Friday Favourites #16: Vanessa North


This the last Friday Favoruites post on the blog for this year and I'm very happy and excited to have Ms Vanessa North, author of mm romance, as my guest. Check her favourite things and book recommendation and read an excerpt from her upcoming title, Blueberry Boys (btw, it is super sweet and cute and a perfect holiday read).

1. Favourite place
Asheville, North Carolina - it’s a beautiful, friendly place full of amazing people. I lived there for a few years in the nineties and I’d love to move back—someday.

2. Favourite food and drink
My favorite food changes based on mood - sometimes it’s sushi, sometimes it’s a delicious cassoulet or a perfectly-grilled steak - and some days it’s a bag of corn nuts from the gas station. As for drink, I always love a crisp white wine.

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
This is a hard one for me, because I rarely listen to music these days, but I have a lot of affection for 90s-era alternative rock, and if you play Sublime in my house, I’m gonna get up and sing and dance and make lewd faces and gestures until I embarrass someone.

4. Favourite movie/TV series
The Princess Bride—fencing, fighting, true love, miracles!

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
Knitting is my favorite. It’s relaxing and keeps my hands occupied, and when I finish a project, I have something really cool to show for it. (or a sweater that is far too long, oops…)

Favourite books - please list at least 5 books you'd recommend to everyone. 

Ginn Hale’s The Rifter - amazing epic fantasy serial. I read it straight through in four days, an absolute wreck the whole time - came out the other side a totally changed woman and jealous as hell of anyone reading it for the first time.

Jordan Castillo Price’s Channeling Morpheus series. What can I say? Wild Bill and Mikey are my crack. I love those boys, and for a scary, sexy vampire roadtrip? It’s SO romantic.

LaVyrle Spencer’s Hummingbird. LaVyrle Spencer is my single biggest influence as an author, and this book is one of my favorites. LaVyrle’s stories are not vast sweeping epics with loads of external conflict. They are journeys of the heart and spirit—where the dramatic arc comes from the characters changing and growing.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson - A sci-fi comedy/cyberpunk parody that was observant and funny and biting twenty years ago when I first read it—and is every bit as enjoyable today.

Line and Orbit by Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem - one of the best sci fi romances I’ve ever read, hands down. I loved the world-building, the sense of time and place. The characters were great and I was really invested really quickly. This could easily be made into the best movie ever. 

Author Bio and Links

Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.

Vanessa North's latest book, Blueberry Boys, a sweet mm romance, releases on Nov 30. Check the blurb and  enjoy an exclusive excerpt .

Book Blurb

Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.

Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.

Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.

Pre-order links: Riptide / Amazon 


Blueberries. Row upon row, acre upon acre. Connor’s arms ached with the memory of his first summer job. The dew glinting off the grass and leaves set his heart thumping thickly in his chest. Six said it was nostalgia, half dozen said grief. He lifted his camera from where it hung heavy around his neck and snapped a few photos. It was early yet; the golden hour hadn’t arrived, so there wouldn’t be any magic in the images. But he hadn’t come out here to make magic. He’d come to make a eulogy.

How many times could one man say good-bye to the same place?

He heard the diesel engine long before he bothered to turn around. This would be Bruce’s—no, Scott and Connor’s—tenant, probably wondering what Connor was doing here. Sure enough, the dually rumbled to a stop beside him, and a slender man about his own age stepped down from the cab. Brown hair and eyes, a hint of crow’s feet around the latter, unremarkable and yet appealing. Beautiful in that way strangers were, before you learned they hated cats or liked the wrong kind of country music.

“This is pr-private property. You c-can’t shoot pictures here.” The tenant’s voice was quiet, but with a firm set to his chin, he clearly meant business.

“It’s okay.” Connor tried to find a smile to offer him, but all he had was his name. “I’m Connor Graham.”

The man’s smile faded, and he ducked his head, swiping his Red Sox hat down and into his palms. “Man. I’m s-sorry. About your uncle.”

“Thank you. You’re the tenant, right? I’m sorry, I don’t know your name.” I hold his future in my hands; I should know his name.

“Jed J-Jones.”

Hell of a name for a man with a stutter.

Jed extended his hand slowly, like an afterthought. Connor reached to grasp it and ended up holding the hat. Jed flushed, grabbed it back, and placed it on his head with an exasperated huff. Then he took Connor’s hand in his, shaking firmly.

Jed’s hands were thin like the rest of him, fingernails stained purple around the edges. Connor didn’t know whether that spoke to his work ethic or his grooming habits, but found these farmer’s hands striking. He let go and lifted his camera.

“May I?”

“It’s your farm.” No bitterness there, just acquiescence.

“No, I mean, may I take your portrait?”

Jed’s face shuttered. “W-what for?”

“Because the first hour after sunrise, the world turns gold and gorgeous. Any minute now, the light is going to catch every bush here on fire—it’s going to be amazing. You’re here, you’re part of it, and I’d like you to be in the photograph.”

“Out here with b-burning bushes?” Jed raised a soft brown eyebrow and smiled.


“I guess.” He shrugged, then took off his baseball cap again. His hair was flattened close to his head, but puffed out a little around his ears. Hat head. Not something Connor was used to seeing in the city among the darlings of the male model set. And yet Jed lifted his chin with a model’s instincts, and the line of his jaw, the jut of his cheekbones were thrown into prominence. Beautiful.

“Here.” Connor pointed to the end of a row of bushes. “Stand just to the right of this one.” He stepped back and waited for the light. Jed studied Connor for a long moment—bemused or annoyed, Connor couldn’t tell—then turned his face to the east and watched in silence.

Jed was painted in gold and rose as the sun crept above the horizon. All around him, the sunlight caught on dew, limning the branches and leaves and casting a halo around Jed’s hair. It was almost enough to make Connor believe in angels. But not quite.

The clicks of Connor’s shutter sounded rapid-fire, loud in the morning stillness. Sure, he’d come out here to take photos of the farm, but this, this was so much better. This was the kind of portrait that won awards—a modern farmer, his baseball cap under his arm as he greeted the dawn. It felt intimate, sacred even. Connor wasn’t a lifestyle photographer, nor a documentarian. A photograph like this, of a man in his element, seemed surreal to someone who plied his trade in the carefully crafted falsehoods of fashion photography.

Jed turned his face back to Connor, smiled, and said, soft as can be, “Ch-cheese.”

Connor snapped a last shot and then lowered the camera. “Thanks.”

Jed ducked his head and nodded.

“I’ll let you go back to work.” Connor gestured to the truck. “I’ll take a few more photos of the farm, if that’s okay.”

“It’s y-your farm.” Jed repeated with a shrug. “I just work it.”

Connor nodded, awkward in the face of Jed’s acceptance of his place here. A place Connor didn’t feel a claim to, and didn’t want to. “Okay, thanks.”

Placing his hat on his head, Jed tipped it gently in Connor’s direction and climbed back into his truck. Connor watched him drive away, ignoring the temptation to photograph the tracks he left in the mud like so much graffiti. Jed was here. He wasn’t what Connor had expected when Marty Sullivan told him there was a tenant living in the main house and working the land.

The farmers he’d known as a child had been men like his uncle—big, brawny, and well used to a day’s work. Jed Jones was built like he’d fall over in a strong wind, with a body more in common with the lithe young things Connor photographed than with the rednecks who’d had no patience for Bruce Graham’s chubby sissy-boy nephew.


Models didn’t say “Cheese.”

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