New Books Are On the Way!

BENNETT Book #4!

I’m so excited to share this news! I have signed on for a 4th book in the BENNETT series. If you’ve read the first books in the series, you may be surprised to hear that book 4 is Sofie Baston’s story.

Yes, she was a certified beyotch!
And, yes, I believe I can redeem her.

Things you should know:

  • It will be written to stand alone. You won’t need to have read the other books in the series to jump right into book 4 (but I’d love for you to! Grins!)
  • The hero is Trevor Parish, a brilliant Princeton drop out and swoony 6’5″ redhead. Love me a ginger!
  • Walsh, Kerris, Cam and Jo will appear in book 4!
  • It releases in Feb 2016. I KNOW that feels so far off, but it is being traditionally published, which typically takes longer than self publishing.

As soon as I have links for pre-order and Goodreads, of course you’ll be the first to know! :-)

 

Coming Sooner!

Though Sofie & Trevor’s story won’t hit your virtual bookshelves (or literal should you go paperback)  until February 2016, I am working on my first self-published novel that I hope to release (are you crossing your fingers with me?) this Fall. Tentatively titled Darkest Dawn, it follows the tumultuous journey of two musicians, Rhyson and Kai Anne. I cannot wait to share more about them in the coming months. In the meantime, follow their path in pictures here, and hear the soundtrack of their story here.

I’ll be adding to Pinterest and Spotify as I write.

 

Subscribership Has Its Privileges

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Congratulations, Elaine Watling!
Each month, I’ll randomly select a KR subscriber to receive a gift card.
You’re our first winner!
Email me at kennedyryanwrites@gmail.com to get your card!

Want to make sure you are eligible  next month to win? Subscribe to my Inside Track Newsletter HERE!

goodreads

Are you in the KENNEDY RYAN Goodreads Group? Didn’t know it existed?
You’re in good company because most people didn’t know! LOL!

I’ll be doing some fun GR-only stuff in there soon, so you discovered it just in time!

Join HERE!

The Kindness of Strangers – When Autism Awareness Worked for Me!

Throughout April, Autism Awareness month, we’ve had the LIFT Campaign, and focused a lot on raising awareness, increasing acceptance and taking action. My son, Myles, of course, as many of you know, was diagnosed with Autism 12 years ago.

Whenever I am with other ASD parents, we always trade “war stories” about a time when our kids were mistreated, we were overlooked, somehow discriminated against – basically vent because FINALLY we are with someone who really gets it! That’s natural and needed sometimes. I thought, at the end of the LIFT Campaign, I would share a time when someone, a perfect stranger, because she understood autism; had seen up close and personally how it affected families, showed my family great kindness that followed us for years, and still does to this day.

**This piece, originally titled A FRIENDLY REMINDER, appeared in the book  CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL:  101 Inspirational Stories for Parents of Children with Autism and Asperger’s in 2013.

“A Friendly Reminder”

I’ve become accustomed to stares. Strange looks because of the strange sounds my son makes. Jerky movements and high-pitched squeals draw looks of curiosity, sometimes censure, and worst of all, pity. Yes, Autism tutored me well in the ways of self-consciousness, and then taught me to ignore it all.

Public places have been difficult minefields for my family to negotiate ever since Myles was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two. He had quickly deteriorated from a bright, vibrant, ever-learning toddler, to a vacant-stared, silent child who seemed frozen in some alternative universe completely inaccessible to us. The strange behaviors were challenging, but have created some situations that have to make me laugh…in hindsight. Way hind.

Like the time at the park fountains when Myles ran naked through the water. Kids do the darndest things, right? Did I mention he was nine years old at the time?

Or the time he came downstairs to greet the friends we’d invited over for dinner…without any clothes on. Did I mention he was ten years old? Ah, the naked years.

Some incidents, though, even in the rearview mirror, will never make me laugh. One time, I had screwed up my courage to take Myles out to Golden Corral without my husband. Restaurants mean a lot of people and a lot of noise – two things that often spell sensory overload for my son. First came the screeching. Then the banging on his chest, which devolved into banging on the table. With my nerves stretched paper thin, I noticed a sweet old lady ambling my way. I prepared my “thanks, but no thanks” to the offer of assistance I was sure she was about to make.

“Can you keep him quiet?” she snapped, her wrinkled brow drawn with what I came to realize was irritation, not concern. “I’m trying to eat! Is he on medication or anything? He should be!”

I held my tongue out of respect for my elders. I apologized if Myles had disturbed her meal, and with as much dignity as I could, hightailed it out of there. I didn’t bother to look around for compassion or concern or more of what the old lady had given me. I had to escape the weight of the eyes around us. It was humiliating and disheartening.

