Date Archive

April 2014

The Dos and Don’ts of College, According to Dallas and Stella

With each hour that passes, we’re just a little bit closer to May 13th, a.k.a the release day for All Lined Up, a.k.a. Cora is freaking out/imploding from excitement and/or nervousness. 
 

If this is the first you’ve heard of All Lined Up, learn more about it on Goodreads. You can also read the first thirty-four pages HERE. And if you need a little bit more motivation, pre-order ALU and register here and you’ll receive a BRAND NEW Garrick and Bliss scene post Losing It/Keeping Her! EVEN BETTER… you can now order your own signed paperback from Word Bookstore and get it on release day!

You’ve already met our heroine Dallas Cole and her best friend Stella Santos, and you may be wondering “How do two people who are so very different manage to stay friends?” Dallas and Stella are basically poster children for the old saying, “Opposites Attract.” Dallas is shy and awkward with a side of I-Hate-Everything. Stella is the life of the party, and nothing gets her down. When Dallas is all like,

Stella’s all like, 

But they make it work, because they understand when it’s okay to push each other’s buttons and when it’s better to take a wide berth. They soften each other, and pull each other away from their more extreme tendencies. Stella can get so wrapped up in the idea of having fun that she forgets about consequences or just pretends they don’t exist. Dallas is a little too constricted and a bit of a pessimist, and needs to loosen up. And so they’ve come up with a system for helping each other out of their comfort zones. It’s actually loosely based on a system I had with a very dear friend. I’ll let you guess whether I was the awkward or the wild one. Like there’s any doubt there.

Here’s a little snippet from the book to explain their system:

We have this rule, something that’s helped us stay friends despite

how completely polar opposite our personalities are. It’s a
system of give and take, wherein I temper her crazy side and she
forces me to live a little.

When Stella showed up to take the SATs drunk, she got the
Dallas Cole Don’t- Be- A- Douche Stamp of Disapproval. It was my
non- nagging way of telling her that she’d gone too far. And though
there wasn’t much to do about it that Saturday, Stella signed up to
take the test again, and when the next testing day rolled around,
she was sober and serious and pulled off a decent score.

Alternately, there is the Stella Santos Suck- It- Up- You- Prude
Stamp of Approval. That stamp has gotten me into more trouble
than I care to list, including Stella’s brilliant idea to wrap a house with
toilet paper and stick maxi pads to the glass front door. What her
plan didn’t include was the knowledge that said house belonged to a

policeman, who was not keen on being an advertisement for Kotex.

The stamps are a staple of their friendship, and no matter what… when a stamp is issued, you can’t say no. 

With that in mind, I’d like to present to you all The Dos and Don’ts of College, According to Dallas and Stella! See what gets approved and disapproved by our besties! 

 #1: 8 A.M. Psychology? You should…

#2: It’s Friday night! Time to…

 #3: After spending the night with a guy, you….
Or try to anyway…
#4: Girls’ Night Out! Grab your best friends so you can…
Try? Fail? Try again? Fail even harder?
 #5: Your crush is out with another girl, but you’re not the type to wallow in self pity. Instead…
Or don’t…
#6: If you can’t get into a club…
 #7: To commemorate a special occasion (or just because you want to)….
Or not…
 
 #8: Need some exercise? Try this…
#9: Hey, it worked for Bliss….
Not so much… 
#10. When in doubt…
And… hate yourself. 

(MAJOR thanks to Christine at I Heart Big Books for these amazing graphics!)

Want to find out if you’re a Stella or a Dallas? Take the quiz!!

Then please feel free to share your favorite advice from above! Or come up with your own! 

Words for Kerry: INKING HIM, a Garrick & Bliss short story

Last May I met an incredible group of women. 

Molly McAdams and I were doing a signing at a University bookstore in the Dallas area right after the semester had ended. So, of course, all those college students we’d been hoping to find were long gone.

But luckily, we didn’t have to sit alone in that Barnes and Noble because a few awesome fans came out to see us, including a group of women that had made a long drive from Oklahoma. I’ve since seen these awesome ladies at several signings (all of which were outside Oklahoma, but they made the trip anyway). You’ll even find them mentioned in the acknowledgments of SEEKING HER because they will forever and always hold a place in my heart and my memory.

Why?

