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This experience happened because of an Instagram story. Ashley Iaconetti posted that someone could come have dinner with her, Jared Haibon (her fiancé) and Ben Higgins. And I was like, "I want to have dinner with Ashley and Jared." I'd been fans of them and their love story for the last three years. While on "Bachelor in Paradise" it seemed as if they'd never get together. Then US Weekly posted a picture of them hanging out at a charity event from Ashley's Instagram account. And I was like, "If Ashley and Jared are hanging out, I need to know this." So I joined Instagram and began following her, pretty routinely commenting on her pics with Jared that they needed to get together and get married ASAP.

Things finally happened and they are now ridiculously in love and happy and even wrote a children's book together. IHeartRadio was offering a fan the chance to come and hang out with some Bachelor Nation stars via a charity auction that was benefitting the American Red Cross. And I was like, "Yep. Going to win that."

Obviously I did win, even though someone tried hard to outbid me at the end. I ended up paying more than I had wanted to, but it was all good. I had to quickly make arrangements to fly out to California, rent a car, get a hotel room, etc. The event was at a woman's clothing store, Planet Blue, in Malibu. I got to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway with a beach view almost the entire way. Gorgeous.

One of the producers invited me to arrive when she did, at 4:30. I got to meet the IHeartRadio team, and there was a Planet Blue staff member named Mary who had been assigned to help me with anything I needed (since part of the package was a $250 gift card to shop at the store). They were setting up a table for Ben and Ashley to do their Almost Famous podcast, and I noticed that they were doing goody/swag bags. I offered to help, and everyone protested, saying it was my day and that I didn't need to do anything. I insisted, given that I was literally standing around doing nothing, and they gave in. Annaliese Puccini also helped out, and it took me a second to realize that she had been on Bachelor in Paradise, as well. She was so extremely sweet and easy to talk to. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend chatting with her.

Ben Higgins showed up next and came over to introduce himself to me when their producer Amy pointed me out. He was solicitous and enthusiastic and honestly, even more charming and handsome in real life than he is on TV (I would say that was true of all the Bachelor Nation stars who attended – you know they're gorgeous, but it's kind of surprising how much more you notice it in real life). I grabbed a photo with him, and I'm nearly six feet and had heels on and you can see that he was still taller than me. He worked the room, greeting all the fans who had come to watch the podcast (i.e., gawk at him and take pictures since you couldn't hear a single word of the podcast given the constant noise level in the room. I'm honestly shocked that they were able to record anything given how loud it was).

Jade and Tanner Tolbert arrived with their darling little girl Emmy in tow. You know how some people adore dogs and will talk to/play with every dog they come across? Yeah, I'm that way with babies. I love babies and little kids. She kept getting into my purse and I thought it was adorable. I'm sure Jade and Tanner were like, "Who is this crazy person who is crouching down on the floor with our daughter?" Emmy did get upset because there were balloons all over the place and she couldn't have one. I went over and yanked one of the balloons away from the decorations and gave it to Emmy, telling the Tolberts they could blame me if anyone got upset. Since I was the auction winner and everyone was being so nice to me, I figured they wouldn't get too mad. They took a picture with me, too.

Ashley and Jared FINALLY arrived. There's this massive plate glass window in Planet Blue and I saw them arriving and was so giddy I took a picture of them OUTSIDE in the parking lot. They came in and I made a beeline for them, introducing myself. I'm fairly certain I came off as a crazy person, because...yeah. I was sort of crazy in that moment. They were very nice but since they were the last to arrive, Ashley had to start the podcast. Jared set about hand selling his co-written book with Ashley, "Lucy and Clark." He offered to sign the books for the fans, and since I always have a Sharpie on me (just in case for signing books myself), I loaned it to him. With the provision that he give it back to me. (Anyone want to lay odds on whether or not I got my Sharpie back?)

There were entertainment reporters there from US Weekly and E! News. (There may have been more, but those are the ones I was aware of). They interviewed the stars, and the cast rotated to have a chance to chat on air with Ben and Ashley on the Almost Famous podcast. There were several girls there from Colton's season, which wasn't something I realized for a couple of hours. In big part because I haven't watched his season past the second episode. I now know (after looking them up) that Heather, Kirpa, Jane, Tracy and Bri were the women there.

The podcast took a break and Ben immediately got up from the table and made his way over to me to say hi, check in and chat with me a little bit. I was very impressed by his gentleman-like behavior and desire to make sure I was comfortable and happy. He really didn't have do to it, but he did. Ashley and Jared would talk to me here and there when they had a second, and I think they were surprised that I had come to see them and not Ben (my guess is Ben is usually the draw for events like this).