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After that incident, and others like it, I built a wall around my heart; a shell to protect my most vulnerable, tender parts from other people’s opinions about my family. About my son. It hurt too much when they didn’t understand, so I told myself it didn’t matter. And really, in the larger scheme of things, it didn’t. I still had the great privilege of raising this very special child. I still saw things in him only a mother’s eye would discern. I still felt compelled every morning to create a better reality for him; to imagine the best future I possibly could for him.

It didn’t matter what anyone thought, but I had lost something. I no longer gave people the benefit of the doubt. I stopped giving them the chance to be compassionate; stopped looking for the opportunity to help them understand. I assumed the worst about them, and in many ways that was as bad as what that older lady had done to me that day.

So when I found myself back at Golden Corral with my son, who started screeching and banging the table again, I lifted wary eyes up to the middle aged woman approaching. Her smooth, brown face was perfectly serene as she assessed the situation at the table with my son, my husband, and me. I readied my comeback. This was no little old lady, and if she had a complaint about my son’s behavior, I was prepared to pull the trigger this time and give her the piece of my mind I had held onto before.

“Hi, how are you doing?” she asked, her tone kind, her eyes steady.

“I’m fine,” I said curtly, furrowing my brow as a clear warning to her that she did not want to mess with me.

“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” she continued. “But does your son have Autism?”

If I had a dollar for every time some perfect stranger had used that as their opening line to advise me on how to raise my kid, I’d be a rich woman and probably wouldn’t be eating at Golden Corral.

I flicked a glance at my husband as he soothed my son, who was now less agitated, but still humming and rocking a little. I raised my brow at him, using my highly-developed non-verbals to say, “Here goes another one.”

“Yeah, he has Autism,” I replied aloud to the lady, who was waiting patiently.

“Well, I raised a child with Autism,” she began.

Great. Now she really felt like she could tell me how to raise my kid. The only thing worse than a clueless person telling you how to raise your special needs child, is someone who does know the deal telling you you’re doing it all wrong.

“Hmmmm,” I offered a neutral monosyllable.

“I know you don’t know me, but my name is Pam,” she said, reaching to touch Myles’ shoulder. “Like I said, I raised a child with Autism, my stepson, and if you ever need any help, please call me.”

I looked at the hand she extended, holding a slip of paper with her name and number scribbled on it.

“I can offer references,” she said into the silence deepening with my incredulity. “My pastor. I also drive a bus for the public school system. There are several people who could vouch for me, if you ever want me to watch him for you. Give you guys a break.”

My husband offered her a friendly, grateful smile. I couldn’t speak for the lump clogging my throat. The smile she leveled my way barreled through the walls I had erected. The pure compassion of her offer bulldozed my defenses. I blinked stubbornly at the tears threatening to spill over.

“I-I-don’t-” I stammered, swiping at the renegade tear that had escaped and streaked its way down my cheek.

“It’s hard,” she cut in, saving me from blubbering. “I know how hard it is sometimes, and if you ever need help, please call me.”

“Thank you,” I managed to whisper.

“Call me,” she reiterated, smiling at my husband and me, and saving a special, knowing grin for Myles before walking away.

I did call her, and she became as close as family. She had a lot to teach not only Myles, but to teach me. Lessons I couldn’t have unearthed in any book, or at any seminar or conference. My experience with her became a master class on the depth and breadth of kindness. Humanity at its best, unfettered by selfish motives, unhampered by agenda. Kindness of the simplest and purest variety.

Somewhere along the way, under the weight of curious stares in restaurants, impatient looks in grocery stores, and horrified silences in too many places to name, I had forgotten what kindness looked like. How it felt brushing up against my cynicism; how it softened my world-weary edges. Pam helped me remember that it was worth taking the time to teach people about Autism, because people enlightened about the challenges and rewards of Autism are kinder. They are part of a better future for my son. These are the people who will have the chance to accept; to understand and appreciate a generation of kids like Myles.

I can huddle behind my old hurts, burrow into my self-pity, or I can engage. I can teach. I can learn. She reminded me that day, and a dozen times in a dozen ways thereafter. And for that, I am forever grateful.

 

 

 

Last Week Of LIFT4Autism!

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The last week of LIFT is here! What an amazing ride the last month has been, raising awareness, acceptance and action on behalf of families living with Autism.

And if you missed the LIFT t-shirts, there’s still a chance! Reserve yours in our “round two” LIFT order today! Don’t be left out when we have LIFT selfie day!

