The Anti-Cinderella: Preorder Now!

How many girls can say their first kiss was with a prince in the British royal family? 

I was fourteen and he was sixteen, and yes, it was magical. But that kiss didn’t exactly change my life. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even think about it—or Nicky Windsor—for the next ten years . . . until fate, in the guise of my grandparents, brought us back together again.

Now everything has spun out of control. I’m ducking reporters and photographers when I try to leave home. My friends act as if I’m someone they don’t know anymore. The whole world seems to be watching me, wanting to see some kind of modern Cinderella story.

But trust me, I’m no man’s princess. I’m more comfortable in tennis shoes than in a tiara, more likely to rock a bucket than a ball gown, and more likely to fall on my face than to pull off a graceful wave.

The only thing that keeps me from running away and hiding is Nicky. He’s all I’ve ever wanted in a man: hot, hunky and head-over-heels in love with me. I think I feel the same way. I think I want to be with him forever.

But the idea of life with the royal family terrifies me. Even if I have found my one and only, can I handle what comes after our happy ending?

Coming February 20, 2018

Preorder now on iBooks!

 

Set the Books Free!

For the last year, I’ve put all my preorders up on iBooks long before they go onto Amazon. I’ve had emails and messages from readers, complaining about this, wanting the book on Amazon earlier.
 
What readers don’t always understand is the frustration we as authors deal with at Amazon. Right now, I’m at a breaking point with them.
I have a BookBub Featured Deal coming up. For those who don’t know, BookBub FDs are pricey. This one requires the book in question to be free.
 
On all the other vendors–Nook, iBooks, Kobo and Google–I can simply set the price of the book to FREE when I want to do that. It’s easy. And since this is my book I’m selling, it stands to reason that I should be able to set the price, right?
But not at Amazon.
At Amazon, I can’t set my own price. At Amazon, I have to send the company an email with the links to the books on the other vendors, acknowledge that Amazon has the right to price my book regardless of my intentions, and essentially beg them to price-match the book to free.
This is ludicrous. This is demeaning. This is ridiculous.
But it’s what we do. So this week, I priced the book in question to free on all the other vendors and then emailed Amazon. Their first response was that they would price match–but only in the US. In fact, though, they didn’t. So I emailed again to point that out . . . and finally, they did set the price to free.
At least, until yesterday, when they raised it back to full price, without notice or rhyme or reason.
I emailed them immediately and this morning, I received a form email essentially saying . . . no.
So I emailed again, this time cc’ing Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. Thus far, I’ve heard nothing, the book is still full-price, it’s after 5 PM on a long weekend, and my BookBub is on Tuesday. If the book isn’t free on Amazon on Tuesday morning, BookBub will refuse to run my deal, and I’ll be out a chunk of money I really can’t afford to lose.
Now, I’m not a big fish on Amazon. I’m not even a medium-sized guppy. I’m just a small fish, and Amazon cares very little about me, my books or the small income in brings them. That means if I decide to pull my books from this market, they won’t even notice.
But I’m getting darn close to doing it anyway. I’m tired of cowing to ridiculous terms of service that seem to be fairly arbitrary. I’m tired of there being one set of rules for some authors (those who were not required to be exclusive to be part of Kindle Unlimited, for example) and another for other authors. I’m tired of Amazon putting my books in price prison, giving me a less-than-fair royalty if I price my books over a certain point or under a certain point.
Readers, you are the ones with the true power here. Amazon needs you. You can tell them that you support authors and want them to price books according to their own needs. Let’s hope they listen.

Paperback Sale!

??Paperback sale! ??

I have a bunch of paperbacks that I’d like to sell so that I have room for the new Career Soldier Collection and some of the rebranded paperbacks. All the ones pictured below are what I have . . . and I’m listing how many of each.

All are signed–let me know how you want them personalized. Email me at tjkandle@gmail.com with your choice of books, shipping address, how you’d like them inscribed and your PayPal address for invoicing.

The following books are $10 each plus shipping:

WHEN WE WERE US (original cover)–5 copies available
THE PLAN–1 copy available
THE PATH–2 copies available
THE LAST ONE (original cover)–1 copy available
ALWAYS FOR YOU (original cover)–2 copies available
UNQUENCHABLE–1 copy available

The following books are $6 each plus shipping:

STARDUST ON THE SEA–1 copy available
MOONLIGHT ON THE MEADOW–1 copy available
THE FOX’S WAGER–2 copies available
BABY, I’M YOURS–1 copy available

Riding the Changing Tides

The one constant in life is change.

It’s a saying just odd enough to be true, and it is. The only thing we can rely on happening in our lives, no matter our age, our wealth or lack thereof, where we live or how we live, it won’t stay the same. Oh, elements of it might; the big things might not shift today, or maybe they will. Or the small details might remain static for a time. But trust me, the time will come when change will come to you, whether from an outside force or from deep within your being.