Well, after that Dallas signing (which was only my 2nd or 3rd signing EVER if I remember correctly), we got to talking. They’d come so far, and the signing lasted less than an hour, and we wanted to hang out a little longer to make the trip worthwhile for them. Someone (it might have even been me) jokingly said we should go get tattoos. We looked around the circle, Molly and I shrugged because we both have and love tattoos. And we said, “Sure!”

So, we took to Yelp and found a nearby tattoo parlor that had good ratings, and we set off. And as we all sat in the tattoo parlor talking about tattoo ideas and looking at pictures and portfolios, one member of our group was the first to step up and into the tattoo chair.

Her name was Kerry (bottom left on the picture above), and she got this gorgeous tattoo of a four leaf clover that said “Luck of the Irish.”

I will always remember that day. Hell, I have ink on my skin that means I’ll absolutely never forget it. But today I’m writing because our friend Kerry has not been so lucky. A few months back, one of the other awesome tattoo ladies, Angela, reached out to me on Facebook with bad news. Kerry had had a seizure at work, and after a few terrible days and lots of tests, they found out she had stage four lung cancer that had spread to her brain. The tumors there were too risky to chance an operation, and a few days later, more tests revealed that the cancer had spread into even more parts of her body, including her lymph nodes, adrenal glands, and pancreas. Since then, despite chemo and other treatments, Kerry’s prognosis has continued to decline.

When Angela contacted me, I was so devastated for her and Kerry and their families. These women never fail to put a smile on my face when they show up at signings full of enthusiasm and love and unwavering support for the NA and Indie communities. I wanted to be able to do something special for Kerry, and I know LOSING IT was her favorite book of mine (Hamlet is her favorite character, in fact). So, between deadlines for books I wrote a Garrick and Bliss (and Hamlet) short story inspired by our first meeting. It’s called INKING HIM. And yep, you guessed it… Garrick gets a tattoo.

I wrote this story for Kerry, but I’m sharing it all with you in the hopes that you’ll help me give a little something back to her. The days ahead aren’t going to get any easier for Kerry and her family and friends. She’s exhausted, and they’re all in pain, and they could all use a little hope and love. And if you’re reading this, you most likely know the way that books (and book people) can touch and change your life. So, here’s what I would ask of you.

Using the hashtag #WordsforKerry on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or wherever, post something for Kerry to see to help brighten up her day. It can be a cute guy with a cat, an inspiring or funny quote from a book you love, or just your well wishes, thoughts, and prayers for her and her family. As a community of book lovers, we might sit alone in our homes, reading our books alone, but I hope you’ll help me show this book lover that she’s not alone. It’s such a small thing, and I hope you’ll take the time to do that and show your support.

There are more ways you can help, too. You can email Kerry at dgroover4jb@gmail.com (or perhaps send your love by gifting an e-book that you love because those are better than cards anyway, am I right?). If you’re an author, blogger, or a reader who wants to send Kerry books or swag or anything else to brighten up her day, you can do so here:

Kerry Brown
C/O Kim Koumbis 1532 West Onyx Way 
Mustang, OK 73064

Or if you’d care to donate to Kerry and her family, they’ve set up a paypal account where you can easily contribute to the following email: dgroover4jb@gmail.com. If you don’t know how to send money via paypal, you can read instructions here. Even if it’s just $.99, the amount you would pay had I published this short story instead of posting it here, that can add up if enough people read and contribute.

Please know that this is me asking these things of you, not Kerry, or her family. I planned this with her friend without Kerry’s input in the hopes that the book community would reach out and give this wonderful woman back some of the love that she’s poured out over the years. And whether you’re donating to her family or just tweeting her a message, I’m thankful for whatever you’re willing to do.

Here’s the tattoo I got that day in Dallas:


It was inspired by one of my favorite books, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Specifically to remind me of this quote from the book:
 “Life’s all about the revolution, isn’t it? 
The one inside, I mean. You can’t change history. 
You can’t change the world. 
All you can ever change is yourself.” 



I wish I could do more for Kerry. I wish I could take away the pain and the stress and the fear. I wish I had more than words and prayers to offer her, but I’ll give her what I can. And I hope you’ll join me. And Kerry, I love you girl. Thanks for touching my life and loving my books and being such a beautiful person. I’m praying for luck and a revolution for you.

So without further ado, here’s Kerry’s story… INKING HIM:

I hope you enjoyed this little peek back into the world of Garrick and Bliss. And please don’t forget to spread the support using #WordsforKerry. And if you don’t mind sharing this blog post so more people can read and support, I would be so very grateful. Just so you know… this is not the same Garrick and Bliss short story that you’ll receive if you pre-order All Lined Up. That’s a separate campaign through my publisher that you can find out more about here.

