Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Leaving Amarillo by Caisey Quinn

Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.
            Ten years later, Dixie and her brother Dallas are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band,
LEAVING AMARILLO. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin Garrison, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.
            Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her—a promise he swore he’d always keep—a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band. Will Dixie and Gavin risk it all for a possible love neither has ever thought possible?
            Complex and full of emotion, Quinn’s beautifully crafted novel perfectly interweaves a mix of engaging characters, a heartfelt love story, and an incredible tribute to musicians—their ambition, dreams, and love of music. LEAVING AMARILLO will have readers eager to turn the next page and root for Dixie and the band as success and fame are only a few steps away. 

“Book one in Neon Dreams is wickedly good and sheer perfection, though the ending will have you champing impatiently at the bit for the next installment. The backstory is both heartbreaking and touching, while the chemistry between Dixie and Gavin is off-the-charts combustible. Quinn’s new series is off to a great start, as readers will adore this likable trio with bonded tragic pasts.”—RT Book Reviews

"Authentic. Emotional. And scorching hot! Leaving Amarillo is everything I want in a book-- fantastic writing, loveable characters, and a story that stayed with me long after the last page. My favorite New Adult book, hands down!  Excuse me while I go read it again."Cora Carmack, New York Times bestselling author of LOSING IT

 “This has all the things that make up great country songs: love, longing, and the requisite heartbreak. A rollicking new series!”—Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author of ROWDY

“A heart wrenching ballad on the page that sings with vulnerability and crescendos with undeniable love. An emotional page-turner from start to finish that will leave you wanting more.”—Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

 “Caisey Quinn writes with an integrity, emotional depth, and heart that leaves me breathless. Leaving Amarillo has made me a fan!”—Candis Terry, author of SOMETHING SWEETER

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love rock star stories and stories where the characters have a past connection. I got both of those things in this book.

This is my first book by author Caisey Quinn so I had no idea what to expect. I definitely didn’t expect this book to both make me laugh and cry. The only thing that kept me from full out bawling was the fact that my dog demanded to go outside just as the really sad part happened, allowing me to put the book down and regroup before going back to it.

I loved the relationship that the author created between Dixie, Gavin and Dallas. They were so close and really cared about each other. I knew from the blurb that they’d known each other since they were all kids. I also knew that Dixie had a huge crush on Gavin. So obviously her crush is going to be found out. But I didn’t expect the way it happened. It was refreshing though. Sure, Dixie had verbal vomit and everything just came spilling out but she didn’t run from it after that. She forced the issue and forced the conversation no matter how fast Gavin tried to run. I can totally respect that.

I definitely loved the back and forth build up between Gavin and Dixie. The tension between them was delicious. Gavin fought valiantly to stay away but…he couldn’t. I kept expecting Dallas to accidentally find out about Gavin and Dixie, causing a huge fight and the group to break up, so I was pleasantly surprised at how he finally found it. And his reaction was nice, not over the top and irritating.

I really hate that Dallas doesn’t know how horrible Mandy is. I wish he wasn’t so blinded by her promises. What she did to Dixie was inexcusable. And it really pissed me off when Dixie tried to warn him what she had learned about Mandy and he dismissed her info. And then Mandy pulled exactly what Dixie was warned about. My heart broke for Dixie. Speaking of heart breaking…I felt so bad for Dixie and Dallas. They’d lost so much and I hated that Mandy took one more thing from them.

The biggest surprise to me was the ending. I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger but the story is definitely not over. It was left in a place where the immediate issues were addressed. There definitely was no HEA. This were remarkably different at the end than they were in the beginning.

I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens with these characters.

Not too long ago (barely over a year), I took a trip to Nashville with some friends. It was one of those last minute “oh my gosh, we have to see this super big artist doing a concert in a tiny venue because they just Tweeted that they’ll be there” type road trips. Unplanned, beef jerky, big gulps, and random road mix cd style adventure. My favorite kind.

However, by the time we arrived at the venue it was packed. Literally. Wall to wall crammed, people spilling out onto the sidewalk, full to maximum capacity packed. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who caught word that a big name artist was going to be there.


We decided to just check out a few local spots instead. In a bar called Crossroads we got comfy, ordered drinks, and started chatting about how bummed we were that we didn’t get to see the original artist we intended to. I can’t even remember now who it was. Here’s why.

