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Faithfully Bookish full circle moment here, y’all! Our very first giveaway was one year ago for a book by today’s featured author! Grab your sunscreen because we’re chatting about summertime and (obviously) books! Plus, she’s blessing y’all with another giveaway today!!!
About the Author
Varina Denman enjoys writing fiction about women and the unique struggles they face. She seems to have a knack for describing small town life, and her debut novel, Jaded, won the ACFW Genesis Contest, the BRMCWC Selah Award, and the INSPYs Bloggers’ Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature. Her latest book, Looking Glass Lies, released May 2nd.
Varina attended three universities over a span of five years, majoring in four subjects and earning zero degrees. However, she can now boast sixteen years as a home educator, volunteering in her local cooperative where she has taught numerous subjects including creative writing and literature. Varina lives in North Texas where she volunteers as a marriage mentor along with her husband of thirty years.
Five Favorite Ways to Celebrate Summer
Varina: Summer is my favorite season, not because I love hot Texas weather, but because I generally have fewer things on my calendar. I’m a homeschool mom, so summer gives me a huge break from planning, organizing, and cracking the proverbial whip. And since I have fewer obligations, my stress level is manageable. Here are five of my favorite summer activities:
Swimming. By “swimming,” I actually mean lying on a lounge chair by the pool, working on my tan under a layer of SPF 30. This is extremely relaxing for me, and almost always, I use it as a time to plot my next book. With no time constraints or urgent distractions, my mind is free to flow all over the place.
Beth: Sounds lovely!
Reading. Who doesn’t love a good beach read in the summer? Or a couch read? Or a back porch read? The summer months seem to have more than 24 hours in a day because I always get more books read than other times of the year. So relaxing!
Beth: Absolutely! It’s much quieter around here in the summer! The kids spend more time outdoors while I enjoy the air conditioning and a stack of books!
Movies. This is one of our favorite family activities all year round, but in the summer, we go nuts. RedBox, NetFlix, and the local library are our go-to sources, and every evening we tend to gather around the box just after dinner, or even pull the kitchen table into the living room (it’s only six feet away) for “Dinner Theater.” Right now we’re working our way through all eight seasons of Monk.
Beth: How fun! We’re still in the “animated movies” stage around here but Finding Dory was a crowd pleaser!
Projects. It starts with the Spring cleaning frenzy which leads directly into crafts and home improvements. This summer we’re painting our living room for the first time in 12 years. (It has 20-foot ceilings, and until now, we couldn’t muster the energy.) But this year we’re finally taking the plunge, and I’m sooo excited! Of course, the painting project has led us to new curtains, new Pinterest attempts, and much in-depth cleaning.
Beth: I can relate! Our list of projects around the house seems neverending.
Family. THE BEST part of summer, of course, is spending time with my five children, and this is my first summer as a grandmother. (Wow, I sound old!) So each of these activities has a new and different glow to it, not only for me, but for the rest of our family. Whenever we’re together, we’re all simply giddy over the baby, and it brings our family such great joy.
Beth: So sweet! Those longer days are great for family time.
Tell us about your latest release
Varina: Looking Glass Lies released May 2, and this little novel is by far my favorite so far. Even though it was difficult to write, I have felt God working throughout the entire process. A good example of this is the book trailer.
I’m an introvert, and when my agent suggested I make a short video of myself, sitting in a chair and talking about the book, I was less than excited but more than willing. However, without meaning to, I put very little effort toward the project. I think I was so uncomfortable with it, I just hoped it wouldn’t work out. But no matter!
Every small thing I did exploded into a larger opportunity until it was obvious that God wanted this trailer done His way. As you can see, it’s way more than me sitting in a chair and talking about the book, and it’s a solid reminder that God is in control of my writing journey, and His purposes are greater than my discomfort.
Beth: Amen! God is good!
A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations.
For most of her adult life, Cecily Ross has compared herself to other women—and come up short. After a painful divorce from her emotionally abusive husband, Cecily returns to her hometown of Canyon, Texas, looking to heal.
But coming home isn’t what she expects. In a town as small as Canyon, her pain is difficult to escape—especially with her model-perfect ex–sister-in-law working at the town’s popular coffee-shop hangout. With help from her father, a support group, and an old friend who guides her to see her own strengths, Cecily may have a shot at overcoming her insecurities and learning to love again.
The true test comes when tragedy strikes, opening Cecily’s eyes to the harmfulness of her distorted views on beauty—and giving her the perfect opportunity to find peace at last.
Beth: Such a powerful story! Readers, find my review here
What are you working on now?
Varina: Right now I’m in the very early stages of planning my next novel where I spend a lot of time researching and outlining. The book almost has a title, but not quite, and the main character doesn’t even have a name at all. (Any ideas?)
This will be the story of a young woman who is grieving the death of her two-year-old daughter, and in the process, she’ll have to do much soul-searching. In the end, she learns a LOT about herself as she journeys toward healing. And like my other books, this one will be set in my home state of Texas.
Beth: How heartbreaking! I appreciate the way you approach tough situations with such grace in your stories. Thank you for giving us a peek at your summer fun and bookish news, Varina!
Varina: Beth, thank you for hosting me on your blog today. This has been a lot of fun, and I’m so happy to spend time with your followers. Happy reading!
Varina Denman has generously offered to send one Faithfully Bookish reader a Kindle copy of her new release, Looking Glass Lies.
How do YOU celebrate summer?