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The Riley Sisters Mix

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Aw, don't the girls look so good all together?

Aw, don’t the girls look so good all together?

I started writing The Wind Could Blow a Bug with only one song in my head. But as I continued the series, I found country songs, both new and old, helped with my inspiration. While I was raised on country and have always had a fondness for it, I hadn’t listened to it in probably a decade or more. I think when Garth retired, maybe I did too. I don’t know if my country-based stories lead me to the music, or the music fueled the books. Either way, it happened. (By the way, seeing Garth live in concert was part of my reconnecting to country as well.)

Here is my playlist for The Riley Sisters Mix with annotations (some minor spoilers included), followed by the YouTube playlist. Most of these songs give me the good music neck tingle.*

Kick the Dust Up – Luke Bryan: This just makes me think of the Tucker boys romping around the dirt roads of Oakley. It sets the vibe. Plus, Luke seems like a good old boy, which is why a minor character by the name of Luke may appear in Book 3, as well as a character named Blake…

Boys Round Here – Blake Shelton: Take a little ride to the river? Does that make anyone else think about Wade taking Miley down to the pond for a little skinny dipping?

Speakers– Sam Hunt: This song is damn sexy. So is Sam Hunt. This makes me think of Wade and Jane parking on the night of her high school graduation.

Play It Again – Luke Bryan: This is the first song that began my country music resurgence. While it doesn’t correlate exactly to a scene in the book, it seems like an experience that could totally happen between Wade and Jane.

Got Me Wrong – Alice in Chains: You might think this song doesn’t fit with the rest, and maybe it doesn’t, but it fits Jane’s story. When she is getting over her depression in college and hears a song on the radio that just speaks to her heart? That is based off of real events, and this was the real-life song for me.

John Deere Green – Joe Diffie: For the end of Book 1 and Wade’s wedding proposal to Jane; and of course Josh and Kiley and the water tower in Book 2. Oh God, I just teared up thinking about the water tower scene.

I Knew You Were Trouble – Taylor Swift: Josh’s song.

Ticks – Brad Paisley: This song is one long pick-up line that Josh would totally use on Kiley, if given the chance, and she would totally fall for it.

South Side of Heaven/What I Got – Mezcla featuring Michael Raymond-James: MRJ is the semi-inspiration for Josh Tucker. It only seemed right that since this was available on YouTube that his gravelly voice should be included in this collection.

Honey Bee – Blake Shelton: Sweet words I can picture Josh trying to woo Kiley with.

Love Me Like You Mean It – Kelsea Ballerini: I confess, this whole song is included just cuz I like where she says “Boy with your hat back, um I kinda like that.”

Red Dirt Road – Brooks & Dunn: Nothing specific, but provides an overall feel of growing up in the south that I hope my book captures some tiny 1/1000th of.

Raised On It – Sam Hunt: This is the song that sort of bridges my growing up in a farm town in Michigan with the Rileys and Tuckers growing up in Oakley, Alabama. I totally know about “sticky quarters”; I used them as the basis of a whole paper on Rites of Passage in college.

Ride to California – Paper Tongues: Miley, making her way out to Hollywood at all costs where she believes are all her dreams are just waiting to come true.

Celebrity Skin – Hole: Miley’s walk of shame the day after she meets movie star Mark.

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus: Fish out of water, or walking the Hollywood walk in the wrong shoes.

City of Angels – 30 Seconds to Mars: Oh God, I just love 30 Seconds to Mars and Jared Leto. This song is all about Hollywood being life-changing, for good and bad.

The River – Good Charlotte: Ya, I love Good Charlotte too; had to work them into here somehow. This song is all about how Los Angeles can eat you alive, as it does Miley.

Holy Toledo – Crystal Bowersox: This is Miley sitting on her couch back home depressed in her flannel cupcake pajamas and being a day overdue for a shower. A song about looking for redemption.

Blank Space – Taylor Swift: I actually think of this as being Mark’s point of view. What an a-hole 😉

Skr Boi – Avril Lavigne: Travis’s song. And I love Avril.

