EXCLUSIVE Interview – That’s What She Said with Hilaria Alexander

 

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Two years ago, his kiss left her reeling, but she pushed him away and they never spoke of it again.

Lena Andrews is bad at love, and has no intention of getting better at it.

Men are good for one thing, and love isn’t it.

She’s perfectly okay with finding happiness in her job as a comic book artist.

Yet, she can’t shake the memory of her coworker’s kiss.

Amos St. Clair has stayed the hell away from Lena Andrews for the last two years.

Work has filled his time and he’s on the cusp of making a name for himself. When an opportunity to complete a project that’s dear to Lena’s heart presents itself, Amos seizes the opportunity – even if it means being with the woman he’s avoided all this time.

Through their mutual passion for art and each other, their love blooms like a lotus flower out of a dark, muddy pool. But, is their love strong enough to withstand the challenges posed by the most important job of their careers?

 

 

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That’s What She Said Exclusive Interview with Hilaria Alexander

When BFF K finished The Art of Us, she immediately had to know more about the story and the world created in the story! We hope you’ll enjoy this sneak peek behind the scenes of The Art of Us!

 

BFF K: This book was so detailed and in a world that was completely foreign to me (manga/cartoon) how much research did you have to do? Is this something you enjoy? Where should a newbie start if they want to check some of this out?

HA: I grew up in Italy and I’m an eighties child. When I was a kid, Japanese anime were extremely popular. I watched tons of robot-sagas like Voltron and lots of “magical girl anime” by Studio Pierrot like Creamy Mami and Magical Girl Emi. The heroine was usually a young teen who was in possession of a magic wand and could transform into an older girl, kind of like Erica Raymond becomes Jem from Jem and the Holograms. When I was in high school, I watched the anime version of Marmalade Boy by Wataru Yoshizumi and Neighborhood Story by Ai Yazawa before I even read the comics. Later, I decided to start studying Japanese and as my love for Japanese culture grew, so did my interest for manga (Japanese comics).  Some of my favorites were Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue, centered about a young greaser/gang leader who starts playing basketball to win the heart of the girl he loves, and Neighborhood Story by Ai Yazawa. If you’d like to check out some manga, I would suggest picking up Shojo Beat by Viz Media or checking out their site. Most popular anime series started out as a manga. Sailor Moon (Naoko Takeuchi), Inuyasha (Rumiko Takahashi), Vagabond (Takehiko Inoue), are all great series that started as a manga.

 

 

BFF K: I know you spent time in Japan in college. How much of this experience made an appearance in The Art of Us?

HA: Some details are definitely taken from my experience overseas. I don’t have a lot in common with the heroine of my story besides the fact that she was also an exchange student and lived for a time in Japan with her best friend. The house were Lena and Maggie lived is an accurate description of the house where my best friend and I lived. It was within walking distance from Shibuya, one of the busiest districts, but it was far from glamourous. However, I did love that little neighborhood a lot. The places described in the novel are places I traveled to – there was so much more I wanted to include. The story about Lena never seeing Mount Fuji or the one about the old lady from the hostel in Nikko are things that happened to me in real life.

 

BFF K: Tell is about the unfinished manga IRL that inspired this story.

HA: It’s called Nana and it’s by Ai Yazawa. She is hands down my favorite artist. Her style is so unique, and her stories are beautifully crafted. Nana is about two best friends, Nana Komatsu and Nana Osaki, who meet on the train to Tokyo and end up sharing an apartment by accident. The first volume came out in Japan in 2001 – just when I started my year there as an exchange student – but nothing new has been published since 2009. The manga is on indefinite hiatus. Ai Yazawa was ill for a while, and then there were rumors she was well enough to go back to work. However, nothing new has been published and no one knows what’s the author’s ailment or if the story will ever be completed. It’s the BIGGEST cliffhanger of my life – I believe the millions of people who read this manga will agree. Even if it’s incomplete, I highly recommend it.

These are “adult” manga and they are just as addictive as romance novels.

 

BFF K: Lena’s relationship with Rika-san was so lovely. What inspired that relationship? Do you have a mentor like that for your writing?

HA: I have a lot of women who inspire me to be a better writer and better human in general, but I don’t have a mentor quite like Rika-san – I just tried to imagine how I would feel if I found myself in that kind of position. I think Lena’s reluctance to go to Japan at first was really because she didn’t want to disrespect her idol. She loved her too much and didn’t want to “humiliate” her like that.

 

BFF K: I’ve seen your Pinterest boards but for those who haven’t, tell us about your inspirations for Lena and Amos.

HA: Ahhhhh! I love Pinterest. I don’t always have a clear visual of my characters, so Pinterest helps. My inspiration for Lena is Marion Cotillard – I think I had a hard time picturing Lena at first. I have been thinking about writing this book for the last two years and since the beginning I always had a very strong idea of her personality more than her looks. Marion Cotillard embodies in movies quite often those traits that made Lena who she was: strong, yet extremely fragile, feminine, but with an edge. My inspiration for Amos is Adam Driver. When I imagined Amos I thought of someone who had to be solid, strong, comfortable with who he was. He needed to be strong and patient enough to carry Lena’s pain and her insecurities. Coincidentally, the name Amos means brave. I know not everyone finds Adam Driver attractive – but he’s a fantastic actor and I’ve liked him since I first saw him on Girls. I might be biased, but I find his character on Star Wars one of the most compelling villains ever.

 

BFF K: I LOVED the cameo from Amira Farouk from Lost in Scotland! Will Amira be getting her own story?

HA: Maybe someday. Never say never. I would like everyone to get their own story, but time is against me. I would really like to write about Amos’ sister Charleigh. I’m dying to write a book set in the kitchen of a restaurant.

 

RAPID FIRE with Hilaria Alexander

BFF K: We do a fun rapid fire round with all of our That’s What She Said interviews, give us your quick answer to the following tough choices!

HA: I’m just going to say this rapid fire is cruel. There is no good answer! LOL!

 

Books or Manga?

Sorry, Manga. I have to say Books.

 

Mountains or Ocean?

Oceans. I’m a sea person.

 

American Pop Music or Japanese Pop Music?

I wouldn’t be who I am without American Pop Music.

 

Sushi or Steak?

Sushi.

 

Sake or Sapporo?

Sake.

 

Camaro or Prius?

Prius.

 

Reading or Writing?

Reading was my first love, but writing is something I never thought I’d fall in love with.

I choose writing.

 

Comic Book Store or Shoe Store?

Comic Book. My feet are big, I have a hard time finding the right shoes.

 

Rosetta Stone or Language Classes?

Language classes. It’s more fun if you’re interacting with other people.

 

A HUGE Thank You to Hilaria Alexander for sharing some insight into The Art of Us! We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of That’s What She Said! If you haven’t picked it up yet, we can’t recommend it strongly enough – this is a wonderful story!

Check out BFF K’s 5-Rated Review of The Art of Us!

 

RELEASE DAY The Art of Us Hilaria Alexander Teaser

 

About the Author

Hilaria Alexander never thought she’d be a writer one day. Reader? Yes. Book hoarder? You betcha. Then, she started reading romance – that’s when she felt the need to write a story. Unfortunately, she didn’t listen to her gut, and talked herself out of it A MILLION TIMES. She finally gave up a few years ago, when the urge to write was stronger than self-doubt. She loves funny, sexy romances wrapped with a huge happily-ever-after bow at the end. Her inbox is always open if you want to chat about one of her books.

 

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Exclusive Interview with Forever My Girl Director Bethany Ashton Wolf

 

The motion picture Forever My Girl releases this Friday, January 19. Today the BFF’s are thrilled to bring you an EXCLUSIVE interview with the screeenwriter/director, Bethany Ashton Wolf! Check out the interview and let me know what you think of the movie – I’m headed to see it ASAP!

 

 

 

 

 

That’s What She Said, Exclusive Interview with Bethany Ashton Wolf

BFF K: How did you learn about Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin?

The production company, LD Entertainment, had just read a screenplay of mine that I had written called Other People’s Love Letters that had just been bought by a studio, and they loved the script, then asked my agents if I wanted to read Heidi’s book and consider coming into pitch my take on it as a screenplay and for the big screen. I read Heidi’s book, was passionately inspired by it, and then I immediately saw the whole milieu that I wanted to create for it for the big screen. Every storyline, set piece, character, their back stories, arcs, the periphery characters around them and their back stories, to every little detail in the film that I was visually seeing in my head, from Josie’s pink shimmering gown as she walks across a vast green field with a vermillion sun setting, with to go on a romantic date with Liam, to what Liam’s dad is cooking on the stove when he has Billy over to his house for the first time, to every song in the film and where I would place each song. Needless to say, I was extremely ignited and creatively inspired as an artist. Thank you, Heidi!

BFF K: Are you a reader? Who are some of your favorite authors? How about your favorite genres? 

I’m a voracious reader. My taste is somewhat eclectic, but I am a romantic at my core. Classics: my favorites are Dickens, Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Maya Angelou. Current authors: Rebecca Wells, Sue Monk Kid, Janet Fitch, Kathryn Stockett, Cheryl Strayed…are all some of my favorite reads. I have been writing back-to-back screenplays as of late, so I have been reading Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul over and over again to keep me centered.

BFF K: Do you have plans to turn any other beloved novels into books? 

I do! Myriad plans! I love book adaptations in all different genres.

BFF K: Tell me about the process of bringing the book to the screen, particularly the development of the music.

The development process was effortless with LD. I remember when I first walked into their conference room to pitch them my take on it for the big screen, and I saw a family at that conference table. And I remember thinking, I don’t just want to sit at this table, I want to break bread with the people at this table. And we did. We broke bread together from that very first meeting. They said yes in the room to my pitch, and off I went to write the first draft of the screenplay.

