Spotlight & Giveaway: The Teashop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts

Posted June 3rd, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 42 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Sheila Roberts to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Sheila, welcome 🙂

If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page what would the headline say? Why?

sheilaAUTHOR TURNS LOVE OF TEA PARTIES INTO A BOOK

Since this book centers on opening a tea shop (well, and a few other minor issues like sibling rivalry to the max), I think that would be appropriate. And I’m delighted to share that we’ve got some wonderful teashop recipes in the book.

Would you rather…have 3 wishes in 10 years or 1 wish today? Why?

Oh, what an interesting question! I think I’d rather spread my wishes out because life happens and things come up. 🙂

Let’s talk about your newest release: The Teashop on Lavender Lane

If you had to summarize the book for the readers here

TTSoLLThis is a book about starting over and sibling rivalry.

Please tell us about the characters in your book?

In this book two of the Sterling sisters from earlier Icicle Falls books get to tell their stories. Cecily Sterling is trying to figure out her love life and her sister Bailey is, well, trying to figure out her life. Period. When Bailey returns home to Icicle Falls after career disaster in L.A., she has a chance to start over. But she also has a chance to complicate life for both her sister and herself.

As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

I would love to say there was, but since I created these people myself and they have no free will whatsoever (everything they do is because I decided it for them. Oh, that life with grown children could be so easy!) there were no surprises.

What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?

