Remember Me Thursday

Today is Remember Me Thursday. It’s a day to light a candle to remember the countless dogs who are waiting in shelters for a forever family or who have lost their lives while waiting.

Having just spent over a week visiting the shelters and seeing the faces of so many good dogs, it is especially poignant.

There were definitely moments when the situation overwhelmed, when it seemed like an impossibly tall mountain that we will never be able to climb. I hear again and again that the number of dogs losing their lives in shelters is shrinking, but as I walked along cement floors Continue reading “Remember Me Thursday”

I Am Completely Beside Myself

The last few months have been a whirlwind of launching Another Good Dog into the world. It’s been beyond my wildest imagination, surprising me again and again.

I’ve done enough TV now that I’m finally getting better at not blinking so much while talking and actually answering the question that was asked (as opposed to rambling on in questionable English while my mind is screaming, “OMG – I’m on TV!”).

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I’ve even made peace with the fact that Continue reading “I Am Completely Beside Myself”

Cara Goes to Hollywood: The Adventure Continues…

Here are the notes I wrote to myself this morning on my phone while waiting in the trailer for my turn on set:

I can do this.

Breathe.

This is not some test or race or desperate attempt to impress.

This is just me. Talking about the dogs I’ve fostered and how if more people fostered dogs – we could save more dogs.

This is a message I know deep in my core. It’s why I wrote the book.

Now, if my nerves could just take a seat and stay out of the way, this should be easy.

Larissa is a really cool person. This is just a conversation with her. I need to forget the cameras and audience and talk with her.

I can do this.

Breathe.

****

Later that afternoon: Back in the hotel room.

My head is spinning and I really can’t tell you if it went well or not. It went fast.

Getting to the set this morning was more challenging than I anticipated. Continue reading “Cara Goes to Hollywood: The Adventure Continues…”

Lay Your Truth on the Page

Every writer loves promoting their books.

Not.

I’m deep in the midst of promoting my latest book and, to tell you the truth, this time around is WAY fun. That’s because I’m sharing almost every event with a dog or two.

Dogs make everything better.

Truth.

My last three books were novels – stories I made up sitting at my laptop on long afternoons and pre-dawn writing jags. I crafted characters and lived their lives- but only in my head.

The main character in my latest book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, is much more real…. Me.

So instead of dreaming up my drama, I lived it.

It’s easy to take risks when writing fiction, everyone knows you’re making it up, even if they suspect you’re actually writing about them (but changed the names and distinguishing features).

It’s another thing entirely to take risks while writing memoir. Memoir is nothing if not Continue reading “Lay Your Truth on the Page”

Just Found My Suspenders

I am hard at work on yet another re-write of a manuscript that I have been working on now for almost eight years.

Enough already.

You would think, wouldn’t you?

And yet I can’t give up.

When my agent tossed the latest re-write back at me insisting it needed yet another overhaul, I was crushed. Continue reading “Just Found My Suspenders”

Playing the Peacemaker

“There might be another way to say that,” I suggest to my child who has just bluntly announced an opinion about another child in a semi-public setting.

“It’s no big deal. It’s only one evening,” I tell my spouse when our son want to invite ten loud young adults over to hang out before they return to school when we had planned to watch a movie.

“I think we’ll have to agree to disagree,” I say to a relative with very different political leanings.

More and more, Continue reading “Playing the Peacemaker”

I Believe in Book Fairies

I’ve recently become I’m a fairy.

Really.

Okay, just a book fairy.

I learned about book fairies through goodreads. This is goodreads 10th anniversary, and to celebrate they created Hide-a-Book day in cahoots with The Book Fairies (they’re a real thing).

I ordered goodreads’ and book fairies’ labels and stuck them on each of my books in preparation.

hide a book prep

And then I waited for Hide-A-Book Day to roll around.

September 18 turned out to be Continue reading “I Believe in Book Fairies”

World Tour!

Today is Practicing Normal’s book birthday!

Practicing Normal Cover

The long wait is over and it is officially published! Shew!

Now it’s time for the book tour! I’ll be on tour with Practicing Normal for the next two months!

Really? Continue reading “World Tour!”

Genre Bending

Third time’s the charm. That’s what they say.

Practicing Normal is my third novel, and while my debut novel, I’m Not Her, will always have my heart and my second novel, Girls’ Weekend, touched a nerve in moms from all walks of life, this third one is good. Really good.

I think it perfectly merges the audiences of my first and second novel like a neat Venn diagram. Plenty of crossover between the genres of women’s fiction, young adult, mommy lit, and new adult.

