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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/

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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!

Book Blog Hop!

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Hi, loveys! So the very talented Mrs. Susan Mathis tagged me in a book blog hop and I’m super excited to be part of it. The deal is that we answer questions about books we’ve written so I’m talking about Looks Like Love. Fun! Here we go:
What is/was the title of your book? Looks Like Love
 
Where did the idea come from for the book? Well, the title is actually taken from a line in the book. The entire premise of the story is about finding out what love looks like. I wanted to write a story that explores the different forms love takes–you know, friendship, family, romance, faith. I wanted to delve into the fact that our perspective of love can sometimes be limited. And the truth that taking a closer look at what love really looks like can change your life.
 
What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary romance, chick-lit
 
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? After a devastating break-up, Kasey Addison embarks on an adventure to discover what real love looks like.
 
How was your book published? Since I’m an editor myself, I took the plunge and self-published my book. Lucky for me, I had editor friends to help copyedit my manuscript and I already knew the process of proofing and writing back cover copy. To be honest, I had a lot of fun with the process.
 
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? About a year.
 
What other books would you compare this work to within your genre? A Girl’s Best Friend by Kristin Billerbeck, Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones, Dreaming in Black and White by Laura Jensen Walker, Bridget Jones’s Diary, etc.
 
Who or What inspired you to write this book? I took a trip to Europe about ten years ago that caused me to fall in love with all things British. Several years after the trip, I decided to write a story where I could incorporate some of my experiences (not the romance experiences, FYI. I was already engaged by that point! The travel aspects.).
 
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? For anyone who’s a travel lover, a large part of my story takes place in England. So if you like fiction that takes you on overseas adventures, Looks Like Love will be right up your alley. My main character is a relatable girl who sometimes feels lost in her own life. She’s a fun character and I had a blast writing her.
You can find Looks Like Love on Amazon or at all Tattered Cover locations in Denver, Colorado. It’s also available (very affordable) for Kindle and Nook. And I think there are some used copies on Amazon at the moment for really great prices. So if you’re looking for a gift for Christmas, check it out!
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Interview with Christa Banister

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Hi everybody! I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. I’ve been buried in boxes and covered in paint. The “settling in” process has begun at our new house. Moving is chaos. Every night for the last two weeks, Jeff and I have painted the interior of the house once Ash went to bed. Today Jeff brought in more boxes for me to unpack, and we hung a few pictures. It’s really starting to feel like home. Which I’m thrilled about because I really like our new place and can’t wait for everything to be put away and for life to get back to normal. Jeff’s been a good sport today. For some reason, hanging pictures is always a major situation for us. Could be that I always disagree with the level and think the picture needs to go up on the right just a little. And this makes Jeff crazy. It’s actually so familiar to me–this process. I had to work hard not to giggle about it today while Jeff was turning red and I was, as usual, asking him to raise the mirror just a tad on the right. 🙂

So anyway, you should be hearing from me on a more regular basis now that the computer is off the floor. It’s not so easy for us pregnant women to type while sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor. I know that we probably won’t be completely settled in for a few more weeks, but it seems like we’re accomplishing enough every day to feel like there’s actually a light at the end of the tunnel.

On another note, good things are happening with my novel Looks Like Love. It was featured today on the Family Fiction website. Yay! And Christa Banister, author extraordinaire and completely fabulous person that she is, posted my interview with her today. So hop over to her website and check that out. I loved her questions. I’ll be featured on Operation Encourage an Author on Monday, which I’m excited about. I’ll post the link then for you to stop by.

Well, my dears, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open as I write this. I think it’s time to call it a night. I’ll be in touch soon.

Looks Like Love FIRST Blog Tour

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I’m honored that Looks Like Love is featured on the FIRST blog tour today! Here’s a peek at what the posts look like! And later today I’ll be posting a few links to where the tour is stopping so you can check out their reviews!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Brandy Bruce

and the book:

Looks Like Love

WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson (December 7, 2010)

***Special thanks to Brandy Bruce for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Brandy Bruce holds a bachelor of arts degree from Liberty University. She’s been a nonfiction developmental book editor for more than six years. Brandy lives in Colorado with her husband, Jeff, and her daughter, Ashtyn.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Kasey Addison is a twenty-something marketing consultant whose life has just been savagely thrown into disaster status. Following a bad breakup and an unfulfilling career, Kasey feels lost in her own life. With the help of her best friend, and with a rekindled relationship with the Lover of her soul, she embarks on an adventure to rediscover life, faith, and love.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.95
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson (December 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449707017
ISBN-13: 978-1449707019

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

I wasn’t going to marry him anyway.

At least that’s what I told myself about fifty-two times from the moment he said the words “This just isn’t working for me” until my car was started and my shaking hands were holding the steering wheel. I wasn’t going to marry him. Not in a million lifetimes would I consider marrying him.

My shock turned into devastation, which soon turned into anger as I ransacked my apartment and tossed every piece of Riley Shepard memorabilia I could find into a large brown box.

Riley Shepard. Boyfriend of eight years and sixty-four days. Dirty dog deserving death.

Well, I should possibly have said, dirty dog deserving death who up until recently was in disguise. Nah, too much work. Dog summarized my feelings pretty well, and even that was being generous.

And so, here I found myself: Kasey Addison, a normally very nice, Christian, twenty-seven-year-old marketing consultant for Jinkson’s Advertising Firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, whose life had just been savagely thrown into disaster status. I tried not to think about the fact that if this breakup remained permanent, the last eight years of my life had been worthless.

