Behind The Scenes of THIS IS FALLING – Straight From Ginger Scott

I’m so thrilled to have the awesome Ginger Scott on the blog today sharing the stories behind her latest novel, THIS IS FALLING. Ginger and I have a lot in common. Our passion to help families living with Autism. Our journalism backgrounds. And our love of a good story! Her latest release is one to love! Make sure you check it out!

The Stories Behind The Story – THIS IS FALLING by Ginger Scott

THIS IS FALLING is about first loves, overcoming tragedy, finding courage, forging friendships and…baseball. Okay, so maybe it’s only a little about baseball. But it’s enough about baseball. I’ve been dying to write a story with a baseball thread, because as much as I love the purity of high school football (the backdrop for my debut WAITING ON THE SIDELINES), my veins bleed Rawlings leather and warning track dust. Baseball is just plain romantic. It can’t help itself. It’s one of the hardest games to play, impossible to master, and sexy as hell to watch. And I hope readers fall in love with Nate Preeter, my MR. BASEBALL, as much as I’m in love with the game.

 

There are a lot of little (and a few big) things that inspired me throughout this story, and I thought it might be fun to share some of those secrets—the story-behind-the-story if you will. So I give you Seven Fun Facts about THIS IS FALLING.

 

  1. The Preeter brothers were inspired by two brothers from Arizona State University—the Poole brothers. I won’t get too deep into their story, but Keith Poole was one hell of a wide receiver, and his brother Marc was paralyzed from the waist down. I worked at the college paper and knew their story well—often seeing Marc on the sidelines, his brother and best friend making a game-winning catch on the field. Their story is one that’s unbelievably inspiring, and it stuck with me for years. I didn’t know them well, having met Keith a handful of times and quoted him once or twice for an editorial. But they made an impression. The Preeter boys aren’t the Pooles. But they were on my mind.
  2. Nate Preeter isn’t any one person, but rather several sort of mashed together to make a hell-of-a sexy ballplayer. He’s part Sun Devil inspired with a touch of Buster Posey, and I made him from Louisiana because my cousin’s from there, and he won a college world series at LSU (and two MLB ones with the Cardinals and Giants – see if you can guess who he is ;-).
  3. Nate’s a catcher, because catchers are, quite honestly and to steal a line from my book, “the heart and the soul of the team.” Plus, Buster Posey is a catcher, and Buster Posey is the bomb. Have I mentioned I like Buster Posey?
  4. I had ASU’s Packard Stadium in my head when I described the fields at McConnell University.
  5. McConnell is loosely modeled after Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. It’s just smaller—more…elite. But the town is very much Stillwater.
  6. There’s a really great bar in THIS IS FALLING called Sally’s. If you know Stillwater, it’s a little bit of a shout-out to Eskimo Joe’s. I named it Sally’s after my bassett hound.
  7. And number seven…there is one prank—the prank above all pranks—that plays out in THIS IS FALLING. I married a man who actually did that to someone;-)

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Finding Her Niche – Double Golden Heart Finalist Piper Huguley Talks History & Diversity In Romance

I first met Piper Huguley at our local RWA meeting, Georgia Romance Writers. She struck me as sensible and mature. There was an innate dignity to her that I admired. You don’t always know if your first impressions of people will prove accurate, but in Piper’s case, mine did. What I didn’t pick up on, but have since discovered, was her passion for her work; for excellence and a personal authenticity that translates to everything she writes. Her fierce intelligence and commitment to a more diverse publishing landscape are blazing a trail I hope many will follow. I am learning so much from her example, and was honored to have her answer a few questions about her journey writing historical Christian Romance.

Kennedy:    Piper, when I first met you, you were already a Golden Heart finalist. You have since been nominated for another GH. That’s an honor most will never experience once, much less twice. What did you learn both times around?

Piper:   The first time around I learned that there were people who believed in my eclectic projects and I was grateful for that. It gave me hope that readers would be able to look beyond the color of my characters to witness two people fall in love in impossible circumstances.  The second time around, it seemed that people took me a lot more seriously as a writer.  I was very surprised to be nominated the second time because of the very edgy nature of the story.   I only entered it to help fill out the Inspirational Category so that it wouldn’t be cancelled again.  I never thought I would be nominated again with it!

