Author Spotlight & Giveaway – Maggie Hasbrouck: Muriel Avenue Sluts

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Amazon

 

I had the privilege to talk with Maggie Hasbrouck about her newest release, Muriel Avenue Sluts, and asked her a few questions about her book and being a writer. Don’t forget to check out the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post. Hashbrouck’s book isn’t one to miss!! 

When did you know first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
I’m 56 years old, and for my entire working life I’ve been a visual artist. I create large scale paintings that are sold in galleries. It’s a great job and I still do it. But about six years ago, when I was driving home from a late night meeting, a very strong and clear message came to me—write a novel.

I started the next day. I wrote every evening until I completed my first manuscript. It took me three months to finish and another three to edit and revise. Muriel Avenue Sluts is my third novel, and by far the one I am most proud of. These days, I write in the morning and make art in the afternoons.

Tell us about your book and why you wrote it.
The idea for Muriel Avenue Sluts came to me one evening while I was cooking dinner.  The title came first, and by the time dinner was ready, I had the bones of the story. I was captivated by the idea of a girl growing up in a brothel, surrounded her whole life by prostitution. How would her views on love, sex, and relationships be different than other teens? Would her peers accept her or would she be bullied? What would her home life be like? How would she approached her first romantic relationship? How would she imagine her future?

I didn’t set out to write an “issue” book, but I quickly realized that women, their bodies, sex, and prostitution are highly charged issues. I couldn’t write this book without taking some sort of a stand. So, here it is; I believe that prostitutes deserve the same respect as everyone else, no more, no less. To that end, I tried very hard to populate Muriel Avenue with likable, relatable characters—normal people who happen to work in the sex trade. I also tried to imagine a place where I would actually want to work, which is why Muriel Avenue is owned and run by the women who work there. They support each other, make good money, have flexible schedules, beautiful working conditions, childcare, generous paid vacations, health insurance, and excellent retirement benefits. The idea that prostitution could be a good job makes some people uncomfortable, and I think it’s something worth thinking about. Why shouldn’t all jobs be decent?

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
People are people (see above)

Also, this book also touches on rape. The reality is that sexual abuse is unacceptably common—one in nine high school girls are sexually abused. My main character doesn’t deal with this issue very well (to put it mildly). This gets her in a lot of trouble. If you are being abused, or know someone who is, tell someone, ask for help, and keep asking until it stops.  I have a list of resources at the end of the book.

What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
There are many, but the first one was To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I had to read it for my sophomore English class, and it was the first book that both touched my heart challenged my worldview.

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published? Hold yourself to high standards, and act, every day, as if you intend to exceed them.

Beside your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading this summer?
I like to surround myself with excellent writing. To that end, I recommend A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Sula by Toni Morrison, and of course, Harry Potter.


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Published: April 2017
Pages: 296

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Where to Buy:
Amazon

Synopsis: Complete with duct tape, wasp spray, and a healthy dose of sexual tension, MURIEL AVENUE SLUTS is a decidedly feminist coming-of-age story about a seventeen-year-old girl whose mother is a prostitute. #stopslutshaming

 Julia Turnbow’s mother gets paid to have sex; that’s just how it is. When Jules turns eighteen she‘ll follow in her mother’s footsteps and begin training to join the exclusive world of Philadelphia’s infamous Muriel Avenue Sluts. Anyway, that’s the plan. But when Jules’s best friend Anna reveals that she’s being abused by one of Muriel Avenue’s gentleman clients, Jules’s world is knocked off its bearings. After a routine haircut and shave, Anna’s abuser falls to his death from a second-story balcony—and Jules is just one of two people who knows exactly what happened.  

 To complicate matters, Jules dives head first into a friendship with the daughter of the dead man. Greta’s a train wreck: she’s charming, unpredictable, and has one too many questions about Muriel Avenue. Then, Jules puts all of Muriel Avenue at risk with an ill-timed slip of the tongue and she finds herself wanted by the FBI. Running from everything she’s ever cared about, all Jules wants is to get back to the people she loves. 

Short Excerpt:
At its heart, Muriel Avenue is a love story. It’s a story about first love and how sex fits into that picture. It’s also a story about love for family and home. This excerpt is from the third chapter, it’s the very beginning my main character’s first-ever romantic relationship.

