Friday, July 25, 2014

No Way That Just Happened (Oh, and a Preview from My New Book)

A while back, I wrote this blog post about how things I've written about in my books have a strange way of coming to fruition. 

So, today, I was returning home from a family outing. The hubs had met us out and was in the car behind us. Much of the time, when we have two cars, at least one of the kids decides to ride with Dad. Today, it wasn't discussed and they were both with me.

We live on a main street and about 5 p.m. on a Friday, it's a pretty busy thoroughfare. I had stopped while waiting to make a left turn into my driveway. Next thing I know, I hear a loud crash, then feel an impact as we're hit from behind. Turns out, a Ford F150 had rear ended my husband, who then rear ended me.

We pulled right over and assessed the damage. Now, keep in mind, we paid off my van two weeks ago. My husband's car is totalled. His passenger side airbag deployed, but the driver's side didn't. His rear bumper is barely on. His seat broke as his weight went backwards. His front end crumpled into my rear lift gate and the whole rear quarter of my car.

We're okay. We're all okay, and that is the important thing.

I'm thankful for three things: that my husband is okay; that my children are okay; that I wasn't eating a Ho Ho.

If you want to know what that third thing is all about, read on:

CHAPTER ONE I stepped on the sidewalk and walked with confidence. My hair was red and curly. My skin was flawless. My dress was tight, little and black. My car was, well shit, it was still a beat up, tired looking non-descript sedan (a 1992 Mercury Topaz, to be exact) with more rust than paint. I looked back over my shoulder. Yep, it was still there. It had not been magically replaced by a Porsche. I lost some (okay, all) of my bravado and my shoulders hunched for a minute. The confidence, fleeting as it was, was gone. I stopped and took a deep breath. I could do this. Aww, who the hell was I kidding? There was no way in hell I could do this. I turned around and walked as fast as my stilettos and tight LBD would let me, back to my P.O.S. mode of transportation. I jangled the key in the lock and jostled the door open. Bending and dipping so as not to flash my wares, I finally was inside my safe haven. With only three attempts at turning the engine over, I was off and sped away. I wanted to go home and hide in my bed for about six years. I decided that I needed some fortification if I was going to stay holed up for that long. I took the much familiar detour to the market to pick up some emergency supplies—a bag of Fritos and a box of Ho Ho’s.
What had I been thinking signing up for speed dating? It wasn't me. I wasn't that type of girl. I didn't do frivolous and flighty things like speed dating. I couldn't believe I let myself get talked into it. I didn't want to disappoint Jillian by saying no to her zany idea. I let her bully me into it. On the other hand, I was tired of being alone. I had been on my own for so long that the prospect of even possibly meeting someone held appeal. Well, it wasn't going to be through speed dating, that was for sure.
          As I was powering down the aisle towards the express check out, the heel snapped on my shoe. I stopped and stared, shoe in my hand like an alien life form. Really? Just my luck. I would say the universe was against me, if I believed in that sort of thing. 2013 was not turning out to be my year. Nope, not at all. I limped the rest of the way (why did the Ho Ho’s have to be in the back of the market?) to the check out, praying that no one noticed me. Of course, I was waaay overdressed for grocery shopping and had comfort food, as well as the heel from my shoe in my hand. Now I was lumbering through the store like Quasimoto, and I had the sneaking suspicion that my hair was growing larger by the minute. I’m fairly certain that I stuck out in the grocery store like a sore thumb, like the date-less loser on a Saturday night that I was. I made it to my car and kicked off my shoes as soon as I got inside. Good thing that I didn’t need a pair of black heels any time soon. I was on a restricted budget, and shoe shopping was not high on the list of essentials. Sure, it would now be on the list, but Ho Ho’s and Fritos always took precedence.
          Never one to waste time, I had the box of Ho Ho's opened by the time my car had reversed out of the parking spot. I navigated out to the main road and proceeded to begin drowning my sorrows in the delicious goodness of chocolate cake and cream. Yeah, this was the life. It was so much better than going to the speed-dating event. I was waiting at the four-way stop, chowing down with reckless abandon, savoring the creamy deliciousness, when suddenly my car was rammed from behind. This initial impact pushed my car far enough into the intersection to run into the car to my left who was making a left. I felt the two collisions, followed by a loud popping noise right next to my head. For a minute, I thought someone had fired a gun. But no, I could not be that lucky. It was only my airbag deploying. It wailed my chest and face and the air was filled with smoke and dust. The Ho Ho that I had been bringing to my mouth became one with my face as my hand propelled upwards. I tried to breathe, and inhaled dust and a bit of chocolate cake, which immediately sent me choking and coughing. I reached down, impatiently to unhook my seat belt, which had locked up. As I finally got it off, my door opened up from the outside. I jumped out, happy to be free of my death trap, without looking, and promptly fell into the guy who opened my door.
          Yup, there I was, covered in dust and Ho Ho debris, coughing and choking, spitting out powder and cake. My red curls now resembled a rat's nest and my dress was riding dangerously high on my thighs. I was standing barefoot in the street with no way to get home. I was so ready to meet the man of my dreams.