One thing that I have learned about myself as a screenwriter from doing this professionally for over a decade now, and I learned this very early on after one of my first screenplay assignments for a production company, was that I don’t like to hand in a formal outline before writing my first draft. I’m so meticulously detail-oriented creatively, and I visually see everything so vividly out-of-the-gate, that if I take the time to write a formal outline/treatment to hand in, that I start writing the first draft into that outline, and then I as though some of the magic that happens for me in the very first draft of my screenplays, it loses a little of my fizzle because I’ve used too much of it already in the outline/treatment.

There is something fantastical that happens for me in the process of writing my first draft, and if I place too much perfunctory efforts on a treatment, the mystery and the magic of leaving myself open to just seeing where the writing takes me each day, I lose some of that magic. I love having it all figured out, but opening myself up to the unexpected and the unknown part of the journey of a first draft. It feels exciting and less like a writing assignment. If it starts to feel like work, then it doesn’t feel like art to me.

And so LD understood that in me as an artist and took that leap of faith with me as a writer, and then after the first draft was done, we would meet about once every 3 months, as they were navigating multiple film projects, and I was navigating three screenplay assignments simultaneously.

But each time we would gather, it was a beautiful, loving, open conversation and discussion about the script. We would just break bread together as I moved the screenplay along while collaborating with them. Coming from an indie filmmaker background, I didn’t know until my first studio screenplay assignment in 2010 how much I would adore collaborating with studios and production companies on my screenplays. It’s a labyrinthine journey we all go on together, and I absolutely adore it.

On the music front, this is a fun anecdote: early on in development, I kept passionately emphasizing to the production company how vital I thought the country music was going to be to this particular film. I strongly felt that the music was equally as important as the screenplay, and that I wanted to simultaneously work on developing the music while developing my script. But it is a very hard thing to pitch something audible to a room instead of something visual. So I went out on my own without telling anyone to later surprise them, and I started working with Brett Boyett and Jackson Odell to develop all of the original songs for the film. My plan was to bring it into the next development meeting and have Brett and Jackson, with their guitars and amps, play all of the songs live in their conference room. I did just that. Without anyone knowing beforehand, I brought in Brett, Jackson, and a female singer that I hired for the day and surprised the room with an impromptu live jam session.

I walked the production company through every place in the film each song would go, and then I had the band play each song live for them. All went very well. It was a really fun meeting. Every original song that you hear in the film was played in that meeting 2 years before we commenced shooting. All of Brett and Jackson’s songs from that meeting are in the film. And then I worked hard at getting Brett Boyett hired as my music producer, and then Brett and I worked feverishly on more music and getting a country star lineup for the film and its soundtrack over the next two years together.

BFF K: What was your favorite part of the story to bring to the big screen? Were there any scenes that you really wanted to include but couldn’t for some reason?

I love and adore every single scene in this movie. They all have a sentimental story and personal experience behind each one that I shared with my actors and crew that I will always cherish. For me, as a filmmaker, it’s about the personal pilgrimage that I go on with my actors and my crew, and I think when I’m making it about that–when we are all standing in our truth together as artists and lifting each other up–it allows everything to take flight; it releases itself in cathartic, healing, and revelatory ways, and then I feel it translates into something profound and moving on screen…at least I hope it does for audiences.

I was able to shoot everything that I wanted, but I had to passionately and vehemently advocate relentlessly to get some of the scenes and set pieces that I wanted in the film. We were a modest production with a modest budget and a very short shooting schedule, but I knew that I was going to move mountains and will this film into bigger waters, and I needed certain scenes in the film to give it that romantic, sweeping, epic feel to sustain my lofty plans for it, but those moments in film cost time and money, and so while it wasn’t that the production company didn’t want to give me everything that I wanted to bring my vision to the screen, there were just practical, pragmatic challenges that we faced with a modest budget and short shooting schedule.

Coming from an indie background where I am used to raising my own money and producing my own film projects, I am extremely mindful and thoughtful of staying within the lines of a given budget, but I get really creative in finding ways to get what I need within those lines. I get really resourceful and innovative. That part gets really exciting when you figure out how to do it. I think because I’m also the screenwriter on my directing project and I’ve produced so much in the past, that it’s second nature for me to think of ways to get what we need without just demanding it as a director or going over budget.

I do a lot of what I call “trading” with the production company and my line producer. For example, one of the biggest things that I advocated fervently to keep in the shooting production was the whole romantic date night sequence with Liam and Josie. Without giving everything away, I had created a pivotal, protracting romantic arc that builds and builds to that whole romantic sequence, from Josie getting dressed for it at her house to walking across that green vast field at sunset with Liam waiting by a helicopter to whisk her away to a few things that come next that haven’t been revealed yet outside of the trailer, so I don’t want to spoil anything for you guys, but I felt deep in my soul that we needed to keep every single piece of that sequence because it is one of the most visually stunning and most romantic sequences that I had ever seen on screen if we could find a way to keep it, and that sequence pulls you in and leaves you wanting more and more…again, at least I hope it does for audiences.

I remember that I was going to have to give up something in it: either the helicopter, the original jazz song playing live in the restaurant with a sultry jazz singer and an original song by Brett, or some of the sequences that follow that I don’t want to divulge if you haven’t seen the film yet, but it was (and is still!) all so delicious, and I didn’t want to lose any of it.

I remember looking at the screenplay and seeing what I could possibly lose that would equal the money that we needed to create what my team the whole romantic date night sequence in the script. I remember walking into our line producer’s office, Alison King, who handled our budget like a rock star, and saying to her “I’ll trade you 1 town festival, these 6 speaking roles, and this 2nd happy montage sequence if I can keep all of the romantic date night sequence intact.” She looked at our budget, studied my proposal and the script, then held out her hand and said “Done.” We shook on it, and the rest is history. The romantic date night sequence always screen-tests as the favorite scene in the movie by both men and women. It’s a feat we all worked really hard to achieve in the film in every aspect of it—cast, crew, my producers, production, my music department, my post team—so it’s a great feeling for all of us, seeing that sequence on screen play out the way that I had presented it to the team visually and audibly.

BFF K: Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe are perfect! I can’t imagine how difficult it is to find the right actors with the acting and musical ability required for the roles. What was the casting process?

For Liam Page, when we meet him on stage, he seems like the dreamiest, most charismatic, romantic guy on the planet…but then we soon see as Liam exits the stage and the spotlight who he really is in this moment in his life—the dichotomy between who he is on stage to who he is off stage. On stage, he is this ubiquitous, charismatic, magnetic guy…

…and then off stage, we see that he is self-absorbed, mercurial, caustic, high-maintenance, with this simmering angst and torment simmering underneath his skin that he doesn’t seem to even understand.

This is the state in which we meet Liam Page, and as an actor, it’s deeply complex, and then that actor has to exude a natural, gritty coolness with that misplaced angst, and to me, it felt as though we were going to be on the search for an actor that felt like a throwback to old Hollywood leading men—an amalgam of what Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and James Dean personified.

And then layer in that this actor also has to be an amazing singer and command a stage as a huge country star, playing to thousands upon thousands, it’s an extremely tall order.

My casting director, Jeanie Bacharach, happens to be a good friend of mine and has cast all of my film projects. I was lucky enough and so thankful to LD that I could have her as my casting director on this. Jeanie and I had been casting and reading “Liams” for weeks and weeks, and just not finding him at all.

We couldn’t cast any of the other roles without finding our Liam Page first, and without Liam Page, we wouldn’t have a movie…

…and then I would love to say for the poetic aspect of it that ALEX ROE was the last audition that we had set up on our long list of auditions, but he was the 2nd to last…and when he came in, he just blew us both away.

The beauty of Alex’s auditions was that it immediately stopped feeling like an audition and started to feel like he was my actor and I was his director, and we had the scenes up and were just working them in a rehearsal setting. It all felt seamless, and Alex and I had this immediate short-hand working together. It was an exhilarating feeling to have that exchange artistically.

Then, in the audition, after the scenes, it was time for Alex to sing (I had all of the actors who auditioned sing a song in the room; it was a given for me that my actor would really sing in the role), so Alex sang a song and played his guitar, and he again blew us both away.

Alex is an athlete, an amazing soccer player, and he tackles his acting like an athlete, with that same focus and discipline…but at the same time, he allows it to come out of him from his gut up, and it’s unbridled, raw, and complex, which keeps it alive and intriguing. He is a remarkable actor. Truly.

There are very few actors who naturally and effortlessly have that swooning “it” factor while also being profoundly talented, and Alex has that. And then couple that with him being the kindest, most thoughtful, gracious, grounded guy, he is just a gem of an artist and human being.

FOR JOSIE, it was extremely important to me to create a leading heroine that isn’t a damsel in distress, waiting for the man to swoop in and save her. Josie truly has created a great life for herself when Liam returns home. She has already weathered her own storm and has come out the other end with peace, grace, and has created a wonderful life for her and her daughter, Billy.

However, at the same time, Josie wants to protect that wonderful life that she has created for her and Billy, and Liam returning threatens what she has worked so hard to achieve for her and her daughter.

And then add another layer, that Liam is the one love of her life, and so of course feelings are going to bubble up for her emotionally, and all of that is happening simultaneously, and it needed to exist in the actress playing her with such subtly and grace with an air of effortlessness but also with gumption. Josie is sweet, loving, giving, but also extremely strong. She is the epitome of a true steel magnolia. So again, it was a very tall order that we were searching for in our Josie, and Jeanie and I were again seeing hundreds of actresses, and we just weren’t finding her.

And then I saw Jessica Rothe, and she blew me away just as Alex had. She accomplished that extremely difficult, delicate balance in Josie, and made it all appear so effortless, but it’s not effortless to do at all as an actress. It took someone extraordinarily talented, disciplined, and focused, who could then portray it effortlessly. And Jess did just that. She is that talented.

Jess auditioned for me on her birthday on a Saturday at my house because she was on a TV show at the time, and that was the only day that she could get off and come in to audition. That right there showed me how her high work ethic was, and I loved that about her.

And just as Alex’s audition went, it immediately went from feeling like an audition to feeling like an actor and a director just working the scenes together. It was a seamless transition, and from that similar feeling that I experienced working with each of them separately, I knew that the two of them together would be pure magic. That they were cut from such similar cloth, as human beings and as artists, that it was going to light up the screen when they were together.

We didn’t even wait to do a chemistry test with them. They never met when we hired them both. It was one of those situations that if we didn’t move fast, we would possibly have lost Jess to the role, and I just knew in my gut that it was supposed to be the two of them together in this film. We all did: me, my casting director, LD. We took that leap of faith, and I think that is part of the undeniable, swooning alchemy that we see and feel between Liam and Josie.

It was also vitally important to me for Josie’s look and vibe to be effortless, as well. I didn’t want a girl suddenly putting on makeup and doing her hair when the guy comes back to town. Josie knows that she’s enough already. She doesn’t need to do anything to win back Liam. And Jess has that same vibe about her as a person, as well. She’s effortlessly gorgeous when she enters a room, in a T-shirt, jeans, and no makeup.

And Jess has these stunning, grey-blue eyes with this raspy, mellifluous voice that is so incredibly alluring. She reminds me of a modern-day Lauren Bacall.

So here I had these two lead actors that both felt like a throwback to Old Hollywood glamour but in a modern-day world. I knew in my heart of hearts that it was going to be something extraordinary and celestial transpiring between the two of them.

And Jess is just as sweet, kind, loving, and down-to-earth as Alex is as a person. I was truly blessed with the two of them as actors and as people.

Jess, Alex, and I also discussed before shooting that we wanted to show the playful side of Josie and Liam together. To find the fun in the two of them. I didn’t want two gorgeous people falling for each other just because they are both gorgeous.

Josie and Liam have this undeniable pull and attraction to each other, but I also wanted to underscore their humor, banter, and playfulness together. For us to see and feel on screen that they are truly best friends when we see them laugh together and take playful jabs at each other, that’s the icing on an already beautiful cake…because when you find your soulmate in life, you want all of those things, not just the attraction part of the equation. And I think that angelic chemistry that Jess and Alex have, the amalgam of all of those attributes in the two of them is what really makes them transcendent on screen. There was something deeply auspicious and fortuitous at play, and it was extremely exciting to get on board that journey with the two of them.

BFF K: No book to movie adaptation ever completely follows the story. But, there are some significant changes to this original story. Particularly the decision to make Noah’s character a girl instead of a boy. Can you tell us about that change? Why was that change made? Did it change how you approached the story? What will movie-goers and bibliophiles love about the change?

I have tremendous respect for Heidi, her book, and her work as a novelist. To give your baby to a production company knowing that their plan is to make changes with your art, your life’s work, that takes a strong, intrepid, egoless artist to take that leap of faith. I truly commend Heidi for being able to do that. Not all artists can.

When I was given the book, I didn’t meet Heidi or have any connection to her. I think the production company set it up that way so that the assignment could be done without any emotional attachments. There are all different kinds of adaptation scenarios, and this one was presented to me with very specific guidelines. It was a screenplay assignment, and the assignment was to find a way to lift the story off of the page, make the changes that were necessary to do that to turn it into a screenplay that could then be made into a film.

Heidi accomplished her artistry as a novelist in spades, and when a novelist is writing her novel, his/her job is not to think about how it will translate into a movie; the job is to tell the story in the most compelling way to readers, and that is what Heidi did. She accomplished that in the biggest and best of ways. Her book is a success and has many accolades. We are all here talking about this movie right now because of Heidi, her book, and the movement that she created in Liam and Josie.

She inspired me to want to go in and pitch this whole movie that I had flash before my eyes for it to work as a film. There wasn’t ever a clinical thought in my head about what to keep, what not to keep. It was a very innate process that unfolded as it unfolded from my brain to my pitch, all with admiration for this novelist that I didn’t know or meet that was comfortable with a screenwriter and director taking her book and letting me catapult it into all different directions that worked for the story being told on screen instead of being read on the page. As set up by the production company, I didn’t meet Heidi until we invited her to the set. It was a very joyful and celebratory experience. I put her into one of the scenes in the film. We all thought that would be fun for her. She was just the loveliest on set, and a beautiful human being.

In regard to changing Noah to Billy, a boy to a girl, I wish I could say that I sat down and really thought about making that change before doing so. It was the most organic creative process that was flowing out of me all at once–seeing this movie in every detail with every new character, set piece, their arcs, back stories, forward stories, etc. and yes, I also saw a little girl instead of a little boy. It was just divine inspiration at the time, and I just saw Billy in full form, three dimensional, in my vision of the film.

It doesn’t mean that it could not have been made with another filmmaker creating it with Noah. I just knew where I could take this film in the way that it played out in the vision with the particular characters I had in that vision and their relationship to each other, and the heights that I could take it to as the storyteller for it on the big screen. Abby Ryder Fortson as Billy is such a unique young leading lady, and is exactly what I wanted for my Billy. That is a beautiful thing indeed, but it took incredible courage on Heidi’s part, for sure.

BFF K: Should first-timers read the book and then watch the movie or watch the movie and then read the book?

Hmmmm, interesting question! I think both should be enjoyed and appreciated, and it could go in either order, as long as the person has an open mind to go on two different rides, but rides that are deeply connected, have tremendous respect for each other, and love each other. The book and the movie are actually dating. I think they may be soulmates, too!

BFF K: When will the soundtrack for Forever My Girl be available for purchase?

The soundtrack is available as a digital download on opening day, January 19th.  Everyone can get it online from the Universal Music Group Nashville. I’m so excited to share that 3-year journey with you all with all of our original songs and vast array of country stars, singers, and musicians.  (www.UMGNashville.com)

10) Is there anything else you want us to know about the screenplay or film?

I would love for audiences to know that as sublime as our romance is in this film, that this film has many more layers to it. There is something for everyone in it: it is a romantic love story, it is a father/daughter story, it is a father/son story, a mother/daughter story, and a brother/sister story.

It is a story about not just romantic love, but familial love and the power of friendship and community. It is a story of atonement, redemption, joy, and happiness. It is a story about crossing over to find your own truth. Of finding your way back home to your true self. And it’s also a really fun movie! And if you love country music, get ready! I wanted to represent the vast array of country music that is very much alive right now. I wanted to represent classic country, anthem country, blues country, pop country, folk country. And if you think you don’t love country music, try us out. Audiences in screen-tests would say all of the time that they thought that they didn’t love country music until they heard our soundtrack. I love that. It’s just packed with feel-good music that gets into your soul and lights you up.

I hope you all relish and enjoy the ride of Forever My Girl. We hope to see you all at the theater with us on January 19th!

That’s What She Said – Rapid Fire

This is a fun game we play with our interviewees. You can just give a one word answer or give explanations – it’s totally up to you!

Country or Pop? Both!

Small Town or Big City? Both! But if I live in a big city, I like to be in a small community within the big city, like I do now.

Cozy movie night or Splashy dream date? Cozy movie night and an occasional splashy dream date.

Book or Movie? If I had to choose, movie!

Wine or Beer? Champagne!

Live Concert or Chilling with your headphones? Live concert!

Kimmel or Fallon? Depends on the night!

Big Wedding or Intimate Gathering? Intimate gathering, for sure.

Twizzlers or Red Vines? Red Viiiiiines for daaaaaays.

Star Quarterback or Rockstar? Rock star…or COUNTRY STAR! xxxx

Check out the source material! Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin

BFF K’s Review of Forever My Girl

Check out the other books in the Beaumont Series


Forever My Girl (#1) – Released Dec 2012

 

My Everything (#1.5) – Released March 2013

When Nick Ashford lost his friend, Mason, he didn’t realize he was going to lose his family as well, but that’s exactly what happened. Alone and in a foreign country, Nick is working on rebuilding his life one patient at a time, that is, until a striking volunteer makes her presence known.

Can Nick finish his year in Africa without risking his heart being broken again, or is he willing to start a new chapter in his life before his return to Beaumont?


 

My Unexpected Forever (#2) – Released Sept 2013

I expected a life of music.I expected to raise my son.It took one look to make everything change.I never expected happiness.I never expected to find her.I never expected to feel desire.

I never expected I’d be a family man.

I never expected to be loved.

I never expected to fall in love.

They say you should expect the unexpected, I didn’t realize my unexpected would be the forever kind.


 

Finding My Forever (#3) – Released Dec 2013

Everywhere I look, my friends are settling down – marriage, children, white picket fences; but not me. Marriage isn’t in the cards for me. I’m a ladies man.

A rock star.

I was born and raised in the industry.

I love everything about my life, especially the attention from the women that my status brings me.

Women find me. I don’t chase. I know what they want and they know I’ll deliver.

But after one look, one touch, one night…

Now I’m the one doing the chasing.

I need to find a way to show her that I’m serious, that I can change.

I need to find a way to show her that I can love her fully, and only her.

I need to find a way to show her that she’s my forever.


 

Finding My Way (#4) – Released April 2014

Liam Westbury has the world at his feet. He’s the quintessential golden boy. He’s the superstar quarterback for Beaumont High. His girl, Josie, is head cheerleader. He has his choice of colleges just waiting for him. Except he’s suffocating from all the pressure he’s under and no one understands.

Liam Page is the heartthrob he never wanted to be. He’s successful, smart and in demand by record companies and his adoring fans. Music is his passion, his love, but something’s missing. His nights are lonely and he longs for the girl he left behind. Seeing her in every face in the crowd haunts him with the knowledge that she hates him. Going home has never been an option until now.

