Review After Review

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I can’t thank the readers enough for leaving such great reviews of my debut novel, Bird After Bird.  Here are a few of my favorite lines from their feedback:

  • Absolutely amazing
  • Word after word…I was hooked!
  • Give you a case of the feel goods
  • A truly beautiful story
  • One of my better reads of late
  • I would definitely recommend it to friends
  • I was hooked and captivated
  • Lovely and romantic
  • I enjoyed this from beginning to end
  • Sweet romance with a happily ever after (HEA)
  • Be still my beating heart!
  • I wish it was longer!
  • Tender and sweet
  • So well-written!
  • I adore this story
  • I think women will declare Laurie to be a Book Boyfriend and fight over him
  • I loved this book like crazy. I read it in a day. I recommend it highly.
  • Keeps you interested start to finish
  • Great read

And there are more.  I am just SO SO SO GRATEFUL.

It’s a challenge launching an author brand. It truly is. You start with a few twigs and thistles of an idea, and you work at it day after day. A bird can build a pretty decent nest in a day working non-stop, but writing isn’t like that. It’s not even an incubation period.  It’s more than that. It’s the idea, the nest, the egg, the incubation, it’s feeding the squawking bratty bird-child of a book and then handing it over to others to critique its wings, its beak, the shine in its eyes.

Eventually, it’s pushing that beastie out of the nest and seeing if it will fly. You know not everyone is going to love it, but you just hope you did your best to get it in front of everyone who will.  That’s one of the toughest parts, to be honest–reaching you.

I am so grateful to all who have left kind words about Bird After Bird.  It means a lot to me.

I hope you ALL entered the giveaway!  It’s ending soon!

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Rafflecopter giveaway here

And if you haven’t grabbed the book yet, the sale will be ending soon, too! Buy it on Amazon for $.99.

Bird after Bird 99 cents

 

Kindle Paperwhite giveaway

Okay, so yesterday was insanely busy, but maybe you gathered there’s a giveaway going on to celebrate the launch of Bird After Bird. I would love if you would enter this and share it with your friends. Grand prize is a Kindle Paperwhite!

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Snag BIRD while it’s just $.99! Currently on the Hot New Release and Best-seller lists for New Adult and Military Romance!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Right now BIRD is as “cheep cheep” as it’s ever going to be, so download it and read at your leisure. You can even gift a copy to a friend and time the delivery for whenever you’d like.

If you haven’t read the book yet, here’s why I chose the prizes up for grabs:

  • Kindle Paperwhite – no brainer. Everyone wants one!
  • Amazon gift card – who doesn’t love those?
  • Signed copies of Bird After Bird – bloggers unanimously requested this prize
  • Bird journals & bird buttons swag – everyone liked the journal giveaway I did last week, so I ordered a few more. The 1″ buttons/badges will match!
  • Jewelry – I love etsy, and I found a necklace in the shape of a paper crane. That’s very meaningful for the characters in BIRD. I also found a darling wren broach in honor of the main character, Wren Riley. Finally, a gorgeous swallow bracelet to represent the love between the two characters. Any fan of the book is going to love that one. I can’t lie, I am tempted to keep these for myself!
  • ebook copy of Bird After Bird – another blogger request

There will be four prize packages because that means MORE people can win!

Bird after Bird 99 cents

 

If you’ve already read & loved the book, I would appreciate your review on Amazon &/or Goodreads. Since this is my first book, I need all the help I can get spreading the word about the Bird!

What To Read Next: Bird After Bird by Leslea Tash

Leslea Tash:

Shéa McLeod put together the coolest post about the launch of Bird After Bird, and the promotional giveaway.

Originally posted on Shéa MacLeod, Author - Everything's Better With Dragons:

Bird after Bird 99 cents

So, you might think, why is that girl posting contemporary romance? This is a PARANORMAL romance site, doggonit!

