Spotlight & Giveaway: Nearest Thing to Heaven by Lynnette Austin

Posted October 23rd, 2013 by in Blog, Spotlight / 51 comments

Today it is my pleasure to welcome romance author Lynnette Austin to HJ!

The Not-So-Silent Character in a Book

As incredible as it is, the lazy days of summer are nearly over. The kids are headed back to school, the days growing shorter, the mornings cooler. It won’t be long before we’ll be hanging autumn wreaths on our doors and passing out treats to the ghosts and goblins that come to visit.

lynnette AustinWith the change of seasons, we all undergo subtle variations in our life—from what we wear to what we eat to our favorite activities. The hot days of summer beg us to lounge on the beach; autumn calls us to the Friday night football game. That light fruit salad becomes a hearty beef stew. The flowers and trees change, moving through Mother Nature’s cycle.

As an author, the time of year my story is set in directly impacts the plot line. The season—whether it’s summer, spring, autumn, or winter—becomes a not-so-silent character. Before I write word one, I know whether my hero and heroine are going to swelter in July’s heat or shiver in that blast of cold December air. The season is as integral to my book as is the physical setting.

Somebody Like You, the first in my new Maverick Junction series from Grand Central Publishing, begged for heat. It had to be hot, hot, hot when SLYAnnelise rode into town on her big black Harley. Nothing else would do.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Annelise Montjoy motored her Harley along what appeared to be the town’s main street. This was Maverick Junction?
A blue Cadillac, surely old enough to be in a museum, was parked nose-in to the curb. An incredibly ugly dog sat in the front seat.
Thank God, this, the final destination of her cross-country trip from Boston, was temporary. It looked like the kind of place you ran away from, not toward. If luck was on her side, she’d be out of here in a couple weeks at the most.
And then a store door opened and her breath caught. Go, Texas! Look at that cowboy. So different from any of the men in her life. So…intriguing. She slowed to nearly a standstill and watched as he swiped an arm across his forehead, then dumped a grocery bag in the backseat of the old Caddy.
Cracking open a bottle of water, he turned his head in her direction. Her breath hitched as his gaze ran lazily over her, her bike. Then he snagged a Styrofoam cup from inside his car and filled it before setting it on the blistering pavement for the dog waiting patiently beside him. Leaning against the faded fender, he thumbed back his battered Stetson and chugged the rest of the water.

But in the second book in the series, Nearest Thing to Heaven, Ty Rawlins is a widower with four-year-old triplets. Although he’s a hot Texas cowboy, too, I didn’t need or want the summer heat. His story demanded the feel of family. What better than the NTTHholiday season when family sits down to that Thanksgiving turkey, when the world celebrates Christmas? In Nearest Thing to Heaven the warmth isn’t measured by the thermometer but rather by family love.

Over the TV noise, she heard the front door open and a loud squeal. High-pitched children’s voices.
“That would be Ty.” Mrs. Taylor, Matt’s mother and Ty’s mother-in-law, laid down her dish towel.
Before she started toward the front room, though, Ty stuck his head into the kitchen, casserole in hand. “Sorry we’re late. I went by my folks’ place for a short visit and had trouble escaping. Mom sent this.”
He passed the dish to his sister-in-law.
“Where are my grandbabies?”
“Destroying the front of the house, no doubt. It’s been a trying morning.”
“Too much going on.” Mrs. Taylor went in search of the boys.
Babs lifted the foil and sniffed appreciatively. “Your mother’s enchiladas.”
“For Thanksgiving?” The question slipped out before Sophie could bite it back.
Ty sent her a bemused look. “Absolutely. Don’t forget, you’re in Texas now, darlin’.” He ran a finger down her nose. “We eat enchiladas three hundred sixty five days of the year.”

Even though I wrote Nearest Thing to Heaven in Georgia in the dead of summer, it was important to me to connect to that incredible feeling the holidays bring. To do that, I set up a Christmas tree in my office, lights and all, and played country Christmas music nonstop on Pandora radio. ☺ It was wonderful, truly Christmas in July!

The third in the series, Can’t Stop Lovin’ You, will take place in the spring when the world is waking from that long, cold spell—kind of like Sleeping Beauty, right? And Brawley and Maggie’s love. Sigh…

So when I write, the season truly becomes another character in my story—and it’s never silent!

I find the changing of the seasons invigorating. I like autumn best with its crispness, beautiful colors, and air of anticipation. I like digging out my sweaters and watching the pumpkins and scarecrows appear around town on their bales of hay.