Kennedy:   You have a list of awards and nominations for your writing as long as my arm. Your settings are incredibly rich and the characters so authentic and real to the time. What informs your writing to create such authenticity?
Piper:  Well thank you! I appreciate your kind words, but I honestly feel that these stories have been too long buried. My unofficial tagline is–”If the ancestors hadn’t fallen in love, we wouldn’t be here.”  I’m still working on the tagline, but I do feel that energy of so many who have had to remain silent for too long. Their stories must be told. I try hard to be a worthy conduit of the past.
Kennedy:  After quarter finaling in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award, you decided to self-publish that novel, The  Preacher’s Promise and the prequel, Lawyer’s Luck. What led you to make that decision and how has that experience been?
Piper:  Well, The Preacher’s Promise was really for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical Line.  When they decided they didn’t want it, I put it in the Amazon contest to see if I could stir up some talk about it. Harlequin’s word count requirement is smaller than other places, so I couldn’t submit it anywhere else–so I decided to publish it myself.  I’ve had a lot of support and help from many, including you and I appreciate the kindness that many have shown me.
Kennedy:  I know you are serving on a panel this upcoming weekend at the Decatur Book Festival on diversity in publishing. What would you say is the greatest barrier to more diverse choices in publishing?
Piper:  Given my adventures in publishing , I think one of the largest barriers is that the publishing world itself is not diverse.  I appreciate the efforts that people are making in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign, and it’s great to see how some publishing folk are beginning to open their minds more.  I’m hopeful that will make change, but more young people of color need to be encouraged to publishing jobs. It’s hard to see them choosing the publishing field now since everything is changing so fast.
Kennedy:  If you had to recommend 5 romance writers of color to mainstream readers expanding their reading palette, who would they be? Where’s a great place for them to start?
Piper:  Jeannie Lin, Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, Shobhan Bantwahl, or Ann Christopher.
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1866: Amanda Stewart promised her dying father to use her education to uplift their race and teach newly-freed slaves. When she arrives in Milford, Georgia, blacksmith and town leader Virgil Smithson tells her female teachers aren’t welcome there. But Virgil made his own promise—he told his dying wife that their daughter would learn to read and write.  In Amanda, he meets a woman whose will is as strong as the iron he fashions. These combatants must put aside their personal feelings to learn God has his own plan that comes from the promises they made to their loved ones.

 

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Never-Before-Published Prologue for WHEN YOU ARE MINE!

So…there is a prologue for WHEN YOU ARE MINE, book 1 in my Bennett series, that ended up on the cutting room floor. I have shared a snippet of it below, but the FULL prologue is only posted here for members of my KENNEDY RYAN BOOKS group on Facebook, where we discuss my books, I share secret stuff that no one else gets, and we have the occasional giveaway. Yeah. It’s fun in there! In the meantime, the teaser below from the prologue is for everyone.

*NOTE:  It is unedited and does have one “head hop”, sharing another character’s point of view mid-scene. I could have fixed it…but it is just for fun and I wanted you to know what that other character was thinking. Am I excused? :-) Thanks!

 

 

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WHEN YOU ARE MINE & LOVING YOU ALWAYS – Goodreads

Buy links for WHEN YOU ARE MINE & Pre-Order Links for LOVING YOU ALWAYS (Available for pre-order on Aamzaon release day – October 7!)

 

Lia Riley Will Have You Hanging Upside Down & On Her Every Word

 

You know how you meet some people and feel an almost instant connection? Even if it’s only over Twitter? Well, I can’t speak for her, but that’s how I felt about Lia Riley. She was side-splitting in 140 characters, so I figured she’d slay me in a full length novel. And I was right! I’ve just started her Australian-set debut, UPSIDE DOWN, and she’s causing me problems. I have a deadline, gosh darn it! I need to set this book aside, but I can’t! She will split your sides laughing, but she’ll also pulverize your heart with the vulnerability of her characters. The vividity of her language balanced with a real-voice snarkiness keeps the pages on auto-turn. We aren’t our books, but the same authenticity I always sense in Lia is there in her characters, laid to bare in every page. And it connects us. It engages us. We want them not just to find a happily ever after, but to GROW. To THRIVE. To LEARN. When I call her a remarkable, unique voice in New Adult romance, it is not hyperbole. It’s the truth.

I’ve included an excerpt from her debut so you can see for yourself! And an Australian-themed GIVEAWAY! Good googly moogly, I’ve got treats for you!

 

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UPSIDE DOWN by Lia Riley

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found
Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to Australia. Everything is going to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes.Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . of if they were meant to live a world apart.
An Excerpt

A half hour later we are suited up, dorked out in snorkels and fins.

I take her hand. “You ready?”

“How cold is the water again?”

“Warmer than the Arctic.”

“That’s not a glowing recommendation.” She squeezes my hand. “Okay, let’s do this, before I change my mind.”

“One, two, three.” She leaps with me and we plunge off the pier. The water is frigid, creating the perfect habitat for the hundreds of marine species surrounding us. The pier’s not deep, only five or six meters, ideal conditions to get up close and personal with the trevally, blue devils, zebra fish, rays, and there—I tap Talia on the shoulder and point.

A weedy sea dragon swims toward us, flitting through the kelp to keep camouflaged. The long orange-red body resembles a seahorse except for the leaflike appendages and short spikes lining its back.

