Category Archive

all lined up

14 Things I LOVED About 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
(For real though…where has the time gone?! It feels like only yesterday we were freaking out about the possibility of our computers not working on January 1st.)
(#Y2K #neverforget)
As we turn towards 2015, I can’t help but reminisce on all the amazing things that happened in 2014. Here are some of my favorites: 
1. Introducing the world to Rusk University.
Like Dallas, I have a love/hate relationship with football. As such I never would have anticipated how much I would grow to love this series and these characters. Is it weird that they feel like old friends? Like… I just want to hang out with them. All the time. 
2. On a related note, creating Silas Moore.
He was my first attempt at writing a bad boy, and I love him so much. He’s still actually a pretty decent guy, because I am apparently incapable of writing true jerks. But I definitely caught the #SilasVirus when I was writing All Broke Down. Hopefully you did too. 
3. Taylor Swift giving us the glory that is “Shake It Off.”
THIS SONG IS MY JAM AND I’M NOT SORRY.
ALSO HOW AWKWARD AND BRILLIANT IS SHE?
AWKWARD PEOPLE NEED LOVE TOOOOOOO. 
4. Reading some AMAZING BOOKS.
2014 was the year I became addicted to audiobooks, and as such, the year I was able to find a better balance between reading and writing/working. I started the year obsessed with paranormal romance. First I fell for Jeaniene Frost and the Night Huntress series, then Larissa Ione and the Demonica series, then the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, Chicagoland Vampire Series by Chloe Neill, the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, and everything by Nalini Singh. Then I moved on to historical. My first time ever reading historical romance and it was AMAZING. I devoured everything Lisa Kleypas has ever written. Sarah Maclean too. Also Tessa Dare and Sabrina Jeffries. I also took the time to get back to my YA roots. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas blew my mind this year. As did the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. And I said goodbye to several favorite series including The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout and the Embrace series by Jessica Shirvington. And of course… I read some fantastic NA books this year. This is the year I became even more obsessed with Samantha Young (seriously, she can do no wrong). I fangirled all over Christina Lauren. I read more from the consistently fabulous KA Tucker, Jay Crownover, Monica Murphy, and J. Lynn. And discovered some new favorites like Deeper by Robin York, Boomerang by Noelle August, When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill,  and Chase me by Tessa Bailey (I’m totally obsessed with her too. She’s the only author this year that I badgered to give me books early because I JUST COULDN’T WAIT). And now I’m ending the year with an AMAZING read by Caisey Quinn called Leaving Amarillo that just might end up being my favorite of the entire year (if I finish it before midnight). 
5. Meeting so many amazing people in so many amazing places.

I got to go to some fabulous places in 2014.
San Diego. Las Vegas. Baltimore. New York. San Antonio. New Orleans. Edinburgh. Dublin. Orlando. Des Moines. Miami. Nashville. Denver. And probably even more that I’m forgetting. I went so many places it’s hard to keep track of when they all happened. I got to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones. I met readers who loved my characters as much as I do, who talked Harry Potter/Dr. Who/All the nerdy things with me, who continually reminded me of how blessed I am to do what I love. I met some authors that I’ve admired for a long time. Sarah J. Maas? Totally fangirled all over her. Nalini Singh? Her too. Maria V. Snyder? I was very nearly speechless. Certainly quite awkward. I’m just gonna declare 2014’s official hashtag as #whatislife because I asked myself that on numerous occasions. I’ve always wanted to travel. And I can vividly remember my junior year in college when I decided to study abroad. I threw all my money and effort into making that trip happen because I was convinced it was my only shot. I’d prepared myself for a life as a starving artist, and I told myself that if I could just have that one adventure that maybe it would sustain me through all the rest of my years when my wanderlust would be stifled. It still blows my mind that I now get to travel for my job. That I travel so much I recognize flight attendants and TSA agents. 

6.  Writing stuff like this:

7.  Literally everything that Benedict Cumberbatch did.
 But especially his quadruple Ice Bucket Challenge. *drools*
8. Getting to spend another year with Kitty Katniss. 
ISN’T SHE PRECIOUS? #crazycatlady
9.  Making my return to fantasy with INSPIRE.

