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An Unfortunate Announcement

Since the moment I first conceived of Stella’s story, I knew it was going to be important. Certainly one of the most important things I’ll ever write. I knew there were going to be some moments that were harder to write than others. I knew it was going to push me physically, emotionally, and mentally in ways I hadn’t been pushed before (and it most assuredly has). But I also knew it was a story that I had to tell. That I HAVE to tell. And I am so eager to share that story with you. But I have to beg your forgiveness, because as our set release day approaches, deep in my gut, I know… Stella’s story isn’t ready yet.

To be honest with you, I could rush and put out Stella’s story on May 1st as originally planned. In fact, I had every intention of doing just that until yesterday. But it would kill me to have any regrets about Stella’s book. And I fear I would have regrets if we followed through with publication. I’d have that feeling (as I do now) that something isn’t right yet. And you all deserve better than that. You’ve waited this long, and I want to make sure the story you get is my best work. And frankly, Stella’s story deserves better than that. Because Stella’s story is the story of 1 in 6 women. That’s 1 in 6 of us, ladies. Stella’s story could be your sister’s, or your best friend’s, or your mom’s, or your teacher’s, or…yours. And because of that, the importance of getting Stella’s story correct is bigger than a release date.

So it is with regret that I tell you that ALL CLOSED OFF’s release date is being pushed to July 18th. I know this will sadden or frustrate some of you who have been patiently waiting for this book. And I know it’s farther away than you expected, but it’s the best my schedule would allow in the coming months. This was an incredibly difficult decision to make. In all honesty, I’ve been physically ill over it. I hate that I’m having to do this. But I must treat myself with at least as much compassion as I would treat others, as I hope I’ve treated Stella. I want you to have this book in your hands as soon as possible. I want that more than you all could possibly know. But more than that, I want you to have the right book in your hands. The one that does justice to the bold, beautiful, brave person that is Stella Santos.  I hope you can understand and will grant me just a little more patience. Thank you for sticking with me this long. There is no word big enough to encompass my gratitude.

Love,

Cora

The One with the ROAR Street Team and a Giveaway!

If you’ve been wondering what my Street Team selection process looks like, here’s a brief overview:

1. When I open my computer and see all the amazing applications:

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2. When I settle in to read those amazing applications and realize just how many there are:

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3. When I realize I have to start making cuts
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4. When I can’t make any more decisions because EVERY. SINGLE. APPLICATION. is amazing and it’s time to call in reinforcements

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5. When my publicity team swoops in and helps make the final choices for me

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Before anything else, I have to say THANK YOU to every single person who applied. I cannot even begin to describe how encouraging and exciting and absolutely humbling it is every time I do this. As I read through the applications, I felt your joy and your excitement for this book. That alone means everything to me. I’ve literally been happy crying all week. But more than that, so many of you have been with me through every book, and your willingness to jump into this new terrain with me is just so amazing. Many of you were names I recognize from social media or book signings or from stalking your bookstagrams. The first day I started going through the applications, I actually had two different maybe categories, because the idea of saying no to anyone was so painful, I was trying to avoid it as long as possible. But in the end, we had to cut well over 50% of the applications. Please know that if you didn’t make the list, it’s not because you’re not awesome or because your application was lacking in anyway. In the end, there were literally dozens of maybes that I would have quite gladly bumped up to the team if we’d had the space. But as I mentioned in my post on application day, we came to our decisions in array of different ways. We were looking for people with a variety of interests and skills and backgrounds. Some team members have big followings, some are just getting started and are hungry to dive in. Some live on the internet, and some talk books in the real world as librarians or teachers. Some people are artistic and others are super organized. We turned away a lot of really talented people not because we didn’t want them, but because we felt like we already had some avenues and skills well covered. So your presence or absence on our final list is in a no way a reflection of you and your worth to the book community. As a former book blogger (and former teacher), I know very well just how much work you all put in. I know the passion and heart you pour into this community, and I know it sometimes comes with very little acknowledgement or thanks. But if there’s one thing I’m certain of after visiting all your pages and sites, it’s that you all do incredible work, and readers and authors both are lucky to have you!

So all that being said, please know how grateful I am for your interest. All of your applications were such a balm to my soul, and I do hope you will keep in touch.

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Now, without any further ado, I am absolutely thrilled to announce (in alphabetical order) the members of the Roar Street Team!

Ali Kiki
Alyssa Susanna
Ana Rodriguez
Ashlei Davison
Ashley St-Pierre
Ashley Williams
Austine Decker
Beth Edwards
Brie Wood
Caitlin Christensen
Carmina “Mina” Divinagracia
Casey Marie Sennett
Emilie Couture
Emily Miller
Fallon Vaughn
Genesis Reyes
Heather Pigg
Jamie Arkin
Jamie Schmitt
Jessica Ramirez
Kailey (@living.through.books)
Katie Anderson
Katie Stutz
Kayla Ritenour
Kelly Nagy
Kierstan Seimer
Krista Davis
Kristen Chandler
Liz Hollendonner
Lori Wilt
Mary Hinson
Megan Gallt
Michelle Adams
Mikee Andrea Quiambao
Milana Madzarac
Morgan Bermann
Nathalie Pierre
Nicole Thompson
Pavan Hansra
Rachel Micallef
Rachel Spencer
Renery Gatpayat
Riley Marie
Sara Santana
Sarah Fletcher
Stephanie Gibson
Stephanie Plotkin
Summer Webb
Sydney Laws
Talina Roma

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YAYYYYYY!!! CONGRATULATIONS to everyone selected! I can’t wait to spend the next several months with y’all! And I especially can’t wait to usher ROAR into the world with you guys beside me.

If you were selected for the Roar Street Team, you’ll be getting an email from me early next week with more information. We’ll also be sending eARCs out via NetGalley (with print ARCS to follow once we’ve got all the fun swag ready to go too). If you have a dedicated NetGalley email address that is different than the address provided in your application, please send that information to my amazing publicist Diana at diana.griffin@tor.com.

Now….for everyone else: How about a giveaway???

I just happen to have some extra Roar ARCs lying around, so here’s what we’re going to do! I’m going to choose one winner from the remaining street team applications to win a signed ARC. You don’t need to enter, you already did that by filling out the application. Just keep an eye on your email today to see if you win.

And I’m giving away a second ARC on the rafflecopter below that is eligible for ANYONE to win! Both giveaways are open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally, make sure you pre-order your copy of Roar on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks – I can’t wait to share it with you!

Love and hugs,
Cora

The One Where You Can Apply for the ROAR Street Team!

So you might have heard about a book that I’ve been working on…a book that I’ve been wanting to write for almost a decade…a book that I am so excited (and so nervous) to share with you!
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I spent years and years in the YA community as a reader and a blogger. The first book I ever finished was YA fantasy. The next few books I started were all YA too. In fact, the first time I ever wrote anything that didn’t involve fantasy elements, it was a little book now called Losing It that totally flipped my world upside down. I’ve had a wonderful few years writing quirky  New Adult romance (and I’m still going to be doing plenty of that, no worries), but the itch to write fantasy again has been plaguing me for years now. And on June 13th, my dream of writing a YA high fantasy will come true with the release of ROAR, the first book in the Stealing Storms series. For my romance readers unsure about YA and fantasy– give it a shot. There’s a hot (and possibly evil) prince, a bad ass storm hunter who looks great in leather, a princess in disguise, and a really fun and ferocious cast of characters. Plus lots of angsty sexual tension and kissing and swoony stuff. You know I wouldn’t leave that out. 🙂
Here’s a little more about the book:
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In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. 

