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all played out

The One Where ALL PLAYED OUT is Here!!!!

We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting…and it’s FINALLY the best #TorresTuesday ever, because ALL PLAYED OUT IS HEEEEEERREE!!!!!

If you’re wondering what all the excitement is about….All Played Out is the third book in my Rusk University series! It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks and hopefully at your local bookstore! (Note: If you can’t find it in your bookstore, don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes they can be slow about putting books out on time, and it might just be sitting in the back room waiting for someone like you to ask). You can also add it on Goodreads! Here’s a little more info, if you’re curious. :)

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ALL PLAYED OUT
by Cora Carmack

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).

So Nell does a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known.  But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, *normal* item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

*********

EEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!! I am SO unspeakably excited for you guys to read this book! I think Mateo Torres miiiiight be my favorite book boyfriend I have ever written. EVER. I know, those are fighting words, but seriously….I love him so muchIn part, it’s because he’s totally the kind of guy I would date in real life. Hilarious and bold and maybe just a little perverted. I still act like a kid most days, and I like a guy who can be playful, but then also turn on the serious and sexy when the occasion calls for it. He’s also just so different from all the other guys I’ve written, and it was really fun to tackle a character that felt completely fresh to me. And when you dig a little deeper past his outlandish exterior, Torres has fears and insecurities that I think will be familiar to a lot of people. And something about that combination of humor and vulnerability just makes him very real and very human in my head.

Not to mention Nell. NELL! Gah… she’s definitely one of my favorite heroines. She’s quirky and smart and anti-social. And I love that she always says exactly what pops into her head with no thought to what is cool or attractive. She’s an extremely logical girl, and to watch her tackle college as if it were a math problem to solve was just a blast to write.

And of course you’ll get to see the rest of the Rusk University gang! You’ll see Dallas and Carson again. The book even opens with a half-naked Silas (you’re welcome). And we get to see more of Stella and Ryan and Brookes and Matty too!

To help celebrate the release of All Played Out, the Carmcats (my amazing street team) have put together an AWESOME photo challenge!

11055312_10204392784364228_3861150698274981921_nYou can participate by posting a picture fitting each day’s theme on your social media accounts and using the hashtag #APOPhotoChallenge. The photo challenge has been going for a week, but it’s not too late for you to join in…just pick up with today’s prompt (or feel free to play catch up on the ones you’ve missed)! All week, I’m randomly selecting winners from the #APOPhotoChallenge hashtag to win prizes (gift cards, ebooks, signed swag, books, and… one lucky winner will get Mateo Torres’ official Rusk Football t-shirt)!

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(In case you missed it: Here’s MY current bucket list!)

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And of course, what would Release Day be without a GIVEAWAYYYYYY?!? One of you lovely, lucky people is going to win a signed set of Rusk University paperbacks (that’s All Lined Up, All Broke Down, AND All Played Out) as well as a super cozy Rusk University Sweatshirt!!

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There are lots of different ways to enter, and this giveaway is open internationally! Ends two weeks from today! And if you like that sweatshirt, you’re definitely going to want to keep an eye on this blog and my social media over the next week or so. We’re almost ready to open the official Rusk University store, which will have everything you could possibly need to pretend that Rusk is real! ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you pick up the book today, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if you’ve got time to leave a review on your favorite online retailer, I would REALLY appreciate it. Reviews are more important than you know. They help raise a book’s visibility and can help someone who’s unsure decide whether or not to buy the book. AND…. if you want to know what’s next in the Rusk University series, be sure to check out this post about book four (Stella’s Book!) and add it on Goodreads.

Love you guys SO much! And if you want to Tweet or Facebook or Insta me pics of you with your copy of the book, I sure wouldn’t hate it! :D
Cora <3 <3 <3

ALL PLAYED OUT Cover Reveal + Behind the Scenes!!

First of all, welcome to the first blog on my SHINY NEW WEBSITE!! We’ve been working on this for awhile, and I’m super pleased with how it turned out. Feel free to click around, and be sure to check back often. We’re a work in progress, but we’ve got some fun plans for this place. 

Now let’s get down to business….TO DEFEAT THE HUNS!

tumblr_mvxgkhfFYs1sh4reto1_500(Anyone? Just me? Anyway….)

Today, I’m REALLY FREAKING EXCITED about ALL PLAYED OUT!!

ALL PLAYED OUT is the third book in the Rusk University series. It’s a New Adult Contemporary Romance novel published by William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins) and it’s scheduled to release on May 12, 2015.

ALL PLAYED OUT
by Cora Carmack

Available May 12, 2015

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).

So Nell does a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known.  But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, *normal* item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

Pre-order ALL PLAYED OUT on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks. Plus you can add it on Goodreads!

Now, I know what you’re thinking….

tumblr_milmeh3x6J1qj13q4o2_250 And I totally get it! I want to share Nell and Torres’ story with you guys SOOOOOOOOO badly – but unfortunately, I can’t quite yet. But I have the next best thing – the cover!!

