Kythera…Are You In?

After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts.~Aristotle Onassis

There’s a mystery floating in Charleston, South Carolina and it revolves around the word…Kythera. To anyone outside the city limits it means nothing, but to those who live there it’s a word they’re familiar with and depending on who you are will determine your reaction to hearing it.

Welcome to a world where money isn’t the only name of the game.

To Die For Recipe

This weekend was pretty laid back and I loved it! I spent some time with my mother-in-law and we made the most amazing chocolate dessert I think I’ve ever had and that’s saying a lot since I’m a chocaholic.

I always love when my Southern Living Magazine comes in the mail (thanks Mom!) because they always have amazing recipes that I want to try (especially desserts). But the magazine I received this month had the recipe for Mississippi Mud S’Mores-Fudge Pie. I dare say it was even better than the cracker candy I posted about a few months back. Yeah, it’s that good.

Just be prepared to eat the whole thing when you make it.

Click here for the recipe.

Mississippi Mud S'Mores-Fudge Pie

The Observant Turtle…Book Review

Hey everyone! Go check out Whitney’s very cool blog The Observant Turtle and her review of The Kings of Charleston. She’s a South Carolina girl living in Houston, Texas. Who better to give her thoughts on the Charleston setting?

Also, check out the “Where to Buy the Book” tab for a new print book retailer, Books-A-Million!

 

 

 

The Day We Met

As promised, I’ve decided to start doing some short stories, giving different perspectives of other characters from The Kings of Charleston. The book is written in first person, so everything is told from Casper’s eyes, so the reader never really gets a glimpse into the others minds, motivations and emotions.

So, in an effort to give a glimpse I will try to post shorts about the other characters. Enjoy!

First up is Cal Roman and the day he met Casper in person: The Day We Met

I couldn’t figure out why I was so nervous. This wasn’t normal for me. My mind flashed to her picture on the television screen the day I first saw her at the Derby. Her eyes burning into mine as if she was staring directly at me. At that moment I knew I had to meet her and in my world that was an easy task to arrange.

But now that the moment was here, I didn’t know what to expect. What if she wasn’t what I had pictured in my mind these past couple of weeks? What if I had made a terrible mistake? Toughen up, I told myself. If she isn’t that hot, she’s at least rich and Kythera will be happy.

The front door opened and we were ushered into the familiar hall that I had been in a million times before. This was a Kythera mansion, and it was hard to pretend I’d never been here over and over again. I wondered how Callie was doing out in California…I hoped she was happy.

I blocked out all the chit chat between my parents and Mr. Whitley, standing aloof in the background. The stairs started to squeak and groan and I felt my my mouth go dry. I ran my hand through my hair.  A beautiful older woman descended down the stairs with a big smile on her face. I could barely make out the girl behind her until they finally joined us in the hall.

I heard my name, and I stepped forward to shake Casper’s hand as she was introduced to me. Her eyes were an impossibly bright green, like a cat’s, that I had never seen before, and her skin was pale and perfect like a porcelain doll. She smiled at me and I could barely catch my breath.

She was so much more than I had been expecting and I couldn’t explain why I felt like I had been hit by lightning. I had to have her.

Fortunately that was the one thing I was good at…getting exactly what I wanted.

Getting Back on Track

This past week has been a blur and honestly, I’ve gotten very little writing done. Therefore, I have to pick it up this week and get moving again. A lot’s been going on in my personal life and lots of decisions to be made that took my mind away from Casper and continuing her story.

But this week, I’m going to be working extra hard to catch up on writing, answering emails and other book related issues.

So, this is a short entry just to let to know I’m still here and ready to get back to work. I hope to have a short story posted here this week which gives you a peak into some of what the other characters were thinking during pivotal scenes in The Kings of Charleston.

First up this will be Cal’s perspective on meeting Casper for the first time, so check back this week for his story.

Giving Faces to the Characters

With any book you read, you have a specific picture in your mind of what each of the characters look like. You could ask each person who read the book what they thought a character looks like and get a million different answers. Often, when the book is turned into a movie people then see the character as the actor who plays them.

So I thought it would be fun today to pretend that The Kings of Charleston was being turned into a movie (crossing my fingers), and I have to pick actors to play the characters. Here are who I think look the most like how the character’s appear in my head:

Casper Whitley (Lucy Hale)

Cal Roman (Colin Egglesfield)

Mrs. Whitley (Jennifer Connelly)

Mr. Whitley (Dermot Mulroney

Charlotte Watson (Deborah Ann Woll)

Veronica Alamilla (Francis Raisa)

Alex Alamilla (Jay Hernandez)

Marcus Grey (Mehcad Brooks)

Amazing Weekend

I had a fantastic weekend in Naples, FL with my husband and mother-in-law at the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Association trade show (SIBA). The weather was great, we had a lot of fun and came home with tons of new books to read!

This was my first experience with SIBA and a book tradeshow, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done thus far in the book world. I met some amazing authors, got great advice and walked away with more books than I know what to do with right now (I’ll read them of course, but storage is going to be an issue).

The first day of the trade show were panels of different authors and other workshops. I attended the mystery/magical panel of mystery and paranormal authors, where I won a book (thank you Sandra Brannan) and got some great tips.

On the second day, the ballroom in the hotel was filled with booths from authors and publishers. There were literally thousands of books lined up on tables. We started looking around, unsure of what to do (this was a learning experience for me). I picked up a book and told my husband “Oh, this looks so interesting.” Seconds later someone behind the table tells me to go ahead and take it…as in for free. Soon after visiting a couple of tables, I learned that I could have almost any book I wanted for free, and on top of that most of them were signed. And to top it all off, these were all books that were not out on the market yet. Needless to say, I felt special.

