Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest Post + Giveaway: Debra Anastasia and Poughkeepsie

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Debra Anastasia back to the blog to share with us a fun interview with one of the characters from her novel Poughkeepsie which releases today (yay!) from Omnific Publishing. Take it away Debra and Mouse!

Jenny kindly allowed me to guest post today on her amazing blog I took the opportunity to interviewing one of the characters from my story new story, Poughkeepsie. I invited Mouse, the bodyguard from the story, to my place. Here’s what happened:

I answer the door in my pajamas. The huge man on the other side nods and but doesn’t comment about my bizarre attire.

“Mouse, thanks for dropping by.” I hold the door all the way open.

He steps in and bends to pet my blind, old spitz mix. Her cloudy eyes put some people off, but Mouse treats her like the sweet dog that she is.

“Can I get your jacket?” I motion to his crisply tailored suit jacket.

“No, thank you though.” His voice is high and squeaky.

I’m expecting this but its high octave still strikes me as slightly humorous considering his brawn. I remind myself of his manners with my pajamas and old dog and stifle my smile. He shuts his eyes, obviously waiting for the effect his voice must surely bring when he meets new people. I feel instantly guilty.

“Well, then, shall we get started? Please have a seat.” I wave a hand in the direction of the couch.

He sits and pulls a grey bag into his lap. Out of what must be excessive habit, he digs in the bag and retrieves knitting needles attached to an elaborate, colorful scarf. He picks up where he apparently left off and soon my apartment is filled with the gentle clacking of his craft. I want to mention that I like knitting too, but he’s obviously much more skilled than I am, so I keep the information to myself.

“Nice apartment.” He takes in the surroundings carefully, noting the exits. As he twists his jacket falls open to reveal a holster and a gun, reminding me of his lifestyle.

“The insurance company put us up here. In the interim.” I brush my hand over the plush, blue couch. “It’s all rented.”

“That’s right. Your house? So, it’s a total loss then?” Mouse listens with his whole body.

I smile a bit, he has paid attention to the tiny details in our email conversations concerning the damage my house sustained during the hurricane. “Yeah, they’re going to rebuild it though. So that’s nice.”

“How’re the kids taking it?” He barley glances at his hands as they continue creating the elaborate pattern on the scarf.

“Good. Well, my boy is fine with it. My girl’s having difficulty.” I shake my head, amazed that we’re talking about my life and not the other way around.

He stops his knitting and opens his grey bag. He pulls out a hand knit mouse and passes it to me. “Here, I made this a few days ago not knowing who it was for. Now I know. Give it to her.”

It was delicate and cute and very sweet. I say as much. He shrugs and gets back to his knitting. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that this man made a little toy so close to a gun.

“And how’re you doing?” Mouse shifts in his seat and the whole couch groans.

“I’m grateful we’re all safe. I’m having a hard time moving past the awe that we’re all okay. Considering.” I glance at the picture of the kids I brought from the house and hung on the wall here.

He raises an eyebrow. “Maybe you’re not meant to.”

I get it now, why Beckett --the criminal in my story-- would keep this man as a bodyguard. Mouse notices the little things, but also he’s very comforting.

“So speaking of thankful, can you tell me what make you feel happy?” I get up and turn on the teakettle.

The gentle clacking of his knitting takes a rhythm. I wonder if he didn’t hear me or if he’s ignoring me. My old dog is curled up at Mouse’s feet.

“I guess I’m like you. As long as the people in my life are safe, nothing else matters.”

He nods when I ask if he’d like some tea. He stops knitting to take the hot cup from my hands with thanks.

“So. Tell me about Beckett.” I take my first sip.

“What’s there to say? He’s my boss.” Mouse takes a much bigger gulp of the steaming liquid.

“A slightly unconventional boss considering what he does to earn money.” I set my cup down, feeling awkward --like I’m prying. If it’s evil in Poughkeepsie, Beckett has a hand in it somewhere.

There’s a long pause. “Who he is and what he does are two very different things.” Mouse sets his cup down and levels a stare at me. “I’d die for him.”

I nod. “I know you would. He’s very lucky to have you in his life.”
Mouse resumes his knitting.

“Tell me about Beckett’s foster brothers. I know they’re a big part of his life. They all have matching tattoos.” I’m pressing my luck; Mouse protects Beckett and his family fiercely. “I wrote them, it’s okay.” I touch his forearm.

I watch as the decision is made to trust me. “Well, Cole wants to be a priest someday. He’s living at the church and tries his best to be a good man. He’s had a horrible childhood. We’re all proud of him for how far he’s come.”

“So he’s going to study religion?” I’m leading with this question, because I know there’s a speed bump for Cole. A female speed bump.

Mouse bites his lip. “I think whatever he’s learned at the church will shape the life he leads.”

I let the topic of Cole drop so I can take up the last, most controversial brother.

