Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Now It's Time to Beg...

So, you know that dream you have where you're out in public naked and you're totally embarrassed? I keep having that. Except I'm fully clothed.


My mortification comes from the fact that, in my dream, I'm at my first ever author event and only seven people show up.

Seven.

Out of all the people I know in this world, only seven are at my book event, and three of them are library staff. Yep, this is my recurring dream right now.

Thank goodness for melatonin, or I would be getting no sleep at all this week.

My first ever author event is tomorrow. As in 26 hours from now. (Eeek, pause for momentary freak out).


I will be doing a reading, discussion and book signing at the Waterford Public Library. Yes, it is a small library. No, it is not Barnes & Noble. I'm totally okay with that. Actually, I'm more than okay. I'm really happy that my first ever author event is in Waterford. I grew up going to the Waterford Public Library on a weekly basis (back when it was in the Town Hall). I can still see it in my head, the marble floors in the foyer. The children's side, the adult side. And the books (not to mention the puppets in the back which my mother never ever let me check out). I read book after book in that library. I did the summer reading programs there. Mrs. Ronissi (sorry if I spelled that wrong) was the librarian my whole childhood. I grew to love reading in that library. It is only fitting that I start my career as a writer there. Never did I even begin to imagine that my books would be on the shelf in that library.

I am IN the library. How cool is that?


So, this is where I get all desperate and beg. Please come out and see me. Listen to me read from my book. Participate in the discussion. If you feel so inclined, purchase one (or both) of my books and let me sign it for you. Be a body in the room so that there are more than seven people there. 



WHEN:  Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm

                117 3rd Street, Waterford, NY

Another book for the TBR pile...

Today, I'm excited to participate in the cover reveal for fellow author Heather McCoubrey. Without further ado, here is the beautiful cover for her second novel, Back to December.

Back to December


Here's what you need to know about the Book Back to December:

Thanks to an abusive mother and an absent father, Anna Blackhurst has only known the love of two people: her Gram and her best friend, Niki.

When Anna meets Cooper Reed in a smoky club, she’s immediately drawn to his good looks but isn’t prepared to open herself up to a relationship. As time passes, Anna finds herself falling in love with Cooper and she begins to rethink her future. Maybe, despite her childhood, she can have a happy-ever-after.

But when her mother is in a terrible accident, she again sinks her claws into Anna and Anna’s world is thrown upside down. Despite Cooper’s unwavering support, Anna walks away only to regret it immediately. In order to heal, not only herself, but her broken relationship, Anna must stand up for herself and accept that the only way she's going to be happy is if she grabs ahold of it herself. 


You should know that you will have to wait until June 20, 2014 to purchase this book, but it will be worth the wait!


And here's what you need to know about the Author:

Heather McCoubrey is a native of Maine but having moved all over the U.S. as a child, she doesn’t sound like one. She’s been writing since middle school when a teacher taught her she could create her own stories instead of just reading them. That year she had some of her first poems published in the school magazine and from there she graduated to writing a full-length novel in high school (which has been collecting dust on her shelf ever since!). She is the self-published author of To Love Twice, her debut novel. Her second novel, Back to December, is scheduled to be released in June 2014 and the novel that’s been collecting dust on the shelf, Emily’s Choice, is scheduled to be released in October 2014. Heather resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, two children, Rex the chihuahua and Fatty the goldfish. When she’s not being super-mom and wife, she ekes out time to write, watch football, practice her British accent and dream of living on an island where it’s eighty degrees year-round.


You can find Heather McCoubrey on:
Her blog, Romantic Escapes: http://heathermccoubrey.com

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Giving Away My Children's Childhood

Pardon me while I wipe the tears away. I'm cleaning out. And it is such hard work. Not because of the physical difficulty, but the emotional. I'm giving away my children's childhood.