During that break the reporters asked for everyone from the Bachelor to come over for a group shot. I headed over too, excited to get a picture of everyone together. Ben approached Amy and then walked back over to the group. Amy immediately turned to me and said, "Sariah! Come get in the photo!" Which means it was Ben's doing. Again, I was touched by his thoughtfulness. He told me to stand in the middle, and I'm afraid I was kind of blocking poor Kirpa because Ben is a little overwhelmingly charming to be honest, and you kind of want to do whatever he asks you to do. LOL

I stepped out of the picture and they got the rest of the group together (minus Jade and Tanner, who left for a bit). Jared and Annaliese stopped to talk with me after the photo for a little while as Ben and Ashley resumed their podcast. It was getting late, and I did my shopping. I got a gorgeous black cardigan/duster that is made of the softest material ever. Mary told me it was perfect for flights, and I can testify that she is correct. It was like wearing a blanket. I bought a pair of comfy yoga/sweat pants made of the same kind of material and a leather bracelet for my daughter. When I was returning my wallet to my purse Ashley made a sad face at me and mouthed the words, "Sorry," since their podcast was running long and keeping us from dinner. I smiled and waved it off—I was having a blast and had no problem waiting.

About that time Nick Viall showed up. I took a couple of pictures of him across the room chatting with a reporter. I didn't go over to try and meet him because honestly? I was starting to get a little tired and worn out. And then the producers wanted us to head over to Mr. Chow's, which was right next door to Planet Blue. I grabbed my stuff and headed over with Annaliese, the Colton season girls and Jade and Tanner. I did tell everyone that I wanted to sit next to Jared and Ashley at dinner. Which was probably rude of me, but I hadn't come all that way and paid all that money to miss out on that chance!

I chatted with the people at the table, including Tori the producer. We talked about college and majoring in history (me) and sociology (her) and how much we loved learning about past cultures and civilizations. I mentioned that I probably should have majored in anthropology and one of the Colton girls said, "I love that store!" I did not laugh. :D I also talked quite a bit with Annaliese about her love life, the show and what it's like to live in Northern California.

When Jared arrived, Tanner told him what I'd said and Jared pulled up an extra chair at the end of the table (which he called the head) and told me to sit there. Between him and Ashley. Which was the best, as far as I was concerned, but I didn't want to separate them. He told me it was fine, they slept in the same bed and could sit apart at one dinner. LOL Ashley showed up not long after that with Ben and Nick. Ben again stopped to say hi, and then Nick made his way over to introduce himself, which surprised me. I did tell him that I started liking him because he was friends with Ashley and I figured if she liked him he must be a good guy. It was only after the words were out of my mouth that I realized it might sound insulting, but that wasn't my intention! He was nice about it though.

I had the best time talking to Ashley and Jared. As I sat there at the dinner (where the meal was served family style), I realized that there's a reason these people are picked to be on The Bachelor and the other accompanying shows. They are dynamic, charming, extroverted, people-loving, witty and outgoing. There's a reason you're drawn to them and want to watch them on screen. The show doesn't always get that right (hello, Arie), but for the most part, this is a really FUN group of people who know how to have a good time. To say I was entertained would have been an understatement.

I got to tell Ashley why I was a fan and how excited I was when she and Jared FINALLY got together. They held hands several times over my plate. They told me I could join in on the handholding, but I declined. LOL Jared did an impersonation of what it would be like to meet the aggressively nice Tom Cruise that ended with Jared declaring, "Guess I'm a Scientologist now" that had me laughing so hard I was afraid I'd spew the food in my mouth. We talked about movies and books and the show itself, with them sharing some behind the scenes things that I'd suspected about various cast members. At one point Ashley told me that she felt like she already knew me, which is how I've always felt about her, and I figure is why I was drawn to her the first time I saw her on TV. She also said I reminded her of Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls!) which I thought was such a nice compliment.

We laughed and chatted and time seemed to fly by. I did ask them at one point to make a video saying hi to my husband, which they did (and he has watched like four times now, he's a fan too!) I didn't think to take pictures or videos of the group because unlike the earlier event, which was designed for them to be "on" for the public and taking photos, this was more personal and it wouldn't have felt right. I was really caught up in the moment, loving everything that was happening and wouldn't have wanted to mar it in any way.

I gave Ashley and Jared a couple of my books for them to read--#Starstruck for Ashley (since she's such a fangirl like me, I thought she'd like it) and #Awestruck for Jared (NFL player in it, and he loves football!). They both promised to read them.

It started to get late, and Jade and Tanner needed to go to put Emmy in bed (and she had adorably spent the evening drawing on the table cloth with her crayons). They both said goodbye to me and hugged all their friends. Ben and Nick were next, and again, both made the effort to come down and shake my hand and say good night to me. Nick picked up #Awestruck and remarked that the hero looked like Maks from Dancing with the Stars, something several of my readers had said, as well. I had totally forgotten Nick was on that show.

