Blog Tour Stop: Guest Blog by Casey Dawes, Excerpt & Contest for California Sunset

Where did the idea for California Sunset come from?

A few years ago I saw a book called “How to Write a Book in a Month.” Since I wanted to write a novel, I thought, “Goody!” and bought the book.

It took somewhat more than 30 days to write the book. In fact, it was closer to two years before I was finally satisfied with it. But that book was the original inspiration – or challenge – to write and finish a novel.

I like reading books by authors like Susan Wiggs, Debbie Macomber, and Sheryl Woods, so I modeled my book after their style, while developing my own, of course! I definitely knew about the pain of loving the wrong man—I’ve been divorced more than once. So that was an easy place to start.

But I wanted my characters to have real struggles that they would have to deal with before getting what they deserved. Since I knew about living with an alcoholic and how to get beyond it (Thank you Al-Anon!), I knew that could be part of the story. The same with the pain of seeing a child in custody after they’ve done something wrong.

So lots of pain to give my characters. But how to bring in the sunlight?

When I finally decided I wanted to stop having pain in my relationships, I figured out I needed to work on myself. After all, that was the common denominator, and, as someone helpfully pointed out, the only thing I could change was myself. I worked with therapists and coaches to figure out why I kept attracting men who hurt me.

Annie, the heroine of California Sunset, has more than a man problem on her hands. She’s being laid off from her job. She definitely needs support to help her figure out a new direction. The question is, will she have the courage to make the changes she needs to make to get the love and happiness she deserves?

You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Title: California Sunset by Casey Dawes
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 259 pages


Divorced mother Annie Gerhard meets rugged new bookstore owner John Johnson at the worst possible time in her life. Her high tech company is threatening to lay her off if she doesn’t move from California to New Jersey and her 15-year-old son David is causing trouble. The recession has hit Silicon Valley hard and there are no jobs for a middle manager, even if she hates what she does. And this is no time for romance, no matter how good the man looks in his jeans.

John has escaped Montana memories of a deceased wife and betraying girlfriend by buying an independent bookstore in California. He’s got bigger problems than falling for a spunky woman with control issues. Keeping a bookstore afloat in a recession and finding a home where he can stable his horse are all he can handle right now.

Unless . . .

John and Annie must both face their pasts in order to greet the future. Can they risk it?

Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors


Annie opened her eyes and stared out the plane window, shifting to relieve the stiffness in her neck. “Want anything?” a voice thundered in her ear.

“What?” Annie asked.

“Food. It’s eight dollars,” Carol, the woman sitting next to her said, gesturing to the aisle. A flight attendant was leaning over holding a paper box.

“I guess.” She fished out a ten-dollar bill from her purse, exchanging it for the box and change.

“Anything to drink? That appears to be free.”

“Oh. Coffee.”

“Good thing they don’t charge us for going to the bathroom…yet.”

Annie chuckled. “Actually, I just read that Ryan Air is going to charge to use the toilet.”

“Really?” Carol gasped. “Obviously the airline is run by a man with a big bladder.”

Annie’s chuckle turned into a laugh. She managed to get the tray table down before the attendant handed her the hot coffee. She opened the box and poked at the skinny egg burrito.

“I’ll try mine first,” Carol said. “If I don’t gag, you’ll know it’s safe.”

Annie had to grin. “Okay.” She watched as Carol unwrapped the paper from the burrito and took a bite.

“Safe,” she declared after she finished chewing. “I suppose now that we have to pay for it, they have to give us better food.” Annie bit into her own burrito.

“Why are you flying to Philly?” Carol asked.

“Job interview.”

“Opportunity or necessity?”

God, this woman was nosy. “Necessity.”

Carol’s laugh startled her. “Sorry. Occupational hazard. I’m a life coach—we’re trained to ask lots of questions. I should start every conversation by saying, ‘I ask too many questions. You don’t have to answer me!’” She laughed again.

“What’s a life coach?”

“Someone who asks lots of questions to help you realize that you have to do some work if you want to change your life. Then we hold you accountable for doing it.”

“Sounds tough.”

“Sometimes it is, but I love it. Watching people change is quite amazing. I guess I love it so much that I never quite leave it behind. I’ve become sensitive to people who hedge what they’re saying, trying not to reveal too much.”

“Like me.”

“Could be. We’ve got a long flight. What’s the story?”

For more info, excerpts, and a book group guide, check out Casey’s website at

Purchase Links: Amazon * Barnes and Noble * iTunes

Let me know who has helped you make the changes you needed to make in your life in the comments below. One lucky person will get a copy of California Sunset!

Here’s how to enter:

You must Do TWO of the Following:

1. Sign up for e-mail updates (upper left corner). One email daily with the day’s posts.


2. Be or become a fan of Book Reviews & More by Kathy Facebook page


3. Follow me on Twitter (@BookReviewsMore)


4. Friend Book Reviews & More by Kathy on Goodreads

Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:

5. To be eligible to enter contests on Book Reviews and More by Kathy you MUST fill out the contest entry form (found HERE). This form only needs to be filled out ONCE. Your privacy is important to me, and I will not share your information.

And don’t forget to:

6. Leave a comment on this post telling Ms. Dawes who has helped you make the changes you needed to make in your life by 5 PM Mountain Time Friday afternoon.


Filed under Blog Tour, California Sunset, Casey Dawes, Guest Blog

14 Responses to Blog Tour Stop: Guest Blog by Casey Dawes, Excerpt & Contest for California Sunset

  1. Eileen

    Man if I only had a life coach back in college. Where would I be today?!! I would have to say that it would be my husband who’s had the biggest influence on me but it was essentially up to me to change.

    • Eileen, I know what you mean–having a life coach earlier in my life would have helped me, too! But as they say, when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Like you, my husband has a lot of influence over me–as much as he can. I’ve got a pretty good independence streak!

  2. Maria D.

    I guess I’d have to say that my mother and my best friend have been my life coaches – they are the influences that push me to change things in my life….lol…
    Good guest post. Thanks for the giveaway

  3. Ruth Smithson

    I think my husband and my kids have help me make changes to my life. I would be very different if I had not followed the path I am on now.

  4. Yadira A.

    This sounds like a great story! Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Timitra

    My mother/family and friends push me to be the best person I can be.

  6. Sherry

    I definitely think my parents were the best influence in my life. They gave me the strength to be who I am and to raise my beautiful daughters with my husband.

    • Having good parents is really important. Annie doesn’t have very good ones in California Sunset, but she still manages to raise her son, David, well…except for that one little error….

  7. Angie M

    I had many people who helped me to change & accept myself. They are the people in 12 Step programs. As a recovering alcoholic & addict, I have been blessed to share my journey with many wonderful people. I have learned to accept change & even embrace it sometimes!

    • 12 Step programs are a lifeline for those who are addicted and the people who love them. I don’t know what I would have done without them. Congratulations on the courage to change, Angie!