I'm not, I know. I'm giving away their toys. Those objects that occupied my kids for hours on end and brought them endless joy. It makes me sad to part with these brightly colored, loud, light-up monstrosities. As it was, Elmo Live! was still yelling at me to sing and dance. But as I packed Elmo away (face down because I'm kind of cruel), this is what I'm really thinking about:


Also, my son HATED any of those toys that sang and danced. Until this Christmas, he was terrified of them and this Elmo is the one that helped him over his fear.

I packed up my diaper bags and Baby Bjorn. The diaper bag/backpack that I took when we went to Hawaii when my son was not even two.

Hardest for me is the Fisher Price Little People. The farm set has been kicking around our house for nine years. My daughter spent hours upon hours in her room with them all set up.



I'm certainly happy to be freeing up space in closets, the playroom and the basement. We're going to start the process of finishing our basement and the first step is cleaning it out. This will certainly help. Then, the playroom will get moved to the basement/family room and I will get an official office. It is all good and this hard work needs to be done first. I know it. I just can't figure out why I have such an emotional attachment to stuff.

My kids want for nothing (unless you ask them and I'm sure they could list all the things that they don't have). They have and have had more toys than they even know what to do with. They will not miss most of what I'm giving away. And we're donating to a good cause. It is all for large non-profit garage sale that is held every year to benefit people living with Multiple Sclerosis. Hopefully, this helps the cause.

I know that giving away these toys does not change the quality of my children's childhood, other than to teach them how to be charitable. It won't change the good times. Keeping the toys will not make them little again.



I know that there are people out there who can just give things away. I talked to a woman recently who was looking to give away her wedding dress. She said she gives away everything and hates that she has to keep some mementos for her kids. I envy that ability. I haven't even give away the supplies I used to make the favors for my wedding.

So, I keep cleaning and piling stuff up. My donation pile is impressive. Somehow there is not as much room as I thought there'd be, but it is a start. I am happy to have the stuff out, but I still feel guilty. My kids are growing up too fast, even without me giving it away.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm Getting a Makeover!

Well, not me but my blog and my image. (I actually sort of already gave myself a makeover by chopping all my hair off.)

One of the things that I've learned is about branding. As an author, I had never thought much about branding, but it is hugely important. It is one of the reasons why Good Intentions got its own makeover when it did. Now, all my books will have a uniform look and my name will always look the same on each book.

A friend of mine came up with the brilliant idea to create me a logo. She is working on it and it will play a large roll in all of my stuff from this point on. I hope you all like it because it will be all over my media pages.

Part of branding includes a cohesion and consistency so that you will see the logo or brand and immediately think of my product--think the Nike swoosh.

I've also worked on coming up with a slogan to describe what it is I write about. I get kind of giddy thinking about how it is all coming together.

So, be patient. We're under construction here. I hope you all like the big reveal!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Art Imitating Life ... Unfortunately

You know how you mull an idea over in your head, but are unsure how to act? And then you get some great cosmic sign, and you know what the answer is.

That happened to me today in the form of Peaches Geldof. Daughter of singer Bob Geldof, she was found dead, at the too young age of 25. Her mother died of a drug overdose in 2000.

This news in no way affects my life, even in the slightest. Except for what I am voluntarily immersing myself in on a daily basis. That is, novel number three. Without giving too much away, the storyline involves the aftermath on a family, particularly the main character, when her twin sister succumbs to her mental illness and addictions and commits suicide.

The idea for the story was largely inspired by an acquaintance of mine who disappeared last February. Her body was found several months later. While I did not know Anna well, people that I care about loved her dearly, and have felt tremendous loss.

One day, while discussing my new main character, I drove by a bus stop and saw a girl that reminded me of Anna, and the story idea was born. This is the novel that I have been hard at work on since November.

