Sunday, January 28, 2018

Excerpt time!

Have you read my contemporary young adult romance, The Art of Being Indifferent?



Check out this excerpt to see if it piques your interest:

“My time is important to, you know.” Posey opened the Lit book in front of her, and she flipped through the pages to a section of The Taming of the Shrew.
Ironic? I thought so.
“I have no doubt of that,” I said, snickering. I tried to cover my laughter up with a cough, but failed miserably. “I’m sure your social calendar is full night and day.” I made air quotes to accentuate my words, and heard Posey suck in a sharp breath.
“Your sarcasm is wasted on me,” she snapped.
I looked at her and smiled lazily. I’d won over many a teacher with that smile, and more than a handful of sophomore and junior girls. “Doubtful.”
“Ugh.” She flipped another page, tearing it on the corner. “You make me sick.”
“Do I, Emo Girl?” Plucking her pencil off of the table, I started twirling it on my knuckles, a skill I’d perfected while daydreaming my way through Kingston’s class last quarter. “I think you like it when I’m a dickhead. It feeds to your dark, depressed side. I know your type.” I raised my voice to a high-pitched squeal. “I hate my life. I hate the world. Death is the only adventure. Am I right?”
Posey ducked her head again. I could see the red of her cheeks through the strands of black hair. “You are such an asshole,” she hissed down at her book. “You don’t even try to hide it. I can’t believe people like you or that you even have friends.”
I smirked. “Whatever. You wouldn’t know what it’s like.”
“You think you’ve got everything figured out, don’t you?” Her head popped up and she glared right at me. “You think you’re so great.”
Well, color me surprised. She had a whole face. And it wasn’t half bad, either. Heart shaped face, super white skin, red lips without any of that gloss crap on them, and those arctic blue eyes that looked like they could kill me. If she pulled that mess of hair out of her face once in a while, and maybe smiled a bit, she might actually be… pretty?
Shuddering, I dropped the pencil. What the hell was wrong with me? Posey was ugly, and rude, and combative, and socially… just wrong.
“I know I’ve got it figured out.” The librarian passed our table, pressing her finger to her lips, so I dropped my voice even lower. “And I know I’m great.”
She tucked her hair behind her ears, and leaned closer to me. “If you’re so great, then why are you here? Why do you need some insignificant peon like me to tutor you? Why would you lower yourself to sit at the same table as me, or even be seen with me? If you’ve got it all figured out, why didn’t you just drop your last name with Mr. Kingston to get your sorry butt out of trouble? Why didn’t you just have your dad call the school to get you an A in Lit? We all know he could do it.”
My smile dropped. “You don’t know my dad.”
She sneered. “I’ve been in this hell hole town for long enough to know your dad’s got his thumb on everyone. I’m sure Mr. Kingston’s no exception.”
I looked out the library window. “Don’t you have some Shakespeare to talk about? You’re wasting my time.”
“No, Drew,” she spat. “You’re wasting my time. I can’t stand people like you. Or people like your dad, for that matter.”
My molars ground together. This was probably the most I’d ever heard Posey speak, and I wasn’t prepared for her to be so perceptive. She always seemed so disconnected. So sullen and pissy. I didn’t think she cared about anything going on around her, much less give a damn what was going on around this town.

Embarrassment washed over me, and I fought the urge to sink down in my chair. I hated the fact that my dad ran this town like his own personal game of chess. I hated the fact that when people heard his name, they either shit their pants out of fear, or fell all over themselves to accommodate him because he was some sort of small town superstar. He didn’t deserve either. He was a bully with a platinum card.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Genres for days!



I love what I write. Contemporary romance is everything I love about life. Messy, chaotic, romantic, silly, happy, sad. I strive to write characters who are as human as you or I are, and I strive to make them as real and flawed as everyone around us us, because that's what (hopefully) makes them relatable.

And for the most part, my readers seem pleased with my gaggle of contemporary characters.

However, occasionally.......I daydream.



Sometimes I think about writing other genres. I wonder if my voice will work in other settings, worlds, or times. I wonder if I can pull off complex backgrounds and intricate storylines. I wonder if I can succeed at stories that are bigger than me. Bigger than the bubble I live in.

Granted, I've branched out into the fantasy genre already. My fantasy YA, Underwater, was set in contemporary times, but touched on the existence of a mythological being in the lake my heroine's house backed up to. And while Luna and Saxon's story was fun, romantic, and exciting, sales went on to show that maybe fantasy wasn't my genre.



And that made me nervous. Super nervous.