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

Friends1This book would not have happened without the support of so many people – my editor, my agent, my publicist, my assistant – but most importantly, this book would not have happened without YOU. You guys are the driving force, the source of encouragement when things get tough, and a fount of such contagious energy and excitement. For the past five years, y’all have been helping me follow my dream, and I hope you’ll want to live out another dream with me as I venture into new territory. If you do…

CALLING ALL READERS, BLOGGERS, AND JUST GENERALLY AWESOME PEOPLE!
I want YOU on the Roar Street Team! Yes, you!aladdingif
Okay, but what’s a street team? I’m so glad you asked!
A street team is the ultimate set of super readers. I’m looking for people who love my books and my characters, and are excited and eager for my next fictional journey! A street team helps spread the word about an author’s books– online, in person, and IN SPACE (when possible). The Rusk University Street Team (aka “The Carmcats”) was absolutely invaluable to me during the lead up and release weeks of All Lined Up, All Broke Down, and All Played Out. Like, if the most valuable player gets the MVP award, my street team would get the MVT award. (Can we make that a thing?)
The former teams have done everything from making graphics, hosting giveaways, brainstorming marketing ideas, and spreading the word about my books like a plague (a plague of AWESOMENESS). They went above and beyond to host release day Facebook parties, and basically kept me from losing my mind during a (very exciting, but still very) stressful time. And…they’re just awesome people. Funny, kind, intelligent, generous people that I am so blessed to have in my life. Seriously… I cannot sing their praises enough. And as I venture into YA for the first time, I’m going to need people like that even more than before. If you’re especially stoked about the idea of me writing fantasy romance, that’s even better!
It’s a big time commitment to be part of this street team (not just because you’ll be helping me, but also because our exclusive street team Facebook group is an incredibly fun place to hang out and ignore the rest of the world). Within the street team, you’ll be divided up in small groups where you’ll work together to earn cool prizes and extras. So if you’re applying, please be certain you have the time to devote to the team and your group. 

Here’s what’s in it for you:

  • Every member of the ROAR Street Team will receive a print ARC. You’ll be able to hold Roar in your own hands way before anyone else!
  • Exclusive giveaways ONLY for street team members. Swag, signed copies, and other special stuff. Your odds of winning are MUCH better than when competing with the masses.
  • Exclusive content and news. When a new book is releasing or I’m writing a new project, you guys will be the first to hear about it! You’ll also be the first people I torture tease with excerpts!
  • Swag for you! Swag for your friends! Swag for strangers you bombard on the street!
  • Every active street team member’s name will appear in the acknowledgments of a future book. Show all your friends how important and beloved you are! Plus, I sometimes steal names when I’m creating characters. In fact, I got Roar’s last name, Pavan, from a street team member! :)
  • Membership in the exclusive street team Facebook group! Here you can chat with other team members, brainstorm promotional ideas, and hang out with me! I’ll pop in for exclusive street team chats and hang outs…okay, and probably spend some time procrastinating, too.  Not to mention I might pick your brain about books and characters you’d like to see. Or vent to you about my love life. All possibilities. ;)
As a street team member, there’s lots of things you can do to help my books succeed. You don’t have to do them all…at least not at the same time. And this is far from an all-inclusive list, but rather some suggestions to give you an idea of how we might need you to promote Roar.

In person you can…

  • Talk the books up and share promo material with friends, family, co-workers, and book clubs. You can even drop off promo materials at bookstores, libraries, coffee shops, etc. 
  • Buy Roar the first week of release, which helps it get more visibility, thereby selling more books
  • Ask your local library to order Roar or any of my other books. Give the librarians the title, name and publisher of each book. In the same vein, ask your local bookstore to stock my books if they don’t already. 

Online you can…

  • Share your (honest) review/rating of the book via Amazon, iBooks, BN.com, and Goodreads. I can’t even begin to express how big a deal this is in terms of discoverability for new books. 
  • Share interviews, reviews, cover reveals, and other promotional events across your social media and online platforms (Blogs, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, etc)
  • Spread the word about my books to your online friends and followers. 
  • “Like” my books and me on Amazon.com & BN.com
  • Like, Retweet, and Share whenever/whatever you can!
  • Recommend Roar on Goodreads and elsewhere. As readers, you wield so much influence. And every little bit helps! 
  • Participate in online Publicity and Marketing campaigns (Blog tours, FB parties, cover reveals, etc).

You must fill out the application below by Friday, February 10th at 11:59pm (CST) to be considered. By requiring people to apply rather than just join a Facebook group, we get to know people better. We’ve been able to foster a sense of family within the group. We talk about much more than my books. We talk about other books we love. We talk about our lives– the good and the bad. We talk about the delirious and weird things that come up when we’re all staying up way too late. This time around we’ll be picking a bigger team than usual because we really want to go all out with Roar. I know that some of you have applied for my Rusk teams, maybe multiple times, and not made the cut. Believe me when I say that choosing these street teams are the HARDEST thing I have to do as an author. I always reach a point where I can’t narrow it down anymore because I love everyone, and I have to bring in other people from my publicity team to help make the final few decisions. And those decisions are often very strategic – we try to diversify the team as much as possible and make sure we’re choosing people with a variety of strengths and assets and interests. What that means is you don’t necessarily have to have the biggest blog or the most popular Instagram. We’re concerned with your enthusiasm and willingness to participate, not just your follower count. Your statistics are not the end all and be all here. So please don’t let the stress of filling out an application get to you. Just be yourself and tell us what you love.

That being said, depending on the number of applications, there may be some that don’t make the team. But please know that I appreciate each and every one of you, and am so grateful to everyone who cares enough to fill out the application and put themselves out there. You are incredible.
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So how do you apply?Fill out the form below (or click HERE) by Friday, February 10th at 11:59pm (CST). Just tell us anything you think might be relevant. We don’t mind if you ramble. 😉

As a thank you for reading all this and considering applying, here’s a quick teaser featuring that aforementioned badass storm hunter….Locke sighed. It was well past time to start training her for real. Clearly, she would not be scared off by a little hard work as he had hoped.

He stowed the maps back in the Rock, and then set off toward Roar’s shoddily constructed tent. The thing stood haphazardly, leaning with the wind, but true to her stubbornness, she had refused to let anyone help her set it up.

He lifted the tent flap carefully, and called into the dark space, “Rise and shine, princess.”

Locke heard the shuffling of blankets, and a grumbled, “I will murder you.”

He fought a smile and crooned, “Come on, princess. Don’t make me drag you out of there. I guarantee I’ll enjoy it entirely too much.”

He narrowly dodged a waterskin she tossed through the open flap of her tent, but he heard her moving around. She was always a little grumpy in the mornings, and it entertained him to no end.