Be there when Liam Westbury becomes Liam Page and follow the highs and lows of the Quarterback turned Rockstar as he finds a way back to Beaumont in this prequel to Forever My Girl.


 

12 Days of Forever (#4.5) – Released Feb 2015

Even though she’s living her life-long dream and dancing on Broadway, the city is a lonely place for Yvie James. The holidays are both her favorite time of the year and the worst. A last minute decision puts Yvie in Beaumont to spend time with her family.

Alexander Knight is new to Beaumont, but he’s making the best of it. His dream of running a successful business is within his grasp, and Xander has a dedicated client base most trainers vie for. On the surface, Xander is happy, but he works long hours for nothing more than to avoid going home to an empty house.

Thrown together for Christmas shopping, holiday gatherings with friends and family, and a special anniversary party, Yvie and Xander find themselves seeking solace in each other for an unforgettable, romantic winter.


 

My Kind of Forever (#5) – Released Sept 2015

Liam Page knows music and a life of solitude, but that all changed when he returned to Beaumont.

The once notorious bad boy lead singer of 4225 West is now living the domesticated life with his wife and high school sweetheart, Josie, and their son, Noah.

Life is good for the Westbury family, until Liam is called back to Los Angeles and the place where it all started for him.

Liam and Josie’s story continues in this last installment of The Beaumont Series.

 

  

 

About the Original Author

 

 

Heidi is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.

Originally from Portland, Oregon and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland Westie/Mini Schnauzer, JiLL and her brother, Racicot.

When she isn’t writing one of the many stories planned for release, you’ll find her sitting courtside during either daughter’s basketball games.

Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, is currently in production for a major motion picture

 

   

Excerpt Reveal – The Beauty of Us by Kristen Proby

 

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes a sexy, new standalone contemporary romance in her Fusion Series, THE BEAUTY OF US, releasing August 22, 2017! Check out the chapter below and get to know Trevor and Riley!

 

 

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby delivers another sizzling novel in her delectable and sexy Fusion series.

Riley Gibson is over the moon at the prospect of having her restaurant, Seduction, on the Best Bites TV network. This could be the big break she’s been waiting for. But the idea of having an in-house show on a regular basis is a whole other matter. Their lives would be turned upside down, and convincing Mia, her best friend and head chef of Seduction, that having cameras in her kitchen every day is a good idea is daunting. Still, Riley knows it’s an opportunity she can’t afford to pass on. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Trevor’s sole intention is to persuade Riley to allow Best Bites TV to do a show on her restaurant. But when he walks into Riley’s office, he stops dead in his tracks. The professional, aloof woman on the phone is incredibly beautiful and funny. But can he convince her that he’s interested in Riley for himself? Or is he using the undeniable pull between them to persuade her to agree to his offer?

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads

 

 

And Don’t Miss the First Three Novels in the Fusion Series, LISTEN TO ME, CLOSE TO YOU, and BLUSH FOR ME!

 

Read BFF K’s Reviews for the rest of the Fusion Series

Listen to Me

Close to You

Blush for Me

 

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter 2

~Trevor~

I didn’t sleep worth shit last night. I waited for a response to my e-mail from Riley for a while; I’m not exactly sure why. I just don’t like the thought of her being embarrassed.

Because she has no reason to be. She didn’t know who I was, and it was closing time. She was venting to her friends.

It’s really no big deal.

But I could see the mortification in her big blue eyes when she realized who I was, and that doesn’t sit well with me.

When no response came, and for all I know she hasn’t even read the e-mail yet, I sat down for a game on the PS4. I don’t travel anywhere without it. Some people read to unwind. Some go to the gym, and there are times I do the same. But to truly relax, I enjoy gaming. I have since I was a kid.

So I settled in the apartment the network has rented for me this month and played online with my friends, talking about our days and shooting the enemy.

We played well past midnight, and I usually would have gone right to bed afterward, but my mind was still turning, making falling asleep impossible. The restaurant is better than I imagined through my research on their website and customer reviews. It’s visually stunning, the food is fantastic, and they’ve hit the mark on the sexy factor.

But added to that, the five women who own the place are all beautiful, smart, and will make for great TV. Viewers will eat this show up, pun intended.

I lean over the sink and wash my face, not bothering to shave today, and as I dry off, I reach for my phone.

I have several new e-mails.

The most recent is from Riley Gibson.

Trevor,

Thank you for your kind email. I apologize again for the conversation last night. I would like to promise that we don’t always talk like that at work, but that would be a lie. At least we keep it to closing time over a glass of wine.

Enjoy Portland,

Riley

I grin and sling the towel over my bare shoulders. Riley isn’t what I had pictured in my head before I got here. I knew that she was pretty because their photos are on their website, but she’s much prettier in person.

And animated.

Working with her will be fun.

And a test to my libido. Because Riley is fucking sexy. I’ve never mixed business and sex before, and I don’t plan to start now, but keeping my hands off her will be a test of wills.

And that too should be fun.

After my run this morning, I stopped by a bagel place to eat and read a newspaper, came back to the apartment for a shower, and I think I’ll go to Seduction for lunch. I hadn’t planned to go back there until my meeting with Riley tomorrow, but I also haven’t had lunch there yet.

I dress quickly in jeans and a red T-shirt and walk the six or so blocks to the restaurant.

They’ve just opened, so they’re not busy yet. The atmosphere is calm, the lighting a bit brighter than last night, making it a fun spot to meet with colleagues or friends for lunch.

I’m seated on the far side of the restaurant, where it meets the bar, and I can see Riley and the other women sitting around a high table, talking.

Loud enough for me to hear.

“So, he’ll be here tomorrow. Filming doesn’t start for another week, unless the timetable has been moved up,” Riley says, studying her iPad and checking things off a list. “It would be great if we could watch our language.”

“Right,” Mia says, rolling her eyes. “Because that’s gonna happen.”

“Just watch the F-bombs then,” Riley says with a grin. “And I’ll do my best not to vent to him about my horrible dating experiences. Not that I’ll be having any more of those.”

“I wish I’d been here for that,” Addie says with a smile. “It’s hilarious.”

“No, it’s not,” Riley says, but smiles and covers her lips with her fingers. “Okay, it’s a little funny. I’ll be working from home today.”

“Why?” The blonde speaking, I presume Cami, asks.

“Because I have a roofer coming today,” Riley says. “But if you need me, just call. I can come back after he leaves.”

“Go.” Mia waves her off. “We’ve got this.”

The girls all stand, about to go their own ways to get their day started. They’re clearly good friends, which will come across well on film.

Riley walks out of the bar and glances up, spotting me.

“Hi.” I offer her a smile and motion for her to join me. She sits, sets her iPad aside, and squares her shoulders.

I love a woman with grit.

“Why are you here?” she asks.

“I’m having lunch,” I reply, and gesture to the salad sitting in front of me. “It’s delicious. Adding the brussels sprouts is smart.”

“I’ll pass that along to Mia,” she says, and then laughs. “I guess you heard the part where I asked the girls to not swear.”

“I did,” I reply, and patiently butter a piece of warm bread. “Don’t worry about that stuff. They’re adults.”

“With potty mouths,” she says.

“And we can bleep stuff out, or ask them to rephrase. You’ve already got the gig, Riley. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. This isn’t an audition.”

“I know.” She sighs and reaches over to take a piece of my bread, surprising and delighting me. “I just want things to go smoothly.”

“Perhaps you should order lunch too.”

“I don’t have time,” she says, and then her blue eyes widen as she realizes what she just did. “I’m so sorry. I eat when I’m stressed out, and I didn’t—”

“No.” I hold my hand up to stop her. “It’s fine. I like that you’re relaxed with me. I think you need to relax more often.”

“What are you, my life coach now?”

“If you like. Did you cancel those dating sites like I suggested?”

She bites her lip and looks to the side, then nods. “I did.”

“Good.” I take a bite of salad and nod. “Are you sure you don’t want some food?”

“I rarely have time to eat,” Riley says, and checks the time on her phone. “In fact, I should go. I have to meet the roofer at my house.”

“What’s wrong with your roof?”

“It’s old,” she says with a shrug. “That’s what happens when you buy an old house. I’m fixing it up a little at a time.”

I nod, and find that I don’t want her to go quite yet. I want to talk more, to learn more about her.

“Why don’t you come to my apartment tonight and I’ll cook you dinner?”

She pauses and stares at me for a moment. “Why?”

I laugh and set my fork down. “Because I asked you to. We’re going to be working closely over the next few weeks, we might as well get to know each other a little better. Also, we can discuss my new duties as your life coach.”

“Well.” Her lips twitch as she thinks it over for a moment, a myriad of emotions moving across her beautiful face, and finally she says, “Okay. Do you mind texting me the address and the time?”

“Not at all,” I reply, and immediately pass her my phone. “Plug in your number and I’ll text you this afternoon.”

She complies, passes it back, and smiles. “Okay, see you later.”

And with that, she’s off. Her ass swaying enticingly in her tight skirt, calves flexing from the height of her heels, and the food I’m currently chewing immediately tastes like cardboard.

Jesus.

And I just voluntarily offered to spend time with her. Alone.

I’m a fucking glutton for punishment.

[no ornament]

“I’m starving,” Riley immediately says as I open the door. She’s in jeans and a well-loved University of Oregon sweatshirt, her hair is pulled up in a ponytail, and she looks like she could be a co-ed herself. “I forgot to eat today.”

“Does that happen every day?” I ask as I gesture for her to come inside and close the door behind her.

“Most days,” she admits. “Is this one of those bad choices that you’re gonna coach me through?”

“Yes,” I reply, and lead her into the kitchen. “You have to eat.”

