I originally reviewed Hilary’s book a few months back (http://chicklitbooks.com/book-review-dangled-carat/) when it was self-published. But the big news that she and I want to share is that her book has been picked up by BookTrope Publishing. Isn’t this cover glamorous?!? A big congratulations to you, Hilary!
For every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him…..
For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice….
For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy….
She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship–why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn’t ready–and their friends’ meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year’s Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.
For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary’s humorous and honest story will hit home.
“Dangled Carat sparkles with humor and shines with wisdom. It is a gem of a book.” - Christina Baker Kline – New York Times Best Selling Author of Orphan Train.
“Fans of Sex and the City – Grossman makes a reference to Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big – will enjoy the story, but its real-girl charm should draw an even wider crowd.” - Kirkus Reviews.
Hilary Grossman dated a guy so commitment-phobic that she was able to write a book about their relationship. She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and shoes. She loves to find humor in every day life. And she likens life to a game of dodgeball – she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn’t writing or blogging she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on Long Island.
How did you become a writer? It’s a question which I am often asked. The truth is that from as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write stories. But the problem was that it wasn’t the kind of career you could easily train for like a teacher or a scientist.
I grew up in a place called Harrow Weald, a ‘green belt’ area about forty minutes away from London on the Metropolitan line. Despite its proximity to the capital, there were woods and fields which I would often walk through, making up tales about people and places I knew.
My school was one of the first girls’ schools in the country – very academic - and because I didn’t consider myself to be particularly bright, I took refuge in novels like Jane Eyre. I also longed to be one of the bubbly party set but that wasn’t to be! So I threw my angst into writing poetry. It seemed quite natural to read English at university – the only subject I was interested in – and then to become a magazine journalist. Again, it was the only job that seemed to have any relation with my ultimate ambition – to write a novel
But life has a habit of de-railing you! I married young and left my job on Woman’s Own to bring up my three wonderful children. At the same time, I freelanced furiously for a wide range of magazines and newspapers – mainly specialising in family features and celebrities. I was lucky enough to interview all kinds of famous people including Julie Walters and Barbara Dickson. Sometimes if I was desperate (childcare wasn’t easy), I would take my children with me to these interviews . Pam Ayres was particularly kind when I brought my then two year old along.
By the time my youngest son was three, I realised time was running out for that novel. So I wrote 100,000 words about a housewife who swapped place with a journalist. It was called Amersham Wives. I found an agent through the Writers & Artists Yearbook and thought I was made. However, although the novel had nice rejection letters, no one took me up. So, on my agent’s advice, I wrote another noel – and another. Finally, after writing a novel a year for ten years, I got my first contract. The book was called ‘The School Run’ and the publisher was Hodder & Stoughton. My agent suggested writing it under a pen name – Sophie King - in case readers mistook it for a non-fiction book (I’d already written quite a few of those by then).
My fifth Sophie King novel ‘ The Wedding Party’ was shortlisted for Love Story of the Year by the Romantic Novelists Association in 2010. That was wonderful!
Then I changed publishers to Random House and they wanted to re-launch me with a new name. So I became Janey Fraser (‘Janey’ is actually my real name although ‘Fraser’ isn’t). It’s rather odd having a pen name. In some ways it protects your privacy but in another, it makes you feel like someone you aren’t.
My fourth Janey Fraser novel is called ‘After The Honeymoon’ and has just come out. It’s about one honeymoon destination; thee couples; and six secrets. The first half is set in gorgeous sunny Greece and the second in a small English town where the couples come to terms with the first six months of married life!
In real life, I’ve had two honeymoons. My first marriage came to an end after twenty seven years which was very hard for all of us. Three years later, I went onto marry a family friend who is also the Godfather to my children. It means a lot to me that he’s known them since they were babies. My first husband has re-married too. My second honeymoon was more of an extended wedding reception in a beautiful country house hotel, set in the Lake District. I didn’t want to go away after that, as I wanted to be around for my then 16-year-old son.
