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Posted in Lowery Women, Music Monday, She's Far From Hollywood, The Writing Life

Music Monday – You Make It Easy (Cole & Bree)

The summer months are heating up here in the south, and that always makes me think of the book inspired by all that “heat” – my debut romance, She’s Far From Hollywood. Carolina farmer Cole meets Hollywood diva Bree and sparks fly immediately! They can’t seem to get along, and yet they can’t seem to stay apart, either. And one of my favorite scenes happens in a steaming hot hayloft on a stifling summer afternoon (excerpt below).

Jason Aldean’s hit song, You Make It Easy, is a song I think Cole could have actually written for Bree. She smoothed his rough edges just enough, and he’s in awe of her as well as being in love with her. It’s a great song, and it was an instant-add to my romance playlist!

Here’s that infamous hayloft scene from She’s Far From Hollywood, Book 1 of my Lowery Women Series:

The closer she came to the metal roof of the barn, the hotter it got. Her body shifted into autopilot, and she kept pushing forward. The sooner this was over, the sooner she could get away from Cole Caldwell’s annoying presence and step into a nice, cool shower. She was pushing a particularly large bale over her head when her arms started to tremble with exhaustion. She stepped back so she could use her whole body to shove the stubborn bale into place…

The bale under her foot tipped farther, the one in her hands tumbled free and she was falling. But not for long. Arms like iron gripped her and scooped her up before she could cry out. Cole had leaped up two levels and caught her in mid-air. He twisted and threw himself back against the stacked bales behind him and they both came to a sudden stop…

For a few heartbeats, neither of them moved. The only sound was the chug-chug of the hay elevator. She raised her head and met his eyes, which were just above her own. Instead of the usual cold gray, his were dark and intense. Without moving his head, he slowly lowered her legs until she was standing, but still trapped tightly in the circle of his arms. The suffocating heat of the loft now felt cool against her skin compared to the fire burning between them. Every nerve ending was on high alert. 

His mouth was right there. Right. There. She could feel his breath moving across her cheeks, and she closed her eyes at the delicious sensation of it. She opened them again when she heard a low moan from deep in his throat. Whatever was happening, Cole was feeling it, too…

She could stop him. She could reach up and kiss him and stop him from letting her go. His lips were still just inches away. He shook his head slowly, as if he’d read her mind. His voice was raspy and labored when he broke the feverish silence. 

“You and me are a bad idea, Hollywood.”

She nodded and whispered the words back at him. 

“Bad idea.”

He released her and stepped back, putting more space between them. His voice was stronger this time.

“A very bad idea.”

 

Posted in Rendezvous Falls, The Writing Life

Welcome to Rendezvous Falls!

Rendezvous Falls Twitter

I’m so excited! (cue the Pointer Sisters!). I just inked a contract to create a brand new contemporary romance series for HQN! Not only will I be continuing to write Gallant Lake romances for Harlequin Special Edition, I will also be writing the stories of Rendezvous Falls, NY. This fictional town is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes wine country. Rendezvous Falls is famous for its wildly-colored, fanciful Victorian homes, and its citizens are just as unique and colorful as the town is. When the senior book club gets bored and decides to try their hand at matchmaking, the results are… interesting… because love is stranger than fiction. Their matches don’t always (never…) work out they way they plan, yet somehow love finds a way to bring the right people together.

Each book will have three points of view–heroine, hero and one member of the book club. A few book club members (a diverse and touching group of friends) will find their own “seasoned romance” Happily Ever Afters along the way.

Book 1: Corporate auditor Whitney Foster returns to her onetime childhood haven, Rendezvous Falls, to regroup after finding herself suddenly unemployed. She discovers  her widowed Aunt Helen’s winery is falling into disrepair and flirting with financial ruin. Whitney blames the most likely culprit: Falls Legend Winery’s manager. But her suspicions can’t erase the fact that Luke Rutledge’s disheveled yet determined vibe intrigues her, even if he is whispered about in town as “one of those Rutledge Boys.” When Aunt Helen’s book club decides to set Whitney up on a few blind dates to distract her from going crazy while she attempts to unravel the books, Luke realizes that he cares about the nosy “bean counter” far more than he thought.