HeartWell, I love romance of ALL KINDS. Anyone who knows me knows I’m OBSESSED with the Regency (so, yeah, Regency romance!). Paranormal and scifi romance are probably my faves, but a good contemporary? Yeah, I like those a LOT. And Bird After Bird by Leslea Tash is beyond good and into the realm of stellar. I laughed. I cried. I shouted at the characters for being idiots. And I got all squishy over the romance. Yup, it’s one of THOSE books. And I can’t get enough. Even better? Right now it’s just 99 cents. WOOT!Real Me

I loved this book SO much! You should pick up your copy today. Seriously, you’re going to love it.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s some giveaway goodness going on. You know me! I…

View original 423 more words

Bird After Bird has left the nest!

It’s on Amazon, and it’s only $.99 for a limited time.

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Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat–and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can’t name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way? 

Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state’s perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of–until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send–then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them. 

God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again–something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope. 
Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same. 

“I must admit that when I got to the end of this book, I let out a tiny whimper from under my breath. It was over and I didn’t want it to be; the style of writing was unique, fun, quirky and witty.” ~JC at All Is Read 

“Sweet and delightful.” ~Yolanda, of Yolanda Has So Many Books

 

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Another excerpt, another winner

Wow!  Only 4 days until Bird After Bird goes live!

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You can add it to your Goodreads list here.

Okay, another excerpt. These are hard to pick. This time I chose Chapter Five:

Chapter Five

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Wren

He walked me to my car, and before I hit the fob to unlock the doors, I asked, “How do I know you’re not some creeper who’s going to hurt me?”

He shrugged. “Take a photo of me, I guess. Text it to a friend.”

“You know, that’s not a bad idea.” I held up my phone. “Say ‘pizza’!”

The flash was off, but the lights in the parking lot were just bright enough to catch his image. I turned the phone around so he could see it. “Not bad,” he said. “Nice lighting. Where were you when I needed senior pictures taken?”

I hit send on the text to Janice. “Better add my name,” he said as I typed. “Laurence Byrd.”

I climbed into the car, and he slid into the passenger seat, folding his long legs awkwardly before he found the seat adjustment. The seat hummed for a long moment until he’d slid it as far back as it would go.

“Lawrence Bird? Do you go by Lawrence, or by…wait. Your name is Larry Bird? The famous basketball player? Is that your dad or something?”

He smiled. “You know, everybody says that. No relation.” He rolled the window down and pointed. “You’ll want to take a right out of the parking lot, then the driveway is about four miles from here. It’s gravel and it’s hidden by trees, so I’ll tell you when the look.”

I was a little nervous driving him to his house.

“Gripping that steering wheel pretty hard. Am I that scary?”

I laughed, forcing myself to relax. “Maybe I should have duct-taped you to the seat just in case.”

“Maybe save that for the second date,” he said. “Hey, you didn’t tell me your name.”

“It’s Wren.”

“Pretty.”

“Thanks.”

I could still feel my heart hammering in my chest, but in the close quarters of the car, his clean denim scent was all the more powerful, and his laid-back attitude was contagious.

“This is it,” he said, pointing to the right again.

I couldn’t see a house from the road, but I turned next to a mailbox that said BYRD in small reflective letters, and drove slowly down a gravel drive.

“I knew a few Byrds in school,” I said. “Are you related to any of them, Larry?”

“Laurie. Like the character in—“

Little Women,” I finished. We’d run out of gravel drive in front of what appeared to be an old-fashioned log cabin. The warm light of a table lamp spilled out one of the front windows onto a covered porch that spanned the length of the house, wrapping around both sides. “So your mom was really into that book, huh?”

“My sisters were named after a character and the author, so…yeah, I guess you could say that.” He smiled in the dim light and opened his door to climb out. “Gimme a sec and I’ll turn on some lights.”

I waited, watching him unlock the front door. A porch light flickered on, then it seemed like every light in the house came on a moment later. A small stained-glass circle lit up in the front door. I wondered what other artful details the cabin might hold.

