Monday, February 25, 2013

Combining Corporate and Creative Lifestyles - Guest Post by Author Maro Karasek

I used to be an attorney.

True, the job paid well—very well—but that’s about all the good I can say about it.

I was a corporate attorney who did none of the exciting legal stuff you see on television or read about in a John Grisham novel. I didn’t put away dangerous criminals or save the innocent from unjust prosecution. Nope. I specialized in transactional work. And, yes, the work was just as boring as it sounds. Very boring. And long. Corporate lawyers work very long hours in drab, beige offices.

I hated being an attorney.

So, really, quitting the law to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a novelist was a no-brainer.

I went from drafting legal documents that required absolutely zero creativity, to imagining new worlds out of whole cloth. I was living in my head, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Everyday, I would wake up and sit in front of my sunny window—as far away from a drab, beige office as you could get—and do nothing but make stuff up. Admittedly, some lawyers make up plenty of stuff too (just not in the exactly legal way), but this actual fiction writing business was so much more appealing. And when I started out, I thought that—the creating of new worlds in my head and pretty much living in them twenty-four seven—would be the best part about being a writer. I would officially become a professional daydreamer.

Boy, was I mistaken.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Daydreaming for a living is pretty high up on my list of perks of being a writer. It’s just not the best part. There’s something that’s way better, at least for me.

But, please, let me clarify.

You see, the longer I wrote, the more I learned about the writing business. Case in point: I soon figured out that writing actually is a business. Writers can’t just make stuff up and write it down, and be done with it. They have to sell their material too, and market it. And they have to know how to properly budget the “company” resources. Oh, and did I mention that writers need to be managers who multitask like crazy?

My becoming a writer meant I had to learn how to run what in essence is a corporation of one. I had to set up a work schedule and enforce it. Granted, I only had to enforce said schedule on myself, but—trust me—that is no easy feat. I, and my ability to procrastinate, can test the skills of the best managers. I also had to learn how to become a constructive critic who can move beyond the daydream and focus on the very minutia of writing: the rules of grammar, plot, and structure. Better still, I had to learn how to take criticism from others, and recognize the value of a good editor’s direction. I needed to learn how and when to delegate, and trust the input of other professionals. Cover design, for instance, is one area I never even imagined I would have to tackle when I set out to write my first novel. But knowing how to recognize a good cover artist is such a vital skill in the book selling business.

Suddenly, then, I found myself using many skills—like negotiating, researching, and reviewing—that I had relied on heavily as a practicing corporate attorney. But here’s the rub, this time around I was really enjoying using those skills. 

I was a darn good attorney. A not-so-small part of me really thrived on the business aspects of the profession. I’m happy to be again utilizing those abilities in addition to being creative. As a professional novelist, it seems that I get to enjoy the best of both worlds—the corporate and the creative—and that, for me, is hands down the best part about being a writer.      

Author Bio:

Margo Karasek decided to be a writer the instant she finished reading her first novel as a kid. She loved the possibilities and freedom in observing and writing about everyday people, whose experiences--through her words--could make a lasting impact. This passion led her to NYU, where she earned a journalism and anthropology degree, with the highest honors. But since she couldn't figure out how writers made a decent living, Margo went on to law school--where she had a blast. Unfortunately, actually practicing law was nowhere near as fun as learning about it in school, so Margo took the ultimate plunge: she quit her cushy law firm job to become a full-time novelist. And, to help make ends meet throughout the process, Margo also began tutoring for some of the wealthiest, best known families in New York as a side-gig. The latter job gave her some powerful ideas for her first novel. Margo currently lives in Queens, New York with her husband and their two children, and is busy working on her next book. 

Buy the Book!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Interview & Giveaway with Cari Kamm

One of the most delightful authors that I have had the pleasure of getting to know is Cari Kamm.  Her latest novel, FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY, came out on Valentine's Day and she has taken a few minutes to do a quick interview with me.  And two lucky readers are going to win a copy of her latest.

What inspired you to write For Internal Use Only?
Inspired by the notion that women grow up with ideas of true love and destiny, For Internal Use Only approaches those ideas with a decidedly twenty-first century viewpoint. By incorporating problems inherent with today’s dating world, this book is meant to enlighten readers to stop chasing fairytales and start creating their own. My goal was to write a humorous love story with an edgy and dramatic twist that gives each of us a new fairy tale to look forward too; our own.

