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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

All About the Love

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So, it’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about. The time of year when we’re all about the love. Candy and roses and hearts and kisses. You might remember that Jeff and I were married on February 8th (we just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary). Since it’s so close to the 14th, sometimes we combine the holiday. But Jeff is smart enough to know that obviously a card or gift is needed on both of those days, even if we plan just one special date to commemorate. He’s good about all that love stuff. 🙂

So here’s the deal, I like to give Jeff something unique, if I can think of something! A year or two ago, I made him a CD I called “The Jeff and Brandy Soundtrack” with all the songs that are special to us. Most were songs that we liked while we were dating, one was our wedding song, and so on. He loved it. So this year, I was trying to think of what to do. I got this idea from an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” I made him a T-shirt, as you can see in the picture. I’m happy to say that it was a hit. He really loved it. I’m so glad. Isn’t it cute? It was the perfect gift for him. So, tell me, do you have fun Valentine ideas? Have you ever been given a really unique gift for Valentine’s Day?  (P.S. Feel free to use my ideas if you need to!)

Jeff and I have been each other’s valentine for going on 12 years now. Having someone to share your life with is such a gift. And then, of course, the gifts that follow (such as Ashtyn) are just as precious. We had our second ultrasound last week and I was amazed by how much our new little one has grown just in a month! He/She went from looking like a shrimp to a real human. So incredible.

Well, I wish all my readers a Happy Hearts Day! And please be sure to share your own Valentine stories with us!