We tread together, paddling only when necessary to maintain our position against the current. Here, in this strange world, time slows, life is diluted to the rhythm of tide and waves. I reach out and take Talia’s hand, wishing for an irrational second to sprout gills and swim with her down to the ocean’s deep, indigo places. Find a mermaid kingdom and hide from the world forever. The sea dragon studies us for a long moment before darting into the shadows.

Talia flicks the snorkel from her mouth. “Oh my God.” Her eyes are almost as wide as her smile. “That was incredible. Mystical almost.”

“Magic.” I stroke closer to her, closing our distance, unable to resist her happy glow. Talia’s hair plasters to her cheeks; she’s enchanting, a sea witch who’s cast a spell on me. Her back hits one of the pilings, and we’re beneath the pier, shielded from the tourists promenading overhead, with dragons lurking beneath our fins. I kiss her hard, openmouthed, and don’t hold back the groan when her tongue flicks over mine, still a little shy.

I drop my hands below her arms to brace her, keep her well above the low sets gently rolling by to crash onshore. She wiggles closer and I silently curse our wet suits keeping us from true skin-to-skin contact. Talia’s bikini is skimpy and black, exactly how I like a girl’s suit. I’d love to pull the string in the back, watch as the top slowly slides off. Since the three-inch neoprene renders that fantasy impossible, I use my mouth to cover every inch of her exposed neck, her high cheekbones, her brow, each of the six freckles dappling the tip of her nose.

“Am I your girlfriend?” Talia sounds offhand, but her eyes tell me she’s dead serious.

“Girlfriend?” The word sends a jolt down my spine. “Well…you’re a girl and a friend.”

“So, no, then?” Her smile vanishes. “I mean, are we seeing each other, seeing other people?”

“Do you want to see other people?”

And if so, who? Tell me so I can beat the shit out of them if they look at you sideways.

“Do you?” Her downturned lips twitch in the corner. She struggles to smile, and to watch that effort makes me feel helpless. I don’t want to expose myself, but fuck if I’ll hurt her.

“Since I’ve seen you, Talia”—I pause, clearing my throat—“it’s been pretty fucking impossible to see anyone else.”

Australian-Themed Giveaway!!!

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About the author: 
After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, LIA RILEY scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.
Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme
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An Opposing View: Interview with Cam from WHEN YOU ARE MINE

Hi, everybody! I hope many of you have read my debut WHEN YOU ARE MINE. I have a slightly spoiler-ish treat for you today, so if you haven’t read yet, proceed with caution! It doesn’t give away much, but it does allude to a few things! I get questions all the time about one character in particular, Cameron Mitchell. We never hear his point of view in the book, but one blogger, Ash from Morning Books & Coffee, crawled inside his head and dug around. She found some fascinating answers. I wanted as many readers as possible to hear his side of the story, so she agreed to share with some of the bloggers I love! Thanks to my blogger friends for passing it on to you!

 

 

Q&A w/Cam

Ash:                Hey, Cam. How are you doing today?

 

Cam:             Good, considering. Sorry. Don’t mean to sound pathetic. Just been through a lot lately with…well, with everything that has happened.

 

Ash:                You have been through a lot lately, and you had a difficult childhood. How do you think it impacted you to become so well educated and so honest and respectful as you got older?

 

Cam:               Wow. Not many people have called me respectful. I need a second to absorb that one! My childhood was hell. I don’t want to go into all the details, but let’s just say foster care was a big step up for me. Kristeene Bennett and the Walsh Foundation taught me not to use my past as an excuse and taught me to take advantage of every opportunity. My education, painting – everything that is worth anything in my life, I owe to that woman. A lot of people do.

 

Ashy:              What is the first thing you notice about a woman?

 

Cam:               I should say the eyes, right? That’s the PC answer. It’s true, I DO notice the eyes because growing up like I did, you learn to read people in an instant. And the eyes are the fastest way to scope a person. But the “player” answer? I’m an ass man!

 

 

Ashy:              What was it like when you first saw Kerris? What was going thru your mind?

 

Cam:               She’s gorgeous, of course. Any guy would notice that first, but there was something about her I just resonated with right away. She and I have very similar pasts, and as beautiful, as sweet as she was, she didn’t let people in. I got that. I’m pretty guarded myself. She wouldn’t even go out with me for months, and we were just friends. Guess that made me feel like the king of the world when she finally did say yes. I thought I was really lucky she didn’t listen to everybody telling her what a player I was. I mean, I was a player, but that was before I met Kerris.

 

Ashy:              Can you tell us a little about your friendship with Walsh when you were younger before Kerris came along?

