About my novels

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It’s been a while since I’ve written about my four published novels, so I thought I would share some information about them as well as some reviews from Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews are super important for authors, especially independent ones. Reviews help other readers take a chance on an unknown author.
 
The four novels below are available at Dog Ear Books in Russellville, Arkansas, and on Amazon.com.
 
About Caroline’s Lighthouse:
What really happened at Bettencourt Estate?

In the mid-1800s, Caroline Marshall was forced to accept the marriage proposal of an attorney from a neighboring town. However, Caroline was in love with Thomas Cooper, the caretaker of the Bettencourt Estate Lighthouse and an orphan whom the family had taken in several years prior. At seventeen, Caroline took her own life by leaping from the top of the lighthouse. Upon learning what she had done, Thomas did the same.

Following the tragedy, the lighthouse was locked and never used again. In the years since the lovers’ suicides, people in the small town of Bettencourt, Virginia, watch as the abandoned lighthouse glows every year on the anniversary of Caroline’s death. The estate is rumored to be the most haunted place in town, riddled with tragedy for anyone who tries to live there.

In 1996, fifteen-year-old Caroline Douglas, named after the legendary ghost, visits the estate that has been in her mother’s family for generations. She’s not there long before strange things begin to happen. With help from her family and her best friend, Bo, will Caroline solve the mystery surrounding the haunting of her inherited home before it’s too late?
 
Praise from Naomi Raven on Amazon: Caroline and her family travel to the family estate. There they find ghosts and a mystery. Caroline’s Lighthouse is a remarkable tale of the past meeting the present. It is also a tale of the longevity of love. I adored it!”
 
Praise from Brandy N. on Amazon: Caroline’s Lighthouse was a wonderful read both me and my 12-year-old enjoyed. My daughter had no trouble with reading this story and enjoyed it very much. Not once did this story fall flat as we follow Caroline through her journey of discovering the truth and dealing with new found love. It’s beautiful and sad in all the beautiful ways it can be.
 
About Jordan’s Sister:
What if family obligations conflict with following your heart?

Former child star and aspiring singer, Taylor, lives in the shadow of her sister Jordan’s fame. Having a celebrity sister sounds like a dream, but the perfect facade shatters when Jordan unleashes her cruel, manipulative wrath on Taylor.

Afraid to open her heart to anyone, Taylor struggles to find her voice while spending time with Layne, a former boy band member overcoming his own issues. She tries to keep Layne at a distance to protect him from Jordan, but he won’t go without a fight.

Will Taylor find her own cadence, or will Jordan destroy everything she’s worked for?
 
Praise from Liz on Amazon: “This book really captured my attention from the moment I started reading it. Typically it takes me a few chapters to get really into a book, but from the first few pages I was glued to this story. Like another reader said, I too found myself wondering what was going on with the characters while I wasn’t reading. The story really comes together and the characters are so well-formed that this book is a must-read!”
 
Praise from Emily Y on Amazon: “There was something about Jordan’s Sister that stuck with me. Even when I was going about my day I would find myself wondering what Taylor and Layne were up to and where their story was headed. I can’t recall another book where that has happened. As I read the words I saw it play out in my mind as a movie. A very vivid movie that I couldn’t take my eyes off of. The only thing that I wish would have been included was having someone actually record the songs the characters wrote so I could get them stuck in my head for the rest of time.”
 
About What I Learned That Summer:
Lesson One: Shut up long enough to listen.

At almost sixteen, aspiring writer Kincaid Walsh isn’t thrilled about spending the whole summer with her grandparents and aunt at their small motel in Arkansas.

Away from her friends, Kincaid agrees to her grandfather’s challenge to write down every lesson she learns during her time there. As Kincaid struggles to heal from her painful past, she learns more than she ever imagined when she meets one of her writing idols.

When they’re forced to work together, Kincaid is annoyed by Joseph, the teenage maintenance guy, but she soon realizes he’s hiding heartache of his own.

What other lessons will her summer hold? Only time will tell.
 
Praise from Eli Cranor on Amazon: “Such a great read! I tore through this book. Collins’ characters are real people you can’t help but root for. My favorite character arc was that of Kincaid’s. A heartbreaking story, but one that will keep you flipping the pages! Highly recommend.”
 
Praise from Cary on Amazon:“I was dubious at first, and then the author proceeded to hit me in the feel when I least expected it… More than once.”
 
 
About One Shot:
What happened to Julia Manchester?

When 13-year-old Julia disappears after a babysitting job, her older sisters Charlotte and Liv fear the worst. With their father running for president and their mother a retired actress—anyone could have taken Julia.

