Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Author Q & A...IN TOO DEEP

Well, I asked for it and I got it...QUESTIONS!

I wanted to do a Q & A for fun so I asked for questions on my AUTHOR PAGE. So, here are your answers...


What inspired you to write a story?
I have been a story teller my entire life. I love to tell stories both truth and fiction. But to answer your question, I had a story to tell floating around in my head and it finally convinced me to let it out.

Will the book be available on Kindle?
Yes! I am so excited about that, too! I know, at least for me, I buy books most often when bookstores aren't open. Just the other night I finished a book and started another one while laying in bed after midnight! Having my book THAT available for people is so freaking cool!

Will you be doing a book signing tour?
I will definitely be doing some local signings. I have a speaking engagement set for a sorority event at Penn State and the Campus Bookstore wants me to do a signing there as well. I don't know if I am a big enough deal to have a "tour" yet but one day that would be really cool!

How long did it take to write the book?
This is a great question but I am not sure how to answer it. Most authors will probably tell you they've had a story in their minds for years before sitting down to write it. This story has been growing in my heart for two decades. The actual writing process obviously took significantly less time - exact amount of time, I'm not sure, as it was done in pieces and parts and then finally all fit together.

How do you kick writer's block in the butt?
Ugh. The dreaded writer's block. Everyone deals with this differently and some things will work for some people but not everyone. It really depends on your personality. But for me, personally, I do one of three things or bits and pieces of each...I listen to a huge amount of music and translate the stories and hurdles in the lyrics. Of course, I am not listening to dance beats, though, I am more into soulful alternative styles. The other thing I do is run through the story lines of movies I loved. What characteristics did the movie have? How did the couple interact? What did their issues or anxieties stem from? What drew me to that storyline? The whole time I'm jotting down these details and soon, hopefully, see a pattern in what drama I am drawn to and what friction between lovers do I find fascinating and I go from there. Or I take a long shower! Showers fix everything!

Did you pick names in the book based on names you liked or names that have meaning to the character's personality? Or did you know the character and then the name developed after?
What a great question! I did a bit of both for the characters of IN TOO DEEP. Gracie's name was definitely based on her personality and her values. When explaining the storyline and dilemma over names to my two closest friends, one of them said "I like the name Grace, and she gives so much grace in this relationship." She does gives GRACE...although, TOO MUCH grace when it comes to Noah...but I just thought her name spoke to her sweet spirit. Jake and Noah were just pulled out of nowhere. LOL. I had a ton of chapters written before I chose the guys' names. And it's amazing to me how well they suit them now that the story is finished. It's a very cool but arbitrary process for me.

Do you have an agent or do you just have a publisher? If you just have a publisher, did you query agents and then just decide to go directly with a publisher and not find an agent? How come?
No, I actually don't have an agent. I was approached by one that I had queried but she was about 3 days late as I had already signed with Sapphire Star Publishing. I actually only queried a handful of agents and editors but the owners of Sapphire Star found ME. Which is really kind of cool! Right before Christmas I participated in a Twitter event called #PitchMAS. There were strict guidelines and windows of time but basically in a specific number of words you had to PITCH your book and it would be posted on FEAKY SNUCKER'S blog. Agents and editors participated by browsing through the pitches and requesting queries, first 10 pages, etc. They requested, I sent, they offered my a contract on Christmas Eve!

If the story is based on your life experiences, how do you think the people in your life will react if they find themselves to be easily associated with any or all of the characters in your story?
I suppose many authors have that question floating around in their minds as they write. However, I think I can safely say that every character in every fictional book is based on someone the author knows, has known or knows about. I guess I think of it this way...
I write fiction. The end.
LOL! But I will say, IN TOO DEEP has the same pattern of abuse I endured but details, names and specific places have been changed. Much of what I wrote was literally pulled from my imagination in a new storyline but in order to make the story and its characters authentic, I did need to dig down into my own scars and reenact some situations in order to stay true to the recognizable pattern of abuse so the story remains believable.
We authors have an old saying, "Write what you KNOW!" So, in following that guideline, who would be writing about characters they DIDN'T know?

