkable career, from New York City to Hollywood, and all points in between, she has never forgotten where she came from...and what she loves. That's why when it came time to write, Beth had no choice but to write about Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama, and all the quirky people she still calls family, though some do not actually share her bloodline!
Beth Albright has always been a storyteller. After spending nearly 15 years in talk radio, as a talk show host, playing the part of a principal character on the soap opera, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, owning her own acting school and children’s theater, and raising a son who was a nationally ranked figure skater, Beth has decided to return to her roots; storytelling. When she was in the sixth grade, her teacher gave her the floor every Friday to tell her stories. See, Beth was a talker, a future talk show host in the making, and she was sharing her stories so much that her teacher couldn’t teach. The teacher told 12 year old Beth if she would begin writing her stories down, she would be allowed time to share those stories with the class.
And she’s been writing, AND talking ever since. Beth has interviewed Bob Hope, Oprah Winfrey, Betty White, Wolfgang Puck and George Burns live from the Chinese Theatre, as well as numerous other celebrities, and authors. Then Beth became a principal character on Days of Our Lives. But through all of the excitement of talk shows and soap operas, Beth loved telling stories to her audience the most. With a degree in Journalism from her beloved University of Alabama, She always remains true to her roots, born and raised in Tuscaloosa, “My grandfather was the play by play announcer for the Crimson Tide in the 50s!” Beth will proudly tell you.   She is a down home spun girl, although she currently lives in San Francisco with her TV producer husband and her brilliant son. But her heart is always in Alabama. 

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Beth is graciously giving one lucky winner:
a signed book, Starbucks gift card and holiday surprises!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How Do You Know? - Excerpt

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach? On the eve of her 39th birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at 29, but with her 40th birthday speeding towards her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up”, Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometim es painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number. 
Meredith Schorr, best-selling author of light women’s fiction digs deep in her newest novel and raises the age old issue of the ‘proverbial clock’ that haunts many women in a way that is refreshing and sassy no matter your age or relationship status.

Purchase the book at:

An eight minute cab ride later, we are sitting across from each other at a small table at Alta, a Mediterranean/Spanish tapas restaurant we have wanted to try for a while. The one time we attempted to get in, with Melanie and her husband, we hadn’t made a reservation and were told we’d have to wait until eleven p.m. to eat. We weren’t cool enough to dine so late and opted to go elsewhere. This time, Doug made a nine p.m. reservation, and surprisingly we are seated immediately. I order a glass of Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain, while Doug orders a Hennessy and tonic, and we drink quietly while perusing the menu. When Doug reaches across the table and squeezes my hand, I immediately pull it back. I have no idea why I did that and try to cover by scratching my arm as if I have an itch. I smile at him. “Thanks for making the reservation.” 
Doug grins. “I’m glad they weren’t booked months in advance. I want to make you happy on your birthday.” 
“You always make me happy, Doug.”
I look at him fondly. It’s true. He always makes me happy. But… I’m scared something is missing. I shake my head.
Noticing the gesture, Doug asks, “You all right there, camper?”
I nod, thankful when the waitress comes over to take our order before I have to answer. I stifle a giggle as she blatantly leans her chest into Doug’s face when answering one of his questions about the menu options. I’d be annoyed if he wasn’t always so clueless when other women flirted with him. While Doug orders the bacon-wrapped dates, fried goat cheese, crispy brussel sprouts, braised short ribs, and lamb meatballs for us to share, I try to steady my nerves by taking small sips of Cava. It’s my birthday dinner, and I want to live in the moment. I know Doug and I will have a great time, and although forty feels like a deadline by which I need to come to terms with my doubts, I still have over 350 days to go. Almost a year. I don’t want to waste it worrying. Everything will unfold naturally. I bring my glass to my mouth, already feeling much better.
“So, it might be an odd time to bring this up, but are we okay?”
Choking on my Cava, I quickly cover my mouth with my hand. I swallow hard. “Why would you ask that?” 
Doug does a half shrug. “I don’t know, Mags. You seem restless lately.” 
I chew on my bottom lip, feeling sick to my stomach and not at all excited for the feast the waitress will soon deliver to our table. I don’t want to discuss this now, but I’m not very quick on my feet. I’m also a horrible liar. When I was nine years old, I accidentally broke the leg off of one of Cheryl’s Barbie dolls. I had been playing with a classmate of mine while Cheryl was at a Little League softball game. I left the Barbie doll in the room we shared, praying she wouldn’t notice since she claimed to be too old to play with Barbies. My prayers were not answered, and she confronted me later that day. Too slow on my feet to come up with a good excuse, I blamed it on my friend, and then immediately confessed it was not, in fact, my friend who was the guilty culprit, but me. I suck. 
“Maybe I have been. I’ve been thinking too much.”
Doug smirks. “You? Think too much? Noooo!”
“Very funny.” I pout.
Doug reaches across the table and squeezes my hand again. This time I don’t let go. He smiles softly. “What have you been thinking about?”
I bite the inside of my cheek, contemplating how to say it and finally blurt out, “Turning forty, us, turning forty, my life, turning forty.” I avoid eye contact. I hate that I’m so single-minded on turning forty and know Doug hates it, too.
Doug removes his hand from mine. “Okay. I get the ‘turning forty’ part, but the ‘us’ part concerns me.”
I take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. This is going to be hard. “I love you, Doug. I really do. But… aren’t you ever uncertain about, well, the future?” Please say yes. Please understand where I’m coming from.
His face despondent, Doug frowns and slowly shakes his head. “No. I can’t say I am. But I guess you are?”
The waitress has placed a few of our dishes on the table, and I absently shove a stuffed date in my mouth. It might as well be dirt. Knowing it’s too late to seamlessly change the subject, I dip my chin downward. “I think I’m feeling stressed about getting older and wondering if I should be more settled by now.” I face Doug again. “I always thought I’d be married and finished having kids at this stage of my life. Forty seemed so old back when I was younger, and here it is—looming.”
Doug takes a long sip of his drink. “Do you want to get married, Mags? You drop the subject whenever I bring it up.”
“I do want to get married. And that’s what concerns me. Why do I keep changing the subject? Why is it I’m living with such an amazing man who loves me so much, and yet I don’t have a secret stash of Bride Magazine under our bed like most girls who’ve been living with their boyfriends for two years?”
“You mean you don’t?” Doug jokes.
I appreciate his attempt to lighten the mood, but I know this is going to end badly. “I worry if this…” I point at him, and then at me. “If you and me are right, I shouldn’t have these doubts.” I see the sadness in Doug’s eyes and fight the urge to stab myself with a fork for hurting him.
He scratches his head. “So, what do you want to do about it? Do you want to break up?”
I sit up straight in my chair. “No!” 
“Well, I’m not sure how to respond to this, Maggie.”
“I don’t want to break up,” I say as an alternative solution percolates in my mind. “But a time-out might not be a bad idea. Maybe I should take the next year to figure out what I want so I can have all of my ducks in a row by the time I turn forty. That way, I’ll be sure.” I wonder why I didn’t think of this earlier. It’s a fabulous idea.
When Doug jerks his head back at my suggestion, I have a feeling it means he doesn’t think it’s fabulous at all. Keeping his stare on me, he says, “So, let me get this straight. You want to take a year hiatus to decide what you want to do about us. And I’m supposed to wait to see what you decide?”
It seemed like a good idea in my head, but when he puts it that way, it sounds really one-sided. “If I take time now to confirm my wavering is simply me being stupid and not based on something solid, we can move forward free of doubts.”
“What about what I want?” Doug asks. 
“What do you want?” I whisper.
“I want you to be sure about us now. I want to pretend this conversation never happened.”
I nod. “So, let’s do that.” I raise my glass and clink it against his. “Cheers!” I smile even as I feel tears brimming in my eyes. There is no way we can erase this conversation from our memories, unless he is Jim Carrey and I am Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and we both know it. 
Doug laughs and shakes his head. “If only it was that easy.”
I shrug. “So what do we do now?”
Doug stands up, and for a second, I think he is going to walk out on me. “I need to use the bathroom.”
I watch his back as he walks away. When I can’t see him anymore, I reach into my bag and pull out the two Excedrin I always keep in my pocketbook in case of a headache. I swallow the pills down with my Cava and grimace as the fizz from the drink burns my throat. Afterwards, I stare at the uneaten plates of food on the table. What a waste. When I look up, Doug is walking towards me with watery eyes. He sits down without saying anything. I am about to break the silence with some stupid joke when he says, “I love you, Maggie.”
“I love you too,” I say, meaning it. 
“But you’re not in love with me.” He doesn’t ask it as much as state it as fact.
“I am in love with you, Doug. I just—”
“You just what?” he interrupts, sounding angry.
I whisper, “I worry it’s not enough.” My voice sounds like it’s coming from someone else’s mouth. 
“I think we should break up, Maggie.”
My body involuntarily jerks at his words, and I grip the table for support. “You mean permanently or a temporary break?”
“It’s been three years, Maggie. If you’re not sure I’m the one by now, chances are, I’m not. I don’t want to waste more of your time.” He pauses. “Or mine. I’ll hunt for a new apartment.”
I swallow back my tears. This is not how I imagined the night would unfold. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Doug gives a slight shake of his head. “I’m sure I don’t want to do this. But I’m also sure I have to. I’ll stay with Connor tonight and pack up some of my stuff while you’re at your mom’s tomorrow night.”
I try to imagine my family’s reaction to hearing Doug and I broke up, and that he moved out to live with his older brother. I can’t. I’m pretty certain my own reaction will be delayed since I currently feel like this is happening to someone else. 
Doug continues speaking. “I’ll take care of the bill. You should get out of here.”
“I can’t let you pay for all of this.” I point at all of the uneaten food. “I ruined my birthday, and now you’re going to pay for it?” 
Doug drops his credit card on the table and shrugs. “Your birthday was Tuesday so, no, you didn’t ruin it. But you did break my heart.”
Not meeting my gaze, he says, “Just go, Maggie.”
I stand up but linger. I don’t want it to end this way.
“Please, Maggie. Go.”
And so I leave.     

About the Author:
A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her still single (but looking) status. Meredith is also the co-founder of BookBuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. How Do You Know? is her fourth novel. To learn more, visit her at

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