Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Blog - Felice Fox - Take Me for Longing

Blurb -
Bluegrass superstar Nic Taylor is ruined by the publication of a romance novel he swears isn’t about him. Forced out of his legendary father’s band, Nic quits the green hills of Tennessee for the seaside paradise of Malibu, California. There he must confront June Cricket, a real-life fan who isn’t about to back down from writing the sequel that could make her a star.

Take Me for Longing is a romance novella--the first in the American Heartstrings Trilogy.

I’m excited to be here because I’m a huge Roz Lee fan. If you’re reading this, you are too, so we already have something in common!

I’m Felice Fox, and my new book, Take Me for Longing, is the first in a 3-book series with a bluegrass heartthrob as the hero. I’ve been a fan of bluegrass music for a long time, so writing a story set in this world was a natural choice. Bluegrass, unlike most other genres, is inclusive, warm and its top artists relatively accessible to fans. The community is richly textured, though it has been featured in few (if any) romance novels. There’s a whole new crop of bluegrass musicians that are young, feisty, funny and talented—musicians who get up on stage and expose their creative soul to the world. And isn’t that why we love them?
I spent this past weekend in the great bluegrass state of Washington. Huh? Yes, Washington state, up there in the top left corner, is host to the annual Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival with over 4,000 attendees. Bluegrass festivals are friendly places with several big stages for scheduled performers and any number of impromptu jam sessions where anyone can sidle up and play, or watch and listen. In fact, jam circles, big and small, were tucked into every possible nook and cranny of the hotel where the festival was held—even under stairwells. Clusters will form, made up of an inner circle of musicians who don’t always know each other, and an outer circle of admirers. The clusters expand or shrink, depending, and eventually dissipate. People of all ages and stages participate. Festival headliners, the stars of bluegrass, are often hanging around in between performances.
Speaking of superstars, the Claire Lynch Band played to packed, standing-room only crowds at Wintergrass. After one fantastic set, Claire, twice named International Bluegrass Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year, and recipient of multiple Grammy and other IBMA nominations was out in the lobby, chatting with fans and old friends. She is one of the most successful female artists in bluegrass, and yet there she was, hanging out, being her charming, effervescent self. Every bit as lovely off stage, as she is on. It just doesn’t work that way in other genres of music—not without a VIP pass—and even then you’d still have to get past the entourage. Not all bluegrass shows and venues are like this, but when it comes to festivals, it is fairly common.
This open atmosphere is great fodder for romance. Imagine a place where sexy, friendly, musicians are not just to be admired from a distance, but actual people you might just get to know. This is what happened to my heroine, June Cricket, in Take Me for Longing. The man she lusted after wasn’t just a talented musician with a pretty face she could never hope to meet—Nic Taylor was someone she came to know as a person, and she changed his life completely.
Take Me for Longing is the first in a trilogy of bluegrass-themed romances around the Taylors, a legendary bluegrass family band (made up of smokin’ hot brothers and one particularly mean ol’ dad). When we’re done, I think The Taylors will prove, once and for all, that rock and country do not have a monopoly on crush-worthy musical talent!
Since most people don’t think of bluegrass as a very sexy genre (George Clooney’s performance in O’ Brother Where Art Thou notwithstanding), I’d like to leave you with this example of the man-candy-ness of good old American Bluegrass, courtesy of Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers:

About the Author - 

Felice began writing professionally in 2001 and is a bestselling author in the non-fiction market under another name. Her work appears in online learning courses and many popular websites too. Take Me for Longing, the first novella in the American Heartstrings Series, is Felice's fiction debut.
Felice attributes her love of romance novels to a feverish bout with The Kissing Disease at an early age.
She lives, loves and listens to bluegrass music in Los Angeles, California.

Learn more about Felice Fox at http://www.felicefox.com

Excerpt -

 June's hand trembled as she took the microphone at the edge of the stage and gazed out at the crowd of thousands, stretching up the grassy hillside in the late August heat.
       It's just a publicity stunt to promote the book, she told herself. Nothing to worry about.
       She gave them her best Hollywood smile and pulled a small piece of notepaper from her pocket—like she needed a reminder of who was getting ready to take the stage. Carolina Jones was an all-star bluegrass band and half the people at the festival were here to see them anyway.
       She glanced at her notes, gathering up her courage. She had been pushed uncomfortably into the limelight, but wasn't it what she had dreamed of all along? Before she got the first line of introduction out, the band had taken their places on stage, staring at her with big Cheshire cat grins. Lucinda, the buxom, redheaded singer called out to her.
       “So June, we here in the band all read your luuuverly book. Hot and steamy as all get out!”
       Catcalls and whistles erupted from the crowd.
       “But we're dyin' to know who it's about. Who was your 'inspiration'? Not any of these ugly fellers, I hope.” The crowd hooted and Lucinda rolled on. “We promise not to tell anyone. Right y'all?”
       June smirked and shook her head. This wasn't how her publicist said it would go.
       “I'll never tell,” June said, a little too close to the microphone. She recoiled as the feedback hit her ears.
       “Well, if it's all the same to you, we kinda put together a betting pool.” Lucinda took a hundred dollar bill from her pocket, folded it once lengthwise and tucked it at the top of her guitar’s fret board, waving like a little green flag. “We all passed your book around the campfire last night and read out the steamy parts. Now we've each got some idea of who it is—'a course Daniel over there thinks it was about him.” The crowd laughed. “Come on over here.”
       “No—no thank you!” said June, a hoarse laugh catching in her throat as she backed away.
       Lucinda waltzed over, stuffed June's introduction notes in her own pocket, then dragged her to center stage.
       The crowd cheered.
       “You all have heard of Ms. June Cricket, have ya not? Her little bestselling book has gone and brought the sexy back to bluegrass! She'll be signing it in the autograph tent later, so you go and get a copy for yourself, or your wife or girlfriend. You'll thank me!”
       June smiled. Maybe it wasn't going badly after all. Now if Lucinda would just let go—
       Lucinda pulled her closer.
       “Was it Bo Bentley?” she whispered. Her warm breath billowed into June's ear, sending a shiver up her spine. “It was, wasn't it?!” Lucinda's eyes sparkled and June felt a little sick. Why does everyone want to know so badly? She was too mortified to ever tell. It was better for everyone involved if she kept her hero's true identity a mystery.
       June shook her head.
       “No, it wasn't. Sorry.”
       June raised a hand to wave to the crowd and turned to exit the stage, but someone else from the band stepped out in front of her and pulled her close. He whispered and June shook her head.
       Then another.
       And another.
       June laughed. What was she worried about? They would never guess.
       Daniel, the banjo player sauntered over.
       “It wasn't you, Daniel,” June teased, shooing him away. The crowd ate it up. She would be signing books until sunrise.
       Daniel moved in closer, ran the back of his hand down the length of her bare arm and grinned.
       “Coulda' been,” he said, in a sultry baritone loud enough to elicit whistles from the crowd. Then he leaned in close and lowered his voice, whisky-scented breath blowing hot over her shoulder. “But, it was Nic Taylor.” June froze. A red heat crept up her neck and face.
       Oh God, please don't...
       “Hot damn!” shouted Daniel, clapping his hands together and strutting over to strip the cash from Lucinda's fret board. He waved it at the audience. “Ain't no way Nic Taylor is prettier 'n me, am I right?! You want to tuck this somewhere for me June, baby?”
       By the time he looked back at her, June was gone.

Take Me for Longing is available now at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble and Smashwords.

My thanks to Felice for stopping by today. So, dear readers, is Bluegrass sexy? LOL

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