And I think given the effort everyone else was making with me, that the Colton girls thought I might be someone important, and they all came by to introduce themselves/say goodbye to me before they left. Which I thought was sweet.

So it was Amy, me, Ashley and Jared. We talked for a long time until Amy had to go, leaving the three of us. I would have been happy to sit there all night with them—I love that I have things in common with them both and can relate to them on those different levels. Jared and I had a very serious conversation about Star Wars. :D But the restaurant staff started giving us looks, and we figured it was time to go. Ashley offered to drive halfway with me to make sure I got back okay, which was so nice, but I told her that I had my GPS and had found my way here, I'd make it back fine. (Which I did!)

Out in the parking lot they both hugged me goodbye, promising to hang out if I made it back to California or if they came out to Park City again (!). Jared offered me a copy of their book, and I told them it was okay, I already had one. He offered again, and I figured, why turn down a chance to get a book straight from their hands that's autographed? In pen, mind you, because Jared had indeed lost my Sharpie. LOL

We said good night and got into our cars.

The only way I can think of to describe this is like when you go on the best date of your life. Everything just clicked, you connected, you had the most incredible time. I don't know if Jared and Ashley felt the same, but for me it was beyond amazing and an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Worth every penny. :D
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#MOONSTRUCKOver one million "likes"—but only one of them matters.

After pop star Ryan De Luna praises Maisy Harrison's YouTube cover of his classic hit, he offers Maisy and her fledgling band the opportunity of a lifetime: to be his opening act.

Music may be Maisy's life, but she has one ground rule: never date a musician. That goes double for a heartbreaker like Ryan. If only she didn't feel so vulnerable to his larger-than-life charm. And maybe now more than ever, when he asks for her help to shake off his playboy image. How can she resist playing the part of his fake girlfriend for the duration of the tour?

Ryan's never met anyone like Maisy. She sees past all the star-studded fame and treats him like any other guy. And the more time they spend together, the more he finds himself falling for her. Now he'd like to make their imaginary fling an IRL thing. But can he convince her to take a chance and trust him with her heart?

"...sassy banter, hilarious texts, and a breezy style...takes readers on a musical road trip that will leave them smiling..." Library Journal

"...skillfully drawn characters, deliciously snarky sense of humor, and vividly evoked music-business settings add up to a supremely satisfying love story that will be music to romance readers' ears." John Charles, Booklist starred review



You can buy it now at these fine retailers:

Amazon       Audible.com       Barnes & Noble       Walmart       Target
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[Image]Have you ever wondered what would happen if you met your favorite celebrity? What if he showed a romantic interest in you? Those questions and a real-life experience with my teenage celebrity crush helped to inspire the idea for my just-released novel #Starstruck. Keep reading for the slightly mortifying story of what happened when I met the oh-so-dreamy Stephen Dorff in person.

The summer after I graduated from high school, I scored some free Disneyland tickets to see my favorite music group perform live. I dragged one of my best friends, Kenyetta, along with me and my family. We, of course, ditched my large family immediately and went to the concert. After the show Kenyetta indicated that she needed to get money from the ATM, so we headed out toward the front gates and got into the line.

There was a shorter guy in front of me, flanked by two taller men. He turned around briefly and my heart stopped. It was actor Stephen Dorff. Being a lifelong fangirl (before being online was a thing), I bought teen magazines by the truckload and cut out pictures of my favorites to hang up. I'd seen Stephen in "The Power of One" and had thought he was so, so cute. His picture literally hung on my bedroom wall. And now that gorgeous, drool-worthy man was standing right in front of me.

I turned and whispered frantically to Kenyetta, "That's Stephen Dorff."

"Who?" she asked me, confused.

He wasn't as well known then (his infamous roles in Aerosmith's "Cryin'" video with Alicia Silverstone and "Everytime" with Britney Spears were still a ways off), but pop culture connoisseur that I was (still am), I knew EXACTLY who he was. I was giddy with excitement.

And I didn't know what to do about it. (Pre-selfie days, remember?)

I apparently wasn't very quiet as I tried to explain all this to my friend. He must have overheard me because he turned around and flashed me a brilliant, movie star-esque smile. "Hey. How's it going?"

Me (squealing inside as my heart pounded and my palms turned sweaty): "You're Stephen Dorff, aren't you?"

He laughed and nodded. "Yeah."

"I need your autograph. Will you sign something for me? No one is going to believe this! Stay right here." I didn't wait for his answer. I had to find a pen, because I didn't have a pen. Somebody HAD to have a pen. Despite the fact that I am a total introvert, I approached multiple strangers asking if they had a pen. I finally found a purple Disney themed one at the fourth family I spoke to, where I promised to bring it back immediately (and may have even promised my firstborn, that's how desperately I needed a writing utensil). Stephen and his friends looked beyond amused as I returned.