Who would you be friends with in real life: Chloe from For Internal Use Only or Isabella Reynolds from Fake Perfect Me?
Both! Chloe and Isabella were created from numerous combinations of people that I know, have met and was even inspired by. Chloe is the dreamer. She’s fighting for a passion. She’s a hopeless romantic, but cautious because she’s terrified of heartbreak.  Isabella struggles with perfection, of being accepted and loved for simply being her. She hides her insecurities and secrets such as her bulimia, covering them with designer labels. Isabella is on the journey to understanding the importance of self-worth.

On some level, I feel that we all experience a taste of these characters. To be successful. To be loved. To be happy with who we are. To be enough.

What is a typical writing day like for you?
I begin first thing in the morning. Before anything can shift my mood or motivation, I make coffee and hit the keys. It might be for thirty minutes or hours. Writing is my morning stretch. I write from home or head out to one of my spots in New York City.  Sometimes, I just walk into random restaurants, bookstores, or coffee shops. I find inspiration in the unexpected. Not having a plan is sometimes the perfect plan.

What are your biggest pet peeves as a writer?
The overuse of words and those damn dashes!

Who inspires you?
People with passion! They light up a room. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or stranger, someone that’s fighting for a dream. I love to see ideas turn into whole-hearted projects and the dedication that fuels people to turn them into reality. I think that’s one of the most beautiful things in the world. It’s amazing what can come from doing things with love... with putting your heart into it.

Who are you reading and liking currently?
I’ve probably downloaded fifteen titles this month. My reading list is bigger than me! Recently I’ve read and liked:
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Do you have anything new in the works?
In November 2012, I participated in National Novel Writing month and completed my third novel. It’s my first romance novel and takes place in Costa Rica. I hope to release it later this year. My 80-year-old Italian grandma will be thrilled! I always caught her reading books with Fabio decorated covers.

Is there a genre that you would like to write in?
I’m a huge fan of series such as Law & Order and recently Homeland. I would love to write a suspenseful thriller/mystery with a dark, twisted plot.

What is your guilty pleasure song that you can’t help but sing out loud when you hear it?
The artist is ‘Over The Rhine’ and the song is ‘Spark.’  I would definitely be an American Idol reject.

Where is your dream vacation spot?
Anywhere that requires a passport! In fact, I’m traveling to Moscow for my birthday this year. I’ll be landing on the morning of my 35th birthday, Valentine’s Day. Move over chocolate and hello Vodka!

Who is your current celebrity crush?
Ed Burns!  He’s always been my celebrity crush.  I used to see him weekly at a breakfast spot in Tribeca with his supermodel wife and their two beautiful kids. A couple of months ago, I spotted him in a lobby of a condo building. My ears can detect that voice in a crowded room and it stops me dead in my tracks!  Seriously . . . I go numb.

Cari Kamm has worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, building brands, working behind the scenes, and even selling her own skin care line. She has a master’s in clinical nutrition from New York University. Kamm currently works in corporate social media management with clients in the beauty, fashion, and restaurant industries. Living in New York City with her mutt Schumtz, Kamm loves finding inspiration in the most unexpected places, being a novelist, and convincing her boyfriend that ordering takeout and making dinner reservations are equal to cooking. More information can be found on her website,


Chloe Kassidy has just been accepted into one of Manhattan’s most exclusive art exhibits, Love Through Light. However, with her singular dedication to her career, she soon realizes that in sacrificing her personal life, she has never been in love. A hopeless romantic who is terrified of heartbreak, Chloe begins to enlist the help of her circle of friends to learn about love through their very different stories and experiences.
In Chloe’s emotional rollercoaster to having the greatest love story ever told, she’ll learn that like her photography she must use the negatives in life to develop and prove that she’s a strong woman who found her way to love through light.
A humorous love story with an edgy and dramatic twist, For Internal Use Only is a vastly entertaining novel that gives each of us a new fairy tale to look forward too: our own.
Comment below for your chance to win your choice of  paperback or ebook for US/CA residents.  Two winners will be chosen on February 27th!  Good luck! Please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you are a winner! :)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines's Day Promo from some of the best Chick Lit authors around!

Love is in the air . . . and it can be on your Kindle, too!

