Saturday, March 22, 2014

I'm a Writer and a Book Nerd and My Book Releases Scare Me. Actually Being a Writer Scares Me. Here's Why...

When I was in second grade Mrs. Guidice let us choose a special treat on our birthdays: she could read an extra chapter of whatever book she was currently reading aloud to us a chapter a day, or she could allow us to play Heads Up Seven Up.

Heads Up Seven Up is a game where seven students are chosen to go to the front of the room while the other students put their heads down and hold their thumbs up. The kids at the front then tiptoe around the classroom, choosing one student whose thumb to push down. When all seven are back at the front, everyone raises his/her head and those lucky thumbs downed students try to guess who pressed their thumbs down. Guess correctly and you got to switch spots; guess, I truly don't remember.
AH! Was that why Mrs. G was so into that game?

On the chilly early October day that marked my birthday, Mrs. Guidice asked what I'd like to do. I immediately chose to have her read an extra chapter from the book version of Willow (yes, Willow, the high fantasy film directed by Ron Howard...and the book had gorgeous illustrations directly from the movie!! How freaking random of Mrs. G!).

Try to resist this...if you can, we are obviously not meant to be friends.

I earned the ire of the entire class.

I couldn't have given a shit less.

You see, Heads Up Seven Up was a game that was nerve-wracking and disappointing. It was mainly a game of giggles for the more popular kids in the class, and it was won by those who had observation skills and social acumen. Considering I was a quiet, bespectacled nerd early on, I had zero desire to play a game that was clearly designed to cater to a certain segment of the class I wasn't part of.

Plus, it was Willow! It was magic and romance, gorgeous scenery that looked nothing like the slightly run-down little city where I went to school at the time, and heroes who were changing the world with their brains and their strength. Even at seven my world was a little too small. I wanted to see more, do more, experience more and books were the key.

Book are the key.
Right on, Mr. King. Right on.

I write. And I love it. Every keystroke, every sleepless night plotting or detailing, every gorgeous story I release, peppered with typos I'm too excited to catch, wordy because I'm a wordy son of a bitch and that's how I write, too long, not sweet enough, not easy enough, not serious enough, too real, too much--I write the way I read; to bring alive some imperfect thing not quite mine that lives inside me, and then to share it.

To share it.

There's the snag.

I guess in my heart I'm still the nerd who wants the teacher to read instead of playing a game. I'm the kid who's sitting out pep rallies to kick my feet up in the cafeteria and dive into the next chapter of my English novel. I'm the teenager who checks the caller id and ignores her boyfriend's call because I'm listening to my CDs and reading the best freaking book ever, and I just don't feel like going out tonight.

My highschool boyfriend was alright, but Valley of the Horses was so damn HOT! Sorry, but Jondalar was all my teenage hormones could handle on a Friday night...
I read instead of playing Angry Birds. I read the whole book to any kid I'm reading to without skipping any parts even if it's the millionth time (even if it's The Pokey Little many puppies, so much dessert, is the mother a dog or a human?!) because I respect the words, all the words. And I read whatthehellever: poetry, the classics, non-fiction, genre fiction, the forgotten, the beloved, the meh, the stuff that makes me shake and wish I could please--fucking please--read it again for the first time.

I mean, she's cooking dessert. So...just the negligent owner of a whole litter of bad wandering puppies? Or a female dog with mad kitchen skills? Mystery.

I read a ton and when something really, really makes my heart pound, makes me sweaty and so full of whatever the hell makes you feel kind of like puking and crying and maybe like you're in a dream you can't wake up from, I tell my best friend. Maybe. When I'm ready. And then she reads it and we talk about it in low, reverent voices, unable to put our fingers what the hell that book did to us.

How the hell can words do that? And how the hell can I do that with my words? 

May I one day be lucky enough to figure out how to do that with my words.

C'mon fucking Angela's Ashes. Why do you have to be so gorgeous and so sad and so wonderful and so raw?

But writing and reading in this day and age is shifting. That's not exactly a complaint...more an unseen twist in a story I thought I knew the ending to. I'm not some curmudgeon shaking her fist at the kids these days...I'm not.

I don't think.

Grumpy Cat
Not me. Can't be. I love smiling. Smiling is my favorite ;)!

But I'm also not quite able to join the frolic of euphoric book fandom. Not that I haven't tried. Of course I have. And I will keep trying, in my own way, as much as I can. I have an agent, I've worked with publishers--whether or not they say so overtly, they want you to tweet and share your book news and use EXCLAMATION POINTS (and who the hell am I to ever turn my nose up at an exclamation point!?!)...but it feels...

