Friday, March 13, 2020

Learning to Bend by Michelle Davis Guest Post and Giveaway

Welcome to the book tour for Learning to Bend by Michelle Davis. Today she is sharing with us a great guest post comparing writing and publishing her book to riding a bike. I actually understand her story so much better than I can even begin to tell you. Please enjoy and then read an excerpt from the book. Let her know what you think after you download your copy. Follow the tour for even more fun. And then enter the amazing giveaway!


It's Not About the Bike by Michelle Davis – August 2019

Similar to Jenna, the main character in Learning to Bend, I’m challenged on a bike. It stems from my childhood. Let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly the adventurous type – I was happy playing with Barbies, reading comic books, and doing art projects. Still, I vividly recall my first bike – a Schwinn Stingray complete with a banana seat and a yellow and orange frame. I remember riding up and down our sidewalk– with training wheels on and our dog’s leash attached to the handlebars. Early on I figured out an “easier” way to ride. I think that I might have been the last kid in our neighborhood to lose the training wheels.

As I grew older my friends and I really never rode our bikes. Biking was more of a vacation activity – riding flat roads on a rented blue bike with a white basket hanging from the handlebars. To stop these bikes, you just peddled backwards. The seats were soft, and they had kickstands. Easy, plain, and simple.

But then I married a man who loved to mountain bike. One Christmas he gave me a “very nice” mountain bike. This was a piece of art that should have been displayed inside, not stored in our garage. It was beautiful, but it intimidated the hell out of me. Still, I tried.

Let’s just say it wasn’t a high point in our marriage. I think I called him words that one should never say to her husband. And then, as I disembarked at a red light, I managed to take off about six inches of the skin on my right shin as my leg scraped the metal pedal.

Yet I wrote it off to my first time out, so I tried it again. But that “easy” bike ride was anything but. Once again, I employed my less than classy vocabulary to ensure that my husband knew exactly how I felt about that experience. After that the bike never left the garage… until we sold it at a huge loss.

This experience pretty much confirmed my suspicion about mountain biking. That was “his” thing, not mine. But life has a way of twisting and turning. Two and a half years ago we found ourselves spending significant time in Bend, Oregon – a mountain biking mecca. When a friend offered to take me riding on the trails, I readily agreed. I was sort of athletic, and if I were going to be in Bend, then I needed to mountain bike, right?

Maybe not – I again managed to take another six inches of skin off my right shin. Yep, that damn metal spiked pedal was the culprit. Plus, I fell into a very prickly bush, which didn’t help matters. I felt that this was an omen warning me to stay off of mountain bikes. So, I took heed. Sure, I’d take my hybrid bike out on the road, but its thin wheels couldn’t handle dirt. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never ride these magnificent trails.

But then this past winter I started to spin a lot. It was an amazing workout, and here was the best part – I couldn’t fall off. I had finally found my kind of bike!

However, this summer when we returned to Bend, I missed spinning. Plus, I witnessed how happy my husband would be after returning from the trails. It made me wonder – since I love spinning and being outside, what would happen if I gave mountain biking one more try? I took a risk and bought a mountain bike.

The second day out on the “baby” trails, I realized that my issue is not with the bike, it’s the feelings I experience while biking. When I’m riding on the trails all sorts of emotions emerge that make me uncomfortable:

- Will I fall and hurt myself?
- Will I look ridiculous?
- How can I navigate through the rocks?
- What if the ground is too sandy and gives out?
- What if I come across a dangerous animal?
- What if I make a wrong turn?
- What if I get left behind?
- Will I hit the tree trunk when riding between two trees?
- Will I break too hard and topple over my handlebars?

And the list goes on.

Being on a bike illuminated hidden fears, forcing me to second guess myself and doubt my abilities. It’s like trying on a bathing suit in a brightly lit dressing room – there is no hiding anything. All that you wish wasn’t there is in plain view. That is what riding a bike does to me.

But I want to become proficient on this mountain bike and maneuver the easy trails so I can ride with my husband and friends. So, I have a decision to make. I either strap on my helmet and climb onto this bike, or I play it safe and avoid those uncomfortable feelings.

It’s a similar dilemma I faced regarding self-publishing my book, Learning to Bend. Keeping it as a word document on my laptop would be safe. No one can judge my writing, criticize the characters, or laugh at the plot. But if I want to grow, expand, and see what I can truly become, I must put the manuscript out there, just as I know I must get on the bike if I want to have the joy of riding.

And who knows what will happen as I leave my comfort zone and try. Sure, I may fall down or my book may not sell. But that’s not what it’s all about. For if I never try and fail to venture into uncharted waters, then how will I ever know what I am capable of?

Jenna Moore's flawlessly orchestrated life and engagement to Ben Kelly, “the perfect man,” vanish when she discovers a controlling side of her fiancé. Confused and unsure of who she is without Ben, Jenna decides to uproot from her safe, predictable life in Boston and move to Bend, Oregon, hoping to find her answers there. It’s when she meets Jackson, a former Navy SEAL who battles demons of his own, that Jenna finds the courage to let go of being perfect and embrace uncomfortable risks, transforming her life through forgiveness, compassion, surrender and acceptance. Yet the rewards from discovering her true self exceed Jenna’s expectations – not only does she find the greatest love of her life, but she also understands what’s kept her from learning to bend.

Read an excerpt:
I’m drawn to a solitary man with shoulder length thick brown hair sitting alone at a café table. I try not to stare, but I can’t help myself. When I get closer, I see a faint scar on his cheek. It intrigues me. He intrigues me. Yet it’s his captivating green eyes that truly catch my attention. I look in the opposite direction and make it appear as if I’m about to walk away. But I can’t, he pulls me toward him. I pause, actually freeze in my tracks before I find my body shifting in his direction. He’s drinking coffee and gazing at me. Who is he and why am I feeling this way? Doing my best to regain some composure, I try to avert my eyes, but they won’t stop staring at him. What is it? He’s not traditionally handsome – he’s more of a sensual “bad boy” type – nothing like Ben. Suddenly, I feel my throat tighten and butterflies appear inside my stomach. I become conscious about my hair. I’ve had a helmet on all day. It must look awful.

Stop it. He’s just some stranger.

Although he’s sitting, I quickly assess his height and notice his chiseled muscular build. I’m guessing that he’s older than me, by at least five or more years. Something deep inside of me begins to stir as I pass by his table. That’s when I hear, “Place the weight on your inside toe when you turn. You’re using your knees too much.”

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Michelle Davis, whose career path includes banking, teaching, and college admissions consulting, holds a B.S. in Finance from Lehigh University and a M.S. in Education from St. Joseph’s University. Through her blog, elevate, Michelle’s goal is to inspire others to shift their perspectives and welcome change as they realize their life purpose. A Pennsylvania native, Michelle and her husband enjoy visiting their sons in Boston and spending time in Bend, Oregon, the settings of her debut novel, Learning to Bend. To learn more about Michelle and how to elevate your life, visit

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The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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  1. Thanks for taking time to share your book with us and it's always a pleasure in our family to learn about a new one.

  2. I'm glad to see that I am not the one who was a klutz on a bike. My folks didn't let me ride farther than our house so I never developed any expertise, lol. Thank you for sharing.

  3. My family loves reading so hearing about another great book I appreciate. Thanks for sharing and also for the giveaway.

  4. Do you have a degree in creative writing?


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