This is 55.

Today, I am 55 years old.

A dear reader wrote to me this week and said she hoped I wasn’t upset about getting older. “Not getting older is worse,” she reminded me. And how right she is.

I actually love adding a year to my age. For one thing, being the history lover that I am, I appreciate that I’ve lived in seven different decades (yes, I’m only in my fifties, but I was born in the 1960s, lived through the 1970s, 1980′, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and into the 2020s). When I consider that I was born just a little over twenty years past the end of World War II–and that my grandparents were all born at the start of the twentieth century–it’s really amazing how connected we all are to people and events that can feel so far away.

I also lost my parents and mother-in-law when they were still fairly young, so for every year I live, I am grateful.

A year ago on my birthday, I was looking forward to what looked to be a fairly serene and promising year. Books were selling so-so, but the writing was moving along. After a year of working almost exclusively on the Community Garden during the pandemic, Clint was excited about the plans for expansion and improvement. We had a new granddaughter on the way. So much for which to be grateful!

And then . . . and then.

Less than two months later, we learned that our rental home was being sold, forcing us to move. During the same week, the garden was taken from Clint. Doors were slamming shut all over the place, and we didn’t know what to expect next. The year I’d thought would be so calm and happy was suddenly unpredictable and a little scary.

Yet here I am, a year later, a year older, and all of those unknowns turned into blessings.

Our new home took quite a while to find, but once we did, everything fell into place with amazing alacrity. And we’re now less than four minutes from our oldest daughter and two granddaughters. Moving to this side of town–where we haven’t lived in ten years–has been a pleasant change, letting us rediscover old haunts and favorite spots. Clint has continued gardening on a more limited basis at several senior care facilities.

My fifty-fifth year has been one of reclamation and reunion. I’ve found my best friend from childhood–or rather, she found me. I’m also back in touch with several other friends with whom I’d lost contact over the past decade or more. And as I said, I’m enjoying some of my favorite parks, restaurants, and shops on the west side of town.

I find in this decade of my life that I both care less and care more. Some things that used to annoy or worry me no longer faze me at all. I’ve realized that getting anxious about what others do or think accomplishes nothing. At the same time, issues in the world–violence, war, intolerance, discrimination, pain, and injustice–make me cry on the regular. Even though I know these evils have existed since the beginning of time, somehow the older I become, the less used to them I become. My heart is becoming more tender instead of less. I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad. Maybe it isn’t either–it simply is.

I’m grateful for work I love, and for friends who make me laugh, send me chocolate, dedicate books to me, listen to me rant, and drink tequila with me. Where and how I live makes me happy. My sister, my sister-in-law, my nephews, and my favorite niece all add to my sense of connectedness in this crazy world. Aunt Terry and Uncle John are two of my favorite people and show me steadfast, unconditional love.

I have four incredible children who are all out seeking to make our society better–and they all have the greatest sense of humor, which is the best thing they could have inherited from me. And the people they’re bringing into our family are only making us an even better, stronger family.

And then there are my granddaughters. They are gorgeous, so bright, super funny (on purpose), and the lights of my

life. Truly. Being a nana has been the life-changer I didn’t believe it could be.

The man without whom I would be neither wife, mama, OR nana is still the hottest, wittiest, sweetest man I’ve ever met. My fifty-fifth year of life is also our thirty-fifth year of marriage, and I love him more now than I did the day we said I do.

I don’t know how long I’ll be on this earth. None of us do. My parents were both 63 when they died, but three of my four grandparents lived to their late 80s or mid-90s (the one outlier had a bizarre cause of death). Each year is a gift and a victory–and I plan to suck the marrow out of them all.

(That’s a good thing, the marrow sucking. Trust me. And it’s figurative. I tend toward vegetarianism.)

A New Look for the Crystal Cove Books!

The Posse was my game-changer book.

I was a baby author, and I’d released four young adult paranormal romances. I was thinking of what came next–it was meant to be Rafe and Nell’s books. And then one day, I’d gone to the beach with the kids, and as I drove home, suddenly a story fell into my lap. Or my head, as it were . . . and unlike most of my other stories, this one was definitely adult, not supernatural at all, and I knew the entire thing, beginning to end, from the moment it was conceived.

Before I reached home that day, I knew the names, the characters . . . and the setting. Crystal Cove is based loosely on the Florida beach town of New Smyrna Beach, although I take lots of liberties–Crystal Cove is its own entity by now.

