Monday, February 29, 2016

Wendy May Andrews take on love.

What does love mean to me?

Why do I read romance books?

To me, true love is both exciting and comforting all at once. True love takes time. It is not the first thrill of infatuation, but the deep love that can only come after months and years together. You still find your partner attractive, engaging, even fascinating, but you can also comfortably be yourself without fear of judgment. True love means always having someone in your corner, and always being in theirs. Being each other’s number one fan but also being willing to be honest and telling your partner what they need to hear, even when it’s not what they want to hear. True love centers your life, and lays a foundation for your future.

The demonstration of true love, to me, is when my husband searches for a Mexican restaurant wherever we travel, because he knows it’s my favorite, even though it’s not his. Or when he’ll happily listen to me gush about my latest writers’ workshop or sounds as though he knows my characters almost as well as I do even though he hasn’t read my manuscript. True love is truly taking an interest in your partner’s interests, even if they aren’t really your cup of tea.

Hilariously, though, that is not what romance novels are usually about. They are generally about the infatuation stage, which is the thrilling aspect of love. It is for that excitement that I read romance books. They are entertaining and enjoyable, a fabulous escape from the day to day. Romance books take you on a journey to a different time and place where you can experience the thrill of new love vicariously through the characters’ eyes.

I love romance books! And enjoy the thrill of reading them. I love being able to write romantic stories and I am grateful to my fellow writers who write for my enjoyment.

Happy reading :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friendship Friday ~Growing Up Neighbors~

Little Deborah Harrington stared across the street the day the Michaels family moved in. Who was this family? Would she even like them? Nicholas Michaels hated the fact he had to move away from everything and everyone in his life, but his feelings change when he meets the Harringtons. Deborah and Nicholas become the best of friends, and as the children grow up, their friendship deepens. But when tragedy strikes, will this cause them to part ways? Or will it perhaps make them realize they may have stronger feelings for one another before it's too late?
Growing Up Neighbors will take you on a journey through life's ups and downs, the ultimate destination is love. 
Available on kindle unlimited for FREE! The kindle ebook price is just $2.99. Growing Up Neighbors is also available in paperback for $9.99!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Excerpt from Fearless of the Fall

“It was another good day today,” I stated. 
            “Days like these you have to store up in your memory.  You pull them out on dark days when all seems hopeless,” he forewarned. 
            I mulled this over in my head for a little bit.  After the dark days I had fairly recently been through, it was a blessing to live some good days.  Jesse was right.  I need to store up this day and last night for that matter.  Hopefully even tomorrow. “Sometimes Jesse, you seem too mature to be hanging around us.”  I teased. 
            “Don’t do that.  Don’t put yourself down, or even compare yourself to anyone.  We are all equal here.  I’m not better than anyone, and believe me, I know that,” Jesse chastised while stopping to make his point. 
            “Jesse, I was joking.”
            “Abs, I know you. You are always putting yourself down.  Stop it.  As I told you earlier, you are amazing,” he reiterated, giving my shoulders a shake. 
We made it to the track.  It looked so peaceful.  I had to stop to take it in.  It wasn’t a breathtaking sight.  But for riders like us, it was a slice of heaven in the dark.  We headed over to the picnic table to sit and just be still.  Sitting quietly, we let the night fall in around us. An owl hooted from a nearby tree.  A wisp of a breeze lifted a few hairs on Jesse’s head. Leaves gently rustled below us on the ground.  I would miss the warmer weather.  I hated not riding through the winter. 
Jesse put his arm around me as we sat on top of the picnic table.  He planted a kiss on top of my head.  I smiled and let my head fall on his shoulder.
            “Thanks Jesse.”
            “For what?” he asked, pulling back to look in my face.
            “For this, for being my friend, and forgiving me,” I vocalized.
            “It’s easy Abs, with you everything seems easy,” he shared, pulling me closer to him.

Monday, February 22, 2016

What I love—Road Trips

Yes, I know it’s February, and, yes, Valentine’s Day is what everybody thinks about, but I’m not much of a Valentine gal. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy chocolates, and fresh-cut flowers are a staple in my home, but those aren’t my favorite things.

To tell you the truth, I’m not a terribly romantic person, which makes me laugh, since I write romance novels. Go figure!

