Cover Reveal + Pre-Order + Excerpt + Giveaway: Reel by Kennedy Ryan

Reel, Kennedy Ryan’s new breathtaking standalone romance set in the glamorous world of film and theater, is coming June 8th, and we have the beautiful cover and your first look!

Award-Winning Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Kennedy Ryan launches a brand new series with a Hollywood tale of wild ambition, artistic obsession, and unrelenting love.

One moment in the spotlight.

For months I stood by, an understudy waiting in the wings, preparing for my time to shine.
I never imagined he would watch in the audience that night.
Canon Holt.
Famous film director.
Fascinating. Talented. Fine.
Before I could catch my breath, everything changed.
I went from backstage Broadway to center stage Hollywood.
From being unknown, to my name, Neevah Saint, on everyone’s lips.
Canon casts me in a star-studded Harlem Renaissance biopic, catapulting me into another stratosphere.

But stars shine brightest in the dead of night.
Forbidden attraction, scandal and circumstances beyond my control jeopardize my dream.
Could this one shot—the role of a lifetime, the love of a lifetime—cost me everything?

Reserve your copy today!
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Nook: https://bit.ly/3nsKKfr
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3gHMDUc
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3xFYHLE
Barnes and Noble Paperback: https://bit.ly/3nsKKfr

➜ Enter the Goodreads Giveaway! Kennedy is giving away 10 Signed Reel Paperbacks!
http://bit.ly/REELGoodreadsGive

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Keep reading for the very first excerpt from Reel!

When the show reaches its climax, at the very end, the song pries the final note from my diaphragm, pulls it from my throat and suspends it—leaves it throbbing in the air. The theater goes quiet for the space of a breath held by 800 people and then explodes. 

Applause.

The relief is knee-weakening. I literally have to grab John, the lead actor’s arm for support. He doesn’t miss a beat, pulling me into his side and squeezing.

“Bravo,” he whispers, a broad, genuine smile spread across his face. The last song made me cry, and my face, still wet from those tears, splits into a wide, disbelieving grin.

I did it. I survived my first Broadway performance. 

The lights drop and we rush backstage, a cacophony of laughter and chatter filling the hidden passageways. When the curtain call begins, the cast return to the stage in small waves, the applause building as the principals take their bows. 

And then it’s my turn. On legs still shaky, I leave the safety of the wings, the long skirt of my costume belling out around me. I take center stage. The applause crescendos, approval vibrating through my bones and jolting my soul. Someone thrusts flowers into my arms and the sweet smell wafts around me. Every sense, every molecule of my being strains, opens, stretches to absorb this small slice of triumph. I can’t breathe deeply enough. The air comes in shallow sips, and I’m dizzy. The world spins like a top, a kaleidoscope of colors and light and sound that threatens to overwhelm me. The whirl of it makes me giddy, and I laugh. Eyes welling with tears, I laugh.

These are the moments a lifetime in the making. We toil in the shadows of our dreams. In the alleys of preparation and hard work where it’s dark and nothing’s promised. For years, we cling by a thread of hope and imagination, dedicating our lives to a pursuit with no guarantees.

But tonight, if only for tonight, it’s all worth it.

I’m still floating when Takira bursts into the dressing room.

“Neevah!” she screams, throwing her arms around me and rocking me back and forth. “You did it. You chewed that performance up and spat it out. You hear me?”

I laugh and return her squeeze, new tears trailing down my cheeks. 

“Thank you.” I pull back to peer into my friend’s face. “I can’t believe it.”

“Well, believe it. You served notice.” She snaps her fingers and grins. “Neevah Saint is here.”

“Now to do it seven more times.” I laugh and start taking pins from the wig, which is as hot as a herd of sheep on my head.

“Oh, you got it, unless Elise hears how amazing you were and cuts her vacation short.”

“Not happening. She was ready for a break, but she’d never missed a show.” 

I strip off the costume and stand in only panties, unselfconscious. Modesty is one of the first things to go in this business. I’ve undressed hurriedly in a roomful of actors and dancers in smaller shows where there was a dressing room, so we get real communal real fast. 