As we’re ordering a second—okay, maybe a third—round and deciding if we’re going to just call it a night and get a hotel room or head home (Birmingham is only about three hours away), this glorious sound fills the air. No, it pierces the air, rips through it and grabs everyone in hearing range by the eardrums.

Our conversation—along with many others—ceased instantly. Chill bumps ran up my arms even though it was quite warm and I was wearing a jacket.

Most of the patrons gaped in awe as this young woman played the fiddle as if she’d been born to do that and only that. It was the solo from “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels band and she was rocking it beyond comprehension. Pretty sure even the bartenders stopped what they were doing. The rest of the night was a little blurry, but I know we didn’t leave until that band had played their entire set.

We ended up getting a hotel room but none of us slept. All we could talk about was that band and how amazing they were and how we were kicking ourselves that we didn’t get their name so we could check them out online and hear more. I still look for them when I’m in Nashville and one day I fully expect to hear them on the radio. Whoever they are, they will forever be the band that inspired the Neon Dreams series.

This isn’t the exact band but they’re pretty close! The search continues!

Dixie and Dallas Lark are the brother and sister duo who make up the band Leaving Amarillo along with their mutual best friend, Gavin Garrison. These characters have been some of the most interesting and three-dimensional that I’ve written in my career and I found it particularly interesting that they didn’t end up how I originally pictured them. Sneaky characters went and evolved a bit on me!

My first Dixie and Dallas were quite tame and actually kind of blurry in my mind. He was a sexy, rugged guitar playing, protective big brother and she was a fiddle player caught between life in the orchestra pit and freedom on the open road. As their story progressed, though, I began to see them more clearly. They were that band you get lucky enough to catch playing a late night gig at The Stage or Crossroads in Nashville. That one that you decide to stay and have one more drink just so you can listen to them a little longer—the one you know you will see hitting it big in the very near future because you can’t bring yourself to leave until they finish their set!

I initially pictured Dallas as a slightly more muscular Jensen Ackles type but that evolved a bit due to the ways in which Dixie evolved. She became edgier and grittier than I originally imagined due to her backstory and so Dallas had to toughen up a bit, too. This happens sometimes—I picture a character or story one way before writing and then that changes as I get deeper into it. It’s such an amazing experience—that moment when my characters become “real” and show me who they are versus who I’d originally imagined or expected.

1.      I Want You to Want Me – Cheap Trick
2.      One Night – Christina Perri
3.      Dream – Priscilla Ahn
4.      Love Runs Out – One Republic
5.      Bluebird – Christina Perri 

1. But here, where I am right now, Gavin Garrison is making love to me with his eyes. And I don’t want him to stop. Ever.

2. It’s when he takes her hand and slowly slides up the sleeve of her dress shirt so that he can write on her wrist that I lose my mind completely.

3. He opens his mouth to respond—most likely to deny that he did that tonight—but I place my trembling fingers against his lips, firmly breaking our ten-year unspoken no-touching rule.

4. But you can’t really have fire. You can’t hold a flame in your hands without getting burned.

5. He’s not watching you like he’s worried you’ll screw up. He’s watching you like he’s worried you’ll disappear and take his heart with you.

6. We’re more than that. You and Dallas are all I have. Do you get that?

7. I don’t know when I became this pathetic mess so completely codependent on the happiness of someone who has told me in no uncertain terms that he will never cross the friendship line with me, but here I am.

8. He breathes into me, filling me, and I take his offering greedily, pulling his tongue and lips into my mouth harder than is appropriate for a first kiss.

9. I’ve taken the first hit and already I’m addicted.

10. It was a mistake. Like I told you before, there are moments when things between us get…difficult to control. This time I screwed up and gave in, that’s all. It won’t happen again.

11. If I can’t make him see that he is both capable and worthy of love, that memory will have to be enough for me, even if it’s all I’ll ever have.

12. All I can feel is his mouth on my neck, his hands on my hips, and the promises of what’s to come—literally—against my backside.

13. I will make it impossible for him to say no, somehow. I have five floors on the elevator to figure it out. My heart rises into my throat as we make our way upward.

14. “All I can think about is how good this ice cream would taste if I was licking it off your body instead of this plastic spoon.”

15. I’m thrusting against his mouth and moaning in pleasure when I feel it. The pressure has reached its peak and I need him inside. Now.

Caisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New Adult and Contemporary Romance novels featuring Southern girls finding love in unexpected places.

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