Tuesday 7 March 2023

What's Not Lost by Valerie Taylor

Book Details:

Book Title:  What's Not Lost by Valerie Taylor
Category: Adult Fiction 18+  
Genre: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Publisher:  Aspetuck Publishing, 324 pages
Release date:  February 7, 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 + M. There is some bad language and references to sex scenes, but no explicit sex scenes.
Book Description:

Through the eyes of an overachiever, the schemes of a homewrecker, the magic of a bottle of wine, and a CAT, award-winning author Valerie Taylor propels this captivating and heart-warming romance to an unpredictable and delightful conclusion.

Kassie O'Callaghan is searching ... for herself and for answers. With her husband six feet under and an engagement ring on her finger, Kassie is convinced managing a company merger in Paris will complete her quest for recognition on her own terms. When she learns her fiancé's ex-girlfriend is pregnant, Kassie's dreams come tumbling down. At least for the moment.

Despite pleas from her younger fiancé to stay in Boston and a warning from her best friend forever of what's at stake should she leave, Kassie heads to Paris with courage and perseverance. There, she stumbles into a world of wine and roses as she tries to put the wisdom of her experience to the ultimate test.

​When a Greek businessman tries to rescue her, Kassie discovers-in life-it's not whether you win or lose, it's the way you love that counts.
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Guest Post: Is There Truth in Fiction? By Valerie Taylor
Multi-award-winning author of the What’s Not trilogy — What’s Not Said, What’s Not True, and What’s Not Lost
Let’s start with a definition. Good place as any for a writer to begin, wouldn’t you say? The top Google definition of fiction says it’s “literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people.”
Apparently publishers embrace, and then expand on, that definition. On the copyright page of most novels, publishers include a disclaimer that reads: “This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”
How can the words imagination and coincidental resemblance appear simultaneously? To me, the words imagination and resemblance seem oxymoronish (did I just make up a word?). Either the novel is an invention of the first order or it’s not. 
I’m not suggesting that every novel is really a work of non-fiction, in the form of an autobiography or a memoir. Certainly not. But I am of the mind, as I’ve heard it said, that a writer’s first novel is autobiographical. Perhaps this stems from advice aspiring authors are frequently given: “Write what you know.”
Bingo. If we are to write what we know, how can that be a product of our imagination? If the story is derived from the writer’s mind, from his or her psyche, their life’s experiences must in some way drive and color the words that flow from their brain through their arms and out through their fingertips, whether they have pen in hand or a keyboard in front of them. 
Take a novel’s setting, for example. Unless it’s pure fantasy or science fiction, the setting is often where the writer spent their childhood or a place they lived or traveled to that made a lasting impression. I can attest to that. Home base in my What’s Not trilogy is Boston, Massachusetts. Though not born there, I did work and live in the city for a few years after my divorce. I even bought a condo just south of the city. And to this day, I get goosebumps each time I walk through the North End. Have I lived there in a prior life? I wonder.
Strangely, I get the same eerie feeling when I’m in Tuscany. Those elongated Cypress trees aligning the autostrada and hillsides somehow speak to me. I haven’t figured out yet what they’re saying. Maybe I planted them there back in the day.
But alas! In my debut novel, What’s Not Said, I opted for a critical scene in Venice, which I’ve been to twice. Lucky me. While the story line of that scene is made-up, the setting is typically Venice. 
Taking this a step further, I incorporated other European destinations I’ve traveled to in my other two books. Paris appears in the sequel, What’s Not True, as well as in the last book in the trilogy, What’s Not Lost, where Santorini and Katakolon, Greece, are each foundational to the plot.
I’m not sure I could write about a place I’ve never been. Perhaps if I had a more well-developed imagination!
So what about characters? There are so many to consider. The protagonist, the villain, those secondary characters who often reveal more about the hero, or heroine, than they do themselves. It’s relatively easy to disguise the main character. Their size, shape, coloring. But somehow, when it gets down to dialogue, the nitty gritty that moves the plot along, I bet the writer’s voice literally seeps into the story with regularity. How could it not? On the flip side, how the other characters respond could be imagined or revisionary of past interactions. Maybe that’s why creating dialogue is my most favorite aspect of writing.
Finally, what about the plot? Readers sometimes ask me if I fell in love with a younger man I met in Venice on a solo vacation? I sigh bigly. No. And neither of my husbands was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. But I was a marketing manager who loved the Boston Red Sox (still do). Oh, and I had a yellow tabby, named Topher, who ultimately earns a starring role in What’s Not Lost, the last book in the trilogy.
So what’s my point? I think there is a measure of truth in fiction. Expressed often through the setting and the cast. Yet it is the plot itself where the writer’s imagination can run wild, exploding with “what if” scenarios, oftentimes astonishing the author themselves in the process.
Which is why writing fiction is so much fun. And that’s the truth. 

Meet the Author:

Six years retired, three years a published novelist, always a reader of good stories. Valerie Taylor was born and raised in Stamford, CT. She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer. After her divorce, she spread her wings and relocated her career to Boston and then to Seattle. When she retired, she resettled in her home state to be near her two grown children and granddaughter. Taylor’s a member of the Westport Writer’s Workshop, the Independent Book Publisher’s Association, the CT Authors and Publishers Association, and the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association. She’s a published book reviewer with BookTrib.com. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator. With the expected release in February 2023, What’s Not Lost is the final season in the What’s Not trilogy. Her debut, What’s Not Said, was published in 2020, with the sequel, What’s Not True, following closely in 2021. Taylor’s next journey will be into the world of cozy mysteries.

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ bookbub ~ goodreads

Enter the Giveaway!
Enter to win a $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD (grand prize) or a signed copy of WHAT'S NOT LOST (5 winners/USA only) (ends Mar 31)
WHAT'S NOT LOST Book Tour Giveaway


  1. Thank you, Stephanie Jane, for spotlighting WHAT'S NOT LOST and publishing my blog post!!! You're awesome!

  2. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love Valerie Taylor's "What's Not..." books.