This looks fun. It really does. But it makes me feel so tiiiired. Because I'm old. And introverted.

As a writer, releasing a book is like being in second grade on my b-day.

And I want to just sit back and have a story shared in the quiet, sun-speckled room, my chin in my hand, my eyes glazed over so I see past the blackboard, past the podium where my teacher reads and into somewhere far away. Somewhere that makes the hair stand up on my arms if I'm lucky.

Hello, heaven.

But it's not like that. It's loud. It's social and exciting and has this party feel, which is awesome. Who would be crazy enough to complain about people loving books so much they shout it from the social networking rooftops?

The thing is--damnit--I'm still the nerd.

I getcha, Charlie. I do.

So to me the day I release is like the biggest, craziest game of Heads Up Seven Up.

Or a pep rally.

Or maybe the game, then the rally.

And, remember, I'm still the nerd. Chances are, even on my birthday, my thumb will hardly be in the game and the pep rally will be all about a bunch of sports I'm not playing. I don't begrudge the players all that excitement.

I just don't quite get it. I'm an introvert at heart, and books were always the one kind of pure fun and craziness that was so quiet and private before, so it was the one realm that made perfect sense for an experience lover who'd rather sit in bed on Friday night than go to an insane party. Now that books are so much more social, I feel a little lost.

I've been curled up for months reading and writing, and it makes my introverted heart soar. It's nerd paradise. But I'm releasing a book again, and of course I'm going to talk about it and be genuinely happy when other people reach out and share and shout and are genuinely wonderful, because it's fucking nice.


But even at my own parties I've always been the wallflower, and I'm still trying to figure out how to mingle without being shallow. I'm not sure I'll ever figure it out, and I think that's alright.

12 Fresh and Fun Party Decor Tips From Brad Goreski's Book Release Party
So this guy wrote a book and this is how he celebrated it. But he's a man who knows all about fashion and sociability and networking and parties...I, on the other hand, when asked by my mother what the theme for my kid's b-day was, answered, "Um. Happy birthday?"

Because, outside the noise and fun and chatter, what books are really about--truly--are those moments when you connect to this new world, to this cast of characters, to this emotive network that makes you feel tremendous and small and malleable and forever in time, and that moment has to be private.

It has to be, immediately, you and those words only.

Sure, you can blog and tweet and share after, but you can only live that moment one-on-one, you and the book.

A group of people reading : Stock Photo
Now there's my kind of party!

So there you go. I've come to the end of my own puzzle and realized that I'm still right where I need to be. Things have changed, but they haven't. Book-lovers are all lost in that internal place we can all acknowledge but never mention while we're there, but we can still be there together. Just be with and in and of the story.

And I guess, really, that's the only place anyone who loves books ever wants to be at after all.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


RIPTIDES is live!

The fifth book in the Lengths series, RIPTIDES is live! (Fifth book?? has it really only been just over a year since Lengths came out? Wowza!) 

I know we say this after each of the books in the series, but Riptides may be my favorite installment of the crew from Silver Strand. Steph and I hope you'll check it out, and if you do, consider leaving a review on your favorite site! 

You can find RIPTIDES on Amazon USAmazon UK and Barnes & Noble
Right now, kobo is a big question mark,but iTunes will be live soon! :)

I know I've said it 1,000 times, but seriously, one of the best parts of this author-gig is meeting so many rad people that I probably wouldn't have connected with otherwise.(Readers, other authors, PR reps, agents...the list of awesome goes on!) 

One of my fav contemporary romance authors, and all-around adorable human being is CORA CARMACK, and when Steph & I realized we're sharing a release date for the newest book in the Lengths SeriesRIPTIDES, and Cora's latest book, FINDING IT , we thought it'd be fun to meet up and celebrate! 

But since we can't actually do that, the next best thing was to interview each other. 

So! Here's the lovely Cora Carmack!
(Okay, so this is really the lovely Steph Campbell AND Cora, but after this it's all her!)
You recently relocated from Texas to New York. 
I read that one of your first nights there, your new building caught fire. 
What’d you grab on your way down the fire escape?