“I know, I just get focused on other things, and the next thing I know, the day is gone and I’m starving.” She passes me two bottles of wine. “I didn’t know what we were having, so I brought red and white.”

“Thanks.” I grin and set them both on the counter. “I made salmon and asparagus with baby red potatoes. What goes best with that?”

Her eyes light up. “The white. Holy shit, are you a chef yourself?”

“I went to culinary school,” I reply, and squeeze some lemon on the salmon before plating it. “But I discovered I was better at a desk job.”

“That’s unusual,” she says, her head tilted to the side as she listens. “Most people fight to get out of a desk job.”

“Not me. I have a ton of respect for Mia, because being a chef isn’t easy, and pleasing people sucks.”

“True.” Riley nods. “She doesn’t get many plates sent back to her, but there are a few. Can I pour you a glass?”

“No thanks,” I reply, and reach in the fridge for a bottle of water. “I don’t drink alcohol.”

“Oh.” She frowns. “I’m sorry. I can drink water too.”

“It’s fine,” I reply, and pat her shoulder. “I don’t mind if you drink. I just don’t.”

“But last night, you were drinking Jack and Coke.”

“Nope, just Coke.”

She sits at the table, still frowning. “I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry for.” I set our plates down. “I’ve been sober for ten years. I’m not the kind of alcoholic who can’t be around others having a drink. It was never that bad for me. I’m just a better person if I don’t drink.”

“Good for you for knowing that,” she says, holding her glass out to clink against my water. “This looks delicious.”

“You sound surprised.”

“I expected pizza or Chinese takeout,” she says. “Honestly, that’s probably what you would have gotten from me. I’m also surprised that you’re not staying in a hotel.”

“I’m here long enough that the network sprung for the apartment. They usually do when I’m somewhere longer than a week or so.”

“You must travel a lot for this job,” she says, eating her food like a starving child. I don’t know if she even tastes it, she’s eating so fast.

“I travel often,” I reply, and grin when she takes the last bite. “Are you going to lick the plate?”

“Maybe,” she says with a grin. “I’m not even embarrassed that I ate that so fast. It was delicious.”

“I’m glad you liked it. There’s more.”

“No, I’m good,” she says, and reaches in her bag, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen. “You can eat while I interview you.”

“For what?”

“For the position of life coach,” she says with a sassy grin. I want to kiss that grin right off her face, but instead I take a bite of potato and gesture for her to begin.

“Okay, first question: What qualifications do you have that make you a good fit for this position?”

“Well, I have a few years on you, so I would say wisdom with age.”

She tilts her head to the side, the way she does when she’s turning something over in her head. “You can’t be that much older than me.”

“I’m thirty-seven.”

“Seven years,” she says, rolling her eyes.

“A lot can happen in seven years,” I reply, and sip my water.

“Okay, I’ll give you that.” She checks something off on her paper.

“Did you really write down questions?”

“Of course. I’m the queen of lists and the roofer was at my house forever.” She bites her lip as she looks at her list. “How many women have you life-coached in the past?”

“Well, I didn’t have an official job title, but I have two younger sisters, and an ex-wife, so I would say three.”

“But the wife is an ex, so maybe that did go well?” Riley asks. “And are your sisters productive members of society?”

“As opposed to being in jail?” I ask, laughing. “You’re hilarious, Riley.”

“You didn’t answer the question.”

“My sisters are great. The older one is married, a stay-at-home mom with two kids, and the younger one is a waitress.”

“But the ex-wife thing didn’t work out.”

“She’s not a mess, we just both decided that she shouldn’t be my wife anymore.”

“Why?”

I sit back in my chair and wipe my mouth on my napkin. “Because she thought it was a good idea to have sex with other men.”

Her eyebrows climb on her forehead and she blinks twice. “That’s a good reason.”

“I thought so.”

“Okay, next question.” She checks something on her paper and looks up at me with a smile. “How do you intend to be compensated for your work?”

“I’m working pro bono,” I reply with a wink.

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to be here anyway, and why not.” I shrug and finish the food on my plate. “What else do you want to know?”

“Is my coming to a virtual stranger’s apartment by myself one of the bad decisions you should have coached me on?”

I smile and set my plate aside so I can lean on the table. “Did the girls tell you that coming here by yourself was a bad idea?”

“I only talked to Cami and she thought I should come. Plus, I have a concealed carry, so I feel pretty confident that I’m safe.”

I raise a brow and cross my arms over my chest. “You carry a gun with you?”

“Hell to the yes,” she replies, and offers me a sweet smile. “I’ve been meeting strange men on the Internet. You bet your ass I’ve been armed.”

“Good idea,” I reply with a nod. “There are a lot of crazies out there.”

“Yes. But I think that if you’re gonna meet a crazy, it could be anywhere. Online, in a bar, at the gas station. They’re everywhere.”

“That’s true too,” I reply, and nod. “Well, I’m glad you’re being cautious.”

“I’m nobody’s victim,” she says, as casually as if she’s telling me her shoe size.

That’s fucking sexy.

“Do you have any other questions?”

“Not really,” she says, and shrugs. “I didn’t really write anything down. But it was fun to interrogate you a bit.”

“Now I have questions,” I reply, and smile when she cocks her head and purses her lips. “Do you really think you need a life coach?”

“No, I have my shit together,” she says with a grin.

“Why were you really on all of those sites?”

She shrugs. “Because it’s not easy meeting people. And sometimes a girl wants to go out on a date.”

“You don’t need me,” I reply, and smile. “But I’ll be around for a while, just in case.”

“Just in case I slip and fall back into the online dating?”

“That, or if you just want to have dinner, or chat. And I think we should watch a marathon of Star Wars. Your lack of knowledge is cause for concern.”

“It’s kind of a guy thing,” she says.

“I know many women who like Star Wars.”

“Well, I would watch one or two.”

“You need to see them all to understand what’s happening.”

“That’s a lot of hours of my life that I’ll never get back,” she says with a frown. “Aren’t there CliffsNotes somewhere? A speedy way to get caught up?”

“No,” I reply, and fist my hands in my lap so I don’t reach out and tuck her hair behind her ear.

Or yank her against me so I can kiss the fuck out of her.

“Are you okay?” she asks.

“Are you always this observant?”

“I’m an overthinker,” she says. “So yeah, I’m an observer.”

“I’ve been labeled an overthinker too,” I say with a grin.

“Would you say it’s an accurate assessment?”

“Oh yeah,” I say with a nod, and stand to clear our plates away. She stands to help. “I’ve got this.”

“No way, you cooked, so I’ll help clean.”

She walks ahead of me, her empty glass in one hand and her plate in the other. “Do you use the dishwasher, or do you wash by hand?”

“There are people who still wash by hand?”

“I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never seen them in the wild,” she says, and smiles up at me when I join her. “So I guess that means we use the dishwasher?”

“Yes.” She rinses and I load, and a few short minutes later, we’re done.

“Well, I suppose I should go,” she says, and checks the time on her phone. “Oh, Cami texted. I guess I should reply so she doesn’t think you killed me after the entrée.”

She smirks and types on her phone, then turns it off and looks up at me.

“Thanks for dinner.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

Unfortunately, it won’t be in my bed.

“You will.”

“Okay.” She gathers her bag, notepad and pen, and walks to the door. “Sleep well tonight.”

I grin and congratulate myself for not dragging my fingertips down her cheek.

“You sleep well tonight, Riley.”

“Okay. Bye.”

She leaves and I close the door, letting out a slow breath. Jesus, she’s sexy and funny and smart as fuck.

And I’m not going to touch her while I’m here.

How the fuck am I going to do that?

 

Don’t miss the first chapter of THE BEAUTY OF US! You can read it here!

 

 

About The Author

 

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

 

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

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THE BEAUTY OF US Goodreads ** Kristen Proby Goodreads

 

 


 

2016 Besties

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This is always one of the most challenging posts of the entire year! How to narrow down an entire year of great reads into just one post featuring the best of the besties? We’ll do our best (see what we did there?) to highlight our favorite reads from 2016. Be sure to scroll to the bottom and enter our 2016 Besties, Rafflecopter Giveaway!

BFF K’s 2016 Besties

I just couldn’t narrow the list any further, so I present the Top 16 in 2016!

#1 – Maybe In Another Life & One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

                 

Unique, smart, emotional, fantastic!

#2 – The Lost Codex by Heather Lyons

A wonderful end to one of my most favorite series of all time!

#3 – A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner

Kandi Steiner blew me away, an absolute page-turner!

#4 – The Royals Series by Erin Watt


Paper Princess     Broken Prince     Twisted Palace

My guilty pleasure of 2016 – way crazy and crazy good!

#5 – Beard Science by Penny Reid

Anyone who can turn a quirky, odd-ball character named Cletus into a love interest deserves to be on this list!

#6 – The Year of Meghan March

In 2016, I read or listened to nearly every book that Meghan March has written and I LOVE them all! She is a go-to, always one-click author for me now. She writes great stories, steamy scenes, strong heroines and the best alpha males EVER! If you want to check out my reviews, just enter Meghan March in the search tab on the right side of this page.

#7 – Endurance by Georgia Cates

I loved this book so much, the entire Sin series too! In addition to Endurance, Georgia Cates also brought us the Lovibond Series in 2016!

#8 – Franco by Kim Holden

My final book boyfriend of 2016 and he was worth the wait!

#9 – Better Love by Daisy Prescott

This silver fox was everything! I LOVE this book and this entire series!

#10 – Whiskey & Honey by Andrea Johnston

#TeamBiper #TeamAndreaJohnston #SmartGirlsWriteRomance

#11 – First & Goal: Queen of the League by Laura Chapman

LOL-funny and one of my most fun reads of the year.

