Cover and blurb reveal for PLAN BEA by Hilary Grossman

I’m thrilled to welcome my friend and fellow Booktrope author, Hilary Grossman, to my blog today to reveal the cover and blurb of her soon-to-be released women’s fiction novel, Plan Bea. I’ve been waiting impatiently for this book for a long time and the wait is finally almost over.

Blurb

How well do you really know the people in your life?  

Annabel O’Conner has the perfect husband, two adorable children, an amazing job, and the mother from hell! Annabel doesn’t like it but has come to terms with the fact that her relationship with her mother, Bea, deteriorated to the point of forced and strained communications. However, an unscheduled call from Bea turns her world around and makes Annabel question everything she believed about her life.

Despite the fact secrets, lies, and misplaced blame have destroyed the women’s relationship; Annabel reluctantly agrees to help Bea plan her wedding. Little does Annabel know the impact of her decision.

In this Women’s Contemporary Fiction novel, Hilary Grossman explores the complex relationship that exists between mothers and daughters in a light-hearted and relatable manner.

Plan Bea

 

Author Bio

Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addition to denim and high heel shoes. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep as many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn’t writing, blogging, or shoe shopping she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on the beach in Long Island.

Hilary Headshow

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how I spent my weekend

This post will be heavy on pictures and light on text because, gosh darn it, I have a cold. It’s almost May, but Mother Nature had to throw one last winter cold at me with her crazy change of weather. Boo!

My attempt to make Emergen-C look like a tasty cocktail...

My attempt to make Emergen-C look like a tasty cocktail…

Until Friday night, my ancient television set belied my love of watching television. I blame my failure to purchase a television set that is not only befitting of the twenty-first century but also of my fondness for watching television on both being busy balancing other aspects of my life and my technophobia. I fully admit I was afraid to buy a new television set and not know how to hook it up to my cable, Roku, DVD player etc. So when my friend Julie offered not only to sell me her good as new 46” LCD HDTV but to help me set it up, I wrote her a check faster than you could say, “binge-watch.” Julie brought me the set on Friday night and we spent a couple of hours putting it together and by “we” I mean “her.” I did contribute a bottle of Prosecco and some chips…

CHECK IT OUT!

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Despite my cold, I met with a bunch of other authors for a write-in at Housing Works book store in the village on Saturday afternoon. Most of the authors are also affiliated with my publisher, Booktrope, including my very own editor. I was very excited to meet my awesome editor face-to-face for the first time. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of her this time, but we hope to make this a monthly event and I will not forget next time. In the meantime, I did take a selfie with my writing buddy, Hilary Grossman, author of the awesome memoir, Dangled Carat.

Hilaryandme

Housingworks

Since I wasn’t up to going out on Saturday night, I binge-watched the first season of Nashville on, you guessed it, my new tv!! I love the men on that show and they are even sexier when viewed on a quality television set 🙂

I went to bed with the highest of hopes that I would feel better today but I didn’t. Nevertheless, I forced myself to go for a run this morning. I don’t think it made me any worse although between you and me, I don’t think it made me feel any better either 😦

The most significant task I completed this weekend, besides FINALLY enrolling in online banking, was completing my self-edits of Novel Girl, the follow-up book to Blogger Girl. I know the novel needs more work, but I can’t see it clearly anymore and knew it was time to send it off to my beta readers. While I await their comments, I plan to start my next project—a prequel novella to the Blogger Girl series in which I will take Kim Long and bring her back to middle school, along with her best friend Bridget and their nemesis Hannah Marshak. I’ve never written a novella and I’ve never written young characters, but it’s a challenge I’m excited to tackle.

NovelGirl

I hate to blog and run but I must nap now. I’m taking the day off from work tomorrow to hang with my southern soul sister Jenny who is visiting from Kentucky, and hope to have kicked this cold by then. Wish me luck!

First reading at Barnes & Noble – check!