CORA: Baha. Yes, that was my grand welcome to New York. I didn’t hear the alarm at first. It didn’t go off in my apartment, and my TV was too loud for me to hear the general building alarm. I started smelling smoke, but didn’t think anything of it. Eventually, I noticed that there were people outside on the sidewalk and put two and two together. I laid my hand against the door (thanks Elementary field trips for teaching me that), and it wasn’t hot. But when I opened the door, the smoke was thick enough that I couldn’t see anything. I closed the door again, threw on my shoes, shoved my phone in my pocket and my computer in my purse. Then I snatched up my cat (who was luckily asleep or she no doubt would have ran off just to spite me), and exited into the smoke. It was pretty terrifying, but luckily there was nothing more than smoke damage.

You wrote an Angry Girl-- Max in Faking It. We have our own version in LENGTHS--Whit.***SPOILER ALERT*** Both are trying to lose their past’s after the grief of the loss of their sibling proves too much to handle. They both move away from their families, get tattoo’s and find their own version of a good guy that loves them fiercely. Do you think Max and Whit could ever be friends, or is that just too much boldness for one room?

CORA: I think they could TOTALLY be friends. In fact, I think they’d be a force to be reckoned with. I think Max would actually love the challenge. Once they gave each other a hard time, I think they’d end up fast friends. And all the men in their lives would be in for a wild ride. :)

If you could set up any of your own characters with a character 
from another author's book, which characters would they be?

CORA: Ooo… that’s a good question. SECRET TIME. I have a major thing for Draco Malfoy. What can I say? I like a bad boy in need of redemption. So, he can just have whichever of my characters he wants (and me… he can totally have me).

*nerd alert* :)

Which of your characters do you think you are the most like?

CORA: I’m a mix between Max and Bliss. My sense of humor and my perspective are closest to Max. But Bliss’s awkwardness and her over-active mind are totally me. 

One word to describe yourself?

CORA: Antithetical.

I’m a walking contradiction most days.

If you could go back in time and give teenage Cora one piece of advice, 
what would it be?

CORA: Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing because it all led me to where I am. So, I think I would just tell myself to keep going. All the hard work will pay off. 

Thanks for stopping by, Cora! And congrats on another stellar release! 

If you haven't scooped up her companion series beginning with LOSING IT, you really must! And be sure to grab FINDING IT tomorrow, October 15!

You can find Cora on her blogTwitterFacebook and Goodreads! 

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

DRIFT Cover Reveal!

Steph Campbell and I have been busy working on Enzo's novella and some readers have said, "WHAT?! Novella? Noooooooooo!!" 

First, no worries! It's a longish novella...because we have lots of words pent up inside of us! Secondly, even less worries, because there is a reason RIPTIDES is a novella. We are planning a release for our fifth full-length LENGTHS novel starring Lydia, that Rodriguez sister we all love to hate. Steph and I love to peel back the crabby exterior of a tough girl to see what makes her tick, and Lydia and Isaac are currently making this fall very, very hot! DRIFT will be available November 12, so RIPTIDES is a bridge novella to keep you updated on the Silver Strand clan and all their hilarity before we get to Lydia's story!

Please feel free to share the cover/blurb wherever you'd like if you so desire, and thank you very much for reading! Now I have to go write about Lydia and Isaac...have I mentioned how much I enjoy my job?

There’s no way Lydia--oldest and most responsible of the tight-knit Rodriguez clan--is going to let her nosy family find out about the uncharacteristic work screw-up that landed her a paid suspension. To keep busy and avoid panic, she enrolls in a life enrichment class. The first guest speaker is a handsome artist with a wicked smile and eyes that melt right through her.
Even the “ice princess” can’t help but feel an immediate spark that lights her blood on fire.  

Isaac Ortiz is unquestionably the sexiest man Lydia has ever met. The talented son of a famous Spanish artist, he’s constantly moving from one new glamorous city to another, working if and when the muse visits him.

He also has a stare that makes Lydia’s heart race and hands that look more than capable of making her scream with pleasure. She shouldn’t be attracted to this free-spirit who makes all his own rules--but she is.

There’s just one hiccup....Isaac is nineteen.

Lydia has lived her entire life firmly inside the box, and being with a younger man is definitely outside the safe confines she enjoys.

So why can’t she stay away from him? And why is she seriously considering his proposition to take off to a place she’s never been...just because?

When Lydia is invited back to work with a cleared name, she should be overjoyed.

But the reality is, Lydia doesn’t know what anchors her life anymore...or if she wants to be anchored at all. Should she travel the world with Isaac? Or continue down the road that she’s worked long and hard to pave for herself? Choosing one means losing the other, and Lydia isn’t sure if she’s ready to drift with the current that’s pulling her by the heart.

And! Here's the cover, designed by our fav guy, Todd Maloy!