Review and Giveaway The Nutcracker’s Suite

The Nutcracker's Suite

About the Book

Book: The Nutcracker’s Suite

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Christmas Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: November 26, 2021

Nutcracker

“Time to dance, sugarplum.”

A painter at the Meyer’s Toys factory, Clarice Stahl, knows something is
strange about the way so many men come and go through Mr. Meyer’s
office, especially one in particular.

Then murder strikes a little too close to home and uncorks a barrel of
secrets.

When mob king, Mario Topo’s, enforcer goes missing the race is on to
prove he’s behind the murder. Police and mobsters alike are after Milo
Natale, and he who finds Milo first might determine the enforcer’s fate.

A race through the city, a new friend… or more… a new life in the
offing. Milo and Clarice must find who killed Topo’s man and why before
the police arrest him for murder or Topo’s men bump him and Clarice off,
too.

This next book in the Ever After Mysteries combines “The Nutcracker
Suite” with a murder mystery set in the heart of 1920s Rockland.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Oh, ah! How I love a good mystery. This one is just in time for Christmas. Not your usual nutcracker. I love the lingo of the 1920s mixed with the Chicago mob and a goy factory. Powerful. Heads literally crack in this installment of Ever After Mysteries.

This author never fails to pull me into her novels. In this one I wander in and out of sinister hallways, alleys, and hotels into more mysterious trouble then I knew existed. Well, I did know from history lessons. Placing characters in the 1920s, Chicago, mobs, and guns results in a race for answers before more heads roll. You’ll have to read to find out who-dun-it. I can’t tell you or my head might be the victim of the nutcracker.

Bravo Chautona Havig!

About the Author

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Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Here Are Several Fun Facts & a Secret about The Nutcracker’s Suite

You’d think that while writing a book based on the fairy tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, I’d have heard “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in my head as I wrote. Well, I guess for a brief moment I did, because at some point, someone actually says that. “Dance, sugar plum!”

But Tchaikovsky isn’t who played in my head as I wrote. Over and over, word after word, my fingers did their bourres and glissades across my keyboard to one, rather unexpected song. “Ballerina” (I prefer the version sung by Buddy Clark. You can listen HERE.)

However, there are so many elements of the original ballet’s story in mine. I thought I’d share a few of them.

Let’s talk about the cast of characters.

Clarice Stahl is our “leading lady.” It’s kind of obvious where I got her name since the original character was Clara Stahlbaum.

Clarice works for Mr. Dieter Meyer, the owner of Meyer’s Toys. He gives her the job of painting nutcrackers. So, it’s not too difficult to see the connection to Uncle Drosselmeyer who gives Clara the nutcracker, no?

All of 1925 Rockland is in the clutches of mob king, Mario Topo. For those not fluent in Italian, can you guess what “topo” is in that language? Remember… he’s the mob “king.” 😉

But I think my favorite name of all is Emiliano (I call him Milo) Natale (Christmas in Italian… just sayin’) who is known as “the nutcracker.” He’s an enforcer for Mr. Topo, and that means he squeezes people until they crack and do what Topo wants. Let’s hope he repents!

Yes, I had a boatload of fun coming up with this stuff! How’d you guess?

I have a secret to confess about this book. I’m writing this post when I’m only about a quarter of the way done. I went to get the synopsis for this tour and went, “oops!” You see, I forgot that I’d planned to make Milo going missing a big part of the plot.

Guess who has to flex? I’d better get back to it. They need to figure out who killed our victim… and why. And before Clarice is next!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Blogging With Carol, November 26

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

For the Love of Literature, November 28

By the Book, November 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 29

Inklings and notions, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

Rachael’s Inkwell, November 30

deb’s Book Review, December 1

Bizwings Blog, December 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 2

Genesis 5020, December 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 3

Simple Harvest Reads, December 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Connie’s History Classroom, December 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 5

Connect in Fiction, December 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 6

Mary Hake, December 6

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 7

Through the fire blogs, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Lots of Helpers, December 8

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 9 (Author Interview)

Back Porch Reads, December 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away to three winners one Prize box each including a paperback of The Nutcracker’s Suite, themed goodies, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card in each!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/13cfb/the-nutcracker-s-suite-celebration-tour-giveaway

Does this seem like a book you would like to read?

