Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Center of Gravity Blog Tour! (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Center of Gravity
Author: Laura McNeill 
Series: N/A
Pages: 309
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nolan
Format: Kindle
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

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.

~Top 10 Ways to Recognize a Bad Relationship~
If you’ve read Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, you’ve more than familiar with the question popular domestic suspense novels pose: How well do we really know the people we love? 

At its core, Center of Gravity is about the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we want to believe. It’s about not wanting to believe the truth. It’s about the very scary reality of marrying someone with a dark past. Someone with secrets. Someone dangerous—with anger brewing below the surface of his calm exterior. Someone charming and loyal, but someone who becomes overtly jealous and controlling.

These relationships happen more than we think. Women fall for narcissistic men like this. Men fall under the spell of narcissistic women. And lives fall apart.

In the blush of first romance … the rush of someone paying attention to us, whispering compliments, and bringing us gifts … we overlook the red flags. This new boyfriend or girlfriend may come across as “super sweet” or “protective” at first, but later, the behavior becomes everything from really annoying to really scary. Sound familiar?

Check out this list. If five or more signs match your main squeeze, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate.

  1. Jealousy – There’s a little green-eyed monster inside all of us, but if the love of your life turns into the Incredible Hulk anytime you’re around anyone from the opposite sex – red flag. 
  2. Control – If your partner wants to know where you are 24/7 – calling or texting incessantly, when you’re at home, at work, out with friends, it’s not okay. If you don’t respond, or respond later than he or she’d like, you’ll catch some flack for it.
  3. Stalking – If your boyfriend or girlfriend checks your email, your iPhone for texts and photos, and looks at everything you post on Facebook, it’s time to worry. When he or she finds something distasteful (usually it’s jealousy), expect a throw down. And it will only get worse.
  4. Passwords – Worry if all or most of his accounts are password protected – after you’ve shared every password. He or she will have some excuse why the playing field can’t be even.
  5. Insults - It may be subtle at first, but it’s likely he or she will slip with something negative about your hair, your clothes, the way you laugh, or how much you eat. Later on, the insults will ramp up, likely in front of your friends.
  6. No Apologies. He or she never says, “I’m sorry” – Or if you get an apology, it’s not sincere. 
  7. Criticism – Your boyfriend or girlfriend probably doesn’t like many people. He’ll criticize his boss, his parents, and his siblings. He’s usually not happy in general, and doesn’t have many friends. He might not like his job, or his apartment, and it’s always someone else’s fault. If you suggest that he or she get a new job, or move, or find a new hobby, there will be an excuse as to why he or she can’t. 
  8. It’s ALL about him (or her) – For this guy or girl, it’s important you make him the center of your world. And he might not understand why you have to spend time after work with your child, or in grad school, or with other friends. He expects you to change your schedule to fit his, not the other way around.
  9. It’s fast – If your relationship feels intense from the start and your new squeeze pushes to become exclusive early on (first few weeks), you might want to think twice. He might tell you things like “I’ve never felt like this before,” and “I love you more than anyone I’ve ever loved.” It’s nice to hear these things, but if it’s two weeks in, it’s still infatuation.
  10. Thumbs down – If all of your friends dislike him (or her) or most your girls are saying “dump him,” there’s an issue. If your friends are quiet around him (or her), or refuse to comment on what they think because they know it will hurt your feelings – red flag. Your friends can often see what you, especially early on in a relationship.
Though Center of Gravity is fiction -- a story about one relationship – it IS drawn from dozens and dozens of very real stories from my friends and family.

While writing the book, I took snippets and pieces of all of the tragedies that were told to me. Over time, I wove them together into one narrative with the hope that women (and men) might relate to Ava and Jack’s story of being drawn into believing in someone—and something—that wasn’t real or true.

It’s my wish that Center of Gravity offers hope for those who need to get to safety and restart their lives. As Ava discovers, she has strength she didn’t know she had. And it’s never too late to start over.
~Try an 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.

Paste first excerpt here.
~Meet Laura!~
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.

Laura McNeill will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. Kind of a scary list. Good to be aware of though.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Mary!!

  2. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

    1. Always in the morning, if possible! I love the quiet of that time of day and am much more productive! I go to work at about 7:30 am and can sometimes squeeze in some writing around lunchtime and check social media and my blog in the evenings!! xx, Laura

  3. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  4. Great list! I wish I would've known a lot of these things when I was 18.. would've saved myself a lot of headache :).. thanks for sharing!

    1. Victoria ... ME TOO! :) xx, Laura

  5. I really enjoyed the excerpt! I can't wait to read more! Thank you!

    1. Thank you Ree Dee! Appreciate that so much! Laura

  6. Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt.:)

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

    1. I appreciate you stopping by Andra's website, Patrick!

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks! If it's helpful or resonates with just a few people, it's worth it. One of the main characters fits the description (above)!

  9. I enjoyed the excerpt! A very helpful list of relationship danger signs. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Well said. It never IS too late to start over....

    1. Definitely, Laney! I couldn't agree more :) Laura

  11. Over all great post! Thank you!

  12. Andra - Thank you so much for featuring Center of Gravity on your website. So glad to be here and really appreciate the time you take to showcase authors!! It means a lot to me and I love connecting with readers. Have a great day! Laura

  13. Laura thank you for addressing this issue. Center of Gravity is a must read! I myself left a very abusive marriage.