I was going to say that 2017 has been a year of change for our family, and it has been. But then again, so was 2014, and to some extent, 2015. The difference was that those were smaller, less-perceptible shifts. This year, we had two types of change: one that took us by surprise (mostly) and required adjustment after the fact. The other type we could see from a distance and prepare for its arrival.

Sort of.

My husband’s parting from the church wasn’t a shock, but it was a surprise, and what happened in the aftermath put all of us through an emotional wringer. The departure of our youngest daughter, Cate, for college in Maine was neither a shock nor a surprise. We’d known since she began her career at Seminole State College that she’d be transferring somewhere for her last two years of school. There was a possibility that it might have been in-state, at University of Florida, but once she won the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship, that choice dropped down the list. Her number one pick was Unity College in Maine, and that is where she’s going.

If you haven’t looked at a map in a while, Maine is just about as far as you can get from Florida and still stay on the Eastern seaboard. It’s a 21+ hour drive. Cate won’t be popping home for quick weekend visits. I won’t be driving up there to have lunch with her mid-week when she’s struggling with a class or a situation. Once we drive away next Sunday–a week from tomorrow–I probably won’t see her until Thanksgiving.

Now, this isn’t the first time she’s gone away. After graduating from homeschool a year early, she took a gap year and spent it with a family in Gettysburg, where she worked and learned and grew. She was gone from February through August that year. But somehow, that was different. That year, I saw her in March and in May and in July. I can get to Gettysburg in a one-day drive; I’ve done it. Plus, she was living with the Youngs, who quickly became her second family, in an area that was familiar, only about two hours from our South Jersey family.  That was different than sending her to a place where she knows not a soul, will be living in a dorm situation for the first time ever and will be mostly on her own.

Cate is the youngest girl in our family, so this isn’t the first time we’ve experienced change. Our oldest daughter has been married six years, and that was an adjustment, but she and her husband live about 30 minutes away, and we are blessed that we see them about every week. Our other two are still at home, and we are very cognizant how lucky we are to still have them here. We won’t be empty-nesters for a while.

Last night, we went down to Disney World to see the fireworks and meet with the some friends so Cate could say good-bye to them. I stood there at the Polynesian, watching the display of lights, and I thought back ten years, to the summer we moved to Florida. I’ve written about that time before. My parents had both just died, within a year of each other. In the two weeks following my mother’s passing, our oldest daughter graduated from high school, we moved both our home and my mother’s to our new house in Florida. We said good-bye to the place that my husband and I had both called home from childhood, and where we’d lived for thirteen years.

Talk about change!

I used to say that the first year after we’d move was all about healing, and it was. But looking back now, I think actually the past ten years have been about healing . . . and growing. Ten years ago, I hadn’t written a book. I’d never been anything but a stay-at-home homeschooling mom and a wife. Ten years ago, Clint worked for a paint company and dreamed of going to seminary. Ten years ago, our kids were 18, 15, 11 and 6.

In many ways, an outsider might assume that our lives won’t be changed too much by Cate leaving for college. All of the bedrooms in our small house will still be occupied. We’ll still have four around the dinner table. We’ll probably stick to a similar routine and lifestyle.

But it’s in the small, precious parts of life that her absence will be most keenly felt. Often, Cate and I are the first two awake, and we’ve had deep, heart-wrenching, laughter-provoking, tear-laden, hysterical conversations around the breakfast table, over coffee. I know the house will be quieter, because Cate sings all the time, and never at a low volume. I know I’ll miss her quick drive-by hugs, her “I love you, Mama”s dropped into my lap at unexpected moments. I’ll miss her insights into what she’s reading, something she heard, something she learned . . . I’ll even miss her yelling at the cats.

In many ways, Cate is the daughter I’ve had the most combat with–when she was sixteen, she struggled with friend issues, with the need for freedom and with finding herself. She had the hardest adjustment when we moved from New Jersey to Florida. But those times of frustration for both of us somehow only made us closer. She’s the daughter who cries with me when I miss my parents. She’s the one who calls me on it when I’m being unreasonable or outright wrong. Cate speaks the truth to the best of her ability, and while it isn’t always what I want to hear, it always makes me think.

I’m so freaking proud of her. I know she is going to completely rock the rest of her college career. I know she is going adjust to life in Maine and love it. Her passion and drive may very well change the world. I want to encourage her with everything I have, and I will.

But I won’t say I won’t be sad. I won’t say the change won’t take some adjusting. Watching the fireworks last night, thinking over the last ten years and looking ahead to the next, I wondered what they might bring: weddings? Grandchildren? More farewells, both expected and otherwise? Probably yes, to all of the above.