Don’t miss this TODAY!

You’re invited to a stellar Christmas party! There will be games, giveaways, grand prizes, puzzles, free books, more books, and 43 amazing authors to hang out with for three days! Dec. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, this coming Thursday-Saturday.

The party will be here–: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WhispersinWyomingRomance

Join today so you won’t miss out on all the fun!

Then enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win great prizes including one of 4 $100 Amazon Gift Cards.  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/822e967c10/

I cannot tell you when I’ll be posting, (but today would be a good day) so please show up at the party off and on for those days. I promise each day will be such fun!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Hold Me Close!!!

Happy Birthday to my first book baby, Hold Me Close! I feel like Frosty marching in the streets saying Happy Birthday. In December of 2018, Celebrate Lit Publishing set the course for Hold Me Close to become a reality that others could hold and read.

The reader begins the journey in the Revolutionary Faith Series set in Charles Town, South Carolina, 1772. Elizabeth Elliott, a young energetic girl, has no idea what faces her hometown. Nor is she ready for a handsome Frenchman, Louis Lestarjette who lands in the city with no plans to stay very long.

Hold Me Close introduces characters that continue in the next four books. I knew I could not leave Elizabeth and Louis as they were in the early pages. Hopefully, you want to continue the journey with them.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU!!!!

Purchase your birthday copy here:  https://www.amazon.com/Hold-Close-Revolutionary-Faith-Book-ebook/dp/B07KPPZ9DS/ref

Christmas Extravaganza Dec. 2-4! Prizes and Games

You’re invited to a stellar Christmas party! There will be games, giveaways, grand prizes, puzzles, free books, more books, and 43 amazing authors to hang out with for three days! Dec. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, this coming Thursday-Saturday.

The party will be here–: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WhispersinWyomingRomance

Join today so you won’t miss out on all the fun!Then enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win great prizes including one of 4 $100 Amazon gift cards.  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/822e967c10/

I cannot tell you when I’ll be posting, so please show up at the party off and on for those days. I promise each day will be such fun!!!

Hope to see you there!

#Because Fiction articles and giveaways

#BecauseFiction Magazine November Issue is here!

Check out articles from your favorite Christian authors such as Chautona Havig, Caryl McAdoo, Marguerite Gray, and Liz Tolsma, and enter a bunch of giveaways for some fun prizes!

Enjoy!

https://mailchi.mp/54aaf8c0649f/becausefiction-magazine-november-editions-giveaways-more-6248770

Stop by and read our #BecauseFiction November Historical Edition with featured authors such as Caryl McAdoo, Liz Tolsma, and Marguerite Martin Gray!

https://mailchi.mp/ecf5cbb9be88/becausefiction-magazine-november-historical-fiction-giveaways-6248142

I’m giving away a copy of Hold Me Close.

Review and Giveaway Garrett

Garrett

About the Book

Book: Garrett

Author: Izzy James

Genre: Christian Romance

Release date: November 27, 2020

IzzyJames_Garrett_eCover_HR

Garrett Tyler thought he was leaving Ballard House for home, secure in the knowledge that love had finally won-out for his long-time friend Olivia. He steps out the door and into the past, 1769 to be exact. While finding his bearings Garrett stumbles upon a beautiful woman being attacked. He makes sure she gets home and because of his kindness, she allows him to stay in an outbuilding—even believing his time travel story—while he figures out how he will get back to his life in the future. The more time they spend together, the deeper friendship they build, but one thing is going to rip her world apart.

Mercy Hansford is a confidant, independent woman running her own tailor shoppe. Her world is shaken when she is brutally attacked after delivering one of her sought-after shirts. The consequences of this night could be more far-reaching than either of them can guess.

