Thursday, April 9, 2015

Guest Post & Giveaway - Blog Tour: "Dance Off" by Ariel Tachna & Nessa L. Warin


I'm delighted to have Ariel Tachna & Nessa L. Warin with us here today chatting about "Dance Off" their latest release and charity donations! 
Welcome ladies to Enchantress of Books! 


When we decided to include charity donations as part of the imaginary dancing show in Dance Off, we had to think about what charities we wanted the contestants to support. Some of them (Trevor Project and Doctors Without Borders) came to mind immediately. Others required more thought and contemplation. We've spent a little time below sharing the charities we chose and some of what makes them and the work they do important. While the story, show, and characters are fictional, all the charities are real, and their work deserves support. If any of these causes resonate with you as they did with us, please consider supporting them. 

Amnesty International - http://www.amnestyusa.org/
Promotes human rights issues around the world

Nessa: This one was fairly easy, even if it didn't come to mind immediately. They do a wide variety of work promoting human rights all over the world, Even without a direct personal connection, this charity is one that is important to both of us.


Boys & Girls Clubs - http://www.bgca.org
Provides opportunities for at-risk children that enable them to grow into productive adults

Ariel: I spent sixteen years teaching high school before becoming a published author, going to work for Dreamspinner, and following a different dream, and I spent them all teaching at-risk children. For many of them, the Boys & Girls Club was the only positive in their lives. I can also proudly say that many of those former students are indeed productive adults, so hats off to this wonderful charity for all the work they do with some of our most vulnerable kids.

Count Me In - http://www.countmein.org/
Provides support and resources for women entrepreneurs.

Ariel: Many years ago, I was involved with the social justice committee at my church, and we spent a lot of time discussing issues of women and their social and fiscal power in developing countries. Count Me In and charities like it provide support for these women, allowing them to change the fabric of their societies one person at a time. As a woman employed by a female entrepreneur, few things strike me more deeply than providing that opportunity to other women.

Doctors Without Bordershttp://www.doctorswithoutborders.org
Provides medical care in response to emergencies and lack of health care access worldwide.

Ariel: Doctors Without Borders has been my charity of choice since I was 22 and first learned about them while I was living in France. The oldest daughter of my host family was posted in Bénin as a midwife through one of their programs. She came home for a weekend while I was there, and the stories she told of the people she’d met and the work she did forever cemented Doctors Without Borders in my esteem. They work in emergency settings, but unlike some other medical charities, they also work at staffing underserved areas of the world full time.

March of Dimes - http://www.marchofdimes.org/
Works to prevent premature births

Ariel: As a member of a family where almost every birth in three generations has been at least somewhat premature, the work done by the March of Dimes is particularly relevant. Even a few days can make a difference between life and death or between a life of disability and the ability to overcome birth defects.

National Breast Cancer Foundation - http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org
Provides support to people affected by breast cancer

Nessa: Breast Cancer runs in my family, so the work of this charity is very important to me. I lost my paternal grandmother to breast cancer when I was a child and other family members have suffered from it as well. The National Breast Cancer Foundation focuses on providing much needed support to women who have breast cancer. They also encourage activities that lead to early detection, when current treatments are most successful.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society - http://www.nationalmssociety.org/
Works to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis and provides support to those who have it.

Nessa: The brother of one of my best friends was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis shortly before we started writing this book. I saw what her family went through as they were trying to figure out what was happening to him. I also used to work for a company that was a big sponsor of our local MS Walk. Through that, I saw first hand some of the work that they do.  The National Multiple Sclerosis Society helps people like my friend’s brother, and it’s a great relief to know that they’re out there.

Reach Out and Read - http://www.reachoutandread.org/
Promotes early literacy by providing books to pre-school children and reading advice to their parents through their medical providers.