I climbed out of the car and did a slow 180, taking in the property best I could. Everywhere were tall trees, budded out and almost in full foliage, but above the house I could see the brilliant light of stars filtering in, and a stunning gibbous moon.

“Make yourself at home, Carolina,” he called from the doorway.

I groaned.

“Sorry, was that too corny?”

“Just a little.” I’d been called Carolina Wren by just about every birder I’d ever met. It couldn’t be helped. Those little russet beauties were everywhere in the Midwest, and even if they hadn’t been my namesake, they’d still be one of my favorite birds.

My phone buzzed. Janice.

-Cute guy. What’s his story?-

“Don’t tell her about my corny jokes,” he said, sitting down on the front porch swing while I texted.

Finding out. Talk tomorrow.

-K, be safe-

He’d left the front door open, and gestured to the house as I climbed the steps to the front porch. “Bathroom’s on the left past the kitchen. I hope it’s not too messy. Wasn’t expecting company.” He held up a second beer and then placed it on the front porch rail before taking a seat on the swing. “This’ll be waiting for you when you come out.”

The bathroom actually wasn’t messy at all. I tried not to snoop as I walked through the house, but I was immediately struck by two things: the tidiness of the place, and the number of paintings on the walls. There were even a couple of easels set up in the great room, next to a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows that I suspected yielded an amazing view in the daylight hours.

In the lights of the bathroom, I was finally able to inspect the damage of my earlier crying fit. Fortunately I always carried a little clutch of makeup essentials in my purse, and I put them to good use now. I ran the water in the sink so he couldn’t hear me pee, and washed my hands with what looked like a locally-crafted artisan soap. If I didn’t know better, I’d think a woman lived here.

But did I know better?

Leaving the bathroom, I moved slowly toward the front porch. I didn’t see any wedding photos or family pictures on the wall, other than an old collage of snapshots in the hallway with faces too small and blurry for me to recognize in a moment’s passing. No, definitely no signs of a wife or live-in girlfriend.

“Laurie, mind if I look at your paintings?”

I drifted toward the easels, and he came back inside. He watched me silently as I examined an oil-in-progress of a Red-shouldered Hawk, but spoke up as I moved to the other easel, which bore a covered canvas. “Not that one,” he said. “Sorry…it’s not ready yet.”

I turned to apologize and noticed him turn a framed photo face down on his fireplace mantel.

Wonder who that was. Ex-girlfriend, maybe?

“That’s a gorgeous fireplace,” I said. “Huge! Looks like Harry Potter and the whole Weasley family could come sliding out of it any minute.”

He smiled. “All the stones were brought up by hand from a creek on the property. My grandfather built it, himself.”

“So you’re not the first artisan in the Byrd family.”

He had a sip of his beer. “Not much of an artisan, myself, really. I paint and I teach art classes, but mostly I’m a mechanic. Pays the bills.”

“That’s cool.” I didn’t know what else to say, so I just smiled.

He handed me the beer. “Come on out on the porch. It’s a nice night.”

It was just a little chilly, but I drank the cold beer and bore it because I felt more relaxed with Laurie than I had the entire trip to Birdseye. Between crying in the credit union vault and the altercation with Cindy, I was exhausted.

“So tell me more about Wren,” he said. He glanced over at me, his handsome face lit by the golden glow from the house.

“Well, I’m living in Chicago, but I’m from here. And I’m a little cold.”

“Cold? You seem nice enough to me.”

“No, I mean…it’s a little chilly out here.”

“Oh!” He stood, and dashed into the house. In a moment he was back with a huge woolen blanket. He took the beer from me and sat it on the porch rail, covering me. “Better?”

“Perfect, actually,” I said as he took his seat again. I didn’t want to be rude, and I figured if I was cold, he must be, too. I held the edge of the blanket nearest him up a bit. “You want to share?”

He smiled. “That’s not too intimate for a first date?”

“I don’t think so,” I said. “Is this a date?”

He shrugged. “I wouldn’t mind if it was, I guess.”

