Happy Anniversary...to me...sort of...

Nine years ago today my husband and I got married. In secret. In Vegas. With Elvis.

Graceland Wedding Chapel.

Graceland Wedding Chapel.

Less than a year later we had the big, white wedding in Malibu with all our friends and family so it wasn't that big of a shocker, but it was years before we told anyone we eloped nine months before our real wedding. 

And still there are some people who don't know. Not because it's some big secret. We just never sent out a mass email or announced it on Facebook or anything. 

A couple things I noticed that the movies and books always get wrong is you don't wake up (or get drunk) and decide, hey! let's get married in Vegas, find a chapel and then stumble down the aisle. 

You have to go to the court house and get the marriage license first. It doesn't take long but there are forms to fill out and it might sober you up if you had to do that step first. But we knew all this ahead of time and we had to book our time slot in the chapel (the same chapel John Bon Jovi got married at...which must mean we're really cool).

We were slotted in between a couple dressed as Elvis and Marilyn renewing their vows and a goth couple with all their friends getting married for real like us. Both couples were really sweet. And the goth couple were cuddly and nervous...so adorable.

Our 'real' wedding, the big white wedding on the beach, was beautiful, fun, and the next day half or guests had a cocktail flu or came down with the real flu, so it must have been a good party. It was amazing having everyone in town from all over the world and it was the day before New Year's Eve, so we also had a big party on the beach the next night to celebrate that. 

But, I loved getting married in Vegas. I pulled out a little cream dress I had in my closet, drank champers while I got ready in our hotel suite (at the Venetian) and when they closed the chapel doors it was just Mick and me and the minister...and Elvis, who serenaded me down the aisle and then sang "Can't Help Falling in Love" after the short ceremony was over.

The minister took her job very seriously and asked all the questions in earnest and it was so intimate and personal in that small chapel with just the two of us (and Elvis). 

Then we had a lovely meal at the Venetian under the stars (okay, not real stars, but close enough) and gambled and drank the free alcohol they ply you with and flew back to LA the next day.

Funnily enough, a few months later we were in that same chapel for a friend's wedding and couldn't say a word. We just smiled knowingly at each other and enjoyed our sweet secret.

Next year will be our ten year anniversary and we're heading back to renew our vows in the same chapel. But this time we'll be surrounded by friends and family and it's going to be awesome!

Somewhere there is a DVD of this ceremony and if I dig it out and ever find a computer that still has a CD drive, I may just put a clip up here. There's nothing that says romance like an Elvis impersonator.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Elvis wedding

 

 

 

 

 

I've officially gone cray cray!

Ten years ago when I lived in New York City my sister trained and ran the NYC marathon (more than once!). I remember her coming in from a sixteen mile "training" run and I thought she was loco! Running is SO boring!! And who runs more than a couple of miles?? Kill me know if I ever do that.

Well, sharpen your knives because I am running the NYC marathon this year.

What does this have to do with writing? Nothing, really. Except everything. Running keeps me sane and some of my best story ideas, plot twists, and characters come to me when I'm running. There's something meditative when I'm on a run and suddenly my mind starts filling with ideas. It's like someone is downloading these things into my head while I'm in this relaxed state.

Watch out!! Crazy girl running!

Watch out!! Crazy girl running!

But let's get back to how the hell I got here.

I used to run a mile or two on a treadmill in the gym. Now that IS boring. I don't care how much you love running. Then I moved to LA where fitness is a way of life and I had friends who were runners. Like real runners. Like who ran not one but several marathons. And triathlons. And Iron Man (yeah, I don't think I'll ever be THAT cray cray). 

And one day I said, what the hell, I'll run a 10K race (6.2 miles- yes, the .2 matters). I had no idea what I was starting...

It was in Brentwood and not the best course (it loops, so you run the same 3 miles twice) but I LOVED it. I loved the social atmosphere, the high of the race, the swag before and after and the party feel of it all. I'm a party girl (or I was before kids...now she only comes out about twice a year), so when I realized how much like a party it all was AND it kept you healthy and fit AND the high lasted way longer, I was sold.

So here I am, ten years later and I'm running a marathon. Which isn't even that crazy if I compare myself to the runners in my running group (an awesome group that is just as much about running and fitness as about partying it up - so of course, they're my kind of peeps.).

A marathon is a training run for some of them. No joke. They'll do thirty mile runs on the weekend to prepare for a 50 mile race or 100 mile race or Iron Man (if you don't know what that is, let me just say that the LAST segment of the race is a full marathon. And there are two long swimming and biking segments before you do that!)