Most people don’t know this… but Losing It was the first time I ever wrote a contemporary story. Ever. Before that, I’d only written fantasy. For five years I wrote fantasy, and Losing It was just an itch I needed to scratch. It was a wonderful surprise and adventure when that book did as well as it did, and it set my life on a course I never could have imagined. I’ve loved each and every book I’ve written since then, but I spent a great deal of time missing fantasy. I love writing romance. I love writing about characters figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their life. But I also love that extra something special and unique that comes with writing a story that’s not quite realistic. I got to return to my first love with INSPIRE, melding the supernatural and mythology with the story of two people falling in love. And I cherished every moment. Thank you so much to those who took that leap with me and gave that new book a chance. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate it. Publishing that book fulfilled a dream I’ve had for many, many years. 

10. Crossing this rope bridge in Northern Ireland (and not dying!)
11.  Binge-watching Orphan Black (and subsequently forcing everyone I know to do the same.)
SEASON THREE STARTS APRIL 18TH! GET YOUR DVRs READY!!
12. Getting to discuss my very favorite chapter of Order of the Phoenix on Alohomora, the Harry Potter podcast from Mugglenet!
 Seriously… *pinch me* I can’t believe that actually happened. 
13. Writing stuff like this:
14.  The final thing I loved about 2014 was the way time flew by.

Seriously, this year passed so quickly that I kept getting confused between what was 2014 and what was 2013 when I wrote this post. And time only flies like that when you’re having fun. And while a career as an author means working crazy hours and traveling a lot and promoting until you feel like one of those inflatable flailing arm dudes just crying out in desperation, “BUY MY BOOK! PLEASE BUY MY BOOK!”, it is also the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s insane that I get to tell stories for a living. Because I spent so long just telling them for myself. And I still cannot believe that I get paid to do this.  And I’m just grateful to have had another year. Especially at a time when sales numbers are down and authors across the board are struggling, I’m thankful for all 365 days that I got to do what I loved. And I have my fingers crossed for 365 more. 

And now… a 15th thing to look forward to for 2015! 
I am so excited for so many of the projects I have coming in 2015! I’ve got several things in the works that I’m really excited about, but here’s a couple things I can tell you about now! 
There’s book 2 in the Muse series (sequel to INSPIRE):
Release date TBA, but mostly likely in the first half of the year. 
There’s also ALL PLAYED OUT coming in May! And I’m sooo excited for everyone to spend a little more time with Torres and Nell. I am obsessed with them. So here’s a little teaser from APO: 
“What is that?” I ask.
“A bad decision.”
“Then why are you making it for me?”
He shoots me a lopsided smile, and I’m forced to acknowledge that maybe the warmth creeping up my neck has far less to do with alcohol than I wish it did. “No, sweetheart. It’s called a bad decision. The drink. It’s my own special invention.”  
He hands me the cup, and I stare at it warily. He moves closer to me, nudging the cup closer to my mouth with his finger.
“Why should I trust you?”
He seems to enjoy my suspicion.
“Always gotta fight me. Just try it. It’s sweet. I guarantee you’ll like it much better than the beer.”
I take a deep breath, think of my list, and then lift it to my mouth. The flavor curls over my tongue, tangy and sweet. “I can’t even taste the alcohol,” I say.
He smiles. “That’s why it’s called bad decision. Because too many of those will sneak up on you.”
I take another drink, simultaneously watching him lift a beer, my old beer, to his lips. If you’d described the scene to me two weeks ago, my first thought would have been ew, germs. Now… it makes my mouth go dry, and I find myself watching his mouth long after he lowers the bottle. I clear my throat and take another sip to wet my inexplicably parched throat. I don’t know why anyone would choose beer over something like this. I tell him, “It’s really good. Thank you.”
He’s looking away from me and out at the party as he says, “For you, Nell, I’ll make as many bad decisions as you want.”
Then his gaze tracks back to mine, and he winks, and I know if I touched my skin now, it would be burning. 
(You can pre-order All Played Out on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks, and you can add it on Goodreads too!) 
Thanks for another fabulous year! And may 2015 be just as awesome. May we all be a little happier, a little kinder, more understanding, more daring, and more true to ourselves. 
In Awkward Love <3,
Cora

Football Friday: Meet Silas Moore + an ARC Giveaway!