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed questions! This was fun! I hope to do this regularly, especially after the book comes out!

If you have a question, feel free to leave it in the comments and I will update this post with your question and my answer! :)


Friday, January 25, 2013

Gracie's best friend...Jake

Yes, Jake is Gracie's best friend. Not just best "guy" friend...best FRIEND...on the planet. He is just that guy that every girl should have to help her navigate her relationships. He's honest but gentle with his words, he's a great boyfriend. For years, Gracie has watched the way he is with his girlfriend, Jessica. He really is the most genuine person she has ever met and she counts herself lucky to have snagged him as her BFF! ...oh yeah, and he's HOT!

The best way to introduce you to Jake is to let you peek inside a conversation they had in Gracie's apartment. Jake was the one she could count on to say the things no one else would... the things she didn't want to believe.

...enter, Jake...

          “Gracie, you are an amazing girl. You are beautiful and kind and you have the biggest heart of anyone I know.” He pulled back and looked me straight in the eyes. “But, you have to see that Noah doesn’t respect you.”


            “Listen, if no one is going to be brutally honest with you, I will, because I can’t stand watching you break.”

            “Stop.” I shook my head and put my face in my hands.

            “Gracie, listen to me. This is like a train wreck, everyone is watching and everyone is seeing the same thing. But for some reason you aren’t seeing the damage he is causing. This is eating you alive. He is stealing away the Gracie we all love and leaving and empty shell. It hurts me to watch. Honey, he doesn’t love you!”

            His voice was getting louder and his grip on my arms was a little tighter as he spoke.

            “Honey, he doesn’t love you!”

            I wiggled free and ran into the other room, “STOP IT, Jake!”

            “How does he show it? If he loves you, tell me what he does to prove it to you.”


            “See, you should be able to come up with something immediately. You can’t.”

            “How can you…”
            “He treats you like shit,” he started to tear up, “I see you crumble more each time we talk about what he’s done to you. He has changed back into the old Noah and he doesn’t deserve you. You are way too good for him. When are you going to see that?”

            “Jake, you are my best friend! My very, very best friend! How can you say these things to me? How can you purposely hurt me like this?” The last question came out as a whisper.

            He walked over to me and wiped my tears. He took my face in his hands and said, “Because sometimes being the best friend means telling the truth even when it hurts.”

            I crumbled in his arms and he helped me to the couch. I don’t know how long we sat there but I eventually cried myself to sleep. When I woke up I was covered up with a blanket and there was a note jotted on the receipt from our last take out order,

“Remember to not settle. You are worth so much more than you give yourself credit for.

Love you to pieces, Jake”
You like him, don't you? Yeah, he's hard not to like!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gracie Jordan's Personal Playlist...

Because music is such a huge part of how I translate life, I HAD to make Gracie her own playlist. Lyrics from some of these songs are actually in the book, some are just referred to as being part of her world.

Hope you will add Gracie's playlist to your iPod so when the book comes out in June, you already "get" where she's been and where she hopes to go.

(p.s. there are some explicit lyrics - You Oughta Know & Add It Up - but I couldn't paint Gracie's story with "all things pretty.")

Peace. Happy listening.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Noah, in a nutshell...

If you've been following my journey that is taking me to the release of my first novel, IN TOO DEEP, you know about Gracie (the good girl) and you've heard about her ups and downs with Noah, her 'bad boy' boyfriend.

As much as he is a part of the story, he is my least favorite character simply because he isn't very nice. (Oh, don't get me wrong...he is in the beginning of their relationship. He was romantic and gentle and kind.) While writing this book, I had to take breaks because some of the scenes were (although fictional) close to my own experience with emotional abuse.