Next to writing, road trips rock my world. I don’t just love them in February. I love them whenever the mood strikes my husband and me to take one. As it turns out, we will be taking one in February, and we will be on the road February 14. Hubby knows better than to give me chocolate (I’m trying to lose weight), and where on earth would I put a vase of fresh-cut flowers in my car? One little bump or sharp turn, and there would be a flower explosion—better to wait until we get home, right?

When I was young, my husband and I worked for an airline. We traveled abroad quite a bit—then we had kids. The travel stopped, save to visit family. When our kids were young, we moved from Texas to North Dakota. Talk about culture shock. We loved it there, however. I home schooled and we were able to visit several surrounding states. And so started my love of road trips. Visiting Mount Rushmore and Glacier National Park was just the beginning. Our move to Ohio introduced us to Amish country.

I was hooked.

It took 39 years of married life to say we visited all 50 states. Now that we reached that milestone, what’s next? Simple—more road trips.

Traveling allows me to work on my photography, and is a constant source of inspiration. Whether we’re driving the back roads of Texas, snaking our way through the Rocky Mountains, speeding across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, or traveling the coast, settings and story ideas are there for the taking.

My first CR book, “The Rose Ring,” was originally set in New York City, but it never felt right, so I went back to my love of mountains and open spaces. Not only is the love story a better one, the family dynamics and secondary characters are a lot more interesting.

I may have gotten a late start as an author, but I’m thankful that early retirement has allowed my husband and I the freedom to explore this wonderful country—one road trip at a time.
The Rose Ring:

Friday, February 19, 2016

What inspired Pigsty Princess?

When my husband and I were writing Sword & Illusion, I gave my hero a sister who was more interested in clothes and dances than the serious issues facing their kingdom. I got to wondering what would happen if a King was so fed up with his daughter depleting the kingdom's treasury for her frivolity and decided to marry her off to a poor pig farmer? I even came up with the title before I had written a single word.
When it came right down to writing it, though, I started thinking that a father who really loved his daughter wouldn't do something so final against her will, so I had to play around with the idea a little to come up with the story as it stands.
I always knew Mariana would find out that her husband was a rebel fighting against the King, but much of the details of the plot came through brainstorming with my husband and critique group. In fact, one major plot point came to me while I was chopping vegetable for dinner, and I nearly stopped cooking to go rewrite the book for this point (which I won't specify as it's a MAJOR thing). When I told my husband what I'd come up with, he just shook his head and said, "That's really good.
Pigsty was my 2011 NaNoWriMo book, and during the writing and rewriting, the TV show Reign came on, and regardless of anyone's feelings about the historical accuracy of the show, I love it and have gotten several ideas for scenes or characters from watching it. I see it like an epic fantasy, which is my genre, and much of what I'm putting in the sequel to Pigsty, called Questionable Queen has come from that show.

Nancy S. Brandt, fantasy author
Pigsty Princess - the story of a pretty, pretty princess and the family that wants her dead.
Sword & Illusion - Warrior woman and a Prince, dragons and magic

Books available at all online retailers.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Crush/Heartbreak/First Love YA Book Series Playlist by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Crush/Heartbreak/First Love YA Book Series Playlist by Krysten Lindsay Hager

I write books for teens and preteens with both my Landry’s True Colors Series and my Star Series. That means I write a lot about dealing with crushes, unrequited love, what ifs, if onlys, and then those first loves—those innocent sweet times we remember when we look back. When writing those types of scenes, I like to listen to music first to get in the right frame of mind. Sometimes I play songs that are more like the crush type of relationships so I put on music such as the Taylor Swift or R5 variety. I often play songs from when I was a preteen way before I ever had any guys returning my feelings! Sometimes it’s those memories from before the girl/boy dances that stand out even more than the ones from the actual years when I did have a boyfriend—or when I did one of those things where you referred to it as, “going with someone,” and your parents (or any adult in a five-mile radius) would ask, “What does that mean?” And you couldn’t really answer because you didn’t know either. I actually had one of my character’s grandmother’s ask her what that meant.
I’m not sure why the pre-relationship songs stand out more in my memory, but they are what fuels the stories more than the songs I listened to when I was actually the age of Landry and Hadley (my teenage main characters). Maybe it’s because the crushes were filled with those “if only,” or “what if,” feelings that made it seem like anything was possible or if it was easier to get more caught up in a fantasy, but the pre-relationships songs I grew up listening to are often what I put on before I start to write a scene. Some of those songs include singles from Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
I also have my set of heartbreak songs that I put on before writing either an unrequited love scene or a break up scene. For those I like Boyce Avenue’s “Change Your Mind,” Clark Manson’s “Track 9,” Mariah Carey’s “Can’t Let Go.” And then there are the defiant, I don’t need a relationship song, in which I turn to the classic, “Girlfriend,” by Pebbles. Here’s a list of songs I use by category:

Crush Songs
Becky G- Shower
The perfect first crush song. I can see Landry singing this in…where else? The shower!
Taylor Swift-You Belong With Me
I can imagine Landry singing this song in her head while she’s trying to figure out who her crush, Vladi, is really interested in.
R5- Smile
A cute boy/girl first crush song. Plus, I imagine Ross Lynch as looking like Vladi Yagudin.
How Will I Know-Whitney Houston
I can totally see Landry dancing to this in her bedroom as she wonders if her crush likes her as more than a friend and then asking her best friends (Peyton and Ashanti) to decipher every text and email Vladi sends her. I’ve been a Whitney fan since I was a little girl, so I can imagine Landry and her mom would play Whitney’s music a lot at home.
Sweet Romance Songs:
Taylor Swift-Today was a Fairytale
This song would be perfect for Landry to listen to after Vladi asks her to be his girlfriend. Such a sweet song.
Be With You—The Bangles
The ultimate crush song. The Bangles were a huge influence for me as a tween and I can picture Landry humming this while doing her homework and thinking about her crush, Vladi. It’s the perfect crush song.
Whole Wide World—A'me Lorain
This song so captures what it feels like when you have that first big crush. It’s so poppy and fun. I imagine Landry singing this in her bedroom (into her hairbrush!) after seeing Vladi at the basketball game.

Heartbreak Songs
A Thousand Years—Christina Perri or Boyce Avenue’s version:
I listened to the Boyce Avenue version, but both are beautiful and can wring tears from concrete
Change Your Mind—Boyce Avenue-
The leader singer has this vulnerability to his voice and so do the lyrics. It really fits what you feel right after a breakup. This song helped me get into the mood to write the scenes with Vladi and Landry when she wants to be back together with him.
Track 9—Clark Manson
Since I heard this one a few months ago it’s been a go-to for writing heartbreak scenes. Love it!
Mariah Carey’s-Can’t Let Go
I was in the grocery store when they started playing this song and it was such a sad, desperate song that really got to me (as I shopped for soap). I hadn’t heard it in years, but I came home and downloaded it onto my ipod and put it on repeat to get in the right mood for the breakup scene.  My husband officially hates this song now due to my overplaying it.
This song is about a girl who tries to tell her friend she deserves a better boyfriend. I think this would be one song Landry would listen to when the girls deal with the doubts Yasmin’s tries to put in Landry’s head by making her think Vladi is interested in Yasmin and not Landry.

 Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series and the new ​Star Series. Krysten writes about  friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image in True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? And Landry in Like, as well as in, Next Door to a Star (Star Series). Her sequel to Next Door to a Star will be out March 22 2016.

Follow Krysten at:

Best Friends Forever, the latest book in the Landry's True Colors Series

Get the series now!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Elementals, Young Adult and Growing Up.

Do you ever stand outside on a blowy day enjoying the feeling of the wind on your face? I do. I love the wind, well maybe not the gale forces we’ve had recently, my son actually had to grab onto me whilst we were out yesterday so we could progress down the road, but wind in general I love. The sea breeze that cools you down on a hot day, the strong gusts that assault you as your turn your face towards them, the wind that whips your hair around your face, although the aforementioned hair doesn’t like being brushed of its knots afterwards. Why am I rambling on about this you ask? I’ll get to the point. I had an idea for a story about a witch that could control the weather however, just after I had the idea, I read Beautiful Creatures. Oh dear, my idea was taken. So going back to my love of the wind I decided to make my character an elemental. What better way to enjoy it than by being an air elemental who could control it? My Young adult book Janalya was born. Why young adult? I wanted to combine my love of the elements and shape shifters into a fantasy book that could be read by anyone. No swearing, graphic sex or violent scenes. Don’t get me wrong, I know teenagers swear (I have two of my own) but that doesn’t mean that I want them reading it in a book and for it to be normalised, and for that reason you will never see my characters with a gun – now a bow and arrow, a sword, and a dagger may be a different matter. I also write for teenagers because, as well as having the previously mentioned role models at home, I still remember what it was like as a teenager. I don’t think I’ve grown up that much. My kids, especially my son, will tell you I haven’t grown up at all and have the age maturity of a four-year-old (on a good day). Harsh, but probably true. So I will continue to indulge in my love of fantasy, exploring the world of shape shifters, elementals, and whatever other mythical creature present themselves, and once you’ve read Janalya maybe you’ll forgive me for not growing up, or perhaps I’ll corrupt you and you’ll fall in love with my world too.