#12 – Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

I loved this world and these characters. Royally Matched is one of my most anticipated reads for 2017!

#13 – A Place in the Sun by R.S. Grey

This book will make you want to travel to Italy and eat Gelato with Gianluca.

#14 – Moonshot & Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre

              

Moonshot introduced me to Alessandra Torre and her terrific writing style. And, I adored the audio for Hollywood Dirt. GREAT books!

#15 – Managed by Kristen Callihan

Witty dialogue and great characters, just an all ’round great read!

#16 – Reilly O’Brien & Co. Series by Jenna Sutton

I read every book in this series in 2016 and I can’t wait for more in 2017. Good stories and great characters!

BFF A’s 2016 Besties

#1 – It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

 

#2 – F*uck Love by Tarryn Fisher

 

#3 – So Much More by Kim Holden

 

#4 – Franco by Kim Holden

 

#5 – Cunning, Deception, Entrapment (Infidelity Series books 2, 3 and 4)  by Aleatha Romig

 

#6 – Into the Light and Away from the Dark (The Light Series) by Aleatha Romig

              

 

#7 – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

#8 – Whiskey and Honey by Andrea Johnston

#9 – Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

#10 – The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward

#11 – Too Late by Colleen Hoover


All of the images above are buy links for Amazon.com. And, you can click on many of the headings to find our reviews. We are so grateful to all of you for joining us on our incredible book journey in 2016! We’re looking forward to all that’s in store for 2017!

signoff_K_smsignoff_A_sm

 

 

2016 Besties Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Exclusive Guest Post – Jenna Sutton Author of the Riley O’Brien & Company Series

 

Two All New, Sexy Riley O’Brien & Co. Novellas

A KICK IN THE PANTS
A Riley O’Brien & Co. Novella
Jenna Sutton
Released Nov 15th, 2016


Jake Lilliard has always been a gambling man. So far, all the risks he’s taken — like moving to San Francisco and joining Riley O’Brien & Co. — have paid off. Now he’s ready to take the biggest risk of all: acting on his feelings for Kyla Andrews. As a trainee in his department, she’s off limits. But as soon as Kyla moves on to another job, he is going to make her his. He’s waited long enough…
 
When tragedy struck Kyla’s family years ago, she started playing it safe. She doesn’t take risks with her job or her heart, and she refuses to be a cliché – the foolish woman who falls for her sexy boss. Yet Jake is everything she has ever wanted, and it’s impossible to resist him and his enticing kisses.  
Just when it seems that the gamble they took will pay off, Jake’s past threatens his future with Kyla. He knows lady luck is fickle, but she’s always had a soft spot for him. He’s hoping she won’t turn her back on him when he needs her the most…


WILL NEVER FADE
A Riley O’Brien & Co. Novella
Jenna Sutton
Releasing Dec 13th, 2016

 

For Phoebe Werner, the management trainee program at Riley O’Brien & Co. represents a new beginning. She’s finally healthy, and she is trying to enjoy life while she can. She never expects to run into Garrett Gale at a New Year’s Eve party. The handsome hotelier is the only man she wants… and a reminder of what she can never have.
Years ago, Garrett enjoyed one memorable night with Phoebe after months of fantasizing about her. And then, she disappeared. She ignored his efforts to contact her, and he did his best to forget her. Now fate has brought her back into his life and his bed. But who knows how long she’ll stay there?
With Phoebe’s fears threatening to ruin their chance at happiness, Garrett must convince her that they’re meant to be. He can’t let Phoebe walk away with his heart again.

Read BFF K Reviews for A Kick in the Pants & Will Never Fade

Catching Up with Old Friends

Part of the fun in reading (and writing) novellas that are part of a larger series is the chance to catch up with characters in previous books. Whenever I read or write a novella, I feel like I am sitting down with old friends. And if I get an opportunity to meet new people, that’s even better.

The heroes and heroines of A Kick in the Pants and Will Never Fade are new to the Riley O’Brien & Co. world, but some of the favorite characters from the full-length books show up in the novellas.

The hero of A Kick in the Pants is Jake Lilliard. He got a brief mention in the epilogue of All the Right Places, the first book in the Riley O’Brien & Co. series. It’s so brief, if you blink, you’ll miss it. He plays a larger role in the first Riley O’Brien & Co. novella, The Perfect Fit.  

Quinn O’Brien, the hero of All the Right Places and CEO of Riley O’Brien & Co., recruited Jake to work for the company. Quinn shows up in Jake’s novella, and he offers Jake an amazing opportunity. But it comes with strings attached.  

The heroine of A Kick in the Pants is Kyla Andrews. For those of you who’ve read the other books in the series, you’ve heard about Kyla, but you’ve never met her.

Kyla is the youngest daughter of Letty Andrews, the live-in housekeeper/surrogate mother for Nick Priest and Teagan O’Brien-Priest, the hero and heroine, respectively, of Coming Apart at the Seams, book two in the Riley O’Brien & Co. series. Both Nick and Teagan show up in A Kick in the Pants, and we get to find out what they’ve been up to (and they’ve definitely been up to something!).

Kyla’s older sister, Vanessa, also shows up in A Kick in the Pants. For those of you who read Nick and Teagan’s book, you’ve met Vanessa before. She’s a wise and wonderful big sister, and when you finish A Kick in the Pants, I think you’re going to want to see Vanessa get her own HEA. Drop me a line at jenna@jennasutton.com if you want to read about Vanessa.

We meet the hero and heroine of Will Never Fade in A Kick in the Pants. Both Garrett and Phoebe are waiting for their HEA, although Garrett is impatient.

Jake and Kyla play big roles in Will Never Fade. Without them, Garrett and Phoebe would never get together.

If you’ve never read any of the Riley O’Brien & Co. novels or novellas, you won’t be confused if you start with A Kick in the Pants or Will Never Fade. All the novellas can be read as standalones, and you don’t have to read them in order.

But if you want to start with the first novella, The Perfect Fit is FREE on Amazon and B&N right now. What are you waiting for? Dive into the world of Riley O’Brien & Co. I promise it’s sexy, smart, and not too sweet.

P.S. Have you noticed all the titles of the full-length books and novellas tie into jeans and/or denim in honor of Riley O’Brien & Co.? What titles would have you chosen?

Excerpt from A Kick In the Pants

Metal wall sconces illuminated the corridor, throwing pools of golden light on the dark wood plank floors. A door opened a few feet ahead of her, and Jake emerged from it. He froze when he saw her, his eyes widening before he ambled toward her.

The narrow corridor made her even more aware of his height and muscular physique, and her body reacted the way it always did when got close. Her heart began to pound, and her breathing grew shallow. Suddenly, her throat was dry, and she swallowed thickly.

            Stopping right in front of her, he looked down into her face. His eyes caught the light from the sconces, glimmering with a million shades of green and gold. They dropped to her mouth before jumping back to hers.

“You’ve got sugar on your lips,” he notified her, his voice low and gravelly. 

            Without thinking, she licked her upper lip. He moved closer, the front of his long-sleeved dress shirt brushing against her chest. She nervously stepped back, afraid that she might throw herself at him. He followed until her back was against the wall. She sucked in a shaky breath, trying not to let him see how much his nearness affected her.

            “Not there.” He touched his thumb to her lower lip, toward the corner. “Here.”

            Dropping his head, he licked the spot where his thumb had been. She gasped, certain that she was having yet another X-rated dream starring Jake. When his tongue flicked along the outer edge of her upper lip, she realized it wasn’t a dream.

            “And you’ve got some here,” he murmured, tracing her lower lip with his tongue.

            She gripped his upper arms, his biceps rock hard under her fingers. “What are you doing?” she breathed against his mouth.

            He drew back to stare into her eyes. “I’m not your boss anymore, Kyla. I’m just a guy who works for the same company you do, and lucky for me, that company doesn’t have any rules against co-workers dating, even if they’re in the same department.”

            She barely heard a word he said because her ears were roaring with her pulse. “What?”

            He smiled slowly, and she couldn’t tear her eyes from his mouth. She clutched his arms tighter, wanting those lips on every part of her body.           

            “I’m not your boss anymore,” he repeated. “I have been counting the days until … until I could …”

            “Until you could what?” she whispered.

            “Until I could be with you,” he answered hoarsely. “That’s all I want … a chance to be with you.”

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About the Author

Jenna Sutton is a former award-winning journalist who traded fact for fiction when she began writing novels. Surprisingly, the research she conducted for her articles provided a lot of inspiration for her books.

Jenna is the author of the Riley O’Brien & Co. romances. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Texas Christian University and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.

Jenna and her husband live in Texas in a 105-year-old house affectionately known as “The Money Pit”. You can find out more about her and her books by visiting www.jennasutton.com

 

 

 

 

Review – Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci

We’re so thrilled to bring you BFF K’s Review of Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci! You’re gonna LOVE this book!

 

Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy—away from home and licking her wounds…and perhaps a gelato or two. But when Daisy, an American expat now living in Rome, throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop. She falls, quite literally, at the feet of a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello is a man from her past—the man, the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and the life she once had and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious.

And so is Marcello…

Avery slips easily into the good life that is summertime in Rome. She spends her days exploring a city that would make art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over a whirlwind what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could it really be her life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twinset cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

 

Buy Roman Crazy Today

Barnes and Noble     Amazon     iTunes     Kobo

IndieBound     Simon & Schuster

 

BFF K’s Review of Roman Crazy

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This is a dream team! Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci have paired up to deliver an absolutely wonderful, heart-warming, sweet and steamy story of second-chance love. And you need to read it!