Thanks again for stopping by and spreading the word! I appreciate it so much, and I know Kerry and her people do, too!

Football Friday: Meet Stella Santos & a GIVEAWAY!

We’re one week closer to the release of All Lined Up on May 13th! ARCS are out in the world, reviews are rolling in, and I’m SO excited. If you haven’t heard about ALL LINED UP, you can check it out on goodreads. You can also read the first thirty four pages. AND… if you need more incentive, those who pre-order ALU and register here will give a BRAND NEW Garrick and Bliss scene Post-Losing It/Keeping Her. So far I introduced Carson McClain, and the heroine Dallas Cole, and now it’s time to meet one of my FAVORITE characters!  
Stella is confident and bold and knows exactly who she is. She’s always challenging Dallas to loosen up and have some fun, something she’s very good at having. She’s funny, and she’ll say whatever she’s thinking because she could care less what others think. 
Basically, she’s everything I wish I was. 😉 And because I love her so much, she plays a pretty big role in the series as a whole. 
Here’s a few of my dream Stella’s with some quotes! 
And because I love you guys… a slightly longer teaser featuring Stella and Dallas before one of Carson’s games: 
I pull out my phone to text Carson, but I don’t know what to say. I want to tell him something that matters, something big, but the only thing that comes to mind are those three little words that we are so, so not ready for.
I tell Stella as much, and she pauses in unwrapping a piece of gum to say, “I’ve got three different words for you. Winning = BJ.”
“Stella!”
She pops the gum in her mouth. “You said you wanted something big that matters. I think that qualifies.”
“You’re terrible. And no help whatsoever.”
“Speaking of big things…” Her slow-spreading smile reminds me for the thousandth time how different we are. “How big is it? You can tell me.” 

I hope you enjoyed meeting Stella! Enter to win a signed advanced copy below! And come back next week for more chances to win and to meet more characters from the series! 
*cough* sexy football players up next *cough*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Football Friday: Meet Dallas Cole & an ARC giveaway!

We’re one week closer to the release of All Lined Up on May 13th! ARCS are out in the world, reviews are rolling in, and I’m SO excited. If you haven’t heard about ALL LINED UP, you can check it out on goodreads. You can also read the first thirty four pages. AND… if you need more incentive, those who pre-order ALU and register here will give a BRAND NEW Garrick and Bliss scene Post-Losing It/Keeping Her. Last week, I introduced Carson McClain, the first of multiple sexy football player book boyfriends in my new Rusk University series.

Today, I’m giving you the skinny on our heroine.

I try to get a new perspective in each of my books in an attempt to make sure as many people as possible can “see” themselves in my books and characters. So, with Dallas… I wanted to take a different route from most NA books. One reason it’s so fun to write NA is that the characters are experiencing all kinds of new freedoms and getting to decide who they’re going to be for the rest of their life. For All Lined Up, I threw that out the window and decided to take a look at what college is like for those who don’t get to start over or get the freedom to do whatever they want. There are plenty of people who stay at home after they graduate high school, or go to college in the same town, or with people they knew from high school. 
Dallas has spent her whole life surrounded by this: 
All she wants from college is to get away and start fresh. She’s a dance major, dying for the day when her father doesn’t control her entire life, and she can move out of Texas and pursue what she loves. 
Then she finds out her father has taken the open coaching position at Rusk University, and that escape she’d planned gets crushed by the same thing that always seems to screw up her life: football. 
And she feels a bit like this: 
But you know… Dallas is a good ole Texas girl. We don’t just take things lying down. So, she sucks it up and heads to her first college party in an attempt to have some fun and blow off steam. That’s where she meets Carson McClain. He’s the kind of guy that can make a girl forget all about why she had decided to hate college. 
Then she finds out he’s on her father’s football team. And, well… you see where this is going. 
A little more about Dallas: 
She’s feisty and direct (aka… brutally honest). That’s what happens when you’re raised by a football coach. She’s snarky and just a touch insecure (aren’t we all?). She’s unemotional and unattached and that’s how she likes it. She prefers to push all of her emotions into her dancing where they’re useful. 
And some of my favorite quotes with some potential Dallas’s:
(Thanks to Amber, Yvette, and Kim for the awesome graphics. Love you ladies!)
And that’s my Dallas. I can’t wait for you all to meet her. As a Coach’s daughter, it’s hard for me not to see myself in her, except, you know, way cooler than me. 
And now that you’ve met Dallas, you can enter to win a signed advanced copy of All Lined Up! 
And if you want to Pre-Order ALU, you get 10 extra entries in the giveaway (plus that new Garrick/Bliss bonus scene I mentioned)! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOOTBALL FRIDAY: Meet Carson McClain! Plus a Giveaway!