“You know storms wait for no one. They come when you’re sleeping or sore or tired, and those not strong enough to outrun them are those that don’t survive.”

“I’m coming. Calm your skies, hunter.”

He dropped the tent flap and walked several paces away to wait. When she climbed out of the tent, he lost his train of thought completely. Her hair was mussed and wild, and her mouth open in a yawn. She wore a large linen tunic that swallowed her slim form, hanging down to mid-thigh. Beneath it her legs were bare, the light of the moon cast- ing them in a soft glow. The sight burned into his brain, never to be forgotten.

*smooshes you all*
<3 Cora

The One with the LOSING IT Announcement + Giveaway! (Plus a life update)

Have you ever wished that Losing It could be made into a movie or a TV show? If so, you aren’t alone – I get questions all the time asking if we’ll ever see Bliss and Garrick on the screen. And now I can finally say….MAYBE!!

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We’ve optioned the Losing It series to Canvas Media Studios for development as a digital series (You can read the exclusive announcement in Variety)! I love the idea of a digital series, since I watch all of my TV online anyway, and binge-watching is pretty much my favorite hobby. Of course, these are still early days, and there are no guarantees, but it’s an AWESOME first step! I hope you’re as excited as I am by the prospect of seeing our favorite awkward heroine and British professor brought to life. Just for reference… my level of excitement is currently here:

how-i-met-yourI don’t have a ton of information to share so far, but I CAN tell you a little bit more about Canvas Media Studios. It’s an innovative digital studio launched by two-time Emmy Award winning creator Bernie Su and David Tochterman focused on developing scripted multi-platform entertainment franchises and headquartered in LA.  Here are the bios for the founders:

Bernie Su is a creator, writer, director and producer known for interactive and transmedia storytelling. Past projects include the Emmy winning LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES and EMMA APPROVED, and FRANKENSTEIN MD for PBS.  He was named VideoInk’s Creator of the Year in 2014.

(If you’ve never seen LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES… It’s on Youtube, and it’s a retelling of Pride & Prejudice. It’s amazing. GO FORTH AND WATCH. I think you’ll learn pretty quickly why Bernie is SUCH a good fit for Losing It and our awkward girl Bliss. He even read and loved the entire series! Wouldn’t it be amazing to have the entire series done?!)

David Tochterman is a veteran executive and producer with a record of developing award-winning digital and television properties.  He has most recently been a digital strategy consultant for PBS, ABC and Starz.  He launched the digital media division of Innovative Artists, led the television division of Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and was a SVP of the television powerhouse Carsey Werner Company.

As I said, these are still early days. And I’m sure you guys all know that many, many books get optioned for film and TV that never actually make it to the screen. So if you (like me) would love to see the Losing It series come to life on your screens, the best thing you can do is be excited (LOUDLY). Tell your friends. Share this news. If there’s anyone you know who hasn’t met the swoon-worthy hotness that is Garrick Taylor, now is the perfect time to introduce them. The more buzz that is generated about this project, the better chance we have of it becoming a reality! So if you wanted to consider sharing this article with your family and friends and strangers in the street, I’d really appreciate it. 😀

This seems like as good a time as any to go ahead and point out that typically authors have very little control over things like casting. So while you guys can fancast to your heart’s content, please know that A. That is a long ways away. And B. Completely outside my control. And C. I love you.

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And a quick life update:

You might have seen this post in January about some health issues I was having that have put some severe delays on my publishing and writing schedule. I am afraid that I still don’t have any news for you about release dates. Nor do I have any concrete news about a diagnosis. I was pretty vague then because I had hoped that I would have answers soon and would be able to come back and give a more comprehensive answer about what is going on in my life. Clearly that is not the case, so here is what I can tell you. Primarily, the issues I’ve been experiencing are vision related, which is why they’ve affected my writing schedule so drastically. I have unexplained central vision loss and distortion in my left eye, along with double vision in both eyes, and stubborn, long-lasting headaches. The good news is after a battery of tests on my eyes, they’ve not found any sign of degenerative eye diseases. So the next step was to look to my brain. I had an MRI and MRA, both of which came back clear– also good news. So the final hypothesis from my doctor was that I had increased intracranial pressure that was putting pressure on my optic nerves causing the vision issues and headaches. To confirm that hypothesis, I had a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap), which unfortunately (or fortunately… I don’t really know any more) came back showing a normal pressure, complicating that theory. So, I’m still in limbo. I wish that I could offer a more concrete answer with regards to release dates. At the moment, I’m just taking things a day at a time. But at least we all have the possibility of a real life Garrick (sort of) to cheer us up, right? 🙂

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Speaking of Garrick cheering us up…how about a little giveaway?? One lucky winner will receive a SIGNED copy of Losing It, and three runners up will get swag packs! Enter for your chance to win here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

All of the awkward <3,

Cora

The One with ANOTHER Rediscovered Bliss and Garrick Scene!

My lovely readers!

I get asked again and again to write more for Garrick and Bliss, and while that’s not currently in my plans…

TODAY YOU’RE IN LUCK. While in the process of cleaning out my email inbox (which is a terrifying place), I came across this bonus scene that I’d COMPLETELY forgotten I had written! It was originally sent out as a bonus incentive for people who pre-orderd All Lined Up, so you might have read it a couple of years ago – but I wanted to share it with everyone. 🙂

This takes place some time after the events of Keeping Her, and is unedited – so my apologies for any mistakes. 🙂 Enjoy!


 

Of Mishaps and Moms
A Garrick/Bliss Bonus scene

Bliss

I dropped the fake smile from my face and escaped into the oversized dressing room with Kelsey.

“I swear to God,” I whispered. “I’d rather spend the day with Prince Joffrey than deal with one more hour of my mother and Garrick’s mother in the same room.”

Kelsey laughed. “Dude. Those women could make that crazy bastard curl into the fetal position and weep.”

“Right?!”

I sank onto a frilly little settee in a bridal shop that was painfully overpriced and opulent. Neither set of parents seemed to understand that Garrick and I didn’t need to be in more debt than we already were. My mom refused to accept that the both of us would continue on in theatre. It baffled her that we would spend our lives on careers that had very little chance of advancement or a decent paycheck.

“You okay?” Kelsey asked. “You look like you’re two seconds away from meltdown.”

I scrubbed my hands over my face and sighed. “If I were a superstitious person, I would say that the world really doesn’t want me and Garrick to get married.”

Kelsey rolled her eyes and eased herself onto the love-seat across from me. Only three months pregnant, and she was already walking like someone had shoved a bowling ball up… well, somewhere bowling balls should not be shoved.

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you I couldn’t ever picture Kelsey being pregnant. Now I know that was because I never pictured her pregnant and scowling.

“Bullshit.” She shifted, grimacing as she tried to get comfortable. “You’ve had the longest effing engagement in the history of the world. So, you’ve definitely thought this all the way through. That guy would move freaking mountains for you. You’re so perfect together that I could vomit. Or maybe that’s the morning sickness. Hard to tell.”

I threw my hands up. “There’s a typo on our invitations! You can’t tell me that’s not the worst wedding fail possible.”

She shrugged. “One measly letter.”

