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Interview: Tasha Cotter 

I'm super excited to welcome Tasha Cotter on my blog today. She's been gracious enough to answer a few interview questions and is here to share with us a little about her novel, RED CARPET DAY JOB. (WHICH, btw, sounds amazing and is totally waiting to be read on my Kindle.) 

Now, let's hear a little about Tasha and her new book before we get to the nitty gritty goods, shall we?

Tasha Cotter's first full-length collection of poetry, Some Churches, was released in 2013 with Gold Wake Press. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in journals such as Contrary Magazine, NANO fiction, and Booth. Her debut novel, Red Carpet Day Job, was published in 2015 with Bookfish Books. A graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Writers Studio, she lives in Lexington, KY, where she works in higher education.

Tasha is represented by Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary.

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Most of the working-class secretaries in New York City don’t spend their mornings wrestling skirts from beneath roosting chickens or cleaning egg yolk off their heels. But Sophie Waldrop does, thanks to her boyfriend, Scott, and the organic egg business he runs out of her 5th floor walk-up. Though they’ve been dating since high school, Scott no longer pulls his weight in the relationship—financially or emotionally. Sophie’s ready to send him, and his chickens, packing. 

The day she breaks up with Scott, Sophie’s boss introduces her to the firm’s new client, Nick Jackson—the hottest up-and-coming actor in Hollywood. Sophie can’t believe her luck when her boss volunteers her to be Nick’s date for a red carpet award ceremony that same night. Freshly single, Sophie tries to keep things in perspective as her “work event” leads to a budding romance. She didn’t expect to like Nick, and she certainly didn’t expect him to like her. 

When her dream job lands in her lap, Sophie rejoices that her hard work has finally paid off. But she soon learns that it may have been Nick's influence that opened the doors and created the opportunities that she would rather have earned for herself. 

Nick’s hectic schedule, the persistent leading ladies with whom he works, and Sophie’s own promotion and career ambitions further complicate their fairy-tale romance. Can Nick and Sophie make their love last, or will their relationship be more like the paparazzi’s camera flashes—fast, bright, and fading?

Buy Red Carpet Day Job now on

Amazon

1. Hi Tasha! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and the books that you write?

Thanks for having me! I live in Lexington, Kentucky with my husband, three cats and our dog, Jules. When I’m not working with students at the University of Kentucky, I’m probably writing, reading, or off on a hike. I write poetry, fiction, and the occasional book review and essay. My first chapbook of poetry, That Bird Your Heart was published in 2013 and my first full-length collection of poetry, Some Churches, was released in 2013 as well. My most recent book, Red Carpet Day Job, is a New Adult romance that was just released in February with BookFish Books. Right now I’m working on final edits for  Us, in Pieces. It’s a book that I co-wrote with my friend Chris Green. My lovely agent, Alice Speilburg is giving it one final read-through before it goes on submission. The book is a big messy love story told from two perspectives via straight narrative, text messages, flashbacks, and emails. 

2. Tell the readers a little bit about your writing process, for instance, how long does it take for you to finish a first draft? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

It’s hard for me to say how long it takes me to write a book – every book had its own unique journey. For example, I worked on editing and revising my first full-length collection of poetry for at least three years. Right now I’m revising the first draft of a young adult novel that I started writing in early January. I made a basic outline (I’m talking really basic–one page) and then I just jumped right in and didn’t look back. That’s kind of unusual for me. I tend to invest a lot of time in plotting and outlining, but these days I’m outlining less than I used to. For instance, my original book outline for Red Carpet Day Job was roughly fifteen pages – and that was a terrific roadmap for me. But with  Us, in Pieces, and my in-progress manuscript, I’m plotting less; just letting the actions of my characters lead me through the story – it feels risky, wild, and exhilarating all at the same.