Saturday, February 6, 2016

Why does Joselyn Vaughn read romance?

Why do I read romance?

Since I became a mom, reading has been my guilty pleasure. That sounds terrible, but between diaper changes and cleaning and wrangling kiddos, there isn’t much awake time left (and all too often I fall asleep after a page or two).

Romance makes that bit of reading time extra special. Sweet characters meeting and falling in love is a wonderful alternative to the neverending laundry piles and explosions of Legos. The happily ever afters make me fall asleep with a smile on my face.

I’ve chosen to write romantic comedies for the same reason. Why not create a world where people of all ages find love and enjoyment in each other? And hopefully they help other people fall asleep with a smile on their face.

Joselyn Vaughn
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Books by Joselyn

Thursday, February 4, 2016

New Releases February Fourth

The Descendants by Jaclyn E. Brod

It’s the year 2030 and the world has been waging a war thanks to Doctor Grant who experiment’s on human beings. But there’s only one experiment that can save mankind, but wills she be able to before she dies?
#Paranormal #Urban Fantasy 

Follow Jaclyn on social Media

Mission Trip by John Theo Jr. 

In the year 2077, the United States has become a post-apocalyptic footnote in the world history books. The only place freedom still exists is in a shielded underwater city called The Atoll where a group of Christian refugees are trying to start over. The Atoll inhabitants are hated for their freedoms and hunted for their technology, but even in their protective bubble treachery still finds a way in.
#SciFi #Christian #Dystopian #Fantasy 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Love Sweet Love by Kimbra Kasch

Being in love for the first time is a lot like eating a delicious dessert. No…REALLY. Just think about it. They both make you feel that surge of anticipation and longing. And it happens before you even know what’s going on. You smell that sweet scent wafting through the air…I’m talking about the dessert here…and, your stomach starts to tighten, your mouth starts to water, you feel your legs pulling you forward without ever intending to step toward the oven.
Yep, that’s just the way I felt the first time. My stomach clamped down hard, I felt a little queasy, my hands started to sweat (maybe I should say “glow” but sweat is the truth) my mouth went dry and I was . . .okay, I wasn’t stepping toward the oven.
Soooo, maybe they aren’t the same but they do have some real similarities. . . Sweets and LOVE. They both effect your senses and your perceptions. Heck, they even effect your behavior.
And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about both of them: LOVE and FOOD.
Hey, there’s another similarity. . . they’re both four-letter words. But that doesn’t sound like a good thing. . .
So, let’s get back to Valentine’s Day and celebrating this special season of LOVE sweet LOVE.
To begin, I’ll make a quick little Valentine’s Day Dinner but I think I’ll start with dessert because life is short and nothing is ever certain.

I’ll make a cupcake stand and embellish it.

All it takes is a little ribbon and some hot glue.

Then I’ll make a super sweet and terrifically tasty chocolate ganache and dip my cupcakes into the sinfully sweet sauce.

Then I’ll decorate the cupcakes. And, NO, that’s not paper – it’s sugar sheets. Never heard of sugar sheets? They are SWEET ;D

Then I’ll stack the little mouth-watering morsels on the cupcake stand

And WAH-LAh! Dinner is served…or, at least dessert ;D

But you might ask what does that have to do with LOVE? I was getting to that part. If you don’t have your own sweetie-pie hanging around to help you celebrate this special day, why not grab a book boyfriend and curl up on the couch and read a SWEET AND SPICY love story…HECK, even if you do have your own sweetie-pie hanging around . . .grab yourself a romance and read it. What better way could there be to warm up to the holiday? Don’t answer that…just go buy yourself a book.
Oh, you don’t have any ideas, let me recommend one for you…



            And, if you do read THE CATS OF CULLABY CREEK, please let me know what you thought of it. I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts. And you know what, LOVE is the only thing that there’s just too little of. ;D