Do you want to fall in love with a good book this Valentine's Day weekend? How about 9? Then don't miss this special promotion. For four days only (February 14th - February 17th), 9 popular Chick Lit authors will be lowering the prices on their favorite rom-coms to 99 cents on! At that price (A bottle of wine costs more!), why not sample them all? Some delicious literary treats await you, and unlike chocolates these goodies are calorie-free!

And guys: If your sweetie is a book-lover, you'll make her Valentine's Day by gifting her with one (or more) of our fun, romantic stories! 

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey - Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind?  Finding Lucas

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister – Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself?   In Need of Therapy

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSalaJilted bride Amy's down on everything until she convinces herself to purchase a cute, ridiculously expensive pair of second-hand shoes. Once she does, life starts looking up, and she falls into an unexpected new romance with the last man she'd ever expect to love. But can a pair of shoes really be magic? And is her new prince really just a frog? Rita Hayworth's Shoes

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie – When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancĂ© who can’t wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together–or will she break under the pressure? Breaking the Rules

The Green Ticket by Samantha March – College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty, but her good fortune quickly turns disastrous when she realizes her job is filled with lies, betrayal, and cover-ups. Keeping up with classes, her girlfriends and a budding romance, Alex feels the pressure – but will she overcome the challenges? The Green Ticket

Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer - Disgraced New York fashionista, Maya Kirkwood, is fashioning herself a new life as an artist in San Francisco when she's hired to do an installation of her work by dorky, yet dashing dotcom executive, Derek. The sparks soon start to fly... But is this a good thing? Unmasking Maya

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr - Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! A State of Jane

True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano - When her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris, Marlo Spencer travels to her hometown to try to rekindle their relationship. But when dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and betrayals are revealed, can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart?True Love Way

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone - Lauren Tate’s perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart goes missing. Picture Perfect

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sara's Tips For Planning Your BFF's Wedding - Guest Post by Courtney Cole & Sara!

Courtney Cole's delightful book, "Confessions of an Alli Cat" is the tale of Allison Lancaster's journey back into the dating world after kicking her sleazy ex-husband to the curb.  Alli has an interesting number of people in her life to help her on this journey and one of them is outrageous best friend, Sara.  Sara is stopping in today to share with you her tips for help your BFF plan the most EPIC wedding ever!


Hey sexy cougars!

Since I just finished planning Alli's wedding (I can't let her hear me say that.  The sweet lil' thing thinks that she actually planned it.  Isn't that cute?), I thought I'd pitch in here and share a few things with you....helpful things that you might find useful in case you ever find yourself in the same position as me.  (Which is, planning a wedding almost single-handedly, while allowing the bride to think she's doing it).
First, always remember that God invented BFF's for a reason.  We exist to push the boundaries of our friend, to make her do things that she wouldn't normally do, but definitely for her own good.  For example, she should always try the spray tan when she is pasty white.  I don't care if it is only three days before her wedding luncheon.  Grow a set and a do it!  When she's got a warm glow at her wedding luncheon instead of scaring everyone with her pasty white legs, she'll thank you.  Unless she spray tan gets messed up and goes on three shades too dark.  But what are the odds of that happening?   That particular thing is out of your control and you should never be held accountable for it.
Second, never, under any circumstances when helping address invitations, accidentally invite the ex-husband.  I have no idea how that happened.  But take it from me, it's a no-no.
Also, and this is equally important.  If your BFF has an assistant at work, use her.  She knows your BFF almost as well as you do-- so tap into that knowledge so that you can avoid potentially embarrassing situations.  Like, for instance, she might help you remember that the bride is allergic to shellfish.  That's just a random example...I'm not saying it happened to me.  But I'm not saying that it didn't happen, either. 
Always have a sex toy party.  This is essential and the bride will probably thank you for it.  Unless you accidentally post pictures of the bride holding a giant sextoy to Facebook.  She won't thank you for that.  (In my defense, I was trying to text the picture to Alex.  Not post to Facebook.  Buttons on your phone get confusing after four Sex on the Beaches.)
Okay, this is important.  Always throw an EPIC bachelorette party.  It must be EPIC and it is your responsibility to make it so.  I suggest a mechanical penis.  By mechanical penis, I mean a giant pink mechanical bull that is shaped like a penis.  Then, you must somehow ensure that your BFF keeps her skinny ass on the penis and doesn't fall off and hurt herself.  I don't know how Alli makes it through life without my help, honestly.
Lastly, and this is probably the most important of all.  If your BFF ever dated her fiancee's son, never, under any circumstances, allow that fact to slip out, even after you've had two bottles of wine.  Trust me.  It's just something you don't want to have happen. Just trust me.

