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Tuesday 21 July 2015

☀ Center of Gravity - Laura McNeill

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for Center of Gravity, a suspense women's fiction novel by (, Thomas Nelson, 318 pages).

PREVIEW: Read the Prologue and the first two chapters with Amazon Look Inside.

Check out the book's synopsis and the excerpt below, as well as our Q&A with Laura McNeill and our review of Center of Gravity.

Author Laura McNeill will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter.   Please do take part: comment on our post and follow the tour where you will be able to read other excerpts (☀), interviews (ℚ), reviews (✍) and guest blog posts (✉).

Synopsis | Teaser | Author Q&A | About the Author | Review | Giveaway & Tour Stops


Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true.

In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It's temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.

Teaser: Excerpt


When your children are stolen, the pain swallows you whole. Logic fades, reason retreats. Desperation permeates the tiniest crevices of your mind. Nothing soothes the ache in your wounded soul.

Right in front of me, my sweet, charmed life fell to pieces. Everything destroyed; a hailstorm’s wrath on a field of wildflowers. All I’d known—gone. Foolish me, I’d believed in magic, clung tight to false promises. The lies, spoken from tender lips, haunt me now, follow me, and whisper into my ear like a scorned lover.

What’s left is emptiness.

Give up, a voice urges. Let go.

No! I argue back. My children aren’t gone. Not yet. Precious and delicate, tiny fossils, they exist in glass-boxed isolation. Hidden. Protected.

And so tonight, I run. Blood pulses through my legs, my muscles protest; my lungs scream for more oxygen. Thick storm clouds brew in the distance. The rain falls in blinding sheets. The force of it pricks my skin like needles, but the pain only makes me push harder.

I will rescue them.

Lightning flashes across the wet driveway. The bulk of his truck looms large in the black night. I skid to a stop and catch my breath, pressing a hand to my heaving chest.

They’re here. My children are here.

Thunder booms and crashes, nearer now, the wind whips my hair. A gust tosses tree branches to the ground. Birds cry and flutter to safety. An escaped sandbox bucket spins, clattering on the blacktop.

I grasp the railing and pull myself up the steps. At the top, the door’s shiny-slick with water and humidity. Mother Nature howls and drowns out my knocking.

“Hello! Can you hear me?” With my palm open wide, I slap at the barrier, willing it to open. I will rescue my children. I will rescue them . . . or I will die trying.



Every day, somebody, somewhere, needs a hero.

Think about it. The mom lifting a two-ton truck to save her son after a car crash. The dad who can't swim—who jumps in the water anyway—to pull out his drowning daughter. The guy who kicks down a door of a burning house because his friend’s kid is trapped inside.

All of a sudden, getting hurt doesn’t matter. There’s no thinking twice. Just a gut pumping, jump-off-the-cliff, no turning back.

For these regular people thrown into crazy life or death situations, there's one big hero moment. Then, they go back to work, their jobs, or school.

And it's someone else's turn.

I’m only in the third grade, but I’ve been waiting for my chance to be a hero my whole life.

An ear-piercing shriek yanks me back to the school playground.

“Emma Dunlop’s stuck up in the oak tree.” My best friend Mo runs up, breathless. He bends over, chest heaving in the humidity, and puts both hands on his knees. “She’s freaking out.”

Shielding my eyes, I grit my teeth. The tree’s as big as a monster, with twisted brown branches that extend like arms, thick emerald leaves at the fingertips. Spanish moss hangs from the lowest limbs, the ends curling like a snake’s tail.

Though I can’t see her through the tangle of limbs, I picture Emma hanging on tight to the rough bark. Shaking. Really scared. Trying not to look down at the brick-red clay.

I run a hand through my hair.

She’s in trouble. And I know why.

Legend says a man’s head—a genie—is hidden in the leaves and branches. Weird, rough pieces of wood make up his face. He has knots for eyes. A bump for his chin. It’s for real. I’ve seen it.

All the kids know the story. If you touch the genie’s nose, your wish will come true. Of course, my dad doesn’t believe in stuff like that and says I shouldn’t either. He’s a Ph.D. And does an important job at the college. So I guess he knows what he’s talking about.

But that’s not going to save Emma now. I start to jog, then full-out sprint. At the base of the tree, I push through a crowd of my classmates. Third and fourth graders, gaping, heads tilted, mouths open like baby birds. When I reach the trunk, I squint up and find Emma’s brand-new saddle shoes dangling high above me. I see pale, thin legs, and the crisp edges of her plaid jumper. And despite everyone talking and whispering, I hear Emma crying. It’s a whimpering wail, like a hurt animal.