Yes, this is a sneak preview of my new novel, out September 2, 2104. Please note, this is not the final, edited version, so don't judge the typos. You can add I'm Still Here to your to-be-read list on Goodreads, where you can also enter the giveaway for an advanced review copy!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cover Reveal for Dangled Carat

When my friend Hilary Grossman told me she was updating the cover to her first book, Dangled Carat, my first thought was, "Well, that's too bad. I really like her book cover. I wish she wouldn't change it."

Now, I'm eating my words because I LOVE this cover! Here it is, the all new and improved cover:

Intrigued? Want to know more about it? Read on:

For every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him.....
For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice....
For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy....
meet Hilary.... 
She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.
For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary's humorous and honest story will hit home. 
"Dangled Carat sparkles with humor and shines with wisdom. It is a gem of a book." - Christina Baker Kline - New York Times Best Selling Author of Orphan Train.
"Fans of Sex and the City - Grossman makes a reference to Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big - will enjoy the story, but its real-girl charm should draw an even wider crowd." - Kirkus Reviews.

When I first read Dangled Carat, I didn't realize it was a memoire until I was at least 1/3 of the way it. It reads like a contemporary romantic story.

Here's what you need to know about the author:
Hilary Grossman dated a guy so commitment-phobic that she was able to write a book about their relationship.  She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and shoes.  She loves to find humor in every day life.  And she likens life to a game of dodgeball - she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn't writing or blogging she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer.  She lives on Long Island.
And here's what you need to be able to find the book:
Links for the book:Ebook $2.99, Paperback $9.93Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did! (And if you do, please make sure to leave your reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Best Date Ever

It started probably close to thirty years ago. Somewhere, in our basement, in the rack of cassette tapes, there was a pirated copy of Queen's Greatest Hits. My eldest brother had recorded it from somewhere and penciled in the names of the songs in his block handwriting.

Occasionally, we listened to this cassette and the songs became part of my childhood. Part of the MTV generation, I remember watching bits and pieces from Live Aid. I listened to my other brother's Iron Eagle soundtrack just to hear 'One Vision.'

By 1991, I was a Queen fan. I owned the album, Innuendo, and played the shit out of it (the cassette tape, of course). My brother had given me the VHS of Queen Live at Wembley '86 for my birthday. I killed time in my sophomore English class by writing out all the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody. It was more entertaining than paying attention (sorry Mr. DiPrimio). Then, I remember with heartbreak, coming home from school one Monday in November to hear that Freddy Mercury had died. I wept that day. I was a naive child (just shy of 16) and could not fathom how he could just be diagnosed with AIDS one day and die the next.

I was heartbroken because I would never get to see Queen.

But my love of them did not die. I stayed home on a Saturday that following April and recorded the whole tribute concert. While I know they did a good job, it was not the same. No one could ever compare to Freddy Mercury in my book. I was very involved in summer theater, and was thrilled to find people there who loved them as much as I did (again, being naive, never really made that connection). The cassettes stayed on high rotation in my beat-up old Ford Escort's tape player.

Fast forward a few decades. I have replaced my cassettes with CD's. I make my kids listen to them. They make my father listen to them. And then, on my Facebook feed, it appears. Queen is touring with Adam Lambert. I know, without a doubt, that I have to go. I mentally marked the day in my head that tickets would go on sale--February 28th--and informed my husband.

Now, he's a bit older than I am. He knows many of the older songs, and I even catch him singing along. We've watched several Queen biographies on TV together, so I never even questioned whether he would want to go to this concert. I went online on February 28 and (after consulting with him about Madison Square Garden or Mohican Sun), bought the tickets.

It's been at the back of my mind recently, that this concert was coming up. Well, it finally got here. Last minute, we decided to drive to NYC. It was great until we hit the Lincoln Tunnel, which took us about an hour to get through. We found out hotel without difficulty, including the parking facility across the street. We were only two blocks from MSG, so it was perfect. It never really occurred to me until, after listening and singing along to Greatest Hits I and II on the way down that the hubs is not really a huge Queen fan. But he is a good sport.

The show was phenomenal. Adam Lambert is certainly a gifted vocalist. To me, he lacks some of the stage presence that Freddy Mercury possessed, but no one will ever replace Freddy.

I tried to record this song for my friend, as it is her favorite. I'm going to blame my crappy phone for letting me down, but know it probably had more to do with my beer consumption.