“It says we’re engaged to be marred!”

“Yeah. Okay. So that’s kind of bad. But now you’re trying on your dress, and it’s going to be awesome, and everything else won’t matter.”

“But—“

“Don’t make me boob punch you. I have very little patience these days. We’ll do those shabby chic handmade invites you found on Pinterest. Garrick and I will run mom-interference. Everything will work out.”

“When did you get to be so positive?”

She thought for a moment. “Is it cheesy if I say I found myself?”

I raised my eyebrows and said, “Yes, it is.”

“Fine. Then I got my shit together. And Jackson helps. But don’t you dare tell him that, his head is big enough already.”

I laughed. “That sounds more like you.”

She gestured for me to stand up. “You just shut up and concentrate on looking gorgeous.”

“Let me just add gorgeous to my to-do list right quick.”

“Boob punch. It’s coming if you’re not careful.”

“Fine.”

I stood, and she slowly did the same.

“Is it really that bad?” I asked, eyeing her slightly rounded stomach.

“There’s something growing inside me that has more control over my stomach and bladder than I do. What do you think?”

“You’re happy though, right? You and Jackson? I know it wasn’t planned but you’re…”

“We’re happy.” One side of her mouth lifted in a reluctant smile. “Scared shitless. But very happy.”

And that was all the reprieve we got as the door opened, and the seamstress bustled in with both mothers hot on her heels.

Kelsey went off to run interference as promised, and I focused on the seamstress as she retrieved my dress. It was the one thing about all this planning mess that had gone unequivocally right. It was this gorgeous mix of vintage and modern. The bodice was a slim-fit with boning like a corset. It wasn’t just for support though. They’d stitched it so you could see the vertical lines, and they flowed with the body.  The bottom of the dress was made up of gorgeous pieces of chiffon of varying lengths, and they softened the effect of the very structured top.

In all, it felt like the perfect choice for me.

The seamstress was a petite Asian woman, and by her expression, she had about as much patience for the moms as I did.

“You ready?” She asked, stepping away from where my mother was clucking about how she still couldn’t believe I’d chosen such a simple dress.

To me, it was anything but simple. But I guess for Mom, anything without a massively poofy skirt or long train wasn’t good enough.

“I mean,” My mother said as I stepped behind the screen to change into the lacy, itchy undergarments. “It’s a lovely dress. Don’t get me wrong. But it more like a nice dress you’d wear to a party or a special occasion. Not a wedding dress.”

It was also one of the only affordable dresses in this place she’d insisted on taking me to.

“Mom, we’ve been over this. Those other dresses just aren’t me. This one is perfect.”

“Perfect certainly isn’t the world I’d use, but I suppose if you’re happy…”

I was pretty sure the end of that sentence was supposed to be then I’m happy, but she didn’t say it. And she sure as hell didn’t look it.

Garrick’s mom was looking between the two of us with an almost gleeful smile. In the beginning, that woman had terrified me. Still does, really. But then we kind of hit it off and worked some things out. But she despised my mother, so she was happiest when the two of us were at odds. Which was a lot these days.

I called out to the seamstress, “I’m ready.”

She handed the dress over to me, and I slipped it over my head. All the little pieces of chiffon got bunched and stuck as I pulled it down, so I stepped out from behind the screen to get some help. Kelsey worked on pulling all the pieces of chiffon loose so they hung properly while I slipped my arms through the tiny straps. The seamstress stepped around me to start zipping up the bodice while Kelsey finished. She got it halfway done before the metal whine of the zipper began to slow and then stopped all together.

There was an ominous pause, and then she pulled on each side of the top, smooshing my breasts tightly against the bodice, and trying again.

She got another inch or so, but I could feel her straining behind me, and the pinch of the boning around my waist.

Mom stepped up to help, and the first thing out of her mouth was “My goodness, Bliss. What have you been eating since your last fitting?”

Under my breath, I mumbled, “My feelings.”

Kelsey was below me, still adjusting chiffon, and she snickered.

Mom helped her pull, and together they zipped the dress up all the way, until I felt like one deep breath might do the whole thing in.

Mom sighed. “That’s not going to work. Bliss, really. What have you been eating?”

“I don’t know. Stuff.”

Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

“Are you pregnant?” Mom’s voice was stern, accusatory.

“No!”

“You’re certain?” Garrick’s mother asked, one sculpted eyebrow raised. She’d seen me through one pregnancy scare when we visited London. She was going to think I was a hot mess if I had another.
“Yes, I’m certain.”

Mom rounded me to look me in the eye. “If you’re pregnant, we’ll need to move up the wedding. No daughter of mine is having a child outside of wedlock.” She belatedly glanced at Kelsey who’d moved back to the love-seat and offered an unfeeling smile.  “No offense, sweetheart.”

Kelsey raised her hands in a shrug and said, “None taken.”

I would have been absolutely livid, in fact, I was livid for my friend. But Kelsey wasn’t bothered in the least.

“I’m not pregnant, Mom. Not that it would be a bad thing if I was. I’ve just been stressed. I’ll cut back, and everything will be fine.”

Mom hummed and said quietly, “It certainly wouldn’t kill you to eat a little healthier.” I closed my eyes and resisted the urge to lash out. She gestured for me to step up on the round platform they use to fit and hem the dress. I made eye contact with Kelsey, and she gave me a reassuring grin accompanied by a supportive eye roll.

I took the seamstresses hand, and she helped me step up onto the platform. Garrick’s mother placed a pair of heels in front of me, and I slipped them on. A piece of chiffon got stuck in the left heel, and I reached down to pull it loose.

Then like it was happening in slow motion. I felt movement at the back of my dress, a rush of air, and then the loud ripping sound seemed to follow behind a second later.

Everyone started yelling and rushing around. And I just froze, half bent over, my eyes screwed shut and my bottom lip pinned harshly between my teeth.

Surely not. It can’t be. I barely bent over at all. It’s not like I’ve gained THAT much weight.

But I couldn’t deny the brush of air across my lower back that should not have been possible in this corseted gown.

I would have stayed bent like that forever, trying to convince myself that this was another one of those wedding-themed nightmares that had been plaguing my sleep, but Mom gripped my arm and forced me to stand up right.

Her first words?

“If you had bought that princess dress that I liked we wouldn’t be having this problem.”

And that was the final straw for me.

“Out!” I yelled. “Get out! All of you. Go!”

Garrick’s mom looked pleased by my show of strength, but not impressed enough to move.

“Bliss, really,” Mom said. “We don’t need your dramatics.”

I picked up my skirts to keep from causing another wardrobe disaster, then I stepped off the platform and bolted for the bathroom in the corner. My hands were sweaty and slipped on the ornate knob, but I could hear my mother coming after me, so I focused enough to push the door open and slam myself inside.

Then I gave in to the inclination I’d been having from the moment I heard my perfect dress rip, and I screamed.

The screaming only lasted a few seconds though. Then the crying set in.

#

I wouldn’t open the door for anyone. Certainly not my mother. So when the door creaked open about half an hour later, I was shocked out of my depressed stupor. There, peeking into the room, was Garrick. It took his eyes a few moments to find me where I was sprawled on the floor.