I have a special place in my heart for The Posse (and for The Plan and The Path and The Problem which followed), so I was especially thrilled when the talented Stacey Blake created these gorgeous new covers.

To celebrate, The Posse will be discounted through July.

Jude

I’ve always believed in second chances. But I never thought I’d need one.

And then my husband Daniel, my childhood sweetheart, father of my two almost-grown kids, died and left me alone with my memories, our family beach restaurant . . . and his life-long friends, the Posse.

I’m a little surprised–and suspicious–when a few of those friends begin to wine and dine me a year after Daniel’s death. I know they promised to look after me, but this is above and beyond. What’s really shaking me up, though, is that one of them tempts me to believe that maybe I’m not quite finished with love yet.

Logan

For most of my life, I silently watched my best friend love the only woman I ever wanted.

When Daniel died, I lost a guy who was like a brother to me. Along with the rest of our friends, I promised to look after his wife, Jude. Only . . . maybe I want to be more than just her pal.

It’s not going to be easy to convince her that we can be together without betraying our past. But I’ve loved Jude too long to give up on the future we could share. 

Buy it here!

 

Emmy

I’ve always believed in second chances. But I never thought I’d get one.

I’m a hard-working, no-nonsense woman, hell-bent on supporting my family and growing my pie business. Working weekend nights at The Riptide is just something I do to help pay the bills. When it comes to men–or love–I’m not interested. Since the day my surfer-boy husband walked out the door to find bigger waves, I knew I’d never give another man power over my heart.

But one night with Cooper might change that.

Cooper

I’ve been married–and divorced–twice, and I’ve got no desire to make it a trifecta. Being a single dad to my teen-aged daughter keeps me busy, and my carpentry business offers the only passion I need. The Posse, my best friends since boyhood, tease me about finding the right woman. But I know she doesn’t exist.

When I share a casual hook-up late one night with Emmy, it isn’t a big deal. It’s just a one-time thing. Until it isn’t. And although neither of us will admit to ourselves or each other that we want more, each encounter only brings us closer to the happily-ever-after we never planned to have.

Buy it here!

Abby

I’ve always believed in second chances. But I never thought I’d want one. 

I came to the small beach community of Crystal Cove to start over. After a painful affair broke my heart and derailed my burgeoning career, taking over management for the just-opened bed-and-breakfast was the safe choice. In this sleepy town, I figure I can bury my memories and forget the pain.

When I’m offered the chance to oversee the refurbishment of an old hotel in the Cove, I can’t resist the temptation. Bringing the Riverside Inn back to life offers me a second chance I never expected. It would be perfect if the man doing the work wasn’t both irritating and intriguing. Yes, his passion for the hotel is irresistible. But I see another spark in his eyes . . . one that threatens to ignite part of me I thought was dormant.

Ryland

Landing the job of restoring the Riverside Inn is a dream come true. The only problem is the woman in charge of the project. Abby Donavan is a prissy perfectionist, too worried about rules to appreciate my vision.

Still, I suspect that underneath that cool exterior beats a heart that burns with wild flames. If I can only convince her to trust me, I know we could build more than just an exquisite hotel. But second chances are risky when the past is painful. 

Buy it here!

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 new adult and adult contemporary romance; under the pen name Tamara Kendall, she writes paranormal romance, and under the pen name Tessa Kent, she writes erotic romance. Tawdra lives in central Florida with her husband, a sweet pup, and too many cats. Assorted grown children and a perfect granddaughter live nearby. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.

You can follow Tawdra on Amazon to receive updates on her releases. You can also visit her website for more information, and subscribe to her newsletter for sales announcements, special exclusive content, and promotions.

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INTENSIVE CARE Cover Reveal!

Coming August 4th:

The compelling third book of the

Diagnosis: Love Trilogy!

Preorder here!

If Grey’s Anatomy makes your heart flutter, this series is for you.

He’s science and tradition. I’m nature and new age. We clash at every turn. 

Emma

I don’t know who I am anymore.

I broke the heart of someone dear to me because I couldn’t love him the way he deserves. I threw away a chance of happiness because I can’t stop wanting a man who has proven that he doesn’t know how to love me.

When it comes to my patients, I’m an eternal optimist. Maybe that’s why I’m determined to try one more time with Deacon.

As long as there’s life, there’s hope. And hope is all I have.

Deacon

I don’t know what to do.

I thought I’d lost the woman who haunts me, body and soul. I was sure that she was in love with someone else. I was prepared for the pain, again. I was braced for the hurt. But I was wrong.

