In Love by Design Blog Tour and Giveaway


In Love by Design (The Adventures of Anabel Axelrod Volume 3) by Tracy Ellen
Release Date:  September 12, 2013
My rating:  StarStarStarStarStar

Cover Art by Samantha Prudhon Falkowski
In Love by Design welcomes you back to Northfield, Minnesota and the life of Anabel Axelrod.
Its official--the sexy, blonde bookstore owner with a sassy attitude, a brain that never stops, and a reluctant penchant for helping her family and friends out of trouble has fallen madly in love.
Anabel doesn't get to prove what a fabulous girlfriend she'll make for more than eight hours before Luke disappears out of town. Instead of getting to enjoy being a girl passionately in love, Anabel’s shiny new feelings and trust in her boyfriend are immediately being tested.
Who is the darkly powerful and charismatic Luke Drake? What are his secrets? Does he really love Anabel, or has he been manipulating her to further an intricate plan of cold revenge in the making for over twenty years?
This third book in the series finds the confident Anabel desperately needing her sense of humor and all her understanding of human nature to deal with life. But Anabel soon learns the hard way she has even bigger issues to worry about than family problems and an incredibly hot, but very tricky boyfriend.
She’s made some bad enemies recently and someone wants her dead. After the first attempt on her life, Anabel and Luke team up to solve this mystery, but Anabel is beginning to wonder if she can trust her Dark Prince. Or Is this one fairy tale where love does not conquer all?

6557066Meet Tracy Ellen…
For all of my life, I’ve always had a thing for shoes that make me say “Oh, yum!” and for reading romance novels written about hot, dangerously smart men and sassy, intelligent women. It’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve avidly read everything I could get my greedy little hands on to find these jewels.
One day this past year or so, I realized that I spend more money on books now than I do on shoes--and I was stunned. Should I be ashamed of this fact or proud? Then an even stranger thing happened. It was like a switch turned off/on inside me. All of a sudden instead of wanting to read about diabolically sexy men, I wanted to write my own story of the building hot romance between a lippy, confident woman and a gorgeously mysterious man.
So began my budding writing career. Then I made another happy discovery—I absolutely love writing and still have a thing for shoes! Since then, my self-published books include A Date with Fate and Courted by Karma in The Adventures of Anabel Axelrod series. The third book in the series, In Love by Design will be released in September 2013. 
For those of you who may want to know some pertinent facts: I was born in Indiana to middle-class parents, the third out of five hellions. My mother wanted to go to work every day. I’ve always lived in the Midwest, except for six steamy months in Florida when I was nineteen. Currently, I reside in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota with my family. The college town of Northfield featured in Anabel’s Adventures is just down the road a jaunt.
I love, love, love connecting with readers. Comments, posts, reviews, and emails are always welcome. Follow my blog or like me on Facebook to be aware of events and giveaways, or new books I’m publishing.
Thanks again for reading my books and supporting this indie author!