The first chapter is so fantastic; this story bursts out of the gates and introduces you to Avery, the fantastic heroine. Her soon-to-be ex-husband and his mother are something else! When her world turns upside down, Avery escapes to Rome and the comfort of her best friend, Daisy. It takes just hours for Avery to get knocked on her a$% (literally) by the one man she thought she would never see again. Enter Marcello, one of my favorite Book Boyfriends of 2016! He’s everything you hope for: a strong, sweet, seductive, hunky hero. And, you’ll find yourself falling just as quickly as Avery.

Roman Crazy is a wild ride of ups and downs as Marcello and Avery rediscover one another, put their past in its place and determine if and how they can move forward together. The book is chock-full of wonderful supporting characters. The sites, sounds and tastes of Rome are so beautifully described that the city becomes another character in this already superb cast. Roman Crazy is full of romance, friendships and self-discovery. Second-chance love is one of my most favorite Romance tropes and Roman Crazy is one of the best!

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An advance copy was received in exchange for an honest review.

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Giveaway

Gallery Trifecta

This amazing giveaway is courtesy of Gallery books. Gallery is graciously giving away three print books to one lucky winner. (US only. Sorry!) It’s ROMAN CRAZY, NOTHING MORE from Anna Todd and BEAUTIFUL from Christina Lauren!

To enter, comment below and tell us your dream destination for a romantic adventure.

You have from now through September 27 to post a comment on this blog post. The winner will be chosen at random and have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.

 

About the Authors

Alice Clayton worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read: laptop). She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her. And she finally got her Bernese Mountain Dog.

 

AliceClayton.com | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Nina Bocci is a novelist, publicist, eternal optimist, unabashed lipgloss enthusiast, constant apologist, and a hopeless romanticist. She has too many college degrees that she’s not using and a Lego addiction that she blames on her son.

NinaBocci.com | Twitter | Facebook Goodreads

GALLERY BOOKS is an imprint dedicated to publishing a variety of must-read books on a wide array of topics.  Launched in February 2010, Gallery is designed to showcase established voices and to introduce emerging new ones—in both fiction and nonfiction genres.   Some of Gallery Books’ bestselling titles include Still Alice by Lisa Genova, Gunn’s Golden Rules by Tim Gunn, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren, Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill, and The Tucci Cookbook by Stanley Tucci.

 

Simon & Schuster, a part of the CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com.

That’s What She Said – EXCLUSIVE Interview with Alice Clayton

The BFF’s are so excited for today’s release of Cream of the Crop, book 2 in the Hudson Valley Series by Alice Clayton. AND, today we bring you an EXCLUSIVE Interview with Clayton in the newest edition of “That’s What She Said!” BFF K’s review coming very soon!

But first, here’s a little info on Cream of the Crop

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton brings her trademark blend of funny and sexy to this second contemporary romance in the brand-new Hudson Valley series!

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is…cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be…love?

And, don’t forget about Nuts, Book #1 in the Hudson Valley series!

That’s What She Said

I was thrilled with the opportunity to interview Alice Clayton….I mean really! Alice Freaking Clayton answered my questions about one of her books…Pinch me now! I have enjoyed so many of her incredible stories including the Wallbanger series and Nuts, Book 1 in the new Hudson Valley Series. I hope you enjoy the interview below.

BFF K: I want to talk mostly about NUTS! I listened to Roxie and Leo’s story on audio and loved absolutely every second of it! Let’s dish (see what I did there?) about NUTS and the Hudson Valley Series.

Farmers are the new It Boy in the Hudson Valley series and I have to agree completely! What inspired the Hudson Valley series and these smoking hot FARMERS?

Alice Clayton: I LOVE a farmer. Oh my goodness do I love a farmer. I got the ideas for this series out of the blue one day when Mr. Alice and I were visiting our local farmers market. There was a new farmer one day, and sweet Christ was he hot. Hudson Valley series was born!

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BFF K: You write about farming in great detail. (My hubby is an agronomist; I completely followed your terminology!) Are you familiar with agriculture or did you have to do extensive research on farming and farming practices?

Alice Clayton: I definitely did my research, particularly into the world of CSA’s and how easy it now is to support your local producers. I’ve been trying to eat locally as often as I can for several years now, and I’m so happy to see how many people now are enjoying and eating local.

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BFF K: California Roxie has to reconcile herself with Bailey Falls Roxie. I LOVE the way that Chad Bowman helped her to discover a new side of herself that was ok in Bailey Falls. I also LOVED Chad’s husband Logan. I really don’t know that I have a question about this….It was just one of my favorite parts of the book! What else can you tell me about Roxie’s transformation and the roll Chad and Logan play in that experience?

Alice Clayton: I loved the idea of going back home to your small town, and finding out that the biggest crush you had back in school is still as handsome and gorgeous and sweet and kind as ever, but that the quarterback has a husband! I see Chad and Logan as kind of the town criers, the greek chorus in these stories, just inserting themselves into the narrative enough to push these girls along. You’ll be so glad to know they are all over CREAM OF THE CROP as well.

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BFF K: I know that Nuts and Cream of the Crop are both standalones, but will we be seeing Leo and Roxie in this next book?

Alice Clayton: YES! The gang is all back together again.

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BFF K: The Achtung Baby album played a big role in Roxie’s childhood and her relationship with Leo. Do you personally love that album? What other albums do you love? Will music play a role in Oscar’s story too?

Alice Clayton: U2 is hands down my favorite band in the world. I love them more than words can say. And that was the first time I ever saw them live, the ZooTV tour. That album is incredibly important to me, especially Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World.

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BFF K: Oscar is our next It-Boy Farmer. Can you give us a sneak peak into who comes after Oscar?

Alice Clayton: It’s all Archie Bryant…

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Rapid Fire

Eric Ripert or Anthony Bourdain? Both at the same time

Farmer or Chef? Farmer

Amazing Race or Survivor? Amazing Race

Dukes of Hazzard or Little House on the Prairie? Little House

Cake or Pie? Pie

Bono or R.E.M.? U2

Small Town Diner or Exclusive Restaurant? Diner

Manhattan or Los Angeles? Manhattan

Sugar Snaps or Melt-In-Your-Mouth Brie? Brie

Ice Cream or Whipped Cream? Whipped Cream

 

BFF K:  Thank you so much to Alice Clayton for taking the time to answer my questions about the Hudson Valley series and playing our silly rapid fire game! We adore your fabulous books and can’t wait for everyone to get a peek at the newest hot farmer in the Hudson Valley!

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About the Author

New York Times Best Selling author ALICE CLAYTON worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read: laptop).

She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and has finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her.

Now, about that Bernese Mountain dog.

People Magazine says of Alice: “Clayton is a master at balancing heart, humor and plenty of action between the sheets.” 11/24/14 issue

10 Surprising Facts about Romance

 

 

Love Between the Covers
A Documentary Film
Written, Produced & Directed by: Laurie Kahn
Releasing July 12th, 2016
Distributed by: The Orchard

Love stories are universal. Love stories are powerful. And so are the women who write them.

Love Between the Covers is the fascinating story of the vast, funny, and savvy female community that has built a powerhouse industry sharing love stories. Romance fiction is sold in 34 languages on six continents, and the genre grosses more than a billion dollars a year — outselling mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy combined. Yet the millions of voracious women (and sometimes men) who read, write, and love romance novels have remained oddly invisible. Until now.

 

For three years, we follow the lives of five very diverse published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing, and earn a living doing what they love—while empowering others to do the same. Romance authors have built a fandom unlike all others, a global sisterhood where authors know their readers personally and help them become writers themselves. During the three years we’ve been shooting Love Between the Covers, we have witnessed the biggest power shift that has taken place in the publishing industry over the last 200 years. And it’s the romance authors who are on the front lines, pioneering new ways to survive and build communities in this rapidly changing environment.
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10 Surprising Facts about Romance Novels by Laurie Kahn

Four years ago, when I began making my documentary film Love Between the Covers, I stepped into a community I knew nothing about: the global network of women who write, read, and love romance novels. What I found surprised me. Here are ten things I learned:

 

  1. Romance fiction is a billion-dollar industry

Romance novel sales total more than a billion dollars a year. They sell as much as sci-fi, mystery, and fantasy combined.

 

  1. The romance readership is HUGE and global

More than 70 million people in the USA alone read at least one romance novel per year, and most of them read many more. The work of popular American romance writer Nora Roberts is translated into 33 languages and distributed on 6 continents.

 

  1. There is a surprisingly wide range of romance novels 

Like romance blogger Sarah Wendell says, “Whatever your cup of tea is, someone’s pouring it.”

Romance novels are often equated with “bodice-rippers,” but the steamy historicals with Fabio on the cover were published back in the 1970s and 1980s. Since that time, the spectrum of romance novels has exploded. On one end of that spectrum, there are chaste evangelical romances. On the other end, there are BDSM romances (yes, likethat one).

 

In between, you’ll find paranormal romance with vampires and shapeshifters, time-travel romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. There are growing romance subgenres for LGBT love stories, a large community of writers who specialize in African-American romance, and there’s even a popular Amish romance subgenre.

  1. Everybody’swriting romance

Women of every description (and a small number of men) are the engine of this industry.

Contrary to expectations, romance authors come from every economic class, every racial group, every sexual preference, and every level of education.

When I asked the pioneering African-American romance author Beverly Jenkinsabout her peers, she told me, “Women from all walks of life do this. We’re not sitting in the proverbial trailer park in ratty nightgowns, eating jelly beans and watching soap operas. There are some pretty powerful women doing this! Geneticists, astrophysicists, lawyers, doctors…” The list goes on.

Len Barot (pen name Radclyffe), one of the main characters in Love Between the Covers, began writing lesbian romances during her surgical residency. Mary Bly (pen name Eloisa James), another main character in the film, is a Shakespeare scholar by day and an author of historical romances by night.