But whatever the season, we have reason to celebrate. Our calendar is sprinkled liberally with holidays. The day after Thanksgiving, my husband calls a small store in Rock Springs, Wyoming and orders Kronskis, a type of sausage made only by them. It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without them.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Come visit me at my website or visit me on Face Book or Twitter.


Giveaway: 3 print copies of NEAREST THING TO HEAVEN

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: What’s your favorite season? Why? What do you do to celebrate it? Leave me a comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s a short blurb from Nearest Thing to Heaven:

Ty Rawlins, the widowed father of rambunctious triplets, is at odds with Sophie London when she returns to Maverick Junction at Thanksgiving for her cousin Annelise Montjoy’s wedding to Cash Hardeman. Chicago is home, where she runs Starlight Productions, her greeting card company. Sophie is a fish out of water in Texas. The cows freak her out. The long-horned steers are nightmare material. But Ty’s triplets, one of whom spilled cherry soda on her white silk lap at Cash’s barbecue, are enough to make her run all the way back to Illinois in her Jimmy Choos. What will it take for Ty to convince Sophie that Maverick Junction is where she belongs, right beside him and his boys?


Ty Rawlins banged around in his kitchen, feeling more than a little frayed along the edges. Things weren’t going well. He glanced at the clock, then did a double take. The thing was practically sideways on the wall. Twelve o’clock settled somewhere around the spot where two o’clock should be. One of the triplets must have whacked it with a sword during last night’s duel to the death.
Guess he’d have to hang it higher.
He should have let one of the hands finish up the horse feeding so he’d have enough time for the kid feeding. Somehow, time was something he never had enough of.
Okay, so he was a single parent. All across America, single moms managed to take care of the kids, the house, and hold down a job. If they could do it, he sure as hell ought to be able to.
And now he had to go to this damn dinner tonight. He dropped a spoon into the far-from-empty sink. It wasn’t that he wasn’t happy for Cash and Annie. He was. But it stirred up memories he didn’t want to visit. Memories of far happier times now gone. Forever.

A crash sounded from somewhere in the vicinity of the living room.
“Uh-oh. Daddy’s going to be mad.”
That would be Jonah, Ty thought. The conscience of the trio.
“It was your fault.”
Jesse, the finger-pointer.
Ty set the pan of over-cooked spaghetti on a hot pad and strode off to the front of the house to check out the latest damage. He took a deep breath and surveyed the mess. Nobody was hurt. No blood anywhere. And Josh was right. Nothing was broken. In the grand scheme of things, this was a minor bump. A mere blip on the uh-oh meter.

Thanks so much for stopping in to visit.

51 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Nearest Thing to Heaven by Lynnette Austin”

  1. Marcy Shuler

    I love the fall because of the changing colors of the leaves and the crispness in the air.

  2. Cari White

    SPRING!!!!! Not too hot yet (live in Texas)! New life! Flowers blooming! Celebrate? I’m happiest in the spring. I don’t know that I do anything special.

  3. Glenda

    My favorite season? Spring. Especially here in central Texas where we have amazing wildflowers! It doesn’t get very cold here at least not for long, but when it warms up and everything starts to bloom it is beautiful!

    In all honesty, whenever we get some rain everything greens up and blooms except in the coldest part of winter. 🙂

  4. Mary Preston

    I do love the colors & crisp air of Autumn. The fact that my birthday falls here is a bonus.

  5. Lori P

    I love the fall with the color changes and crisp cool air. Usually enjoy having a pumpkin spice lattes and pulling out my sweaters and boots to wear.

  6. Leanna

    Fall I always loved watching the leaves changing colors when I lived in Minnesota, but now I live in Texas and in the fall we enjoy the cooler temps. I love to cook pumpkin everything in the fall. I have made pumpkin cookies, bread, oatmeal and pancakes.

  7. Kai W.

    Winter is my favorite season. I love the Holidays lights, bright and dark color clothes, and those snowball fights (I love ambushing my sisters and brothers). I love celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. I do love those coats for the winter.

  8. Jenn McElroy

    Fall is my favorite season. I love breaking out my jeans, boots, & hoodies! I enjoy the cooler weather, changing leaves, and fall/winter preparations. Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  9. Christine Merritt

    Birthdays – I get to make it special for that one person on their day… no big holiday stress and traditions requiring lots of work and shopping for the masses… just the favorites for that one family member or friend…

  10. Jennifer F

    my favorite season is summer because I live next to the beach and love to head out there when it gets hot

  11. Erin J.

    I love Fall! Leaves changing colors, Halloween, you can almost smell the cool air coming in, beginning of warm drinks but not cold enough for fires, can comfortably wear jeans….living in Texas now though kind of kills this season for me…

  12. Aline

    I live in Asia and we only have to seasons, summer and rainy season. I think I love a little bit of both 😀

  13. Debra A.

    I love the fall. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time of year. I love cooking for family those large meals that day. And the colors of the season has been mine all my life.