I smiled. He pulled the blanket over his lap, but didn’t slide any closer to me on the swing.

We swung for a bit, and I asked him questions about the house and about his art. The conversation turned to art history, and I was pleased that he knew so much about it. “I just started going to the Art Institute sometimes,” I said. “It’s such a big place, I never know where to start. What’s your favorite period?”

“I couldn’t say, but lately I’ve had a real taste for Titian,” he said without missing a beat.

“Got a thing for redheads, do ya?”

He grinned, looking down for a moment like he hadn’t expected me to make the connection between the artist famous for painting women with hair the color of my own. He reached for his beer and had a quick sip. “Maybe.”

“Laurie, I think you’re flirting with me.”

I felt his hand reach out for mine beneath the blanket.

“Maybe I am, Wren.”

His hand was warm, rough and calloused, but I liked that. So different from the soft, manicured fingers of the guy I was dating in Chicago.

Chicago. My home. The city where my life awaited.

My phone buzzed in my pocket. I pulled my hand away from his reluctantly to check it. My assistant, Darcy, didn’t usually text me on the weekends, so I was surprised to see her icon on my screen. 

-Total 911 on Monday. Call me tomorrow.-

I sighed.

“Everything okay?”

“Work.”

Gently, he took the phone from my hands.

“What are you doing?”

He scrolled through the phone’s menus and I fought the urge to grab it back. “Ah, there it is,” he said. He showed me the screen. “Contacts. I’m putting my number in here. Okay if I call my phone with it so I’ll have yours?”

I smiled. “Sure. Why not?”

“Maybe I’ll get up to Chicago sometime. We can go walk around the Institute together.”

As he handed me back my phone, he brushed so close I thought he was going to kiss me. I wanted him to. My hand closed partially over his as I took the phone back, and I think I surprised us both when I gave him a kiss on the cheek. His expression glowed as he pulled away to see my face.

“You always kiss on the first date?” he asked.

“Not usually until after the duct-tape,” I said.

While he laughed, I realized I did want to stay and kiss him. His arms were strong and his laughter so sweet, I wanted to stay on this swing in this moment forever. I felt like a schoolgirl, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

The blanket and the rocking must have lulled me half asleep, because the mating hoot of a barred owl woke me some time after. “Who cooks for you?” it sang.

Next to me, Laurie was sketching.

“Are you drawing me with spit running down my cheek?”

He smiled. “You’re beautiful. Couldn’t resist.”

“You’re too sweet, Laurie.” I stood and stretched. “Sorry I fell asleep on your porch. I guess I’d better go. Thanks for rescuing me tonight.” I meant it more than he could know.

“Sure you know how to get back to the main road?” He offered me his arm as we made our way down the steps to my car.

My car. “Shoot. Do you need a ride back to your car?”

“Left it here,” he said. “Billy was my ride tonight, so, really, you rescued me.”

“Ah. You owe me, Mister.” I yawned as I said it.

He opened the car door and I climbed inside.

“Text me when you get home, let me know you made it, okay? Or you could stay here…”

“I’ll text you,” I said.

“Sure. I’ve heard that one before.” He was joking. Had to be. I doubted any woman who caught Laurie’s eye would be able to toss him aside.

I winked, putting the car into gear.

“Well, I mean it,” I said before rolling the window up and steering the car away.

I left the cabin feeling better than I had when I arrived.

When I got back to Dad’s house I realized it was the first time since Dad’s cancer that I regretted moving so far away.

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AND, the giveaway winner of the latest share & win teaser thingie is…Heather Nagel! Heather, I will email you.

An excerpt and a winner

Want a little taste of Bird After Bird?

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Here’s Chapter One:

Chapter One

Wren

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Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, Queen of my life and Light of my world,

I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

I put the book into the drawer of the safe deposit box and reached to steady myself against the bank of tiny metal safes, shaken by the voice of my father in my head.