Because I have so many stories to share! I've got ideas for historical romance. For dystopian and post-apocalyptic romance. For women's fiction without a hint of romance. For romance novels based on classic novels. For romance novels based on children's books. For regency romance. Yes, regency! At any given moment, my head can be found in the clouds, imagining all of the books I would write if I had the time......and skill.

It seems what I am lacking is simply the confidence.

Hopefully I will find my way around that hurtle, instead of doing this:



Which is what I am afraid I'll do.

Because we all have hurtles, don't we?

xoxo
Brooke

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Interview with SADIE ALLEN!!

So.....every once in a while I stumble upon an author who is both talented AND totally funny and cool. And when I do....I get really excited like this:

Which is why I decided to start featuring said authors on my blog. Because why keep these awesome peeps to myself? Why not share them with the world?? Because if you like my books, you're certain to enjoy theirs! 

Friends, I introduce you to author Sadie Allen:


Sadie Allen lives in Texas with her husband and three small children. When she's not writing, she's reading, catching up on her favorite shows, or chasing her family around the house.

Sadie's books are sexy, compelling and inventive. They're the perfect contemporary romance escape. I'm so stoked about her upcoming release! I'm sure I'll adore it, as will you guys...

Ok, ok, enough butt kissing. Let's get to Sadie's interview, shall we?

1.) First off, why not tell us who you are, and what you write…

I'm Sadie Allen, and I write Young Adult & New Adult Romance.

2.) What helped you settle on your genre? Do you ever think about exploring other genres?

Well... it's a long story. I've been writing for over ten years but never completed a manuscript until last year. Maybe Never just clicked and I kind of fell into the Young Adult genre. 

I do think I will explore publishing in other genres. I have several half-finished manuscripts and notebooks full of ideas for novels in Paranormal Romance (YA & NA), Contemporary Adult Romance, and some Cozy Mysteries. 

Note from Brooke: Dude. I really hope Sadie follows through with this. Her voice is excellent, and I would love to see it used in other genres.

3.) Tell us about your latest release…

Saving Me is about a girl who loses hope, who wants to fade away, but just when tragedy is about to strike, fate steps in and changes her course. 

Blurb:
On the outside, I look like the All-American teenage dream. I'm pretty, popular, and athletic. I have the right family, the right boyfriend, the right kind of friends. If you only knew...

Every day I die a little on the inside. I'm drowning in everyone's expectations and opinions. I can never be myself. I'm never free. I feel the weight of it all pulling me under. 

If I can't find freedom in life...

I guess I'll find it in death.

Releasing month on February 22nd!!! Mark your calendars, peeps!

4.) Of all the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite and why?

That's like asking me which one of my children is my favorite! lol 

I will say that Sunny (Maybe Never) is the girl I wished I would have been in high school because she knows who she is and what she wants out of life. She's practical and works hard toward her goals. Ally (Saving Me), well, she's more like the girl I was in high school. Unlike me, though, she makes better decisions. 

5.) Tell us about your writing routine? Do you have music or TV playing? Do you have to have a certain snack? What’s your “author uniform"? (Mine is usually pajamas…)

I do my best writing in the morning, so I try to get up before my kids and start my workday. Mostly, I try to write whenever I can since I'm a stay-at-home mom and time is scarce. 

I always have something going. TV— it’s either something I’ve seen a million times or cartoons for the kids, or I have my headset on and my playlist going. 

Snack— dried cherries or almonds. 

I’m in PJ’s unless I have to leave the house. 

Note from Brooke: Preach it, sister. #recognize


6.) What do you think is the key to writing good fiction that sucks in a reader?

Relatable characters. I think if you write characters people can relate to or want to be friends with; you’ll endear your characters to readers.

7.) If you could do any career in the world, other than being an awesome author, what would you do, and why?

Hmm... I used to want to be an actress when I was younger. I always thought it would be fun to pretend to be someone else for a living. Plus, I’d get to travel and meet other actors and actresses.

8.) What is your favorite classic book, and why?

It’s a tie between Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. I love them both equally. 

9.) Can you tell us about the chemistry between your most recent hero and heroine, and what makes it work so well?

In the beginning, their chemistry is definitely based on physical attraction, but as they get to know each other, they find their personalities compliment the other. Ally needs someone who accepts her and loves her for herself, and Sterling is a natural protector. He sees her vulnerability and wants to shield it. He also needs someone who is there for him as well, who supports him. They fulfill those needs for each other. 

10.) What is your favorite fruit? Color? Vacation spot? Movie?

Peach
Black
Mountains 
Harry Potter movies 

Note from Brooke: Guuurl, I am beyond stoked to hear you're a Potter Head, too. I feel like we have a spiritual connection. Was that too forward?