Genres can be confining. Having to label my work has always been a struggle for me. I write stories. Generally about women, but a few men, and usually a teenager or two.

Are they women’s fiction? Sure.

Would a man read them? Yes. Some of my biggest fans are male.

How about teenagers? Yup. They like my books, too.

How about romance? Do they fit into that genre? Depends on how you define romance.

Coming of age story? Definitely. Everyone is coming of age.

There’s even a splash of mystery tossed in for good measure. As I said, genres can be confining.

Still, genres help us sort through the plethora of books on the shelves. The fiction section can be overwhelming. Women’s fiction has yet to claim its own shelf space in many libraries or bookstores, but it’s a strong genre that is specific to women, taking you on an emotional journey. I hold out hope that it will one day claim its own shelf.

But if women’s fiction gets its own shelf, does that mean we also offer a rack of men’s fiction?

Although it’s unlabeled as such, men’s fiction quite definitely exists. I’ve read a couple of them lately. I would call The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins and The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton men’s fiction, along with most of what is written by Jonathon Tropper or Tom Perotta. The protagonists are generally male and there is normally sex and/or action aplenty, but there’s also themes that men struggle with—like competition, masculinity, and dominance examined through internal struggles, dialogue, and relationships. I’ve enjoyed those books, but then I’ve always passed them on to my husband, rather than girlfriends.

Many thrillers and action books crossover into men’s fiction, but sometimes women’s fiction can be thrilling and action-packed. It’s tricky, I suppose. Given the opportunity, I might rearrange the entire store.

Book genres, much like our world, are evolving and becoming more and more niche. Maybe it isn’t necessary to so specifically label fiction genres. It’s all nonfiction and fiction, right? Or is it? Even those lines are blurring these days.

It comes down to what a winery owner told me once when I was tasting wine at a small vineyard in Virginia. He said, “There are really only two types of wine. Wine-you-like and wine-you-don’t.”

Perhaps, it’s the same for books.

My third novel, Practicing Normal, is released today in ebook form (the paperback officially releases June 6 and I haven’t been given a date for the audiobook yet).

Here’s hoping it’s a book-you-like.

Practicing Normal Cover

How Amazon Gets My Panties in a Twist

This time around I was going to do it right.

I started planning for the launch of my new book, Practicing Normal, six months ago. I was going to do things differently this time. No more promote by the seat of your pants. No, this would be strategic.

Practicing Normal Cover

First, I researched the idea of street teams, trading emails with several highly successful writers about how they utilized their teams. I brainstormed ways to make my team fun and rewarding for team members. I named them Cara’s Cronies. Then I planned my appeal and carried it out through several rounds of newsletters, finally landing 12 fabulous women from all over the country who agreed to help me promote my book, but also to be my sounding board and support. I’m excited and humbled to have their help.

I began reading a gazillion different book blogging sites, looking for ones that had plenty of engagement and the type of subscribers who might like my book. I read posts, commented, got to know the bloggers. Then I made my list and waited for the advance ecopies to be ready on Net Galley. When they were, I began querying bloggers and asking nicely for their reviews. Twenty bloggers agreed to read and review my book and post their reviews near the launch date of June 6.

Then I got serious about my newsletter, promoting it with giveaways and special reveals and spending countless hours editing it and adding pictures and recipes and news of my works-in-progress. I invited people to subscribe online, at events, and through emails. I tried (and failed) to master Rafflecopter. I even marked up a special calendar to hold myself accountable in preparation and distribution. (If you’d like to subscribe CLICK HERE. You might win something!)

When the advance paperback copies arrived two weeks ago, I swooned over the gorgeous copies and then sent them to a few big bloggers and book stores who will probably never consider reviewing or promoting my book, including Modern Mrs. Darcy, one of my favorite blogs and Nora Roberts’ book store, Turn the Page, in Maryland. My publisher sent copies to my Cronies, and I instructed them to read the book and prepare a review but to wait to post it until I gave them the go-ahead so that they could be timed with the book’s launch in June.

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I spoke with the proprietor of my favorite York establishment to see if I could hold a public launch party there on the night before my book came out. He loved the idea and even offered the first beers on the house.

I came up with a clever marketing plan to get readers to post pictures of themselves ‘practicing normal’ and holding my book on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I would introduce the plan in my last newsletter before the book came out and offer prizes! Clever, clever me! This was gonna be fun!

Everything was set and the ball began rolling earlier this week. My Cronies received their copies and started reading, and the first book blogger posted her review. Six weeks until the book comes out everything was right on schedule.

And then….. Continue reading “How Amazon Gets My Panties in a Twist”