LIFT tshirt

This week’s MegaGiveaway highlights and benefits Autism Speaks, the largest Autism organization in the world, fighting for research, legislation and services for ASD families.

And our LIFT “anchor” authors, bringing it home this last week with amazing prizes:

A. Meredith Walters

Angie McKeon

Claudia Burgoa

Cora Brent

D. Kelly

Elizabeth Kelly

Freya Barker

Gypsy Rae Choszer

Jacinda Buchmann

Kemmie Michaels

Kennedy Ryan

Laurelin Paige

S.C. Stephens

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LIFT4Autism MegaGiveaway – WEEK 3!

LIFT banner justifiedWeek 3 of LIFT doesn’t let up!  We have such incredible donations from amazing authors this week.

If you missed the LIFT t-shirts, there’s still a chance! Reserve yours in our “round two” LIFT order today! Don’t be left out when we have LIFT selfie day!

LIFT tshirt

This week’s MegaGiveaway benefits The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation.

Thank you to the generous authors donating!

A.L. Jackson

Amalie Silver

Cindi Madsen

Faith Andrews

Gia Riley

Jen Frederick

K. Bromberg

Lia Riley

Mandi Beck

Molly McClain

Nicole Storey

S.R. Grey

Whitney Barbetti

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Week 2 – LIFT MegaGiveaway!!!

LIFT banner justifiedIt’s week two of LIFT: Authors Raising Autism Awareness!

More than 50 authors are banding together this month, donating their great work, and increasing awareness and acceptance for those living with Autism.

This Week’s LIFT Authors

Aleatha Romig
B.L. Berry
Cassie Graham
Claire Contreras
Elisabeth Grace
Eliza Freed
Jasinda Wilder
Jennie Marts
Kimberly Knight
Kimberly Rose
Rebecca Yarros
Stephanie Rose
Whitney G.
Zoe York

The Rafflecopter is loaded with e-books, signed paperbacks, swag and gift cards from these amazing authors! Make sure you enter!

We are highlighting The Autism Society this week. With more than 50 years of service to the autism community, they are one of the nation’s leading grassroots autism organizations. Please consider supporting their efforts!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LIFT 4 Autism!

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April is Autism Awareness month, and the romance reading community is celebrating!

1 in 68 children is diagnosed with Autism every year, making it the fastest growing and one of the most prevalent developmental disabilities. As many of you know, my son has autism, so I’m very personally passionate about this cause. Ginger Scott and I have organized a MegaGiveaway called LIFT featuring more than 50 authors to raise awareness and acceptance! Each Monday in April, a new rafflecopter will go live, loaded with e-books, audio books, swag packs, signed paperbacks and gift cards from these amazing authors doing their part to LIFT4Autism. (scroll down for this week’s rafflecopter!)

And there’s LIFTWear – 4 styles to choose from! All proceeds from the LIFT t-shirts will go to a national autism organization.

Order t-shirts HERE until MONDAY, APRIL 13!

LIFT tshirt

Good luck and #LIFTOff!

 Week 1

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Week 2

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#LIFT4Autism: Full List of Authors + A cool limited-time-only t-shirt!

I’m pleased to reveal the LIFT List! More than 50 authors are donating e-books, paper backs, swag, and gift cards to raise autism awareness! Check out some of your favorites below!

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Each week in April, a new rafflecopter will go live with e-books, signed paper backs, swag packs, gift cards and even audio books from these authors!

And….there is LIFT Wear! This t-shirt is available only until April 13! ORDER yours today!

LIFT tshirt

1. If you are a blogger, and would like to help spread the word, sign up here.
2. If you would like to be notified by email each week when a new rafflecopter goes live so you don’t miss the chance to enter, sign up here.
4. IF YOU ARE A PARENT/GUARDIAN/PRIMARY CAREGIVER for an ASD child or adult! We have a group launching April 1 to bond around our struggles, triumphs and our favorite escape – BOOKS! If you’re looking for a place to build community with other parents on the autism journey, and maybe chat about your fave books and book boyfriends, we hope this will be it! Sign up here to be notified when it goes live.  (for authors and readers alike)

LIFT: Authors Raising Autism Awareness

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1 in every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism every year. That’s more than are diagnosed with childhood cancer, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, AIDS and Down Syndrome. It is now second only to mental retardation in prevalence, and needs our attention!

I am beyond excited to be lifting up the incredibly worthy cause of Autism this April! My friend Ginger Scott and I started talking about doing something fun and meaningful for Autism Awareness months ago. I, as many of you know, have a son on the severe end of the autism spectrum. He was diagnosed 12 years ago when he was 2 years old. Seven years ago, I started and still run a foundation for families in Georgia living with Autism. Ginger has a nephew on the spectrum, and volunteers with an autism organization in her home state of Arizona.