Interview/Chat with Tracy Ellen
Me: Hey there! YAY
Tracy: Hi there--whew!
Me: How did release day go for In Love by Design?
Tracy: It has been a really wildly busy day! But fun, so that's okay. Do you ever feel like you're gonna go blind from being on the computer for so long?
Me: Yeah, especially since I have a big laptop. Sometimes it's overwhelming!
Tracy: Sounds heavy, too!
Me: A little. You know new technology. Bigger and somewhat lighter. It doesn't feel as light when it's in my bookbag with my books. lol.  Are you ready for the tour to get started and start seeing reviews of In Love by Design?
Tracy: Yes! Well, sort of, lol. Okay, I admit I'm nervous...
Me: HAHA. You haven't had bad reviews... Well none that I have seen since the beginning when I set the one girl straight. lol
Tracy: Too funny. She still insists that first chapter is pure garbage, but it's my favorite! Different strokes, right?
Me: I will say, I liked this one... It followed the first two, but was a little different. I always love it when authors tie the title into the story subtly.
Tracy: I love to tie things together when I write that you don't suspect will be important, but then IT IS!
Me: Definitely! She can't say that she hasn't read worse. I know I have read MUCH more graphic stuff... some I didn't care for, but never tore it or the author a part for it!  That's what I love...
Tracy: Oh well, a little tearing here and there never hurt anybody...hmm, that doesn't sound right.  I agree, I've read much worse. I thought it was fun!
Me: Authors have changed the titles of their books because of people complaining about the title versus the actual story... which I don't agree with. Teresa Mummert changed Suicide Note to The Note. I was so mad. There was a reason for the title and it fit perfectly and the fact that it wasn't anything like you expect from the title made it that much better!  HAHA. I am sure many men would agree with the tearing!
Tracy: Lol, ouch! I don't think I'd ever change my titles. One thing I've realized, now that I'm done with my third book, is that it's tempting to go back and "fix" mistakes you may have made, as a beginner. I remind myself that it's okay I was a beginner on my first book. Hopefully, it's part of the charm, <grin>
Me:  There is most definitely a special charm with your books. Not only are they great, but your writing improved! You caught most of your typos and such the more you wrote!  I was so proud of you when editing this book! lol
Tracy: I'm sorry I took your work book I will not tweak--I promise! Ha! That's a big, fat lie, right?
Me: You can take all of the work away all you want. That leaves more concentration on the actual book. I liked seeing the creation of it. It's a huge privilege to see something written from page one to the end. The story stays with you more than when you just read a book once it is finished.
Tracy: It really does, doesn't it? It felt like a weekly TV show, building through the months to the end of the season. I depend on you to find my many errors in punctuation. I'm so blind and always forget to work in a larger view!
Me: Lol. I like fixing mistakes. Ask my co-workers. They get yelled at.. I mean reprimanded almost daily when I find mistakes. lol
Tracy: Oh, mommy be nice! Lol! So you are a tough on your co-workers? And they take it?
Me: So, we had talked before about this series. Is it going to go to book four or will this be it for Anabel and Luke? I mean not everything is resolved...
Me: Of coarse they take it! They have no choice. lol. It's all in good fun! No one is safe. I "wrote up" one of my bosses the other day (who is one of the owners). hehe. Not that I really have the power to write people up. But let me find some old write up slips and keep them hidden... let the write ups begin! lol
Tracy: I think there will be a Book 4. But not right away. I've had another book brewing for a couple of months that I can't wait to get started on.
Me: Awesome!
Tracy: I bet your boss/owner loved it! I love bossing around anybody who thinks thy're my boss, too.
Me: He did think it was funny. Not many people can get away with some of the things I say or do. I try to keep it toned down. Wouldn't want to be too much of myself at the wrong time to the wrong person!
Me: So, when you are writing about Anabel and Luke, do you ever have a specific actor or person in your head that you think fits them?
Tracy: I don't with Anabel, but Luke. Sometimes I can see him so vividly, I'm disappointed when I stand up and relaize he's not real..
Me: HAHA. It is easy to get lost in the characters. Your characters are nothing like others. I can sit and describe them, but they would sound typical by description. One would have to actually read the books to get better acquainted with them.
Me: So, to switch gears a bit. Not many know that you are a new grandma. How is grandparentdom treating you and the mister?
Tracy: I want to cover the walls in my home office with all the synomyn choices of certain words, it gets so hard to write descriptions some times.
Tracy: OMG, being a grandmother is wild! Stella is 11 wweks now and so plump! Her smiles are huge. I'm not a baby person, but she's the exception....
Me: Descriptions are the hardest!
Tracy: I see I have many typos in this chat, Lol.
Me: I fear being a grandma some day! My kids probably think of me as a Nazi! I fear I will be worse as I age!
Me: Typos shmypos! It's a chat! I would be scared if there weren't typos!
Tracy: Some of my most favorite people in life are very strict types. You always know where you stand with the Gestapo.
Tracy: I'm a crazed perfectionist, sorry.
<e: Lol. True. I always have to be in control. I try to reign it back, but I just can't! I am a perfectionist too!
Tracy: Show me a mom that's not a control freak, and I'll show kids that are wild animals!
Me: Very true! I would like to see Anabel as a mom! I think that would be a series in its own
Tracy: Hahaa! My daughter will tell you what it's like! She has threatened me for years to start a blog titled: "The Things My Mother Says"
Me: Lol!
Me: So, I already know the answer to this, but those who will be reading this don't. So I have to ask as a formality... Your favorite genre of book to snuggle up with....
Tracy: ZOMBIE!
Me: Will this new book be zombie?
Me: Wait... Luke and Anabel aren't really zombies are they? haha
Tracy: My God, I want it to be soooo bad. I'm trying to work that out somehow.
Tracy: Nah, Luke and Anabel would be better at killing zombies--they'd have such a good time!
Me: Can you give us a hint at what the next book might be about... That is so very true!
Tracy: A hint? Heck, I could write you the first chapter! LOL, I wasn't kidding when I said I've been thinking about it...okay,here's a tiny hint. The woman will be in her early-mid forties, widowed for a couple of years, and just starting to come out of her shell of grief. The man is young. Way to young for her. But that won't stop him.
Me: I am intrigued! I hope I get to help edit this one too! Or at least get to read the first chapter to get me begging for more!
Tracy: Amber, if you make me do this without you, why I'll write you up and hunt you down, girl! Lol, being part of my editing team is like a Stephen King novel--you don't get to leave...
Me: Will this be a stand alone or another series?
Me: LOL. I like that answer!
Tracy: Stand alone, but part of a series. Ha--figure that out, since you know the way I writeI'm not sure, but you can count on it being longgggg.
Me: I am sure once you start it, I will get the big picture. The longer, the better. I prefer long stories!
Me: When you are coming up with your story and characters, do you develop the characters ahead of time or just kind of wing it based on your original idea of them?
Tracy: I need a fan base of people that like to sink their teeth into a book, as I'm afraid my books will always be long versus short.
Tracy: I wish I could say that I have everything plotted out to the Nth degree, but I wing most everything.
Me: I really liked how the Anabel Axelrod series played out! If I didn't get to read the second and third books as you wrote them, I would have read them in record time, I am sure.
Tracy: Want to hear something weird?
Me: Always... lol
Tracy: I have never read my own books.
Me: I don't think I would either. The mystery wouldn't be there. I have a hard time even re-reading a book I have already read. There are very few that I have read more than once.
Tracy: Not see, I'm the opposite. I have books I've read 5 or 6 times. That's the beauty of drinking Diet Coke for many years and having holes in my brain. I've read so many books, I can go pick up an old favorite and it's like brand new!
Tracy: I meant, not me--not" Not see" LOL
Tracy: I meant--not me, not :Not See", lol
Me: There are a few books like that for me. And some I am sure I could go back and read and enjoy them even more because I breezed through them too quickly and didn't pick up on things. I know the notorious Fifty Shades trilogy would be like that.
Me: lol
Tracy: Oh, don't get me started on fifty shades...
Me: Lol. Have you read?
Tracy: I'm sure I'll be lynched, but I read the first book..not interested enough to read on..
Me: I wasn't a fan of the first book. As one whole story, I liked it. To go from start to how the story finished... Watching both characters evolve and change with one another was quite a ride. The second two are nothing like the first.
Tracy: Well, they are very popular, so I'm okay being in the minority in this one. I believe women love the idea of a man caring enough to want to spend all his time thinking of dominating them. Be a Dom is hard work! Lol.
Me: Lol. But the story changes... it does evolve. I think that is why I didn't like the first one. I just couldn't get in to the whole dom idea.
Me: Well, it is getting late here. I am thinking I need my beauty sleep!
Tracy: Thanks, Amber, for our chat! Good night! :}
Me: Good night Tracy! You will be hearing from me on the 16th... I am on the first leg of the tour!!!
Tracy: Yay! That's cool. Bye!