I tug on skinny jeans with a tight-fitting orange sweater, and layer it with a brown leather jacket, scarf, boots. I wipe away the heavy stage makeup. It feels like my skin can breathe for the first time in hours. I assume there will be some fans at the stage door, even if it’s just a few. They’ll have to get the real Neevah because I don’t want anything more than a slick of lip gloss and a bit of mascara. A brown, orange and green plaid newsboy cap covering the neat cornrows I wore under my wig is all I’m doing for hair. Slim oversized gold hoops in my ears finish the look.

“Ready?” I ask Takira, hefting a slouchy bag on my shoulder.

“Let’s do this. Hopefully your adoring fans won’t take all night, ’cause your girl is starving.”

We’re still laughing, and I’m so preoccupied with my empty stomach, I’m completely unprepared for the crowd at the stage door. Are they here for John? For some principal player because surely they’re not all here for the understudy.

“Neevah!” a young girl, maybe ten or eleven, calls. “Can you sign this?”

She thrusts a pen and a Splendor playbill toward me. She glows, her smooth brown cheeks rounded with a wide grin. Her eyes shine with . . . pride?

“Oh, sure,” I mumble dazedly, taking the pen and signing my name. 

She’s the first in a long line of girls, all shapes and colors and ages, saying what it meant to see me onstage. Mothers whispering how impactful it was for their Black and brown daughters to be in the audience tonight. The impact is on me; what could feel like a weight or burden or responsibility feels like a warm embrace. Feels like strong arms encircling me. Supporting me. The first time I saw someone who looked like me onstage, it planted a seed inside of me. It whispered a dream.

That could be you.

It makes me emotional to think I might have done that for any of these girls tonight, and I spend the next twenty minutes scribbling my name on playbills through a film of tears.

“Neevah!” a deep male voice calls from the back of the now-thinning crowd.

I squint at the tall man, frowning until I place him.

“Wright!” I take a few steps and he meets me halfway, giving me a tight hug. “Oh, my God. You were here tonight?”

“Was I here?” When he pulls back, a warm smile creases his handsome face. “You blew it out of the water. I knew you were good, but damn.”

Laughter spills out of me and I don’t think this night could get more perfect. I randomly met Wright Bellamy a few weeks back at a gig when he subbed for the pianist, giving the audience more than they bargained for with such a famous musician tickling the ivories that night.

“Thank you.” I step away and shove my hands into the pockets of my jeans, huddling in the leather jacket against the chill of an October night. “I was nervous as hell.”

“Didn’t show. Your voice is spectacular. I knew that from the gig we did, but I had no idea you were that good. Wow. Glad I saw your post on Instagram or I would’ve missed it.”

I’m stone-still, shocked that he came tonight specifically to see me perform. “I’m so glad you made it. You’re still in LA, right?”

“Yeah, but I’m here for some stuff. Heading back home in a few days.”

Takira walks up, linking her arm through mine. “Girl, if we don’t get some food,” she whispers.

“Oh, yeah. Sorry.” I turn back to Wright. “Takira, this is Wright Bellamy. Wright, my friend Takira.”

“Nice to meet you,” Takira says. “You got any food on you? I’m about to eat your hat.” 

As usual, Takira never meets a stranger and has us laughing right away.

“We’re actually headed to Glass House Tavern,” I tell Wright. “Come if you want. It’s a group of us from the show. Just some of the cast celebrating, but you’re welcome. We can catch up.”

A small frown dents between his thick brows and he glances over his shoulder.

“I mean, no pressure obviously,” I rush to assure him. This is one of the biggest names in music, and here I go, inviting him to dinner with a group of strangers. 

“No, it sounds cool,” he says, looking back to us. “Lemme check with my boy. Can he come?”

I glance over his shoulder and spot a tall man turned away from us, his broad shoulders and back straining a wool blazer, a hoodie pulled up to cover his head and face in the cold. His hands burrow into the pockets of his blazer and he’s nodding like he’s talking to himself.

“He’s on the phone,” Wright explains. “But lemme see if he wants to roll.”

He steps away toward the man and Takira immediately squeezes my hand and squeals.

“Neeve.” Her eyes are wide and bright. Mouth dropped open. “That’s Wright Bellamy.”

“I know. He’s cool as a fan.”