Cecily was in no mood to see her sister the next day at her mother’s birthday party, either. She played hooky from church even though Bailey was probably busy in Samantha’s kitchen, making appetizers for the party. Cecily knew how to put on a smiling mask and pretend everything was okay but she didn’t want to wear the darned thing all day.
She made herself some French toast – she, too, could make fancy breakfasts – and spent some time surfing the Internet and checking out what her friends on Facebook were up to.
Half of them had posts about their kids. Guess who’s walking!… Here’s the picture of our new baby girl. Isn’t she the cutest?
Okay, that was enough time on the Internet. She wrapped the rose-scented bath salts she’d made for her mother and then headed for the shower.
She was at Samantha’s house by one-thirty to help with the last minute details before the guests arrived at two. Samantha met her at the door wearing a white knit dress that showed off her baby bump and sandals.
She took in Cecily’s pink floral sundress. “Your dress.”
Cecily smiled and smoothed the skirt. It was the dress’s debut. She’d gotten it at Guilded Lily’s and the moment she’d put it on she’d felt like she could rule the world. “I bought it last week. It was on sale,” she said as she stepped inside.
“Crap,” Samantha muttered.
“What?” Cecily asked.
Now their mother came out from the great room. “Cecily darling, you look lovely,” she greeted her daughter and gave Cecily a kiss on the cheek. “And how sweet. You and Bailey decided to dress alike.”
Before Cecily could say anything Bailey appeared, bearing a platter of Prosciutto-wrapped dates and wearing the exact same dress. She stopped short at the sight of Cecily and blinked in surprise, and then blushed.
Oh, no. Seriously? If Cecily’s friend Ella had still been running the shop this never would have happened. Cecily could feel her smile tipping down at the edges.
“I’ll change,” Bailey said.
“Don’t bother,” Cecily told her, trying her best not to sound snippy. The effort failed.
What the heck? They could pretend they were in middle school again when Bailey had made a habit of copying her style. As the middle daughter she’d been trying to establish her own identity and it had been a constant source of aggravation every time her younger sister came home with the same color top or the exact brand of jeans.
But they were beyond that now. Now her sister went after her man.
The best present she could give her mother was to not pull out every long, curly hair from Bailey’s head, so she turned to Samantha and asked, “What do you want me to do?”
“Help us get the food on the table,” Samantha said.
Cecily nodded and followed Bailey back into the kitchen where she’d laid out several platters of appetizers. Here her sister’s creative genius was on beautiful display – – Phyllo cups filled with some sort of cream cheese filling, veggies and a curry dip, stuffed mushrooms, and mini quiches, all beautifully garnished. And on the kitchen table sat the birthday cake, probably carrot cake, which was their mother’s favorite. It sat on a cut glass pedestal cake plate and was decorated with curled orange slices. Next to it sat two trays of cookies, delicate with dabs of chocolate frosting or dusted with powdered sugar.
Bailey had really outdone herself and even though she was still on Cecily’s most unwanted list, Cecily couldn’t help being impressed.
“Are you still mad at me?” Bailey asked in a small voice.
Their mother’s birthday party was hardly the arena for a catfight. “Let’s not talk about it right now,” Cecily said. She picked up a couple of platters and left for the dining room where her mother and Samantha were talking in low voices. They stopped at the sight of her and Mom asked, “Which plates do you want to use, dear?”
Great. They’d been talking about her. “Helping set up for your own birthday party?” Cecily teased, pretending she hadn’t noticed.
“There’s no stopping her,” Samantha said.
“As if there’s anything much to do,” Mom said. “You girls are far too efficient.”
“We learned from the best,” Cecily said, and kissed her on the cheek.
Bailey came out with two more platters and silently laid them on the table, then scurried back into the kitchen.
Their little sister was normally the chattiest of them all. Anyone, especially a mother, could tell that something was wrong, so it was hardly surprising to see a thoughtful frown appear on Mom’s face.
Cecily went back into the kitchen where Bailey was making their mother’s favorite punch, a sweet concoction of lemonade, orange sherbet and lime soda pop. “I’d appreciate it if you’d stop with the martyr act,” Cecily said in a low voice.
“I’m not acting like a martyr,” Bailey protested, scowling as she scooped the last of the sherbet into the punch bowl.
“Yes, you are, and you’ve got no reason to. You’re the one …” who’s caused all this trouble. She bit her lip. She was so not going there, not on their mother’s birthday.
Bailey set aside the scoop and the empty sherbet container. “I’m the one what?” she demanded.
The doorbell rang, announcing the arrival of the first guests. It was time to act like grownups. “Never mind.” Cecily picked up the punch bowl to take it out.
“I can get it,” Bailey said in a huffy voice and grabbed it back.
That had been a mistake. The sea of calories inside the big glass bowl sloshed up over the edge, spilling onto her.
She let out a yelp as the wave of punch drenched the front of her dress. This was followed by a hybrid sound of disgust that came out as “Eeewk.” She set down the punch bowl and looked forlornly at her sopped bodice. Then she glared at Cecily. “You did that on purpose.”
“Who grabbed the punchbowl?” Cecily retorted.
Now their mother and sister entered the kitchen, followed by Mom’s friend Dot Morrison.
“Is everything all right?” Mom asked.
“My dress,” Bailey wailed as if the copycat garment had been ruined for life.
“It wasn’t your color anyway, kiddo, “Dot said.
“I’ll just go change,” Bailey said in an attempt at dignity, and flounced out of the kitchen.
“That kid always was a klutz,” Dot said after she was gone.
Cecily decided not to enlighten Dot as to the real reason for the spill. She tried to wipe the bitchy smile off her face as she deposited the punch on the dining room table but it kept sneaking back.
Fortunately, more guests were arriving so bitchy was easily mistaken for friendly. After bringing out the coffee, Cecily helped Samantha collect sweaters and purses and piled presents on the coffee table. As the guests settled in she delivered punch and fetched coffee and generally made herself useful.
Bailey came back downstairs wearing white Capris and a green blouse that accented her chestnut hair. It was a much better color for her than what she’d been wearing. If they’d been on better terms Cecily would have pointed that out. Of course, if they’d been on better terms Bailey would never have wound up wearing orange sherbet punch in the first place.
She, too, started mingling, taking presents, offering punch and coffee, but always keeping as far from Cecily as possible.
Meanwhile, their mother chatted with her friends, accepted a birthday kiss on the cheek from Arnie Amundsen, her longtime admirer, and watched her two feuding daughters. Gracious as always, she opened presents and gushed over each one. She raved over Bailey’s carrot-orange cake and bragged about Cecily’s creativity after the “This is your life” DVD Cecily had put together from old pictures and home movies. Finally, she smiled and hugged each departing guest.
But when Cecily tried to make her escape, Mom said, “Stay just another minute, darling. I want to talk to you.”
Uh-oh, Cecily thought, and braced herself.
“Samantha, would you ask Bailey if she could join us?”
There was no hiding from a motherly lecture, not even in the kitchen.
“Okay,” Samantha said. “Then I think Baby and I will go in the family room and have another piece of cake.” She sent Cecily a look that said, “Good luck,” and then disappeared into the kitchen and Cecily sat down on the couch, bracing herself for what was to come.
A moment later Bailey entered the living room, looking chagrined. She, too, knew what was coming. She sat down on the far end of the couch from Cecily. “Did you enjoy your party?” she asked Mom.
Ah, the old distraction technique. It wouldn’t work but Cecily admired the attempt.
Now their mother looked at them with that I’m-so-disappointed expression which had worked so well ever since they were small. “This is not like my girls.”
There was no point pretending they didn’t know what she was talking about. “I know,” Cecily said. She found it difficult to look her mother in the eye and wound up staring at her lap instead. The view of her pink floral dress wasn’t any better. It only served to remind her of her earlier childish reaction to Bailey’s dress.
“Would you like to tell me what’s going on?” Mom asked quietly.
Actually, no. It was all so painful and humiliating. Cecily looked to where Bailey sat, gnawing her lip. She wasn’t going to volunteer any information. How to explain this to their mother without sounding like she was thirteen?
“This has something to do with a man.” It wasn’t a question.
“Mama, how did you know?” Bailey asked in surprise.
The frosty incident at the front door had to be a big tip-off.
“I asked your sister and she told me you two were having a misunderstanding.”
There was an epic understatement.

Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book was optioned for a movie?

I’m thinking Katherine Heigl would make a gorgeous Cecily. And Kristen Connolly would be awfully cute as Bailey.

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

Trust that love will sort things out.

What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2014?

I’m currently working on something for next spring. It’s about half done and I’m really enjoying creating these characters! As for other releases this year, well, I’ve got a lot of fun things coming up, including a wonderful anthology I’m in with my friend Debbie Macomber titled “Together for Christmas,” which will be on the shelves along with my novel, “The Lodge on Holly Road,” one of my favorite Christmas novels to date. Those plus a TV movie in the pipeline, well, needless to say, I’m planning on having a very merry Christmas.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

Giveaway: A copy of THE TEASHOP ON LAVENDER LANE and a $15 Starbucks gift card.

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Have you ever had a big problem with a family member that challenged your relationship? How did you get through it?

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Excerpt

The party was going perfectly until the hostess clutched her stomach with an agonized cry and crumpled to the floor in a heap.
Rory Rourke, her boyfriend and star of the new TV series Man Handled, knelt by her side and barked, “Someone, call 911.”
“Call her doctor,” said someone else.
“Call The Star Reporter,” the victim said faintly.
And that was when Bailey Sterling knew she was in trouble.
She’d been so excited to land this gig catering Samba Barrett’s party. Samba wasn’t an Emma Stone or Kristen Stewart but she was …. someone. Sort of. And with her catlike green eyes and red hair everyone said she was on her way up, like the rest of her party guests. And surely that had meant Bailey was on her way up, too. The West Hollywood apartment had been packed with hot young actors and actresses. As she’d slipped among them bearing trays of goodies she’d heard more than one person rave about the food and had envisioned a whole string of catering gigs after this one.
The shrimp salsa in Phyllo cups had been an especially big hit. “Oh, my God, this is to die for,” America Winston (from the new reality show Hard Ass) had raved. Bailey had smiled modestly and kept circulating, while her assistant Giorgio served up stuffed mushrooms. She’d been working hard for the last three years to earn a reputation as caterer to the stars and things were finally starting to happen.
Except now here was Samba Barrett, writhing on her living room floor, groaning in agony. Only twenty minutes ago she’d been eating those shrimp cups and laughing. Did she have food allergies she hadn’t told Bailey about? Samba had gone over the menu with Bailey, approved everything. How could this have happened? Was Bailey going to be known as killer of the stars?
Thirty people gathered around the actress, some offering advice, some taking pictures with their cell phones, others texting wildly. Bailey stood on the fringe and nervously downed one of her own appetizers.
“You’ll be okay, baby,” Rory Rourke assured Samba.
“I think I ate something bad,” she whimpered.
“Oh, no, that’s not possible,” Bailey protested and everyone turned to look at her. One woman aimed her cell phone at Bailey, capturing her miserable expression. This couldn’t be happening.
But it could. And it did. Now Bailey felt sick. She lost her grip on the tray of canapes she was carrying and down they went, the tray landing on a Jimmy Choos of one of the party guests who was busy recording her hostess’s misery on her cell phone.
The woman let out a yelp and jumped back, then glared at Bailey.
“Sorry,” Bailey muttered, and bent to scoop the mess onto the tray. In the process she managed to get in the way of another guest, nearly tripping him.
He didn’t settle for glaring. He swore at her.
Caterer hell, that was what this was. Bailey bolted for the kitchen and hid out, watching the drama unfold from behind the counter.
The ambulance arrived and the E.M.T.s showed up to take Samba’s vitals and load her onto a stretcher. Then away she went, a pitiful but beautiful victim of Sterling Catering.
The guests switched from eating to drinking. Rory told Bailey she could clean up and leave, and not in the kindest tone of voice. He didn’t offer to pay her and she didn’t ask. All she wanted to do was get out of that cramped apartment full of the young and the beautiful.
By the time she left the media was waiting. Photographers snapped her picture and reporters stuck microphones in her face. “Have you catered for Samba before?” … “Has Samba threatened to sue?” … “What’s your relationship with Rory Rourke?”
Bailey stood there like Bambi looking at the headlights of a Mac truck, her toque askew, offering quotable quotes such as, “What?”
She quickly realized that it was time to scram and bolted for the van where Giorgio was loading up boxes of supplies… and telling a reporter that he wasn’t involved with any of the food prep. “I’m only doing this while I wait to hear from my agent. We’ve got something big in the works. Giorgio Romano. R-o-m…”
Bailey tossed in the last of her serving equipment, then pulled on his double-breasted, white jacket and growled, “Get in the van,” even as the vultures who had been talking to him now turned their attention to her.
He scowled at her but got moving.
They drove away with photographers aiming their cameras and shooting. “What were you thinking?” she demanded, swerving to avoid one.
“I wasn’t thinking anything. I was just answering questions.”
“Well, thanks a lot,” she snapped.
He held out both hands. “What did you want me to do?”
“How about saying that Sterling Catering was not responsible for Samba Barrett’s illness?” she suggested, her voice rising.
“I don’t know that,” Giorgio said sullenly.
“You’ve been working for me for six months now, Giorgio. You know how good I am. You could have said something.” Was there no loyalty in the world? She brushed away a tear.
“I told you, I’m only here until I get my break.”
“And I suppose that was it,” she said in disgust. “Getting your name in the paper as a caterer?”
“Every little bit helps,” he retorted. “Publicity is great, whether it’s good or bad.”
Not for a caterer. She had a small liability policy but it didn’t cover bad press. Overwhelmed with misery, Bailey pulled off the road and began to cry in earnest.
Giorgio sat there in what she thought was silent sympathy. Until he said, “Here, let me drive. I’ve got a date.”
She raised her tear-stained face from the steering wheel to stare at him. “A date? You were working the party.”
“I know. But when it ended early …” He shrugged. “Sorry.”
Sorry about summed it up.

