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Saturday, November 24, 2018

What Makes My Heart Beat Faster by Amber Elby - Guest Post & Giveaway


About Amber Elby

Amber Elby is the author of fast-paced fantasy novels based in the worlds of Shakespeare’s plays. Her debut, Cauldron’s Bubble, follows the adventures of two original protagonists, Alda and Dreng, as they encounter characters and conflicts from Macbeth, Hamlet, and The Tempest. Its sequel, Double Double Toil, takes readers into the world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The final novel in the Netherfeld trilogy, Trouble Fires Burn, will be released on August 19, 2019. Amber Elby resides in Austin, Texas, and her novels are available worldwide from Amazon, Book Depository, and other online booksellers.


Books by Amber Elby
What makes my heart beat faster 
Guest post by Amber Elby

A rollercoaster? A ghost? A villain lurking in the shadows?

What makes my heart beat faster? Surely many readers associate a quickened pulse with a threat, with terror and suspense. With danger and death.

But my heartbeat is not jarred by fear. What moves me?


I remember a moment in eleventh grade, a time filled with the angst of coming into adulthood, when I pondered love. As I walked between classes in a crowded hallway, I wondered, What if my soulmate is here, in these halls? What if I see him every day and never realize it’s HIM? What if we always walk past one another, unknowing?

Several weeks later on a rainy evening, my class gathered in an old opera house for our annual dance. The boy who had accompanied me left with another girl, so I was alone and surrounded by laughing couples and circles of cliques. Then I spotted two of my male friends at the perimeter of the dance floor: one quietly avoiding his extroverted date, and the other handsome and kind and known in our class for being of a mechanical mind. I took a deep breath.

I was not one to solicit a dance. I would gladly join my male friends for games like Trivial Pursuit and Magic: The Gathering, but I was not in the habit of “chasing boys,” as my grandma would say. I did not consider myself beautiful or extraordinary; I was clever but not one whom boys should like. Still, I screwed my courage and crossed the dance floor as “Kiss Me” began to play.

And I stood awkwardly before my two friends for a beat as they stared at me, likewise uncomfortable. I stammered something that I don’t remember before I blurted, “Will one of you ask me to dance?” I do not remember my handsome, mechanically inclined friend responding, but he somehow volunteered and led me onto the dance floor.

This was not my first dance that evening. I had other, outgoing friends who whirled me to swing tunes, their hands on my hips to avoid the open back of my dress. But this dance was different.

As we found a space on the floor, my partner placed his hand on the bare skin of my back and pulled me close to him. Soon, our cheeks were touching as we swayed to the slow rhythm. I could feel his heart beat through his tuxedo, and I’m sure he could likewise feel mine. When the song ended, we stood for a moment, not letting go of each other, until an upbeat tune cleared the couples from the dancefloor.

I don’t remember exactly what happened next, but I didn’t dance with him again that night. I went for a walk to a nearby island with a small group of friends and went home soon thereafter. I didn’t see my dance partner for several days, if not weeks. But then, somehow, I found the courage to call him. Then I asked him to a movie. Then, a month later, I asked if he was my boyfriend. He said that he was.

The next year, we went to the annual dance together. And four years after that, we were married.

As I write this now, eighteen years after our dance, my hands shake. I feel adrenaline surging, and my heart flutters. Why? Because so much was at stake. So much could have been lost if I had not crossed that dance floor or if he had said no or if I had never met him, never seen him, or shared that moment when he held my back and our cheeks touched.

So maybe fear does quicken my pulse: fear of love that was lost or never came to be.

But my story – our story – thankfully, is a happy one. My husband and I did have a fairy tale ending, one with two little girls and three chubby cats and a house that we built together.

And in that time of life-building, I wrote a book. Then another. And a third is about to come into existence. In these books is love. Not steamy romance. Not eroticism. Not even awkward first dates. The books themselves are the results of love, of the support of my husband, of his faith in me and in my imagination. And yes, my characters feel love, too, the improbable pull of one heart to another, of being joined inexplicably to someone whom you know from fate and circumstance.

Can I, as a person and as a writer, fully comprehend love, its coincidence and power? No. But it’s in my heartbeat. Or rather, my heart beats for love.


One very lucky reader of With Love for books will receive a “heartbeat” themed prize pack from Amber Elby which contains a metal heart-shaped bookmark, a “love” quote decorative magnet, a signed Cauldron’s Bubble bookmark and bookplate, and a handwritten note from the author on J. T. Waterhouse stationary.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Great guest post. Love makes my heart beat faster too.

  2. Love makes my heart beat faster too. :)

  3. Great guest post, thank you for sharing!

  4. thanks for this interesting post xx

  5. Quite happy to dive into the world of Shakespeare.

  6. I enjoyed the guest post, thank you.

  7. I used to read Shakespeare as a teen. I haven't in many years. I would like to get a book written by him and read it again. Great post!


  8. Visit Amber Elby on Facebook: Sorry, this content isn't available right now
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  9. I'd love to read all these books as I do read sequels and enjoy them ;)

  10. I love Shakespear and your a new to me author so fun to find new ones

  11. great guest post! love toread thebook!

  12. I adore the way you talk about love, Amber!


  13. You were beautiful at the wedding

    alessia vercelli on form

  14. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  15. Wow, your dress is gorgeous. Not a lot scares me, but going up to guys and asking for a dance or if I can buy them a drink terrifies me. I pretend I'm old-fashioned and prefer them to, but in truth, it's far too scary lol.