Garrick took in my prone form, and a smile stole across his face for a few seconds before disappearing for another serious expression. With his mouth in a thin line, he raised an eyebrow and said, “Nice dress.”

Normally, I wouldn’t have let a single inch of this dress touch the floor of a bathroom, but this place was nicer than my apartment. And the floor was carpeted in the sitting area, so I figured I was okay.
But it occurred to me then that Garrick wasn’t supposed to see me in this dress. It was bad luck, and we definitely didn’t need any more bad luck.

The logical thing would have been to tell him as much. But I wasn’t much for logic at the moment, so instead I rolled over like hiding the bulk of the dress would help, all while screaming at him to get out.

He didn’t.

He closed the door behind him, and I heard the soft fall of his footsteps across the carpet.

“You need to get up, love.”

“No. I don’t. I need to lay here and not think about everything that has gone wrong. And probably will go wrong. That or I need to get really, really drunk. Maybe I could get really, really drunk right here.”
“While we’ve had many a good experience in bathrooms, this one isn’t ours. Come on. Let me take you home.”

I didn’t remember that the back of my pretty, perfect dress was a ripped mess until Garrick knelt beside me and ran a finger down my revealed spine.

That’s when I started crying again.

I knew even as it was happening that I was a blubbering, unattractive mess. I knew I sounded pitiful and whiny, but I just couldn’t help it. When you love someone, everything about life should get easier. All we wanted was each other, so the rest of this stuff shouldn’t matter, but what did it say about us that we couldn’t even get married without a disaster? What did it say about me? Would my whole life be this way? Every big moment? Would I get arrested on our honeymoon? Give birth to my first child in the cab on the way to the airport?

How long would Garrick stick around for that?

His palm flattened against my lower back, and suddenly it was too hard to breathe. I needed this ruined dress off of me. I needed it gone. I needed to be away from this place with no talk of dresses or invitations or flowers or vows. I needed everything to be how it had been before.

I sat up, hiccuping out words from between sobs, and it took a few moments before Garrick seemed to understand what I wanted. I pulled the straps off my shoulders and started grappling with the zipper at the back, but the dress had ripped right next to it, so I had trouble getting the leverage to unzip it.

I pulled too hard, and I heard another rip, and I couldn’t even form words anymore.

Garrick’s hands caught mine, and with our fingers laced together, he sat down behind me, wrapping both of our arms around my middle, trapping me against his body.

“If you’ll calm down for me, I’ll help you take the dress off. Then we’ll give it to the seamstress, and she can fix it.”

“It’s ruined.”

“It’s not.”

“How do you know? You don’t know anything about wedding dresses!”

“I know that if this one is ruined, we’ll get another just like it.”

“We can’t afford that.”

“We’ll manage.”

“Stop being so nice to me. I’m going to ruin our wedding.”

Garrick chuckled and dipped his head to press a kiss to my shoulder. “The only way you could ruin our wedding was if you didn’t show up. Whatever else happens that day won’t matter. As long as you walk down that aisle and stand with me.”

“What if I trip down the aisle?”

“Then I’ll make sure to trip down the aisle on our way out so we’re even.”

I laughed in spite of myself.

I hated that this kept happening. I was always the one falling apart, and he was always the one putting things back together. That was another thing that couldn’t last. I had to learn to hold my own in this relationship. I had to be better.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

He hummed, bending his head and grazing his cheek along the slow of my shoulder.

“What are you sorry for?”

“For being such a mess. For making you come out here to deal with me.”

“You know that’s not a hardship, right? I like dealing with you.”

As if punctuating his point, his hands released mine to trail up my sides, tracing the lines of stitching on my dress.

“Now you do,” I mumbled.

“Hey.” He caught my chin, and pulled me to face him. “None of that. If you want to doubt something… doubt the fish at the rehearsal dinner, doubt whether Rowland and Graham will be able to hold their liquor during the festivities, doubt our mothers’ abilities to stick to friendly conversation. Don’t doubt us. We’re beyond that, you and I. You keep acting as if I don’t know who you are. That I’m going to wake up one day, and decide these little mishaps aren’t worth all the rest. But you have to remember… I love you. Mishaps included. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have made it past the imaginary cat.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t say you’re sorry. Just kiss me instead. Every time you feel like apologizing. Let that be the first rule of our marriage.”

I sniffed. “Sounds like a pretty good rule.”

“Indeed, it does.”

“What happens if I’m really sorry?”

“I’m sure we can come up with a few ideas.”

“And what if one of us is angry? Or sad? Or anything else?”

“Same rule applies.”

He pulled my chin forward, tipping my mouth up toward his, but I hesitated.

“My mom thinks I’m getting fat. And I couldn’t even bend over in my dress without ripping it.”

His big hands slid up to take hold of my ribcage. “You’re not fat, Bliss. And I for one happen to like your curves.”

“Curves is just a nice way to say I’ve gained weight.”

“You have gained weight.”

Punch to the solar plexus right there.

“And it looks good. I, for one, like the fuller look on you.” He trailed one finger along the top of my bodice, and the cleavage that it pushed up above the neckline. Had those gotten bigger too? He said, “Now stop worrying. That falls under marriage rule number one, too.”

This time when he tilted my chin up, I didn’t resist. He covered my lips with his, and I opened up to the taste of him. My stomach swooped the way it always seemed to when he kissed me. Never would I have thought that such an unsteady feeling would be the thing to ground me.

His fingers continued their light stroking over the top of my breasts. And slowly, his mouth teased mine until everything else disappeared. The ripped dress. The invitation mistakes. Even our mothers. And let me tell you, it takes quite a kiss to make those two fade into the background.

But I was soon to be Mrs. Garrick Taylor.

And yes, it was easy to get swept away with all the mishaps and the planning and the stress. But when he was in front of me, touching me, his forehead resting against mine… none of those other things had any kind of pull on me. Because the gravity I felt toward him would always be stronger.

With him, I’d always be stronger too.


 

 

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Remember, you can read all of the Bliss and Garrick bonus scenes (as well as bonus content from my other books) on my Extras page!
In Awkward Love,
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The One with the Long Lost Garrick POV!

Remember way back in 2013, when I posted four scenes from Losing It written from Garrick’s point of view? (If you need to refresh your memory, you can check them out HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE!) Weeeeeeeell…as I was combing through my bottomless pit of an email inbox, I came across ANOTHER little Losing-It-From-Garrick’s-POV scene that I never posted. So here you go! Consider it a belated Christmas/holiday present. 🙂

This scene is from Chapter 23 of Losing It, and it’s unedited, so please excuse any mistakes.


The One About Sickness and Healing

I needed Spring Break like I need air. I just needed a week where I didn’t have to see Bliss everywhere I went, where I didn’t have to watch her pour her heart out on stage every night in rehearsals. where I could be miserable in peace.

But I had one more rehearsal to get through first. Then I would recharge for the week, power through the end of the semester, and move on.
I sighed. Why was that thought so depressing? I should have been happy to move past all of this.

With my keys in hand, I left my flat to head to rehearsal. I was running a bit behind, so I jogged out into the parking lot.

Bliss stood out in the middle of the driveway, directly in the road, and she was bundled up in sweaters like it was winter, rather than the end of March.

I took a deep breath, steeling myself.

“Bliss?”

She didn’t even react, but she did wobble on her feet, like the night I’d seen her drunk with her friends.

I called her name again. She shook her head, and then pressed her hands to her temples. She bent at the waist, and I watched her body begin to sag toward the ground.

I didn’t bother calling her name. I ran toward her, and wrapped an arm around her waist a second before her legs gave out completely.
“Bliss?”

She whimpered and kept reaching toward the ground. I pulled her up, cradling her in my arms. Her head lolled against her shoulder, and her normally lovely pale skin was missing her usual glow. Instead, it was a ghostly white. Even her lips were a pale purple. Every time she swallowed, her whole face contorted in pain. Tiny pools of tears grew at the corners of her eyes, and I was gutted just looking at her.

“You’re okay, love. I’ve got you. It’s okay.”

She snuggled deeper into my embrace, and I felt like I took my first real breath in weeks.

She didn’t stir when I reached her apartment and dug through her pockets for her keys. She lay, dead weight, in my arms, and panic coated my lungs.

I knew, logically, I knew it was mono. There were already half a dozen people out with it in the department. They had a fever for a bit, then they were really tired for even longer, and then they came back, slowly but surely. I knew there was nothing to worry about, but seeing her like this terrified me.

I wrestled the door open, and kicked it closed behind me. I ducked through the curtain into her bedroom and laid her carefully atop her bed. She moaned, but didn’t open her eyes.

My thoughts splintered and scattered all over the place, and I couldn’t make myself focus on anything but the way she wrapped her arms tightly around herself, like she was in so much pain.

I made myself stop and think. First things first, I need to let Eric know that she wasn’t going to be a rehearsal. And neither was I.

I couldn’t leave her. I wouldn’t.

I sent him a text, and then returned to Bliss.

Her eyes clenched shut, and her teeth clamped down on her bottom lip as she shivered.

I pulled the covers up to her neck, but her expression remained tense. I reached out and pulled her bottom lip from between her teeth. She made a humming noise, and I traced my thumb across her lip again.

God, I’d been so stupid. Touching her now, I couldn’t remember why I hadn’t spent every waking moment beating down her door asking for another chance.

My phone buzzed with a call from Eric. I explained what was going on. I lied and said I wasn’t feeling well either. I said I was going to get Bliss settled then go get some rest myself. He didn’t know exactly what to do for mono except to try to break her fever. He insisted that the hospital wasn’t necessary. Just to rest, and not to let her get too hot.

After I hung up, I heard Bliss mumble something, and then say louder, “Ow.”

I rushed to her side. One of her hands had crept out from beneath the covers, and I took it. “You’re okay, sweetheart. Everything’s going to be okay.”

She shivered, and I pressed my hand against her cheek.

She burned.

She made a noise in her throat and leaned into my hand.

“I don’t know what to do,” I said.

Emotion clogged my throat, and I just wanted to make it better. Her hand covered the back of mine, and she said, “More.”

There were so many things I’d done wrong since I’d moved back here, many of them to do with this beautiful woman, but I could never say no to her. Not even when she didn’t know what she was asking.

Okay.

Fever. I could do this.

She was wearing two sweaters over her t-shirt and jeans, so I slid those off of her as carefully as I could. I left the covers down by her waist, so that she wasn’t too covered up.

I stared at her for a minute, and then saw her shoulders and limbs begin to shake with the cold. A few tears streaked from her eyes and she whimpered. “Cold.”

She swallowed, and then pressed her head back into her pillow, grimacing.

“Please,” she said.

I didn’t know what was best. I didn’t want her to be too warm, but I couldn’t watch her shiver like that.

“I’m here, love. Hold on.”

Before I could second-guess my choice, I pulled my shirt over my head, and slid into bed next to her. I slid her toward me, and she melted into my chest. She gripped my back with weak fingers, and her cheek was blistering against my bare skin. Still, she shook, and I wrapped my arms around her to try and hold her still.

She sighed every time I pulled her closer and held her tighter, so I did just that. I whispered her name, and combed my fingers through her hair, and ran my hands over her over-heated skin.

“It’s going to be okay.”

I hoped that I sounded more confident than I felt. Finally, after nearly an hour, her shaking slowed and her breathing evened out. I pressed a kiss to her burning forehead and said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

She might hate me when she woke. Or worse, she might not care at all.

But every whimper out of her mouth wrung my heart out like a rag, and I knew that moving on from her wasn’t going to be easy.

More importantly, it wasn’t what I wanted.


EEEEEP!! Hope you enjoyed! It’s always fun to revisit Garrick and Bliss. Make sure you check out my extras page for lots of bonus content from all of my series!

In Awkward <3
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The One with the Life Update…

Hello dear readers and friends!

I would love to be able to tell you that I’m here with an update on my publishing schedule for the year. I’ve had a lot of emails and messages and tweets asking me about upcoming books—both Inflict and All Closed Off. I’ve cherished each message because it means you care (and that’s AMAZING), but mostly your questions have gone unanswered. For that, I am so sorry. As you might know, I had originally intended for Inflict to release this month. That was my hope, my wish, my determined intention. But I’ve been having some health issues, things I’ve put off for a while because I was too busy with this or too busy with that. And now they have unfortunately caught up with me.
My 2016 so far has been filled with doctor visit after doctor visit. I’ve kept quiet, waiting for the day when I would have a diagnosis, so that I could have a better idea of what my life will look like over the next few months and hopefully offer you a more concrete answer as to when my next books will be out. I had hoped that day would be today after I had my latest specialist appointment yesterday. But unfortunately, I still don’t have a diagnosis. Just another guess among many and a referral to a different kind of specialist.

 

So while I don’t know what’s wrong with me or what kind of treatment I will eventually need (and what toll that will take on my schedule), I do know that I cannot promise anything right now. Inflict will not be releasing this month (which you probably guessed considering it is January 20th). All I can say is that it’s still on my mind and in my heart, and I’m working on it as often as I am able. But for right now, I’m in a limbo of sorts, and my books are there with me. So in answer to all the questions I’ve gotten about release dates, the only response I can give you right now is… I don’t know. As someone who NEEDS to have a plan, I hate that answer. I hate giving it to you. But I am unfortunately running very low on answers of all kinds at the moment, so it’s all I have.
I truly adore you all. You bring joy to my life through messages and comments and reviews and posts about cats. You encourage and uplift me without ever knowing you’re doing it. But now I have to ask you for some time. Time to figure out my body and my life in addition to words on a page. When I know more—about books or my health—I promise to share. But for now, I would prefer not to hypothesize about either for my own sanity (trust me, I’ve had my fill of hypothesizing already). As of this moment, I have no plans to cancel any signings or appearances, and hopefully will not have to at all. And you’ll still see me here on social media occasionally. I’m not tucked away on my deathbed somewhere; so don’t let the vague nature of this status scare you. Thank you for reading this, for reading my books, and for hopefully understanding the delay.