So I’ll be hiding away in my writing cave for the next few (many!) months, creating the stories that you’ll be able to buy everywhere starting in the summer of 2019. I’ll also be working on updating the website to reflect the three existing series – Lowery Women, Gallant Lake and now – Rendezvous Falls! 

Posted in Music Monday

Music Monday – All About The Wine

There's a new series coming........png
     Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter already know this, but I have a new series coming in 2019 that I am really excited about!
    I’ll be sharing A-L-L the details, including introducing the characters of Book 1, on Thursday. But for today, here’s a Music Monday hint at that first book.
    I fell in love with Hide the Wine by Carly Pearce the first time I heard it on Pandora. And then I saw the video and OMG – love it! She’s just as sassy as the heroine in Book 1. And, well….there’s wine (hint-hint).
Posted in Music Monday, The Life She Wants

Music Monday – Believe in Us (Shane & Mel)

Cover Life She WantsOn the recent season finale of The Voice on NBC, Alicia Keys (love her!) and James Bay (OMG!) did a duet that literally gave me goosebumps. It immediately went on my romance playlist, and I knew the couple it belonged to. This is a song with all the angst and emotion of Shane and Melanie in my most recent release, The Life She Wants.

A hot-shot sports agent on his way to the top. A former supermodel looking to just slow down. When their paths cross, they will be forced to re-evaluate everything they thought they wanted. But in the end, it’s love that gives them the answer. I can actually hear this song playing when Shane comes back to Gallant Lake with a whole new goal for his life – Mel.

Posted in Gallant Lake, Music Monday, The Writing Life

Music Monday – Writer on a Deadline!

I generally use Music Mondays to share love songs from my romance playlist. But I’m shaking things up this week because it’s that dreaded time in an author’s life: DEADLINE WEEK. Well, technically the deadline for my first book in the new Gallant Lake series for Harlequin Special Edition is in ten days, but close enough. I have to get this book done, because it’s…it’s not done. TEN DAYS, PEOPLE!

So I’m sharing a song I’ve been playing on repeat all weekend because it calms me (a little). I thought maybe you might have stuff going on that makes you need the same message – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright. Meanwhile I’ll be over here blubbering into my wine glass and typing 24/7.

Posted in Lowery Women, Music Monday, The Life She Wants

Music Monday – A Wedding Song for Shane & Mel

Life - Checklist

With all the royal wedding excitement this week, I thought I’d share the little-known song Himself and I danced to at our wedding – the Irish Wedding Song. It’s sung here by Andy Cooney, whom we’ve seen in concert several times.

I say it’s little-known, but anyone from an Irish family (like the one I married into) has probably heard this song before, like…at every Irish wedding they’ve ever been to. Listening to it just now sure brought back memories for both of us.

So it only makes sense that Shane Brannigan, the Boston-Irish hero of my upcoming June release, The Life She Wants, would expect to dance to this when he marries Melanie Lowery. I can see the two of them swaying together on the veranda of the Gallant Lake Resort, surrounded by friends and family, as someone (maybe Andy Cooney?) croons this song to them. Perfect, don’t you think?

Posted in Gallant Lake, Music Monday, The Writing Life

Music Monday – In the Mood for Love

Strong Enough Dock Crop

This week, instead of matching a love song to an existing story, I’m sharing the music I played while writing my current work-in-progress. This book (the deadline is this month!!!) will be my first Harlequin Special Edition romance, releasing in 2019. It will be Book One of the Gallant Lake series. And this weekend I was writing that very special scene – the first time Nick and Cassie make love.

They’ve already shared a surprising kiss after the coworkers became friends. Or maybe it wasn’t so surprising, since they were at the Kissing Rock up on Gallant Mountain. They spend the following week agreeing to pretend that kiss never happened, but then Cassie ends up in Nick’s kayak at night, which leads to them both getting wet, which leads to them both getting…well…naked.

And what better mood music for writing what happens next than the classic by the incomparable Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It on.

Posted in The Writing Life

Beginnings: The Life She Wants

Life - ChecklistThis month, I’ve shared the beginnings of each of my books. And this beginning is quite a teaser – it’s the beginning of my upcoming June release, The Life She Wants. If you’ve read the first two books of the Lowery Women series, you’ll recognize a few familiar names here, and get a big surprise about one of them!

