Blog Posts

Update on virtual book tour

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The book tour was an absolute success with over 4000 entries for the giveaway, thousands of tweets, and many positive reviews. Thank you to all who participated. Congratulations to all winners. They are as follows:

Won a PDF copy of the book:

 

James Robert

 

Dan Denman
Ally Swanson Sarah Mayer

 

Won a mobi copy of the book:

 

Pam Kinsey

 

Will Griesmer

 

Susan Stenvog

 

Traci Troutman
Emily Endrizzi

 

Joy Flynn
Nikolina

 

Christy Meyer.
Sue Stiff

 

Missy Ellis

Kathy Davis

 

Won a PDF copy of the book plus a $25 Amazon gift card:

 

Meredith Miller Rita Wray Jessica Eapen

 

Won a mobi copy of the book plus a $25 Amazon gift card:  

 

Dea Sauva Morgan Mavetz

 

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My last day on the book tour concludes with one more lovely review. I officially declare it a success with 2874 entries and 15 new reviews. Phew! Thank you, thank you, to all who participated and made it an extraordinary experience. You can still enter the giveaway until Aug. 27. Don’t miss the chance to win a free copy of She Never Got To Say Goodbye or a $25 Amazon gift card.

 

 

Live Book Tour

z33IT’S LIVE!!! The tour for my winning title has started with a beautiful review. Be one of 20 winners to win an ecopy of She Never Got to Say Goodbye. Five winners will also win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (Open internationally) Stop by, ask a question, leave a comment, or just say hi! http://www.candacesbookblog.com/2016/08/she-never-got-to-say-goodbye-by-icaiova-giveaway-paranormalromance-worldsbeststory.html

 

My latest interview

Hi Ica, 
Thank you so much for being here and telling your writing story to us. I appreciate you being here, my Friend.
 
What is your book She Never Got To Say Goodbye about, who are the main characters, and how did you come up with this story?
She Never Got To Say Goodbye is a two-part paranormal romantic thriller. 
The main characters are Brandon—a successful lawyer, and Olivia an aspiring lawyer, fresh out of law school. They meet, they fall in love, they marry, and they have a baby. But their happily-ever-after ends abruptly when Brandon falls prey to alcohol and drugs following the tragic death of a client. One minute Olivia is thinking of leaving the marriage, the next she floats at the foot of her son’s bed. Dead. Murdered. Confused and angry, she comes back to find justice for her premature death.
I can’t tell for sure where the idea behind She Never Got To Say Goodbye came from. I woke up one morning with the phraseShe Never Got To Say Goodbye, swirling around my mind. It could’ve been the remains of a dream, it could have been something that I’ve heard somewhere, I’m not sure. As the day went by and the words continued to hammer my previously quiet thoughts, my writer’s mind kicked in, and as a plot began to sprout inside my skull, involuntarily, I started to take mental notes. I’m glad I did because, in 2015, She Never Got To Say Goodbye won third place at World’s Best Story.
Click the link to read the entire interview. http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.ca/2016/07/an-interview-with-award-winning-author.html

Virtual Book Tour

z33The book tour for my award-winning title has been scheduled. Laura, the book promoter, has booked a total of 18 stops–three more stops than expected–so the tour will run between August 1st and August 19, 2016, with 17 scheduled reviews, 2 interviews, 6 guest posts, and and 1 giveaway posted across 13 blogs. For more info, visit CBB Book Promotions’ website. I hope to see you all there.

http://www.cbbbookpromotions.com/tour-sign-up-she-never-got-to-say-goodbye-by-ica-iova-aug-1-12/

Romantically Real Anniversary Speech

z14I am a romantic at heart. I love fairy tales and happy endings (I write romance). 37 years ago I met this guy, and my life has never been the same since. He was much like me. We laughed, we fell in love, we got married, had kids. And then together, we found out that fairy tales only tell half the story. They tell nothing about what happens after the door closes behind the last wedding guest. They don’t tell about the financial struggles, the compromises, the battles of the wills. My husband and I had to learn all that on our own. We learned that romance in a marriage doesn’t only mean diamante bracelets beneath your pillow, fancy restaurant dinners, and huge bouquets of flowers. Romance in a marriage means picking each other up, wiping each other’s tears, being the rock when the other turns into quicksand. It turns out our lives are not fairy tales. They are better. The tests and trials made us strong. Real.