Anna and I had it all figured out. We were going to share a flat in one of Muriel Avenue’s sturdy, brick row houses—a corner unit with lots of windows. The plan was to work together, splitting shifts when we had children. We’d join a private pool, get a dog, and vacation together, too, at Niagara Falls. Nothing had changed, not really, but lately I’d been thinking about boyfriends. Nobody on Muriel Avenue had a real boyfriend, but in a selfish kind of way, I wanted one. In seven months, I’d be old enough to be a working Slut. Gentlemen would compete for my attention and spend hundreds of dollars for a trip to The Schoolhouse with me. But before that happened, before I got paid to have sex, I wanted to do it with someone who actually loved me. Monday at school, I was thinking about boyfriends and sex and love and how strange it all seemed when I heard a familiar hiss: “Slut girl.” It was Tyler Williams. I was on my way to chemistry class with this guy Charlie, who had been going on about a test or quiz or something. “Slut girl,” Tyler said for the second time.

I bristled but didn’t let myself turn around. I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. “Slut girl.” Tyler kept at it.

“What did you say?” Charlie stepped in front of Tyler, causing a little traffic jam in the middle of the hall. Tyler smiled his stupid, I’m-so-clever smile and gave Charlie a little push. Then Charlie hauled off and punched him in the face.

“Shit.” Tyler raised his hands in surrender. “What’s your problem?”

“You and your stupid bullshit, that’s what,” Charlie said.

I just stood there with my mouth half open. Like half the kids in my class, I had known Charlie since kindergarten. He was just a regular guy; I’d never given him a second thought. “That was satisfying.” Charlie put his hand on the small of my back and steered me away from the gathering crowd. “You didn’t need to do that.” I pushed my glasses up my nose. “I mean, I can take care of myself.” We stopped outside of chemistry. “I know,” he said, “but I was just so over his stupid shit.” Charlie was a little taller than me, his eyes more gray than blue, and his nose was almost too big for his face. He smiled at me with half his mouth, and my stomach did a little flip-flop. “It did make me happy to see that little trickle of blood coming from his nose.” I smiled back at Charlie and felt the blood rush to my ears. He had a tiny scar on his right cheek and a smattering of little freckles that looked like they were floating just under his skin.

“Yeah, it was,” Charlie said, and then he cocked his head. “You um, have a little gap between your two front teeth.” “I know.” My tongue went right to it.

“It’s kind of cute,” Charlie said.

“Oh.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say; my brain went completely blank.

“Well, right, see you around.” Charlie smiled at me with his whole face. I looked at the ground and tried to walk casually into chemistry class. And then, without missing a beat, I started thinking about sex.


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Maggie Hasbrouck is a professional artist who also writes books. She lives in Atlanta GA with her dog, six chickens, too many cats, and a couple of humans. Her favorite books are ones that ask tough questions, and her favorite paintings are ones that make her cry. Her dream vacation involves riding all the worlds greatest Ferris Wheels..

 

Facebook       Twitter       Instagram      Blog      My Art

 
 
Title: WIN a paperback copy of MURIEL AVENUE SLUTS
Entry Message: Follow me on Amazon for a chance to win!
Duration: Jul 27, 2017 4:40 PM PDT – Aug 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT
Prize: Muriel Avenue Sluts
Number of Prizes: 2 instant winners!

I hope you are able to check this book out and good luck with winning a copy of Muriel Avenue Sluts. If you do end up reading this book, let me know what you think! Have a great day 🙂


 
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Practice Makes Perfect

Practice makes perfect


Author
: Julie James
Published: March 3, 2009
Pages: 291

Stars: 1 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
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Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
Behind closed doors, they’re laying down the law.

When it comes to the laws of attraction…

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face-to-face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they have kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as coworkers for one reason: to make partner at the firm.

…There are no rules.

But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. Though apprehensive at first, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection does not last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all-out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar…

Review:
Payton has a secret crush on her co-worker. The same co-worker who is also fighting for the same partnership she is. J.D is attractive but he’s sexist. His ideas on feminism and equality are far from reality. This characteristic makes his character highly unattractive. To add to this, J.D relationship with his Dad is a constant struggle. 