How did I get here? Was it possible for me to be shocked by a cruel announcement telling me that I was no longer loved? Weren’t there warning signs? Answers: I don’t know. Yes. No.

The box of memorabilia sat by the door, a constant reminder of the end of my life. I refused to call Riley. If he wanted his things, he’d have to make the effort to come get them.

* * *

One week later, I caved and gave into the foolish desire to call him since he had made no attempt to contact me. I thought perhaps the sound of my voice would bring him back to reality. That was when I realized the unfortunate truth: Riley was fine. He didn’t miss me. He was happy. He spoke to me as though I were a dear, old friend who had been keeping some of his belongings for him. He even told me that my friendship was important to him. That was the moment I yelled unintelligibly (think Tasmanian devil) before hanging up the phone and sinking into depression.

For three weeks I avoided all calls from my parents and my friends from work and church. I managed to go to work every day and come home and that was it. I’d even started living off frozen pizza, Chinese take-out, and my faithful friends Ben and Jerry.

Everything changed when Amanda called. Amanda Scott. Best friend since freshman year of college. British chick who went to Penn State as an exchange student. My lifesaver.

The phone rang twelve times before I considered answering it. My voicemail would kick on after every four rings. Amanda would hang up and text me. She did this three times, and I knew it wouldn’t stop until she reached me.

I set aside my pint of Cherry Garcia and reached for the cordless (which was sitting next to me on the sofa).

“I’m here.”

Amanda’s exasperated sigh was so loud that I could practically feel her breath in my ear.

“Of course you’re there. Where else would you be? Getting on with your life? I know you too well to assume that. Which is why I’m calling.”

I noticed the scattered popcorn around the living room floor. Why couldn’t I at least lose weight as a result of my broken heart? I’d known girls who couldn’t eat after a breakup. Not me. I’d already cleaned out the first and second shelves of the pantry.

“Why are you calling again?”

Luckily, I knew Amanda to be the type of sarcastic friend who was not offended easily—not to mention controlling, sweet when she wanted to be, and a little demanding. She was the kind of girl who left London to be an exchange student only to annoy her parents. I was very aware of the fact that other people’s feelings were rarely her priority.

“I’m calling to pull you out of depression and push you back among the land of the living. I bought you a birthday present.”

I picked up a piece of popcorn from the floor and ate it, hoping it would poison me.

“My birthday was two months ago, and you already sent me that skirt that I’ll never wear.”

“You haven’t worn it? Forget I said that. You will wear it, Kasey. With your pale skin, the color will look great on you.”

Demanding. More than a little.

“Thanks for that reminder that I basically look like mozzarella string cheese,” I retorted.

Amanda chuckled. “String cheese doesn’t have wavy, strawberry-blond hair.”

“Frizzy, you mean,” I interrupted.

“I was being nice,” Amanda said bluntly. “Back to the present situation. I bought you a present. How much holiday time do you have?”

“Not much. I think Annie hates me.” Annie was my boss who thought she was prettier than she really was and treated me worse than her pet poodle.

“Who cares about Annie? How much time off do you have? Concentrate, Kasey! Have you been drinking?”

“No,” I answered, thinking that it didn’t sound like a bad idea. Amanda’s tone softened just a tad.

“Listen, I know you’ve been through a lot. I wish I were there so I could go directly to Riley’s apartment and tell him what I think of him—and maybe slash his tires. But honestly, Kas, it’s time to move forward, and I’m here to help you. I bought you a ticket to come visit me. We’re going to have a great time, and you are going to realize that you deserve better than Riley.”

My tears vanished. Suddenly I was quite coherent and pretty sure I had just heard Amanda tell me that she had bought me a plane ticket to London.

“Amanda, what have you done? How am I supposed to pay you back for this? I can’t take a vacation in the middle of October. The holidays will be here soon.”

“What does that matter? Holidays will only make you more depressed. What you need is some girl time with me.”

I promised to think it over and later came to the conclusion that it made sense to me. Riley and I usually spent the holidays together, jumping back and forth from his parents’ house to my parents’ house. Maybe a trip to England would help boost my re-entrance into single life. Maybe I would meet a gorgeous, Hugh Grant-type of guy.

I knew it was unlikely. My chances of attracting an amazing Brit were slim to none, especially since I was obviously repulsive to normal, sensible guys like Riley.

I wished I were twenty-two again. Why couldn’t Riley have broken up with me when I was twenty-two and still valuable to the opposite sex? Did he know nothing of the predicament of aging women? Amanda was absolutely right. I should travel. Increase knowledge and gain experience. I’d never been to England. My only European jaunt had been a family vacation to Italy with my parents when I was in sixth grade. Maybe some adventure was exactly what I needed. (Plus, there was always the hope that Riley might come to his senses and start to miss me.)

* * *

Somehow Amanda always managed to talk me into things, telling me later that I wouldn’t have gone along if I hadn’t really wanted to. Usually I believed her. But taking my precious week of vacation the month before Thanksgiving felt strange. Annie had given me that look. The one that meant, Are you ever going to be a normal person? But she’d signed the vacation form and I’d started packing my bags.

Amanda had bought an open ticket so I could leave when I wanted to. She must have been feeling kind. It was unlike her to leave decisions up to me. But I’d made my decision. I was going to England. I was taking this trip for myself, and I wasn’t going to mourn Riley the entire time. In two weeks, my new life was beginning.