Exhausted from growing up in the public eye, the Manchester sisters want every spotlight shined on their family to find Julia—if they can convince the police she’s not a runaway.

Soon, Charlotte’s boyfriend Vincent suspects there’s something sinister about Julia’s disappearance, but Charlotte doesn’t know what to believe or who to trust.

Will Julia make it home safely, and will her family ever recover?
 
Praise from Alexis on Amazon:“This book had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning. The Manchester family, in the midst of a presidential campaign, thinks their world is shook when the eldest of three sisters comes home to share some news, but shortly after their world is turned upside down when the youngest sister goes missing! The prologue starts off with a bang and it definitely ends with a bang. It was wonderfully written with beautiful relationships, just enough romance, and lots of excitement. My favorite from Collins so far!”
 
 
Praise from Sarah Dale on Goodreads:“Another great story by Brandi Easterling Collins. I loved the suspense and tension. Can’t wait to read more from this author.”
 
I’m working on my fifth novel, though slowly. I hope for a 2022 publication date for Lydia’s story. I am basing some of it off of my very first attempted novel called When Does Life Begin? that I wrote when I was 13. Obviously, it needs a lot of work, and probably only a few things in the original plot will survive my edits, but it is nice to see my collection of novels take shape into formats ready for publishing.

In the meantime, check out my current novels and writing on this website.
-Brandi Easterling Collins

A New Family Member: An official introduction

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As many of you know, we lost Buddy, a dear four-legged and furry member of our family back in September 2020. By December, we were feeling the pull to adopt another dog. After three months of mourning had passed, I wouldn’t say we were healed; we were just open to expanding our hearts again. After some searching and conversations with our kids, Jonathan and I reached out to Needy Paws Animal Shelter in Clarksville, Arkansas. It was there we became interested in a young adult Kelpie mix named Roscoe, whom we adopted on December 30. I mentioned him in my first post of 2021, but here’s some more information about him.

Family with two dogs

Adopting Roscoe

It was love at first meeting for all of us with this young pupper…well almost all of us. Peanut wasn’t impressed during that first meeting, but we knew he’d come around at some point. We listened to the shelter on the 3, 3, 3 rule. Three days for the dog to decompress, three weeks to develop a routine, and three months to finally feel at home.

Roscoe is the sweetest dog. He’s probably the most affectionate dog I’ve ever had. After a couple of hours, the human members of our family had fallen in love with him. It took two weeks for the fur brothers to get along, but not for lack of trying on Roscoe’s part. Peanut was just a little bit persnickety at times (he can’t help it that he’s a Chiweenie), but eventually he realized that having a bodyguard/playmate was a good thing. There are still some sibling squabbles on occasion, but the boys love each other and snuggle up together now. And boy, do they love to play.

Two dogs grooming themselves

Roscoe and Peanut

Tomorrow is the three-month mark since Roscoe joined our family, and I think he already feels at home. We had a couple of minor hiccups during the first few days with potty training, but we conquered that really quickly with positive reinforcement and treats. The fact that it was pouring rain for the first few days Roscoe was here probably contributed to that. Now, Roscoe’s a pro at going outside through the dog door to take care of his business or just to play or bark at something.

 

 

Dog lying on sofa

Roscoe’s perch

Now that he feels at home, he no longer gulps his food too fast. With some trial and error after consulting with our vet, we have Roscoe on a feeding schedule with a slow feeder that helps with his previous tummy trouble. He’s a champ at taking his monthly heartworm preventive medication, he loves cookies (that’s what we call his dog biscuits), and we’re working on leash training and liking (or at least tolerating) bathing and nail clipping. He’s a good sleeper most of the time alternating between his blanket on the couch in the living room and his dog bed that’s on the floor beside my bed. He’s an expert snuggler, an audible passer of gas, and the funniest big guy. While Roscoe was never intended to replace our dear Buddy, he has definitely helped us heal from our grief, and I look forward to spending many years with him.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

Self-editing a Story: What it Takes

Woman typing on laptop
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Independent publishing takes perseverance, time, guts, and high self-esteem. It also takes money if you need to hire people for services such as book file setup, cover creation, and editing.

I’m fortunate that I work as a professional editor in my day job and that I have graphic design experience. Because of these skills, I am better equipped than some indie authors when it comes to setting up my own book files and creating my own covers.

Editing is a HUGE step in publishing a novel. Reader reviews can be brutal, and nothing spells amateur quite like publishing a book full of grammatical errors and typos. Of course, no one is perfect. Even major publications will have typos. It’s just inevitable. Thankfully, there are tools and strategies to help. These are a few things I’ve learned.
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