The writing style seemed choppy and I struggled to really get into the book. I found myself skimming a lot of what was written, wondering when I would get to the interesting part. I think the thing that bugged me about this book was the direction the plot took and the exaggerated characteristics of Payton and J.D. 

This book wasn’t for me. 

Throwback Thursday- Blurred Lines

throwback

Today’s Throwback Thursday Blurred Lines, is the first stand alone rom-com in the Love Unexpectedly series. The book is sure to have you smiling. With only 221 pages, this book was first published on August 25, 2015.

Blurred Lines

Synopsis:
When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

Blurred Lines1

My Thoughts & Review:
Parker and Ben have been friends since freshman year of college. Fast forward six years and Ben has upgraded to best friend and roommate. Yet, Bens actions scream more than friends. And sometimes so does Parkers. Lucky for Ben… or is it Parker… soon he/she/they get a taste of what it’s like to be more than friends once Parkers long time boyfriend Lance break up with her. I know what you are thinking. I’ve seen this same scene play out a thousand times. And your kind of right but kind of wrong. True, this book does follow a somewhat predictable set of events. But the reactions from the main two characters are- again yes sometimes predictable- but done in a new, fun, and surprising way. I loved the “talk or mute” and how open the characters were.

Overall, the book was a quick and fun read. I loved the friendly bicker that took place and how both characters were down to earth. The chapters go back and forth between Ben and Parkers POV. The author struggled with creating a different voice between the two characters. There were times where I would forget who’s POV I was reading from because both characters sounded very similar. With that said, it’s still a good read if you are looking for a book you can read in a couple days and is entertaining.

Blurred lines2

Awesome Quotes:
“You hurt me, I want to say. You’re my best friend. The one who’s supposed to tell me I’d be the best boyfriend in the world and that any girl would be lucky to have me, not the one who laughs outright at the thought that I might need someone to love.”

“It’s because I fell in love with this incredible girl my freshman year. Only I didn’t know how to be in love, so I did the only thing I could to keep her close. I became her friend. I became her best friend, and buried all of my own feelings so deep that I didn’t even recognize them, because her feelings were all that mattered, and she wanted this other guy.”

“New house rule: No talking about Parker’s panties. Actually, no using the word panties at all.”

“I can’t shake the feeling that Parker just told me goodbye. Not goodbye to our friendship, because that will always be there in some capacity. But goodbye to the way we used to be. The way we could have been.”


Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it! Happy Reading 🙂

Tuesday Talk- Getting Reacquainted

Tuesday Talks

On Tuesday I will try to engage you in a question/topic/idea. You are welcome to write in with a suggestion you want to share or maybe talk about next Tuesday. My response is not right for everyone but I am hoping together we can generate some great conversation. And as always, I would love to hear from you on this topic or any topic out there!  

It has been so long since I have done one of these. But that kind of brings me to my point- I have been absent for 6 months – ugh!! – And I feel disconnected from my blog and all of you.

In my head I picture myself sitting at my computer, scratching my head, looking at an empty page, and wondering

Where do I start

I think the first thing is to let everyone know I am back and what kept me away. I’ve touched on this earlier but incase you missed that post, you can find it here: Surviving the Accident.

The second thing is to reconnect with all of you which brings me to this weeks question:

What have you been up to?
What books have you read in the last 6 months that are must reads?
Are you Writing?
How did your Run go?
Have you written a post that is a must read? Please Share!!  

You can take this any way you want- feel free to comment below with a couple sentences or leave a recent link to a post you wrote.

Please bare with me as I dust of the cobwebs, get reacquainted and reconnected, and begin blogging again!

dust off the cobwebs

Happy Tuesday!! 🙂

The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)

the perilous sea

 

Author: Sherry Thomas
Published: September 16, 2014
Pages: 414

Stars: 5 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
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Barnes&Noble

 

Synopsis:
After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

Review:

The first chapter grabs the readers attention but I was not exactly sure what was going on. Like with most series, months or maybe even a year has past since I have read the previous book. And for me, when I saw this book was available, I felt excitement and wanted to read it right away. The description of the book reminded me who the characters were and the overall plot. But I couldn’t remember how the last book ended. And starting the book out with the main character having no memory who who they are, doesn’t help. Luckily the following chapters fill in the gap.

