Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Music To My Ears

(Awesomeness awaits at the end of this post - I promise!)

This week, I innocently created a new station on Pandora radio titled ‘Pearl Jam.’ Nothing notable about it . . . or so I thought. But within an hour or so, it was clear that the music geniuses that create the play lists had somehow managed to raid my mixed tape collection from high school, essentially creating a soundtrack to my past.
I am so not kidding.
There I was, a thirty-something adult driving a respectable sedan to my respectable day-job one minute, and the next I was the sixteen-year-old girl I had been half a lifetime ago, zipping around in my ancient Mazda GLC. Back then, the windows would be rolled down in deference to the scorching Kentucky summer heat, while the synthetic gray lambswool seat covers stuck to my legs and my hair whipped around my face. Headed to the pool for my lifeguard job, to meet my friends at the Dairy Queen for an oreo blizzard, or just enjoying my first real taste of freedom; I went wherever the wind blew and the $4 in my gas tank would take me.
As the songs kept coming, so did the memories. To this day, I can’t hear a Smashing Pumpkins song without thinking of my husband when we were a couple of kids, hanging out in his parents’ basement. Back then, I was so dog gone in love with that boy, my every sense would be attuned to him as we sat inches apart on the cool leather couch, pretending to watch a movie on his state of the art big screen TV.
I remember riding in my friend Becky’s teal Mustang convertible, a pair of girls ready to experience all the world had to offer as we shouted along with the blaring radio.  There were boys, a few parties, and the occasional trip to the lake.  It was those trips that reveal to me everything that I would eventually want out of life: living on the water, good friends to share a meal and a laugh with, and of course Kirk, my future husband. Sitting on the dock at dusk, listening to the frogs and crickets as lightening bugs emerged for their daily dance while soft music filtered from beneath the boat cover—to this day there are few things that make me happier.
In those days, I looked to the future and wondered what it held for me. As water lapped at the boats and dusk descended, I’d lay back and envision the years ahead. It was always murky, like shadowy figures through a fogged window, taunting me with its nearness and the shear vastness of possibilities.
Now, as I listen to the songs of my youth - to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots - I can’t help but smile. I’m in that perfect place in life when I have the luxury of looking back with happy nostalgia, while still being able to look forward with that same sense of wonder. Will the music I listen to today evoke that same ethereal sense of reminiscence? Will Adele come on the radio fifteen years from now, and make me shake my head in amazement at how it was when I first embarked on my writing career? Will the Zach Brown Band always remind me of that perfect moment in time when I first sold, and the world was my oyster?
I hope so. Music has a way of tugging the heartstrings like few things can. A whiff of an elusive scent or the taste of a long forgotten treat can have a similar effect, but I think music may be even better. It can embody a day, a year, or even a decade. It can define a period in our lives like nothing else, and it can forever sear a moment in our minds.
James Taylor will always make me think of the weekend I realized I was falling in love with my husband when we were seventeen. If The Devil Went Down To Georgia should ever come on the radio, I’ll think of me and my friend Jared on graduation night, karaoke-ing with the best of them. Sweet Home Alabama was playing on the tinny speakers of my husband’s old car the first time we said ‘I love you.’ I can’t hear Brown-Eyed Girl without thinking of Young Life, and all the fun times I had Wednesday nights when I was sixteen.
And now, thanks to my brother, I have a new song that will forever transport me to all the excitement, wonder, and strife that went along with writing my first book. Many of you have already heard the song (a free download here), but now that many of you have read or are reading my debut, I wonder – do you know what scene Andy was inspired by when he wrote the piano piece that accompanies MORE THAN A STRANGER?
Well, I’ve made a little music video, so to speak, to go along with the song. I hope you enjoy! And when you’ve finished watching it, I want to know: What song stands out most in your memories? When you think of high school, what music comes to mind?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Do Not Disturb :)

As a person who has adored books my entire life, I love that no matter what, I always have a ready (and sometimes preferred!) companion at my fingertips. I have blissfully spent many an hour wrapped up in the pages of my favorite novels.
Unfortunately, not everyone quite gets this concept.
A couple of weeks ago when my hubby was out of town, I decided to go out to eat by myself. I headed to my favorite local restaurant, requested a booth, reassured the waitress that no, I really didn’t want to sit at the bar (you know, since I asked for the booth and all), and settled in with my book to read.
When the waiter came to take my order, the pity was immediately apparent on his face. He slid into the opposite seat, cocked his head and smiled that smile one might give to a poufy dress-wearing teenager whose prom date bailed on them. “Just you tonight?”
Now, this waiter was a very nice guy, and I tried not to get impatient with him as he lingered to chat, but it was clear to me, as it so often is, that he believed a patron alone with naught but a book was a thing to be remedied.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. When he asked if it was just me, I wanted to say no—it wasn’t just me. It was me and the engaging characters I was enjoying in Lisa Kleypas’s Rainshadow Road. It was the sexy hero, and the wounded heroine, and her selfish sister, and the skanky ex-boyfriend, and yes – me. I was exactly where I wanted to be, with exactly the people I wished to be with at that moment. 
Interestingly enough, when Kirk and I were out to dinner last week, there was a woman at the table next to us who was engrossed in a book that for the life of me I couldn't see the title of. I almost stuck up a conversation by asking what she was reading, but I realized with a jolt that I would be doing the same thing that I hate others doing to me - interrupting her reading time!
Shame on me, dear reader. If I could forget such a thing, then I could hardly blame others! So I've decided, I should make a little sign to prop on the table when I’m reading alone next time that will hopefully get the hint across to others: “Caution—Reader in her Happy Place. Disturb at your own risk!”
So tell me – what’s your strategy for getting people to leave you be when you’re reading?  Are you one of those who the kids know not to come near when mommy’s reading? Or are you constantly being interrupted?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Debut Week Delights!

The past week has been an amazing, wonderful, humbling and unforgettable time for me as I celebrated the release of my first novel, More Than a Stranger. It has been the sort of magical experience that you wish for everyone in the world to have at least once in their lives. I'm so incredibly grateful to all those who attended my first two signings, as well as to those who sent wonderful notes and messages of encouragement, and to those who purchased the book in support of me.

To all of you, I offer a big, huge, happy Thank You!! I was beyond thrilled that both signings were such a success, with each one selling out (and the one in Louisville had stocked 40 books!)

Below are some pictures from the two signings. Sadly, I didn't get pictures of everyone who came, but I'll always remember you guys for coming out to share the day with me :)  At the bottom is a short video from the author panel I participated in. I hope you enjoy!

Ready to go in my hometown of Louisville, KY

Several of my mom's awesome co-workers stopped by for their copies :)

My darling niece and nephew!

My wonderful in-laws came out to see me

My Mom and Dad :)

The girls: My mom, sister, and fashionista niece

My sweet friend Jocelyn drove quite a ways to see me - and her darling daughter approves, lol!
I was delighted to see my friend Ginny there!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012



Today is June 5th: my debut release day!! I'm at LadyScribes today celebrating . . . and may or may not have made a video that involved me dancing in the aisles of Barnes and Nobles, lol. I hope you'll stop by and join the fun!

 Click Here