I think the best way to cope with change that I’ve found is with gratitude. I can’t control what happens, but I can be appreciative of my blessings. I am so glad Cate was home these past two years for the start of her college career. It was wonderful to be part of that time. I’m grateful that my children not only love each other but truly like each other, and that they are all dreading this time of parting. If they didn’t mind it, it would be even sadder. I’m grateful that I made the decision to slow down at the start of the summer. The time I had with all of the family is something I’d never want to miss. I’m grateful for our week at the beach, for the laughter, the walks on the beach, the swimming, the movies, the food . . . I’m grateful that even when our lives and futures feel tenuous, we can rely on each other.

I have to go back to Supernatural for a quotation that says it best:

Other things may change us. But we start and end with family. 

At the beach with Vivian and Charlie

Every year, as part of the build-up to Coastal Magic, I participate in a blog series on Literary Escapism called At the Beach. I write a short scene set (where else?) at the beach, featuring two or more of my existing characters. 

I asked the Temptresses for input about who should have the starring roles this year. The response was varied . . . but I did choose one couple. I’ll share that when the post goes live on Literary Escapism. 

But there was so much interest in some of the others . . . and because this year I have time for this kind of writing . . . so I decided to share some other At the Beach posts here, featuring different couples. 

Today it’s Vivian and Charlie from FIFTY FROGS. Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

“I’ve never seen a more beautiful sunrise.”

In front of me, the ocean was calm as the sun painted streaks of pink and orange over the sparkling blue. Next to me, Vivian yawned and rested her head on my shoulder.

“If I agree with you, can we go back to the bed and breakfast and sleep some more?”

Smirking, I turned my face toward hers and brushed a kiss over her forehead. “This is romantic, baby. This is what chicks dig.”

“Hmmm.” She burrowed into the crook of my neck. “I prefer my romance a little later in the day. Maybe around lunchtime. This chick digs her shut-eye.”

“That’s not exactly a shock to me. But it would’ve been a shame to come to the beach and miss this show.” I pointed to the sky. “And call me a sap, but I don’t want to miss a minute of our anniversary celebration.”

“Now you’re making me feel like I’m an old cynic. I’m excited to be here, too. This was a wonderful idea you had.” Vivian slid one hand around my back and snuggled closer. “Coming back to Crystal Cove a year after our first visit was the perfect surprise. I love it, and I love you.” She leveraged herself up and kissed my cheek. “And I’d love to get off this damp sand, take you back to bed and show you how much I love you.”

I snorted. “Let’s be real here. If we go back to bed, you’re going to fall asleep before I can strip off my clothes and join you.”

She considered for a moment. “You might be right, but once I wake up for real, in about three hours, I promise, I’m going to be on fire for your hot bod and rarin’ to go. And there we’ll be, already in bed and ready to . . . you know. Get it on.”

“If we go back to sleep, though, we’ll miss breakfast. And you know how much you enjoyed the food at the Hawthorne House last year.”

“That was one of the high points,” she admitted. “Not the only one, of course. But this time, we’re here for three days, so if I sleep through breakfast today, I can always make sure to be up for it tomorrow and the next day. Right?”

The woman had a way of turning every argument in her favor. I had to admire that. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” My voice must’ve sounded a little glum, because Vivian frowned up at me.

“I’m a failure as an appreciative girlfriend, aren’t I? Here you arrange this amazing getaway to mark our first year together, and I’m being all grumpy and grouchy, wanting to go back to bed. I’m sorry, babe. We can sit out here and admire your sunrise for as long as you like.”

I smiled. “The nice thing about sunrises is that there’s a new one every morning, and I plan to have decades worth of sunrises with you. If we go back to bed now, we can always catch another one another time.”

She didn’t look convinced. “Are you wishing that you’d never helped to rescue that turtle . . . that you never met me, and that you’d ended up with a woman whose capacity for romance matched yours? Are you second-guessing choosing me?”

“Never.” I wrapped both of my arms around her and pulled her body into my lap. “I have no regrets, and I never will. I love every piece of you–the romantic parts, the practical parts, the sleepy parts and the sexy parts.” Pressing my lips into her neck, I growled. “Especially the sexy parts.”

Vivian leaned back into me, a little hum of desire escaping her mouth. “You know, I’m pretty wide awake now. I think if we go back to bed, I could show you how much I love your romantic side . . . and still make it downstairs for breakfast.”

Standing, I lifted her into my arms as she gave a little shriek of surprise, startling the sandpipers that were darting around us. “Sweetheart, when it comes to romance . . . you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

She fluttered her eyelids up at me. “Show me what you got, big boy.”

“Gladly.” I turned and headed back to the bed and breakfast, where I spent the next two hours making sure that my girl had no doubts about the appeal of romance . . . or my love for her.

You can read Vivian and Charlie’s story here in FIFTY FROGS.

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