The chapters go back and forth between the Sahara desert- where Titus and Iolanthe (Fairfax) have lost their memory and aren’t sure why they are there, to the past – which describe the events leading up to the Sahara desert and memory loss. Reading the chapters of when Titus and Iolanthe don’t have their memories is fascinating. In a way, it is very similar to the first book- the emotions, the connection between them, and the slow development of respect, companionship, and more. But I will admit, I am drawn to the romance. Titus is so sweet and Iolanthe is perfect for him. This series really is turning into an addiction. The author did an amazing job with developing deep characters.

One of the hiccups in Titus and Iolanthe’s relationship is an important discovery. I wish I could expand on this but honestly I think it would be giving too much away. But I will say this discovery makes Iolanthe feel betrayed and I have to agree with her. This part of the book made me question- Did the first book not matter? Everything Iolanthe went through, all her sacrifice, everything she has overcome, does it not matter? In the first book Iolanthe killed the Bane in the crucible. That has to count for something… 

The ending of this book left me with goosebumps!! Talk about a cliffhanger. I can’t wait for the next book. The action in this book was intense, the plot fast paced, and the romantic jesters were beautiful. I must agree with the critics, this series is the next big one. 

This book reveals so much, I wish I could say more but I would be spoiling it if I did. But what I can say is how you read Titus’s mothers prophecies in the beginning of the book is not how you look at them, read them, or interpret them later on.

If you haven’t read the first book, you can find my review for it here. Otherwise, happy reading!  

Surviving the Accident

car crash

Please forgive my absence. I was in a terrible car accident back on January 21. And it has been a LONG and SLOW recovery. The accident happened on the freeway coming home from work. There were 4 cars total and I was the last car to get hit. The car that hit me was this big GMC SUV

GMC SUV

Did I mention I drive a very small car- Chevy Volt…

car

Yeah, that’s what was left of my car. On the inside, all the air bags went off. The GMC hit me sideways and bent the frame, totaling my car. I am so thankful my kids were not with me. I was taken to the hospital via ambulance and diagnosed with a concussion.

concussion

There’s a saying in the world of concussions- no two are the same. Yeah there are common symptoms but they are all different. Mine turned into my worst nightmare. For the first couple months, all I could do was sit in my basement- mind you all the windows were covered in packing paper- sit in the dark with the lights off while wearing sunglasses, and pet my dog. If that doesn’t sound bad, try it. All you have is your mind, your dog, and darkness.

I couldn’t listen to the radio, watch tv, look at my phone, or read. All I knew was pain, so much pain. My thoughts weren’t mine. They were destructive and negative with such foreign depressing thoughts.

quote

From there, I saw 6 doctors for an hour each week, sometimes two times a week- I’m talking Occupation Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy.. It felt like I saw every type. I couldn’t drive, and every time I got into the car I would have a panic attach.

calendar

Months past. I missed holidays, my sons 4th birthday. My husband was practically a single Dad having to take care of the boys all on his own, plus schedule my appointments  and drive me to them. Oh and do his job… My thoughts were sluggish and I couldn’t remember anything. When I talked, I could hardly hold a conversation. The sound of my kids laughing through my symptoms from 0 to hell. Life was absolutely miserable.

In three days I will be 6 months out from the accident. My doctors think I will be finally able to return to work full time by the end of August. Two of my doctors are talking  about exiting me from services. I am allowed to start walking, slowly. Right now I am only allowed to walk for 5 minutes at a 3.0 pace. I can’t believe I went from training for a marathon to walking 5 minutes. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but I still have a long road ahead of me.

road

Recovery has been painful, slow, and difficult. In the last 6 months, I have been pain free for 1 day. Yes, you read that correct. Trust me when I say I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

Things are different for me now. I now have to wear contacts and prism glasses. I actually have two sets of glasses. I don’t know whoever thought it was a good idea to give someone with a concussion two sets of glasses and expect them to remember when to wear them. Writing this, I realize I have the wrong set of glasses on. Another thing that is different is I am can’t handle the heat any more. It makes me instantly symptomatic. There are other things but I don’t want to bore.

What I really want to say is please forgive the lack of posts. For the first time, I am starting to feel like my old self. And I have missed me terribly!  I hope in the next couple months, I get to reconnect with my followers and begin living my life.

🙂