I am so excited to host author Cari Kamm on my blog today. Cari’s new novel, For Internal Use Only, was just released on February 14th which is also Cari’s birthday! (Happy Birthday Cari!) Read below for Cari’s Top 5 Inspirations/Muses when writing and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of For Internal Use Only. Cari is giving away not one, but two copies of the book and the lucky winner can choose if she wants a paperback or ecopy. (The giveaway is open to only U.S. and Canadian residents.)
Top 5 Inspirations/Muses when writing:
I love to travel! I think growing up in a small town in West Virginia (population 3,500) and then moving to New York City with access to JFK International Airport and Penn Station, created the extreme need to be spontaneous and take advantage of the opportunities. Whether it’s a walk into a different neighborhood to have lunch at a random spot, a day trip by train or a passport destination, I’m inspired by not only the self-discovery but the characters I create in those moments. For that small amount of time I can see life through the eyes of my protagonist.
This is a huge one for me. I have designated songs to help create that emotional connection to the scene I’m writing. I use music to move me along. The only catch is… the song is played on repeat! I’m easily distracted by lyrics. Whether I’m writing for fifteen minutes or five hours, the song plays on repeat! My writing playlist includes my favorites: Sia, Regina Spektor, David Gray, Lana Del Rey, Imogen Heap and Classical.
3. Writing Groups
Meeting other writers is fantastic! I’ve participated in several writing groups. Some are 6-8 weeks and some are only for an afternoon. Mediabistro offers awesome courses! Most recently, I attended a workshop hosted by the lovely author Alison Pace. Attending groups is brainstorming at its best and allows everyone to benefit from constructive feedback. We are all in this creative journey together.
4. Books & Movies
When I need a kick in the inspiration department, I tend to throw myself into a book or movie. There is no discrimination in the genre department! If that fails, curling up on the couch with reruns of Sex & The City always works. I have recently become addicted to Homeland and watched eight straight hours of it. I was up until 4:00 a.m. This proves #4 can sometimes back fire.
I’ve never told anyone this before! No matter where I’m writing from, I find comfort in wearing really hideous socks that no one else can see! Recently, my boyfriend bought me a pair to add to my collection. Dorothy ruby slippers! These even have glitter. It reminds me to laugh at myself and not be too serious.
Check out the blurb for For Internal Use Only here:
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.
And a fabulous excerpt here:
In this excerpt, Chloe is anxiously awaiting for the envelope to arrive that contains her destiny.
My love for photography had led me down an unimaginable career path. Most currently, it led me to anxiously sitting on a stoop outside the New York City mid-rise building that contained my overpriced one-room apartment. I closed my eyes, allowing the morning light to calm me while I took in the delightful bird chirps and excruciating taxi beeps of the East Village, ignoring the slight smell of urine that accosted my senses.
I started my afternoon again with stalking. I eagerly awaited the mailman’s arrival between 1:06 and 1:13 p.m., while he transported paper fate, sporting his pale blue polyester trousers, tucked in long-sleeve shirt pressed, and Converse sneakers.
We lived and loved through technology, so I was frustrated that my fate was arriving via snail mail and the timing matched every part of the description. Technology was the trusted source of banking transactions, meeting your husband, ordering your groceries, making restaurant reservations and even spying on your pets through a kennel cam while sunburning on a beach. But today, this life-altering letter crawled its way to me by a government official, a man I rarely saw, and never exchanged words with. I was waiting to hear if my dream would come true, and dreading it would never be.
“Good afternoon,” I said, with a smile, merely able to stare at the navy stripe that lined his pant leg. The clock showed that it was 1:11 p.m. I made a wish.
“What a surprise,” he muttered, while he manhandled the heavy stack wrapped with a thick, green rubber band and passed by me. I studied him meticulously stocking the empty boxes, one by one, approaching my slot.
“Do you mind if I just grab the mail for three-C, please?” I interrupted.
“If that’s what it’ll take,” he moaned.
Between my J. Crew catalogue and my electric bill was a fancy rectangle of heavy stock ivory paper with gold trim. I squeezed the four-by-six response card. Contained in this saliva-sealed envelope were the words that would inevitably change my life. The weight of those words was heavy in my fingers and I was hesitant to open it. Without the answer the card contained, I still was able to hold onto hope.
My destiny was in my lap with the warmth of the sun counteracting the fresh chill October presented while I flipped from sweating to freezing like an on/off switch. I reassured myself it was only rejection. I had my health and photography. Whether it was amateur or professional, it was still my first love. Even if it was a two-letter response, I would remember my love for art, and how every time I shot I searched for the immense beauty that existed within the balance, tone, and temperature of my tiny frame. Having an image worth a thousand words was never my intention. I wanted to capture one word to describe each photograph. One word can define everything, love being a true example. There is something compelling about visualizing a picture and capturing it. There is nothing compelling about the words, We regret to inform you.
My fingers trembled and taking a couple photographs would be soothing. Photography to me was the perfect cocktail: one part heart, one part head, a dose of imagination, with a splash of patience.
The tearing of the envelope felt like scratches on my heart. I proceeded with caution, hoping this document wouldn’t be only a keepsake to remind me what if.
Inch by inch, I slid out the card to reveal the twelve-point Apple Chancery font and held it to the light, observing the maker’s name in the watermark. Rubbing my index finger over the engraved symbol, I was impressed. The brand, Smythson of Bond Street stationery, supplied paper to the British royal family. I was holding the same stationery as the Queen.
Dear Miss Kassidy,
We write to inform you of your acceptance into the exclusive Bruce Smith Gallery as part of our exhibit for emerging artists, hosted by curator Grayson Gates. You will be receiving your review and luncheon date via e-mail. Please be prepared to present your theme for the Love Through Light exhibit within the deadline. You will be required to exhibit three pieces.
Opening Night & Reception
Friday, February 7, 8:00 p.m.
Bruce Smith Gallery
504 West 22nd Street
I read your acceptance at least ten times, intoxicated with excitement and then Love Through Light offered a swift sobering sense of reality. I began to panic. I couldn’t deny the exhibit theme made me uncomfortable.
The Love Through Light exhibit was inspired by the word photography itself and its Greek meaning, writing with light. As the emerging artists in Grayson Gates’s exhibit, we were to create stories of love. Instead of ink, we would be writing with our three photographs.
I composed a text to Stephanie, Kate, and Emma, my inner circle. I’m in!
Our bonds from beginnings to endings were unbendable. Each our own elements, but together our friendship made a rare metal.
Cari’s Bio here:
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, CariKamm.com. To check out the book trailer, click here: http://tinyurl.com/bdr7bfn.
Follow Cari here:
And don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address to enter the giveaway! Giveaway ends on Friday, February 22nd at 11:59pm.