With a deep breath I returned to my dad’s letter, tucked inside the front cover of the bird journal he and I made the summer of my twelfth year. The summer Mom died.

I entrusted the key to this safe deposit box to my attorney and he assured me he would wait a year after my passing—or well-documented senility—before he contacted you about it. Since the cancer seems to be getting the best of me, I’m going to go ahead and call this one “death,” but on the chance I actually went senile first, would you bring me a cherry soda the next time you visit?

I had to laugh, even though my eyes were filled with tears. I was afraid I’d drip snot onto Dad’s precious missive any minute.

A teller peeked her head into the vault. “Miss? Anything I can help you with? We have a kiosk where you can go through your things with privacy, if you’d prefer.”

I shook my head and kept my eyes on the book. I think she must have seen my nose action, because she ducked out, returning a second later with a box of tissues. “Occupational hazard,” she said, thrusting them toward me with a smile.

“Thanks,” I said, dabbing my nose and eyes and attempting a smile in return.

She nodded at the safe boxes. “When I first started here I imagined these were full of jewels, gold coins, collectibles…” She shrugged. “Nine times out of ten, it’s folks reading letters back here.” She breezed past me to the kiosk, setting the tissue box down. “We’ve got coffee, too,” she said. “Let me know if I can make you more comfortable.”

“Thanks, again.” I heard my voice, and it sounded as professional as ever. Thank God for small favors. I didn’t recognize this girl, and that was a small mercy, as well. I stayed away from my hometown as much as possible, but I’d come back enough since graduation to know that anyone from my old high school clique making a public scene was the sort of thing rumors would be born from for months.

When I’d headed to the credit union to check out Dad’s safe deposit box, I had no idea what to expect. Had he been buying gold and hiding it away? It was the kind of thing he’d do. After a year of wrapping up investments, insurance policies, and informing everyone he’d ever known or done business with that he’d passed away, I’d grown numb to the process of closing his estate. I wasn’t expecting to cry today.

Dad and I had been so close, it never occurred to me we had any secrets between us, and for the past year that had seemed to be the case. I hadn’t even found a stash of porn or incriminating photos in his home when I dared to box things up.

Honestly, when the lawyer handed me the key to this safe deposit box, I was confused. Standing before the metal drawer, I’d felt the thrill of fear as I prepared to turn the key. What could possibly be so awful inside it that he’d gone out of his way to make sure I didn’t see it for a year after his death?

Not this book. Surely not. I loved this book. In fact, it was the first thing I’d looked for at the house after the funeral, after all our friends and family had left. When it was just me, settled deep into Dad’s comfy chair, my feet propped up on his footstool, I’d wanted this very book, and I nearly tore the house apart looking for it. I remember falling asleep that night on Dad’s bed, exhausted from the funeral and the search.

I was tired now, just thinking about it. I was tired of this cute bank teller watching me. I eyed the kiosk and the possibly comfortable / definitely cheap office chair paired with it. I glanced back at Dad’s letter, pressed into the book.

Birdy, if you’re thinking about reading this in the kiosk inside the bank vault, just give yourself a pass and go on home. That chair ain’t near as comfortable as it looks and they push coffee at you here every five minutes trying to get you to hurry along.

“Oh, Dad,” I said, and then I felt the sobs welling up in my chest. If I said another word—if I breathed too hard, if this girl made eye contact with me again—I might break. I wished I could teleport out of there.

I turned in the key to the teller and left as fast as I could. I wanted to finish Dad’s letter, but where? His house was on the market and the realtor had instructed me to stay away for two full hours; a couple of prospects were bringing their own home inspector to kick the tires today.

“Serious buyers!” the realtor had chirped, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I might not be serious about selling yet. It had only been a year, after all.

Still, it would be rude to crash the showing.

I grabbed two Arnold Palmers from the corner market and headed out to the lake. It had been a few years, but I found Dad’s birding spot, and settled in with the journal.

I refused on principle to keep a box of tissues in my car like some old lady, so I grabbed some fast food napkins out of my dash just in case I started bawling or something.