11.) Before we finish, why not share a little excerpt from your latest release, to pique everyone’s interest…

From Saving Me, by Sadie Allen, available February 22nd, 2018:

I stood at the top of the bleachers, studying the pill bottle in my hand and wondering if I should just chug the whole bottle or swallow a few at a time. If I choked, I guessed it would serve the same purpose. But that wasn’t the quiet, peaceful passing I imagined.
I looked out at the horizon, where the sun was dipping toward the earth, and exhaled a shaky breath. This would be my last sunset. It was a more perfect one than I could ever have dreamed. The sky was streaked in oranges, pinks, and blues, as a light, cool breeze whispered through the air, causing wisps of hair to tickle my face and neck.
I wrapped my arms around myself as I watched the sky deepen into twilight, the last vestige of glowing warmth before the oncoming night. It was kind of poetic in a way … I would soon drift away into the night myself.
I wiped the wetness that trailed down my face with one hand while I gripped the bottle tighter in the other. Was I really going to do this?
Now, you might be wondering why a girl like me, from a family like mine, would commit suicide in her track uniform while standing atop the bleachers at the football field. One word: desperation.
I knew it probably didn’t make any sense, but at seventeen years old, I was just tired of life. I was tired of being used and abused. Of being raw on the inside, like someone had scraped out my insides with a rusty spoon and left me bleeding and hollow. The pain blazing up my leg from the tips of my toes to the middle of my back was the only indication I was still alive. That I could feel anything. I was a ghost before I was even dead … which I was about to change.
I took a shuddered breath. A faint buzz filled my brain as memories flashed through my mind like some macabre slideshow.
I had a father who only started caring about me when I jumped my first hurdle on field day in sixth grade. Normal fathers would find this a proud moment, not change their purpose in life. It wouldn’t change the core of the father-daughter relationship. For my father, Derek Everly, however, it was a life-changing moment for the both of us.
My father had been a college track star who held state and national titles in the one hundred- and ten-meter hurdles. After graduating college, his path had been set for the Olympics. He had the determination and the numbers to back it up … until an ACL tear saw his dreams go up in a puff of smoke. So, on that fateful day, when his only child showed the same aptitude for jumping over obstacles, those dreams had reignited and became a blaze beyond my control. He was determined to live his dreams again … through me. Now he was more like a live-in coach than a father.
Sometimes I wondered if I was just numbers to him. Numbers on a stopwatch, in a track lane, on the scale in the bathroom, or a placeholder at the end of a race. Was my value really based on a set of figures? Would he still love me if I could never run again, like if I was paralyzed? My stomach roiled, and a sour taste filled my mouth. The thought was devastating. My life was numbers.
In his bid to achieve his dream, he controlled every aspect of my life, from what I put in my mouth to who I let ride in my car. He had once literally forced my mouth open in a restaurant to fish out a bite of buttered roll. Who did that? And Heaven forbid I let someone who wasn’t athletic, church-going, or white put their butt on the plush leather seats of my brand-new Toyota 4-Runner. Everything was about winning or how I made my family look in the eyes of our respectable townspeople.
My mother, her only crime was indifference. She allowed her husband to treat me like a possession because she was also a possession. Unlike me, though, she was a willing possession who didn’t understand why I chafed beneath the manipulation and control that were like physical bonds restraining me from living the life I chose. She didn’t realize, or maybe she didn’t care, that I was slowly suffocating, drowning in the sea of their expectations.
I shook my head in an attempt to hold the memories at bay. However, his voice was a constant presence in my head. All I could hear were his cold, unfeeling words …
“That was piss poor, Allison.”
“How many calories are in that?”
“You look heavy.”
“It’s like you’re running in molasses.”
Finally, his words from yesterday were the metaphorical nail in my coffin.
“You’re useless to me now! What am I supposed to do with you? You’re broken!”
was broken.
And now I was all alone.
Useless.
Nothing.
I wanted freedom from my gilded cage, the imprisonment that had finally broke me.
It wasn’t just the controlling behavior of my father and the indifference from my mother.
My boyfriend, Miles, the lying, cheating douchebag, was banging my best friend behind my back. All my other friends knew, but none of them had said a word to me. They thought I was too stupid to see the way Laura looked at Miles, and the way he looked at her. Laura, well, she had not been very discreet regarding her feelings toward my boyfriend. She talked about him all the time, saying everything but “I’m boning him after your curfew every weekend.”
None of my friends would care if I was gone. They would probably shed a few pretty tears, maybe Miles would get some comforting sympathy lays. Other than a memorial scholarship donation, I would be a distant memory for them.
And these were supposedly the good kids? The children of the upper middle class? The “cream of the crop”? The future of our community?
Give me a break.
They were emotionally bankrupt liars who only cared about surface appearances. As long as I gave them that smile and nodded in all the right places as they gossiped about who still wore the same clothes from last year, they thought I was perfectly fine, happy even.
I wasn’t fine. I had been screaming on the inside for years, and no one had cared enough to ask me if I wanted to do something or be someone other than how they saw me. Everything was just chosen for me—my activities, my classes, my clothes, my hair, what colleges I was applying to, and my future career. My parents hadn’t consulted me. I was on the fast track to success—go to college, earn my undergraduate degree, and then go to law school like my father before me and his father before him. Still, I was the disappointment because I had the audacity to have been born a girl. However, jumping over a hurdle quickly seemed to have made up for my lack of a penis.