We’re just FOUR DAYS away from the release of ALL BROKE DOWN! 
FOUR DAYS!!! Which, as you can probably guess, has me feeling a little bit like this…
 and a little bit like this….
 and basically a whole lot of this….

If you aren’t yet familiar with All Broke Down, you can check it out on Goodreads, and you can read the FIRST TWO CHAPTERS, as well as all the teasers I’ve released so far, here!  You can pre-order ABD on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, or iTunes. AND THEN, if you need a little more incentive, those who pre-order All Broke down (in any format) and then enter their pre-order info HERE will receive an official Rusk University “Back to School” pack that includes a ton of Wildcat goodies – including a Rusk folder, swag, a pen, a temporary tattoo, and a little something special from Book 3, ALL PLAYED OUT!! (US only).

If you’re new to the Rusk University series, each book stands alone and can be read without reading the previous books. But if you want to check out book one, All Lined Up, it’s at a special promotional price of $.99 right now as we gear up for All Broke Down’s release!

Last week, I introduced you to Dylan Brenner, the heroine of All Broke Down. This week, I’d like to tell you all about my bad boy, Silas Moore!

Ahh… Silas. That dude does something to my heart. If you’ve read All Lined Up, you might think Silas is kind of a jerkface (SPOILER ALERT: he was). While he wasn’t the jerkiest jerkface in that book, he still was one of the antagonists who caused problems for Dallas and Carson. I knew as soon as I started writing him in ALU that he was eventually going to be the hero in one of the later books. I’ve written a lot of nice guys (Can I get an awww for Golden Boy?). And I thought it was about time I try my hand at something different. 
He makes some bad decisions. Okay, a lot of them. One of which lands him in a jail holding cell near the beginning of All Broke Down. I wanted him to be a bad boy, but at the same time, I’m not a fan of guys that treat girls badly and behave rudely. So I had to balance his issues with charm. And it was so much fun getting to dissect his behavior and learn why he behaves the way he does. Bottom line: Silas is just looking for a place he fits. Where he feels like he belongs. But that’s tough when you think you’re a screw-up who doesn’t deserve a chance at something better. So a lot of the time, he ends up sabotaging himself. 
Another thing I’m not a huge fan of? The idea that love can fix a bad boy. That a girl can somehow turn a jerk into a decent dude with some sexy smooching. Talk about pressure, man. So rather than falling into this cliche or avoiding it completely, I decided to embrace it, and turn it just a little on it’s head. When Silas finds himself in danger of losing his spot on the Rusk football team (the only place where he feels like he’s worth something), he turns to do-gooder Dylan and he asks for the cliche. He wants her to fix him. But he gets more than he bargained for when she puts him to work and makes him volunteer and work with charities. In the end though, Silas is the one who has to change himself. He has to figure out his worth off the field and out of the bedroom. 
This is what I picture Silas looking like. *swoon*
But of course… being the bad boy that he is… Silas doesn’t always play nice. He’s sexy and take charge,  and when he decides he wants Dylan, there’s nothing that will get in his way. 
And it just wouldn’t be right to talk about Silas without giving you a little taste of the smexy. So here’ s a little snippet to whet your appetite: 
I pull away enough to pop open another button, revealing the top of her cleavage. She shifts closer, and she’s soft everywhere I’m hard, and the friction turns my spine into a live wire.
“For the record, I still think this might be a bad idea.”
“For the record, I think it’s the best idea I’ve ever had.”
Her fingers trace lightly back and forth over the back of my neck, and I’m a ticking time bomb. Each stroke makes my fuse a little bit shorter, and I need to get those buttons undone before I forget about not destroying her shirt.
With an agility and speed that I was missing today in practice, I have the rest of her buttons undone and her shirt open in seconds. Her bra is this pale purple that cups her small breasts perfectly. Her narrow waist flares out into curvy hips covered by a snug skirt. I can’t decide whether I want the skirt off or hiked up around her waist.
Deciding on the latter, I grip her hips and lift her up onto the kitchen counter. There’s a certain appeal in seeing her still in those fancy clothes, but pulled and bunched and revealed however I can manage. I love to see her go from pristine to disheveled all because of me. Slowly, I push the edge of her skirt up her thighs. When I can’t move it any farther, I say, “Lift up your hips.”
She wets her bottom lip, and my cock twitches at the sight. Her nerves just kick up my adrenaline. I give her a few seconds to adjust, taking two steps back to look at her.
She snaps her legs closed and sits up straight. “What are you doing?”
“Trying to decide exactly what I want to do to you.”
She hunches over, shaking her head and laughing under her breath. “It’s like you’re trying to give me a heart attack.”
“I don’t want to give you a heart attack. I want to make you come. The question is just how.”
She tilts her head to the side and blinks at me. “How are you so comfortable with this?”
I don’t think she wants the real answer to her question . . . that I’ve been doing this for a very long time, since before I was really even old enough to understand half of what I was doing.
“I just know what I want, what I like. And if you’ll let me, I’ll help you figure that out, too. You want that?”
Tentatively, she nods. I cross to her again and slide my hands up her thighs to where I left off with her skirt.
“So, tell me what you like, Dylan Brenner.”

MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. (If you want to see some more sexy Silas excerpts, check out ones that I’ve previously posted here).

I’d love it if you’d join me at the All Broke Down Pep Rally on October 27&28! It’s an online party, so you can attend from anywhere in the world (in your pajamas if you so choose), and we have an amazing line-up of guest authors who will be popping in throughout the day, and there’s going to be lots of giveaways and Wildcat-related fun! And in the spirit of Dylan and her charitable ways, if we get 350 people to RSVP to the event, I’ll donate $350 to a local non-profit homeless shelter. You can find more details about that at the pep rally link above. But I’d love for you to attend! And bring a friend!

There’s something about being so close to release day that makes me want to give stuff away…and since we’re four days away, that means there’s still time to win an ADVANCED copy of All Broke Down! Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win a signed ARC of All Broke Down and an official Rusk University tote!

The One Where You Can Crush on Carson

 The wonderful people over at NA Alley are once again hosting the NA Crush Tournament!
 If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a Crush Tournament, check out this page for more information. Basically, think of it as a literary version of March Madness where you vote for your favorite book boyfriends until only one is left standing. 
I’ll admit that I’m a little surprised that Carson made it into the tourney – not because I don’t think he’s crush-worthy, but because All Lined Up hasn’t even been out that long! 
I thought if one of my guys made the tournament it would be Garrick or Cade, since y’all have had more time to get to know them. But I am absolutely THRILLED that it’s Carson, and I can’t tell you guys how much it means to me that you love him as much as I do!
Carson’s first match is Thursday July 3rd, and he’s going up against Jack Carter from The Perfect Game by J. Sterling. Jack’s a super swoony baseball player, and I think it’s kind of awesome that my quarterback is going up against another college athlete. It’s sure to be a great match, and it’s only TWO DAYS AWAY!
Here are all the ways you can support Carson:
Vote for Carson on Thursday! Voting goes from midnight to midnight.
-Like Carson on Facebook.
-Join Carson’s Pep Squad on Facebook.
-Follow Carson on Twitter.
-Follow Carson’s advocate Betsy on Twitter.
-Add a #TeamCarson Twibbon to your social media.
You can also grab some of these sweet #TeamCarson graphics to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and anywhere else you see fit!
 But what’s in it for you? I’m glad you asked! All Broke Down is the second book in the Rusk University series, and I just CAN.NOT.WAIT. to share it with you guys! It’s Silas‘ story, and the first time I’ve ever written a “bad boy,” and y’all…he is BAD. It’s the longest book I’ve written to date, and by far the steamiest (for real, I’m blushing just thinking about it). All Broke Down releases in October, but if Carson wins the match on Thursday, I’ll share a super secret excerpt with you guys!
So, to review: If you want an exclusive peek at All Broke Down, VOTE FOR CARSON! Thank you all so much for your support – it’s because of YOU that Carson has this amazing opportunity! 

Football Friday: Meet Coach Cole and the Rusk University Wildcats (Plus a Giveaway)!