Book Info:

After a fake food poisoning incident in L.A., Bailey Sterling’s dreams of becoming a caterer to the stars collapse faster than a soufflé. Now Bailey’s face is in all the gossip rags and her business is in ruins. But the Sterling women close ranks and bring her back to Icicle Falls, where she’ll stay with her sister Cecily.
All goes well between the sisters until Bailey comes up with a new business idea—a tea shop on a charming street called Lavender Lane. She’s going into partnership with Todd Black, who—it turns out—is the man Cecily’s started dating. It looks to Cecily as if there’s more than tea brewing in that cute little shop. And she’s not pleased.
Wait! Isn’t Cecily seeing Luke Goodman? He’s a widower with an adorable little girl, and yes, Cecily does care about him. But Todd’s the one who sends her zing-o-meter off the charts. So now what? Should you have to choose between your sister and the man you love (or think you love)?
Book Links:

Author Bio

Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children.
Sheila’s books have been printed in several different languages and have been chosen for book clubs such as Doubleday as well as for Readers Digest Condensed books. Her best-selling novel ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a movie and appeared on the Lifetime Movie Network, and her novel THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS has just been optioned for film and is slated to be a Hallmark movie later this year. Her novel ANGEL LANE was named one of Amazon’s Top Ten Romances for 2009.
When she’s not making public appearances or playing with her friends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.
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42 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Teashop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts”

  1. Kate I.

    None of my few family members have caused any rifts. I did majorly disappoint my father with regard to completing my university education, but after some time passed and I apologized as best I knew how, he’s proud of me even though I took a different life path than he and my mom had planned for me.

  2. Cari White

    My husband of 24 years hates my family. They all know. Luckily, we live in Texas and they’re in Georgia. This is the major cause of our fights throughout our marriage. Lots of prayer and visits back to Georgia without him. My sister doesn’t understand any of it and she always wants to talk about it. I don’t want to, because I cry. I tell her that I don’t want to talk about, but that doesn’t stop her. God gives me the strength and comfort to get through those times.

  3. marcyshuler

    I love the ‘Life in Icicle Falls’ series! Looking forward to reading this book.

    My sister and brother had a falling out. I still get along with both of them but I really dislike being put in the middle and having to watch what I say to each of them about the other. Too much stress for me, but I don’t see any way to fix it as they’re both really stubborn!