*throws out cute boys and cats for all of you* *unless you’re a dude who doesn’t like cute boys, then have some spunky chicks and footballs and… stuff*

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Life Update UPDATE – March 22

I am afraid that I still don’t have any news for you about release dates. Nor do I have any concrete news about a diagnosis. I was pretty vague then because I had hoped that I would have answers soon and would be able to come back and give a more comprehensive answer about what is going on in my life. Clearly that is not the case, so here is what I can tell you. Primarily, the issues I’ve been experiencing are vision related, which is why they’ve affected my writing schedule so drastically. I have unexplained central vision loss and distortion in my left eye, along with double vision in both eyes, and stubborn, long-lasting headaches. The good news is after a battery of tests on my eyes, they’ve not found any sign of degenerative eye diseases. So the next step was to look to my brain. I had an MRI and MRA, both of which came back clear– also good news. So the final hypothesis from my doctor was that I had increased intracranial pressure that was putting pressure on my optic nerves causing the vision issues and headaches. To confirm that hypothesis, I had a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap), which unfortunately (or fortunately… I don’t really know any more) came back showing a normal pressure, complicating that theory. So, I’m still in limbo. I wish that I could offer a more concrete answer with regards to release dates. At the moment, I’m just taking things a day at a time.

 

The One With Lots of Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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This is going to be short and sweet because I’m spending time with my family and working like crazy on Roar and Inflict. And I figure you’d all understand! But as I consider all the things I’m thankful for, right near the top of my list are the readers that allow me to chase my dreams. P.S….That means YOU! I’m thankful that every time I fall into doubt and fear, there’s a tweet or a message or an email that lifts me up out of that mire. I’m thankful for your patience as I work on multiple series at once. And I’m simultaneously thankful for your impatience because every time someone asks me about Inflict or Stella and Ryan or Brookes or the new YA– I’m reminded that people care about my words. And just that is enough to help me push forward on days when I’m tired or blocked. I’m thankful for the readers I meet at signings, the ones who make this solitary career feel vibrant and joyful and honestly like a dream.

I will never have the words to say how grateful I am for all of you (which is a bummer since, you know, words are supposed to be my thing). You give me so much support and encouragement and inspiration, and I just want to be able to give a little bit back to you. So, for this week’s Thankful Thursday, one lucky winner will get SIGNED paperbacks of Losing It and All Lined Up, as well as a $25 gift card to the book retailer of their choice (Amazon, BN.com, iBooks, etc).

thankfulthursdayThis giveaway is open internationally, and there are lots of ways you can enter – just check out the Rafflecopter below. 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you haven’t read any of my books, both Losing It and All Lined Up (the first books in their respective series) are only $2.99! Or if you’re looking for a gift to give this holiday season, consider sharing my books with a friend. 🙂 Also, Inspire is FREE with a Kindle Unlimited subscription for approximately one more month.

And if anyone asks you what YOU want this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with a Rusk sweatshirt. It can keep you warm in the absence of Carson, Silas, and Mateo! 😉 AND if you buy two or more items from the Rusk shop between now and December 1, you get free shipping!

Plus we’ve been tweaking my website – there are some new titles added to the Foreign Editions page, an updated FAQ, and some new info on both the Events and Extras pages. So be sure to take a look around!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are and whatever you celebrate!
In Awkward <3, Cora

The One with The BEAUTIFUL NEW COVERS!!!

Ahh! Hello friends!!!

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I’ve been pretty silent lately. Life has been busy. I spent two weeks in Australia for vacation and a signing (which was AMAZING and exhausting), and then as soon as I got back to the States, I moved apartments. And BOY did I have a lot of books to move. I’m also finishing up a first draft of my first ever YA fantasy book, which you can read more about here!

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I wish moving all of my books had looked this effortless.

Many of you have been incredibly patient as you waited for news about new books from me, and I apologize for making you wait. But 2015 has been a year of ups and downs for me. I’ve gone through a massive reading slump, followed by a writing slump that put me off my game and off my schedule. Those frustrating things have been sprinkled with awesome things like the new YA series and ALL PLAYED OUT being named one of Amazon’s best romances of 2015 . Slowly, but surely, I’ve been getting back into the swing of things, and I’m so excited to be able to reveal not only the cover for my next book, INFLICT, but also a brand new cover for INSPIRE, the first book in the series!

Don’t get me wrong. I loved the old cover. But considering Kalli and Wilder have some of the sexiest scenes I’ve ever written, we thought the outside of the book should have a sexy cover to match. Because who doesn’t love a sexy cover? And we also wanted to make sure my romance books are clearly defined as I prepare to branch my career out into Young Adult fiction as well.

So without further ado, we’ll start with the brand new INSPIRE cover! Designed by Regina Wamba from Mae I Design (OMG. She’s amazing!)

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I LOVE IT SO MUCH I WANT TO SCREAM!

I LOVE IT SO MUCH I WANT TO SCREAM!

In case you haven’t read INSPIRE, here’s a little more about it:

INSPIRE
by Cora Carmack
A Muse novel

Kalliope lives with one purpose.
To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.
But it breeds madness, too.

Don’t be frightened off by the paranormal nature of this book! I promise it is still very much a romance at its heart. And since Wilder is completely human, it still has lots of the NA goodness you find in my contemporary books. Did I mention it might be my sexiest book ever? Because it is. Also… can we talk about the new cover model’s tattoos? Because SWOON.

Inspire is currently available to borrow FOR FREE on Kindle Unlimited!  The e-book cover of Inspire should switch over very quickly, but if you want to order a paperback of the old cover, you should do so now. It sometimes takes time for them to switch things over to the new cover, so you’ve got a little bit of a window to snatch up the original before it’s no longer available.

And now for the first time EVER, you can also get INSPIRE in audio! If you’re anything like me, I am ADDICTED to audiobooks. I listen to them while I’m driving or getting ready in the morning or eating lunch. So if that’s your jam, check it out!

NOW ARE YOU READY TO SWOON SOME MORE?

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Because the INFLICT cover is also ready, and it’s my favorite cover of any of my books ever (Sorry Mateo and Nell! I still love you and your adorableness on the APO cover). From the moment Regina sent me this cover, I was OBSESSED. She barely had to make any adjustments because it was amazing from the very beginning. It perfectly captures the tone of this book, and it makes my heart ache just looking at it!

Are you ready?

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ARE YOU SURE?

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DRUMROLL, PLEASE…….

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AHHHHHH. Isn’t it gorgeous? I am SO in love with it! Huge thanks again  to Regina at Mae I Design for the photography and mad design skills! And thanks to the gorgeous models Jenessa and Michael, who gave me so many amazing photos to choose from!

And because I know many of you have been dying for more about Kalli and Wilder after the end of INSPIRE, here’s the cover copy of INFLICT to give you a better idea of what’s coming in book two!

**DEFINITE SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ INSPIRE! BEWARE! **

INFLICT
by Cora Carmack
A Muse novel

Wilder Bell made a dangerous bargain…
For a chance at love, he gave up his life.

History knew Kalliope as an ancient Greek muse, but to Wilder, she was simply the woman he wanted to fall asleep with every night and wake up next to every morning. He made a deal with Hades, but the only thing the Lord of the Underworld deals in is death. Now Wilder is wasting away in a cold and wretched afterlife, waiting for Kalli to come for him. She will come. He has to believe that. Because the alternative is worse than death.