Noah is gorgeous. He's taller than Gracie and she loves his strong, broad shoulders. But it's his naughty smirk that gets her every time. That and the blond hair and bottomless deep brown eyes.

He isn't someone Gracie's friends ever, EVER, pictured her with. He is rough around the edges and people who know him tell some pretty scandalous stories about his "conquests" and his apparent need to get in a good fist fight now and then. He is described like someone Gracie would be fearful of, not fall for. But, once he started to fall for Gracie, he changed...maybe.

Sometimes Noah would slip from the boyfriend who breaks her heart back into who Gracie called, "Real Noah." She would cast her line deeper into the sea of hope that "Real Noah" would stay that time.

Once, during a Real Noah moment, Gracie told him, in jest, that he had multiple personalities. He asked her to explain. This is a short snippet of their conversation:

“Well, there’s a romantic one, a loner one…” We could be here all day if he wanted a list.
“Wait, what does the romantic one do?”
“Oh, you really want to talk about this. Alright, Romantic Noah can predict my every move before I even know it. He pays attention and treats me to surprises. He also says, “I love you.”
“Wow. OK.” he looked like he was frozen in time, ‘So, there are more?”
“Oh, yeah, let’s see, there’s Loner Noah.”
“What is he like?”
“Well, he needs no one and isn’t afraid to let me know I'm not needed. He’s the one who doesn’t want me to call; he wants to be the one to decide when reaching out is necessary.”
“You really think that I’m him?”
“Part of you is, I’ve become quite familiar with Loner Noah”
“Do you like that one?”
“No, not especially. He makes me sad and self-conscious.”
This was actually the most sweetly intense conversation Noah and I had ever had with the exception of the one we had before and after we made love for the first time. He was so careful that night not to pressure or rush me. He valued my virginity and we had only been officially a couple for less than two months. I was shocked at how well the conversation was going. Noah usually didn’t entertain “sappy” and “deep” for this many minutes strung together and he was the one initiating it.
           “I’m sorry I make you sad,” he said.
           I just looked away before the tears came. I was sorry, too. More sorry than he would ever know. He left scars that I would always feel whether we were together forever or not.

            “Tell me about another one.”
           “Noah, we don’t have to…”

            “I need you to do this for me, Gracie, please.”

            “Well, there’s a daring Noah.”

            “Ohhh, that sounds…better?”
            “Yeah. I like that one," I giggled a little. "He’s brave and a little reckless but that makes him so sexy. As long as we’re being honest here…romantic and daring would be a beautiful combination.”

            “Really? I will have to remember that. Are there more?”
           “Oh yeah, there’s an angry, scary one.” An uncontrollable shiver came across me when I pictured his face within inches of mine the day he spat out the truth that he and Lily went to a function together; a function I didn't even know about. The evil smile on his face as he watched me cry would stay with me forever.
            “Do I want to know about him?”

            “I wish I didn’t..." I had to look away.

So, there's your look into the multi-faceted guy who may finally break Gracie into so many pieces there will be too many to pick up.

But Jake won't let that happen...

Who's Jake?

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 14, 2013

That darned "elevator pitch..."

So, when you have a new (or your very FIRST EVER) book coming out, the question you get the most is...

"Hey, I heard your big news! 
What's your book about?"

I can almost see the words tumbling out of their mouths in random sizes that pile up right in front of me. That pile grows big creepy eyes and stares me down. Gulp.

Well, of course I know what it's about so it should be an easy question, right? I wrote it! But that's not so easy to answer on the fly if you're not prepared.

Authors are supposed to have what is called an "elevator pitch" - a description of your book that wouldn't take any longer than a ride in an elevator...I guess, just in case all the people in the elevator ask you at the same time. No pressure.

As a new author, preparing for this question is proving to be a bigger task (almost) than writing that damned query letter! If you are an author you know what a nightmare those can be.