Nessa: One of my big passions is sharing books with reluctant readers and getting them to enjoy reading. Reach Out and Read helps children start reading young, when it will do them the most good, Not only do children who are read to as children usually grow up to love it, they also do better in school and in life. The benefits of this charity to children, particularly from low income families, are numerous and I’m thrilled that they are out there.

St. Jude's  - http://www.stjude.org/
Provides treatment for catastrophic pediatric diseases regardless of the family’s ability to pay and works toward finding cures

Ariel: My husband is a pediatric hematologist specializing in sickle cell disease. Through that and the stories he shares sometimes of the complications his patients face, I've grown aware of the necessity of a hospital like St. Jude. Until the day when all hospitals treat patients regardless of their ability to pay for treatment, St. Jude remains a source of comfort and care for families with end-stage illnesses, whether they’re trying experimental treatments or whether they’re simply getting care there because nowhere else will take them.

Trevor Project - http://www.thetrevorproject.org
Provides suicide prevention and crisis intervention through phone, text, and chat for LGBTQ youth.

Nessa: As someone who identifies as LGBTQ, the Trevor Project is especially important to me. There have been far too many suicides by LGBTQ youth in recent years, and support for youth in crisis is critical. I know someone who volunteers for the Trevor Project, and I have enormous respect for the training they provide to their volunteers so they can truly help the youth who contact them.

VH1 Save the Music Foundation - http://www.vh1savethemusic.org/
Works to restore music programs in American schools and raise awareness of the importance of music.

Ariel: I’m a musician. (Yes, really. I play three instruments and I sing.) And I learned two of those instruments through school music programs like the ones Save the Music works to save or restore. Since part of my college scholarship was based on my music, it’s a gift to me in many ways, one I would hate to see other students denied the richness music has brought to my life.

World Wildlife Fund - http://www.worldwildlife.org/
Supports nature conservation globally through efforts that have a foundation in science.

Nessa: I’m an animal person. I've had pets almost my entire life and while wild animals aren't pets, I have a soft spot for them too. I love the way the World Wildlife Fund focuses on science in their conservation efforts, too.

Thank you again ladies for hanging out with us today!!
Below you all can find more information about their latest release "Dance Off", an excerpt, more about the authors and don't forget about the giveaway! 



Dance Off 
By Ariel Tachna & Nessa L. Warin

Blurb: 
On the reality show Dance Off, pro rugby player Olivier Gautier and Olympic swimmer JC Webster each have one goal in mind: to stay on the show as long as possible to earn his charity of choice maximum exposure and a larger donation. As the competition heats up, their goals expand to catching each other's interest, but Olivier is firmly in the closet and plans to stay there. JC is willing to be discreet, but not to hide forever.

Starting a romance with another man is challenge enough for any celebrity, but doing it under the microscope of reality TV—and one majorly intolerant costar—is even harder. Add in meddling dance pros, JC’s overbearing family, and the need to play up chemistry with dance partners to win America’s hearts, and JC and Olivier’s time together is looking more and more like a recipe for disaster.

As the pressure to stay in the competition mounts, JC and Olivier must face their inevitable separation at the end of the show as well as decide whether a relationship as complicated as theirs can survive in the real world, outside the bubble of the set and practice studios.




Available for purchase at 





Excerpt


JC stretched up on his toes in the doorway to the old restaurant that had been converted to a dining room for the cast, hooked his fingers over the molding at the top, and leaned forward a little to stretch his chest muscles. It hurt with the good kind of pain, and he stayed on his toes until Chelsea came up behind him.

“Move,” she said, smacking him lightly on the ass and knocking him off balance. “Some of us want to eat.”

“Some of us don’t want cramps later,” JC countered as he stumbled forward. “I forgot to stretch my arms before coming up.”

“Well, you’ve stretched. Now let’s eat. We need to get back downstairs.” Chelsea grinned and started making a sandwich from the deli meat platter on the island. “The more we practice, the better you’ll be.”

“Not if I’m so stiff I can’t move.”

