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Behind the Scenes of After the Rain

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Happy March, loveys! I can’t believe it’s been a month already since the release of After the RainI’m so thrilled for the book to make its way to the hands of readers. I feel like I poured my heart and soul into this story. For all my readers, please be sure to leave reviews online so I can hear your feedback.

The blog tour has ended but I so enjoyed the interviews and snippets and behind-the-scene details that were shared that I thought I’d post some of them. I’m going to share the playlist and book facts here for you!

10 Behind-the-Scene Facts from After the Rain

  1. I love all the connections to rain throughout this book. As a girl from Texas who lived in Colorado for years, I know well the sense of missing the rain, needing the rain. I missed the thunderstorms in Texas while I lived in Colorado. I wanted to share that with Debra, especially for the season of life she’s in—this sense of missing what we don’t have.
  2. One of the best sources of inspiration when I was working on this book was the song Never Gonna Love Again by Lykke Li. Find it on Spotify or Pandora or Amazon music and turn it up loud. If After the Rain had a soundtrack, this song would be number one.
  3. I tend to set my books in places that I’m familiar with. Several of the places mentioned in After the Rain are places I have connections to/memories of. The Sixteenth Street Mall in Denver, the rock at Castle Rock, the Denver Zoo, Breckenridge—these are all great Colorado locations where I’ve spent time.
  4. Debra’s love for theater stems from my own experience of watching musicals with my grandmother. She introduced me to movies with Fred Astaire. A few years ago, I went to the theater district in Denver to see Wicked with my sister, and it was so fun that I knew I wanted to include that setting into a book somehow. Including the quotes for every chapter was one of the most fun aspects of writing this book!
  5. There’s a crossover character in this book from another series! He’s not actually in the book, but he’s mentioned. Readers of the Romano Family Collection will recognize the name Leonardo Romano. (If you haven’t read that series, I hope you’ll check it out too!)
  6. I love music so much, but honestly, I’m not very musical. (I think I might be tone deaf. Sad!) I definitely needed help with the musical terms/pieces in this story. A friend of mine, Kollette Decker of Renegade Road, is an amazing singer and the lead singer of a band that’s making a name for itself in the Denver area, and her help with reviewing and offering advice for After the Rain was invaluable.
  7. One cool thing about writing is drawing from our own life experiences and then creating scenes and even dialog from moments you’ve lived. My own experiences are weaved throughout all my books. Even something as small as a dish I tried at a café. There are too many cases of this to share them all, but one example from After the Rain is the name of the bar/café called Percival’s Island. There was a Percival’s Island bar/café in the town where I went to college, and in my mind, I was recreating that same kind of fun, hipster-but-still-gritty, raucous kind of place, perfect for live music.
  8. I knew I wanted Debra to see a counselor, and I also knew I wanted that to be as authentic as possible to what that might have looked like. Lucky for me, I’ve got several friends who are amazing counselors! One of them reviewed the book for me early on, specifically looking at the counseling sessions. I didn’t want to move forward until I had her ‘okay’ on the material. I think counseling can make such a difference in people’s lives.
  9. When I first saw the cover of After the Rain, I had this huge sigh of relief. Because it was perfect. Maybe more perfect than the designer realized! I love the fact that the girl on the cover is dressed all in black. I love that she’s running, because I think of Debra as someone who’s running from life disappointment and also someone who’s started literally running in her life as a good outlet for stress. And I love that the umbrella is off to the side. It’s this sense that she’s already soaked, the umbrella can’t help her now. And it also captures the idea of a woman wanting to feel the rain, needing to feel something.
  10. The name “Logan Fox” is mentioned in the book. That’s the name of the grandson of some special friends of ours. I remember when I saw that name posted in the baby announcement on Facebook, I loved it and knew I’d use it at some point!

 

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One Week Till After the Rain Book Release!

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We’re 7 days out from After the Rain’s book launch! I can’t even believe it. For so long it feels like this day will never come–writing and rewriting and editing and more editing. And then it finally gets here and I don’t feel ready. (If you haven’t read The Last Summer yet, there’s still time! Click here!)

There was this moment years ago, when I’d first moved out to Colorado. My family came to visit Jeff and me, and we went white water rafting out in Buena Vista. The day was perfect. My favorite people in the world were all in one raft together. The mountains, the water, the sky–it was this picturesque scene. White rapids crashing over the rocks, the sounds of excited screams as our raft raced down the river. You couldn’t help but feel like this, this was what people loved about Colorado. We bought one of those pictures they take at some point mid-river and I still love it. I’m screaming (everyone else looks like they are laughing and smiling, but I’m screaming), water’s splashing. Toward the end of the trip, we stopped and the guide jumped out of the raft with a whoop! (None of us followed him.) And I sat there (literally drenched) and thought, I wish I could capture this moment.