I knew most of the set list, but the most touching moments were when Brian May and the audience sang 'Love of My Life' and got teary eyed at the end of it. It contained some of this video which made the crowd roar.

Also, Roger Taylor singing 'These are the Days of Our Life' from Innuendo had me in tears. This is not from the MSG show, but is from the tour. I was crying during this one, for sure.

It was just such a great show. I'd go and see it again and again if I could. We couldn't have asked for a better day, which included perfect weather, a clean hotel with a free breakfast, a leisurely stroll around Chelsea and the Village and an uneventful drive home.

So, after a good twenty years, I've now had the perfect date. Seeing the band of my dreams with my partner in crime. It's going to be hard to top this one. I don't even want to try. 

(But I do have to put in one more video from last night, just because I love the song so much.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

In case you didn't know, I don't have a lot of patience. I want things to happen NOW. One of the benefits of being an indie author is that sometimes, I can make them happen NOW. Conversely, one of the drawbacks of being an indie author is that I have to make myself wait to make things happen.

But today is not one of those days. For today, I shall unveil the cover to my third novel, I'm Still Here.

Once again, Becky Monson has really outdone herself on this one. This cover was a group effort though. The ladies at ChickLitChatHQ weighed in endlessly on what makes a good cover. Heather McCoubrey  came through with this image. Interestingly, I had picked a different image from the same photo shoot, but this one was the one.

Here's the blurb for I'm Still Here:

It started out as an ordinary day for Esther Comely-Cox, if you consider simultaneously totaling your car, smashing a Ho Ho in your face and meeting a handsome doctor ordinary.
Estranged from her family over her sister's mental illness and death, Esther can't help but feel alone. And when Esther hears the voice of her twin sister who committed suicide seven years ago, she begins to question her own sanity, leading her to wonder if anything is what it seems. Searching for answers, Esther must confront her past while looking towards a new future—one in which she is finally accepted.
Through humor and heartbreak, Esther learns that blood does not mean family, that absence does not make the heart grow fonder and that silence can speak volumes.

You can add this book on Goodreads! I'm doing a giveaway for five advanced review copies from 7/18/14-8/18/14. You can win a signed, print copy before it is even for sale.

So, there it is--my new book. On sale through all major distributors on September 2, 2014.

Friday, July 4, 2014

I know, like young lovers parting at summer camp, I promised I would write. And I have been. Just not here. But trust me, I've been busy. Here's what I've been up to lately:

Editing my third novel and working on the cover. Now, mind you, when I say "working on the cover" I mean looking at things that my cover designer sends and being a complete and total pain in the butt about it. My first round of edits have been completed. The book is with a second critiquer/editor. After that, it gets printed out and goes to my copy editor. Then, all the formatting begins.

Which leads me to what else I've been doing. Formatting. I seriously spent FOUR HOURS last night re-formatting Good Intentions. You might ask why I spent that much time on a book that has been out for 13 months. Well, that is a complicated one. Actually, it is pretty simple. As much as I love the cover of Good Intentions, especially after my cover designer spruced it up in December, it really does nothing to tell the story or draw the reader in. In a digital thumbnail, the beach scene just looked kind of blurry. So, I've been on a hunt for a better cover. This was a process and a labor of love. I searched for images. My cover designer searched for it. Other author friends searched. I asked for opinions after opinions (thanks ladies!). Once the image was found, then finding the perfect font was a process. But after blood, sweat and tears (not to mention about five pounds of chocolate and a case of diet Coke for Becky), Good Intentions has a brand new look. Without further ado, here it is:

Isn't it gorgeous! Becky Monson really outdid herself this time. I feel like this is a better representation of Maggie's conflict and struggle to find happiness. And since I was redoing the cover, I decided to fix some formatting things that have been bugging me. In order to change the cover for the paperback, I have to take it off sale for a bit, so this seemed like the perfect time to fix the format. Seemed like a wise thing to do. I've learned a lot about formatting since I first published, so it was time to put it to practice.

But wait, there's more!

I'm writing my fourth novel. I'm participating in a writing exercise in July (Camp NaNoWriMo) to get me writing again. I've been carrying paper with me where ever I go and scribbling away when I have some down time. I didn't get to type up what I wrote yesterday because of all the formatting, but I'll hopefully get to it today. I hope to write 40,000 this month, which would be the first half of my novel. I hope to release that book in spring.

Aaaaand speaking of book releases, I'm getting ready to release my third novel. I'll do the cover reveal in a few weeks, and release it in about eight weeks. So, be on the lookout for that.

But for now, I'll leave you with a promo poster I did for my redesigned Good Intentions. And I promise, I'll write soon!