 

Cam:               That son of a…sorry. Walsh and I aren’t exactly on the best terms right now. Probably won’t be again. I didn’t have many people in my life I could trust. Pretty much, just Walsh and his family. I told Walsh things about my childhood that I…that I never thought I would share with anyone. We’ve been like brothers since I was twelve years old. I never thought he would…never suspected he was as low and conniving as he is. I don’t care how many orphans he rescues or all the good he does all over the world, someone who goes for his best friend’s girl is not a good guy. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him now. That’s all you need to know about what is left of my friendship with that dude.

 

 

Ash:                Some haven’t read your story yet, and may not know what I’m talking about when I ask you this next question, so I’ll be careful with how I word it. We all understand how upset you were when you saw for yourself that there really was something between Kerris and Walsh, but some of us had a hard time with your reaction later that night. You remember what I’m talking about? Do you have anything to say about that?

 

Cam:               You would ask that question. It’s hard for me to address something so sensitive and private. Something that’s supposed to be between just me and Kerris, but I’ll try. I don’t know that it’ll make people understand or like me any more, but at least I’ll get to give my side of the story. I’ll start by saying I know it was a douche move. When I saw…what I saw…trying to stay spoiler-free for folks…something kind of snapped inside me. Kerris and I promised that we would be each other’s only, and she couldn’t have chosen a better way to betray me. I guess in a way I needed to remind myself and to remind her that she was my wife. On some level I knew she wouldn’t refuse me because of how bad she felt about what I saw. Was that right? In hindsight, no, and I still see how that may have caused more damage in our relationship. In the moment, it felt like the only way I could re-establish myself as her husband. Sex is…complicated for me. I won’t use the abuse I experienced as an excuse. It’s not. I’m still figuring out how it has affected me. I kind of thought, in some ways, it hadn’t affected me, but maybe it did. It’s still something I don’t feel comfortable talking about, so don’t bother asking me to elaborate. Let’s just say If I had to do it over, I would handle things differently. But as I’ve learned with so many other mistakes I’ve made, you don’t get do overs. You only get do betters, and that’s what I’m trying to do, starting with the family I want more than anything.

 

 

Ashy:              Can you tell me a little bit of where your state of mind is today? Like how are you doing with your marriage and everything that has happened?

 

 

 

Cam:               We’re moving forward. We’ve all lost a lot over the last year. I wish I was the kind of guy who could let bygones be bygones, but I’m not. I feel sick every time I’m in the same room with Walsh, and I’m not sure how we can get past that. Kerris and I…we’re trying. Maybe I had it right when I was a kid. Maybe you can’t trust people. Maybe everyone’s out to hurt you. Maybe you shouldn’t let people in if this is what happens. What’s the point?

 

Ashy:              Can you tell me where you think you will be in 5 years?

 

Cam:               In five years, I hope to be on my third or fourth art exhibit. Paris, New York. I want my art in museums all over the world, but I also want it on bridges and the sides of buildings where anybody can see it and be inspired by it. The streets have always been my Louvre. The one thing I want even more than my art? A family. Kerris and me, we’re on the same page about that. We want to put all the shit…can I say shit here? Sorry! Can you bleep that, or whatever? We want to put all the stuff from the last few months behind us and focus on making the kind of family we never had ourselves. We both grew up in hell. My kids won’t have that. If that’s the only thing I have to show for myself in five years, I’d be okay with that.

 

 

Etailers for Book 1 found here. Book 2, LOVING YOU ALWAYS, is out October 7! Add to Goodreads!

 

Bio:

Kennedy Ryan grew up in North Carolina, but loves living in Atlanta with her husband (tall – check, dark – check – handsome – check), and her handful of a son. Though she knew, like writers often do, that she was supposed to tell stories, the road to fulfillment has been paved with “some of everything” jobs that kept her family eating and living indoors. With her degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!), she has focused on writing for non-profit organizations and even doing some non-fiction ghost writing. Only in the last few years did she start telling stories again.

In addition to being a devoted wife and mom, she’s also a passionate advocate for families living with Autism. Her son was diagnosed at the age of two, and she has made it her mission to help as many families as possible find the resources and services they need. 25% of her royalties will go toward her national charitable partner Talk About Curing Autism and Myles-A-Part, her foundation serving Georgia families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VOTE! Help Me Select the Official Book Trailer for My Debut Novel

Friends! A few weeks ago, I told you I wanted a book trailer for my debut novel WHEN YOU ARE MINE. Some folks pay to have gorgeous trailers made, and some have legions of fans, and land themselves fan-made trailers. I can’t spare much money right now and I don’t have many fans yet! LOL

The lovely ladies of the Schmexy Girl Book Blog have graciously agreed to host a book trailer contest for me. I assumed it would be easy for people other than me to come up with a book trailer from scratch.

 

It IS hard, but we have two brave contestants who created great trailers for me.

Now…decisions, decisions. This is where YOU come in. Please watch them both and  VOTE HERE for which video should be my official book trailer. I’ll love you long time if you do!

