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

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 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 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 Meet Me in the Middle, Music Monday

Music Monday: Heaven (Ben & Sarah)

One of my favorite new singers is a young artist who doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a typical country artist. But Kane Brown can really sing a love song. And he’s one good-looking dude, too! I can’t get enough of his very intimate song, Heaven.

In fact, Kane reminds me of Ben in my novella, Meet Me in the Middle, which is part of the Falling For You anthology. Ben doesn’t exactly fit into any mold, either. He’s a biker with a gentle heart and an impossible-to-ignore attraction to his kid sister’s best friend.

I can easily picture Ben and Sarah slow-dancing to Kane’s song on a Friday night at The Chalet in Gallant Lake. Yeah, that could definitely happen.

Posted in Music Monday, Nora's Guy Next Door

Music Monday – Like I’m Gonna Lose You (Asher & Nora)

Of all my couples, Nora and Asher of Nora’s Guy Next Door are the two who truly understand how fragile life can be. Nora lost a husband. Asher lost a son. And while their story is all about moving on and embracing life and love, the reality of losing someone is surely never far from their minds.

So I can picture the two of them sitting out on the wide covered porch of the log home Asher built on Gallant Mountain, with Meghan Trainor’s beautiful song, Like I’m Gonna Lose You, playing in the background. They’ve watched the sunset together, talking about their day and enjoying a a glass of wine for Nora, whiskey for Asher. The song comes up on Nora’s playlist, and Asher stands and pulls a surprised Nora out of her chair and into his arms. And there, on a warm spring night (spring will get warm eventually, right?), the two of them dance together in the moonlight. Nora’s head rests on his shoulder, and when Meghan and John Legend stop singing, Asher leads her upstairs to continue their slow dance…

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, She's Far From Hollywood

Music Monday: “Woman, Amen” (Cole & Bree)

Not only was Dierks Bentley himself an inspiration for Cole Caldwell in She’s Far From Hollywood (hello – have you seen the man?), but his music also filled my playlist while I was writing it. His newest song Woman, Amen instantly found a home on my romance writer’s playlist. I imagine it as the soundtrack for the final scene in the book, when Cole and Bree are in the barn, soaked to the skin from the storm, declaring their…..well, you should really read the book to get the complete picture.