Mental illness and drug abuse are issues that hit very close to home for me. They have shaped a very large part of the periphery of my life, which, in turns, affects my world. I also understand the stigma attached to both. The care system for those with mental illness is woefully, pitifully terrible in this country. In many instances, people with mental illness turn to drugs as a form of self-medicating, as there is very poor recognition and treatment of the disease process, particularly in the early stages. Often, people with mental illness are forced to wait months for appointments unless they are a danger to themselves or others. The drug use and abuse compounds and exacerbates the mental illness, which then can cause the individual to seek out more and more drugs. It is a vicious, terrible cycle that often does not end well. To really understand what is going on with mental health care in this country, read the novel Crazy by Pete Earley.

Earlier today, I was made aware that my 29 year-old cousin has been missing since October. She was last seen getting into a car outside her drug treatment facility. Her father is devastated and only wants answers about how his daughter could disappear off the face of the earth without a trace. Most people wonder what would drive a beautiful young girl to this. Sometimes the answers are clear. Sometimes they are due to an internal struggle that is not blatantly obvious. Some people would look at the flyer and only see that she was in treatment for drugs. They would only see the mug shot that is on the flier. I look, and I see the beautiful blue eyes of the toddler I used to know.



I am devastated for my cousin that he has not seen his daughter in months. To me, this limbo is the worst. Not knowing if she is alive. Not knowing what happened to her. It breaks my heart for him and for her sister.

I cannot believe that I have spent months working on a story that is playing out within my own family. I can't believe that I know two people in less than a year with a similar tale. I can't believe how common this truly is.

So, please, take a moment to go to the Facebook link. Amanda King is not just another name, another face, another lost cause. She is a daughter and a sister and a niece and a friend. She has been missing for six months. Please help bring her home.

Because, this is how she will always look to me...


Friday, April 4, 2014

What I'm reading...

So, I may have mentioned a time or two (or twenty) that I've gotten hooked up with a great group of writers that have really helped me find my way as I hopefully and eventually transition my career to full time writer. One of the coolest things about being a writer is that you have to read. I started writing because of my love of reading, and now it's part of the job. The group of writers that I have found are mostly female (there may be a man or two in the group, but I'm not sure and I don't want to be exclusionary). We write chick lit and women's fiction. I try to write chick lit, but it becomes more serious and turns into women's fiction. Sometimes, chick lit is looked down upon by the more literary types. Chick lit are the books that make you feel good, are about strong women, have a dash of spice and a pinch (or three) of humor. They are the romantic-comedies of the book world. And while reading heavier stuff is good once in a while, right now I need to read to escape and I want to feel good after I've read the book. To me, having that dumb happy smile after reading is where I want to be right now.

But this has its drawbacks as well. My to-be-read (TBR) pile is growing perilously large. There will never be enough time to read all that I want to. But, for any of you out there who are looking for some reading suggestions, I'm going to help you out. I going to give you some book suggestions for what to read (after you've finished GOOD INTENTIONS and HOLD HER DOWN, of course). I'm providing the Amazon links if you click on the author's name, so you can go right to their pages. Most of the women in my group are either published with small publishers or are independent authors, like myself. We're  working our way from the ground on up, so your support really means so much. And as I've said before, if you like what you read, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble (you can leave the same review on all three sites). And tell your girlfriends. Trust me, they will thank you.

Start with this book:

CONNECTIVITY by Aven Ellis

  • I read this book in one sitting. It is the perfect romantic-comedy with witty banter and the perfect amount of tension.


WAITING FOR PRINCE HARRY by Aven Ellis

  • This is my current read. I've been waiting for this book to come out ever since I read Aven's first book, CONNECTIVITY. But I warn you, you will not want to put this one down. I made the mistake of picking it up at about 1 am this morning when I woke up for a bit. Yeah, gonna need extra coffee this morning.


THIRTY-TWO GOING ON SPINSTER by Becky Monson

  • This is a delightful book that you want to get read because I hear rumors that a sequel is in the works.


