If someone had told me a year ago the changes I would face in 2021, I’m not sure I would have believed them. This time last year, I was hopeful for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, thankful for my family and friends, grateful for a job I loved and was able to keep while working from home to help stop the spread of the virus, missing my best Buddy, and preparing to publish my 4th novel. In some ways, beginning the final month or so of 2021 feels like a repeat of 2020. I’ve jokingly referred to 2021 as 2020: Part II several times throughout the year because, in many ways, I feel like we’re in the same place with the pandemic. So many other things have changed, and there are still so many things for which I am thankful.Continue reading
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.
I set a goal to read 125 books for the year 2020, which was 25 fewer books than the number I finished in 2019. I went lower because I knew I’d be finishing my fourth novel in 2020. Little did I know that a pandemic would hit the world a mere two months later and that the year would be the strangest on record for me.
While I didn’t meet my reading goal, I did manage to finish 116 books, which is great. If you’re interested in seeing my reviews of these novels and the others I’ve read in the past, you can check out my Goodreads page here. Here are my top 15 books for the year, all of which I rated at five stars for different reasons for each of these amazing works.
The Stand by Stephen King.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds.
The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts.
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee.
It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne.
Bloodline by Jess Lourey.
The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos.
Find Layla by Meg Elison.
Anything Once by Meka James.
A Whisper of Smoke by Angela Hoke.
White Out by Danielle Girard.
Raising Boys to Be Good Men: A Parent’s Guide to Bringing up Happy Sons in a World Filled with Toxic Masculinity by Aaron Gouveia.
This Won’t End Well by Camile Pagán.
Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo.
Also, in 2020, COVID-19 hit the world hard. It started slowly and then grew exponentially, just as the experts predicted. On March 17, 2020, my children’s schools went virtual, and so did my employer, luckily. All I can say is that I did my best to help them with schoolwork while keeping up with my own work and sometimes my sanity.Continue reading