I’m excited to be a part of the book tour for How (Not) To Kiss A Toad
by Elizabeth A. Reeves, put together by Jaidis Shaw of Juniper Grove Book Solutions
. Elizabeth shares the intriguing inspiration for her story. I also have an excerpt for you, and an awesome giveaway! Read on.
Legend has it that Elizabeth A Reeves was born with a book in her hands and immediately requested a pony. Though this story is questionable, it is true that books and horses have been consistent themes in her life. Born in Massachusetts, she was quickly transplanted to Arizona by a professor father and creativity-driven mother, who is the one responsible for saying “If you can’t find a book that you want to read, write a book you want to read.”
In her spare time, she likes to knit, weave, hatch chickens, and chase after her husband and four sons.
Connect with her in the following places:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SelkieHorse or @SelkieHorse
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-A-Reeves/e/B0086FY4K8
What inspired you to write this story?
When I was pregnant with my fourth son I spent the majority of the pregnancy sick in bed, utterly drained and utterly miserable. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t write because my brain was stuffed with cotton balls instead of brain cells, I couldn’t read because I was getting motion sickness from the print, I couldn’t eat because nothing sat well, and I was just too uncomfortable to sleep.
I was slowly and quietly driving myself crazy.
I’ve never been one to watch much TV—I get bored really easily– but I discovered I could watch cooking shows and competitions on TV pretty much endlessly without getting too restless. Hour upon hour I floated through Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Cupcake Wars, Chopped, Unique Sweets, and Iron Chef America. As my sister-in-law frequently says, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives is like porn for pregnant women.
As I watched little ideas started to spark through my head. What would I bake if I was on Cupcake Wars and faced with those flavors? Why weren’t there any truly southwestern flavors? What would happen if tamarindo, lucas, or saladitos showed up on Chopped as a basket ingredient? Why did Bobby Flay have to say chipotle like someone from New York City?
All of this resulted in the birth of Cindy Eller, a baker from the real southwest, my hometown of Tucson, Arizona. As I started sketching out her story I came to know her, her recipes, her special brand of magic, and discovered she had a serious problem—every man she ever kissed turned immediately into a toad.
Having grown up in Arizona, the worst thing I could imagine was dating a Colorado river toad. During the monsoon season they are everywhere—causing all kinds of mischief as they are seriously toxic and can cause serious damage to any cat or dog that unwittingly scoops them up. Kissing one would be a huge mistake.
But why were all these men turning into toads? Was it because there was something wrong with them? What kind of magic did Cindy have? Why couldn’t she just change them back? The questions slowly resolved in my head as I lived through each scene inside of my head.
From that point on Cindy Eller and her story were on a roll.
The love affair with ice cream that Cindy and her roommates have is based on my own life. I have definitely had days over the years where ice cream was better than any man I could imagine.
I had to wait until my son was born and I had access to my brain again before I could write down Cindy’s story—which I finally did when he was seven months old– but I had months to daydream and plan and drool over things that I could create with my pen and paper on days when I couldn’t make it into the kitchen with my newborn.
It’s almost as if I was pregnant with the story at the same time I was carrying my son.
Cindy Eller is a baker and a witch– the creator of magical desserts that send the senses reeling and highlight the unique flavors of her native Southwest. All isn’t sweet in her life, however– every man she has ever kissed has turned immediately into a real, live, disgusting toad. Cindy has long since given up on ever finding true love. She has decided that ice cream will be her only true love.
Enter Timothy Borden, handsome, a foodie, and with dimples that make Cindy’s stomach get all knotted up inside of her. Could he be the one to break her curse?
Or does he have secrets of his own?
Closing the door of the house behind me, I tossed my purse on the couch and threw myself after it. I lay limply for a moment, wondering if I would ever have the energy to move again, then decided to get my– oh, so stylish and oh, so painful– shoes off before I cast off to drama land. If I was going to have a crisis, at least my feet wouldn’t hurt.
My roommate, Jessi, peeked her head around the door of the open freezer, a spoon dangling from her mouth. She looked me up and down, removed the spoon and quipped, “Prince Charming or Toad?”
I rolled my eyes at her. “Toad, of course.” I flopped back down, eyeing her spoon. “What do we have?”
She gave me another long look and disappeared back into the freezer. “I think you need Double Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough.”
I grinned. My roomie so got me. “Hand it over.”
She pitched it underhand and the pint came flying towards me, followed by a spoon. I dug into the rich decadence of the ice cream with a hopeful sigh. In my opinion, there were very few things in life that ice cream couldn’t fix.