Both ladies will win VISA gift cards for their efforts! We’ll announce the winner next week!

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Scott’s HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY Release!

You only have to follow me for about a day on Twitter or Facebook to know I am passionate about Autism. It is incredibly personal. Many of you know my son was diagnosed when he was two years old, and we have been living with this condition for the last 11 years. I blog about it. I talk on TV and radio about it. I write about it. I want to live a catlytic life. I want to leverage every challenge, opportunity and situation as an impetus; as a spark plug. To incite curiosity, generosity, compassion – something will be different because I chose to live my life the way I have, and I love to surround myself with people like that. Ginger Scott is such a person. Though her child doesn’t have autism, she has learned a lot through family and friends living with the condition. She was moved by what she learned. And then she moved. She climbed, volitionally, into the trenches with our families.

Her book HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY is amazing. I am under deadline and under self-imposed reading probation, so I am reading very little. But I started hers, and it will blow your mind. It is getting fantastic reviews already! In addition to having an impressive story, she is doing an impressive thing for Autism. I’ll let her tell you about it. I’m honored to have her as my guest today on the blog!

 

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Watch the Trailer for HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY!

 

A Little Inside Scoop Behind How We Deal With Gravity

Guest post from author Ginger Scott

Before I start, I have to say what an honor it is to be hosted on Kennedy’s blog. I feel, in many ways, that discovering her was kismet. I’m on Twitter—a lot. More than I probably should be, to be honest. And one day, I came across a ribbon avatar in a stream of tweets I was reading and I just knew. There are ribbons for many causes, but this one was like it was waving a hand at me, however tiny the image was on my phone, and saying, “hey, we have something in common.”

I clicked, followed, messaged and read everything from Kennedy Ryan. She’s a fighter for autism awareness, and her personal story really struck something in my soul. And that’s why I wanted to share this book with her.

How We Deal With Gravity is a love story—and it’s got a heavy dose of steam! But it’s also a story about life with autism. More specifically, what it’s like to be a single parent of a child with autism. This book is precious to me. Yes, of course every book I have written is precious to me, but this one…this one…is different.

My connection to autism is different from Kennedy’s. My son is typical, meaning not on the spectrum. But I have family and several friends who have children on the spectrum. And I am in awe of their strength and resolve. And I wanted to write a story that was a tribute to them; I hope How We Deal With Gravity is just that.

I first came to understand autism as a journalist, writing an in-depth story on the disorder for a major magazine in Arizona. I profiled a family, but what started as an assignment to write something that I knew would be moving and would probably win one of those nifty journalism awards turned into a lifelong passion and a connection to a place here in Arizona that makes a difference in the lives of thousands. I interviewed Denise Resnik, and I met her son Matthew. And while I was amazed at the daily miracles Denise was able to pull of with Matt at home, I was absolutely astonished at the movement she was able to spawn with a small foundation she started in Phoenix called the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC).

This place was a few offices and a library when I first interviewed Denise many years ago. But just being there, experiencing it and talking with those that worked and volunteered there changed me. Since that first story, I have volunteered as a writer for SARRC, and I have watched it grow from a few offices into a building and one of the largest autism organizations in the country. And more than anything, I want to give something to this amazing place. That’s why I am donating my first week of royalties to SARRC. It’s a small start, but I hope to be able to do more in the future.

How We Deal With Gravity is told from two points of view—Avery, a spitfire, single mom to a child with autism; and Mason, the boy who stole her heart in high school and then stomped all over it, leaving her to hate him forever. Mason’s been out of town, trying to make a go of it on the music scene for the last five years. He comes back home a failure and turns to the only person who has ever been able to understand him, Avery’s dad. When Mason and Avery reconnect, they are far from the same people they were in their youth. Avery has learned to battle—every once of her energy devoted to her son, Max. Mason has bottomed out, and he’s starting to doubt every decision he’s ever made. And the more time he spends near Avery, the more he regrets not noticing her sooner.

What unfolds is a story of learning how to love in the face of the impossible and learning how to compromise, even on your dreams. Gravity is also a story of tolerance and understanding of what someone is capable of, despite their differences.

I guess you could say How We Deal With Gravity is big on hope. Hope. It’s an important word to me. It’s one I’ve heard from nearly every parent of a child with autism I’ve ever interviewed, and I’ve learned it’s the fuel that helps people keep on fighting—kind of like love. It just felt right to mix those two together. And I hope readers enjoy the journey.

HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY Spotify Playlist

Mason Street is a musician, my kind of musician. I’m a bit of a sucker for that sexy singer/songwriter type, and when someone can take an old song and make it new—oooph! That really does me in. The music is so integral to Gravity’s story that it’s almost a character of its own. But there are definitely a few songs that found their way to repeat on my playlist, and some that found their way right into the pages of Gravity. You might want to download these for a little read-along music…just sayin’.

