**This is the story of what happened before Trent and Elizabeth arrived in Burton. How did they meet? What made them fall in love? Find out here!**
Elizabeth Hudson has one goal in mind for this holiday season: ignore it. With her complicated family, non-existent love life and demanding job, skipping Christmas seems like the best plan ever.
Until a Christmas tree lot pops up just outside her office, run by the hot and hunky Trent Wagoner.
Trent took this job because he needed to get away from life in his small Georgia hometown. Hauling a truckload of Douglas firs and blue spruces from his uncle’s farm in Michigan to sell in Florida sounded like the perfect plan to find the space he needs and finally get his life on track.
Neither Trent nor Elizabeth planned on the instant sparks of attraction between them. But no matter how hard they fight it, something unexpected—and wonderful—may show up beneath the Christmas tree this year.
**Don’t miss the rest of the story! ALWAYS MY OWN picks up after this book ends . . . and answers the question, “What happened next?”**
Halloween is just two weeks away . . . and if you’re one of my readers, you know what that means. It’s time for a new Recipe for Death book!
Life in Palm Dunes is never dull, but right now, Jackie could use a little boring. She and Lucas know that the battle to save the world is looming ever closer, but before that happens, they’ve got to deal with a series of disturbing murders in their own community, a new house guest, an unexpected visit from an old acquaintance . . . and Mrs. Mac, who’s competing in the Ms. Florida Senior Living Pageant.
Just another episode in the life of a half-vampire death broker and his girlfriend.
Isn’t the cover amazing? It was created by the talented Meg Murrey!
What’s really exciting about this installment in the Death series is that it’s leading into some big things. All of the books in my paranormal world have been steps along the way, but now . . . now we’re getting serious. Each subsequent book will build on the one before it.
Coming next is Moonlight on the Meadow. It’s Cathryn’s story, and finally, FINALLY, Cathryn is going to find her true love. It’s about time, even if she has to travel all the way to Ireland to make it happen.
And then on February 1, 2017, The Fox’s Wager releases. This book is part of the Hotel Paranormal series, and trust me, you don’t want to miss it.
Everything climaxes in Age of Aquarius which comes out on April 7, 2017 (my 50th birthday!). That book will bring the whole gang back together: Tasmyn, Michael, Marly and more from King . . . Rafe, Nell, Joss, Cathryn and Zoe from the Serendipity books . . . Lucas, Jackie, Veronica and others from the Recipe for Death books–and some surprise guests, too.
What can you do to be ready? Start reading. The order of books is below!
And brace yourself: in April we’re going to change the past, rock the present and save the future.
So, Indie BookFest 2016 happened last weekend. It was kind of like How the Grinch Stole Christmas: it came without airplanes flying past 5 PM Thursday, it came without some authors who had planned to be there, it came while the Weather Channel predicted the worst storm in the history of all weather (paraphrasing from Cristin Harber!). It happened in spite of the people who kept telling us to cancel. It happened because we had over sixty awesome authors who braved all the dire warnings and the readers who battled the elements and traffic to get there.
So let’s start at the beginning.
On Thursday, I made my first airport run of the day to pick up Gail Priest, both an author and a dear friend (and the person who gave us Annie Crow Knoll–go get those books!). After that, we made a few trips to the hotel with boxes and bags and swag and books . . . and I did a quick interview with AP reporter/romance author/IBF author Tamara Lush as I sucked down a bowl of soup.
Second airport run was to retrieve both Cristin Harber, our amazing keynote speaker, and Dan Wood of Draft2Digital. They cracked me up. Cristin had been spooked by a very pessimistic flight attendant who warned her not to make the trip . . . and Dan had provided the peer pressure that convinced Cristin to stay on the plane. It made for a hilarious story and keynote intro, though!
We stuffed swag bags Thursday late afternoon as the weather predictions continued to grow more serious. On a happier note, the story filed by Tamara Lush hit the Washington Post, ABC News and The Orlando Sentinel! Wow, talk about making lemonade out lemons . . .
Our welcome dinner Thursday night was packed and delicious. Afterward, we retired to the 7th floor concierge lounge to enjoy beer, gummy rummies and hanging out time while the Weather Channel played in the background.
Friday morning was the kick-off of IBF16. We had a busy run on the registration desk, and our panels and workshops were terrific, even if we were down a few panelists. Out of over 20 panels/workshops, we only had to cancel two. I call that a win.
