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 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 – 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 Music Monday, She's Far From Hollywood, The Writing Life

Music Monday – Some Love Songs are Sad

My romance writing playlist contains a lot of songs about the power and joy of love. But we all know that true love isn’t always sunshine and roses. There are dark times and bumps in the road. Sometimes there are even endings (although we know those endings never last in romance novels!). But I don’t think any of my characters, even in the darkness of the “black moment” in their story, ever regrets falling in love.

So this is my first sad Music Monday song – Break Up in the End by Cole Swindell. It stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it, because the bittersweet heartbreak of Tennyson’s “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” feels so real in the lyrics and in the simple, heartfelt delivery.

I think especially of Cole and Bree from She’s Far From Hollywood. Cole ends up in residential rehab for his PTSD. Bree goes back to California to deconstruct the life she used to think mattered to her. They’re hurting. But they’re also stronger people at this point than they were in the beginning, and they’re grateful for the impact they’ve had in each other’s lives.

And, of course, since it’s a romance novel, there is a Happily Ever After that occurs after Cole and Bree’s black moment, because I believe in Forever Love.

Posted in Music Monday

Music Monday – Grace (Ireland)

We danced to this Irish song at our wedding, over the objections of the Irish band we’d hired. Why did they object? Because the song is a true story, and it’s tragic. Most Irish songs are sad. In fact, CK Chesterson wrote that the Irish were mad, for “all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

But the song, Grace, is an inspiration for my tag line as a writer: Stories of Forever Love. Because love transcends all, including death. This is a song about Irish freedom fighter Joseph Plunkett, who was a young poet in poor health, and his fiancée, Grace Gifford. Joseph was arrested after joining his friends in the Easter Uprising in Dublin in 1916, a failed attempt to expel the British from Ireland that forever changed Irish history. He was executed for his efforts, but, on the eve of his execution, the British allowed him to marry his love, Grace Gifford, in the chapel of Kilmainham jail in Dublin. To me, that is forever love – marrying your beloved with that knowledge hanging over you.

How much do I love this song? I’ve seen this singer, Tommy Byrne of the Wolfe Tones, sing it live on multiple occasions. I’ve sung it myself in several countries (including Ireland!). I’ve stood in the chapel of the Kilmainham jail in Dublin where they were wed. I’ve seen the ring Joseph placed on Grace’s finger. I’ve stood where he died. I’ll be singing it at our St. Patrick’s party this weekend. I may be a bit obsessed with this Irish story of forever love. And I hope you enjoy listening to it. Erin Go Bragh!

Posted in Music Monday, Nora's Guy Next Door, The Writing Life

Music Monday – There Is Love (Nora & Asher’s Wedding Song)

I’m adding a bit of a twist to my Music Mondays – I’m imagining which of my books a love song might fit into, and where. When it comes to “There is Love” by Peter, Paul & Mary (yes, I’m going back a few years!), I can imagine this being the song Nora and Asher dance to at their wedding. Maybe not in front of their guests, but later, when they’re alone together and amazed at the love they’ve found with each other. Nora and Asher are from “Nora’s Guy Next Door.” This is a seasoned romance, where both hero and heroine are forty and dealing with impending grandparenthood. They (especially Asher) both struggle with the risk of allowing love back into their lives. But once they do, they know it’s what they were needing all along. There is love. There is love. There is love.

Posted in Music Monday

Music Monday – Great Song & Eye Candy

I’ll confess I thought this song (“Yours” by Russell Dickerson) was a lot newer than it really is. As they say in the music business, it was a “sleeper” that quietly climbed the country charts from last June to go number one on Billboard just last month. The lyrics are straight from the heart (“I was a boat stuck in a bottle that never got a chance to touch the sea…”), and earned it an immediate spot on my romance playlist.

And now that I’ve finally seen the video? Holy hotness, I’ll walk in the rain with Russell Dickerson Any. Day. Of. The. Week.

Posted in Music Monday, The Writing Life

Music Monday – Today

Music Monday is back!!! The holidays, traveling, snowmageddon and all the other distractions are behind us, and I’m getting back into my routine. And today’s special love song is…Today by Brad Paisley (one of my favorite artists). It’s a song that reminds us to hold on to the special moments in our lives, and it went onto my love song playlist the minute I heard it. The video is precious, and the words are perfect.

Posted in Music Monday

Music Monday: Only Have Eyes For You

Himself and I are about halfway through watching “The Crown” on Netflix. Yesterday we watched the “Beryl” episode, about Princess Margaret’s torrid affair with the enigmatic Tony Armstrong-Jones, whom she eventually married (and divorced…he was a complicated guy). The soundtrack included the classic by The Flamingos – “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Himself and I agreed that it is one of those songs that instantly evokes thoughts of very slow dancing, very close together, forgetting there’s anyone else in the world but the person you’re with. Appropriately enough, I found a version where The Flamingos are singing it on TV in a winter setting for a holiday mood! So grab your honey, turn it up and start your week with a sultry dance.