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Thursday 8 October 2015

☀ Fortytude [1-2] - Shelly Hickman

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for Fortytude, a Romantic Comedy series by .

PREVIEW: Check out the books' synopsis and excerpts below, as well as our Q&A with author Shelly Hickman.  Book one, Vegas to Varanasi is FREE on Amazon!

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.   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 (✉).

The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

The Series: Fortytude

Vegas to Varanasi | Menopause to Matrimony |

Click on the book cover to Look Inside the book on Amazon and read an excerpt.

Vegas to Varanasi [1]

FREE on Amazon!

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?” [Published 18 November 2013, 235 pages]


     I have the most difficult time looking directly at Kiran. For someone who comes off as reserved and somewhat shy, he has no problem with the constant eye contact. In fact, I can feel his gaze on me at this moment.
     “You know, you make me very nervous,” I admit.
     “I make you nervous?” He gives me an incredulous stare. “I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable, Anna. I know that you’re in a relationship.”
     That’s another thing about Kiran. He seems to say my name a lot when we speak. Most people don’t do that.
     “Well, no... I’m not, actually. Not anymore. And I didn’t say you make me uncomfortable. I said you make me nervous.”
     “You’re not? You’re not what?”
     “I’m not in a relationship. David moved out a couple weeks ago.”
     His hand slides from my waist to my upper back, like he might pull me in for a hug. He looks into my face with concern and squeezes my hand. “I’m sorry.”
     “I’ll be fine,” I reply promptly. “These things happen.”
     I expect him to conclude our dance when the song ends, however, we continue through the next song, neither of us saying anything for some time. I move in a little closer to him, mostly to avoid the intimate gazes.
     My stomach is in knots. By all appearances, Kiran is attracted to me. Either that, or he truly is hiding out on the dance floor to avoid Miranda.
     But no, he’s given me this feeling each time I’ve seen him. At my office, that day at Starbucks, even a little at the wedding reception. Though, I didn’t want to admit it when Luke made his comment about Kiran being “smitten” with me.
     Pft! Anna, you’re crazy. There’s no way someone who looks like Kiran...
     “I was just thinking.” He breaks into my thoughts. “About something else I’ve always remembered about you from high school.”
     “Please tell me this isn’t going to be about my Madonna phase. If so, be kind.”
     Kiran purses his lips together, as if he’s considering that visual. “No, not about your Madonna phase, which sadly, I missed.”
     “I’ve got pictures I can share with you sometime. If you’re ever interested.”
     “I’d like that.” He gives me an appreciative chuckle. “But what I remember is that there was this one student who, I think, must have been autistic. I never knew his name.”
     I nod because immediately I know who he’s referring to. “Yes! His name was Benny!”
     “Benny? Well, Benny almost always sat by himself in the cafeteria. In fact, he seemed to prefer it. But I remember seeing you, on several occasions, go over and talk to him. Once, you even managed to get him to join you and your friends.”
     I smile at the memory. “Yeah, I think after that he decided there was a little too much estrogen going on at that table and it wasn’t for him.”
     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?”

Menopause to Matrimony [2]

*Although this is a sequel, it may be read as a stand alone novel.*

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.” [Published 1 November 2014, 195 pages]


      “You look like you didn’t have such a good day. I got something for you that may cheer you up.” He rises and picks up a gift bag I hadn’t noticed from the dresser and sits on the edge of the bed.
     “That’s so sweet!”
     Pulling out a clear plastic package that has some bulky looking slippers inside, I purse my lips. “What kind of slippers are these?” And why would he get me slippers in the middle of summer, when my feet have already been burning up?
     “They’re cold therapy booties.” He unzips the package and takes them out. Then he removes a gel pack from one of them. “You put the gel in the freezer, and when your feet are hot, just put the packs into the booties and wear them to cool your feet. I thought you could sleep in them and you wouldn’t have to keep kicking the covers off.”
     What a great idea! However, they’re far from attractive, almost resembling some kind of orthopedic wraps, and suddenly I burst into tears. “Thank you! It was so thoughtful of you to find something like this for me.”
     Kiran ducks his head to look into my face and smiles awkwardly. “You’re welcome. I wasn’t expecting such a dramatic reaction to a pair of slippers.” He lightly places his hand on my arm. “Did your appointment not go the way you wanted today?”
     “I don’t know,” I say, throwing up my hands. “I have to get a couple more tests to make sure it’s safe for me to have ablation. I’m just going to be so disappointed if I have to keep dealing with these awful periods. I mean, what if I can’t have this done and I get my period on our honeymoon? It’ll ruin everything… I’m sorry for being so pathetic.”
     He goes back to his side of the bed and leans against the headboard. Then he holds out his arm for me sit beside him. Sniffling to keep my nose from dripping, I accept his invitation. “What else? I can tell there’s more,” he says.
     “Like you said…” I sigh. “It just wasn’t a good day. When I asked her about my hot hands and feet, she said it’s probably from the B vitamins I’ve been taking for my hair loss. So I need to stop taking them and see. She asked me if I’ve considered Rogaine. Rogaine!” My voice squeaks. “I’m not balding. My hair just comes out in clumps. You’ve seen it all over the bathroom. I told her how my friend tried it, but it dripped onto her face while she slept, giving her facial hair!”
     Kiran silently reaches across me for my cider and hands it to me.
     “Thank you.” I take a swig. “And then I came across this God awful magazine ad in the waiting room about this ABL affecting one in five women over forty.”
     “Accidental… bowel… leakage!” I say, emphasizing each word.
     “Oh no…” He tries to keep from smiling.
     “I wouldn’t be so quick to find it funny. It said just as many men your age are affected. It actually made me angry!”
     He simply draws in his lips and closes his eyes, making every effort to remain neutral.
     “I’m worried about Claire, your parents are leaving and I’m gonna miss them,” I croak. “And now I have to wear those damn ugly slippers just so I can sleep!”
     Kiran pulls me into him as I start bawling all over again.
     “No offense. It really was a sweet gift and I’m sure I’ll love them.”
     “None taken,” he says gently.
     Straightening, I wipe my face with the sleeves of my robe. “I am so, so sorry for wacking out on you like this. You must be scared to death right now, thinking, Here we go. On the road to crazy town.” Honestly, I’m thinking the same thing.

Fortytude series - available NOW!

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

About the Author

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.

Follow Shelly Hickman:

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Giveaway and Tour Stops

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Stormy Vixen said...

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

Victoria Alexander said...

Great excerpts, thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I loved the excerpts. I can't wait to read them! Thank you.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a great read.

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by with comments! And thank you, BooksChatter for hosting!