“And Blake? I know he’s sort of…transient.” I close one eye, trying to be politically correct.

Mouse sighs. “Blake’s homeless, by choice mind you. We’ve offered him places to stay. He refuses. He has a very strict standard that he’ll not see compromised. If he hasn’t earned it, he doesn’t want it.”

Blake’s situation is obviously a touchy subject. I tell Mouse what I already know. “He likes to be at the train station with a piece of cardboard, playing it like a piano. Blake’s sweet and kind. He never asks for money. How does he fit into the brotherhood?”

Mouse finishes his knitting while he thinks. He binds the last row and snips the yarn with a scissor. I wait as he threads the end into the scarf. It lies in his lap, fall colors blending with one another. It’s stunning.

“When Beckett, Cole, and Blake were children, they found themselves in the same foster home. They became a family there, swearing to be brothers forever, no matter what. Each had demons to battle. Beckett fights his with his fists. Cole fights his with prayer. But Blake? He’s fighting his in his mind. I think he has it the worst.”

Mouse sighs again; obviously guarding the brothers is a difficult job. He smiles finally as he leans over and wraps the scarf gently around my neck. “For you. It’s not rented.”

I reach up and touch the scarf. It’s the softest yarn. His kindness makes me tear up a little. I want to ask him more questions, but he stands, ready to leave.
I get up and hug him. I’ve put him through a lot, in my head, in my book. I wish his story were easier to tell, that I could give him everything he wants.

I whisper, “I love you, Mouse.”

He pats my back. “I know.”

After he shows himself out I stand for a while, thinking about the brothers, remembering Mouse.

I hope you liked the small peek at one of my favorite characters. I’d like to thank Jenny again for this opportunity. I’d like to ask you guys the same question I asked Mouse, What makes you happy? Jenny and I have two eCopies of Poughkeepsie as giveaways for people that leave comments below with a valid email address. Good Luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks so much for spending part of your release day with me Debra and Mouse! For more information on Debra and her books, you can find her here:

Watch the trailer


As Debra mentioned above, she is generously offering up 2 eCopies of Poughkeepsie for me to give away on the blog today! To enter, please just answer her question about what makes you happy in the comments and leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. Since these are eCopies, this giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and will run through midnight EST on Sunday, November 27th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!


He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.


  1. This sounds great. I love the contrast between Mouse's odd name and his character - he seems kind and mature.
    What makes me happy? When I'm in a down mood like today (and many days since I left Minnesota), I'm not sure. But thinking objectively, a good book makes me happy. And my family. And unexpected kindness.

  2. This sounds very interesting! A great contrast from my normal reading habits, but I feel like this is going to be a good book to read.

    I bet it can teach us more about human kindness and the good it can to share even a simple smile when passing someone on the street. I'm definitely excited for this one!

  3. That was so beautiful! I'm not entering b/c I don't read e-books (migraines) I feel like everyone know that by now. But that was absolutely beautiful. Mouse sounds like a wonderful character and Debra's book sounds great!


  4. LOL I love that title!! It's so original -- that way you know that no one is going to mix it up with another book! x) And that whole scene with Mouse was so hilariously cute! He's such a sweet character!

    Debra's book sounds amazing! I might have to check this out because I don't think I've read anything like it before -- the idea seems so touching! Thanks so much for coming to Jenny's blog, Debra!! :)

  5. This book sounds so good....Jenny I always find such great ones here at your blog...

    Things that make me happy: Fall, my family and huge fountain pops...;) Im pretty easy on the happy!!

  6. I use to live across the river from Poughkeepsie and am now very intrigued with Debra's book for more than the name. Mouse is definitely a fascinating character and Livia sounds like she would be an awesome friend. Great guest post!

  7. @Alison it's so hard to be in a new place. I'm sorry it has made you sad. ((hugs))

    @Lilycat A smile is so important, right? I just got out of the dentist today, (root canal) so I'm really appreciating a painless smile right now.

    @Heather Hey cutie! I totally love Mouse he is one of my favorite characters of all time. Thanks for reading about him.

    @Mimi! The title is real fun to spell, over and over. What was I thinking? haha At least it is unique. Poughkeepsie is sort of like a dirty fairy tale with bits of magic thrown in. Most of the magic is the kind of things we humans can actually do as well. Smile, love, hope. etc.

    @Tina Isn't Jenny fantastic? I love fall as well the colors really outdo themselves.

    @Jan No way! How cool is that! I'm actually headed up there from Maryland for Turkey day.


    I'm reading Poughkeepsie right now, and I love Mouse and Eve, and Beckett, and Blake, but I think my favorite is Kyle!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for the interview. Mouse is awesome!

  9. @Missie NO WAY! Oh my gosh, I love Kyle too. She has such a dirty mouth! I heart you.