  4. Lori H

    Yes, I have a big family and there have been a lot of issues over the years but we always seem to work them out with lots of open communication and prayers.

  5. Pat Walker Pinkston

    My husband and my mother never spoke from about 6 months after we married until she passed away about 18 years later. She never forgave me for marrying and leaving her alone. She lied about my husband to anyone who would listen. Can you imagine the embarrassment of having a deacon from church tell me he’d pray for my husband. My comment was, whatever she’s told you is not true. At first, I tried to juggle the two of them, and all I did was make myself sick. I told her my loyalty was to my husband and to back off. We moved when my husband left the Navy, and the tension eased. My husband is a good man, and we’ve been married for 42 years now.

  6. martha lawson

    Yes, I have. I mostly just stayed away from the family members that I had issue with.

  7. conniefischer

    Like many others, I have had problems with a couple family members. It’s hard because when it’s a member of your family, you realize you have to find a solution knowing you will probably continue to have this person in your life. Keeping the peace is difficult but can be done. You just keep the toxic family members at arm’s length away from you, be as cordial as you can stomach and carry on.

  8. Leanna

    My aunt did something wrong to me and she refuses to apologize or admit she was wrong and I have not talked for 10 years.

  9. Tracey Parker

    Sadly yes. My mom is the eldest of 6 other brothers and sisters and one of my cousins, her sisters daughter was very rude to my mom one time. It caused a big rift between the family. People took sides and didn’t talk to each other for a while. Oh forgot to mention my mom lives out of state, she was just visiting. Everyone that lived in that area eventually got things worked out. I am about 30 minutes from them but don’t see them too often due to medical issues. After years my cousin finally apologized and things are ok, but there is always tension between yhat whole side no matter who’s involved, sadly!

  10. Gretchen H

    Oh yes, I have had trouble with both my father and my older sister. Things are better with my dad now, but my sister still baffles me. Not sure what can be done about that one.

  11. Kai W.

    There is a large rift in my family between one of my sisters and me. Currently, two of my other sisters have sided with this particular sisters. We are at the point of not acknowledging each other.

  12. Maureen

    I did once many years ago but once I knew the circumstances behind the behavior I just had to forgive everything.

  13. Sue C

    I think everyone has a problem somewhere in their life. You need to have patience and hope you can work it out. Family is very important.

  14. Rita Wray

    I had a problem with my sister and we didn’t speak for a long time. I called her when I had something very important to tell her. After that things were good.

  15. Betty Hamilton

    A family member has trouble with telling the truth. I think the person says what they think you might want to hear whether its true or not. However, sometimes behaving this way can be hurtful to others or even dangerous. Unfortunately it is an on-going problem.

  16. Texas Book Lover

    Yep. My now mother in law and I did not get along for many years. It took me marrying her son and having our daughter (which she swore she didn’t want any grandchildren) before my husband really stood up to her. Now believe it or not I am closer to her than my own mother. Granted it has been nearly 22 years since we met and almost 16 since that baby girl was born but I truly love her more than words can express. We havwe come a long way since I used to walk in and get “what is that bitch doing here?”

  17. stormy27

    I have 3 sisters and I had 2 brothers (one has passed away) plus we had 14 foster kids in and out of our home growing up so needless to say, we had plenty of opportunities for sibling rivalries. I can remember a 7 year period where one of my sisters refused to speak one word to me – not even to tell me why she was mad! She has since gotten over her grudge and claims that she doesn’t even remember why she was angry. As far as I can tell, a little time, a bunch of forgiveness, and a touch of forgetfulness go a long way towards bridging family rifts. (LOL!)

  18. Sharon azmier

    Yes with my dad and his girlfriend, my sister and I just ignore the situation now instead of getting into arguments anymore.

  19. Leslie

    Yes, more than once. It just sorts itself out eventually. We may not like each other at times, but we know we will always be there for each other no matter what. I love the name of your book! I didn’t need to read the blurb to know I wanted to read it. : )

  20. Sharlene Wegner

    We have a lot of sensitive people in the family, so I just walk on egg shells & try to keep peace.

  21. Sandie W

    Sadly yes. I no longer talk to my brother. I don’t know what happened, but have just come to realize that life is short and I don’t have it in me to try any longer. I feel saddened, but not worth the heartache to keep trying. (did I mention, he can’t come up with a concrete reason for his superior behavior)

  22. txgrll

    Unfortunately my family lives for drama and its a challenge to stay close and not get caught in it. The way I cope is to keep distance and cutoff gossip as much as I can.

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