Kalliope lived her entire existence knowing that she was both a blessing and a curse to anyone she encountered. Wilder was no different. She loved him, and she got him killed. Now to get him back, she’ll have to face a scheming god, a perilous task, and death itself. But before it’s done, the Underworld will take more from her than she ever thought possible.

To be made whole, all must first be lost.

I am so, so excited for this book. Getting to write about my version of the Underworld is pretty much the coolest thing ever, and there are so many twists and turns still left in store for Kalli and Wilder. And so many sexy times too (OF COURSE).

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INFLICT will be releasing in January 2016. Sorry, I still don’t have an exact date for you, but I promise to let you all know as soon as I am able. The best way to make sure you never miss major news from me is to sign up for my newsletter. Or follow me on social media! You can find me on my Facebook page, my Facebook group Cora’s Crew, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also add INFLICT on Goodreads.

Are you ready for January? There’s so much coming. SO MUCH. Keep an eye on my social media and newsletter in the coming months for sneak peeks of what’s in store for Kalli and Wilder!

P.S. In other Cora news, check out my events page for signings coming up in 2016! I’ll be in Dallas, Savannah, Denver, and more!

In Awkward ❤️, Cora

The one with a NEW SERIES!

OMG. OMG GUYS.

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Ahh. I’ve been sitting on this news for a while, and have been so eager to announce it. And wouldn’t you know that when it’s actually announced, I am totally unprepared! So I’m rushing to put this post together, but I’m so excited that I can’t think straight!

So bear with me… we’ll start with the basics.

I SOLD A NEW SERIES!!!

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AND IT’S YA!!!!

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AND HIGH FANTASY!!!

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AND AHHHHHHHH!!!!

The deal was announced today on Publisher’s Weekly. The series is currently titled Stealing Storms, and the first book is called ROAR.

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Okay. Breathe. I’m breathing. Where to start?!

Let’s start with the genre.

Some of you might know that long before I ever put pen to paper and wrote Losing It, my first writing love was YA fantasy. The first book I ever finished was YA fantasy. The first book that ever got me an agent was YA fantasy. YA fantasy (of various kinds) is what I lived and breathed for five years before one summer I took a break to work on something different about an awkward girl in college who sort of accidentally nearly hooks up with her college professor. That book became far bigger than I ever could have imagined, and as a result I spent three years and many books writing New Adult romance. And I have had an absolute blast. And I have every intention to keep writing romance.

But I missed fantasy. I missed YA. If you’ve ever followed me on social media, you’ll note that I recommend far more fantasy and paranormal books than I do contemporary because it’s what I read the most. And my absolute FAVORITE thing to read, the thing I repeatedly ask for recommendations for, is high fantasy with a strong romantic plot (If you don’t recognize the term “high fantasy”- think books that take place in a fictional created world separate from our own– LOTR, GoT, etc). I’ve pretty much devoured anything put in front of me that meets that description. Some favorites include the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore, the Tairen Soul series by CL Wilson, Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J Maas, The Study series by Maria V Snyder, and more.

But as evidenced by the fact that I continually ask for recs, there just aren’t enough books out there like that in my opinion. And I have this pesky little character flaw in that when I want to read something and can’t find it… I HAVE to write it. I just can’t help myself. I did it with LOSING IT when I was craving funny NA amidst all the angst. I did it with INSPIRE when I wanted more paranormal amidst the contemporary. And now I’m doing it with ROAR. And it’s something I’ve been dreaming about for a long time, and I am just so excited and grateful that it’s finally happening. And I’m all weepy and emotional.

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I’m also INCREDIBLY excited to work with both Tor Teen and my editor, Whitney Ross. Whitney and I met a few years ago after she read LOSING IT, and I’ve pretty much thought she was the sweetest thing ever since then. And I love Tor’s books, and have heard fabulous things about them from authors on their list. And I’m just so excited to be writing high fantasy romance, guys! You can expect lots of swoon against a back drop of a new and different world that I am so in love with!

 

A little more about the story!

I grew up in Texas. I lost countless trampolines and bicycles and God knows what else to tornadoes as a child. I had a specific book that I read whenever there was a tornado and my parents stuck me and all our pets in a bathroom to hide (I read to our dogs. They loved it. Take my word for it). My middle sister desperately wanted to be a storm chaser when she grew up, so we watched countless storm movies (I’m looking at you, Twister and Devon Sawa in Night of the Twisters. Yeah,you).

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So I, as the younger sister, of course picked up the fascination. And it’s stuck with me for the rest of my life. I used to talk about writing a contemporary book about storm chasers, but I was nervous about getting the science right and had such a hectic writing schedule that I was never sure I had the time to do proper research. So I once jokingly mentioned I should write a fantasy book about magic storms, then I could just make up whatever I didn’t know.

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It was a joke. But then this idea began unraveling in my head about a world inundated with violent, magical storms that were almost like sentient beings. I thought about how storms like that would shape the culture and government and religion of the land. I imagined rulers with the ability to  control the storms. Then I added some kick ass storm chasers who hunt storms to siphon off magic to sell on the black market. And finally, I imagined a girl named Aurora, who was destined to become Queen and take over her family’s duty of protecting the land, but with one little problem. She’s yet to show any magical ability. And without it, she’s been roped into an arranged marriage in order to keep the power stable in her kingdom.

But even though she wasn’t born with magic, it’s possible to steal it. If you’re brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master. 

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So Aurora runs away with a group of storm chasers and becomes Roar, a storm chaser’s apprentice. She’s determined to look death in the eye and escape with enough magic to control her own future. But life, like the weather, is unpredictable. And she soon faces an impossible choice.

Queen or adventurer.

Duty or freedom.

Her Kingdom or the storm chaser she loves.

Rora or Roar.

Now about those storm chasers…

I AM SO EXCITED TO INTRODUCE THEM TO YOU. They’re this awesome, rag-tag group of misfits who are just crazy and brave enough to take on a very supernatural mother nature. And I mean, really…. you can’t get much hotter than a badass storm chaser for a hero. You’re imagining him in leather, aren’t you? Go ahead. I’ll wait.

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So that’s it!

That’s my news that I’ve been sitting on for months. I hope you’re as excited as me! In fact, you should probably go ahead and add it to read on Goodreads. Feel free to leave your excitement there too. Or ask any questions you might have in the Goodreads ask feature!

And for those who’ve been begging me for news about INFLICT (Inspire book #2), this is why I haven’t been able to give you an answer. Because the YA world moves more slowly than the digitally driven world of romance,  I have to get this book finished and ready to go much sooner than I normally do, and it’s required some rearranging of my schedule. So for the time being, I’ve been working on both this and Inflict. I still don’t have an exact date for you. But I can promise it will be this year. And hopefully I’ll have some more concrete news for you in the next month or so.

And one last shameless plug…

Two of my books are on sale!

Inspire is just $.99 today only as a Kobo daily deal!

Kobo https://goo.gl/FbVsRv

 

Also on…

And All Played Out is $1.99!

Okay now that’s really all! *tackle hugs for everyone*

With Awkward Love,

Cora