“Y’all go on back inside now. Go back to class,” my teacher says, pushing the group back an inch or two. I end up jostled next to the school librarian, who’s holding her hands like she's praying.

Our eyes meet. Mine flicker away.

“Don’t even think about it, Jack,” she warns.

But I kick off my shoes anyway and grab hold of the trunk. Deep down in my belly, I make myself act like I'm not scared. I don’t like heights or even hanging upside down from monkey bars. But Emma needs me.

Center of Gravity - available NOW!

UK: purchase from purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo

About the Author

After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family.  Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

Laura works at Spring Hill College as the school’s web content and social media manager and is active in her community—participating in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.

Laura was recently awarded a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing, a division of HarperCollins. Her novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., will be published in July of 2015.

Laura is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, president of McIntosh and Otis literary agency in New York.  Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition.  She holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama.

She is a native of Upstate New York and currently resides near the Alabama Gulf Coast with her two children.

Follow Laura McNeill:

Visit the author's blog Visit the author's website Visit the author on Facebook Visit the author on Twitter Visit the author on their Amazon page Visit the author on GoodReads Visit the author on Pinterest

Giveaway and Tour Stops

Book Tour - 18 August to 3 November 2015

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway
Remember to comment to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review Tour - 21 July to 11 August 2015

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway
Remember to comment to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 July 2015

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway
Remember to comment to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Center of Gravity's tour at: 

Aug 18: Christine Young
Aug 25: Unabridged Andra's
Sep 1: Room With Books
Sep 8: Crazy Four Books
Sep 15: BooksChatter ✍
Sep 22: Booklover Sue
Sep 29: Books, Beer and More
Sep 29: Books That Hook ✍
Oct 6: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
Oct 13: Yeah Books!
Oct 20: It's Raining Books
Oct 27: The Avid Reader
Nov 3: Long and Short Reviews

Review Tour 

Jul 21: All ABout A Book Reviews
Jul 21: BooksChatter
Jul 28: Archaeolibrarian - I dig good books!
Jul 28: Undercover Book Reviews
Aug 4: Lilac Reviews
Aug 4: Natural Bri - Pursuits of Life
Aug 11: FictionZeal
Aug 11: The Certifiable Wenches

Release Day Blitz - 14 July 2015

1: Anita's Den
2: Yeah Books!
3: The Blog of C.R. Moss
4: Blog of author Jacey Holbrand
5: Theresa Stillwagon
6: BooksChatter
7: Queen of All She Reads
8: The Avid Reader
9: Happily Ever After isn't Just for Fairytale Diva's
10: Danita Minnis
11: Unabridged Andra
12: Rachel Brimble Romance
13: My Odd Little World
14: Booker Like a Hooker
15: 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
16: Mythical Books
17: StarAngels Reviews
18: Undercover Book Reviews
19: The Snarkology
20: Wake Up Your Wild Side
21: CBY Book Club
22: Freda's Voice
23: Bea's Book Nook
24: A Book Addict's Delight
25: Happily Ever After isn't Just for Fairytale Diva's
26: Deal Sharing Aunt
27: Elaine Cantrell
28: The Book Review
29: The Write To Read
30: Room With Books
31: LittlePinkCrayon Book Reviews
32: Archaeolibrarian - I dig good books!
33: Celticlady's Reviews
34: A to Z Reviews
35: Cafinated Reads
36: MAD Hoydenish
37: fundinmental
38: Edgar's Books
39: My So-Called Book Reviews
40: Harps Romance Book Review
41: The Bookish Angel
42: Independent Authors
43: Welcome to My World of Dreams
44: It's Raining Books
45: Straight from the Library
46: Long and Short Reviews
47: Dina Rae's Write Stuff
48: Romorror Fan Girl
49: Lilac Reviews
50: SolaFide Self-Publishing and Book Blog


Anonymous said...

Dear BooksChatter! Love the website and the awesome social media icons you included on my post!!

Thank you so much for being part of the book blast! Happy to be here on Release Day for Center of Gravity!!! xo, Laura

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

BooksChatter said...

Hi Laura, thank you so much :-)

Have a great release day! Hope to join you later for the Facebook party!


Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

Nikolina said...

Really enjoyed reading the excerpt, thank you!

katieoscarlet said...

Wow, this author has an impressive resume from journalism to writing she's won quite a few awards. I wish her much success pursuing a second master’s degree

Bella Martinez said...

The excerpt was great! I love the idea of "investigating" the hero role.

Stormy Vixen said...

I enjoyed the excerpt, sounds like a really good book, thanks for sharing!

Ally Swanson said...

I enjoyed reading the excerpt. Looking forward to reading this book!

Judy Thomas said...

Loved the excerpt, thank you.

Patrick Siu said...

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