Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Michelle Kemper Brownlow is goin' INDIE! Happy RE-release Day, MK!

Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him.

Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.

Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep?

Sequel to IN TOO DEEP 
By Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Gracie survived an emotionally abusive relationship that wrecked her. Her ex, Noah, systematically chipped away at her self-esteem through intimidation, humiliation and infidelity which left Gracie unable to trust her own perception of his intentions. But after falling head over heels for Jake, her best friend and the man who stood by her through it all, she is ready to experience life in the way it was meant to be lived. 

However, Gracie may find it impossible to simultaneously heal from the trauma of abuse while navigating a relationship with Jake. Can she put her heart on hold in order to heal her soul? The sequel to the five-star debut novel, In Too Deep, chronicles Gracie's steps toward healing as she falls deeper in love, reaches out for help, stands on her own, steps out of her comfort zone, faces her biggest fears, and reconnects with a sensual, talented soul from her past all in hopes of finding herself on solid ground.


In honor of Michelle's INDIE debut, IN TOO DEEP is only $0.99 today! Be sure you grab your copy today because this is a very limited time offer!! Click HERE to be redirected to Amazon!


Now, Michelle has decided to have a giveaway with some AMAZING items, and its up to me how to do it! So, I will open up to you a bit and let you know that the theme of abuse by the gorgeous manipulator in IN TOO DEEP hits very, very close to home for me. So close that I wonder if Michelle wrote this about me. I'm also working on a similar story that is largely based on my experiences in this five year slowly-surfacing abusive relationship, so that's to come! 

Anyway, I wonder what strikes a chord with you when you read these two blurbs. Anything? Have you been abused or know a friend who was? Did you find true love in someone who helped you overcome trauma or tragedy? 

Comment below with your answer for a chance to win something from this fantastic grab bag! Go!

Grab bag contents(to be distributed between multiple blog winners):
• 2 sets of Gracie's earrings (ITD turquoise)
• 2 turquoise bracelets w charms
• 1 turq. beaded charm key chain
• 5 sets of signed postcards, bookmarks & simple charm keychain
• 4 framed, signed segments of books (2 ITD, 2 OSG)
• 1 framed, signed ITD cover
• 1 framed , signed OSG cover
• 2 signed books (winner's choice)
• 1 IN TOO DEEP pages wreath


Be sure to check Michelle out in her various social media locations! 

Michelle Kemper Brownlow likes her music loud and prefers live concerts but will happily settle for the eclectic playlists on her iPhone. This Penn State grad and former high school art teacher is easily distracted by colorful art supplies and Eddie Vedder’s voice. When she’s not in her studio writing, she can be found putting off housework for a good romance novel that has her heart pounding and tears flowing. She is married to her very own “Jake” and is a mom to three fantastic humans, a black lab and a Chinchilla named Wodney.

HUGE congrats on joining us indies, Michelle!!!

Truths . . . or lies? It's the 18 TRUTHS by Jamie Ayres' Blog Fest! PART TWO! The big REVEAL!

To celebrate the release of the second installment of my dear friend Jamie Ayres' 18 Things trilogy, 18 Truths, we're having a little fun with truths and lies! 

Check out the first half of this post HERE!
1) My first love was singing, and I was on Star Search in 1987. Oh haiii, Ed McMahon! 
FALSE! Though I've always loved singing, I never went on Star Search (or met Ed McMahon, boo!), and even though I was obsessed with the show as a child, my dream for being on it was to be a Supermodel. Obviously. *flips hair* 
2) I've been on one cruise . . . and the ship caught on fire halfway through the trip. Sigh.
TRUE! The year my dad died (January '96) my grandmother on my mom's side thought it would be a nice treat to take Mom and me on week-long cruise to take our minds off his death. So, that July ('96), she flew us to Vancouver, Canada, where we boarded a cruise ship and set out for beautiful Alaska! 
We made it Juneau and Ketchikan (two of the four or five stops on the trip), then at 2am one morning, the alarms sounded and crew members pounded on each door, waking the guests and corralling us to the life boats along the sides of the ship. We then sat in groups of twenty or so, awaiting instruction and going over safety information until mid-morning the next day, when we were finally taken group by group to shore. 
There'd been a fire in the crew laundry room (or kitchen? I can't remember) killing a few crew members and halting the trip (obviously).
Needless to say, I haven't been on a cruise since! And hey, what away to forget my dad's death, right? LOL! #Fail
3) I met my husband at a bar, in the same parking lot of the strip club I used to work at. Bow chicka bow bow. 
TRUE! I used to tend bar at a strip club in Lake Forest, CA called Captain Cream's Cabaret. (Or, just "Creams" to us locals.) I'd recently moved back to town and was having a beer with my old favorite boss at the nearby watering hole, and in walked my future. <3

So, did you guess correctly!?!? 

If you did, you win e-copies of both my books! Please comment below with your email address and preferred e-book format (Kindle, Nook or Pdf), then I'll send you e-copies of EVER and EVADE!


Be sure to grab your copy of Jamie's second book, 18 TRUTHS on Amazon!!!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Truths . . . or lies? It's the 18 TRUTHS by Jamie Ayres' Blog Fest, PART ONE!