[Image]I handed him my Disneyland ticket stub, the only thing I had that he could sign. He autographed it for me and I think he asked us a question, which I couldn't hear because I was FREAKING OUT.

Then, totally unprompted, I proceeded to announce, "I have a picture of you on my bedroom wall!" That made him and his friends laugh, and they elbowed him and teased him about that one.

He handed the ticket stub back to me, and I had to return the pen. When I came back, he was in the middle of using the ATM. One of his buddies also got some cash out and while we waited Stephen said, "My friends and I are going dancing here in the park at 7:00. Would you guys like to meet up with us?"

Now, had I been in my right mind, the obvious answer to such a question from a Movie Star/Poster Guy From Your Wall is "That sounds like fun!" or "Maybe we can work that into our schedule" or "YES, YES, OMG YES."

What did I say?

"We have to meet my mom at 7:00."

Not only that, but my brain did not comprehend what had just happened or how ridiculously uncool I'd just been (I had to meet my mom? Huh?).

"Oh. Okay. Cool. See you around," he said. We said goodbye and I stood there, slack jawed, unable to process. He was so, so pretty. A little short for me, but ridiculously hot.

Kenyetta slid in her bank card. "What is wrong with you?"

"What?"

"Your actor just asked you out, and you said no."

"He what?" Now, I'm not a dumb person. My only explanation is that I'd never met a celebrity before and was so frazzled by the whole thing I didn't see what was happening right in front of me.

She pointed the direction he had gone. "He asked us to go dancing, like on a date, and you said no."

My brain sputtered at this information. What? He'd asked me out? I said no? When had any of that happened?

It took me a minute to realize the truth of what she said. I grabbed her by the sleeve, desperate to fix my mistake. "Come on."

We tried to catch up to him and his friends, but I never saw him again. We tried to find him that evening at the music venue in Tomorrowland, but he didn't show up.

Which was probably a good thing as I was a very naïve and innocent 17-year-old and Stephen Dorff...was not.

But now, every time that I see him on screen (such as his recent role as Star's father on Fox's "Star") I get a little smile and remember that day and wonder what might have been.

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For those of you who don't know him, he's one of the stars of TV show "Jane the Virgin." I got to chat with him via Skype recently and he spontaneously and kindly offered to make this Instagram Story for me.



Have I mentioned that I heart him?
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The idea for #Starstruck came from a couple different places. First off, I am a lifelong fangirl. Of various shows, actors/actresses and genres. The times in my life when I've been able to meet and/or talk to my favorite celebrities I had to try hard not to hyperventilate.

And as such, I follow some of my favorite people on Twitter, including actor Justin Baldoni, one of the stars of Jane the Virgin. I have been a fan of his character (and the man portraying him) since day one. The main character Jane was caught up in a love triangle between Michael and Rafael, so occasionally I would tweet my #TeamRafael allegiance.

One time, Justin favorited my tweet. And despite my supposed maturity, I actually squealed in excitement. Until I realized I was being stupid, given that it was probably an assistant or publicist. I said as much and he immediately responded, "No, it's me." More squeals and hyperventilating. (This exchange made its way into the book, just switched up a little!)

Second, as a teen fangirl, I remember feeling like if my Hollywood crushes just got to know me, the real me, they would like me. I'm glad I came of age in a pre-social media age; I would have been one of those teens constantly tweeting, messaging and probably cyber stalking my favorites.

Which leads me to the last thing that inspired this book – actor Jake T. Austin. He had a super fan by the name of Danielle Caesar. She tweeted him, a lot, for five years. She was determined to meet him (which I totally get, having felt that way myself in the past). What she had in her favor was her location – she lived in New York and was finally able to meet him in person at a meet and greet in the city. They took a picture together. And whatever happened in those few minutes while they chatted must have been magical.

Because now? They've been very happily dating for over a year. Jake announced their relationship status in an Instagram post (where they're cutely kissing) and the Internet lost its collective mind. In a, "Wait – if she can go from fan to girlfriend, SO CAN I" kind of way (I can only imagine the intensity/deluge of tweets directed at celebrities right after!)

I thought their story was adorable and knew that I had to make my own fictionalized rendering. Mine has the world's biggest movie star falling for a fan over Twitter, long before they meet. I did a lot of research about real life couples who fell in love the same way, and it was amazing to see how reading someone's tweets made their new significant other feel as if they already knew them. Like Date 1 was actually Date 20. People fell hard and fast.

Just like our grandparents (or great-grandparents) would often fall in love via letters, we've kind of come full circle. We tweet, we email, we message, we post. We've gone back to using the written word to court and woo one another.

Which is exactly how Chase and Zoe begin to fall in love with one another in #Starstruck. Be sure to check it out!

https://www.amazon.com/Starstruck-Lovestruck-Novel-Sariah-Wilson-ebook/dp/B074H6T1VZ
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