Thank you for quieting my fears, for being my biggest cheerleader, and of course, for standing your ground when you knew I was wrong.

Happy Anniversary! I love you, now and always!

 

Angelic Measures

…because sometimes that’s the only way.

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I’m very excited to announce that I finished the first round of rewrites on my new novel. In fact I’m so excited that even though the book is not yet published (or even edited) I will share the first chapter here. Here goes:

 

Chapter 1

 

 

“Don’t do it, Luke.”

He jerked, simultaneously whirling toward the voice. The ground beneath his feet gave way in a frenzy of flailing arms colliding with a hard object. A small gasp escaped his lips, tearing him away from the dream. The few seconds before impact seemed like an eternity.

What the—?

Cold air pushed against his bare chest as he hit the floor with a loud thump. Bile surged in his throat and he swallowed hard, his tongue seemingly stuck to the roof of his mouth. He tried to pry his eyelids open, but the world rushed in a blur at the invasion of light, sending stabs of pain in his temples. Hurriedly, he closed his eyes, but somehow, he had a feeling the best was yet to come.

Sheltering his land-filled eyes with his hand, he tried to block the shards of light dancing through the blinds—his blinds. For long moments he didn’t move, anything to delay a searing headache and the full knowledge that he had just fallen out of his bed.

As his vision slowly adjusted to the light, a terrible stench invaded his nose, and with horror, he realized his breath was the cause. He’d been drinking, again.

Ugh!

His teeth clattered noisily with disgust.

Why? He’d been sober almost two months.

What the hell happened?

His alarm clock began to shout its usual, The Black Eyed Peas, he’d downloaded to his phone a while back. He swore the song could wake up dead people. From his floor perspective, all but knocking everything in his way, he patted the bedside table in an attempt to silence it. He found it, finally, and halted the annoying music, and then he checked the time.

Six.

In the morning? Shit!

He jolted to a sitting position, fully awake. He had to be at the hospital in an hour. A gentle swaying of the space weirdly continued to churn his gut. How many drinks had he had, he wondered while using the bed frame to pull himself up? With some difficulty, he stood on wobbly feet. He and alcohol did not go well together. Never had, he thought, pressing two fingers to his hammering temples. Not in large amounts, anyway.

Once he assumed the perpendicular position, he sluggishly stretched his arms above his head, the simple action stirring his headache and his stomach, even more. Momentarily, he searched his brain. How could he have fallen off the wagon? Only two days ago his AA sponsor had praised his progress, and now his brain felt like scrambled eggs, annoying the hell out of him.

Okay, okay, calm down and think, he instructed, trying to gather his scattered notions of yesterday. Thinking hurt. Muddled thoughts mingled and rushed through his head like a hurricane, leaving nothing but debris behind.

Coffee. Life begins after coffee. “Dr. Lukas Marshal needs some caffeine fix,” he mumbled just as a whooshing sound came from the general direction of his living room.

Hell, no!

He lived alone. Did someone break into his apartment? His fingers closed on the baseball bat he kept behind his bedroom door. Flattening himself against the wall, he listened as the swishing continued. His back still compressed against the wall, he tiptoed down the dark and narrow hallway toward the living room. He craned his neck to peek around the corner. Lifting the bat ready to strike, he almost collided with Josh.

“Whoa! Easy there, Champ?” his best friend said, eyeing the baseball bat in Luke’s hand.