Then, yesterday, everything had changed. The answers to all my questions were answered. What was left of my battered and bruised soul effing died.
The first meet of the year, the preliminaries for the one hundred-meter hurdles.
As I had leaped over that third hurdle and brought my trail leg over, something cracked and popped. Then pain, blinding pain, had shot from my hip all the way to my brain. My knee had crashed into the top of the obstacle, but it had been nothing compared to the hurt that had taken over my body from my hip and back.
I had gone down, taking the hurdle with me and knocking into the runner in the next lane. I had slid across the rubber track, feeling my skin tear and burn. My lungs had seized as the pain took all the air from me, and wetness had leaked from my eyes and down my face.
“Help me,” I remembered croaking, fighting back a scream of agony as I tried to move my leg.
I didn’t remember much about what had happened after that, except the pain. Just the pain. I had never felt pain like that in my entire life. I imagined childbirth was at that pain threshold.
Dad, as well as my mom, who I hadn’t even noticed was with us until we were in the emergency bay, had rushed me to the closest emergency room. Once there, we were immediately rushed back. I figured that was partly due to the screaming.
Dad had set me on the bed carefully, while Mom smoothed her hands over my face, pushing my hair back. If I had been totally coherent, I would have seen the tears shimmering in her own eyes.
The rest was a blur of going to the x-ray room, getting my scrapes cleaned, and then the doctor coming in. I should have known something bad was going to happen when my dad, a nurse, and my mother started to hold me down. Then the doctor had grabbed my hurt leg and maneuvered it in a way that had made the pain from earlier seem like a dream. A scream had ripped from my throat as, with a deft movement and the accompanying pop, my leg had been set back into place, and then it was all over.
“There, that should do it,” the tall man wearing a lab coat had declared as he set my leg down gently on the table.
“Wh-wh-what did you do?” I had asked, panting, my breaths sawing in and out of my chest.
“Young lady, your hip was dislocated. And due to the bruising that’s appearing on the back of your thigh, I also think you have a small tear in your hamstring. The dislocation I can fix, but the soreness from the dislocation and the possible tear is something you’re going to have to take it easy on.”
“Okay.” What else could I have said? I was just glad the feeling of someone stabbing me repeatedly with a knife was gone from my body.
“What do you mean, take it easy? When will she be able to run again?” my dad asked.
“Run again? Sir, your daughter will need to see a sports injury specialist for that, but I don’t think she’ll be on a track anytime soon. I recommend one we hav—”
“Thank you, but we’ll take her back home and have her doctor refer one,” Dad interrupted.
I looked at my mom, whose lips were thinned and eyes narrowed. I could tell she was biting her tongue. Evidently, she didn’t like my dad being rude any more than I did. That was new.
I knew the doctor had to have been annoyed, but his expression had taken on one of extreme patience as he said, “Again, she’ll need to rest and ice her hip and leg for the rest of the week. Try to keep it elevated. I’ll get her some pain medication just for tonight, but Tylenol or Aleve should work after that. We’ll wrap her leg while you fill out the discharge papers, and then we’ll leave you all to it.” He then patted my non-injured foot and was gone with a swipe of the curtain.
“Derek …” my mother said softly, but my dad was already on the phone.
“Russel? Derek Everly. Ally had an incident, and we need a referral.” He stared at his feet as Dr. Black said something on the other end. “She dislocated her hip and possibly has a small tear in her hamstring.” He nodded then looked up at my mom, extending his hand and snapping his fingers.
I guessed she knew what he meant because she pulled out her phone and reached over me to hand it to him. He then cradled his phone to his ear and started tapping away at my mom’s phone ...
The memory was so fresh in my mind that it now haunted the present.
I looked down at the pills in my hand again. They were small, white, and round … so innocuous looking. Then I again looked up and over the back railing of the bleachers, watching the sun as it slowly sunk into the horizon. I ignored the icy prickles that skittered over my skin, the tears that continued to drip from my face, the whispers of doubt that crept into the forefront of my mind.
Was I really going to do this?
The buzzing in my head was getting louder, like there was a hive of bees nesting there. Panic seized me in a vise as my body bucked with a sob, my breaths coming out in pants. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly and shook my head from side to side with such force that it wrenched my neck. The bees were relentless.
had to do this. The decision had been made, and I had to stick to the plan. Finally, something was going to be my choice. This was going to be my emancipation.
I took a deep breath then lifted the hand holding the pills toward my mouth …
A blur of movement flashed in front of me, knocking all my mother’s Tramadol out of my hand. I watched in shock as the little white pills hit the metal with what sounded like dozens of little pings as they fell everywhere, most landing on the ground in the dirt beneath the bleachers.
I slowly turned my head to see who had dared to ruin my moment and froze. How had I not seen him? How had I not heard him? I stared into a pair of burning semi-blue eyes. And by semi-blue, I meant they were mostly blue with a bit of brown in his right eye. Unusual. Beautiful.
I was momentarily mesmerized, lost in a way that dulled the pain that was a living, breathing thing inside me. The buzzing bees were muted as I stared into those smoldering depths.
I knew those eyes. I sometimes felt them on me at school. They belonged to Sterling Chapman.