So, we’re less than six weeks out from the release of ALL LINED UP on May 13th. If you’ve been under a rock for the last couple months, it’s the start of a new series (the Rusk University series) all about college football. I grew up in Texas with a Coach for a father, so has a lot of me and a lot of my life in it. It’s so close to my heart, and I’m so excited to share it with you. 
Like… this excited.

If you need a recap for what the book is about, here’s the synopsis:

ALL LINED UP Synopsis:
In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

For the last month, I’ve been posting #FootballFriday stuff on my Facebook and Twitter (mostly consisting of attractive football players because THAT’S HOW WE DO). But today I wanted to go a little further and introduce you to one specific attractive football player.

His name is Carson McClain, and he’s the male main character in All Lined Up.

To start, here’s a few pictures I used for inspiration when I was writing the book:

Carson is your all-American boy-next-door. He’s Texas born-and-bred with just a little bit of country in him. His best feature is his charming smile (because hot Southern boys always have a charming smile). Dallas is pretty partial to his arms, too. You know, with him being a quarterback and all. 
Carson is focused and determined, and his number one goal? To be the starting quarterback for the Rusk University Football team. He puts in hours and hours of extra practice to make that happen, which is part of the reason why Dallas reacts like this when she sees him without his shirt on for the first time:
But more than how he looks, I just love Carson as a character. He’s thoughtful and sweet and funny. Here’s a few of my favorite Carson lines from the book: 

I keep my eyes on my feet as he ask, “So, Daredevil, besides jumping off balconies, what other crazy things do you spend your time doing?”
“Hanging out in backyards with complete strangers, obviously.”
His blue eyes are practically twinkling when he nudges my shoulder and says, “I’ve had my hands up your skirt, Daredevil. I think that qualifies me as an acquaintance at least.” 


***

“You’re it for me. So run if you’d like, but I’ll follow. You can try to hold me at arm’s length, but I’ll never stop trying to pull you close. Be scared if you must, but you’re not going to lose me. Not unless your dad comes in and finds me here, then neither of us will have a choice. “

SQUEEEE!!! Well, now you’ve met my Carson. To me, he’s like a mix between Cade and Garrick, so if you’re fond of Golden Boy or British Boy, I think you’ll enjoy meeting this Country Boy. 🙂

If you haven’t already, please:

Add All Lined Up on Goodreads.
Pre-order your copy! Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks
Read the first three chapters here!

And for stopping by to meet Carson, you can also enter to win some Rusk University swag! This week I’m giving away a Rusk T-shirt! Enter via Rafflecopter below. And stop in next week to meet our heroine, Dallas. And for another chance to win swag from Rusk! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The One Where You Can Meet Dallas and Carson!

Hello my loves!!

I am so, so, SO deep in the writing cave at the moment for book two of the Rusk University series, which if you don’t already know is titled ALL BROKE DOWN.

See what I did there? Here’s a hint… Book three will start with the word All, too. 🙂

Anyway, I’m in that final hibernation phase of writing a book where I feel a little like this.

But I’m trucking along. I just wanted to pop in and tell you that today was the massive Excerpt release organized by Inkslinger PR and William Morrow Books. Tons of blogs have participated, posted the excerpt, and talked about All Lined Up, including some street team members who have already read the book and *might* share some of their insight. 🙂 I’ll be retweeting posts all day on Twitter if you want to go check them out. 
But I’m also posting the excerpt here for you guys to read! And just to make things a little interesting, I’m posting a giveaway, too! Stay tuned after the excerpt for giveaway details! 
In case you need a refresher on All Lined Up and the Rusk Series… 
ALL LINED UP Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

And now it’s giveaway time! I’ll choose 5 winners to receive Cora Carmack swag packs that include:

*Signed ALU postcard
*Signed Losing It Series Bookmarks
*Rusk University bottle opener w/ quote from the book
*Rusk University sticker
*”Awkward people need love, too” bracelet

Open Internationally. Enter via Rafflecopter below! Thanks for reading guys!

Remember to add All Lined Up on Goodreads and Pre-order your copy today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway