Today I am so pleased to welcome J.E. Birk to Joyfully Jay. J.E. has come to talk to us about her latest release, Dating Ryan Alback. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Writing My First Rom-Com

When I first developed the premise for Dating Ryan Alback, I had just finished writing my novella The Worst Bad Thing. FYI for those who haven’t read The Worst Bad Thing: it is SAD. That book was my catharsis as I wrote through some horrible things that were happening in a community I loved very much. Writing that book got me through some incredibly difficult moments…and I’m pretty sure I cried on a daily basis while working on it.

Yeah. Life’s hard sometimes, as we all know. So I finished The Worst Bad Thing, got some catharsis, and then had to decide what I wanted to write next. I knew right away that I wanted to write a romantic comedy.

I have always loved romantic comedies, and I have a particular soft spot for the truly fluffy ones. The ones that allow you to completely escape and fall into a dreamy world where life’s hardships are overcome with comedy and the characters’ happiness is often at the forefront. As much as I loved writing The Worst Bad Thing, and as much as that book will always have a special place in my heart, writing it took a lot out of me emotionally. I needed to write a story where even I, the author, could use it to escape into a world of wit and humor.

And so I began outlining Dating Ryan Alback.

Dating Ryan Alback is, by far, the least angsty novel I have ever written. Sure, the characters have problems and conflicts, but at the end of the day escapism is the name of this novel. It’s a place to go when you want to laugh, spend some time with some sweet but misguided characters, and watch two very confused people fall into strange situations that eventually lead them to love.

In short: this is not that novel to read if you’re hoping for a good cry. But if you’ve just come off that good cry and you want to spend some time smiling? I hope this will be the book for you.

By the time I finished writing Dating Ryan Alback, I was surprised to discover that writing it had actually become as cathartic as writing The Worst Bad Thing, but in an entirely different way. Writing Dating Ryan Alback reminded me of all the sweetness this world can offer. It reminded me the importance of humor and light in everyday life.

Will I write another romantic comedy? Honestly, I’m not sure. Angst tends to come easier for me. But I loved writing this book, and the next time I need to cheer myself up, I will definitely look to the romantic comedy section of my “writing ideas” folder.


DatingRyanAlback_500x750Ryan Alback has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a successful acting career, a dog who adores him, great family and friends, and a life outside the closet. The only thing missing is a boyfriend—but Ryan’s been burned by Hollywood relationships before, and he’s not eager to try one again.

Jason Santos has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a fulfilling career teaching middle school, a house in a city he loves, and parents who support him in every way. Too bad he can’t seem to forget the ex-boyfriend who rejected his marriage proposal.

When a talk show host launches a dating contest to find Ryan a boyfriend and Jason accidentally wins, neither of them expect anything to come from it. Yet somewhere between a disastrous massage and a mud sinkhole, they both start to wonder if this date could be more than just a public relations stunt. But before they can move into the future, they’ll both have to learn to let go of the past.


J.E. Birk has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them since she was introduced to the alphabet. She hails from Colorado, where you can usually find her skiing, training for a 5K she won’t end up running, or watching people run into each other on football fields and in hockey rinks. You can follow her ramblings on Twitter by looking for @jebirkwrites. She’s also been known to ramble on Facebook as J Elisabeth Birk.

Connect with J.E. Birk:


To celebrate the release of Dating Ryan Alback, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide Publishing credit and their choice of ebook from J.E.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post