Gah! SO. FREAKING. GOOD. I can't wait for this book to release! Check out Sadie's website here:

I hope you all enjoyed Sadie's visit today. Mark your calendars for her next release, and find her on FB while we wait! 

Happy reading!

xoxo
Brooke

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Excerpt time!

Still on the fence about whether or not to grab a copy of Here's to Campfires and S'mores?



Check out this excerpt to see if it wets your whistle:

“Whatever.” She rolled her black lined eyes and sucked on her cigarette again. “Go to bed, Molly. This isn’t your business. It’s barely our mom’s business.”
“Not my—” Anger washed over me, and I stomped over to them. “Who the hell do you think you are!?” I pulled their cigarettes out of their mouths, threw them to the ground, and stomped on them. Then I pointed down the embankment. “Get your scrawny little butts down that hill, and into your cabin. Shut up and go to bed. Give your mother a break for once, and act like nice kids, instead of entitled, depressed brats. Do you hear me?”
“Hey! What the…” Erin yowled, staring down at the crushed smokes in anger.
Seth cursed under his breath. “Not cool.”
Erin looked at me with eyes of pure hatred. “You sure have changed, and not for the better.”
Seth’s shoulders slumped and he let the umbrella drop to his side. “Let’s just go.”
Fine.” Erin whipped around and began the trek down the incline. “It’s no wonder Uncle Jamie left you. You’re such a bitch.”
Her words knocked the wind out of me, and I stood there with my mouth open as they left. I heard them bickering back and forth until the sound of a cabin door slamming ripped through the night, and I fell down onto my butt on the hill. I felt my underwear getting soaked with cold rainwater, but didn’t make an attempt to move. Instead, I pulled my knees up to my chest and rested my forehead against them before dissolving into tears.
Erin was right. I was a bitch. I might not be a crazy one, the type who carves her name into the driver’s side door on her ex-husband’s car, or who sends threatening texts to the new girl he’s banging, but I wasn’t a friendly woman anymore. And I hadn’t been for a long, long time. I’d become a crusty, bitter old bitch. April’s emo teenager had hit the nail on the head.
I sobbed as the rain stopped falling, and the leftover drops dripped off of the leaves around me. I no longer felt drunk and blissfully numbed to all the pain I’d been toting around like an overweight purse for eighteen months. My buzz had worn off. Either that, or my run in with April’s surly teens had sobered me up. I was left to sit in the woods with a soaking wet butt, feeling everything I’d attempted to drown away with too many tumblers of vodka.
Minutes passed. I don’t know how many. Maybe ten. Enough that my throat and eyes ached, and I was ninety percent sure I would wake up with a hangover the size of John Goodman’s former body in the morning.
“Molly?”
Startled, I sat up and bumped a fern above my head, which then rained water down on my head. “Great,” I muttered bitterly as a cold droplet rolled down the back collar of my shirt to my bra strap. “Who’s there now? You little punks come back to kick me while I’m down?”
“What?” Jamie emerged through the brush, his blond hair falling in wet scallops across his forehead. “Who are you talking to?”
“Nobody.” I sniffled and put my head back down. “Go away.”

“No.”