BandNSignEven though I’ve been a published author for four and a half years and have four novels under my belt, I participated in my first ever public book “reading” this past Thursday night at the Barnes & Noble in Manhasset, New York, along with fellow Booktrope authors Hilary Grossman and Jennifer Gracen. For those of you not in the know, Manhasset is a town in Nassau County, Long Island.

 

As I mentioned in my blog post a couple of weeks back, I get very nervous at the thought of public speaking. Past experiences have left me lacking confidence in that regard. As you can imagine, booking this gig at Barnes and Noble, while a dream come true in one respect, was a nightmare in another. Terrified, yet determined to see it through, I made it my mission to kill it, or at the very least, not make a fool of myself.

 

I chose an excerpt of my newest release, How Do You Know? that I considered intriguing enough to pique interest in my story without giving away anything not already exposed in the book’s back cover blurb. A very dialogue-heavy scene, I sought advice from author friends who have far more experience at readings on how to best distinguish between which character was speaking. Thank you to my mom for this brilliant suggestion and to Eileen Goudge, Josie Brown, and Jen Tucker for their willingness to share their wisdom.  At the advice of these authors, I marked up the scene to include additional dialogue tags (I said, he said) where necessary and add phrases such as “I thought, I wondered” to indicate inner thought.

 

 

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As a result of this wonderful advice, my devotion to rehearsing the reading for two weeks prior to the event, and perhaps a little magic set off by the designer shoes I had purchased the night before, I am proud to announce that the reading went off without a hitch. Despite nursing an awful cold, I think it’s fair to say I rocked it. I didn’t read too quickly, which was my biggest fear. I remembered to include the added dialogue tags to avoid confusing the audience. And I managed to make eye contact with the audience every so often rather than keep my head buried in the book. Folks laughed at all of the right times which fueled my confidence.

 

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In my wildest dreams, truckloads of devoted fans would stand elbow-to-elbow for an opportunity to hear their favorite author—me of course—read from her book.  In reality, however, while we had a full house, the majority of the audience consisted of friends, colleagues, and family of Hilary Grossman and most of them were there to see her. I blame the crazy cold and the opening of Fifty Shades of Grey for the absence of my fangirls (and boys). But while I’m fairly certain the majority of the attendees were not my target audience, they were very attentive and respectful to all three of us and I managed to pique the interest of a couple of them who purchased a signed copy of How Do You Know? at the end of the evening. Another promised to download the ecopy on her Kindle when she got home.

I’m so excited to have my virgin reading behind me and look forward to my next opportunity. The second time will be even better, I’m sure 😉

Thank you to Hilary Grossman, Jennifer Gracen, and the staff at Barnes & Noble for making it possible!

Public Speaking – Gah!

I like having my voice heard when I speak. It bothers me when I feel ignored or when the company I keep pay half-assed attention to what I’m saying while looking over my shoulders at what is going on behind me or taking what they think are furtive glances at their phones. I enjoy holding a captive audience of one or two or three, whether on a date or out with friends—when it is my turn to speak, of course, as a balance of give and take makes for the best conversations.

I’m not opposed to speaking. I’m quite skilled at it, in fact. I don’t, however, enjoy public speaking—as in getting up in front of a crowd of people. At All.

Sometimes I still can’t believe that at the age of thirteen, I stood on a stage in front of upwards of fifty people and, not only spoke, but sang. Not only did I sing, but it was in Hebrew!! I totally did it for the gifts and the party, but still…If asked to do that today, no way. No effin’ way!! Even that day, I vividly recall my sisters and me unable to contain our laughter when called upon to lead the congregation in “Adon Olam.” I suppose we were cute in our own way, but I doubt it was what the rabbi, cantor, or my mother had in mind.

In order to graduate high school with a Regents diploma, I had to take a semester of Public Speaking. The class consisted of giving a series of oral reports on various topics in front of the classroom. The only ones I remember are “pet peeves” (mine was people who make too much noise when they eat); interview (we were paired with another classmate to role-play the interview process); and a demonstration. For my demonstration, I taught the class how to carve a pumpkin. Only my hands shook so badly, my friend Eric had to do the actual carving. A nervous girl should not be armed with a knife…I received an A- in the class. The writing was consistently spot-on, but my performance left something to be desired. Specifically, the teacher complained that I spoke too quickly. I was trying to get it over with!