Should Mercy trust a man she barely knows?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I try to read my Christmas novels in plenty of time so that readers can have the opportunity to grab one before the season begins. Garrett is A Yorktown Christmas Time Travel Novella. I love every word in the subtitle—except novella. Why? The story is so captivating that I wanted it to go on and on.

From the present to 1769, the reader travels with Garrett from the present reenacted historical town to the real thing. The questions that accompany this feat throw caution in the wake. How much can he help or alter situations? What if he changes too much? Will he be able to travel back to the present?

The fictional element of time travel draws me into the adventure. It is a favorite tool, allowing me to drift back, taking my present-day thoughts into a realistic past. Enjoy the journey. You won’t desire it to end.

About the Author

izzy_james

Izzy James grew up in coastal Virginia. She lives there still with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

More from Izzy

Why did I write Garrett?

While I was writing Max I was working through physical therapy prior to a lumbar fusion surgery. My physical therapist’s assistant was a young man named Garrett. He was intrigued that I was a writer and asked me if I would use his name in a book one day. So I had a name.

As I finished writing Max–who came forward in time from 1769–I started thinking about what it would be like for a young person of today to find himself back in 1769.

Garrett of the book bears no resemblance to Garrett of the physical therapy office! Garrett was fun to write. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

If you’d like to hear more about my books and be included in a monthly giveaway sign up for my newsletter.

Newsletter Link: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/websitesignupform0708201983447pm

Every Christmas I send Christmas cards to each member of my Christmas Club. I pray for each reader as I sign and address the cards. If you’d like a Christmas Card from me please sign up before December 1. It does require your physical address. It will never be used for anything else.

Christmas Card Link: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/websitesignupform0708201975614pm

Both email and physical addresses are held sacred. They will never be sold or used for anything but what you signed up for.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 16

Britt Reads Fiction, November 16

Texas Book-aholic, November 17

Inklings and notions, November 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19

By the Book, November 19

Simple Harvest Reads, November 20 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For Him and My Family, November 20

deb’s Book Review, November 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Kayem Reads, November 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 23

Connie’s History Classroom, November 24

Mary Hake, November 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, November 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 27

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 28

Pause for Tales, November 28

Connect in Fiction, November 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Izzy is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/133b3/garrett-celebration-tour-giveaway

Review and Giveaway Murder at the Empire

Murder at the Empire

About the Book

Book: Murder at the Empire

Author: Cathe Swanson

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: October 5, 2021

Murder at the Empire Cover

Gayle Wells is a killer organist, but does a killer have her in his sights?

They call him the Emperor.  John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees.

Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky.

Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next?

Murder at the Empire brings the Nightingale into an elegant movie palace in the roaring 20’s – but the real excitement is all off-screen.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

As I read this series of retold fairy tales set in the 1920s, I’m learning so much about the era in our country. In Murder at the Empire, Chicago comes alive with disappearing acts and sneaky murders. The new female organist at the theater innocently slips into an intriguing yet volatile otherworld in the dark halls and creaking floors of the maze of the Empire. The mystery of good guy/bad guy propels the heroine Gayle to stay the course. But what if another murder is around the corner or in the rafters?

I have enjoyed this series. The fourth book continues to inspire me with challenges and decisions that life holds—right and wrong. I’m thoroughly entertained with page-turning plots. The historical element sets up a learning environment that binds me to the era.

Thanks, Cathe Swanson for the sojourn. 

About the Author

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After 40 years of wandering (but always in lovely places and not in a desert), Cathe Swanson has recently returned to her childhood home and family in Minnesota.  In the summer, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and being outdoors, gardening, hiking, birdwatching, and kayaking. The long winters are perfect for writing books, playing games, reading, and indoor hobbies. Cathe’s been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years and enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper.

Everything inspires new books! A lifelong love of quilting, Cathe’s Swedish heritage and an interest in genealogy led to The Glory Quilts series, and The Hope Again series is inspired by her life in the Midwest and experiences with the elderly, the military, and inner-city ministry. As a child of the sixties, she’s having fun writing about hippies and the Jesus People movement in the Serenity Hill series.