 

  1. Greg Laswell’s version of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – I guess you could say Greg sort of inspired a part Mason’s character. His version of Cyndi’s classic is so different, and it tells such a different story. And that’s exactly what Mason does when he sings. (On a side note, Mason is also a little bit Dustin Lynch—I went to a show of his with a few girlfriends while I was writing, and well…Dustin makes quite the impression.)
  2. “Tenderness” by Otis Redding. This is one of my favorite songs—ever! It sort of became Avery’s anthem throughout the story, and it helped inspire her father’s backstory. Ray Abbot is the sort of guy who probably jammed with Otis once, like it was no big deal. While I’m on the subject of Otis, go ahead and throw “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” on your list, too. It’s a special Mason moment.
  3. “Wild Horses” by the Stones (and every other cover version ever done). This song has the power to give me goosebumps—just like it does with Avery.
  4. Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues” and “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” How do I put this? Johnny Cash had swagger—and so does Mason Street.
  5. “Strong Enough” by Sheryl Crow, though I encourage you to check out the Haim and Lorde co-cover. It’s gritty and makes it more of an anthem.
  6. The Lumineers “Hey Ho” – nothing much to say. I love this song, and I listen to it—a lot. It was on this playlist tooJ
  7. “Stay” by Rhianna. That song is kind of how I think this story feels.
  8. “Lemon World” by The National. Kind of like the Lumineers, The National tends to find its way onto my playlists. They are haunting, and “Lemon World” is sort of how Mason feels when he first comes home.
  9. “California” by Jamestown Revival. When Mason first comes to town and enters Ray’s bar, there’s a folk-country band playing. Secretly? It’s totally Jamestown Revival.
  10. “Robes of a Prophet” by Decker. This band is homegrown—from Sedona, Arizona. I stumbled across them one day, and ate up every single song they’ve ever recorded. I love them, and I used their song in the trailer for the book because their sound fits so damn well.
  11. “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. There are a few covers of this that I like, too. But Pete still takes the cake. I’ll admit I was deeply affected by John Cusack’s Lloyd Dobler holding the boom box over his head in Say Anything. I’m human, and that was downright romantic!

Coming Attractions! Design Book Trailer & Win Prizes!

So my debut novel, WHEN YOU ARE MINE, released last week. It was scary and fun and nerve wracking…did I already say scary? I have learned a lot throughout this process so far. Some about my book. A lot more about myself. Those lessons are the most precious, but I’ll write about those another time. In another blog.

One thing I’ve learned about myself…which I kind of already knew, but this confirmed it…is that I love marketing and the promotion, interaction with readers, adding dimension through Spotify playlists, Pinterest, etc…That side of the publishing process is almost as much fun for me as writing the book itself. Not surprising since I am an extreme extrovert with a public relations degree. Go figure. I have really enjoyed studying the ways various authors market and add dimension to their story. One of my favorite methods is the ol’ book trailer.

I have been living under a rock called debut for the last…months, and so I haven’t really been digging deep enough to see all the hot new book trailers. Yeah, there are hot book trailers. It’s a thing. Just trust me on this one. So, I asked one of my new blogger friends (Yes, I have blogger friends now!) Megan from Reading Books Like A Boss for some of her favorite book trailers of late, and I found a few of my own. Look at all the pretties below!

 

53 LETTERS FOR MY LOVER by Leylah Attar

UNRAVEL by Calia Read

WALKING DISASTER by Jamie McGuire

Get this. Some people have FANS who create these babies. Well, I want one, but I don’t really have any fans passionate enough yet to do this for me. So, I’ll bribe them. Shameless, I know.

I’m partnering with one of my favorite blogs (see, more blogger friends!) Schmexy Girl Book Blog to sponsor a book trailer contest! All the details are here, but essentially we’re looking for those of you who know how to do these things to design a book trailer for my book WHEN YOU ARE MINE. Deadline to submit is July 12. The first five submissions win an ebook  valued at $2.99 of their choice.

Prizes, you ask? But of course!

1st Place:  $50 VISA Gift Card

2nd Place:  $25 VISA Gift Card

3rd Place:  Forever Books Prize Pack including (MASQUERADE by Nyrae DawnTHE DESTINY OF VIOLET & LUKE by Jessica Sorensen, and THE EDGE OF NEVER by J.A. Redmerski)

Creating a book trailer to me would be the equivalent of constructing an atomic bomb, but with less dire implications, of course. I speak of degree of difficulty. So for those who can do it in your sleep, go forth! Create! You get prizes. I get my trailer. Win. Win.

To paraphrase that great hip hop philosopher and hype man DJ Khaled, all we do is win!

Remember, all the details are here!