In all seriousness, Wren, there are so many things I still need to tell you. I know I can’t fit it all into one letter—even if I had the health to sit and write you a book, I’d still leave too much out—but hear me out, kid. Your Dad loves you so much. I know you know that, but I also know how driven you are, how ambitious, how smart. I want you to put aside all of that stuff for a minute and listen with your heart, sweet daughter of mine.

First off, that fella Martin you met up in Chicago is a chump. I think he tweezes his brows more than you do and there is no way a guy as hairless as that skinny nerd can be any good in the sack. I’m sure by now you’ve dumped him

“He dumped me, actually.” I dabbed away tears of grief and laughter. “Said I was afraid of commitment.”

or he’s dumped you, but either way, good riddance. Yes, he was good on paper—tall, ambitious as you, vaguely Icelandic looks and the summer house on Lake Michigan would have been a nice perk. But, kid, you had no chemistry.

You know all those birding trips we took, where we got out of town and bumped up our life list? You remember those times when we ended up lost, took a wrong turn, and still ended up where we were meant to be? Kid, that’s where you are, I think. I think you’re trying, but…

Listen, I’m dead so I’m just going to tell it like it is. I want you to page through this book, Princess Birdzilla. I know you miss me and I’m not trying to break your heart. I hope, in some small but important way, this will help make it whole. I can’t explain it, Wren. I just feel compelled to say it, to do it. I feel like this is what you need, kid. Indulge me.

Look at this book! Just look at it. What a treasure. This whole thing is a testament to our guts—to mine and to yours. The year we lost your mother, I needed you as much as you needed me, and in all my life, I don’t think I ever met a braver kid than you. I want you to remember, sweetheart.

Remember all the birds we mapped on paper, and remember where we ended up. Remember how we drove away from our memories, but we made new ones, and still came home to roost. You’ve been chasing a lot of birds on paper all over Chicago while you climb that corporate ladder and I don’t think you’re following your gut at all, baby darling.

Not that you need to rush—unless you do, hell, I don’t know how long I’ve been dead, so you tell me. That biological clock ticking yet?

“No rush, Dad.” A cardinal landed momentarily on a log near me, flashed his tail at me twice, and flew away again. “I won’t even be thirty for five more years.”

The point is, Wren, you’ve got to trust your instincts. Fly off the map sometimes. I loved your mother so much—you know that. No one ever replaced her and it never occurred to me to try. No need. When you meet the right one, Wren, even after they’re gone you don’t feel lonely the way other people do—sometimes even married people I knew had it a lot worse than I did. Sure, I grieved your mom, and I know you did, too, sweetheart, but…not forever, right? Because when you love somebody and they truly you love you back, are they ever really gone?

I thought about Dad’s house again, about the people there now inspecting the plumbing, or measuring for drapes. I wanted them out of Dad’s house. If the letter hadn’t continued, I might have rushed to the old homestead and kicked them out on their ear.

Birdy, I know you’re missing me now, and maybe sometimes you feel weak, but I don’t want you to forget that kid who took on the world with me, the kid who just cracked open a bird book and filled it with memories, with new adventures, bird after bird. We did that, baby. We did it because you wanted to do it, and who was I to say no to someone so brave, so fierce, so beautiful and rare?

You took my breath away. Take it from a guy with lung cancer, honey. You still take my breath away.

You’re so special, baby. No matter what, that’s you, Wren. No matter if you stay single forever, if you marry that skinny nerd Martin or another one like him, I know you’re going to be alright. You brought so much joy to your mother and me, and you’ve got so much to give the world. I believe in you, kid. I know you’ll be happy. All I’m saying is when you get a hunch, girl, follow it. Don’t forget our adventures, sweetheart. There are a lot of things in life I’ve considered regrets, but that summer with you on the road and in the woods, spotting birds? I’ll never regret that. It might have been the best summer of my life, in a lot of ways.