 

I interviewed PhDs, lawyers, and insurance executives. I also interviewed romance authors who worked in factories. There’s an open door for anyone who wants to give it a try. Nora Roberts, the rock star of the romance industry, never went to college.

 

  1. Women in the romance community are more likely than the general population to be currently married or living with a partner.

We’ve all seen depictions of the lonely, lovesick romance writer, who pens titillating novels while eating bonbons and sobbing over her keyboard.

 

Don’t believe the stereotype. While romance does offer women a place to escape daily life and live out their fantasies, this community of readers and writers are statistically more likely than most to be in happy relationships.

  1. Romance authors become personal friends with their readers, and readers find one another.

In the romance community friendships that begin online – based on a shared love of books– often become real and enduring friendships.

 

Beverly Jenkins and her readers are in constant contact at Beverly’s Facebook page, talking about books, football, music, and the ups and downs of their everyday lives. Every other year, Beverly takes a trip with her readers to places where her novels are set.

Radclyffe invites beginning authors to her farm in upstate New York, where she leads workshops on romance writing, and several of Eloisa James’s loyal readers told us they found their closest friends, with whom they communicate every day, through Eloisa’s blog.

  1. Romance writers get tremendous support from one another

    Why are these women so happy to pull a less experienced writer up the ranks? I asked many authors this question, and almost all of them told me stories of their early romance mentors–and their desire to pay it forward.

 

At a Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference, unpublished writers are always welcome (something that does not happen at other writer conferences), and there are dozens of workshops taught by established writers about everything from plot structure and writing knife-fights, to social networking and negotiating contracts. You will see bestselling novelists sitting down for coffee with unpublished newbies, critiquing their work and giving them business advice.

 

  1. Romance authors are on the cutting edge, pioneering new technologies

    Romance writers and readers were the first to enthusiastically adopt e-books, a service which works well for anyone who buys hundreds of books, and romance writers have always been mavericks of social media, using it effectively to build fan communities.

 

Romance has been at the forefront of the biggest change to take place in publishing in the last 200 years: self publishing. Together, romance authors have figured out how to succeed in self-publishing. Instead of being secretive, these one-person indie publishing houses share their knowhow and numbers (not a common practice in publishing).

  1. You can take courses about romance fiction at Princeton, Harvard, DePaul and dozens of other universities

    Literature scholars, cultural historians, and popular culture studies professors founded the International Association for the Study of Popular Romancefive years ago. They hold annual conferences, and they’ve also started the peer-reviewed onlineJournal for Popular Culture Studies. It’s a growing interdisciplinary field.

 

  1. Romance writing isn’t an easy gig

    You might think writing romance novels is more of a breezy pastime than a professional venture, but the deadlines that romance novelists face are incredibly rigorous. Susan Donovandescribed the feeling of being on-deadline saying, “There’s always a flame behind your ass.” Some women publish three or four books a year. On top of this, most novelists handle their own promotion, and self-published authors also handle their novels’ distribution. When you’re a romance novelist, you are a one-woman business.

 

I had a blast exploring the romance community over the last four years. In creatingLove Between the Covers, I discovered one of the few places where women are always center stage, where female characters always win, where justice prevails in every book, and where the broad spectrum of desires of women from all backgrounds are not feared, but explored unapologetically.

 

*Originally featured in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/laurie-kahn/romance-novels_b_7109458.html

 

Watch the Official Trailer

Smart Girls Read Romance

BFF K has combined forces with Tina Lynne from Typical Distractions Blog to create Smart Girls Read Romance. This is a Facebook Group for all of those who LOVE the Romance genre. We have come together to promote and share and support romance authors and readers. Join the Revolution!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SmartGirlsReadRomance/

Smart Girls No Bkgd No Email

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Review – Hanging by a Thread by Jenna Sutton ALSO Features an Exclusive Excerpt

 

HANGING BY A THREAD
Riley O’Brien & Co. #3
Jenna Sutton
Releasing June 7th, 2016
Berkley Sensation
Thirty-year-old Bebe Banerjee is desperate to get rid of two things: her fiancé and her virginity. Escaping her arranged marriage might be impossible, but she refuses to give her firsts to an entitled jerk who lives on another continent. Instead, she devises a plan that guarantees another man will get her momentous firsts. But she never imagined that man would be Cal O’Brien, the gorgeous heir to the Riley O’Brien & Co. denim empire…
Although Cal has always been fascinated by Bebe’s brilliant mind and beautiful eyes, he’s never pursued her. She can’t stand the sight of him, and every time they’re in the same room, they end up trading insults. Yet when he finds out about Bebe’s bold plan, he makes his move, unaware of her upcoming nuptials. He promises to make her firsts unforgettable, but he doesn’t know how hard it will be to forget her when their arrangement ends.
 
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BFF K’s Review of Hanging by a Thread

 

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Opening another book in the Riley O’Brien Series is like slipping into your most favorite pair of the blue jeans. They just feel right! And, everything about this book feels so right! I desperately hope this isn’t the end of this series.

The characters seem like old friends that you want to catch up with; just hang out and have a beer. They’re charming, but down to earth and authentic. It was great to check in with Quinn and Amelia, Priest and Teagan, but hands down, Cal and Bebe are my favorite couple in the series. Their wicked tongues and lashing dispositions only mask some seriously repressed attraction. It’s like watching the fuse on a bomb slowly light to a MAJOR explosion! Once they come together, the butterflies are constant as you realize what an incredible match they are for one another. Those sharp tongues and quick wits turn into some playful, sexy banter.

I love both Cal and Bebe. Cal is book boyfriend perfection – strong, confident, compassionate, affectionate, head-over-heels in love. He is also a neat freak with a passion for gourmet cooking. See what I mean….PERFECTION! Bebe is a fascinating mix of uber-smart and shockingly naive. Jenna Sutton’s writing also manages to take a 30-year-old-virgin and make her NOT annoying! I think that is a feat of writing prowess in itself. In fact, I really really liked Bebe. She’s caring, sweet and innocent without being a total pushover. The cultural details surrounding her Indian lineage are interesting and they create layers in the story making this a very unique and engaging plot.

Again, I hope that there will be more to come for the Riley and Co. gang. Hanging by a Thread can be read as a stand-alone, but you’ll enjoy all of the other books in this series. Though the price-point on this series is a bit higher than I usually see; I think the quality of writing and interesting storyline makes it worth the extra pennies! I will definitely be recommending this series more often!

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An Advance Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.

 

Exclusive Excerpt

Check out this Exclusive Excerpt – only on the BFF Book Blog and one of BFF K’s FAVORITE scenes in the book! ❤️

Cal checked his phone again. He really needed to see if Teagan had reviewed the contracts he had sent over last week. He had a few minutes before his next meeting, so he headed toward her office. It was located at the end of the hall, and as he got closer, he could hear voices.

The door wasn’t closed completely, and he was just about to knock when he heard Bebe’s voice. He turned on his heel to head back to his office because he didn’t think he had the emotional energy for a verbal duel but froze when one of her words floated to his ears.

“Virgin.”

Flattening himself against the wall, he slid closer to the door and peeked through the crack. Bebe stood beside Teagan’s desk, and his sister sat on top of it, her eyes intent on her best friend’s face.

Cal edged closer and cocked his head so he could hear their conversation better. He ignored the angel on his shoulder warning him that he was going to hell for eavesdropping and gave in to the devil assuring him that this was worth hearing.

“It’s unnatural!” Bebe exclaimed, throwing up her hands. “Do you know any other thirty-year-old virgins?”

Cal frowned. Who was a thirty-year-old virgin? And why was Bebe so upset about it?

“It’s not unnatural,” Teagan replied. “And it’s probably more common than you think. A lot of women want their first time to be special so they wait until they find the right guy.”

“I don’t care if my first time is special, and I don’t care who the guy is! I just want to lose it! As soon as possible!”

Holy shit! Bebe is a virgin?

Cal shifted and used the tip of his finger to push open the door a little more. He didn’t want to miss a word of what Bebe had to say.

“Why are you suddenly so determined to lose your virginity?” Teagan asked. “Did you just wake up and say to yourself, ‘I don’t want to belong to Club Virgin anymore’?”

Bebe made a growling noise, and damned if she didn’t sound like a rabid dog. “Why am I even talking to you? You’re having so much sex, I’m surprised you can even walk. And I’m never going to eat anything that’s been made on your kitchen island since you and Nick have sex there all the time!”

Cal winced. He definitely could have done without hearing that. And he agreed with Bebe. He wasn’t going to eat anything prepared on Teagan’s kitchen island, either.

“I always clean it with bleach afterwards,” Teagan choked out between giggles.

“I’ve never even been kissed,” Bebe wailed, and Teagan’s laughter died in her throat.

“What?”

“I’ve never been kissed,” Bebe repeated huskily.

Bebe had never been kissed? What the hell is wrong with all the guys on this planet?

Teagan stood and wrapped her arms around the shorter woman. “Oh, sweetie, it’s okay.”

“It’s not okay,” Bebe disagreed, her voice muffled against Teagan’s shoulder.

Cal could tell she was crying, and he dropped his head back against the wall. Much to his surprise, he was overwhelmed with the urge to comfort her. He had no doubt he could have made her feel better.

 

Check out BFF K’s Reviews for some of the other Riley O’Brien & Company novels

Coming Apart at the Seams

The Perfect Fit

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About the Author

Jenna Sutton is a formeraward-winning journalist who traded fact for fiction when she began writing novels. Surprisingly, the research she conducted for her articles provided a lot of inspiration for her books.
 
Jenna is the author of the Riley O’Brien & Co. romances including All the Right Places and Coming Apart at the Seams. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Texas Christian University and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.
 
Jenna and her husband live in a 103-year-old house in Texas affectionately known as “The Money Pit”. You can find out more about her and her books by visiting www.jennasutton.com.