The First One: Country Heartbreak

As we discussed last week, The One Trilogy is totally country. Sam was the fan in The Last One, but in The First One, both Ali and Flynn grew up in Burton, and both appreciate country music.

Their story was actually inspired by a country song. Years ago, when I heard Tim McGraw’s Everywhere, I told my daughter that there was a story in that song. In my mind, a young woman lived in a small town, and her high school boyfriend, who had left town without her when she changed her mind about leaving, returns home. I didn’t see all the details, but I knew the feelings.

iphone6greyleft_579x1711While writing The Last One, I knew that Sam had a sister, but I thought she was simply a divorced mother. Imagine my surprise when Ali began telling Meghan her story. . .how she’d been in love, had a last-minute change of heart about leaving town with her lover and then discovered her pregnancy after he’d left. Everything clicked: Ali was the heroine of my Everywhere story, and Flynn was the high school boyfriend.

This playlist has some fun songs, too: Luke Bryan’s All My Friends Say tells about his raucous night at The Road Block when he’s both trying to forget Ali and trying to make sure she knows he’s over her. (He’s not, incidentally.)

Run over and check it out here.

Oh, and don’t forget . . . The Last One is free for a limited time and The Only One is coming in eight days! Preorder now. . .

The Last One. . .It’s a Little Bit Country

The Last One

I was raised on an eclectic mix of music, mostly popular, but with a dash of just about everything else. The most country we got though was probably Glen Campbell or Dolly Parton.

The Last OneWhen I moved to Wisconsin in 1992, we discovered we were in the heart of country music territory. And it was a good time for country music, too: the Judds had just retired, but everyone else was exploding. It was the heyday of Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Reba Jackson.

Although my attention to the country music industry has waxed and waned over the years, I’ve stayed loyal to a few of my favorites, including Brad Paisley. I was deep in the writing process for The Last One last summer when I went to see Brad’s show with my daughter. I already knew Sam and Meghan’s playlist was country, and I’d chosen most of the songs, two I heard that night became for me the epitome of Sam and Meghan’s story. The first was Trouble Is by opening act Charlie Worsham. It so perfectly captured how Sam felts about Meghan that it gave me shivers. The second was Beat This Summer  by Brad himself. I fell in love with that song. It’s about summer, and a summer love that might not make it to autumn.

The playlist for The Last One is one of my favorites. When I listen to it, I’m transported to the summer of 2014 and the town of Burton, Georgia.

Check it out here. OH–and don’t forget, right now The Last One is free on all venues. Grab it up now before The Only One comes out April 7th.

Music is Just Desserts

Just Desserts is the book that was never supposed to be written.

I told you last week that the basic plot for Best Served Cold came from a song. At this point, I’d written The King Series and The Posse, and I knew by the end of The Posse that I’d write more Crystal Cove books (they’ll be out this year). I was determined to write a stand-alone contemporary romance, and Best Served Cold was supposed to be it.

Wrong again.

I was shocked. . .truly and well shocked when it came out that Ava had a secret she’d been keeping from Julia in BSC. I was even more JustDessertsCovershocked when I realized that this secret was going to mean that Ava got her own book. . .especially because I really, really didn’t like Liam. See Liam Bailey was actually based on someone I knew in real life, and I had no desire to give him any kind of redemption or closure.

Turns out I didn’t have a choice. Liam not only was the main character in the next book, he totally got redeemed, to the point that I fell into literary love with him. I love Liam and Ava enough that I gave them a second book, when it was request by readers: I Choose You is Ava and Liam’s wedding story.

Music is huge in the relationship between these two, and their playlist had to reflect that. For the first time, I did a playlist with a single artist: Frank Sinatra (full disclosure: while writing, I also listened to Sinatra covers by Harry Connick, Jr. HC swings).

Go check it out here.

Next week. . .the playlist for The Last One. Get ready to get country.

Sometimes Music is Best Served Cold

< voice of Sophia from the Golden Girls> Picture it: Florida, 2013. I’m on my way home from a quick trip north to NJ with my husband, and we’re cruising down 95 with the radio playing on the country station when a song comes on and he reaches over to turn it up.

“Have you heard this? It’s good.”

REVENGEThe unmistakable crackle of Miranda Lambert came over the speakers, and as I listened to the words, I began to smile. This song had sass. It had spunk. It had. . .sizzle. I kind of fell in love with it right there.

I added Mama’s Broken Heart to my playlist and listened to it regularly that summer. I’d just finished up The King Series that spring and written and released The Posse in July. I wanted to do something with this new genre called New Adult, because it was something I enjoyed. I wasn’t sure what yet. . .and then a line from Miranda’s song got stuck in my head.

Can’t get revenge and keep a spotless reputation
Sometimes revenge is a choice you gotta make.

Aha. There was a story there.

Julia emerged more slowly than many of my other characters. She was cautious, giving me bits and pieces of who she was and what happened between her and the infamous Liam. Some of her experience was actually based on my own high school life, with a little more drama added.

But whenever I’d get stuck and a little frustrated with her reticence, I’d just go for a drive and turn on the music. Helped me every time.

It was important to me that all of the Best Served Cold music was sung by women. This was a story of empowerment and strength and growth. I wanted that reflected in the songs.

So, without further ado. . .go check out the Best Served Cold playlist here. See what you think. And share your favorite revenge song.

Next week. . .a very special Ava and Liam playlist from Just Desserts.


If you haven’t read Best Served Cold, grab it NOW–it’s free for a very limited time (going back to regular price next week!). Best Served Cold - Tawdra Kandle


Julia worked for weeks planning the perfect surprise birthday party for her boyfriend, Liam, but that night, she was the one who got the biggest shock. He broke up with her in front of all their friends, humiliating her in the process.

Clearly revenge was in order.

The plan is simple. Make him jealous, win him back, and then crush his heart. Fair is fair. However, there is one little hiccup, and he has curly brown hair and dimples.

Jesse is everything she wants. With him, she could almost forget her bruised heart. Almost. Julia has one choice: let Liam walk away after everything he did, or lose a chance at love in pursuit of payback.

#Tuesday Tunes

MUSIC is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your

horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.

Charlie Parker


I love the quotation above because it is so true. Music is one of those transcending experiences for me. When I’m sad or mad or frustrated or stuck, music makes the difference. It can change a day, tell me what happens next in a story, or give me hope.

door-ornament-1002563In every book I’ve written, there’s been a playlist that inspires me and/or relates to the characters. The King Series tended toward angsty songs, because let’s face it, teenagers often bathe in angst. The most pivotal song was Come Back Down by Lifehouse, which told me what was going to happen in Restlesswhich is arguably the most controversial of the four books. (I still get reviews of people yelling at poor Tasmyn.) That song was one hundred percent what Michael was feeling, what he was going through. Finding that song changed how I looked at music with my books.

The Posse had a play list of all ’80’s songs, because those are what Jude listened to. They defined her generation and her character. In Best Served Cold, all the music was revenge-oriented. Just Desserts was 100% Frank Sinatra music, since he was Ava’s favorite artist. And in The One Trilogy, it’s country music, all the way.

What’s exciting about the book I’m writing now–I Choose You–is that it’s all wedding music. All the best marriage-centric tunes! I’m having a blast listening to it while I write.

I’d love to know what wedding/marriage/proposal song is your favorite.