“You know him? How—”

“We’re in,” Wright says, stepping back up beside us. “He’s finishing a call, but we’re ready. Lead the way.”

It’s just a few blocks, and the three of us chat about the show and what Wright’s been doing in New York. All the while his friend’s deep voice rumbles a few paces behind. I don’t want to be rude or nosy and look back, but the rich timbre, his towering height, his face obscured by the hoodie—I’m intrigued. He hangs back on the sidewalk, still on his call, when we enter the restaurant. 

Our friends already have a table and a shout goes up, congratulating me on popping my White Way cherry. My three understudy buddies came. John’s here, too, and one other principal. A few from the stage crew. Our little troupe has become a family and, as if eight shows a week isn’t enough time together, we gather and eat every chance we get. 

“You’re not paying tonight,” John says, holding out the seat beside him. “And drinks are on me.”

“Awwww.” I plop into the chair and drop my bag to the floor. “You’re so sweet. You don’t have to do that.”

“You were fantastic,” John says, baby blue eyes sincere and smiling. “Let’s do it again tomorrow.”

Takira is already sitting beside me, so Wright takes the seat next to her.

“Hey,” he says to Janie across the table. “Could you hold that seat beside you for my friend? He’s wrapping up a call, but’ll be in soon.”

“Sure.” Janie blushes. “I love your work, by the way. The score of Silent Midnight . . . gah.” 

“Thank you. That was a special project. Lots of fun,” Wright replies with a smile. “Now tell me about the show.”

Wright’s a genius, but he’s so unassuming and modest. A man as famous as he is could easily make this conversation about him, let everyone at this table give his ego a real nice hand job, but he doesn’t. He talks about our show, compliments the performance, asks John about his process. I liked him when we did that last-minute gig, and we’ve interacted some on social media since. My impression of him holds up. He’s a good guy. 

Not to state the obvious, but also fine. Like fine fine.

He has this Boris Kodjoe vibe. Real smooth. Kind of golden–brown. Clean-cut, close-cut. I can objectively recognize his appeal, even though he’s not my type. 

Not that I have a type lately. I’m so deep in this dick drought I’m past the point of thirst. 

At first I thought it was merely the grind. Auditioning constantly, taking craft classes, doing commercials and voiceover work to not just keep bills paid, but to save. This business is feast or famine. I’m eating now, but I’ve been hungry before. Not again. I’m thirty. Too old to still be living gig to gig and buying into that starving artist thing. I need health insurance and regularly scheduled meals, thank you very much. So yeah, the grind could account for my semi-disinterested libido, but I suspect it’s more. 

Maybe I’m disinterested.

I need a man who doesn’t think that because he has a dick and I don’t that I should defer to him—shrink my dreams down to a more manageable size. I’m cautious not only about who I share my heart and body with, but I’m also protective of my dreams; of my ambition. I won’t endanger my future for a man who can fuck. Though . . . a man who can fuck? I wouldn’t turn it down, but it will take more than that to pique my interest.

“What are you getting?” Takira asks, leaning over to read my menu instead of hers. “Anything here meet your high standards?”

My standards aren’t that high. I’ve just cut out red meat and stopped drinking as much alcohol. My health demands it. 

“I’m thinking about the salmon, but I—”

A chair scraping across the floor catches my attention. Wright’s friend has finally come inside to join us. The table shrinks immediately when he settles his imposing frame into the seat beside Janie. He peels the hood away from his head and I bite off a gasp.

It’s Canon Holt.

Like the Canon Holt.

The director I, and probably every actress at this table and in this dining room, would sacrifice a pinky toe to work with. Canon Holt is at my table sitting across from me. 

Takira’s expression doesn’t register this massive earthquake of a revelation, but she kicks me under the table and hisses from the corner of her mouth. “Did you know?”

I pretend I need to reach for something on the floor so I can whisper back, “Do you think I would have kept my shit together this long if I knew?”

“True. True.” Takira casually glances up from her menu and smiles in Canon’s general direction, but he’s not looking at her. He’s studying his screen. He’s apparently in an exclusive relationship with his phone, and no one at this table tempts him to stray.

Which means I can look at him.

Good. God.