By mid-afternoon, it was clear that Matthew was more hurrican’t that hurrican. While there was some damage, we were all relieved that the storm wasn’t even half as bad as predicted. As the curfews were lifted, more authors and readers arrived! We also enjoyed our inspirational Skype session with Jasinda and Jack Wilder. They were so gracious and so open . . . and so generous–wow! Holy giveaways, Batman!
FanFare that night was a fabulous time. Over 45 books were given away to readers, and there was also dancing, food and fun!
On Saturday, our keynote speaker kicked off the day. Cristin was perfect mix of humor, inspiration and encouragement, encapsulating our theme of Unity in Community. Our panels were able to proceed as planned, and every single one was well-attended and successful. YAY!
All day on Saturday, too, Duncurra Publishing and SE Smith sponsored rooms where they offered crafts and marketing insight. These were terrific resources for everyone.
The signing was the icing on the cake. For three solid hours, readers thronged the signing floor, visiting all the authors. It was amazing.
And then that night . . .ZOMBIE party! HD Smith, Violet Howe, SE Smith and Ceci Giltenan planned and executed a wonderful evening. So much fun and so much creativity!
HUGE thanks to: my wonderful business partner, BFF, soul sister and other half of my brain, Mandie Stevens. I wouldn’t do this with anyone else. To our volunteers, Maria Clark and Tammy Richardson, and ALL our kids (Haley, Cate, David, Alexis, Annah, Colleen and Jack), and to Melanie Marsh and Stacey Blake for their invaluable help, too. To Heather Smith and Leslie Howe, who have fabulous ideas and helping hands, and to Rene Folsom who pitches in and also listens to me rant and rave! To Christine Gomez who brings me wine and rummy gummies and hugs me when I’m about to lose it. To all the authors who rolled with it, who said–YES, let’s do this! To the readers who loved on all of us . . . and to the hotel staff at the Hilton who were endlessly patient and kind.
We’re already looking ahead to 2017, which will be the 5th year of IBF. We have some new ideas and more ways to involve our readers. Stay tuned . . .
I’ve been waiting for a special day to share this one, and today is that day. This is my very own story of true love and happily-ever-after.
In 1984, I found myself at one of those cross-roads in life. It was the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, which may seem as though it should have been a carefree time of fun, but I was always old for my age, and at that point, I was tired of high school. Tired of the needless drama, tired of the games and ready for my life to really begin. After years of straight living and toeing the line of good-girldom, in my junior year I’d gone a little wild. Now, trust me, ‘a little wild’ in my vernacular and in the mid-80’s was not today’s wild. It involved a little bit of alcohol, a little bit of dating–but ONLY dating–a series of boys, but I never did anything that would negatively impact the rest of my life.
Still, in early August before senior year, I was restless. I was done with high school guys, I knew that. I didn’t want to party away my senior year. Craving something more solid and real, I returned two stalwarts that had never failed me: books and my relationship with God.
I remember very clearly standing in the local Christian bookstore, looking for something to read, when a small wooden plaque caught my eye. It was Psalm 37:5: “Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.” That verse resonated with me that day, and I bought the little wall hanging. I remember clearly the odd sense of rightness I felt. As I drove home, I also realized I needed a hook for the plaque, so I stopped at a store I’d never visited before, even though it had been around forever in our town. Kandle Lumber and Hardware just had never been on my radar, but it was on the way to my house, so I ran inside to find what I needed.
The man who helped me was the owner of the store, and I’d met him before. Actually, I knew the whole family vaguely: their son had begun West Point the year before, and he’d come to our house a number of times to chat with my dad, both before he’d started at USMA and then after, to share experiences. But up until then, Clint had been just one of many cadets coming in and out of my house. My father mentored quite a few.
I don’t remember exactly what Pete Kandle said to me that day, but it was something about his son, hinting that I should consider seeing him the next time he was home for a visit. Did I say I would? I don’t know, but that day stuck in my memory as a turning point in my life. I thought about it over the next few months.
The Army-Navy game had long been a huge deal in my family, and we were pumped in early December of my senior year. For the first time in a long time, Army had a real shot at winning. My family had been invited to a post-game party at the Kandles’ home, and I brought along some of my friends, at Mrs. Kandle’s request. But what I remember most clearly was the hour I spent talking to Clint, leaning up against his dad’s desk in their den. The house was filled with people, and there was no place else to sit. Clint saw me on the floor and ran to grab a down-filled blanket to make me more comfortable. I didn’t know it then, but that was totally who Clint is: serving others, reaching out and giving of himself is at the core of his character.