But the most memorable public speaking experience for me was in ninth grade when we had to describe some aspect of geography in 3D. I don’t remember much about my actual report, except that I *attempted* to create a globe out of clay. I stood in front of the class and read my oral report. At the end, relieved to have it behind me, I asked the class the required question, “Any questions?” One hand flew up—Dante Golio. With a straight face, Dante said, “Can you repeat that?” apparently referring to the speed with which I spoke. The entire class, including my teacher Mr. Sherman, broke out into hysterics. Mortified and feeling betrayed by my teacher, I ran out of the class and directly to the girls’ bathroom where I sobbed. I’ve never fully recovered.

I write all of this to tell you that on the evening of Thursday, February 12th, I will be doing my first reading at Barnes & Noble in Manhasset (Long Island), along with fellow Booktrope authors Hilary Grossman and Jennifer Gracen. I’ve done my share of book signings and author-related cocktail parties, but this is my virgin “reading” and, yes, I’m quite nervous about it. Excited for sure, but anxious. What if I read too quickly? It’s always been my cross to bear. What if I suddenly lose my ability to read at all and the words just blur into strange characters on the page before me? What I trip on my way to the podium? These questions and more will be answered in a little over a fortnight, along with a three-four page monologue of How Do You Know?.

I will be sure to report back, but if you’re in the area, please stop by to support me (or take pleasure in my discomfort).

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Age is Just a Number Series: Author Hilary Grossman talks turning 25

Welcome Hilary Grossman, author of Dangled Carat, and my friend and fellow Booktrope author to my blog. Hilary compares how she imagined she would feel turning twenty-five with the reality of her feelings on that day. (PS: Happy Birthday, Hilary!!)
It all started in September.
I wasn’t able to put my finger on what was happening at first.  All I knew was that something simply wasn’t right.  I was unhappy.  I was scared.  I was frustrated.  And slowly but surely a feeling of dread began to wash over me.  With every very passing day the feeling got stronger, encompassing every aspect of my life.
In early November I left work early. I  wasn’t feeling well. I had chest pains. I couldn’t catch my breath.  My mom picked me up at the train station and drove me to my doctor.    He didn’t react the way that I thought he would. He gave me a quick exam.  Rather than confirm that I was dying from a heart attack, he simply said I was having a panic attack.
He helped me calm down.  My heart rate returned to normal and I was able to breath easily once more.  But I had to admit to myself and my mother what was causing me anxiety. And by this time I already knew.
November 10th was right around the corner.  My birthday.  I was turning twenty-five and I was dreading the day.  How can I be twenty-five and feel the way that I did?
Hilary at twenty-five

Hilary at twenty-five

Thanks to all the wonderful books and movies out there I had definite ideas of what twenty-five should feel like, and my life was nothing of the sort.  Forget about not having a fairytale existence there was nothing about my life I was happy about!
I spent the last few years studying for and passing the CPA exam. Why I kept wondering? I hated my all consuming job.  I was always on the road with no control of my schedule. I worked ridiculous hours. I was bored out of my mind half the time and the other time I was walking on eggshells because my boss was the modern day version of Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde. I never knew what to expect when I showed up for work.  As a result, stomach would constantly be in knots.  I used to wake up every morning and count down the number of days I had until I either retired or died.  What happy mornings those were!
Of course I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time either.  I was okay with that (or I told myself).  What I wasn’t okay with was I had no social life. None, zero, zip!  All I did was work.  Most of the year I worked for the CPA firm 6 days a week. But I also continued to wait tables nights and weekends.  And if there was a lull in that excitement,  I added the occasional babysitting gig into the mix.  #partytime
This was not what twenty-five was supposed to feel like.  Was it?
I started to express my feelings to others. I learned there was a term for what I was going through – a quarter life crisis.  Knowing I wasn’t alone, I started feeling slightly better.  And after the dreaded birthday passed I decided to make some changes in my life.
I cut back on waitress shifts. I started to hang out with friends.  I started to date. I allowed fun back into my life. And when I was presented with an opportunity to shift my career path I jumped at the chance.  Slowly but surely I found happiness.
I am turning forty-one on November 10th. I wish I could go back and tell my twenty-four year old self that everything will be okay. That the sacrifices that were made then would allow for much successes and joy later.  But I can’t. And even if I could, I know that I wouldn’t listen…
Hilary in present day