So here I go. My training for the 26 mile race has begun.

But keep a look out. Because in a future book I will definitly have a running group as a main part of the story and it will be inspired by the fun and crazy runners, cyclists, and swimmers I'm surrounded with every week on this truly crazy adventure I am now in. So really this whole running-a-marathon is just research. Six months of running mile after mile after mile for the love of my art. 

Okay, not really...but kind of.

Happy Holi… and other surprises from India    

For the second time I celebrated the Indian holiday, Holi. It's basically a big party where kids (and adults) throw colored powder on each other and celebrate...something. When I asked what exactly Holi is celebrating none of my friends were a hundred percent sure of the origin. Their best guess was it's celebrating the start of spring.

One friend described the celebration as "a big party where the kids run around getting splashed with colors while the adults get sloshed with drinking." Partying, getting dirty on purpose, and drinking...sign me up!

If you want to see a big, happy, crazy version of Holi, watch the Coldplay video "Hymn for the Weekend". 

I've never been to India to celebrate Holi but I would love to go one day and maybe I will. I've just learned that my books are selling more copies in India than anywhere else in the world! Say what? 

I was stunned when I saw the sales report. And excited. It's not a market I ever thought to explore. But I've always loved the country and the friends I know from there aren't too shabby either ;) In fact, they're pretty freaking awesome. 

Hmmm...perhaps I have the location for a future book. And I think a research trip would be in order...

For now, I'm working my way through the second round of edits on my next book (the final book in The Bloom Sisters series) and I'm not gonna lie, I can't wait for you guys to read it :)

Until then... I leave you with the awesome video for "Hymn for the Weekend". 

So many goodies are coming with the new Natalie Bloom book!

Hello there!

So, tomorrow (December 2) is the big day. A new Bloom Sisters novel will be hitting the digital shelves. And, as promised, I'm going to be piling on the goodies for you when you pick up your copy - including a special giveaway, a FREE, advanced copy of the third Catie Bloom book, and more - available instantly when you grab this new release before midnight on December 6.

More on that in just a moment...

First, without any further ado, here's what's heading your way tomorrow, December 2nd:


Here's the blurb:

After living a lie for almost a decade, Natalie Bloom is breaking free!

Natalie’s dream of owning a restaurant is about to come true. She’s found the perfect spot in a hip Brooklyn neighborhood and the perfect business partner—gorgeous Luke Hawker. Until one day, she discovers things are not as they seem. All her money has been stolen, and Luke was the only one who had access. With her dreams crumbling around her, Natalie—alongside Max Euston, her friend and secret crush—finds herself on a chase through the jungles of Costa Rica in a race against the clock to get the money back before it’s too late.

With twists, turns, lies, and deceit, Natalie soon realizes she doesn’t know who to trust…or to love.

Can she unravel the mystery in time to save her dreams and her heart?
 
The Adventures of Natalie Bloom is another swoon-worthy installment in the Bloom Sisters series of fun and quirky romances and can be read as a standalone novel.


 

I can't wait to share this new novel with you!

So, if you're a Bloom fan already - or if you like your Sophie Kinsellas, Meg Cabots, and Jill Mansells - then you're in for a fun, romantic ride.

Oh - and did I mention yummy bonuses for you during launch week?
(Forgive me if I get a little salesy here - but this bonus stuff is pretty awesome)

Here's what I've got lined up for you when you pick up a copy of The Adventures of Natalie Bloom between Friday December 2 and midnight on Tuesday December 10, you'll also get:

  1. A whopping 75% discount on "The Adventures of Natalie Bloom" - the new novel will be priced as low as robotically possible - 99c - for the first 5 days (and then it goes up to full price)

  2. A FREE, advanced copy of The Downfall of Catie Bloom: The Bloom Sisters Book 3 (when it's available - Summer 2017)

  3. Entry into a special giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Super simple and super awesome, right? I mean, the book's going to be 99c right out of the gate! You can get one-third a cup of coffee at Starbucks for that price! And this is so much richer and more romantic - though, I do love snuggling into a good latte at my local Sbux. 

In case you forgot (my mind is mush since having two kids!) everything I've mentioned above will be ready and waiting for you tomorrow inside the book when it's released in the morning. But only for a few short days.

Until then - happy reading!

XOXO,

Brooke

I'm thankful for... my fellow authors!

Yep, that's right. I am thankful for all the other authors out there like me. Because I realized something on this crazy journey - authors are not competition. Nope. My colleagues are part of my tribe, my warriors, my biggest fans, my saviors!

This. is. not. a. joke.