And hey – don’t forget to sign up for my brand new newsletter (just click “Subscribe” in the upper right corner of the page)!

And one more thing not to forget – don’t forget to pre-order The Life She Wants!

………………………………………..

Melanie, can I skip this necklace? It seems like overkill to me.”

“Mel, you don’t really expect me to wear these shoes, do you?”

“Melanie, this dress is way too short for a grandmother.”

“Mel…”

Melanie Lowery closed her eyes and took a long, slow breath.

If this was Paris or New York City, this type of fashion-model rebellion would never be tolerated. But Mel wasn’t in Paris. And while technically in New York State, she was nowhere near the fashion district. The three women in front of her were not professional models. They were her cousins, and they had volunteered to help her market this collection.

They were doing her a favor.

She could not scream at them.

One more deep breath.

“Amanda,” she said—as calmly as possible—to the petite blonde in the blue sheath, “it’s not a necklace, it’s an extension of the dress that happens to fasten around your neck. That jeweled bib is what makes the dress special. So please. Just. Put. It. On.”

The tall redhead standing by the door wore a flowing floral gown. Bright orange stilettos dangled from her fingers. Bree’s face said it all, but Mel stopped the inevitable flow of opinions before it began.

“Bree, I picked those shoes specifically for that dress. They match the clutch you’ll be carrying. It’s almost like I planned it that way.” She tried to keep the sarcastic edge from her voice, but failed.

“Pull in your claws, Mel. It’s not the color I’m worried about, it’s the crazy heels. I can’t walk in these things.”

“Seriously? I’ve seen you walk Hollywood red carpets in higher.”

“That was a lifetime ago. There’s not much call for stilettos on the farm.” Bree patted her protruding belly. “And don’t forget my passengers. Twins, babe. Twins. They’re wreaking havoc with my balance, not to mention my ankles.”

“Okay, Bree, I get it. Twins.”

……

“Nora.” Mel turned to face her eldest cousin, who was frowning at herself in the mirror while tugging at the hem of the dark red cocktail dress. “You may be a grandmother, but you’re forty, not eighty. That length makes your legs go on forever, so please stop yanking it out of shape!”

Amanda slipped her arm around Melanie’s waist. “Mel, you’re not even dressed yet, and dinner is in half an hour. We may not be models like you, but we’ll be fine. Go get your dress on, and we’ll meet outside the ballroom in thirty, okay?” Amanda turned serious, giving her a quick squeeze. Mel knew what was coming next.

“Are you okay?”

Note: The reader will come to see that’s a “code” question that Melanie gets asked a lot. Because there was a time not too long ago when she was definitely not okay. When she leaves this room and heads off to get dressed, she’ll meet a brash sports agent who will turn her already stressful life upside down. Shane Brannigan is chasing all the things that nearly destroyed Mel. Their lives are heading in totally opposite directions, and they’ll each have to examine their goals and redefine what “success” looks like to make it work. 

Posted in Newsletter

A Newsletter Is Born!

Newsletter Sign-Up - Website

Read Below for a Special Giveaway!

I tend to procrastinate when it comes to tasks that intimidate me.

Write an 80,000 word romance novel? No problem!

Create a newsletter for my followers? *PANIC ATTACK!*

Part of it is because I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of having followers. Remember, my debut novel came out just over a year ago, so this is all new to me. The goal of a writer, of course, is to have people love their books. But it’s also an intimidating concept, and I’ll confess that I’ve ignored some parts of the process out of fear of screwing it up.

Things like asking people to review my books.

Things like asking people to subscribe to a newsletter about…me. What? 

But it’s time for me to put on my big girl pants and learn to handle the marketing end of the business with a more serious approach than just throwing random stuff on social media (although I’m very happy for the hundreds of followers I have there – Hi, Everyone!).

Phase 1 of that serious approach is creating a newsletter. Scroll up to the top of this page and check out the “Subscribe” box on the top right! My plan is for the newsletter to be quarterly, with “special editions” coming up for book releases or really big news (and boy, do I have some really big news coming up…….shhh!). I want to provide a newsletter that’s fun and offers some exclusive content, a peek at my writing process, book news, occasional giveaways, and silly things like pictures of hot guys, cool places, recipes, etc. Be patient with me for the first few issues, as I’m definitely still pretty low on the learning curve!