As the first velvety icy mouthful slid down my throat, I let out a moan of pleasure, letting all the stress flow off of my shoulders.
SweetDreams Ice Cream had only been available in our grocery store for a few weeks and we were already hooked. It was so good I could even let a bad date roll off my shoulders.
“So…” Jessi flopped down beside me. I squinted at her pint. She was eating Chocolate Cherry Cocoa Bliss. I considered snatching it out of her hands and finishing it for her, but there was nothing wrong with me that ice cream was really going to fix.
“So, nothing,” I said, crossly. “We went to dinner, talked, held hands…”
“Kissed.” Jessi giggled.
I glared at her, then sighed. “Yeah… and …”
“Toadsville!” Jessi giggled again.
“I’m so glad you think my personal life is so hilarious.” I said dryly.
She waved her hands. “No, no, I’m sorry. It’s just… Nathan was so a toad. You know it.”
He sure was. A giant, ugly, warty, slimy Colorado River Toad. He was nearly a pound of toxic waste done naturally.
In my limited experience the outside of the toad matched the inside of the man. Apparently I had just kissed a man whose insides were so gruesome that he was even more hideous than the average toad. Much as I hated bringing another toad home, I’d dodged a silver bullet on that one. If there was a perk to my personal hell, it was that I never dated a bad guy for long.
Not that I dated any guy for long.
I tried to remember why I had gone out with him in the first place, trying to ignore the huge ‘desperate’ sign that was blinking on and off like a huge neon sign in my brain. I sighed again. There had to be one good guy out there somewhere, right? One single someone who was not instant toad material.
“This is it,” I growled, licking my spoon clean. The ice cream was really good, insanely good even. “I’m done with men. I’m going to stick to ice cream.”
Jessi snorted. She’d heard it all before.
“I mean it this time,” I insisted. “I’m just going to focus on my work at the bakery and stop looking for a Prince Charming who obviously doesn’t exist.”
Tansy padded into the living room from her room, complete with pink halter top, baggy flowery pajama pants, and pink bunny slippers. Her light blond hair was gathered up in a rather messy looking ponytail. Her bangs were bound up in pin curls. Her eyes were slightly puffy. She looked like we had roused her up from a deep sleep. Even then she looked like the epitome of the angel next door. She held out her hand. “Ice me, baby.”
Jessi bounced up from the couch with far too much energy for that time of night. I shook my head as she disappeared back into the freezer. Just watching her exhausted me.
“Let’s see,” she said thoughtfully. “I think White Chocolate Strawberry Fantasy should do the trick.”
Jessi was quickly becoming our ice cream therapist. Not that you could ever go wrong with Tansy and pink. Even her car, an old ‘Bug’, was painted a brilliant pink.
Tansy held out her hand and was soon deep in her pint. “This is so good,” she said, around a spoonful. She paused, spoon in the air, as she regarded me.
I cringed, knowing what was coming.
“Ha ha.” I searched in vain for another spoonful of fudgy bliss in my empty pint and sighed. “You guys enjoy my misery way too much.”
“Well, at least you’ll know Prince Charming when he comes around,” Tansy pointed out. “We just have to muddle through like everyone else.”
“We think I’ll know the right guy when he comes around. We don’t know for a fact. It may just be that I’ll be kissing toads until I’m ninety.”
It didn’t seem fair. I wasn’t flat out gorgeous like Jessi or even girl-next-door cute like Tansy, but I wasn’t exactly Hagsville either. Why I was stuck kissing toads instead of having a normal relationship, I didn’t know.
“I swear,” I muttered, “I am cursed.”
“We know,” my roommates chorused. They’d heard it all before. Many times.
Are you hooked? You can win this book, as well as the two others in this series! Here are the giveaway details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
3 Kindle copies of How (Not) to Kiss a Toad
3 Kindle copies of How (Not) to Kiss a Prince
3 Kindle copies of How (Not) to Play with Magic
Giveaway is International. Kindle copies will be gifted directly through Amazon.com so you must be able to accept them to win.
Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can learn more about Elizabeth and this series by following the book tour:
How (Not) to Kiss a Toad by Elizabeth A Reeves tour schedule:
If you don’t want to wait around to see if you win a copy, you can purchase these three titles and more by Elizabeth on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes and Noble.
I hope you’ll take the time to connect with Elizabeth and explore her fictional world.
Thanks for reading.