To celebrate the release of the second installment of my dear friend Jamie Ayres' 18 Things trilogy, 18 Truths, we're having a little fun with truths and lies! 

Now, here are the deets for the blogfest! Each person participating will post 2 Truths and 1 Lie about themselves sometime between today and Jan. 27th. People hop around and try to guess the lie! Players will reveal their Lie on my release day, January 28th!
1) My first love was singing, and I was on Star Search in 1987. Oh haiii, Ed McMahon!
2) I've been on one cruise . . . and the ship caught on fire halfway through the trip. Sigh.
3) I met my husband at a bar, in the same parking lot of the strip club I used to work at. Bow chicka bow bow.

Okay, guys, Can You Handle The Truth?
Please guess the LIE in the comments below! I will reveal the truths on January 28th--18 TRUTHS' release day!

And, if you’re not playing yet, it’s not too late to join the party . . . You have until Jan. 28th! The Linky Link is below & don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter at the top right side of Jamie's home page!
Please also be sure to check out 18 THINGS and 18 TRUTHS!

Add 18 Things to your TBR list!
18 Things revised cover high resolution

Friday, January 10, 2014

When will we stop hating on our female leads? (Or, IMO, females in general.)

You know what I see when people rag on our female characters? 

I see them ragging on females. PERIOD. 

Your character is strong and confident, she takes the reins and rides her own horse, saves her own ass.
Someone, somewhere is going to think she's manly. She's a bitch. She's not relatable. She's too tough.

Your character is possibly a bit weaker than her male counterpart (or maybe just pretends to be), the perfect damsel in distress, waiting for rescue.
Someone, somewhere is going to think she's pathetic, weak, and the perfect Mary Sue. Or, more currently, she's Bella Swan. She's soft.

You know what? When I read Twilight all those years ago, I loved Bella Swan. I related to her. She was just like me when I was that age.

Stupid decisions, chaotic, all-consuming love, mistake after mistake after mistake . . . ME.

Damsel in distress, where's my handsome prince? Who will rescue me now? . . . Oh, look at that, ME AGAIN.

So who's to say that the only female lead worth reading, worth relating to, rooting for, loving, becoming, is a strong, kickass heroine who takes no prisoners and doesn't need no stinking man? (Sorry, Troop Beverly Hills reference there.)

Why is she the only thing readers/reviewers/editors/publishers/agents seem to want to see these days?

That's not who *I* relate to. That's not who *I* was as a teen. That's not who *I* am now.

So what's the deal?

I'm the mother of a young girl, so I understand the need, the desire to raise strong women. REALLY, I DO. But you know what? That's real life, not stories--hat's MY JOB AS HER MOTHER. If she wants to read nothing but fairytales where the beautiful, flawless Princess gets rescued every. single. time by the handsome prince, SO BE IT. It is my job to teach her the difference between fantasy and reality, fiction and non.

I want her to read books where women are real. I want her to read books where women are flawed, be that whether they are too strong, and don't let anyone in because they're so busy proving themselves, or they are weak and rely on a man to save them. Or, maybe they're somewhere in between. Maybe they can rescue themselves but choose not to. Maybe they cry too much. Maybe they flip-flop between lovers. Maybe they make so many stupid decisions, its hard to love them. Maybe they never know which end is up. Maybe they dwell, spin on negative issues that arise. Maybe they push past them quickly and with ease.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

MAYBE THEY ARE JUST WOMEN. Women who love, laugh, cry, hurt, lead, follow . . . exist. Maybe they are just beautiful women for all their faults, all their magic, all their strengths.

Because that's who I am. That's who my daughter will be.

Flawed, magical, strong, weak, beautiful, sad, happy, loved, scared, fearless . . . WOMAN.

This post started because of a mini Twitter rant I went on this morning. I'd seen a tweet that irritated me for the simple fact that it ragged on what many think of as a typical YA trope: "girl meets boy + girl needs saving = boy comes to rescue." (Um, PS, I love this trope.)

My first tweet read like this:
"Ugh, seriously. So tired of people judging books (esp YA) because the female lead isn't a badass who saves herself. NOT ALL OF US ARE/WERE."

And the tweets continued, and your responses were awesome, and I love you, and I am clearly not alone. 

I want to close out this post with a recent bit of feedback I received recently. I'm going to change the names, because it can apply to SO MANY of our books/manuscripts"

[male lead] was the rescuer and [female lead] doesn’t play enough of a role in her own salvation.


Guess what? ME AGAIN. 

And you know what else? Just because certain things didn't happen for you as a teen, doesn't mean they didn't happen for others. Just because you don't "need" a man in your life now, doesn't mean other women don't. 

And don't think for a second that those of us who love the gushy, romantic notion of being rescued can't rescue our damn selves. We just don't care to. 

I won't judge you for killing your own spiders, so don't judge me when I scream and wait for my husband to come running. 

So, shoot me for this rant if you must, but PLEASE stop ragging on female leads.

You're essentially just ragging on WOMEN. 

Where's the feminism now?