3. Do you have any interesting quirks or habits to help you through the writing process?

There are really no secrets or quirks to my writing process. I tend to focus on reading and writing. I rely on highlighting, making notes, keeping journals, listening to what’s around me, paying a lot of attention, and being interested and open to the world around me. I don’t have a set writing schedule. But this year, with the young adult novel, I’ve been working on, the only thing I’ve been asking of myself is one page a day, Monday through Friday. I treat it like a job. And being responsible for one page is doable. I’m convinced that the routine got me through the first draft – I’d never tried anything quite so regimented, but the fact that I didn’t have much of an outline, and worked on the book steadily for several months, kept my head in the game, and led me places in the book that really surprised me. I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out.

4. Where do you get the ideas and inspirations for your books?

The ideas for my books come from all over the place: things I’ve read, seen or heard about, mostly. With Red Carpet Day Job, I first had the idea of Sophie. I literally one day just had the idea of a character who works with celebrities, who’s kind of underpaid, who does it all, who’s a little naïve….and then the story started unfolding. For example, I knew she would live in New York. I knew she would feel way in over her head. For me, once I know my characters, the story starts taking shape. Once I got to know Sophie, then I understood who her smart and demanding boss would be (Ranwick), who her lovable but disastrous ex would be (Scott) and who the unlikely love interest could possibly be (Nick). 

5. Do you ever find yourself experiencing writers block? How do you cope with it?

I don’t really believe in writers block. Well, I do and I don’t. Some days it’s a struggle to open up the book manuscript, sure, but when is it not? There are always a thousand other things to be doing. There are always other things competing for my time. Opening my laptop is the last thing I want to do some nights. But you have to commit to the book you’re writing. Set small goals. Basically, you have to find a way each day to face the work. I’ve found that nothing else kills a project sooner than separating yourself from a work-in-progress for long stretches of time. The more you’re away from the manuscript, the harder it is to dig back in. Best to stay close to the work and see it through – at least until the first draft is written.  Then give yourself a little break before diving into edits.

6. Is there a particular author and/or book out there that inspired you? In writing Red Carpet Day Job, I was really inspired by Sophie Kinsella, Lauren Weisburger, Julianna Baggott, and Helen Fielding. I came across these writers kind of by accident – I was completing an MFA in Poetry at the time, and for so long I was buried in heavier literature. I wanted something different to read and so I sort of stumbled upon these writers at the library. Long story short, I got hooked. Reading Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary had me in stitches I was laughing so hard. I finished it, feeling like I was losing a good friend. I was sort of amazed that a book could make me laugh so much. I think I was so accustomed to books being these lofty, dense, intellectual things, that I forgot they could also be lighthearted, fun, and, well, hilarious. I really connected with that. Reading Helen Fielding and the other writers I mentioned got me thinking about my own work and for the first time, I started thinking about writing fiction. After years spent in poetry workshops, I’d never considered writing anything but poetry.

7.  What advice would you give to authors who are just starting out?

Read widely. Get out in the world. Travel if you can. Write down your favorite quotes. Write down anything. Listen to others. Pay attention to the world around you. Take risks. Don’t worry about genres. Don’t worry about getting rejected –it’ll happen (likely over and over again).

8. If you could pick one of your characters in your book(s) to hang out with for one day, who would it be, and why?  

If I could choose one character from Red Carpet Day Job to hang out with for one day it’d be Nick Jackson. Because Nick Jackson is pretty much the opposite of me: he’s stylish, confident, and knows New York City very, very well. I’ve always been totally fascinated by New York City, but a bit intimidated by the place. I’d want him to show me the very best of New York. I’ve only been there once and it was a whirlwind school trip back in high school. I’d want to see the city with him (and Union Square, of course).

9. Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

Thank you THANK YOU for all the Red Carpet Day Job love! Seeing my book connect with readers is an amazing experience. I absolutely love connecting with you all on twitter and Goodreads – you can find me there, @TashCotter. Talk soon!