Have you seen a book trailer you just love? Tell me about it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come to Me Softly by A.L. Jackson is LIVE!

Happy Release Day to A.L Jackson as we celebrate her new book Come to Me Softly!!

There is a special place reserved for this writer in my heart! Her writing is so evocative and emotionally rich. I love reading her. I was so humbled when this New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author read, liked and blurbed my little book. I was even more humbled when we became friends. Her books will wrench you, break your heart, and make you believe in true love. Check out all the details below for  Come to Me Softly, book 2 in the Closer to You series.

CTMS Release Celebration Facebook Banner

ComeToMeSoftlyCover.Final

Synopsis

From the New York Times bestselling author of Come to Me Quietly comes

a scorching new adult romance in the Closer to You series.

 

A second chance at life…

A second chance at love…

 

Jared Holt never thought he deserved either—until he found both in the arms of Aly Moore. Aly has loved Jared for as long as she can remember, and she’s more than ready for the future they’re making together. But Jared can’t help remembering his own family. And he’ll never forgive himself for what happened to them. How can he allow himself the very happiness he once destroyed?

To live a life worthy of Aly, Jared knows he has to stop running and finally put his past to rest. But when he decides to face his demons head on, he encounters more than he bargained for: a dangerous mix of jealousy, lies, and dishonest intentions. When those intentions threaten Aly, Jared loses all control, giving into the rage that earned him his bad boy reputation years before. And he’ll fight to protect her no matter what it costs…even if he destroys himself in the process.

Trailer*Enjoy the trailer created by the wonderful Becca the Bibliophile*

BUY YOUR COPY OF COME TO ME SOFTLY

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Be sure to join us for the Come to Me Softly Read Along Party! We’re kicking off the celebration on June 24th with a ton of prizes, then the read along begins. Daily prizes all the way up to grand prize on July 2nd!

Grand Prize: Coach Bag stuff with A.L. Jackson Goodies!

Read Along Party Grand Prize

JOIN THE COME TO ME SOFTLY READ ALONG PARTY!

Join the Facebook Event

Giveaway

Come to Me Softly Release Celebration Giveaway!

Grand Prize: Coach Bag, Kindle Paperwhite, and A.L. Jackson Swag

Second Prize: Come to Me Quietly Custom Charm Necklace

Third Prize: A.L. Jackson Swag Pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

BUY BOOK 1 IN THE CLOSER TO YOU SERIES

come to me quietly

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.

AboutTheAuthor

AL Jackson New Author Pic

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Pulled, When We Collide, If Forever Comes, and Come to Me Quietly.

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children.

Look for Come to Me Softly and When We Met: Behind Her Eyes coming soon.

Instagram @aljacksonauthor

Pinterest @aljacksonauthor

Carefully Place Money Where Mouth Is

My first book WHEN YOU ARE MINE, releases today, June 17. It is the fulfillment of more than one dream. I’ve wanted to be a published writer since I was a little girl, and there are so many things about this process I am enjoying. You might be surprised by the thing that may be bringing me more joy than just about anything else. The chance to give back a sliver of the love and support a special community of folks demonstrated to me when I needed it most. I’ll explain.

A NIGHTMARE OR A JOKE?

My son was diagnosed with Autism when he was two years old. To say I was devastated would put it mildly. Maybe if you throw in confused, afraid, angry, frustrated – you might approach the tornado of feeling ripping through me that Thursday afternoon 11 years ago. All I knew was Rain Man. And the little bit of info my cousin had shared with me when she worked at a special needs camp during college. What she had shared terrified me. As the doctor’s words fell on my numb heart, and he literally told me I should grieve my notions of what motherhood would be (wow, thanks for that, by the way), I just kept thinking it was some kind of joke. Or a nightmare I would wake up from the next day. If anything, the next day took my little family further downhill. My husband came home from work and told me they were downsizing, and he would be in the group who would have to go.

I will never forget closing the bathroom door, sitting on the edge of the bathtub and crying til my stomach ached from gut wrenching sobs. One blow after another. Back to back. It was all so unfair. These were the early, naive days when I thought life owed me an easy ride with fewer bumps and potholes than other people had.

Okay. So my son has autism. My husband has lost his job. We are now a one-income family rocked with a diagnosis we have really no idea how to deal with. I considered myself a fighter, but I didn’t know where to swing. Who would I hit? The doctor? My husband’s boss? God? Felt like the only person getting their butt kicked was me. Things couldn’t get much worse, though, right? This felt like bottom my nails were scraping.