Why? Because books are cheap. Especially ebooks. And women are voracious readers. Especially those that love romance. Readers are always on the look out for another author to fall in love with.

It doesn't matter if you're traditionally published or an Indie author, we all need help getting our book and name out there. To be visible. To help people find us. Because there are some amazing books out there that would become best sellers in a day, if only they could rise up from the congestion of everything that is being thrown at readers these days.

And I discovered the best way to do that is to enlist the help of other authors. Together we band together and skip along shouting each other's names to our own fans. If I tell someone who is a fan of my work that I also think they'll love this other author. I won't lose them as a fan. I'm not telling them to go from using a Samsung to an iPhone (uh, though you may want to do that, since Samsungs are blowing up right now). Readers can be fans of many authors and read many many many books. And I can help them do that. And they'll be grateful. How awesome is that?

So if you wonder why I may give a shout out to another author or send an email letting you know about another amazing author or book, that's why. Because I love helping my readers and I love helping fellow authors. And, yes, I love helping myself. I mean, I'm not that altruistic. I just love helping my fellow creatives out.

xoxo

 

Working Mom

God bless naps!

God bless naps!

The main question I get asked after someone finds out I'm an author - especially when my second book is being released less than six months after my previous book - is, when do you have time to write?

I've been getting this question a lot more recently since my youngest was only 4 months old when The Misadventures of Catie Bloom was released. Which means, yes, I had a toddler and a newborn in the house while I was not only writing my next book The Adventures of Natalie Bloom but marketing my first book like mad.

These days, whether you're traditionally published or an Indie author, you get little support on the marketing side of things, so it's all up to me! I've got to promote, promote, promote, and find a way to break through the noise of everything else that's being thrown at everyone. To say hey, look over here!! I've got this book you might like! Luckily, people do like the book, so that's made it slightly easier. Slightly.

But back to the question: when do I have time to write?

What I have to say to that is god bless nap time! And preschool! And *cringe* TV! At this very moment the baby is napping and I've stuck my toddler in front of the TV so I can write this. She's watching Octonauts, so I kid myself that it's educational. I mean, it is educational. When we go to an aquarium now (we live in South Florida so that happens, like, all the time) she knows heaps more than me about all the fish in the tanks. But it's still a cartoon.

When I became a mother I stuck my chin in the air and said I would not use TV as a babysitter. Ha! Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

As I wipe my eyes, I also forgive myself. A working mom's gotta do, what a working mom's gotta do! Actually, a mom's gotta do, what a mom's gotta do!! Working or not!

So, yeah. I basically don't straighten the house until the weekends when hubby is home. And I broke down and hired cleaners once a month to do the deeper cleaning. And I write (or do  marketing - ugh) during every single nap time. And I haven't binge watched a show (except Stranger Things!) since I gave birth. Because I also gave birth to my first book right after I gave birth to my second child. And I haven't stopped since!

After the third installment of The Bloom Sisters is released next summer, I've promised myself I'll take a little break. But by than I may actually have a bit more time to write and binge watch the second season of Stranger Things, so maybe I won't need a break. Maybe.

"Truly Madly Guilty" by Liane Moriarty review

I love reading as much as I love writing...maybe more. So once in a while I'll post here about which books I'm reading and a give quick review. If I didn't like a book, I won't post about it. I'm all about positivity here and supporting my fellow authors.

I fell in love with Liane Moriarty after reading The Husband's Secret, as many of us did. And then I read Big Little Lies, which I loved even more. And did you hear there's an HBO mini-series of the book coming out?!?!?! I can't wait. It's gonna be HUGE.

Truly Madly Guilty was another great story with complex characters and an intricate plot that weaves its story through the present day and a tragedy that happened in the recent-past. It mainly centers around three married couples and one fateful barbecue. You don't find out what happened at this barbecue that has sent these characters into a downward spiral and are tearing marriages and relationships apart until halfway through the book. 

I was intrigued to find out what happened but my one complaint was that the reveal of what happened took too long. It wasn't like a love story that usually gets boring after the HEA (Happily Ever After). Once the climax came, it was even more captivating. And I wanted to get there sooner. I found myself skimming through the middle of the book, done with the pre-story build-up.

But once I got over that small hurdle it was a fun race to the finish of the book.

Liane Moriarty is one of those authors that I love because I want to get in her head and know how she writes characters as rich, complex, and authentic as hers. Reading great authors is one of the joys of being an author. She makes me want to be a better writer. And no matter what you do, you should always surround yourself with people who do what you do...but do it better. It makes me a gooder writer (haha little joke there).