TO LOVE TWICE by Heather McCoubrey

  • Bust out the tissues but know that your faith in mankind will be restored.
BLAME IT ON THE FAME by Tracie Banister
  • Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes after the Oscar nominations are announced? Wonder no more.

Tracie is also the author of IN NEED OF THERAPY, which is still on my TBR list. It sounds like a great read and I can't wait to get to it.

DOWN ON LOVE by Jayne Denker
  • As I blogged here, Jayne's second Marsden book, PICTURE THIS is now available for pre-order and will be released in July. While it can be read as a stand-alone, you really do want to read the first book in the series before. And then, if you have time, read her other works, UNSCRIPTED and BY DESIGN.


DANGLED CARAT by Hilary Grossman
  • This brings commitment-phobe to a whole new level.


I've also really enjoyed the works by some authors from across the pond (isn't the internet great in shrinking the world?). Especially if you like English books (like Bridget Jones or the Shopaholic books), try these two out:


Also waiting patiently to be read are:
Is that enough to boggle your mind already? I'm sure there are more that I can add to the list. But it should be enough to get you all through the weekend.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Super Sneak Preview of PICTURE THIS (and Cover Reveal!!!!)

Since last June when I published my first novel, I've learned so much about the publishing industry. One of the best things I've learned about is the concept of beta readers.

Beta readers are readers who offer critique and feedback about a novel before it is published. Sometimes, it happens as a final review. Most of the time, it occurs somewhere between drafts one and five. Thanks to the awesome writing community I've found, I got the chance to be a beta reader last December. It was so cool. Not only did I have the chance to read a really good book, but I also got to discuss with the author different viewpoints and logistics of the story. Plus, this author was then able to beta read for me for Hold Her Down, and provided excellent feedback to me. It is such a cool arrangement--to get honest and open feedback before publishing. 

Anyway, I am pleased to announce that the novel I had the pleasure of beta reading for will soon be available. Here's the info:

PICTURE THIS (A Marsden Novel #2)



 
This is my fourth book, the second in my small-town rom com series set in the fictional town of Marsden, NY--the first was Down on Love

Publishing JULY 17, 2104; now available for preorder.

It’s where everyone knows your business—and remembers everything you’d rather forget. But somehow the little Catskills town of Marsden draws the most unlikely people back home, turns their lives every which way, and helps them finally figure out what—and who—they want most…

As a celebrity photographer’s assistant, Celia Marshall is used to seeing all kinds of weird antics. But subbing as the model in irrepressible movie star Niall Crenshaw’s latest endorsement ad—while wearing his silk boxers, no less—is definitely not in her job description. Neither is falling for him, especially since he’s dating his latest co-star. To complicate things further, Celia is returning to Marsden to keep an eye on her eccentric grandmother—and Niall is driving her there, then staying to judge a talent contest…

Soon Celia is pulled in a dozen different directions, trying to get her grandmother to act her age, placating her frantic former boss who’s organizing the contest—and attempting to stay away from funny, sexy Niall. Celia’s always been level headed, but suddenly she’s wishing she could get reckless right along with him. Has the time come for sensible Celia to cut loose?...

Links:




Sounds good, right? Guess what, it totally is.

But you want to know more, right? You want to know about the mastermind behind Marsden, right? Ok, done. Here's a little about this fabulous author and my new friend:

Jayne Denker divides her time between working hard to bring the funny in her romantic comedies and raising a young son who's way too clever for his own good. She lives in a small village in western New York that is in no way, shape, or form related to the small village in her Marsden novels Down on Love and Picture This. When she's not hard at work on another novel, the social media addict can usually be found frittering away startling amounts of time on Facebook (Jayne Denker Author) and Twitter (@JDenkerAuthor). Visit her blog at http://jaynedenker.com or at Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/Jayne_Denker)



I can't wait to read this novel again, and for you all to have the chance to read it as well. I highly recommend, in the meantime, reading the first book in the series, Down on Love. You can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.