Cathe writes books with creative plots and engaging characters of all ages, to glorify God and entertain and bless readers. Her heartwarming stories will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

More from Cathe

The 1920’s is a fascinating era. Women had recently won the right to vote, and America adopted the Volstead Act – Prohibition – which led to the growth of underground clubs and organized crime. Women were forging new paths in social reform, politics, science, medicine and every other career. America became more urbanized, building suburbs and developing a large middle-class population. The affordable automobile changed the entire culture! It was a time of innovation and rapidly expanding technology. Synthetic fabrics, convenience foods, electric appliances and other inventions made daily life easier. People had more free time, money and access to a variety of entertainments than ever before.

So much happened in this brief, exciting decade between the end of WWI and the Great Depression! It’s always interested me, so I was flattered and thrilled when Celebrate Lit Publishing invited me to participate in The Ever After Mysteries, a collection of 1920’s mysteries inspired by fairy tales. I’m a great fan of mysteries from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, and I read at least a thousand fairy tales as a child.

To be honest… I set about it backward. I knew I wanted to write about a young woman playing the Mighty Wurlitzer organ to accompany silent films at a glamorous movie palace, so I Iooked for a fairy tale to match it!

I chose The Nightingale, an old Chinese story about an Emperor with a beautiful palace. Everything in it was exquisite and fragile, and people came from all over the world to admire his palace. He loved to show it off and even tied little bells to the prettiest blossoms in the garden, to make sure no one missed them. When the emperor heard rumors about a bird that sang more beautifully than anything else, he sought it out and brought it home to live in the palace, where it could sing to entertain him and his guests.

At that point, the fairy tale and my story diverge. In the fairy tale, the nightingale lives in the palace singing for the court until the Emperor of Japan presents the Emperor of China with a bejeweled mechanical bird – so much prettier than the plain brown nightingale. The Chinese emperor abandons the real bird and enjoys the mechanical one until it breaks. He falls into a deep depression and is only restored to health by the return of the real nightingale.

None of that happens in Murder at the Empire, but there’s lot of other fun, jazzy excitement as the John Starek – the “Emperor” – fills his magnificent movie palace with fine artwork and beautiful things – including Chicago’s first female theater organist, Gayle Wells. He thinks she’s the bee’s knees, but she’s a pretty independent girl, busy working and saving money to buy her own car.

And then things start falling apart… with murder at the Empire. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 17

Blossoms and Blessings, November 17

Texas Book-aholic, November 18

Blogging With Carol, November 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

deb’s Book Review, November 20

Sodbusterliving, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 21

For Him and My Family, November 22

Simple Harvest Reads, November 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 25 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, November 25

Connie’s History Classroom, November 26

Genesis 5020, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 27

Connect in Fiction, November 27

Back Porch Reads, November 28

Through the fire blogs, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cathe is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/133b9/murder-at-the-empire-celebration-tour

Review and Giveaway Behind Love’s Wall

Behind Love's Wall

About the Book

Book: Behind Love’s Wall

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Genre: FICTION/ Christian/Romance

Release date: November 1, 2021

9781636090696 (2)

Two successful women, a hundred-and-twenty-years apart, build walls to protect their hearts. Modern-day Willa, a successful interior decorator, is chosen to consult for the Grand Hotel’s possible redesign. She discovers a journal detailing the struggles of a young woman, Lily—which reveals dark secrets. The renowned singer wasn’t who she pretended to be. As Willa reaches out to Lily’s descendant, a charismatic and prominent landscape artist, she lets down her guard. Should she share the journal with him, or once again erect a wall as she struggles to redesign both the Grand and her life?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Every time I travel to Mackinac Island in one of Carrie Pagels’ novels, I find myself going home to the familiar and beloved places. In this time-split installment of Doors to the Past, the adventure threads 1895 with 2020 through a mysterious journal. Accusations buried in the past seep through the walls into the lives of islanders and visitors.

