Today is a special day for me. No, I'm not resurrecting my blog, though I am posting one blog for today and leaving it here for posterity sake, because this topic reflects who I am and what my books are about, so I thought it was the perfect day to share it.
I have been thinking a lot about themes in my books and what they all have in common. I blame Zoe York and a host of other people, but then today hit (on a personal level) and everything coalesced for me.
My stories are about family - the kind you're born into, the kind you make, the kind you create.
To me, family has never been about DNA or Blood. It's always been about who you choose to be your family. That does not diminish blood ties, but in fact, it expands them. I believe your family is who you include in that circle of family, be they blood related or not. I define family by how they treat me and mine, not if we share DNA.
This is a big deal to me for many reasons, including being a relator strength (thank you, Becca Syme and coaches) because we don't let just anyone inside our little circle. It's an exclusive club and just because we share DNA or are supposed to let you in, doesn't mean that you're in. I choose to let you in because of your actions.
When I looked at my books, I focus on the bonds created between people - their family bonds and the friend bonds and even community bonds - that are built by shared values and experiences. I don't dwell on the negative (even though some of my characters have some sad backgrounds). I focus on how they overcame that to create new families and connections, and find love in those new places.
When I started looking for new stories to write, I realized something. I love writing small towns, communities, bands of brothers and sisters (literal and figurative), people who have created their community and a family, whether they share DNA or not. And this is because of how I define family.
Today, because of something personal, this was brought home to me. And I wanted to share that with you. I hope you see this thread in my books and find that sense of family in my stories.
I also hope you find the family that you want, whether it's through DNA or friends. Hugs everyone.
Destiny Disgraced by Carrie Ann Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Carrie Ann has kept both the Redwood and Talon pack series fresh and new by adding new twists and changes to the plot and characters periodically. Destiny Disgraced is another one of those points in that series. Mitchell Brentwood has a secret, one he hasn’t shared with anyone, one that’s affecting the rest of his life. One that is directly challenged when he meets Dawn Levin and his wolf responds in a way that he feels betrays him and his past love. Not only does he fight the mating that he believes should not be happening but he fights his feelings of betrayal to his long-lost love.
Dawn, on the other hand, is a young wolf, one of the youngest in a traitorous pack that is struggling to regain their full packhood. Her brother is on the cusp of being alpha and everything is about to change, and hopefully she’ll change too, having a purpose other than being a barista. When her wolf lunges for Mitch, she insists she’s not ready either, waiting to see what her future entails, loyal to her pack and brother.
Forces outside their control are plotting to destroy them and the other packs and move in the shadows to tear Dawn and Mitchell apart, not to mention the fragile peace that has been created. Can both of them overcome their past, their history, and find peace and forgiveness in the new world?
I loved this story, as I loved all of the series. Mitchell is a total badass, cranky wolf, only getting worse and Dawn is a strong, independent woman who is determined to stand on her own two feet. Their romance was wonderful and fraught with danger and internal conflict, not to mention sadness and disappointment. And externally, the world takes on a new twist, with a new villain and new direction, which I loved.
Carrie Ann keeps the world fresh, maintains ties to the existing characters, yet provides a solid focused love story for the main characters. I loved it and can’t wait for the next one!
View all my reviews
I'm so excited to show you the cover for book 3 in the Lone Star Match series - Something New!
Three Bridesmaids. Three lost loves. One matchmaking bride. With just a week before the wedding, can a bride-to-be reunite her bridesmaids with the ones who got away?
When Anna Maria Costado is caught having a meltdown on live television, her contract as a nighttime tv star is in danger of being cancelled. Taking a much needed break, she returns home to Texas for a friend's wedding and is faced with the man she left behind, the only man she ever loved, Wyatt Turner.
After a knee injury sidelined his professional football career, Wyatt Turner returned to his alma mater as a football coach. Trying to rebuild a new life, Wyatt buries himself in coaching. Just when he thinks he has moved on from the past, a friend's wedding reunites him with the woman he once loved and lost, along with his dreams.
Can Anna and Wyatt overcome the circumstances of their past and reclaim the future they were always destined to have?
What do you think of Anna and Wyatt's cover?
It's also up for preorder:
I'm so excited to see my second book in the Lone Star Match series out in the wild today!
I loved these characters for so many reasons. Brigid is a type-A personality, trying to please everyone and be the person everyone else wants her to be. The problem is - she has no idea who SHE wants to be. She cares deeply for Grady, could probably even love him, but refuses to see it because he doesn't fit into the definition she has been given her whole life. Yet, he is the one man who loves her exactly as she is and with whom she can be herself. But he also sees deep inside to her insecurities so she can't hide from him and that's pretty darn scary for Brigid.
Grady has a lot of baggage but is remarkably well-adjusted (if I do say so myself). His older brother is Matthew, the groom and they were very close when they were young. When their parents divorced, the boys were split, with Matthew going to live with his mom and Grady didn't see his mom (or Matthew) for a very long time. His mother was more interested in appearances and status than her family and people, and Grady was scarred by that. Now, he's in love with someone who seems to have the same focus - Brigid focused on her job, climbing the company ladder - but he sees to her fears deep inside and still wants to help her, to rescue her. But is he enough and can he hang on long enough for her to realize that he is exactly what he needs?
I hope you check out Something Borrowed!
Three Bridesmaids. Three lost loves. One matchmaking bride. With just a week before the wedding, can a bride-to-be reunite her bridesmaids with the ones who got away? Brigid is focused on her career and Grady is not the man she pictured for her future. But Grady wants more and she must decide if she should stick to the safety of the plan or find the courage to pursue what she really wants
Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there! Mothers have such a strong influence on our lives and I'm grateful to my mom for her support in my life.
One of my earliest memories is of my mom reading Charlotte's Web to me in the mornings before we started our day. We cuddle in bed and she'd read a chapter to me about Wilbur and Charlotte and the other barnyard critters. I honestly don't remember much of the story but that one event is etched in my memory from all those years ago.
Through the years, she supported my reading (even when she'd tell me to get my nose out of a book and pay attention to the world around me). When I wanted to write a book, she never doubted me or said I shouldn't do it (even when it took me a long time and I wrote in a genre she didn't read). She's supported me, talked about my books with her friends, and even come to signings and talks.
Mothers have our backs and I'm grateful to mine for giving me a love of reading and writing.
So, Happy Mother's Day to the mothers out there and give your moms and yourselves a hug!