The Climb – Miley Cyrus: Miley Riley climbing back up out of the hole she found herself in upon returning to Oakley.

 

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It CLICK HERE TO WIN!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

Excerpt: The Wind Could Blow a Bug – Chapter 1

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The Wind Could Blow a Bug
The Riley Sisters
Book 1
By Jennifer Friess
ISBN: 978-0692339565
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Here is an excerpt from my upcoming young adult contemporary romance called The Wind Could Blow a Bug.  Sign up for email updates about publication at:  http://imnotstalkingyou.us9.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=f58cebd8190793e8348ca281f&id=a695e51c66

1

JANE

The Oakley town council meeting had started off typically enough. There was a review of the minutes from the last meeting, and the usual complaints about too much. This time it was too much noise and chickens. But with all the Tucker boys in attendance for the meeting tonight, a rare occurrence, it was only a matter of time before things got rowdy.

The main order of new business on the agenda was to discuss a nationwide pharmacy with plans to build a store at the edge of town. The tiny town, population 3,300, was divided on this particular issue. And so they piled into mayor Skip Wickley’s living room for tonight’s meeting.

Skip was a large black man, in both mass and stature. He was an impressive physical figure to lead the town, but he was often too busy trying to keep everyone happy to make effective decisions.

On a night of a normal meeting, there would have been plenty of room for everyone. Skip had a large old farmhouse. Usually only 30 or so citizens were in attendance. Tonight it looked as though a representative from almost every household in town was here. The living room and dining room were one combined space, as though a wall that had formerly divided them a hundred years ago had since been removed. Every inch of that space was needed tonight.

Jane Riley sat in the corner on the couch, with her spiral-bound notebook on her lap. Although only a high school senior, she was present at all the town council meetings. She took down notes and turned them into the regional newspaper to earn extra money for college. Twenty dollars per meeting. Since the town council was so small, her newspaper recap also served as official meeting minutes. Being quiet with few hobbies, she would take advantage of that on her college application by saying she was the secretary for the town council. As no one officially held that post, no one could really complain if she claimed it.

But tonight she was too distracted to take conscientious notes. Her attention was not on the debate, but instead on the group of four strapping farm boys standing up, trying to holler over one another. The Tucker boys were not the type of guys to give Jane the time of day. They were all older than Jane. Then again, no other boys in town were interested in her either. Jane had earned a reputation for being “shy”, a word she hated. In truth, she just didn’t care to socialize with the jocks and cheerleaders of her school. They had no clue that she could be funny and witty. Jane saw this as their loss, not hers. She was average in just about every way. She was an average height, with a thin frame, and light brown hair of an average length. She was often mistaken for several years younger than her 18 years. If Jane was a boy, she probably wouldn’t be interested in herself either.

The Tucker brothers all had hair damp from the showers they had taken before attending the meeting. It was nice that they had been considerate enough to wash off the day’s worth of dirt and sweat before they came. But they also had drowned themselves in cologne too. Were they all heading to the bar to pick up chicks after the meeting? The mix of four different colognes and testosterone filled the room and made Jane’s head spin, in a good way.

Evan Tucker was the father of all these men. He was nearing 50. While most fathers were old and chubby and balding, Evan was still a good-looking man. He would look right at home in an Eddie Bauer catalog. His full head of black hair was just starting to have some white mix in around the edges.

Randy was the oldest son. He had to be about 27 now, and helped his father run the business. He looked a lot like his father, but Randy was a few inches taller.

Josh was the second oldest. He was known around town as a prankster. This somehow made him easy to dislike. Josh sported a headful of brown hair and wore a goatee of perpetual stubble on his chin. Jane assumed that he did the same work on the farm as his brothers, but somehow he was thicker around the middle than the rest. He was 24 years old.

Wade was just a year younger than Josh. Wade was the Tucker boy most of the girls in town liked best. He had won the genetics lottery. Blond hair, blue eyes, and a face like a model. His smile had been known to stop traffic.

Oakley’s main street only had two lanes and one flashing signal. So really, sometimes a stray cat stopped traffic as well.