Cover Reveal: Kyle's Return (A Glove's Off Novel) by LP Dover

Title: Kyle’s Return
Author: LP Dover    Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 13, 2015 Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours
Blurb:
I promised myself I’d stay away from dangerous men, but I couldn’t live up to that when Kyle Andrews came back to town. He’s a manipulator, a guy who’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants, sabotaging anyone who gets in the way. After a fatal fight left him wounded, his UFC career comes to a close. He has nothing, but he’s determined to get it all back.
My name is Megan. I’ve known violence, pain, and what it feels like to be scared to live another day. All of that changed the moment I refused to be a victim. Now that my psychotic ex, Alex, can’t find me, I’ve been given a second chance. I owe my life to my friends. The same goes for Kyle. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to feel.
Everyone hates him. But for the life of me I don’t. There’s something about him I can’t ignore. Being with Kyle makes me want it all. However, in loving a hated man, I didn’t know it’d bring the life I fled from back to haunt me. Everywhere I go danger lurks and bad things happen. Kyle believes it’s because of him, but I’m starting to think otherwise. I think Alex has found me, and if so, this time he’s not going to let me go.
USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.
Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can't forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.
Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over nine novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.
L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Cover Reveal: The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma

I am thrilled to be hosting the cover reveal for my agency sister and dear friend Annika Sharma today. From the day I virtually met her on Twitter, I knew she was something amazing. Her debut book, The Rearranged Life, releases May 15th and I can't wait to read it. New adult, diversity, and forbidden love... Yes, please, thank you, and give-it-to-me-now!  

Title: The Rearranged Life
Author: Annika Sharma
Cover designer: Eugene Teplitsky
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Release day: May 15th
PREORDER TODAY! Live on Amazon!

About The Rearranged Life:
Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she's wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She's even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.


When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya's entire life changes. Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American. As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. To make matters worse, Nishanth, the son of newly reunited family friends is the perfect match for her in the eyes of her loved ones.

Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path. The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart

.
AND... Here it is!!!

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Stunning, isn't it? :) Now read on for an exclusive excerpt that made my face hurt from smiling so hard.

There it is again. That electric charge. It’s as if the air between us has solidified into a molten mass, white-hot and pulling us together like magnets. My heart pounds so hard, I’m afraid it’ll break the stone we are sitting on. His eyes stare into mine, and I am engulfed by their vibrant green sheen. James crosses his legs and straightens his back from the way he was leaning. He’s closer to me now. I can see the shade of stubble on his chin and exactly where his jaw flexes. There’s a scar on his forehead near his eyebrow, and I wonder distractedly where he got it.
“You can really see the stars out tonight.” He tilts his head. I turn around, taken aback by the change of subject. The shadows of the mountains in the distance are huge waves of dark blue on the horizon. The green grass in the fields behind the pavilion appears teal in the night. There are no lights there, while the other side of the arboretum is lit by campus streetlights. The stars are brilliant, glittering specks against a dark background. Suddenly, one jets across the sky, trailing faint white light behind it. It travels so quickly, my eyes can hardly keep up.
“Hey!” James and I cry out, pointing to the shooting star. The second it disappears into the universe, I close my eyes.
“What’re you doing?” James whispers. I hold up a finger to make a wish, willing it to happen with all of my heart and soul. I wish this night would never end.
“I had to make my wish.” I whisper back. I’m not sure why, but after the fleeting glimpse of the meteor, it feels appropriate.
“What did you wish for?” He has shifted his weight again, his position mirroring mine perfectly.
“I can’t tell or it won’t come true. Did you wish for anything?”
He shakes his head, smiling.
“It’s not too late. You still have time. Give it a shot.”
He closes his eyes, and the vision of him with his eyes serenely closed, cross-legged on the stone floor inches away from me, is seared into my mind. He looks so peaceful, like a child. A wistful smile lingers on his lips—until his eyes flutter open, and his smile turns playful.
“Are you going to tell me what you wished for?” I repeat his question.
“It won’t come true.” He echoes my response.
We are inches from each other. Our faces tilt toward one another, our images reflecting in each other’s eyes.
“I really want to kiss you right now,” he whispers.
“I really want you to,” I reply, breathlessly.
He moves in closer, taking his time. The world has stopped. There are no passing cars, no breezes blowing through the trees, no ties binding us to anyone but each other. When his lips finally touch mine, it is as if a fire bursts to roaring, glorious life inside me—it is flaming, reaching for any way to free itself from my body. Though I’ve never done this before, I have no worries. I am a lost soul, and he is my lifeline.
“You taste like chocolate,” he whispers to me, grinning.
“Is that a racial reference?” I ask him, smiling.
He laughs softly, his forehead pressed against mine, his hand still grazing my cheek, fingers entwined in my hair. “I guess I got what I wished for.”