And right then, I had this glimpse of a scene for a story. I knew I’d use it one day. That was at least fourteen years ago. And that small glimpse in my mind that day stayed with me until I decided to write this book. That’s how it goes sometimes. Bits and pieces of a story stay with you for as long as it takes. Like bits and pieces of our lives, right? We don’t get to keep them all, but some of them stay with us forever. I can tell you, there are other glimpses I’ve had, for stories not yet told. I hope one day they find their way into books.

But at this moment, we’re days away from After the Rain making its way into the world. I have loved the time I’ve gotten to spend with these characters and I’m thrilled to share this new story with you. I hope you’ll read it and email me or leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads and tell me what you think! Please know I’m so grateful for every reader.

Right now the pre-order price for After the Rain is discounted, but it will go up after release day so hop over to Amazon and grab your copy now.

I am so excited to invite you to the Facebook online launch party for After the Rain. It’s on release day (Feb 4th) and you can see all the details below. Put it on your calendar and click over to sign up here! Be sure to come party with us!

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Later in February there will be a blog/bookstagram tour with fun posts and a super-fun giveaway. And not only does After the Rain release in February, but on the 8th, the Jeffster and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary, just days before all the love (and chocolate) on the 14th! February is basically a fabulous month. You might want to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter to stay tuned for all the fun things coming up!

This winter has been so rainy where I live. The other day I opened the garage door and stood for a minute, watching the rain fall. Of course I can’t help but think of the book. My dad has always told me that he thinks of rain showers as a blessing. Sometimes we need the rain. And I hope After the Rain reaches you right where you are.

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February is ALL THE LOVE (giveaway!)

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IMG_0197.jpgCan you believe it’s already February!? It’s a busy month at my house. Valentine’s Day and the Daddy/Daughter Ball and our anniversary–PLUS my little sister is having her first baby and the whole family is so excited. I truly love Valentine’s Day. We don’t go too crazy over here, but chocolate is a MUST and there are cards and usually some stuffed animals and the kids love all of it.

One thing I always think of around this time of the year is my novel Looks Like Love. Maybe because the cover is pink and white. Maybe because it’s a story of a girl seeking out adventure, and stumbling across a little romance along the way. It’s a novel that digs into the question What does love look like?  The main character, Kasey, has been dumped by her long-time boyfriend, so she heads off to visit her best friend, who just happens to be British. London is calling! So Kasey embarks on a trip of self-discovery, a touch of romance, and a lot of fun. When she gets back, things at work get crazy. The advertising firm where she works has finally landed LETA, a cosmetics company branching out with their first fragrance, called Love. Kasey’s tasked with finding out what love looks like, and then finding a way to sell it. From double-decker tour buses to glamorous galas–you’ll want to join Kasey on her journey to find out the truth about love.

The picture above includes a little “Book of Days.” I dug that out this morning when working on an Instagram photo post. This is one of my treasures. It’s the journal I filled out on my Europe trip, way back in college. I’m so thankful I wrote down even snippets of every day I was there. It was a trip of a lifetime and that little book helps me remember the details. The month I spent in Europe was the inspiration behind Looks Like Love. The places that Kasey visits–such as Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, Bath, and more–are places I went to on my tour and that were stamped on my heart forever. The last week of the month was spent in Paris and Rome and Florence with my dad. The next year I would get married, so those days of just the two of us were extra special. (Though, I will say that admiring the Statue of David with your dad is an interesting experience! Ha! But we made it through and had an amazing time, from exploring Paris, to traveling via train in a sleeper car on our way to Rome (two little grannies shared our cabin!), to dinner in Florence. Those are moments I cherish.)

So, in some ways, Looks Like Love is imprinted with the heart memories of that trip. It’s one of my favorites and I hope you’ll check it out. Hop over to Amazon and read the first chapter!

The fun of Valentine’s isn’t just romance, and that’s part of what I love about the book. (Though romance is wonderful of course!) It’s exploring the many ways we see love in our lives–family and friends and so much more. Being loved by the people closest to us, and loving them well in return, makes all the difference.