Hilary in present day

Links:
Twitter @feelingbeachie
Dangled Carat

 

Kicking off the Age is Just a Number blog series

One thing all human beings have in common is the aging process, although some of us are more fortunate than others when it comes to how far the process takes us.

As much as most of us hope to live a long, happy, healthy life, it is common to struggle with getting older and the effect it has on so many aspects of our lives, from our outward appearance, to our health, to our physical stamina, to what milestones we are expected to have crossed, to the dreams we hope to make reality, and to our individual mortality. Some of us struggle with turning specific ages. My most difficult to date was turning forty and I wrote a post about it for the Women’s Fiction Writers blog. My post ties into my upcoming novel, How Do You Know?, which is about my main character’s struggles with her impending fortieth birthday as a single, never-been-married woman.

In anticipation of the release of the novel on December 2nd, I decided to host a series of blogs on aging, and I have some fabulous authors and bloggers lined up to share their feelings with respect to turning certain ages, including twenty-five, thirty, thirty-one, forty, fifty, and sixty. The Age is Just a Number series will begin in early November, but I have linked to my own post below on turning forty for the kick-off. Please give it a read.

http://womensfictionwriters.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/guest-post-an-author-fearing-forty-by-meredith-schorr/

Please stay tuned for the wonderful and often humorous posts to follow and check out the Goodreads page for How Do You Know?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23365751-how-do-you-know?ac=1

Finally, I wanted to share some pictures from my book signing in Port Washington this weekend at the Dolphin Bookstore and Cafe, along with two other Booktrope authors, Hilary Grossman (Dangled Carat) and Jennifer Gracen (Seasons of Love Series). We had a blast!

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COMING SOON:

HOW DO YOU KNOW?

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

Meredith Schorr, best-selling author of light women’s fiction, digs deep in her newest novel and raises the age old issue of the ‘proverbial clock’ that haunts many women, in a way that is refreshing and sassy no matter your age or relationship status.

The International Chick Lit Month 99 Cent Sale is here!

FinalRedHead
May is finally here! The weather’s warming up, your cute new bathing suit’s all ready to go, and you’ve got the kitchen stocked with fixins for your favorite fruity cocktails. The only thing missing is the perfect book to read while you’re soaking up some Vitamin D at the beach or pool. Good thing May is also International Chick Lit Month! To celebrate, some of the genre’s funniest and most talented authors are offering their lighthearted, romantic reads for $0.99 each! So, load up your eReader and slather on the sunscreen, because your new book boyfriends are waiting for you under the umbrella . . .
3) A link to the Pinterest board where all of the books are featured:
4) The full list of books on sale, including titles, authors, and Amazon links:
A Heat of the Moment Thing by Maggie Le Page
A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March
Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body by Jennie Marts
Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr
Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie
Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman
Divine Moves by Ellyn Oaksmith
Exactly Where They’d Fall by Laura Rae Amos
For the Love of Cupcakes by Anita Kushwaha
French Twist by Glynis Astie
Good Intentions by Kathryn Biel
Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman
Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda
In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister
Let’s Be Frank by Brea Brown
Lila’s Choice by Laura Brown
Mail-Order Groom by Cindy Flores Martinez
Mr Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonell
Open My Eyes by Jennifer Collin
Reframing Emma by Missy Kierstead
Speaking of Love by Ophelia London
Tear Stained Beaches by Courtney Giardina
The Accidental Prophetess by Michelle Lam
The Bad Girls’ Club by Kathryn O’Halloran
When Girlfriends Collection (Books 1-3) by Savannah Page
Whiskey and Gumdrops by Jean Oram