Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Straight Browsing from the Library: Among the Branded by Linda Smolkin

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Linda will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

Contemporary fiction with elements of suspense, Among the Branded explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood, or our beliefs.


Greg parked along the side of the road, and we walked across the field in the direction of the music. A full orchestra took center stage, with many couples already on the dance floor. The band’s leader, in his double-breasted suit and matching bow tie, conducted with one hand and slicked his hair back with the other. Musicians played their saxophones, trumpets, and trombones and stood up on cue as part of their performance. It was the summer of 2011, and the swing dance had made its way to a field on the heels of wing-tipped shoes, flirty full skirts, and strapless gowns that sparkled like a champagne toast.

I recognized many of the songs. Even though my father wasn’t born until 1936, he still loved the music my grandfather played, the big-band style popular in the ’40s, a groovy kind of jazz with an upbeat tempo that always made you want to get up and dance. If my dad and grandfather were alive today, they’d be the first ones to say, “That’s crazy, dressing up like soldiers acting out a war.” Then I’d tell them about the band, and they’d say, “Really? Tell me more.”

Greg touched my elbow and moved his head in the direction of the floor.

“We haven’t danced since our wedding,” I said, embarrassed I’d mess up in front of all those great dancers.

“Not true.” He got up and took my hand. “We danced at your office holiday party.”

“That was like seven years ago. How do you remember?”

“Still feeling the hangover.”

“And the cost of the babysitter,” I said and walked to my favorite spot in the middle of the floor.


Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an advertising agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She’s the author of the novels Among the Branded (May 2017) and The Arrival of Elsa (March 2018). When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. She grew up on the East Coast and currently calls Virginia home.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lindasmolkin
Website: https://lindasmolkin.com
Buy Among the Branded on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSYWYL2

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  1. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

    1. Hey, Lisa, good to see you (virtually) :-). Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Good morning, everyone! I'm Linda Smolkin, author of Among the Branded, and it's great to be here! If you have any questions for me, just post them with your comment. I'll be stopping by throughout the day. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the opportunity to win and good luck with your book!

    1. Hi, Kim! Thanks for checking out my book and coming over for the blog tour!

  4. What is your favorite movie based on a book. Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

    1. Hey, Joseph, another great question! It took me a bit to think about it, since I've read so many great books that haven't stood up well on the big screen. I'd have to say that a movie I loved about as much as the book was The Silence of the Lambs. They both scared the you-know-what out of me! On my reading list this year is Breakfast at Tiffany's. I loved the movie and have always wanted to read the book. Thanks for stopping by, and for the great question!

  5. I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!