Josh’s tone expressed reproach. It was the only time he called him that. Why? Besides, what was he doing here? Luke didn’t recall giving him a key, so how had he entered the apartment?

Good question. Josh’s clothes were wrinkled as if he’d slept in them. His detective shield tightly attached at his waist glinted in the light.

Luke knit his brows together, trying to puzzle out the hazy memory that was trying to surface. He stood there struggling to, at least, get his brain to engage in a rational inquiry, but all that came out was, “Did I call the police? Why are you here?”

Josh cast a reproachful glance that quickly changed into a phony smile. “Are you always this sweet when you wake up?”

“How did you get inside?” Luke asked, ignoring his friend’s odd behavior and attempt to lighten up his mood.

“T’s nice to see you back to your old, grumpy self. And to answer your question, you let me in, Champ.”

More reproach, and again, Luke wondered why. He and Josh were more than friends; they were like brothers. Twin brothers, if their totally different personalities and looks were ignored—Luke had dark hair, blue eyes, Josh had blond hair, brown eyes; Luke was calm and calculated, Josh was rebellious, doing everything on impulse.

Luke’s parents died buried under the ashes of Mount St. Helens. His dad a photographer for Vancouver Sun, and his mom an artist had wanted to photograph and paint the volcano. They had died doing what they loved when the volcano erupted.

Or perhaps serendipity had a really twisted sense of humor and began taking away Luke’s loved ones when he was just a baby.

His maternal grandmother, Rose, had picked up the pieces and raised him. She was the most kind, gentle person, Luke had ever known, but she was no spring chicken anymore. That was where Josh’s family came in, taking over the parental duties where his grandmother couldn’t—football games, field trips, even homework.

Three generations of Monroes gathered daily around a seven-foot table to eat and discuss various issues. In spite of ribbing each other as a result of differing viewpoints, Josh’s family—including his pain-in-the-ass little sister, Lyla—were loving, and they included Luke as one of their own. Their home was his home, filling in the void where his parents used to be. So what the hell had he done or said last night to piss Josh off?

Probably sensing the internal battle going in his head, Josh reached into his pocket and pulled out his Samsung Galaxy S6. With a worried frown, he handed it to Luke. “Read the texts. I think they pretty much cover your questions.”

Reluctantly, Luke took the phone, his stomach hardening into a ball of nerves. Blood roared through his body, pounding in his ears as he browsed through the messages.

9:05 PM Marshal: I called u want to say bye.

9:06 PM Josh: where r u going?

9:09 PM Marshal: 2 join her

9:10 PM Josh: who?

9:13 PM Marshal: Sarah

A slow burn started in Luke’s chest. Clipped, but razor-sharp memories began to roll in short pants as if scanning through random scenes from an old movie. The expanse of blue water stretching in front of him to the horizon; the sound of powerful waves crashing against the crumbling rocks below, and sending white spray high in the air; the sound of the angry swellings colliding with cries of seagulls swooping in frenzied dives to feed on the marine fish scattered on the shore.

New Brighton Park.

The name dredged up memories of him and Sarah sitting on that edge, legs crossed, voices muted. Oh, how much they had enjoyed that view. Between the squawks above and the splashes below, the sounds of the city always disappeared. They’d liked the feeling of peacefulness and solitude, of being out there all alone with nature.

More memories rushed in as pain pulled at his heartstrings. “Relax, it’s just a blind date,” Josh had told him. “If you don’t like her, you can walk away, but I have a feeling you will.”

And he did. Tough when he’d learned about her military background and how, by working in the police force she could kick his ass, he’d acted like a bumbling idiot. She’d giggled—the most musical giggle he’d ever heard. Seeing the dumb look on his face, no doubt, she’d become serious. “Oh, come on; I only hurt bad guys,” she’d assured him, then burst the bubble of laughter she had tried to hold back.

They’d begun dating, but she was so far out of his league, he’d thought it would never work. She’d proved him wrong, and the day they married was the happiest if his life. That was six years ago, almost to the day. But now she was gone. Forever gone.