But first… a behind the scenes look!

For the first time in NINE books (holy crap! NINE!), I got to do something special with APO. My publisher organized a cover shoot, and not only did I get to pick the models, but I got to GO!

Our photographer was the incredible Kelsey Kukal-Keeton of K Keeton Designs, and we did the shoot near where she lives in Springfield, MO. She managed to get us some time inside a fraternity loft from a local university (apparently, they can’t party in their house in campus, so they needed a party apartment downtown. Lolforever).
Did I mention that the shoot was the day after Halloween? YEAHHH. And that we arranged for them to just leave the apartment how it had been after the party because we wanted that authentic post-frat party feel?  Yeaaaaah. I might have spotted a little vomit on the couch, and then didn’t sit down for the rest of the time I was there.

yuckBut anyway… we arrived at around 10 AM and one of the fraternity guys came downstairs to let us in. From the moment we got into the stairwell, it smelled overwhelmingly of beer and poor life choices. In fact, there were several empty beer cans on the ground as we climbed a few flights of stairs up to where we’d be shooting.

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It was decorated like you might expect a fraternity loft to be. Beer signs. A huge beer pong table hung by chains from the ceiling. And a giant ass American flag. #MERICA. There were half-full beer cans on a few surfaces. A nearly empty keg in the corner. And those massive gray outdoor trashcans. Three of them. Full of empty cans. They even had a fog machine, guys. This was serious.

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Enter our models: Autumn and Isaiah.

They were both gorgeous. And so SUPER nice. And also made uncomfortable by our surroundings.

Autumn and Isaiah

So, left alone to our own devices, I did some snooping in an attempt to find some cleaning supplies to make the area we’d be shooting a little more… hospitable. Unfortunately, the only cleaning supply they had on hand was WINDEX.

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There was one point while we were setting up that a half naked dude came out of the back hallway in search of a phone he’d lost the night before.  We all helped him search. Well… everyone else helped while I tried not to laugh and took terrible, blurry, surreptitious photos.

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Later, a door opened in the back hallway and 2 dude and like 5 girls made the walk of shame. I was too slow to get pictures of that.

*curses the heavens*

But finally, we got down to business.

Kelsey was great, as was her husband who assisted her. And the models totally rocked it. I am not even exaggerating when I say that I would have been happy to have 95% of the pictures as my cover. They did sweet and sexy and SEXIER.

Here’s a few awesome outtakes that were some of our favorites, but we didn’t use in the end.

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*fans self*

But then there was a point toward the end of the shoot where we started taking photos that might be good for the teaser graphics we’re all so fond of. And since Torres is freaking hilarious (Gah, I love him so much), I figured we’d have at least one teaser with a funny one liner. So, we tried for some shots where they were smiling and laughing together. It took a little bit to get a decent shot. (IT’S REALLY HARD TO LAUGH ON COMMAND AND NOT LOOK LIKE A DOUCHE). But eventually we all started laughing about how bad they were at laughing, and Kelsey snapped this shot that was just so genuine and cute. It was only supposed to be for a teaser graphic.

But when I saw it I fell in love. This shot IS Torres and Nell.

We could have gone with any one of the gorgeous pictures above and had a super hot, sexy cover. And it would have been great. Because Torres is pretty freaking sexy (There’s this scene in a library, and another scene in his truck, and another– I digress).

But the smexy is not what sets this book apart. It’s the characters. They’re hilarious. And vibrant. And awkward.

And this cover is all of those things.

So without further ado… I present to you, the cover for All Played Out!

Pre-order ALL PLAYED OUT on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or iBooks. Plus you can add it on Goodreads!

Image Map

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And just in case this cover wasn’t exciting enough, check out this other tidbit of Rusk University news….

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Your eyes are NOT deceiving you! ALL LINED UP and ALL BROKE DOWN are on sale for only 99 CENTS EACH!! That’s crazy town! So it’s a great time to start the series if you haven’t, or to share it with a friend!

All Lined Up: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, iBooks
All Broke Down: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, iBooks

AND… AND… AND…

You might be aware of a new book I released in December. A sexy NA paranormal called INSPIRE.

And it, too, is on sale for $.99 for a limited time only!

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Amazon| B&N | iBooks

Even if you’ve not read paranormal before, I hope you’ll give it a shot. At it’s core, it’s still very much so an NA romance. In fact, there are whole sections of the book that don’t feel even remotely paranormal. It’s got all the angst and real life struggle of NA with a little extra oomph. And Wilder gives Silas Moore a run for his money in the sexy book boyfriend department. ;)

And that’s the last of my announcements. I want to give one final gigantic thanks to Kelsey of K Keeton Designs and the Harper design team for being the absolute best.

And for sticking around, have a little more Torres. :)

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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