“Mine, too, Dad.” I hoped he’d known that when he died. We’d talked about it often enough in the years that followed Mom’s death. We’d become the Two Birditos, chasing our bird list whenever grief threatened to overcome us. Exploring new towns, new parks, and letting nature inside our souls. “Best summer ever, right?”

Your mother’s heart was always my home, from the first time I lay eyes on her to the day she closed hers forever. You were the greatest gift she ever gave me except for one thing—and forgive me, I know I’m rattling on and on, but I’m a dying man so sue me! Ha!

Anyway, listen—beyond the weekend pancakes and the hugs and kisses, your mom gave me something that’s kept me going all this time without her. She gave me the kind of love that made me feel deep down in my gut that I am more than okay. As long as your mom loved me, I was fine no matter what. Your mother was no saint by any means, but her love gave me a center, and I hope you felt that growing up, even after she was gone. Didn’t we do okay, you and me, Wren? I think we did. I know we did.

Follow your instincts, sweetheart. Find your center, your peace, your home. Fly after your heart and be happy, sweet daughter of mine.

Your father blesses you and loves you, forever and ever. More than words can say.

Love,

Dad

 AVAILABLE 4/7 ON AMAZON

And here’s the winner announcement…Guia Rabacca won the Amazon gift card from my FB page teaser contest! Congrats, Guia.

A few things

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  1. The journal giveaway has begun. If you didn’t sign up for the email list, I’ll let you cheat and like my FB page and check the “giveaway” button there to enter. (You’ll still have to sign up for the email list.)
  2. ARCs will start hitting inboxes tomorrow and the next day, God willing. If you’re on my ARC team and this blog post is the first you’ve heard of these developments, please check your spam folder for my emails. There’s also a FB group and you will find the link to it in the email. 
  3. The official release day is going to 4/7, but I might hit the publish button early, because I can. :)
  4. More giveaways! There’s a teaser on my FB page and if you like & share it you might win a gift card.
  5. Goodreads signed paperback giveaway is going on.

 

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The first rule of journaling is…

Before I was fortunate enough to be a full-time author, I used to be a freelance writer. I got my start in freelance journalism as a blogger. And blogging, as we know, is a form of journal-writing, itself. At one point in my freelance career, I was asked to teach a class in journal-writing. It was a lot of fun. I actually taught that course off and on for a year.

You know what the first rule of journaling is?

*waits*

Nope, not giving you any hints. Keep guessing.

*winks*

Okay, okay, I’ll have mercy on you. I used to ask my classes that first thing. “What’s the first rule of journaling? Anybody know?” They’d sit there kind of in shock, each and every one of them afraid to answer. It always gave me a teeny, tiny chuckle, because I knew they were there for encouragement and the pop quiz really heightened their emotions for just a sec. Then I’d tell them the answer and watch their faces fill with smiles.

Answer: there are NO rules! Journaling can be anything you want it to be, need it to be, imagine it to be. Writing in your diary, your log, your blank book is one of life’s precious luxuries. Paper and pen are so inexpensive, but what the experience gives to your soul is so rich. Journaling is good for you.  Just do it.

It might not come as a surprise, then, that the characters in Bird After Bird are prolific letter-writers and journal-keepers. I won’t spoil it for you, but at one point the main character, Wren, picks out a blank book with a bird motif on the cover, and sets to work clearing out the cobwebs of her own mind.

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Just for kicks, to celebrate the upcoming release of my first romance novel, I decided to design Wren’s journal and give it away. Only problem was, I couldn’t decide on a look that I liked best.  So…I did what any gal would do.  I asked my friends. Making matters worse, they asked me to make up three *additional* designs!  Thanks, gang!

So now I have a total of eight journals that could fit the bill of Wren’s journal from Bird After Bird.

I’ll be giving them all away. Each will go to someone on my email list.

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The only way you will be entered to win is if you are on that list. Sign up here.

I hope you win. And even if you don’t, I hope you journal.