I am one of the small handful whom have had the pleasure of editing this book and the previous book as they were written.  I have seen the book from word one to the last word.  I have watched the changes and formation of the final product.  So, my opinion may seem a little biased.  I think that I should be since I was a part of the sweat and tears of getting this book ready.  I may have not written it or Courted by Karma, but I feel like they are a part of me nonetheless.  I am straight up honest when I say that I have LOVED all three books!  They are all equally entertaining.  Which is what they should be. right?  I would hope so.  So now on with my review…

Anabel and Luke… I always find myself shaking my head at the two of you and your hijinks and secrets.  I seem to always want to slap you silly and hug you all at the same time.  Now, Luke.  I was a little mad at him in the beginning.  I really wanted to despise him, and I did.  Honest.  But, I knew the back-story would come out, and I would find myself loving him as I have in the past.  Well, at least I kept that in the back of my mind throughout the book.  I am not a spoiler, so I will not tell you what I am talking about nor if I got to go back to loving him.  You have to find that out for yourself.

Anabel.  What can we say about her that hasn’t been said?  She will always be the ass-kicking, sassy, smart-mouth she has always been.  She just can’t help herself.  Again with her secret desire to be a detective.  Won’t she ever learn this is where she lands herself into hot water?  Smh.  I think she is the adult version of Darcy Walker. (Many of you may not know who she is, but she is a character from another series from a different author whom I really like also.)  Someone give her her honorary gold badge, please!  Forget bookstore owner.  She is a mutha f’in kickass ninja in disguise!  I swear it!