After learning free books are a part of trade shows, means if for no other reason than free books, I’m going to go to BEA (Book Expo America) in New York next year (three floors full of books!). But on top of getting free books, I made connections with a lot of authors, traded stories and marketing ideas.

I also met a great team of publicists who were very interested in my book. When I showed them my book cover they almost drooled, fighting over who would get the chance to take it home and read it. But more than what they had to say about The Kings of Charleston and it’s beautiful cover, was what they said about my husband. When he introduced himself, they all couldn’t believe it because they said it was so rare for a husband to be so involved in their wives writing, let alone come to shows with them. They were blown away to learn that he makes calls to book stores and set up book signings for me. They couldn’t compliment him enough, to the point it almost brought tears to my eyes. In that moment, I truly realized how lucky I am to have such a supportive and amazing husband who believes in my book as much as I do.

 

Playlist for the Sequel

I’m excited this weekend to kick off a couple of busy months for me with a trip to the SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association) trade show to meet and mingle with other authors and booksellers.

There will soon be a couple of book signings added to Upcoming Events Page once the date and times have been set in stone. Also, be on the lookout for some more blog reviews in the near future. (My husband has proven to be an amazing PR manager.)

In the meantime, now that I’ve gotten the hang of Spotify (with the help of Pink Julep), I’ve created a playlist of songs I’ve been listening to while writing the sequel, And All the Kings Men. Enjoy!


I’m the Captain and I’m Going Down with my Boat

As usual a weekend at the lake always produces some memories I’ll never forget. This past weekend provided one of the most memorable scenarios to date.

On Labor Day my husband and his uncle went to play golf, while the gals, (which included my mother-in-law Kaye, sister-in-law Claire and my husband’s Aunt Cheryl) hung out at the cabin and went for a boat ride. It’s the last official weekend of the summer,and we decided we needed one more boat ride to tide us over till next year. We get in the pretty yellow boat and the minute Kaye cranks it up it starts beeping. We knew something must be wrong, but what? The oil was fine, but the gas was almost on empty. So we assumed the beeping was a nice little warning that we needed to fill up…wrong.

The beep was constant and as we rounded the little peninsula into where the marina was located to fill up, I look over to the side of the boat and see smoke coming out of the back near where I was sitting.

If you know me, you know I don’t get excited about anything really (just not in my personality). I’m a pretty calm person, with little emotion showing and that includes when I see heavy smoke pouring out the back of the boat. I simply say “ummm” and point at the smoke. It still takes me a minute to react because, I’d seen boats smoke before (I found out later that only happens with boats that take a gas oil mix, which this one did not), but the smoke got thicker and faster.

We start scrambling around on the boat “like a bunch of chickens with our heads cutoff” as Claire described it later. We try to find the fire extinguisher, pulling seats up and opening all the cabinets. Nothing. That’s when I finally felt adrenaline kick in, because what if the engine full of oil and gas ignited? I like James Bond movies and all, but I don’t want to be in one. My chances of walking out of the water with cool Ray Bans on and a sexy swagger as the boat exploded were slim to none.

Finally, Cheryl said we needed to get off the boat. Apparently, she had the same thought about James Bond as I did. She hands me a life jacket and I half way buckle it. I’m a good swimmer but it is never a good idea to jump into murky water without one if you don’t know whats underneath. Roots and other debris do not care how good of a swimmer you are (life lesson for the day). I stood at the edge debating if I should jump at all since I still needed to be very careful because of my recent Lasik surgery. Then I realized, eye infection or blown to bits? It was no longer a debate. I jump in as she tells me to and close my eyes tight. I bob up to the surface and she hands me her cell phone. She jumps in and we start swimming toward the front of the boat.

Claire and Kaye stayed on the boat (brave souls). I think Kaye is spectacularly courageous  because she opens up the engine compartment, which for all she knew could have been in flames. It wasn’t but the smoke was still billowing out. The smoke finally starts to die down, and she tells us it isn’t on fire (sigh of relief).

I hand up Claire the cell phone as she hands me a rope tied to the boat and Cheryl and I start pulling it toward a dock that isn’t too far away. It’s not easy to pull a boat with half buckled life jacket on, but there was no way for me to take it off at this point. I’m pulling the boat along, and then Claire tells me that the water isn’t deep and I look over to see Cheryl standing up. I felt like an idiot, got up and we  started pulling the boat to the dock. By this time, we had attracted a pontoon boat who came to our aid. They offer to tow us back to our own dock. We handed them the rope, then realized we couldn’t get back on our own boat because the ladder was near the smoldering engine, so we ride with them back to safety.

We get on the boat, and we meet two lovely couples who we chat with on the way back. Aunt Cheryl tells them that I’m an author and says when we get back that we’ll give them a book. They were excited, and I was happy we had something to give them in return for their generosity.

Once we got back to our own dock, I race to get them two books (one for each couple) and sign them. I handed them to one of the gentleman who said “Thank you so much!” and I laughed… “no, thank you,” I told him. They really were so sweet and helpful. They’ll forever be a part of my lake memories.

So once the boat had been secured we start talking about the whole experience, and what thoughts were going through our heads. Kaye said “I was thinking I’m the captain and I’m going down with my boat.” We all laughed as we laid on the dock, exhausted from our little adventure.

“Seriously guys, I love all the lake stories for the blog, but do they always have to be life threatening?” I say.

Isn’t it funny how the craziest scenarios make for the best memories? This one’s going down in history for me along side my memorable adventures in NYC’s Chinatown (that’s a story for another day).

This isn’t the exact same boat, but a visual at least.