Elvis, Stuck on You, and titles

Thanks to the quest to put an Elvis flavor on the stories I’m writing, I’ve become a little bit of an Elvis scholar lately. Well, maybe that’s the wrong word. An Elvis dabbler. When I found out I had to change the title to ALL SHOOK UP, I was bummed. In a major way. I still am to tell the truth, but I love the story. And I soooo get the power of the Elvis, maybe even better now.

I watched half a zillion YouTube videos to pick the first three titles. This week, I’ve watched the other half. And the new title is STUCK ON YOU. Don’t know the song? Me either. It was Elvis’ first hit after he returned from the Army, and it was published by Gladys Music, his music company (named after his mother but you probably knew that). And I picked this one because it’s young and fun and the Elvis I think about when I was Elvis.

My story is…well, not all that young, but it’s fun and sweet. And no matter the power of Elvis’ hips, I get sweet from Stuck on You.

If I’d been a teenager in 1960, I would have been one of those that passed out, pulled at my hair, and generally had a melt down over Elvis Presley. I can see that now…from this video. Watch it. Enjoy it. Eventually I’ll get around to changing all my book information and Avon will too.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

So yesterday I got an invitation from Codi Gary, fellow Avon Impulse Kiss Me anthology author, to join the Next Big Thing blog hop. Since I am a joiner by nature, I was so up for that! The Rules: Answer 10 questions and invite up to 4 writing friends along. (Note to self: find some writing friends, invite them along.)

CLICK HERE to see Codi’s answers. To find out more about Codi’s novella, “The Trouble with Sexy” (such a great name!) in the KISS ME anthology (available 2/5/13…you didn’t forget, did you? No worries. I’ll remind you because I’m cool like that), CLICK HERE.

Q. What is the title of your book?

ALL SHOOK UP is  coming in April. It’s the next in my Rock’n’Rolla Hotel series. The first? Yeah, I have this novella called “Love Me Tender” in the KISS ME anthology (*cough* available February 5 *cough*)

Q. Where did the idea for the book come from?

The novella came from a couple places: Valentine’s Day + snow storm = rerouted flight + co-workers = true love. How I got to Memphis and created an Elvis-themed motel…yeah, that’s murkier. Laura, the modest showgirl waitress in the first book, was in the novella. In ALL SHOOK UP she encounters child star KT Masters who’s in town to tape the celebrity impersonator contest at the Rock’n’Rolla.

Q. What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary romance

Q. Which actors would you chose to play your characters in a movie?

For All Shook Up, I actually started with characters in mind. KT Masters is all Nathan Fillion as Castle, charm charm charm. And Laura is a modest showgirl who looks like Kelly Monaco because I have a real Dancing With The Stars problem.

Q. What is the one sentence synopsis for your book?

Oof. This is hard.

A modest showgirl waitress and a child star with a wild streak find true love surrounded by faux celebrities in a hotel fit for The King.

Q. Will your book be self published or by an agency?

It will be published by Avon Impulse, on sale in April.

Q. How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Two and a half weeks? I think that’s right. Then I had about that long to edit it. It was my first attempt at working with a deadline. I was skeered.

Q. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmmm. I’m not sure. I’m a fan of romances with plenty of humor, like Jennifer Crusie’s. Some of hers are set in crazy places. But I’d never compare my story to any of hers! Maybe someday…

My goal: I want you to smile as you read.

Q. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was unpublished and I wanted to try my hand at Avon’s call for submissions. It seemed like a great chance with very little risk. I liked those odds. I started the novella “Love Me Tender” with one scene in my head. Everything else I created to make it work. The hotel was part of that but as I worked I could totally see it in my head. Then my editor asked if I had any other stories set there, and I so did. In ALL SHOOK UP, we meet the hotel owner, Miss Willodean Jackson, and her dog Misty. We also meet the hero of the next book and have a hint about the third book.

Q. What else about your book might interest the reader?

If you love a good Elvis song or movie or Graceland, you could like these.

If you like lighthearted romance with plenty of laughter and a little steam, you could like these.

If you like a series with connected characters who make their own family, you could like these.