Don’t do it, Luke.

Abruptly, the words sliced through his memories. The child’s voice… The voice outside himself, out beyond his throbbing pain… It was not only in his dream.

That’s it.

He remembered.

The voice.

Shit!

He’d gone to New Brighton Park to end his life when soft laughter—child’s laughter—seemingly floating around him, had stopped him. He’d seen no one when he turned around, yet the laughter felt real.

No, it couldn’t be. It was probably part of his cluttered mind. A subconscious rejection of the decision he’d made.

Wait a minutewhy am I still here? Luke wondered with panic. How was it that one moment he was standing on the edge of the seawall, ready to end his pain, and the next he was in his bed—or falling out of it, Jack and Jill style. Time seemed to stop, and he groaned as he ventured a glance at his friend, trying to figure out how much Josh knew. How much of his plan had he told him last night?

Josh made a circular motion through the air with a finger, indicating he should continue reading the messages. With a long sigh, Luke followed his friend’s silent order.

9:13 PM Josh: U drinking?

9:18 PM Marshal: Yea. I cleer now.

9:18 PM Josh: where r u?

9:19 PM Josh: Luke! Where the hell r u?

9:21 PM Marshal: Hav drink B4 go

So he had called Josh last night. Still, a thousand more unanswered questions swirled in his head as he thumbed through the messages.

9:21 PM Josh: where r u?

9:23 PM Marshal: the hole

9:23 PM Josh: Pat’s Pub?

9:27 PM yea

Okay, so that explains the drinking binge, he thought with a stab of resentment. Pat’s Pub was a night club on East Hastings that he and Josh used to frequent years ago. They had named it The Hole for the dimness inside.

How the hell did I end up there? I haven’t been to that place in years.

Raking a hand through his, no doubt, disheveled hair, he continued to read the messages while pushing his brain to remember something—anything—of what went on.

9:27 PM Josh: stop drinking. Eat something. Be there in half.

9:30 PM Marshal: have scoch

9:30 PM Josh: Great! On my way. WAIT 4 ME THERE!

9:35 PM Marshal: ont worry bout it

9:35 PM Josh: Just stay there.

“Do you know what I think?” Josh said when Luke finished reading.

No. He wasn’t in the mood for guessing games. What he really, really wanted to know was how the hell had he gone from there to here, but he had a feeling Josh didn’t hold all the answers. “The question is, do I want to hear what you think? The answer is no. But I have a feeling you’ll give it to me anyway.” Josh kept silent, seemingly giving Luke a moment to compose himself. “Man, my brain is too fogged up to solve puzzles so if you’ve got something to say, say it.”

“Fair enough,” Josh said at last. “What do you suppose Sarah would say about this?”

Ah-ha. Evidently, Josh knew more than Luke would’ve wanted. Okay, so that explained two things. One, why he was still alive, and two, why Josh was here. Clearly, Josh had rushed to him, interrupting his plans, and then stayed with him to ensure he didn’t try anything stupid. Pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, he brushed the other hand through his hair.

“You’re awfully quiet for someone who had so much to say last night,” Josh added.

What had he told him? Luke chewed on his lip, trying to find something smart to say. “It’s probably better to remain silent and appear stupid, than talk and remove all doubt.” That was the best you could come up with?

Josh seemed to be on the same page. “Excellent choice of words, Champ! Glad you see this from my perspective.” There came the reproach, this time, dipped in sarcasm. “Luke, you’ve been there for me all these years, kicking my ass to keep me out of trouble. I’m telling you this as a friend, who for a change, is trying to save your ass. I know you’re still struggling with Sarah’s loss. I miss her too. She was the best partner I ever had.” Luke opened his mouth to tell him it wasn’t the same, but Josh stole the words right out of his mouth. “I know; it’s not the same. She was your soulmate, but man, what the hell were you thinking? She loved you; she would have never wanted to see you like this.”