The sight of JC’s strong, compact body in a full stretch was, as far as Olivier was concerned, the perfect anodyne for four hours of dancing in shoes that felt like they were solid steel. He figured whatever Chelsea had spent the morning doing to her partner, she needed to keep doing for another several hours so Olivier could get another such view at the end of the day. “What’s this about being stiff?” he asked as he took a plate for himself and prepared a sandwich.

“Chelsea seems to think I should scarf down lunch and head straight back to work.” JC took four bottles of water out of the refrigerator and handed them around to Chelsea, Olivier, and Tricia. “I think I should take time to stretch so I can move in the morning.”

“Worry about tomorrow in the morning,” Tricia said. “You’ve still got four hours of rehearsal this afternoon. Everyone will be exhausted by the end of the first week. It’s just the way it goes.”

“It can’t possibly be worse than the start of off-season training after we’ve had a break post championships,” Olivier said. “Yes, it’s eight hour days, but we aren’t lifting weights or running drills.”

“I’m just worried about using muscles I’m not used to using. Swimming is very repetitive once you learn the right way to move. This is different.” JC pulled his arms across his chest one at a time, stretching them. The pull of muscle felt good and let him relax a little as he took a long swallow of water and picked up his sandwich.

“You’ll be fine,” Chelsea said with a wink. “Though I would like it if you could move in the morning.”

Olivier took another moment to appreciate the play of JC’s muscles beneath his T-shirt and then forced himself to concentrate on lunch. He still didn’t think it would be worse than the start of off-season training, but that didn’t mean he intended to let anyone get the best of him. “You didn’t stay here at the house last night,” he said to JC after a few minutes. “Do you live nearby?”

JC swallowed the last of his sandwich and grinned. “No. I live in Texas when I’m not training. My aunt has a house here in LA, though, so Mama and I are staying with her.” He ducked his head as he realized he’d just admitted he’d brought his mother with him, and he tried not to think about whether he was more embarrassed because it was Olivier or not. “She’s a huge fan of the show and insisted. My aunt said she could stay too, and, well….” He shrugged, trying to play it off.

“And well, you love your Mama, and that’s as it should be,” Olivier replied. “Don’t disappear every night, though. We had a good time sitting around playing cards last night. Tyler says tonight he will teach me to play rummy.”

“Tonight is family dinner. Mama, my aunt, all my cousins….” JC chuckled ruefully. “There’s no way I can stay around tonight. If I miss it, I’ll never live it down. You, uh—” He bit back the urge to invite Olivier over, though he knew his mama would love it. “Let me know how the rummy goes. Maybe I’ll stick around later in the week, and we can play.”

“Yes, another night,” Olivier said. This way he could learn the game without JC present to see him embarrass himself. “You should bring your mama to watch a rehearsal. I’m sure other couples would let her watch as well.”

“Maybe once we’ve had a few more days to practice. I don’t think Chelsea would appreciate Mama trying to give advice when I’m just learning the moves.”

“I would be happy to meet your mother, but maybe not just yet,” Chelsea said. “I’d hate for you to be embarrassed.”

“She’s more likely to embarrass you. I’m used to her.” JC grinned. “She loves dancing, and she’s watched every episode of Dance Off. She’ll probably try to give you advice about what the judges like and what gets audience votes. I wouldn’t dare let her watch other couples yet.”

“Maybe we should get her to come give us advice too,” Olivier said with a wink for Tricia. “I could use all the help I can get.”

“Don’t you worry about that,” Tricia said. “We’ll make sure to give the audience what they want. I already have an idea for your costume.”

“Nothing too over-the-top,” Olivier insisted.

JC smirked. “Oh please, Tricia, over-the-top. I want to see Olivier shirtless. It’ll make all the girls swoon.”

No one would be swooning if they saw the burn scars on his back, but he’d worry about convincing Tricia of that if it actually came up with the costume department.