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I thought I would do a little giveaway as my Happy Hearts Day gift to you! I’m offering one free Kindle e-book download for Looks Like Love. All you have to do is leave a comment (click on the rafflecopter link) telling us a vacation spot that’s on your bucket list, and for an extra ticket (not required), hop over and like my Facebook page . Since I want you to have this before Valentine’s Day, the raffle will run until February 9th. So spread the news, grab some white chocolate (Kasey’s favorite), maybe a little pink champagne, click on the link below, and get ready!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal Time

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Loveys, we are seventeen days from the release of The Last Summer (picture me squealing with excitement!). How fabulous! Today, Carrie from Reading is My SuperPower is doing a cover reveal! Hop over right now and join the excitement!!

http://readingismysuperpower.org/2017/05/24/cover-reveal-last-summer-brandy-bruce/

Six Weeks from The Last Summer

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I cannot believe we’re six weeks out from the launch of The Last Summer! How is this even possible?! It’s actually already available for pre-order on Amazon. The publisher is working on the cover. Final corrections are being made to the proofs. And this is feeling really real, y’all.

I’m scared.

I was putting together a list of early readers this weekend, and the thought of people actually READING this story started to give me a little anxiety. Remember, these characters first came to me when I was 18 years old. A lifetime ago. They’ve been living in my head all this time. Now their story is finished and about to be available for people. I think nerves are just part of the process.

Nerves and excitement. I’m thinking of a book launch party and other fun, book-release things and excitement is part of all that. I’ve loved every book I’ve written–of course I have. You pour yourself into the writing and spend hours upon hours with your characters.  But this book, lovey. This book.

It’s just different.

I love it in a nostalgic, memory-filled, roots kind of way. Because I remember forming these characters on the bottom of a bunk bed while living in a dorm room with five other girls, one of whom has already gone to heaven, which breaks my heart. We were just young girls then.

And then I remember re-writing it, living with Leah in dorm 23. Then Courtney and Kat. Dave Matthews or Matchbox Twenty on the radio. And then in our apartment while living with Laurie. Staying up late in my room, typing away on this same story.

Then becoming an intern for a publishing company and letting Mick and Kathy read it, getting feedback and feeling terrified as real, grown-up editors read my writing. Working on it while sitting with Samantha Krieger in one of the houses I was staying in during our internship. I think back on that and smile, thinking that’s what it looks like when you’re writer-friends. Come over, and bring your laptop, and we’ll sit together and type!

Then taking a break from it and writing Looks Like Love. Time passed during those years and life changed and I became an editor and lived out my dream job. Babies came. Then I wrote Table for Two, then Second Chance Café, then Recipe for Love. All while editing the books of so many others.

And finally, while pregnant with my third baby, I decided to start with a blank page, and rewrite this novel (in first person this time, which I loved while working on Looks Like Love).

So as Lily grew inside me, I wrote, for the last time, Sara’s story, The Last Summer.

And now, we’re six weeks out from release date.

But in my heart, we’re twenty years in. And I could just about cry.

So I’m scared and excited and happy and relieved and ready. I could use your help, loveys, to get the word out about this story. I hope to do a cover reveal in the next few weeks. And you can see the hashtag in the photo above. Once the book is out, I’d be so thankful to see readers with it, and please include that hashtag. Please leave reviews–you don’t even know how invaluable that is for authors. Share the book announcement on your pages. Contact me with any questions about how you can help! brandybrucewrites@gmail.com.

It’s nearly time. The COUNTDOWN is beginning.

Oh gosh. I’m so happy!

 

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Talking books and such

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Here’s the deal. I write stories. Sometimes. When there’s a free moment between being a waitress for my kids and folding laundry and watching OC marathons on the Pop channel. I do it because I love it. And I’ve done it for a really long time. When I was a young thing, I’d read the latest Babysitter Club book and then sit down and immediately write my own sequel. (Sorry, Ann M. Martin. That’s what fan fiction looked like in the 80s.)  My best friend and I started writing our own series together in the sixth grade, called The Hawaii Twins. When we studied WWII in high school, I wrote a novel about swing kids who were trying to escape the Nazis. I love stories. Movies. Theater. Music. Anything that tells a good story.

During great times in my life, I’d write. During difficult times in my life, I’d write. I went off to college and in my Liberty University dorm room (which was in no way as cool as the dorm rooms are now), when Leah, then Courtney, then Laurie (year after year of roommates) would take off to class or to hang out with friends, I’d turn on Caedmon’s Call (or Matchbox Twenty or Dave Matthews or Rich Mullins or Christmas music or whatever) and I’d write.