We have recruited 50 other authors to help spread the word. Some of these authors are Warrior Mamas like me. Some of them have relatives or friends touched by Autism. Some of them just want to do their part to lift the cause. ALL of them are amazing!

 

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Charities we are supporting:

 

T-SHIRTS!  We also have a tee spring campaign! We’d love people from all over posting pics of themselves in their LIFT t-shirts to raise awareness! Click HERE to order until April 13. All profits go to organizations serving ASD families.

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WEEK 1 Giveaway!

(Starts April 6)

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Week 2:  Monday, April 13

 
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Week 3:  Monday, April 20

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Week 4:  Monday, April 27

 

 

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Eleanor Green #IndieChicks Spotlight!

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Indie Chicks ROCK!!!

#IndieChicksRock

Indie Chicks Spotlight is a weekly spotlight on all the indie chicks that I love. Amazing authors and amazing books ~ come shower them with love!

#IndieChicksRockSpotlight

 

Author Eleanor Green

 Eleanor Green pic

Eleanor Green resides in Tennessee with her husband and two children. She enjoys the things everyone else does—reading, writing, cooking—but is also an adventure seeker.

Terrified of cats, passionate about hot tea, allergic to being cold.

Her favorite place to write is a cabin in the woods.

 

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon page

Goodreads ~ Newsletter ~ Green Room

#IndieChicksRock

#IndieChicksRockSpotlight

 

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on SALE for $2.99!!!

KINDLE ~ NOOK ~ KOBO ~ GOODREADS

When Katie Harrington becomes engaged to Branson Stone she believes her life is right on track for all her dreams to come true.

 

However, flashes of a life she never lived haunt her—leading her to discover a past that has been purposely erased from her memory in order to protect her from horrible truths.

 

The look on her fiancé’s face as she retells everything she remembers about being a victim of human trafficking will forever be etched in her mind. Instead of catching and comforting her, he lets her go.

 

Retreating to the family’s cottage in the Outer Banks for the summer, Katie’s heart begins to heal. She succumbs to the allure of a dangerously handsome local, Aidan Romero. But as soon as Katie begins to let go and move on with Aidan . . . Branson finds her.

 

Now Katie is torn between two lives—facing her painful past with Branson, or moving on with Aidan and keeping the secrets safely buried forever.

KINDLE ~ NOOK ~ KOBO ~ GOODREADS

#IndieChicksRock

#IndieChicksRockSpotlight

 

Wait For Me, Coming Soon!!!

GOODREADS ~

 

 

 Thank you for visiting the Indie Chicks Rock Spotlight feature.

#IndieChicksRock

Don’t forget to come back next week for another dose of Indie Chicks awesomeness!!!

 

GIVEAWAY

begins Friday 3/06/2015

 

 

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live a lie

 

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USA Today Article on Sexually Abused Male Heroes

One of the characters, Cam from BE MINE FOREVER, book 3 in my debut trilogy, is a very special character to me. He has always been my favorite of the BENNETT series. I know many readers felt the exact opposite, especially in books 1 and 2. And I get it. Completely. He made some real jerk moves in the first part of the series. I guess what I loved were the things the readers didn’t know about him yet. How tender and affectionate he could be. How much of a reprieve his art had been from the truly horrid existence of his childhood. The sexual abuse he had suffered and how it shaped him. Made him desperate enough for affirmation, affection, acceptance to marry a girl he didn’t love in the right way. To marry a girl he suspected loved his best friend.

So, yeah. There were things I knew that readers didn’t know yet.

I don’t see a lot of sexually abused heroes in romance, but I knew a few writers who had tackled this challenging topic. I talked with them and with the folks from 1in6, a national organization helping male sex abuse survivors for the piece I wrote for USA Today. The response was overwhelming. It was shared in so many places. At one point, a friend tagged me on  a comment on Facebook. When I went to check it out, she was posting in a thread Anne Rice had posted about my article. She called it interesting and encouraged her followers to read it. Yeah, that Anne Rice. Um…freak out.

I guess what I’m saying is that the article hit a nerve for many. Resonated with many. I hope, maybe, helps some who may have hesitated talking about their abuse. It was an article about sexually abused males in romantic fiction, but never have I been more conscious that the fiction I created was someone’s reality than when I wrote that piece.

Find the article HERE. Writing this helped me understand Cam even better. Maybe it will do the same for you. If you haven’t read BMF, all the links are below. :-)

 

BMF ReleaseDay

Goodreads
Amazon
B&N
iTunes
Google Play
Kobo