Afraid to witness more disappointment sprouting on his friend’s face, Luke dropped his gaze. It was long past time to grieve, Josh had told him time and again. What he hadn’t told him was who made the rules, and why he’d only been granted one year.

But Josh was probably right. He must have known what it was like to lose someone; ten years ago he’d lost his parents one after the other, but it hadn’t taken him a year to move on.

Unexpectedly, Luke saw everything with a clarity he’d never had before. A shaky sort of clarity that staggered at first, but then slowly steadied itself. Josh had a point, and a reason to be angry with him. For over thirty years, Luke had been the one always trying to keep his wild and rebellious friend out of trouble. But suddenly, the places were switched. After Sarah’s dead, Josh probably did everything in his limited power just to keep Luke from falling in the proverbial bottomless pit. He must have worked at least as hard to keep Luke alive, as Luke worked to end his life.

And Josh was right about one more thing. Sarah had fallen in love with a man who was strong, funny, the highbrow of the group. Now, he was none of those things. He was nothing but an emotional mess. If anything, she would be ashamed of him.

The thought shook him.

Sarah loved life. She loved nature. She loved people. She appreciated all the little things in life—things money couldn’t buy. She found happiness in other people’s joy. Instead of celebrating her life—the life she loved—he was tarnishing her memory.

Yep, Josh had every right to be upset with him. He’d been selfish and inconsiderate to those around him.

He glanced up at his friend. Only one unanswered question remained, one he knew Josh couldn’t answer, but he had to ask. “Do you know how I ended up at The Hole?

Josh shook his head. “No, I guess to drown your—”

After he had dropped Skyler and…

Josh’s words faded and disappeared into Luke’s new recollection.

Bingo! Skyler.

Puzzle solved. That was what—or who—had made him leave New Brighton Park. After he had dropped Skyler and Isabella, ensuring that Skyler was in good hands at the emergency room, he’d drove straight to The Hole hoping to boost the courage to go back and finish what he had planned. The drunker he got, the more attractive the idea had become. It was probably what made him text Josh.

“I’m sorry, man, but I have to go to work,” he said, lifting his eyes to meet Josh’s. It was not entirely a lie. He did have to go to work, but he used it as an excuse to make Josh leave.

“Okay. I don’t need to bring a straitjacket, do I?” Josh asked, knitting his eyebrows.

“No. I’ll be fine.”

He watched his friend leave, casting one more concerned glance over his shoulder in Luke’s general direction before the door closed behind him.

He knew Josh meant well, but now he’d figured it out on his own. Fixing it, seemed easy enough, so he released a long and slow breath.

Dragging his feet to the bathroom, he stopped in front of the wall-size mirror, and for a moment, he studied his reflection. The same face he saw every morning. Raven-black hair, blue eyes, dimpled cheeks. Handsome and refined was the way Sarah had described him. But this morning, he looked more lost than sophisticated. An icy blue surrounded by some redness—courtesy of his overnight drinking—replaced the softness in his eyes. Faint lines at the corners created a feeling of being pulled into a lake of frozen emotions. The myriad shades of blue swirled together to form a whirlpool of angst, the gentle smile gone—likely, it had been for a while. Noticing how much he’d aged, he ran his fingers through his messy hair. Yes, he would change this, he would make Sarah proud again, if only his shameful act left his mind the hell alone.

It’s not too late to fix it.

A happy bubble of excitement sprouted in his chest. He opened a bottle of Tylenol and spilled two capsules in his palm. I just need this stupid headache to go away. He popped the pills into his mouth and swallowed them with a single swig of water.

Twenty minutes later he walked out of his apartment, all showered and dressed, minty freshness doing its best to disguise the reek of alcohol that still lingered, holding stubbornly onto residues of his actions. Perhaps he needed the disgraceful memories to stick around and keep him straight. Perhaps he must carefully go over each moment to ensure history didn’t repeat itself. He pressed his lips together, thinking he would have all day to dissect each moment of yesterday.