Well, guys, here we are. Four days away from the release of All Lined Up, and I am basically just in a constant state of:
As excited as I am that ALU releases in four days (please refer to the .gifs above for more information), I’m a little sad at the same time, because it means this is the last #FootballFriday. I’ve so enjoyed celebrating this hashtag every week in our little corner of the internet! The good news is that once All Lined Up is out, EVERY day can be #FootballFriday! Please tweet or facebook me pictures of hot Football players. I will NEVER say no to that. 🙂 

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 in case you need MORE incentive, if you pre-order ALU and  register here, you’ll get  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! So far I introduced Carson McClainthe heroine Dallas ColeBFF slash Badass Stella Santos, bad boys Levi and Silas, and team manager Ryan.

A quick re-cap
So, on this final football Friday, we’re talking about the team in general. 
Just like the Losing It series, each book will focus on a new couple, but I really wanted the team as a whole to feel like a character that you got to follow the arc of through the entire series. So each book fleshes out the team a little more and introduces new players. It’s been so much fun to write the team all together that this series might just never end. I’ll just keep adding more and more players and continuing Rusk’s story. Maybe. 🙂 
So, here’s what you need to know. The Rusk University football team has seen better days. So in the first book, All Lined Up they’ve brought in a coach with a reputation for turning around losing programs. That would be Dallas’s dad, Coach Cole. Here’s a little teaser introduction to him: 
The Coach was definitely one of my favorite characters to write. I got to write the cool speeches he gives to pump up the team. Here’s a little snippet of one of those: 
And one particular speech of his makes me tear up EVERY TIME (but you’ll have to read the book to see that one). Which is weird, I know, because I wrote it. But the coach is so much like my dad (who was a coach before he retired), so I’m naturally pretty emotionally attached to him. And for whatever reason, I’ve always been the type of person to cry at Sports movies. Remember the Titans? HITS ME RIGHT IN THE FEELS.
You may be thinking that ALU isn’t for you if you’re not a big football fan. But you’re not alone there, I promise! Dallas, the main character, pretty much loathes football. So I think (I HOPE) I’ve written it in a way where you don’t have to care about football to enjoy the book. I’ll admit that I even have a love/hate relationship with football. It’s a natural by-product of being surrounded by it all my life. But with ALU, I wasn’t trying to capture the sport, but rather the spirit of it. The way it brings people together and lifts people up. 
I got to write the fun team and university traditions. The good days and the bad ones. I got to write the team dynamic– the way the guys mess with each other and butt heads. Really, they’re like one big dysfunctional (very attractive and muscled) family. 
(This guy may or may not be from the scene that makes me tear up every time). 
Plus… I mentioned all the attractive and muscled players… yeah? 
I hope you’ll love meeting the team as much as I loved creating it. And make sure you’re following my facebook and twitter because we’ve got some pretty awesome stuff planned next week for the release! And I want to say a huge thank you in advance to all those who will buy, read, review, etc! I couldn’t do what I do without you, and I cannot tell you how appreciative I am! 
Now… enter to win my very LAST ARC of All Lined Up! Open Internationally! 

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Football Friday: Meet Ryan Blake plus a Giveaway!

GUYS. IT’S MAY.
THAT MEANS ALL LINED UP COMES OUT THIS MONTH!

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. EVEN BETTER… you can now order your own signed paperback from Word Bookstore and get it on release day! So far I introduced Carson McClainthe heroine Dallas ColeBFF slash Badass Stella Santos, and bad boys Levi and Silas.

And now I’m introducing Ryan Blake, team manager and Carson’s friend.
Ryan is a bit on the nerdy side, but he still loves sports and aspires to be an athletic trainer. When he and Carson become friends, he gives a much-needed bit of levity. Carson is so focused and determined that he’ll drive himself into the ground. Ryan helps him work towards his goal of becoming starting quarterback, but also helps him loosen up. Ryan is funny, shamelessly flirty, and extremely loyal.
Here’s a few teaser graphics from ALU:
I mentioned he was shameless… right? 😉
Ryan is actually the hero of book three in the series, which I’m scheduled to start working on soon, and I’m so excited. I have a feeling I’m going to laugh A LOT in that book. 🙂
And that’s Ryan. Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a signed ARC and meet him in person! (Or you know… in pages).

And if you’re heading to RT convention in New Orleans, or you live in the area, join me (and a bunch of other awesome authors) for a signing on release day (May 13th) at Garden District Books! 

 

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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! 

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*

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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)! 

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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! 

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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!

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