That ought to do it.  If you follow these helpful guidelines in the event you're ever planning your BFF's wedding celebration, you should be just fine.  You're welcome.  :)   Have a great New Year, Cougars!


Author Bio:
Courtney Cole is a novelist who lives near Lake Michigan.  Her favorite place in the world is on the shore with her toes in the water.  Although, since she is deathly afraid of sea gulls, it makes days at the beach interesting.

Courtney is the author of several YA series (The Paradise Diaries, The Bloodstone Saga and The Moonstone Saga) as well as a couple adult series (The Cougar Chronicles and The Minaldi Legacy).  Her next project is a Women’s Contemporary Romance titled If You Stay, which will release on February 12, 2013. 
To learn more about Courtney, visit her website,
Connect with Courtney!
Follow me on Twitter!
Friend me on Facebook!
Find me on Goodreads!
See my books on Amazon  

Buy the Book!

Review: Confessions of an Alli Cat by Courtney Cole

"You know what they say...a happy vagina is a happy woman. Well, they might not say that, but they should." -Alli

Thirty-five year-old Allison "Alli" Lancaster has it all--a fabulous job, a beautiful 15 year-old daughter, a hilarious BFF and a gorgeous house with a pool and Jacuzzi in an exclusive Las Vegas neighborhood. What she doesn't have is a husband, because she kicked her lousy, cheating ex to the curb nine months ago. Since then, Alli has paid her dues with seemingly endless self-improvement and seemingly endless mourning. Now she's ready to move on and try new things.

Alli's idea of "trying new things" is nothing like that devil-of-a-best-friend of hers. Somehow, Sara, the devil of a best friend, talks Alli into trying out a sex toy, sleeping with a younger man and letting a stranger in a lab jacket put hot wax on a place that should never, ever, ever see wax. And that's only the beginning.

Alli never saw her life going quite like this. She also never thought she'd meet someone else who had the very real potential to change her life forever.

But she did.

Enter the new guy. He's gorgeous, refined and mature. He's also marriage material. But that poses a problem for Alli, who renounced the institution of marriage when she renounced her ex. What's a girl to do?

They say that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But what the heck happens when you can't leave Vegas? Well, you spin the wheel, of course. You play the game and let the chips fall where they may.

Alli just hopes she can find them all.


Alli Lancaster has a sleazeball ex-husband with a bimbo girlfriend, a teenage daughter that is in her typical teen years, and a high powered job.  That takes up all her time until best friend, Sara, decides she needs to help Alli get back into the swing of things and enjoying life again.  Hilarious antics ensue as Sara takes Alli to a sex shop and for a bikini wax before introducing her to hot young stud, Shade. And Shade is definitely HOT!  He has Alli's world tilted upside down.  And what is a lady to do, but make it more complicated when her new boss shows up and the attraction is definitely mutual.

Courtney Cole's "Confessions of an Alli Cat" was a delightful read.  I loved the character of Alli and the mishaps that follow her actions every step of the way.  There are so many laugh out loud moments in this book that you will find yourself finishing the book way before you are ready to say good-bye to the characters.  There are a couple of plot twists that pop up.  One of them I saw coming from the get go, but the other one I felt my jaw drop open. And best friend, Sara, is simply outrageous.  She reminds me of a very good friend of mine and I couldn't help but laugh out loud and then call my friend to tell her about this character.

If you want a sexy, sweet, good girl gets the best guy story, then you are going to absolutely love this book.  And you are going to laugh at the hijinks, no matter how painful they may be.  Thank you, Courtney, for entertaining me so thoroughly!


Author Bio:

Courtney Cole is a novelist who lives near Lake Michigan.  Her favorite place in the world is on the shore with her toes in the water.  Although, since she is deathly afraid of sea gulls, it makes days at the beach interesting.

Courtney is the author of several YA series (The Paradise Diaries, The Bloodstone Saga and The Moonstone Saga) as well as a couple adult series (The Cougar Chronicles and The Minaldi Legacy).  Her next project is a Women’s Contemporary Romance titled If You Stay, which will release on February 12, 2013. 
To learn more about Courtney, visit her website,
Connect with Courtney!
Follow me on Twitter!
Friend me on Facebook!
Find me on Goodreads!
See my books on Amazon  

Buy the Book!