I have one last chance with her. If I screw it up this time, I’ll lose her forever, and if that happens, I know I’ll also lose my only hope for happiness.

I never give up on a patient. And I’m not giving up on us.

Coming August 4th:

The compelling third book of the

Diagnosis: Love Trilogy!

Preorder here!

 

What’s coming up in the next few years?

What’s coming up next in your favorite series? Here’s a sneak peek at the anticipated titles releasing over the next few years . . .

 

 

 

Anti-Cinderella World Romances

A Dozen Dreams (Featuring Shelby from The Anti-Cinderella and Fifty Frogs)
Sort of Sleeping Beauty (Alex and Jake)
Slightly Snow White (Daisy and Roc)

Anti-Cinderella Chronicles

The Anti-Cinderella Goes Rogue
–The Anti-Cinderella Goes Hollywood
–The Anti-Cinderella Goes For Broke

Crystal Cove Romances

The Play (Naomi {Alex and Cal’sgestational surrogate})
The Pair (Jessica and Graham)
The Prize (Lexie {Cooper’s daughter} and Joe Scarver who met in Underneath My Christmas Tree)

Love in a Small Town Romances

The Wanted One (Lucie from The Forever One)
The Take-Home One (West {Hunter’s manager} )
The Rock My World One (Kiki and Troy)

Making the Score

Going Deep (Kyle (Jenny’s brother from Pretend You’re Mine)  and sports reporter Lana DiMartino from Down By Contact)
Illegal Touching (Mystery Couple! Revealing would be a spoiler)
On the Seam (Danny (Leo’s brother))
Read All About It (Gabby (Gideon’s sister) and Lilly (Gideon’s ex)

Career Soldier West Point Tour of Duty

The Firstie (Coach Casey’s daughter Willlow and Dean Lassiter, Army football QB)
The Snake Eater (April and Simon {special forces}, two officers in Nolan’s former MP company)

Perfect Dish

–Family Reunion (featuring Ava, Liam, Amanda, Vincent, Jude, Paige from Shavetail)

Love in a Small Town Re-Read: The Last One

In 2013, I wrote my first adult contemporary romance. It was called The Posse, and it was set in a small Florida beach town. I assumed it would be a single, stand-alone title, and that would be it. Then I’d go back to my YA/NA paranormal romance books.

WRONG! First of all, there were more books in Crystal Cove. Second, there was just something about Jude’s daughter Meghan that drew me. I knew she had a story. And when that story began to unfurl, I realized that it was taking me to an entirely new small town.

So I decided that in the summer of 2014 I would write that story. What I didn’t realize was that both the book and the summer would be a turning point.

At that time, I had written seven books–and most were paranormal romance. Four were young adult. I fully expected to go back to paranormal romance as my main genre.

And my family was living in Sanford, Florida. If that sounds familiar, it should: some of the more notorious Florida cases in recent years have either happened there or been tried there. It wasn’t our first choice of homes, but through a series of circumstances, we’d ended up moving there in 2012. By 2014, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

At the start of that summer of 2014, we’d decided it was time to move. My husband, at the time a hospice chaplain, was working about an hour away. We had the option to move to the east coast of the state to be closer to his work. But there was also a chance that he was going to be offered a position in parish ministry on the west coast of the state. We weren’t sure what was going to happen, we couldn’t make any move until we knew . . . so we were in limbo. We were packing boxes, but we didn’t know where we would land.

And in the midst of that, I wrote a book.

Meghan is also in a time of flux. Her father has died. Her mother fell in love with and married a man who had been a long-time family friend. Her younger brother learned that he was a father and also got married, and then came home to help run their family’s restaurant.

She has just finished her third year of college and embarked on a summer gig to teach art to an underserved community. She isn’t entirely sure what she wants: romance? Probably not. True love? Definitely not. She talks about reinventing herself in a new place. Getting away. Is there some part of Meghan that wanted to escape herself? Most definitely!

Sam, on the other hand, has his feet firmly on the ground. He’s serious and focused on keeping the family farm above water. When he meets Meghan the first time (after her night at the Road Block) he makes some really big judgments that might not be based on her actions as much as they are on his own feelings.

The Last One is about two people falling in love, when doing that is the last thing either of them wanted or expected. But it’s also about life in a small town, about healing after loss and about being courageous enough to take a chance.

We’re going to discuss all of the Love in a Small Town books in my reader groups, both on Facebook (the Temptresses) and on the forum attached to this site (Tawdra’s Inside Squad). Come join us there to chat!

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