Mini Excerpt-ALL SHOOK UP

Laura made it back out in time to hear the rustle of whispers as every diner in the bar turned to watch KT Masters sweep in with Willodean Jackson, owner of the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel and Laura’s personal guardian angel, on one arm. She couldn’t blame the crowd. KT Masters should be talked about in hushed tones. At first glance, he seemed handsome but only in a slightly above average kind of way. He was tall, with broad shoulders, brown hair cut in what was probably a very expensive style but it wasn’t trendy, and his brown eyes honestly sparkled with good humor. The long sleeves of his button-down were rolled up to reveal truly top notch forearms. Distressed denim covered long legs and he wore…running shoes. That wasn’t really what she expected, but overall he looked healthy. And fit. She liked the look. A lot. He might just be classically handsome, not the sexiest man alive, but charm oozed from him. His star power competed with the lights of the bar.

Laura watched him pat Willodean’s hand and both preened under all the attention before she loaded up a tray for the strange combination of another Justin Bieber, David Copperfield, and two Marilyn Monroes. Glad to have an easier table, Laura laughed at one of the Marilyn’s jokes, made a quick delivery, and managed to slip out of the way of the Hollywood entourage just in time.

The big man in charge paid her no attention but Willodean winked once. She’d clearly dressed carefully for the occasion because it was a big deal for the hotel. This talent show had been going on almost since the hotel opened and had grown in popularity. But there had never been camera crews or real, live, actual Hollywood talent. Not that she hadn’t tried to get them here. Willodean was a natural hype woman, a product of the old school hustle. The rumors were that her first husband had been one of the Memphis Mafia and that’s where all the hotel’s memorabilia came from. Laura privately thought that was exactly the kind of story Willodean would invent and circulate.

Wallflowers, stage fright, and working with Avon Impulse blows my mind

So, I can sometimes be a little…wallflower? I’m not sure what the right word is. I don’t care for the spotlight but I have, a few times in my life, landed myself in some pretty sweet, wholly unexpected, and completely overwhelming spots. These are places where you just have to shut up and dance already. I find myself here because I’m an optimist. And stage fright nearly kills me every time. I had a moment this weekend where I looked around and freaked on a small scale.

I like to read. I also like to write. I had an idea for a novella and I sent it in. I mean, on the surface it seems mundane. This is my level. I’ve been submitting to publishers for two years but I was still surprised that this time was different. Editor Chelsey called to say Love Me Tender would be included in the Kiss Me anthology. Then she asked for some other, related ideas. I sent three. And that led to an actual, serious, OMG-inducing straight-up three-book contract for this place, the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel that I created WITH MY MIND.

As I always do, I sail into things with all the confidence in the world. And then I flounder. And flop. And flail. And different kinds of OMG escape. And as I always do, I pull through, overcome, rise above, lose sleep, put a permanent wrinkle in every muscle in my back, and devour every sweet thing in the house. I even had to break the foil wrapper on the emergency chocolate.

But I did it. I wrote the first one. It’s called All Shook Up. It’s the one I turned in last week.

It’s approximately 60,000 words. Look for it in April. Please. I mean it. Okay?

This weekend I decided maybe I should put on a businessperson’s hat. I followed up on some training/info that Avon provides through a slick system (and the email listed my name along with OTHER AVON AUTHORS, like the big timers. I MEAN SERIOUSLY on the website Author page I’m sitting right next to Christie Ridgway. Christina Dodd is on the next row of the yearbook and Cathy Maxwell is above. I died. DED.). And I had that realization that I’ve landed in the deep end. Professional publicity, strategies, questions from Eloisa James because she’s been invited to the SAME EVENT…I just…I can’t…I mean…you guys…

While I listened, I set up a profile and flipped through recipes on the blog. And then I searched my name. As you do.

I have a Google alert for my name. That’s how I knew when the Kiss Me cover went up on the Avon site. But now a placeholder for All Shook Up is there! So, seeing my name and delivery dates on a contract was big. Seeing my first cover was huge. But the idea that I’m going to get to do this again? (oomph…I fell off the stage in a fainting nosedive).

After I fanned myself for a minute and took deep, calming breaths to still my racing heart, I totally grabbed a screen shot.


a load


Coming soon