I guess my struggle lies in the fact that everyone has different tastes that pull them toward a certain book on the shelf. I am a "cover girl" - not in the make-up/beauty sense, although I do enjoy pretending that. I pick up the coolest, most intriguing covers on the shelf first, read the backs and THEN choose the books with the most interesting titles to flip over and read.

So, what if the person who asks would be intrigued if I said THIS but if I said THAT they may decide to pass? I know not every person will want to read my novel, I certainly don't expect that but this book is dear to my heart and if someone could garner a bit of hope or see an end to the tunnel they are stuck in by following Gracie through her journey I WANT TO SAY EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING! Yeah, I am being a bit anal about this.

And, of course, you don't want to say too much and give everything away. But what if what you're holding back would be the clincher that would have  them using a countdown app to time the date of your book's release? Yes, I am totally being sarcastic...unless you are one of my friends...then you BEST have that app and be able to tell me at any moment what the month/day/hour/minute countdown is. I will check your phones. You know I will!

So, here's my "elevator pitch"... today... It's a fictional love story based on an emotionally abusive relationship I had in college. A good girl-meets-bad boy theme with a twist.

I have also said this, "Umm, uh, well, I guess, uh, it's a love story..." and as I am feeling them out as to whether they will flinch when I say the word abuse, I look around for a hole to jump in or for someone ELSE who can say it better.

So, which one is better? LOL!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Meet Gracie Jordan and her playlist...

It's nice to meet you.
So, you think Noah's no good for me, too. That's why you're here, isn't it?

Well, he loves me. He pursued me, not the other way around. He fell for me first. Sure, I broke up with my boyfriend for him but only after he begged. He wanted me like I'd never felt wanted before and he could have anyone he wanted. He was beautiful and he wasn't going to take 'no' for an answer. And that should have been my first clue...

Noah's sun-tinted blond hair and big brown eyes weren't all that caught my attention. He was completely opposite that I was. In high school I was the girl who didn't get the text about the weekend party if there would be alcohol there. It wasn't that the kids at school thought I was a nerd...I had tons of friends. I was popular but I was also known as the "good girl." I didn't drink, swear, do drugs, sneak out or have sex...nothing most of my friends were doing. I graduated a virgin and was very proud to tell anyone I was saving myself for my future husband.

Noah, on the other hand, was the antithesis of "good," he was Hell on wheels. He drank, smoked weed, was crude and sometimes had a downright repulsive vocabulary. He slept with tons of girls and on the weekends he usually earned himself a hearty slug to the jaw for something he said or did at a party. But, you see, this is what people told me. With the exception of the first day we met, I never saw that Noah. I saw the Noah that fell so hard for me he would give that lifestyle up to keep me. So, he got me.

I love him. If I think of my life without him I panic. But things have changed.  I believe his lies and when I see right through them I talk myself out of the notion that what I suspect is truth. He is powerful and I am under his spell. But my self-esteem is so far gone one day I just couldn't find it anymore and that's when I knew... I am not worth anything more .I let him treat me the way he does because one day he will go back to being the Noah I fell in love with.

My best friend, Jake, who is actually Noah's former roommate, will tell you he's scared for me, for my sanity. He wants to badly to save me but I'm in too deep.

God, I'm in too deep. I'm not sure how much more of my story I can tell you. I usually start trembling when I talk about it. He doesn't hit me but my heart and my emotional state of mind sometimes take a beating. If I could just be the girlfriend he needs...I try so hard, so so hard, but I always seem to come up short. Just not enough.

Please don't feel sorry for me, this is just who we are. Lots of couples have tumultuous relationships, right? I really don't see why Jake insists Noah doesn't respect me. And why does everyone keep bringing up the word "abuse?" That's ridiculous...

Well, you came for my own personal playlist...these are the songs that speak volumes to me. Music is my therapy when I don't have the answers to what cuts me so deeply.