He’s not that handsome, but that’s irrelevant. Some might even call his features, examined on their own, unremarkable. 

They’d be wrong.

It’s a Maker’s sleight of hand. Now God knew this man did not need lashes that long and thick, a paradox against the hard, high slant of his cheekbones. Canon hasn’t looked twice at anyone here as far as I can tell, but I’ve stolen enough glances to know there’s a fathomlessness to his dark eyes that is arresting. His unsmiling mouth is wide, the lips full in the blunt elegance of his face. A five o’clock shadow licks the ridge of his jawline. There is a geometry to him—angles, lines, edges—that disregards the individual parts and illuminates the compelling sum. WANT MORE REEL? Click here for the rest >> http://www.thehollywoodrenaissanceseries.com/excerpt

Add Reel to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3upMOqY

Cover Designer: Lori Jackson Design
Photographer: Sophia Barrett Studios
Models: Jasmine Raiford and Ajayi Bodden

About Kennedy Ryan

A USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Kennedy Ryan and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmo, TIME, O Mag and many others. A RITA® Award winner, Kennedy writes empowered women from all walks of life and centers those who have found themselves perennially on the margins of traditional storytelling.

Her Hoops Series (Long Shot, Block Shot and Hook Shot) and All the King’s Men Series (The Kingmaker, The Rebel King and Queen Move) have been optioned for television.

An autism mom, Kennedy co-founded LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable initiative, and has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for autism families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

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Release Blitz + Excerpt + 5 Star Review: Reel Love by Julie A. Richman

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Release Day Blitz

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Title: Reel Love

Author: Julie A Richman

Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 26th, 2019

Buy: Amazon  ~ B & N ~ IBooks

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Synopsis:

Is this Reel Love or Real Love?

Hollywood

The moment I laid eyes on Finn Parker’s headshot, I knew that if this guy could act, I wanted him for the hero role in the film being made from my book, Fleeing an August Moon.

The tall, blond, and ruggedly handsome actor looked exactly like the picture I’d seen in my head the entire time I was writing the book.

The studio, however, had different thoughts on a leading man.

Box Office crusher, Maverick Dailey, made it clear that he wanted the role. The producers, studio, and everyone involved were thrilled to score such a celebrity. Well, everyone except me.

And it’s my vote that counts since, according to my contract I get final say on casting. Maverick is amazing, yet I’m just not sure…

It certainly didn’t help that Finn Parker and I seemed destined to cross paths. We ran into each other all over Hollywood. And the more time we spent together, the more the sparks between us flew. We had an intense chemistry, something I’d only ever read about in books like mine.

Which made me wonder, was I really falling for Finn or just living out a fantasy with a red-blooded, live version of my hot hero character?

It’s easy to confuse fiction for reality in Hollywood. Everything is not as it seems in this town.

Not to mention, Finn’s life would forever change if he landed the role. Which made me question how good of an actor he really was? Was he interested in me, or the role I had the power to give him?

Is this Real Love or just Reel Love?

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Excerpt:

Prologue

In Flight…

Holy crap, he’s perfect.

Not just like he’d be good for the role perfect, but like he stepped out of my head and onto my computer screen, perfect.

I can’t believe he even exists. Well, in real life, anyway.

This is him. The guy I’ve been seeing in my head for over three years now. But with a picture in front of me, it crystalizes all the details in such sharp focus, for the very first time. It’s like a layer of gauze was removed from the front of the lens of my mind’s eye, and here he is. I am looking at the face of the hero in my biggest-selling, and let’s face it, my only truly bestselling book.

Who is this man? I need to know more. I need to know everything. Now.

Finn Parker.

Good name. Obviously fake, but, nonetheless, good.

Those eyes. They are Griffin’s eyes. I am finally staring into his clear blue eyes, studying the deep blue rings edging his irises, looking exactly like what I’d described the very first time Briela gazed up at him when they were just kids. Sky blue meeting a horizon line containing the ocean’s power and depth was how I described them when the two meet again as adults. I have written many pages about these eyes.

Finn Parker, your eyes are killing me. Like I’m afraid to breathe, killing me.