The Ring

Forty-five minutes had passed and not a single call. Nights like this made Julian mad because, like everyone else, he relied on every penny. He wasn’t always a cab driver. He had come from a village with gravel roads, two-way streets and one working traffic light. A few job applications later, he was holding the keys to a company van with Coroner stickers on it. For eleven years, he had carried dead bodies.

A dog’s bark interrupted Julian’s thoughts. He opened the window and shivered. It seemed colder than expected for an early fall, and a layer of thin frost had already covered the ground.

The dispatcher’s voice boomed through the CB radio breaking the silence and startling Julian. “I need someone at 2117 David Drive.”

Julian reached for the microphone. “201. I am close.”

“10/4,” the dispatcher’s voice scratched through the line.

Julian turned onto the poorly illuminated one-way street when the dispatcher’s voice rumbled again. “201, David Drive canceled.”

“Really?”

“Sorry about that,” the dispatcher apologized.

Julian shook his head and made a turn for the main road.

A woman emerged from the cemetery and flagged the approaching cab. She seemed young – dark hair, immaculately dressed. Quite attractive from what Julian could tell. The whitest skin he had ever seen.

Probably one of those supermodels—doesn’t want to be seen in public.

“River Road, please,” she said settling into the passenger’s seat.

A foul smell entered the cab and Julian grimaced. “What number?” he asked throwing the car into gear.

She seemed puzzled. “What?”

“The number… on River Road?”

“Oh… um… I’ll show you,” she said then turned toward the window. Clearly she wasn’t interested in talking.

Julian opened his window to get rid of the familiar stench. Though he had been in close contact with dead bodies, he could never grow accustomed to the smell.

“I hope my window doesn’t bother you. Probably some dead animal that has drowned in the canal.”

The young woman nodded but remained silent.
***

“You can drop me over there,” she said pointing to an empty parking lot.

Julian cocked an eyebrow, knowing that the factory had closed a while ago. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” she replied, searching for something in her purse. “I think I lost my wallet.” She pulled a ring off her finger. “Here, take my ring, and I’ll pay you tomorrow,” she said, holding out her ring.

“I-I can’t take your ring.”

She searched her purse again and pulling out a piece of paper and a pen, she scribbled something. “Here is my address,” she said placing the ring on it and exiting the car before Julian could protest.

Is she ill? Julian wondered. What is she doing here in the middle of the night?                                                                                     ***

In the morning, he pulled in front of a house, proceeded down the narrow walkway and knocked on the door. A young man still in his pajamas, answered.

“Hi, may I help you?” he asked.

“Um…” Julian realized that he didn’t know the woman’s name. “I am looking for a young lady—”

“Sorry, you have the wrong address.”

“Is this 2117 David Drive?” A jolt of anger struck Julian when he realized that this was the same address that had canceled his order the night before.

“Yup, but I live alone.”

“The woman… Um… I am a cab driver—” Julian stuttered.

“Look, man, I’m tired.” The young man turned to go back inside.

“No. Wait. I gave a ride to a woman, but she couldn’t pay so she insisted that I take her ring and return it today.” Julian revealed the ring.

The young man looked at the ring in Julian’s palm and took a quick step back. His face became white and the next time he spoke his voice seemed obstructed.

“W-where did you get that?”

“I told you—”

“That’s impossible,” he interrupted. “That’s my wife’s!”

“Look. I didn’t mean to—”

The man paced back and forth. “Jody died a year ago.”

“Say what?” Julian could swear his hearing played tricks on him.

“Jody died in that stupid factory.”

“Man, stop playing with me. I just want my money.” The words crawling upward from the depth of his throat sounded more like a growl.

“I am not… playing! I swear.”

Instantly, Julian felt sick. A buzzing sound vibrated in his ears. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. The world shook and then went deathly still as he crumpled forward.