Cover Life She WantsSince I have a new book – The Life She Wants – coming up in June and, since I have some advance copies…I will randomly select five names from the first twenty people to sign up for my newsletter on Monday and will send those five people a signed ARC for The Life She Wants. I sure hope winners will share reviews of the book once they’ve read it! 

Phase 2 of my plan (in case you were wondering) is coming later this year. I will be creating a private Facebook group for my most devoted followers, where we can talk books and have opportunities to receive ARCs for reviewing and have special giveaways. But one thing at a time, and right now that’s the new NEWSLETTER!

Posted in Excerpts, Meet Me in the Middle, The Writing Life

Beginnings: Meet Me in the Middle

Meet Me Meme Home (1)I’m visiting “beginnings” with this month’s excerpts, and today is a peek at my October novella, Meet Me in the Middle, which is part of the Falling For You anthology of small town romances. Meet Me in the Middle is set in the small town of Gallant Lake, which is also the setting for my upcoming Harlequin Special Edition series called…yup, you guessed it–the Gallant Lake Series.

Schoolteacher Sarah is feeling bad that breaking up with her ex has messed up her best friend’s wedding plans, since they’re still both in the wedding party. She doesn’t anticipate her friend’s solution to the problem, though, which puts Sarah much too close to her old high school crush–bad boy Ben Conway.

Ben’s only in town long enough to see his kid sister get married, then he’s hopping back on his bike and following the sun to Florida, determined to maintain his rolling stone lifestyle despite the loneliness he’s been feeling lately. But sweet Sarah Lowery makes him rethink his plans, and his life.

…………………………………………….

Sarah Jones dropped her head to her desk with a thunk and a groan.

“The full moon got to your monsters, too?”

She rolled her head just enough to open one eye and see her best friend, Jacqueline Conway, standing in the classroom doorway. They both taught at Gallant Lake Elementary School. The small resort town of Gallant Lake, nestled in the Catskill Mountains of New York, had seen better days, but it was working hard to make a comeback. Kind of like Sarah.

“Just kill me now, Jackie. No, don’t bother—I’m already dead.” Sarah raised her head, rubbing her temples with her fingertips. “I’m trying to teach them about the Middle Ages, and all they want to talk about is Game of Thrones and whether Westeros is a real place. I lost control completely once someone mentioned dragons.”

“At least sixth-graders can discuss something interesting. My little minions revolted shortly after lunch, and I swear for a minute there they were plotting to lock me in the closet and take over the school.” Jackie kicked off her stylish pumps and sat on the corner of Sarah’s desk, hiking up her skirt to cross her legs. “I was trying to explain the difference between odd and even numbers, and that rotten little Billy Johnson started labeling everyone in class as odd or even. There were tears and a general meltdown of decorum, including mine. I dread the emails I’ll be getting this weekend.”

Sarah winced. Technology meant teachers were available to parents 24/7, and those ranting emails that mommies and daddies fired off at midnight were so much fun to wake up to. She nodded in sympathy. “Yeah, I used to think your second-graders would be more controllable because they were smaller, but…”

Jackie finished the thought. “But they have the attention spans of gnats.” She brushed her long, dark hair back over her shoulder, looking like a poster girl for Hot for Teacher. “So about the wedding…”  

Sarah grimaced. Jackie was getting married in a week, and Sarah felt responsible for messing up a year’s worth of careful planning.

“You know I love you…” Jackie hesitated. They’d been best friends since kindergarten. Long enough for Sarah to know there was always a “but” coming when Jackie said those words. “…but I don’t have a lot of options. The only solution is to have you with Ben…”

“Ben? No. No.” Sarah was not sitting with Jackie’s big brother at the wedding.  

“It’s not that big of a wedding party, Sarah. Carl and Nicole are best man and maid of honor. I planned on having Lashonna sit with Ben, and you with Aaron. But unless you want to spend my wedding sitting with your cheating bastard of an ex, I have to put Aaron with Lashonna, which leaves…Ben.” Jackie patted Sarah’s arm. “It’ll be fine, as long as you don’t mind being with a shaggy-haired biker. He’s probably forgotten all about you following him around like a puppy dog when we were kids.”

Note: Ben definitely did NOT forget about Sarah, or the two kisses they shared way back when. Maybe the third time will be the charm….