A slight quiver in my hands radiates to my now-twitching fingertips as they hang, as if in suspended animation, just above the keyboard, choking, fearful that if I don’t poke the keys with just the right finesse, he will disappear and be gone — forever. And I’m not ready to lose this flesh and blood version of the man who has invaded my thoughts for so long.

And what if I don’t find him again? A moment of panic ensues as if I’m about to lose my raison d’être. Or maybe just lose my shit. Or my mind.

What the hell is wrong with me?

His freaking picture and bio are in an email sent to me by the studio’s casting department. He is not disappearing into thin air, never to be found again.

Get ahold of yourself, woman.

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5Star

Michel’s Review

Reel Love by Julie A. Richman is going to be a summer blockbuster in the romance world. Every reader loves a Movie Star romance. A Rags to Riches story. Reel Love is so much more because it not only showcases the glamour of the film industry but also shows the manipulative side where actors are valued by dollar signs rather than true talent. It also presents a vivid description of the insecurities of struggling actors to the over confident superstars who use their clout to manipulate getting roles.

Francesca Simonelli wrote the best selling novel Fleeing An August Moon. This novel became an international best seller and is being made into a movie. Francesca was lucky enough to maintain the artistic rights from casting to the screenplays. She has gone to Hollywood for the casting process. She is determined to pick the best actors to portray the beloved characters from her book. She doesn’t care about what actors are the biggest box office draw, she wants authenticity. When she comes across Finn Parker’s picture she feels like she is staring at Griffin Chase, her leading male character. She doesn’t care what he’s done prior to this audition, she just hopes he can act.

Finn Parker is desperate for the role of Griffin Chase. He hasn’t had a job in two years. He needs a breakout role that will pivot his career. When he first begins reading Fleeing An August Moon, he hates the story but is willing to embrace the character of Griffin Chase. It will show his true acting skills. He knows he’s up against stiff competition. Maverick Dailey, the biggest box office star in Hollywood, also wants this role. He’s willing to do anything for this role. He needs for Francesca Simonelli to see he is the perfect Griffin Chase.

When Finn “accidentally” runs into Frankie after his first audition the quest for the role takes a different course. He actually likes the book and understands why this story took the world by storm. He wants to know more about the character of Griffin Chase. He also wants to get to know Frankie. She has captured his attention because she’s true to herself. She is a real woman with a real personality rather than a manufactured picture perfect woman. She could care less about A-Listers, the “right” diet, and designer gowns. She’d rather eat sugar than avocados. He genuinely likes her. He’s willing to show her who Finn Parker really is rather than the manufactured person on the screen. He’s competing for more than the role of Griffin Chase, he is vying for Frankie’s heart.

Hollywood is a manipulative place. Everyone is playing a role. It’s hard to tell what’s real in a world that spins upon fantasies. Everyone has a price, the lines can be altered rather than crossed. Frankie has to hold her ground and hold onto her heart even if it means sacrificing Finn for the right reasons.

Julie A. Richman has once again delivered the “WOW” factor in Reel Love. I felt like she added her very soul to Frankie Simonelli. The vivid descriptions she used to describe Fleeing An August Moon was as good as the characters she created in this story. She stretched her writing talent to a whole new level by delivering two very different romances in one story.  I love that she is one of the few contemporary authors who uses mature characters with life experience rather than angsty younger adults. The characters always seem to be more seasoned and their stories are always multi-demensional. Julie’s books come to life and capture the heart. Like Frankie, Julie stays true to all of her characters including characters from previous books. I loved the cameo appearances from the Needing Moore series.

I absolutely loved Reel Love by Julie A. Richman and would highly recommend this book.

I also hope at some point Julie will really will sit down and write Fleeing An August Moon.

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About the Author:

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USA Today Bestselling author Julie A. Richman is a native New Yorker living deep in the heart of Texas. A creative writing major in college, reading and writing fiction has always been a passion. Julie began her corporate career in publishing in NYC and writing played a major role throughout her career as she created and wrote marketing, advertising, direct mail and fundraising materials for Fortune 500 corporations, advertising agencies and non-profit organizations. She is an avid nature photographer plagued with insatiable wanderlust. Julie and her husband have one son and a white German Shepherd named Juneau.

Where to find Julie:

Julie’s Website

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