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Thursday, 12 November 2015

NbTM & #GIVEAWAY - Fortytude series by Shelly Hickman



Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard. 

Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her. 

In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?”


The sequel to "Vegas to Varanasi" catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age? 

First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing? 

Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry. 

Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily ever after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change.”


When I look up, Kiran is regarding me so intently, I swear he’s mentally calculating the diameter of my pupils. “It was truly exceptional, for someone your age to be so compassionate toward others.”

This is becoming far too intense. My insides feel as if they’re playing musical chairs. “I could really use a drink. You?”

“I’ll get it for you. What would you like?”

“A glass of white wine, please.”

“Any particular kind?”

“Whatever they have is fine.”

I sit down on one of the sofas while he walks to the bar for our drinks.

This is childish. Why am I acting like I’ve never had a man give me attention before? It has to be because I’m letting his looks intimidate me.

Luke never flustered me, but maybe that was because he was my buddy first. Despite his good looks, he was approachable. Kiran, on the other hand... I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone in real life who was so arresting.

I feel flushed and touch my face.

He’s not full of himself, and he genuinely seems to like me. Clearly, he has these idealistic memories of me which are far too much to live up to. I’m not Gandhi, for crying out loud!

Shelly Hickman will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

A Day in the Life...

5:00-5:45 Wake up for work and make myself a cup of coffee. Spend the next half hour to forty-five minutes getting ready, making special effort to cover the dark circles under my eyes from thinning under eye skin, and covering the zits I still get at age forty-seven. Spray lots of Big Sexy Hair Thickening spray to make it look like I have more hair than I do.

5:45-6:30 Eat breakfast of microwaved egg with cheese. Feed the dogs. Get on my laptop to check emails, Facebook, etc. Continue fully waking up. This is why I get up earlier than necessary. I must ease into my morning.

6:30-7:00 Drop my teen daughter and niece off at school. Drive to work while sipping on the iced coffee I make each morning and drink from my Starbucks tumbler. If it’s Friday, I’ll stop at Starbucks for the real thing. Listen to Pandora on the way, or forward through my personal play list because I’m sick of all my music. Grow impatient with the car in front of me for driving five to ten miles under the speed limit in the fast lane.

7:00-7:57 Unlock my classroom. Say good morning to Mr. Lawson next door and spend a few minutes griping about new gradebook software that is completely non-user friendly and inefficient. Why did the district spend millions of dollars on this thing anyway? Blah, blah, blah… Return to my room, turn on student computers and log into my own. Check work emails, open video announcements and needed software for the day. Check my mailbox in the front office to find a catalog I’ll never order from and toss it in the recycling bin. Use the bathroom one last time before school starts.

7:53-8:00 Stand in the hallway and say good morning to my cute little sixth graders as they come in. A few students will try to come in through the outside doors, and I’ll point through the window for the umpteenth time for them to go around to the other doors because it’s a one-way hallway. Minutes later same students will come through the inside and ask why they have to walk all the way around when my class is right by the door. “One-way hallway.” I shrug.

8:00-8:50 Take attendance. Present riveting lesson on Internet Safety. Send students back to computers and watch them keyboard to assure they’re using proper technique. “Don’t lift your hand off the keyboard when using the backspace key. Remember to keep your right pointer finger on the ‘J’ and reach with your pinkie… That’s it. Perfect!” Last ten minutes of class students will go on math program and several will tell me that it won’t load, after I’ve already told that class the site it laggy this morning and to choose another one of my links if they can’t get it to work.

8:50-10:00 Stand in the hallway and greet my seventh and eighth graders. Ask an eighth grade student why he’s coming to class with his backpack for the fourth day in a row when backpacks aren’t allowed in class. Listen to him give some weak, non-sensical excuse as to why he couldn’t get to his locker. Tell him he slipped out of class too quickly the day before for me to have him sign a minor incident report, and that I’m tired of having this conversation, etc., etc. Show morning announcements and remind students to stop talking until the music portion begins. Demonstrate assignment for the day and set the students off and running. Walk the room to answer questions and compliment students on creativity, color choices, etc. When a student asks if he can go on Fast Night at Freddy’s when he’s done with the assignment, tell him no, it’s not educational.

10:00-10:30 Lunch. Having to eat lunch at 10:00 in the morning just isn’t natural. Use the restroom, check my mailbox, return to my room and lock the door because our school is no longer using bells this year, and I have little sixth graders who come into my room three or four minutes before my lunch is over. Locked door necessary. Snack on a few almonds because lunch at 10:00 in the morning just isn’t natural.

10:30-1:15 Repeat description for 8:00-8:50 three more times.

1:15-2:10 Spend prep period grading, planning, or making personal phone calls before business hours close because I won’t remember once I get home. Still haven’t made the call for that home insurance quote I’ve been meaning to for the past month, but that’s okay. It’s still on the to-do list in my phone, so I’ll get to it eventually.

2:30-5:30 Pick my daughter up from my father-in-law’s. Come home and put in a load of laundry and remind daughter to clean up the dog poop. Afternoon may possibly involve doctor’s appointment or grocery shopping. If not, relax on the couch with my laptop and not do anything particularly productive until I start making dinner. Respond to my 19-year-old son’s text, “Any plans for dinner?” with “Not sure yet. Either pork chops or I may just order pizza.” He tells me he’s good with pizza. Who isn’t? Hubby may or may not get home soon—it all depends on if it’s a busy time at work. If he’s home, sit on the couch and talk to each other about our day.

6:00-7:15 After making pork chip dinner (or ordering pizza, depending on how tired I am), take daughter to kickboxing class. Must take her at least two days a week to get money’s worth. Locked into a very pricey contract and it will not go to waste! Hang out at the Starbucks while she’s in class with the intention of getting some writing done. Get ten minutes of writing done. The rest of the time is spent on Facebook. On the way to pick up daughter from kickboxing, berate self for only getting ten minutes of writing done.

7:30-10:00 Come home and bathe. (I don’t do morning showers. It only adds to getting ready time in the morning.) Relax by watching TV, reading, or surfing the net. Take the puppy out to go to the bathroom before kenneling her for the night. Take my vitamins, probiotics, and melatonin, tell family goodnight and I love them, pass out for the night. Actually, not really for the night. I usually have to get up once or twice to pee.  

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as a computer illustrator. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer literacy and media technology at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dogs, Frankie and Junebug.

NOTE: "Vegas to Varanasi" is now perma-free on multiple platforms

Tour Organised By: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


  1. Replies
    1. Our pleasure - good luck with your books and the rest of your tour :)

  2. If you were going to go to the movies alone, what would be the perfect film for you to watch by yourself?

  3. I steer clear of tear jerkers, as a rule. But if there happened to be one I just had to see, that would be what I'd choose so I wouldn't have to worry about hiding my ugly cry face. ;)

  4. Phew... talk about a hectic day lol...hopefully your weekends are a bit easier :).. thanks for sharing!

  5. I enjoyed the guest post and excerpt, sounds like a great set of book, thanks for sharing!

  6. Loved your busy day. I am glad you found the time to write.

  7. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Thank you for the post and the giveaway!