Pete was the youngest son. He had been a year ahead of Jane in school, which meant he was now out of school. He looked a lot like his mother. He was wiry, with dirty blond hair.

The discussion was breaking down as everyone talked over each other.

“The SaveRX would bring many jobs to our town.”

“But it would put my drug store out of business.”

“It sounds like a budget strip club.”

“The people from Parker would get all the jobs anyway.” This was unlikely. Parker was the next largest town about 40 miles away.

“Wouldn’t they need to use some of my land to build it at the proposed site? I am not selling. Does that mean you are going to use eminent domain to claim it?” asked Evan Tucker.

Now it was more obvious why the Tuckers were here. Mr. Tucker owned much of the farmland around Oakley, including all of the farmland on the west end of town where the pharmacy was to be built. He may look like a hick, but he was a very smart businessman. Mr. Tucker had kept his farm going and growing in a time when many had failed. He had managed to keep it in the family as well, an even bigger feat.

Tucker Farms had been started by Evan Tucker’s grandfather. Then it was very small and only fed the immediate family. Evan’s father grew it to have many cash crops and added many silos for grain storage to cover himself in times of bad weather until his death.

Evan took over the business in very different times. The old-time farmers were dying out, literally, and their children did not want to continue.   They wanted to get jobs at the automotive factory in Parker that offered a steady income and benefits. Or they just moved away to the cities, where they could get a job in anything. Evan started buying up the land. Often times he could not offer much, but the sellers snapped it up just to be rid of it. Evan began to diversify his products.

As Evan’s business was growing, the local grain elevators, the Oakley Co-Op, just called ‘the Co-Op’ by locals, were suffering. With the drop in the number of farmers using their buy, sell, and store services, they did not have the ability to make upgrades or pay their employees. When the Co-Op went out of business, Evan was put in the position of expanding his own operation to provide the services to other farmers in and around Oakley that they could no longer receive anywhere else. In a day and age when no one put down new railroad tracks, Evan found he had justification to have some laid between his elevators and the nearest rail spur a few miles away.

Evan had helped salvage what little community was left in Oakley. The goods he bought from the feed store and the hardware store kept them in business. The local tractor supply helped to keep his farming machines in running order. And so on. In turn, all those merchants could buy newspapers, groceries, and eat at the two restaurants in town. It was a delicate balance. Evan Tucker knew this, and it no doubt kept him up late nights.

“Ya, we ain’t selling,” Josh said.

“That is prime farmland,” Randy articulated.

“It is also the best make-out spot in town,” Wade said, smiling.

“You should know, Wade!” someone in the back yelled.

With that, the room let out a whoop and the conversation quickly was derailed from the task at hand. Wade seemed to be at the center of the chaos.

A great dig at Wade came to Jane. She crossed the room to get closer to the action, waiting for her turn to contribute. She felt self-conscious standing, so she sat in an available chair, left vacant by all those now standing. Wanting a better vantage point of the room, she sat on the back of the stuffed green plaid chair and put her pink Converse shoes on the seat. She began to remember that she wasn’t the kind of girl to speak up in meetings, especially to flirt with guys. As the conversation moved away from Wade, Jane knew her chance was gone. This made her relax a little. Although her brief moment of bravery, of just moving across the room, had already made her deodorant fail.

The Wind Could Blow a Bug – Book Summary

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Here is the back cover summary for my upcoming young adult contemporary romance called The Wind Could Blow a Bug.  To be notified of book release, please sign up at: http://imnotstalkingyou.us9.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=f58cebd8190793e8348ca281f&id=a695e51c66

Jane Riley is a quiet high school senior growing up in a rural Alabama town, surrounded by hot farm boys. When Wade, the handsomest one of all, takes a sudden interest in her romantically, Jane falls hard for him. Being adopted, Jane’s search for her birth mother leads to unexpected revelations. After graduation, everything in her life begins to fall apart. While suffering from depression, Jane must cope with the unknown challenges of college. Jane must discover that family isn’t always who you would expect. She is reminded that The Wind Could Blow a Bug and her life could change in an instant…

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