I enjoy journaling. This novel makes me wonder if my words could unlock mysteries of the past. I don’t imagine anyone will care about my simple life though. Journals help the owner express feelings that otherwise go unrecorded. It is an outlet of release, a means to move forward. In this case it is a door to the past. I’m so glad I walked through this one. Thank you for the journey.

About the Author

CarrieFancettPagels

ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at http://www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.

More from Carrie

Why I Wrote This Novel

I got a chance to write another novel set on Mackinac Island!!!

I’m the author of over twenty published stories. I have many books, both novel and novella length, set at the Straits of Mackinac including Maggie Award winner and Romantic Times Top Pick My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island. In the summer, I go up to the area and I’m blessed to sign books at the Island Bookstore—sometimes hundreds of books which is such an amazing thing I can’t tell you! Now that MHBoMI is out of print, Barbour has been helping by doing limited print runs for while I am up there.

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was originally part of a full series that I pitched but it didn’t get picked up for all three stories. MHBoMI got picked up as part of the My Heart Belongs series that Barbour put out a few years ago. The second book in my original Brides of Mackinac series was heroine Sadie’s story, which was published as a novella “His Anchor” in First Love Forever collection.  So I had two of my book babies delivered out into the world and Lily’s story sat there for a while.

In the Covid summer of 2020, I arrived in my home state of Michigan and over dinner with a close friend I learned that the folks at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island were having legal trouble with their previous long-time designed Carlton Varney suing them. I’d been disappointed that the Mussers, who’d owned the Grand for generations, had sold the hotel but this new development really bugged me.  While I was in the Upper Peninsula, I finished an Indy book, Dogwood Plantation, which only figures since I often write my Michigan stories while I am in Virginia and vice versa! I knew the only other book I wanted to work on was to complete my Brides of Mackinac trilogy (not exactly since they aren’t all in one series!) with Lily’s story. I also had a manuscript about 70% done that was my very first contemporary Women’s Fiction novel. When my agent encouraged me to submit a Mackinac Island story set at the Grand Hotel to Barbour’s Doors to the Past series, I knew immediately that the only story for historical I wanted to write was Lily’s. That meant that I needed, for this dual-timeline series, a contemporary story. That wasn’t just a chance sharing at dinner—I believe the info about the lawsuit was meant to be passed on to me one of those God-incidences. My modern-day heroine then became an established resort designer who had a trunkful of issues just like Lily did.

Was I ever glad that I had finally written my first contemporary Women’s Fiction (Butterfly Cottage) because that skill set came in very handy in writing the modern-day 2020 story of Willa in Behind Love’s Wall! This was the most difficult novel to write that I have done so far as I write in character and going back and forth between the 1895 and 2020 timelines could be draining. I tried to write each character and setting on separate days but that couldn’t always be managed.

I pray that this story will touch readers’ hearts. I pray that someone, like the young waitress I meant on Mackinac Island who had been spiritually moved by My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (she read her grandmother’s copy after her grandma passed away!), will read this book and feel that connection to our Maker. That’s what Christian Fiction is all about!

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 19

Cats in the Cradle Blog, November 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 19

Inklings and notions, November 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 20

For Him and My Family, November 21

Mary Hake, November 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

For the Love of Literature, November 22

deb’s Book Review, November 23

Betti Mace, November 23

Genesis 5020, November 23

Older & Smarter?, November 24

Remembrancy, November 24

Blossoms and Blessings, November 25

Stephanie’s life of determination, November 25

Connect in Fiction, November 25

Rebecca Tews, November 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 26

Through the fire blogs, November 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 27

Pause for Tales, November 27

Bigreadersite, November 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 28

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 28

Connie’s History Classroom, November 29

Bizwings Blog, November 29

Labor Not in Vain, November 29

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 30

To Everything There Is A Season, November 30

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 1

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen, December 1

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 1

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/137e9/behind-love-s-wall-celebration-tour-giveaway