But even before those fun college days . . . a story came to me. I spent a year at a school in Longview a very long time ago. It was a difficult year for me, to be honest. But it’s where I met Amber. And Joy. And Krisha. And Lois. And Micah. And Charisa. And Mary Jane. And Karissa. And Wes. And Paul. And Erika and Efrain. And Leticia. And Dairisha and Blanca and Melissa and Rachel and Sharon and Tim and Miss Michelle and SO many more awesome people. And in that tiny little dorm room that I shared with FIVE other girls, I started writing a story about seven friends. Seven twenty-somethings who are in and out of each other’s lives. Who love each other like family.

Over the years I’ve written and rewritten that story. Reinvented certain characters. I’d go back to it when I had the urge. The story, the characters had been there for me when I’d needed an outlet, when I’d needed to feel creative, when I’d needed solace. I didn’t want to give up on them. The bottom line-it was a story in my heart that still wanted to be told.

So, while I was pregnant with Lily, I pulled up a blank document and decided to start fresh. I’d write it all over again, the way I’d want to tell it right now. So I did. And I loved every minute and I cried at times. It’s hard to describe how I feel about this novel, because it’s been part of me for so long. It’s who I was then, and it’s who I am now.

And I’m ABSOLUTELY thrilled to tell you that it will be published, and as of now, will most likely be released at the beginning of next summer (I’ve just signed the contract so I still need to dive into the editing and rewriting process, and books, you know, take a super long time.) I’ll keep you posted on the process. I cannot wait to share this story with you, loveys. I just know that when I finally see it in print, I’ll bawl and howl and laugh and jump up and down like a crazy person.

Can’t. Wait.

Just a thought. Having the heart of a writer means that there are stories inside of you that you need to tell. Some, you will write and they’ll stay in a drawer or on your laptop for forever (and if you pull them out and take a look, you’ll think, Yeah, that needs to stay hidden in this drawer!) I’ve written stories that will never see the light of day. They were and are stepping stones, learning opportunities, practice and so on. And for some of us, it takes a very long time to get any traction with our writing. Doors close. Opportunities seem to dry up. We get discouraged. I think this happens to 90 percent of writers. (Some people are super lucky and everything always works out. I am not one of those people.) Sometimes, things happen when we’re not expecting it. We’re busy living life and loving our people and working hard. And sometimes we need to take initiative and make things happen, or at least try. Start that business. Indie-publish that novel. Save up for that trip.

By the time my novel will be published, it will have been nearly twenty years since those characters first showed up in my mind. (Crazy, I know. Now I feel super old.) But you know, there doesn’t have to be an expiration date on our dreams and goals. Life changes and we change and our hopes change. Good things can happen. Go after it, lovey.

My new editor sent me an email, telling me why she connects to the story and how excited she is for us to work on this project together. I couldn’t stop smiling after reading that email. It’s been a long road, but there’s an end in sight and a story to be told.

Coming soon, Loveys. Good things.

 

P.S. In the meantime, my sister is doing a giveaway of my novel Looks Like Love!  Go here to try to win a copy!  https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/ce50accb2abfd39b/?ref_=tsm_4_tw_p_ln-l

Also, follow my author page on Facebook to keep up with the publishing process as I go along! https://www.facebook.com/authorBrandyBruce/

 

 

 

 

 

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford

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the-mysterious-death-of-miss-jane-austen-by-lindsay-ashford-2013-x-200So I flew to Texas recently and took this book with me. Flying alone (rare for me), I settled in with this book as soon as the plane took off. I was engrossed! I made it more than half way through the book during the two-hour flight. I waited to finish until the return flight. I have to say that I was caught up in the mystery of this book right away and thoroughly enjoyed it and now want to research every aspect of Jane Austen’s death.

Good writing, compelling storytelling, intriguing characters, and a topic that I find fascinating to begin with (Jane)–I loved this book. It felt so true! You have to wonder if this could have happened. However, the ending leaves you just a little unsatisfied. But it has to be that way, I suppose, because of the theories posed in the book. I don’t want to give spoilers for any Jane-ites out there who might read the book. It’s worth reading and I am so glad I did. You know me, I believe in closure and I like books that give us that (unless they leave room for sequels). But, in some ways, you do get a sense of closure in the book. The mystery and excellent writing make this such a fun, entertaining read.

From what I’ve heard, this book was so realistically written that it sparked some controversy on Jane Austen’s death (not that there isn’t any out there to begin with; there are only guesses and theories on the illness that killed her). If you’re a fan of Jane, definitely read this book and see what you think!