Friday, May 15, 2015

Book Spotlight & Guest Post: Daydreams in Dixies by Beth Albright (Plus Giveaway!!!) GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Please join me in welcoming Beth Albright to Always With a Book. Beth's newest book, Daydreams in Dixie, part of her In Dixie series, is now out and she's been busy promoting it. I'll be reviewing this soon.

Today, Beth is talking about an old-fashioned summer and she's also provided a special giveaway for one lucky winner!


Title: Daydreams in Dixie   
Author: Beth Albright    
Series: In Dixie, #3      
Published: May 2015, Magnolia Press  
Southern talk show host and former pageant queen Annabelle Harper certainly knows a thing or two about romance. She is, in fact the local authority on love in Tuscaloosa Alabama as the host of her own radio talk show for the lovelorn: Saved By The Belle. With nearly 50 happy couples to her credit, no one could argue with her success. Annie has never been wrong about the heart of a person. Strange thing is, she can’t seem to get past five dates before the dreaded break-up in her own lovelife.

That is until a new guy pops into town—and a Yankee at that! Sparks fly between Annie and Matt Brubaker – the mysterious stranger who has more than love on his mind. His interests are focused on developing a new company in Tuscaloosa. But his new business will put Annie’s best friend out of business, and place Annie smack dab in the middle of a hot southern mess!

Now Annie must choose -- the passion she feels for Matt and the love she has for her long-time friend. The conflict reaches a boiling point and puts her in the middle of a major city-wide protest, with Annie at the microphone. Will she betray her BFF and fall in love with the wrong man? Or like the true southern belle that she is, will she keep guarding her best friends back till the bitter end—even if it means losing what could finally be the love of her life.

Purchase the book at: 
Amazon * Barnes&Noble

An Old-Fashioned Southern Summer

Deep down South, in the Heart of Dixie, summers start in April, and last till October. The wrap around porches full of blue Hydrangeas and Honeysuckle, are set with white wicker tables holding sweet tea and freshly cut mint. Sipping slowly and feeling the breeze as it floats the sweet perfume of magnolia across the porch swing. I used to love summertime when I was growing up down South.  No school, some visits from crazy relatives and a ride on the garden mule! Yep, I said ride a mule. ME!

Keep in mind I was young and had not discovered the joys of Tiaras and make-up quite yet. We walked to the local grocery store and got a moon pie and an RC cola...what a treat!  We helped pick, and can, and make preserves, ate watermelon with a salt shaker in one hand...(just did that this morning. Old southerners never die.)

Then I'd go visit my city Grandmother for a priss-pot makeover, and a trip to Gayfer's department store for a new summer shorts outfit. With the fragrance of Charles Of the Ritz floating throughout her home, and her red nail polish sitting on the side of the sink in her bathroom, I could pretend all day to be the Princess of Glendale Gardens when I was at her house.  That's where I learned Southern women are to be adored. And most importantly, why we love tiaras. Ahem.

 I loved the hot, lazy summer days, daydreaming in my grandmother’s side yard, lying on a cool fragrant bed of clover. In my new novel, DAYDREAMS IN DIXIE, Annabelle does this too, as a young teen, dreaming of her own loves and hopes. And always searching for that rare four-leafed clover as a sign that her wishes will all come true.

Catching minnows in the backyard creek in a Dixie cup under the shade of the hundreds of weeping willows. Watching old TV shows in the afternoons under the dripping window unit air conditioner and drinking Kool-Aid all day till my lips and tongue were stained ruby red for a week. And making Kool-Aid Pops ourselves in the freezer. These were the best of times—no internet or cell phones or texting—just good ol’ face to face with the neighborhood kids! Flushed pink cheeks from the heat of a summer’s day and cold soda sipped down at the local gas station made the recipe of a perfect day.

We had a park and trails near my house when I was little and we would imagine being detectives and looking for a murderer, turning over huge rocks for clues, only to find an unsuspecting, but surprised Water Moccasin snake! I ran like the dickens outta there! Sometimes I would grab a swing and go so high, singing as loud as I could, like a rock star. I had lemonade stands with my friends in Glendale Gardens where my grandmother lived and played princess games in makeup and went on detective adventures in the park, rode a mule through a backyard garden, and was a rock star on a swing-set—all because I had TIME to do it.  I learned from my relatives, the in-laws, the out-laws, the elders and the crazies, all because I had TIME to spend with them and really get to know them. I wouldn't trade this for a million summer enrichment camps.  This is the most priceless of all enrichments; TIME.

My teen years began, and the summers were hot in a different way. Boys became the center of my universe and a hot summer and a cool swimming pool was the place to be. We had a house with a pool and many a make-out session heated up the already sticky Southern summer night swims. One summer I spent the entire season with a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic, SPF 0, and browning myself to a gorgeous bronze while listening to Boys of Summer on the radio. I was in my mid teens and still was unscheduled in the long hot Southern Summer days. My friends and I would lay out all day with baby oil slathered all over us at my pool, then go out with our boyfriends reddened to a crisp at night.  

Nights were the best as we'd all hang out in the driveway under the humid damp night sky till the wee hours talking and kissing on the hood of our cars. It was poetic—a right of passage. Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp wrote songs about us. We fell in love, and lived and laughed and connected in a way that really doesn't happen anymore: Talking face to face.  Having TIME.

 Time—with each other and TIME to dream and plan and imagine will always be the center of my summertime memories growing up down South. We seemed to always have time to sit on the porch and chat with our neighbors. Summer evenings outside on the front porch, playing cards or Yahtzee with the neighborhood kids was a perfect way to spend a lazy humid Southern night. Time to catch light'ning bugs in a jar on the first warm summer evenings. And Playing hide-and-go-seek in the dark with flashlights, using literally cans and cans of bug spay to keep the mosquitoes away just a little longer.  We would wait till late at night for the mosquito truck to come with their toxic spray so we could chase it down the street and get lost in the fog. What the heck were we thinking?  We sure didn't know any better!  Time—that’s what we shared and the feeling that it would all last forever.

I remember reading once that the best thing we can give our children is unstructured time.  Ahhh—if we only had time, right?

I always feel so lucky to have had my growing up years down South. It's slower there anyway.  And that's a good thing.  Summers in the South were my own living amusement park, filled with the rivers, and the mule, and the Kool-Aid stands and detective games, snakes and make-up, and the tingles from those first kisses. It was the South...and you just can't get better than that! 

About the author: Beth Albright is a Tuscaloosa native, former Days of Our Lives actress, and former radio and TV talk show host. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Journalism. She is also a screenwriter, voice-over artist, wife of her college sweetheart, Ted, and mother of her favorite person on earth, her brilliant and handsome son Brooks. A perpetually homesick Southern Belle and a major Alabama Crimson Tide fan, she splits her time between Los Angeles and, of course, Tuscaloosa.

Beth loves to connect with her readers.

Authors Links: 
Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook 
|   Goodreads

Thanks to
Beth, one reader can win a signed copy of  Daydreams in Dixie by Beth Albright, along with some sassy gifts from Beth herself. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the form by May 22nd.

Form closed

This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends May 22nd.
Good Luck!!! 

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