  10. Naw, Mouse is the sweetest! I love how he ended up interviewing YOU. =-)
    Happiness to me is the sunlight on my face and water all around me, the laughter of friends and a LOT of good food. =-)
    I am VERY much looking forward to reading this book!!!!!


  11. I've been so excited about this book coming out that I put it in the calendar on my phone. Got worried I had a meeting when it beeped!

    What makes me happy are the little things--the small unexpected kindnesses. Kind of ironic considering the start of this story. Maybe that's what drew me in. Someone offering to help with my work, a toothy grin from my little boy, a glass of water without asking for it, an unexpected text from a friend.

    Hope you got good drugs from the dentist and feel better soon! Happy Poughkeepsie Day!

  12. Not entering, I am not very ecopy happy these days when I have no reader in sight.

    Mouse does seem nice :)

  13. Totally can't wait to read, and I love Debra she is awesome!!! Great interview!

  14. Awww! I SERIOUSLY can't wait to start this one dude!!! I've got it loaded and ready in my Kindle! Wicked thrilled!

  15. This sounds like I will need tissues. I hate to cry! It also sounds very poignant and sweet. AGH! I love that character of mouse and so I'm curious.

    *waves at mouse* Glad to meet you!

  16. Whats make me happy? When I am down I love a nice piece of chocolate cake that some thoughtfully made for me. Homemade is always better :)

    bwithbite (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. I really like the glimpse we got of Mouse and the brothers stories, and I like the message that this one seems to give off.

    Right now, I'm suffering a cold so what's making me happy is hot chocolate and Halls. In general though, I'd say my family (even if they annoy me sometimes) and friends.

  18. Oops, forgot my email address: ayareader@hotmail.com

  19. I am sooo excited to get my hands on a copy of this book... posts like this just make me all the more excited to start reading!! What would make me happy is a copy of Poughkeepsie!! Congratulations on the publish! Awesome!!


  20. I cannot wait to own my very own copy of this book! Congratulations! shasta53@hotmail.com

  21. @Rachel, my sweet. You are just such an amazing friend and reader. I adore you.

    @Sarah I got great stuff from the dentist. Actually all I had for breakfast was drugs. Creepy. I'm all better now. I love what makes you happy. It's all about the little things. Saying Please, smiling. I think you are amazing.

    @Blodeuedd I hope there is an eReader in your horizon!

    @Laura I love you more!

    @ASHLEY!!!!!!! You are the turkey to my thanksgiving. The Stuffing to my cavity.

    @Melissa Mouse is waving back and figuring out what color scarf would look best with your hair.

    @Savannah Chocolate makes me mean. I will totally arm wrestle for chocolate.

    @A Canadian Girl Mouse would knit you a soft blanket. So sorry you have a cold! I just got over one too. ((Hugs))

    @Sunnydae You having a copy would make me so, so happy too.

    @Shasta You are so damn cute.

  22. I'm happy when I'm surrounded by family and friends-having a good time and enjoying each other's company.


  23. This book sounds wonderful and different. I'll definitely check it out. As for what makes me happy....so many things. I'm lucky in that usually all I need to lift my spirits is a reminder of how good it is to be alive. I live in a beautiful location with a great husband and lots of good friends. A reminder of any one of those things usually makes me pretty happy.

  24. A good book and an icy cold Diet Coke make me happy. Some fattening nibbles would complete my day.


  25. I would have to say my daughter makes me happy(most days...lol). A nice cold Dr. Pepper also makes me very happy. Thanks for the chance. Book sounds great.

    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  26. My girls make me happy. Books, chocolate milk shakes with oreo, hot chocolate, quiet stolen moments....all of it makes me happy. It's the little tiny things, for me.


  27. My husband and son make me happy. I really looking forward to reading Poughkeepsie.


  28. What makes me happy? Milo, my two-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever. :)

    He's the cutest, smartest, most playful, clumsiest and most curious dog I know. But he can also be a little devil if he wants to. :P

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Poughkeepsie sounds great.


  29. What makes me happy is having the time to read to escape into books.

    The book sounds really interesting. I didn't realize the title was a reference to an actual place which is really cool.

    wingedpersephone at gmail dot com

  30. Of all the things that make me happy, like family and friends, there is something newer that makes me extremely happy right now. Being a new teacher, this year has been a struggle, but I am over-the-moon happy when the clouds of confusion finally roll away from the student and they understand. It's comparable to when the metaphorical light bulb turns on. It shows me that my students are learning and going to be amazing academics. :)

  31. My family makes me happy.Coffee, chocolate and books. Thank you for the giveaway! Poughkeepsie has very beautiful story.

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  32. Mouse has always been my favourite character. Deb wrote an amazing man. I must say that this interview made me cry. Those that know the story probably know why.

    In the words of the author "I love you Mouse."

    squally <3

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