I didn’t hear from Clint after that celebration, at least not immediately. But about a week before Christmas, he called and asked if I wanted to go Christmas shopping with him. He’d just gotten home on leave, and he needed to buy his mother a gift. What I remember about that day is that I’d never laughed more or felt immediately comfortable with any boy ever.
We went out a few more times over his Christmas break, but I wasn’t sure if we were just friends or . . . more. That is, until New Years Eve, when we went to a party at his friends house. As the clock struck midnight, ending 1984 and ushering in 1985, he kissed me for the first time.
Over the next months, we exchanged hundreds of letters, shared long phone calls (to the chagrin of Clint’s parents, who were footing his phone bill!) and I visited West Point as often as I could. He gave me an A-pin on March 1st that year. I was thrilled, and we were both deep in the throes of young love.
I started college that fall at the University of Richmond, but my heart was up in the mountains along the Hudson. Every Friday, I’d get on a train north, get off in Philadelphia, spend the night at my parents’ house, set my hair . . . and the next day, I’d drive three hours up to West Point, going to football games, dances or other social events, or just sitting with him in the lobby at the Hotel Thayer, doing homework and talking. The rules at West Point were very strict: no PDA, and no cadets were allowed above the mezzanine level at the hotel. Most weekends, Clint couldn’t leave post. But we always enjoyed just being together.
On Sundays, after chapel, I’d drive back home to New Jersey, repack and get on the train south, usually back in my dorm about midnight. It’s no wonder I failed calculus that semester, is it? I was miserable at college most of the time I was there. We knew once Clint finished at West Point, he’d be stationed somewhere in the world, and I’d still have two years of college left. At that time, this future seemed impossible.
And so we did what any two kids in love might: on Christmas Eve of my freshman year, after we’d been dating just about a year, Clint proposed and I said yes.
We were married in June of 1987, ten days after his graduation. We spent our first six months together in Richmond as he attended Officer Basic and I got in another semester at Richmond, and then we moved to Hawaii for his first duty assignment.
That was four children, one son-in-law, many cats, dogs, homes and almost 30 years ago. We’ve lived in Virginia, Hawaii, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Florida. We’ve lost all of our grandparents and all but one parent between the two of us. We’ve weathered parenting, illness, homeschooling, many different churches, changes in career, moves and so many challenges . . . but there is no one in the world I can imagine sharing my life. Clint has always been the first one to support me, the first one to tell me I can do anything I want. I know without a doubt that he would–and does–move mountains to make me happy. He’s still the same boy who will do anything to make me a little more comfortable.
And almost 32 years after that very first date, he still makes me laugh more than anyone in the world.
I’m more in love with my husband today than I was when we got married. Then, I had no idea what love really was. Now, I think I’m beginning to catch glimpses of it. I think we need at least another thirty years to really get it down. I pray that we have those years together. When you’ve lost parents relatively young, you realize that nothing is guaranteed, and so I am grateful for every day we have together, and I am also greedy for even more.
This is a real happily-ever-after. It’s not all sunshine and cloudless skies; as my grandmother told me once upon a time, you must have just enough clouds to make a beautiful sunset. There must be rain to enjoy a rainbow. But we’re living out our happy ending, day by day. That’s the very best kind of story in my book.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, I had just about everything I ever wanted. I was a star football player at one of the best colleges in the country, and I had the girl I’d always loved by my side. The promise of a future most guys can only dream about was close enough to touch.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that life is unpredictable. One twist can change it all, and suddenly, I’m alone. Even football, the one constant in all the insanity, somehow isn’t enough anymore, because without her, everything else is empty. Meaningless.
I’ve got one shot left. One more chance to win her heart. We’re not kids now, and I know that being good enough for Quinn isn’t some game I can fake my way through. She’s more than the prize; she’s my reason for living. The world only makes sense when we’re together.
And this time, I’m going to do whatever it takes to give us our happy ending.
And after you buy your book, join us Wednesday, September 28th as we celebrate the release! Some of the giveaway questions will require you to know the story~or at least to have the book!~but don’t worry: this is an open book test.
Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include YA paranormal romance, NA paranormal and contemporary romance, and adult contemporary and paramystery romance. She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.