One thing that still has my mouth left agape is the usage of the “l” word between Luke and Anabel.  Although the two are never mushy… I was pretty giddy of their form and usage of it!  I never expected these two characters to show any kind of relationshipism, never!  Although their way of telling each other how they feel isn’t traditional, it is traditional and works for them!

In the end, the bad guy may or may have not been caught.  Someone else is murdered.  Yes, more action for us!  Anabel has helped save yet more people in the middle of unconnected chaos!  Would you expect anything else?  And she and Luke may or may not have broken up… We are left with a couple of mini-cliffhangers… Graciously awaiting the final piece in all of the puzzles that surround Anabel and Luke!  Hold on to your britches, because there are more than enough rocky roads in this book to keep your bums nice and bruised during the ride!

The whole farmstead is covered by video cameras and I know from my recent security research this is called CCTV, or closed circuit television.

Over my shoulder, I demanded incredulously, “Do you have Svettie slapping me recorded somewhere?”

Luke’s grinning. “Hey, I’m a sentimental guy. It’s the first video of my new girlfriend coming to visit.”

Crossing my arms, I turned and glared. “Me taking a flying leap off the driveway?”

He winces and slowly nods, eyes dancing with laughter. “But it was very painful for me to watch the first ten times.” He raised a finger and stroked his lip. “If I had to pick, my personal favorite is the video I’ve dubbed, “My Bitch Howling at the Moon”.

I cover my eyes with my hands while moaning in embarrassment, and then my head snaps up. “Oh Holy Crap, are you some kind of pervert that has everything recorded?”

With his swarthy darkness and sinful grin, I have to reconsider if the dearly departed Aunt Lily was so far off the mark when she said he was the Devil. Just because she was an off-her-rocker religious fanatic doesn’t necessarily make her wrong.

Luke replied, “Why yes, I am some kind of pervert, but other than on the basement door, no cameras are positioned indoors.”
I gave him the eye for a few seconds longer.

He arches a black brow with a knowing smile. “Anabel, Anabel. Do you want me to do some camera repositioning?”

Fun Facts from Tracy
1. When downsizing my book collection, I donated more paperback / hardback books to the Dakota County Library than any single person ever. (The lazy librarians begged me to stay away after I hit the three thousand mark.)
2. I became a first-time grandmother two months ago. I love you, Baby Stella Isabelle! (I am totally blown away!)
3. I met my husband when I was 17 and told my mother and grandmother that I met the man I wanted to marry before we’d even had our first date…
4. Since I started writing romance novels, I don’t want to read them. (This is terrible!)
5. Since I started reading nothing but zombie/apocalypse novels, I want to write romance. (This is weird!)
6. A lot of the characters in my books started off based vaguely on real people before they take on a life of their own. (My mom was not pleased that Anabel’s mother was dead from the start.)
7. My husband said he gets the eye now from many women—some come out and ask if he is Luke Drake…
8. When my husband told me that he is getting the eye from many women, I gave HIM the eye—he’s pretty cute.
9. I read an average of 4-6 books per week.
10. I write an average of 4-6 hours per day.
11. I sleep an average of 4-6 hours per night.
12. The rest of the time, I cause trouble.
13. My books will always be too long versus too short, if I have anything to say about it. (Gee, it’s not like I’m writing to make money or anything.)
14. I work part time at a local CoOp.
15. My daughter has been a vegetarian since her teens and is eco-friendly like Stella. She has terrorized me for years with her knowledge, much like Stella torments Anabel.
16. I’m taking a gun class. Not that I plan on packing a pistol in my purse, but I like the idea of having first-hand experience on what I write about, if possible. It also ties in with the zombie reading…
17. My favorite romantic comedy movie of all time is “Something’s Gotta Give”. (Just thinking about it makes me want to watch it!)
18. My favorite decorating / architectural style is the house in “Something’s Gotta Give”. (OMG, please go watch that movie, if you haven’t! That beach house is sublime.)
19. I have a pretty large vocabulary and can tell you what most words mean, if they aren’t too, too fancy, but if I had to pronounce them you would laugh your butt off. (Don’t even get me started on trying to say “edamame” because it’s not pretty.)
20. My oldest sister really does call me “Spook”, and has for years. Well, it’s usually, after I’ve said something strange—well, strange according to her, but then again, she’s a “Freak”!

Tracy’s Contact Info
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  1. Sounds like a good book Thank you for the amazing chance.

  2. Hi Amber,

    Thank you so much for hosting my third book of this series, In Love by Design, on your blog today, and for the great review! I had fun doing our FB chat interview. :}

    Tracy Ellen


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