Gracie's Mix:

Oceans by Pearl Jam
Better Together by Jack Johnson
Add It Up by Violent Femmes
Better Man by Pearl Jam
Don't Change by INXS
Inside Out by Eve6
Shook Me by AC/DC
Black by Pearl Jam
The Middle by Johnny Eat World
Oceansize by Jane's Addiction

Friday, January 4, 2013


I am working on the edits of my manuscript as the editors from Sapphire Star put up with my thousands of questions each day. So, I figured I would share scene and give you a sneak peek of part of Gracie and Noah's story.

Feel free to share the link with anyone you think would love to see how this all turns out for Gracie!

I now proudly bring you a single little scene from IN TOO DEEP, due out June 6, 2013

There was a noise in my room that brought me out of the state I wanted to stay in forever; my own little reality. It was a gentler place to live. I liked it there.

“Hey, I don’t know what’s going on, but this just came for you.” My roommate, Stacy, had been one of my closest girl friends since 10th grade and we transferred to Knoxville together. I opened my eyes and her concerned look warmed my heart. She touched my back so lightly it sent shivers under my skin.

When I saw the long white box with the red ribbon, I knew what it was, a beautiful bouquet of “I’m a shithead, please forgive me” roses. No thank you. All of last night’s pain came barreling back. I burst into tears and turned my face away from hers.

“You wanna tell me what’s going on?”

I shook my head and laid still.

I heard her leave the room, grab her keys and leave the apartment. She locked the door behind her. The dozen or so beers I had had throughout the last evening’s events were clawing at my bladder. I rolled out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. I stood up to flush and ended up dry heaving. I knew it wasn’t a hangover. I could count on one hand the number of those I’d ever had. This was a sickness brought on by Noah. Stupid Noah. When I threw myself under Stacy’s bunk and into my bed I heard a crinkling sound.

My pillow had rustled a hand written note taped to the headboard of my bed.

“Beautiful Girl,

Words cannot describe how badly I feel for what I’ve done. I hate myself for hurting you. Please accept these flowers as my heartfelt apology. I promise I will never hurt you again. Please give me another chance; I can’t bear to think of my life without you.

I love you,

P.S. I will be back at noon to get you for lunch with my mom.”

I crumbled the note into a tiny ball and threw it across the room. What was he thinking? I couldn’t do lunch with him and his mom. I ran to the bathroom, dry heaved then ran over to Jake's apartment...........

And that's all you get today! Hope you enjoyed your little peek,


Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Well, it's the second day of the New Year and I am still thinking that December 27th was a dream! That was the day I signed a contract with Sapphire Star Publishing for my New Adult Contemporary Romance, IN TOO DEEP. The New Adult category is typically for readers ages 17-24.

Writing IN TOO DEEP was an amazing experience. I don't think most people understand how you can have a story inside your brain that is literally just knocking to get out. That's what happened with this book! It was there and I needed to let it out so that the other stories in my head could move up a slot and wait their turn in line to be released.

IN TOO DEEP is a love story that I am sure happens on college campuses across the country. I needed to get this story out and into the hands of young women who may be dealing with a similar situation. Even though this is a fictional story, I am hoping walking with Gracie through her personal hell, helps actual victims of emotional abuse view their situation in a different light so they can get out of it before it rocks them to their core.

My character Gracie just assumes she and Noah have a "rocky" relationship when in fact what Noah is doing to her, by definition, is emotional abuse. Gracie doesn't see it because in her heart she believes Noah would never hurt her purposely. But he does...over and over and over again.This story takes an evil most don’t consider abuse and validates it for the many victims of its Hell.

Emotional abuse is real. It's not always qualified as "actual" abuse because there are no bruises or welts. But the scars of emotional abuse don't go away like a bruise or a welt. Emotional abuse stays with the victim as long as the emotional trauma of any other type of abuse.

I want to thank Amy and Katie at Sapphire Star for believing in this story and for giving Gracie a voice that could save the sanity of many many victims before they find themselves IN TOO DEEP.