    • Lynnette Hallberg Austin

      Isn’t it great to be able to have family around for the holiday? Nothing better than sitting down to that table of good food and even greater people? Ty and Sophie get to spend their first Thanksgiving together in Nearest Thing to Heaven, and I enjoyed it so much!

  14. Jennifer Zorko-Legan

    I love fall. The leaves changing colors and the crisp smells in the air. We rake the leaves in big piles and then jump in them with my niece and nephew. Baking apple pies, and warm apple cider. Makes me remember being a child. Thanks for the chance.

  15. Autumn Kelley

    My favorite season is Fall (my name is Autumn so I may be a little biased) I love Football season especially living in ND nation! I love sweaters and boots and leggings and bonfires. The colors are BEAUTIFUL and the smells are amazing!

  16. kp

    I live in New England and love the fall! The colors of the leaves are beautiful and I love the crisp days!

  17. Teri Anne Stanley

    I like spring…fall’s okay, but I’m not a winter girl, so fall always carries a little edge for me (maybe that’s why my first RS is set in the fall…scary, kids!).

  18. Cindy Hamilton

    Books sound great!! I have to say I like all of the seasons but summer, it get’s too hot here in the south!!

  19. Inga

    The weather is one of my favorite things about autumn. It’s not too cold or warm and the different colors are beautiful to look at.

  20. demonsangel

    I haven’t read any of your books before but I added a couple to my ten list. I’m always excited to find new authors. I have a notebook with names of authors that I’ve never heard of before. Thank you for the giveaway and good luck to everyone

  21. demonsangel

    I’m always excited to find new authors that I haven’t heard of. I added two books to my ten list. Thanks so much for the giveaway and good luck to everyone.

  22. Angela Fitzgerald

    I’m always excited to find new authors that I’ve never heard of before and I added two of your books to my ten list. Thanks so much for the giveaway and good luck to everyone.

  23. angie1977t

    I love the colors in the fall. The trees are so beautiful. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck to everyone.

  24. lani

    I like summer.. since in my country there are just 2 seasons. im going to the beach and swimming or read a book. thanks for the giveaway.

  25. Ashley Gibson

    I love winter – how beautiful the snow looks, eggnog, christmas, my birthday, new years, candy canes, christmas trees decked out with ornaments, tinsel, garland, christmas tree lights, wreaths. I love how caring people can be during the christmas season. I love all the baked goods – cookies and candies. I love how when its cold outside you can stay indoors watching the snow fall, drinking hot chocolate (apple cider) and read a good book.

  26. Josette Schaber

    When you have kids each season has it’s it joys, but I love the fall. When the leaves change colors and the temps are not to warm and not to cold. Then of course there is Halloween. It’s our tradition to carve pumpkins each year with the kids. We always have a pumpkin for each of us and sort of have a contest on whose design turns out best.

  27. ndluebke

    My fa vorite season is fall because of the cooler weather, changing colors and usually less pollen in the air. I used to take more walks but its a little harder now.

  28. Janice Hougland

    Fall is my fave season of the year too. I love the cooler weather, the holidays and preparation for them, the getting together of family and friends, the joyous moods of all we meet while shopping. Gifting all our children makes us happy and I adore cooking goodies for all (especially in cooler weather). We take longer walks with our wee Yorkie and watch the falling leaves…and crunch them when they fall.

    • Lynnette Hallberg Austin

      Oh, Janice. Shuffling your feet through the fallen leaves and hearing that crunch, smelling the unique scent that says autumn. How much better can it get? I’m going to a friend’s for dinner tonight and she’s making pumpkin sugar cookies. Yum!!!

  29. Lily B

    fall and winter actually. i love the colors. to celebrate hum… i buy pumpkins and all the nice fall and wintery stuff and make the appropriate food!

  30. Susan M

    I love the Fall. The changing colors of the leaves, the cool, crisp air, pumpkins, and mums. I always take a drive to see the leaves and stop at farm stands along the way.



  32. Rena B

    My favorite season is winter. I’m a winter baby. I absolutely love snow. My family knows this and we always make snowmen 🙂 I love staying in with my family and drinking hot beverages and family time.

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