“Careful or I’ll get you shirtless too, JC,” Chelsea warned as she bumped her shoulder against his. “I’m sure all the girls would love to see your abs as well.”

“I’ve competed in a Speedo,” JC pointed out, trying to hide his amusement and failing. Dance Off was different from swimming, but shirtless was shirtless, and on the ballroom floor, he’d still have on pants and shoes. “Dripping wet in a Speedo, mind you. No outfit you put me in could possibly be more revealing than that.”

“Don’t tempt her,” Tricia said. “I saw some of the outfits her partners wore in previous seasons.”

Don’t tempt me, Olivier thought, but he wasn’t quite ready to share with everyone else just yet. He didn’t know Tricia and Chelsea that well, and while he knew JC was bi, he didn’t know how JC would react to anything more than the light flirting they had done so far. Olivier was willing to find out, but not when they had an audience.

“I thought this was a family show,” Olivier said instead. “Doesn’t everything have to be appropriate for children?”

“Swim meets are generally considered family friendly.” JC had definitely gotten some well-concealed enjoyment out of watching some of his teammates climb out of the pool at the end of practice or after swimming in a meet, but there was no doubt that families of all sorts had watched them in competition. “No one objected to the Speedo when I won races.”

“Swimming pools and dance floors are a little different,” Chelsea said. “People expect you to be mostly naked and soaking wet at a pool. Not while you’re dancing.”

“The costume designers know the guidelines,” Tricia added. “They’ll keep everything in line. They do a fabulous job with fitting everything. We’ll probably have the first meetings with them tomorrow so they can take measurements.”

“It will be interesting to see what they come up with,” Olivier said. He finished his sandwich and his bottle of water. “But now it is time for more practice, yes?”

“Yes.” Chelsea finished her water and tossed the bottle in the recycling bin under the counter. “Come on, JC. Time’s a-wastin’.”

“Slave driver,” JC muttered fondly, but he tossed his water bottle in the bin and followed Chelsea out of the dining room, pausing to touch the top of the doorframe as he passed through. “Don’t work too hard, Olivier.”

Olivier narrowed his eyes as JC disappeared down the hallway. If they had known each other better, Olivier would have sworn that last little stretch was for his benefit. As it was, he was left hot and bothered thinking about it without any way to do anything about it.

“Don’t work too hard, mon oeil,” Olivier muttered. “We will show them how to do the cha-cha, n’est-ce pas, Tricia?”

She smiled at him. “Believe me—you have advantages in this he doesn’t. Come on. Let’s get back to work.”


About the Authors


Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their two dogs.  Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with France, where she met her husband, and India, where she hopes to retire some day.  She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.



You can find Ariel at 

         


Nessa L. Warin lives in a fantasy world that’s mostly inside her head, though her physical address is in southwestern Ohio. Her two cats kindly play along with her fantasies and graciously let her pay all the bills, but they do require her to provide pampering on a regular basis. Nessa enjoys exploring the wonders of this world through travel—something her cats strongly disapprove of as it cuts into their pampering time—and can find whimsy in the most mundane places. When the real world becomes too much, Nessa enjoys dressing in costume and going to Renaissance Festivals and fantasy conventions. A short trip to either does wonders for her state of mind, so she makes sure to attend at least one of each a year. These trips help Nessa add to her collection of faerie and dragon art, and she swears she will frame and hang all the prints she’s collected some time soon.

When she’s not living in a fantasy world, Nessa enjoys tasting and learning about wine, particularly since it’s one of the few things she and the rest of her family agree on. She’s a regular at the wine tastings held by her local wine shop, and considers it a sin for her wine rack to have more empty spots than full ones. She’d prefer her wine rack to be filled with Pinot Noir, Malbec, and Syrah, but one of her favorite things about wine is the way it can always surprise her. More than once she’s been taken aback by which wine she likes best at a tasting, and she loves the way her wine rack illustrates the joys of trying new things.


You can find Nessa at 

         






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