Imagine my shock when Monday morning my insurance company told me they didn’t cover Autism. Was there anything else wrong with my son they could help me with? Um, no. Autism is quite enough, thank you. My research revealed more than $50,000 a year in out-of-pocket medical and therapy expenses we needed to help my son. We wouldn’t have been able to swing that with TWO jobs, much less my one average salary. Folks, I was floundering. I was sinking. I was drowning with no idea where to turn.
We were determined to get our son as much help as we could, so we used credit cards, robbed Peter to pay Paul. Did whatever we could, even though we were ruining our credit and barely paying our bills. I can still taste that desperation. Still remember my husband waking me up in the middle of the night because I was crying in my sleep. Still remember the depressing darkness that seemed to hover over every aspect of my life back then. Parenthood. My marriage. Our finances. Our friendships with people who just didn’t “get” what we were going through, and really didn’t know how to help or understand.

IN THIS THING TOGETHER

A turning point came when I sat down with an Autism mommy who had been at this for awhile. In an afternoon, she gave me hope. Not that everything would be better overnight, because it wasn’t. She gave me a different kind of hope. The kind that comes from knowing no matter how bad it gets, that you will not be alone. She introduced me to an autism support group, and that changed my life. I found my greatest resource to be these brave, brilliant warrior mothers and fathers who were further down this path than I was. They helped me find the right therapies, set me on the path to getting as much funding as I could, and gave me an outlet for all the emotional tumult I hadn’t known what to do with. I will never forget how that group, and others from the Autism community, befriended and guided me. It saved my family in more ways than one. I promised myself that any time I was ever in a position to do that for someone else, I would.

Fast forward a few years, and I started a foundation to do just that. A non-profit organization to provide financial and emotional support for families living with Autism in Georgia. The rush I got from helping others in this way; the incredible perspective it gave me – well, there’s nothing I can compare to it.

Fast forward six more years, about a year and a half ago. I had written a novel. It wasn’t easy. I worked a demanding full-time job, ran my foundation, raised my son, who is on the more severe end of the Autism spectrum, managed his services and the “industry” that is this kid’s life, and managed to keep my man happy. (Can’t leave that out! Holla!) But there was one thing I had always wanted to do that was just for me, and that was to become a published author. How my little story went from something languishing on my laptop to a 3-book deal with Grand Central Publishing in a year or so is another post for another day, but suffice it to say, it happened. The first thing I thought about was giving back to the people who had been so generous and supportive to my family when we were flailing and stumbling in the dark. Ask my agent. One of the first things I asked her was can I have money automatically donated to Autism from royalties without me ever even seeing it. That was how urgent it was to me. That was how eager I was to do my part, whatever that was.

 

A TIME TO GIVE

And now it’s here. My book releases today, and it is time to carefully place my money where my mouth is. I am donating 25% of any royalties from this book to resourcing families living with Autism. My foundation, Myles-A-Part, will receive 10% for Georgia families, and Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), my national charitable partner, will receive the remaining 15%. I had the privilege of interviewing Lisa Ackerman, co-founder of TACA, awhile back for Modern Mom. Read my article HERE to see what an incredibly intelligent, passionate, vigilant woman stands behind the organization effectively and compassionately assisting families all over the WORLD. And it started in a living room!

I understand small beginnings. In many ways, this is one for me. I don’t know if I’ll sell a lot of books, or just a few. I’m not a big name, but I don’t want to wait until I have a surplus and say now’s the time to give. Start the way you mean to go, they always say. Well, I will always give back to the Autism community. I survived the hardest decade of my life because of other gracious, compassionate ASD families. I will not forget them now.

Why? Because I know what it’s like to stand in front of an empty pantry wondering how your family will eat, only to have someone show up with a bag of groceries. I know what it’s like to choose between that therapy bill or your car payment, and to wake up to an empty driveway. Only to have someone GIVE you a car free and clear.  And when that car breaks down and you take it to the mechanic and know you can’t afford the bill that’s coming, he tells you someone anonymously paid the bill. I know what it’s like to RECEIVE! And if you’ve ever been in that humbling position, one thing that motivates you to fight and survive is the promise of one day being able to give.

To whom much is given much is required. I am requiring this of myself. It is not a ploy to sell books. It is my privilege, my absolute pleasure to give back to the compassionate, generous community of warriors fighting not only for their kids, but for the families to the left and to the right in the trenches with them. And for the kids to come.

I don’t know who Autism thought it was messing with when it came to my house, but I didn’t get the woe is me memo. I didn’t buy into self-pity, or roll over and die. I learned to fight. I learned to thrive in the dark. I found joy and contentment when happiness was nowhere in sight. Experiences like that transform you. They deepen you. They have the power to make you better if you let them. And this person, this woman who sat on the edge of a bathtub and wondered if she would make it, survived. Thrived. Lived to tell it. Will always shout about the folks who helped me grow and survive. And for me, giving back is not an option. I’m simply putting the money where my mouth is, and I do it with a smile.

Click HERE for all the e-tailers selling WHEN YOU ARE MINE!

Go to Goodreads to learn more about the book and see what early reviewers are saying!

 

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