If you're a fan of Liane Moriarty, read this book. If you're not, read The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies first. Then sit back and enjoy this rollercoaster of a story. xoxo

Launched

After what could be called a lifetime of waiting, I launched my first book. And it was amazing and wonderful and exciting and then...it was over.

I've always wondered what it would feel like to live my dream and now that I'm here my life is exactly what I thought it would be...about the same as it was before. Say wha? I'm talking about my day-to-day life. Not the launch parties or interviews, which are fun, but only a very small portion of life as a writer. 

I had an inkling that when this day came I would sit back and realize that, actually, life is pretty much like it's always been.

It's all those things the self-help gurus say: live in the now; love what you have, not what you want, fake it till you make it, and so on. Luckily, I had the foresight to look around and realize, I do love my life. I loved it before my dream was realized and after. 

What I didn't expect was loving my day-to-day life more. Because now that I've reached one of the major goals in my life, I can relax a little. I can enjoy my family and friends and everything around me  knowing that this big thing I've been working for is here. It makes life sweeter. 

Working on the second book feels different now that I know, really know, people will read it. And want to read it. And are waiting to read it. I try not to let it freak me out and write like I've always written. Because, though I want to make my readers happy, I want to stay authentic to the story and the characters and the process. 

So, yeah, dreams coming true are pretty awesome. But as so many have said before me...make sure you love the journey too. That's where I'm going to be living most of my life before, during, and after this wonderful madness called being a writer. 

Dreams come true...

This post is meant to be about my dreams coming true. Which they did. But, man, oh, man, it sure sounded sickeningly sweet when I wrote about it. Not that I’m not ready to pop on some old-school “I’m Walking on Sunshine” and get my groove on (not something anyone would want to see right now, since I’m in PJs, reading glasses, and my newborn is crying). Oh, wait, my newborn is crying! Hold that thought...
Okay, I’m back. All is well in babyville. She’s my second child, so her cries aren’t as drop-everything-scary as it was with my first daughter. This one gets slung on my hip and carted around. I was much more precious with the first. But, I digress.
So, yeah, I’m publishing my debut novel and I’m freakin’ thrilled! And I’m doing it with the amazing honor of it being an award-winning novel. Which makes me an award-winning author. Say, what? 
So here’s where it’s going into mushy world again. Yes. After many years of working towards this goal it is here. My first novel. And it’s better than I could have imagined because it won second place in the Golden Palm Contest before it was even published. And I’m proud. I think we should all be able to brag about our accomplishments. We don’t do it enough. We feel much more comfortable putting ourselves down than lifting ourselves up. We can lift each other up, but God forbid we say something nice about ourselves. Than we’re just full of it. Too proud. Too vain. Too cocky.
We all need to be more vain and proud and cocky and just plain nice to ourselves. Especially women. If I say “My thighs are so fat.” Everyone would nod in agreement, understanding. But if I said, “My thighs look amazing!” Everyone would cock their head and wonder if I was right in the head. Sad, but true. 
Oh, wait... I’ve digressed again. Okay, back on track. My book.
Yes, my book is coming out in less than two weeks. And I’m stoked. And I’m proud. I did this. I really did it. Go me!
I better get back to work, though. The second book in the series isn’t going to write itself. It’s due for the first round of edits in three weeks. Man, deadlines are great but boy they put the pressure on! 
Btw, procrastination doesn’t go away, even when you’re a published author.
Lesson learned. Maybe.

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Getting ready to launch

Releasing a book ain't no joke. 

Especially when it's your first book. And you have a newborn at home. No matter if you're an indie author or go the traditional route, you still have to do a lot of work. Traditional publishing houses don't market the way they used to, so all authors are having to do a lot of extra work these days. 

Besides having a website and blog, there's a lot of social media out there and I have to be the one to build and manage it. Plus my mailing list. Plus a slew of other things. At the same time, its kind of fun. Or it would be if I wasn't juggling my toddler and newborn on top of everything.

The release of my first book, The Misadventures of Catie Bloom, was meant to fall weeks after my baby was born. But then she came three weeks early, so everything has been pushed back. I don't want to feel like taking care of my newborn is a chore, so the book will have to wait a little longer to go out into the world.

But giving birth to a baby is nothing compared to giving birth to a book (okay, that's not entirely true)! I've been birthing my book for eighteen months. More, if you include all the other writing I've done to become a published author.

Being an author doesn't just mean you write books. You are a product. You have a platform. You run a small business. You have to understand how all the online algorithms work since so many books are sold digitally now. And you need live and virtual events to put your face and your 'brand' out there. 