“You wasted a wish. I would have kissed you anyway.” I tell him, playfully.
“I didn’t want to take any chances,” he murmurs and kisses me again.
I am in heaven, and there is nowhere I would rather be.

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About Annika:

Annika Sharma was born in India and moved to the United States (Pennsylvania!) when she was a baby. Annika was a daydreamer from day one, always coming up with stories and games of pretend that seemed real. She was a serious journal-writer from fifth grade to college and wrote dramatic scenes for stories often, inspired by soap operas she watched in summers off from school.

Eventually, when the time for college came around, Annika’s parents encouraged her to pursue journalism. Convinced she couldn’t make a living from writing, Annika disagreed. After five years, two degrees, two minors, working with children, being a dancer teacher, and creating a two-and-a-half page resume in college that had interests so all-over-the-place that even she couldn’t make sense of it, Annika finally decided her parents were right. Writing was where her heart was, all along.

In the month before graduate school, the idea Annika had in my mind for years finally poured out in the form of the novel, The Rearranged Life. Annika began editing in earnest after she finished her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education, landing Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group as an agent. Three months later, she had a book deal with Curiosity Quills.


In her spare time, Annika loves spending time with her family and friends, often indulging in the three S’s: Starbucks, shopping and superhero movies. As a chocolate lover and general all-around vegetarian foodie, Annika also adores cooking.

Follow Annika here: Facebook // Twitter // YouTube // Goodreads // 
Website



Rewrites, awesome opportunities, and fabulous books.

I officially broke my Sunday blogging rule. I mean, really, three weeks of not listening to me ramble? How dare I do that to all my blog readers. *insert sarcastic laughter here* Anyway, I'm back at it, ready to chatter about everything and anything that deems of importance to my mind.

On the writerly front:

It's been one heck of crazy few weeks for me. I had to rewrite yet another book, and ya know what? I am sooo glad I did. I knew this book wasn't right from the beginning, and although I loved the premise, I realized not everyone was going to appreciate the hideousness that was my heroine. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love a good evil heroine once in a while (even claimed to rock out those unlikable heroines once upon a blog post ago) but the problem with this girl? She had absolutely NOTHING to make her redeemable, and for that I had to step back away from that WIP for a while before I realized how much I didn't like that girl either. Yes, it's awesome to channel your inner bad girl, believe you me, but what I fast discovered was that with the bad, I had to give her a little good while I was at it. 

Hence why I rewrote an 80,000 work book in a week and a half.


Not every writer follows the same writerly path. Some write 1000 words a week, some write 10k a week. Hell, some write 10k a day. But for me, when the words are on, they are ON, and the fact that I did do that rewrite in the span of time I did doesn't make me superwoman and doesn't necessarily make the entire novel crap, either. BUT when the bones are there for the book, and you've been told the premise is good as well, then it's not so hard to rewrite a story after all. (Especially one with all the feels like this bookie had.) In a way, I guess you could say I rewrote my characters more so than anything. (Even my hero. And OH MY GOD I was blushing with this one guys. Like. PHEW! All my non-romance-writerly friends are going to read this and think: "HEATHER!!!! WHAT THE HECK IS WITH ALL THIS SMOOCHING...AND THEN SOME???? *gasp* *Giggles*  


And, if you'd like to take a gander at my PINTEREST inspiration board for this one, do check it out. But here's a little Ed Sheeran to give you a feel for the story in general. And when Ed gets involved, you know it's gonna be a heavy book. (Still, I don't write anything but heavy books, so there's that.)