Yeah, it's not as glamorous as it once was. Or so I'm told. The days of releasing a book and going on a lovely book tour around the country are gone. Unless you're Emily Giffin or James Patterson. But I'm not. Not yet. Most of us aren't. And that's okay.

Luckily, when you love what you do, doing all the behind-the-scenes work isn't so bad. It's just surprising. At least, it was for me. 

But I wouldn't have it any other way. If it means I can keep writing, I'll do it every day for the rest of my life. 

 

How to Survive New York and Launch a Kickstarter Campaign

Launching a Kickstarter campaign is an exhilarating, terrifying experience. In one sense, it’s the most exciting rollercoaster ride I’ve been on. In another, I want to punch it in the face. It’s stressful and nerve-wracking and everything is scary, different, and new. Putting my passions and myself out there in such a real and raw way makes me feel stripped down and naked in the middle of Times Square. Much like being in your twenties and moving to a big city and starting your ‘real’ life for the first time. Something my co-author (Corinne Barlow) and I are very familiar with.

In our book How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week, the two protagonists, Emma Grace and Lizzie Blackwell, quickly learn that if they want to have a fabulous, fun, rich life while earning little money in one of the most expensive cities in the world, they gotta surround themselves with people who are connected. It’s all about networking, baby.

Funnily enough I’m finding out that launching a Kickstarter campaign is the same. You have to depend on the support of your friends and family and you have to dig deep into your network.

Like Emma and Lizzie unwittingly learn in How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week, you can’t be greedy. Even if the rewards for your Kickstarter campaign are pretty fabulous (ours rock the Casbah) and the project is amazing, you still need your network working for you before and after you launch. As long as you aren’t a crappy friend, it shouldn’t be hard.

When I was a bartender in New York City I was happy to give away free drinks here and there or connect my friends with club owners and promoters I knew from working in the late night industry. And when I worked for a record company, I gave away CDs, t-shirts, music downloads, tickets to concerts, and other goodies. In return, my friends gave me nice swag like a pair of Michael Kors sunglasses, a Prada bag, VIP tickets to a Katy Perry concert, or a cheap room in a beautiful house in the Hamptons.

I didn’t give away drinks and concert tickets to get anything in return. I did it because—like most decent people—I like to help out my friends. It makes most of us happy human beings when we make our friends and even strangers happy. That’s why crowdfunding is such a success. People like to help people. They also like to feel special, involved, and on the cusp of something new. Like having your name on the VIP list of a hot new club or being one of the first to read the next big thing.

My favorite quote from How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week is, “Year one, New York will kick your ass. Year two, you recover. Year three, you kick its ass right back.” That’s how I feel about our upcoming Kickstarter campaign. Month one kicked our ass, month two we recovered. Month three, here we come!

Source: http://www.howtosurvivenyonthreedatesaweek...

From Real Life to Fiction: The Conception of How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week

It’s been a long and wonderful journey from the conception of our novel How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week to the writing of it and now the publishing of it. My co-author and bestie, Corinne Barlow, and I came up with the concept after our first summer living in New York City straight out of college. We were doe-eyed and new to the whole dating scene. Real dating. NYC dating. Yeah, we’d dated before. If you count hanging out in dorm rooms, going to a frat parties, house parties, or some other venue where playing games to get shit-faced and end up face planted on your mattress (sleeping! Usually sleeping…), dating. But after we moved to NYC, we were being taken out to Michelan star restaurants, clubs, fashion shows, and galleries in the world and it sent our pretty little heads spinning.

What we didn’t expect (we should have drank less Cosmos and watched more Sex in the City) were the amount of crazies that showed up in our life in NYC. Not just the guys. The friends, roommates, and co-workers, too. I know. I know. How could we not know this? Everyone knows the craziest people in the world live in The Big Apple.

So when the latest freakshow, lay asleep in one of our beds, refusing to leave, Corinne and I stuffed our faces with mini donuts from the bodega under our five-floor walk-up (too hungover and broke to venture out for anything else), and realized he was the latest in a long line of misadventures we’d experienced.

But we didn’t care. We laughed so hard that morning recalling everything we’d been through so far that we dropped the whole box of donuts in a heap on the floor (and continued to eat them- did I mention we were broke… and hungover). We were having the time of our life: hopping to the front of the line at clubs, getting free swag from the hottest labels, dating rich men and poor men, and everyone in between, surviving in comfort and style even with our starter-jobs.

And so sprouted the seeds for our book, How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week. It only got bigger, better, and crazier from there.

Source: http://www.howtosurvivenyonthreedatesaweek...