Writing, for me, is a mixture of being a mum – even though the children are much older now – and having time to myself. My husband is very good at that. He never minds when I go up to my study for ‘a few minutes’ and come down several hours later…
If you want to write, I’d advise you to keep your eyes peeled for a situation that grabs you. Then think about what kind of people might find themselves in that situation and what problems they could encounter. Picture the place they’re in – use magazine pictures as a prompt – and smell it. You might also like to look at a book I wrote called ‘How To Write Your First Novel’ by Sophie King, published by How To Books.
Kaylie carefully unfolded the paper that remind her of the kind you’d tear out of your notebook to pass a message to your friend in class. Kailey held the note up to the one, dirty window in the basement in order to get a better view of the words. But even lit up by the peering light, the hand written note made no sense to her.
I’ve gone, I can’t take being here any longer. I hope you understand. I love you.
George whimpered, as if he somehow knew that the note said. Kailey passed the letter to Sam, whose face dropped in horror as his eyes quickly scanned the paper.
“He’s gone?” Sam said, shaking his head.
Kailey looked up at him, she raised both eye brows and shook her head. “No,” she said declaratively. “That’s not Max’s handwriting.”
“Are you sure?” Sam asked just as Kailey headed for the staircase.
“Of course I’m sure,” she muttered, hitting each step with determination. “He’s my brother.”
Kailey made her way back outside and looked around. She ran her fingers through her hair as she tried to calm herself down. Someone had taken her brother. Someone wanted to make it look like he left on his own.
Sam materialized next to her and wrapped his strong arms around her waist. She flinched and inches away from his grasp. “I don’t have time for this.”
“Don’t have time for what?” Sam asked, looking genuinely confused.
“For you,” she spat out. “For your weird mixed signals. You were the one who cheated on me and now you’re all over me? I called you to help me find my brother, not cop a feel in the forest.”
“I told you, that was a mistake.” His eyes suddenly flashing with anger.
“Oh yeah?” she countered. “Well so was calling you today.”
Sam shook his head. “You’re crazy.”
“And you’re useless,” she narrowed her eyes. “George! Come here boy!”
George came running over to her and she tugged lightly on his leash. Kailey took a few steps forward just as Max shouted out after her.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to find my brother,” she said without looking back.
Hey everyone! Today I have Charlotte Ashby, author of Girls Like Us, talking about her career thus far, and what she has learned from all of her experiences!
A year ago, I found myself in the enviable position of not being the breadwinner for a while – 20 years later I had another gap year to fill. Naturally I had planned all sorts of life enhancing activities like flicking through ‘get the look’ sections of women’s magazines and removing hairballs from the corners of my kitchen.
I have always loved reading and studied English at university but had no serious intention of writing a book, until that is, my best friend came up with a suggestion. Send me one page she said, just one page and I won’t hassle you again. Looking back, that was fiendishly cunning. You can’t write the first page without inventing characters, scenarios, relationships and then once you’ve started, you can’t just abandon them. You’ve got to keep going and find out what happens next. I sent her a chapter a week and waited with baited breadth for a response, which wasn’t always flattering but she was usually right. I was obsessed, for the next 10 months, I would find myself driving with no clue where I was, utterly absorbed and distracted by the characters and how it could all work out.
Of course it helped that I had spent 20 years in a consumer PR agency, one of the most colourful and ludicrous workplaces you could imagine. There were graduate trainees running the marathon dressed as a pot noodle, brainstorms in sandpits, photocalls with abusive celebrities and all manner of harebrained stunts to grab the tabloid headlines. So Emily Brighouse, my hapless, slightly slutty, well meaning heroine, is only a slight exaggeration. Because I have hopped into the offices of the Daily Sport dressed as an Easter Bunny, I have abseiled down the side of a building for some nutty PR stunt and I too have been invited onto the Richard & Judy show to explain my offensive publicity campaign.
Nothing can describe the excitement of seeing the front cover for the first time – knickers on the chandeliers – need I say more! Girls Like Us was described by one newspaper as a ‘heady mix between Bridget Jones and Jilly Cooper’ and the next thing I know, I’m Sun ebook of the week. But the truth is, it was all worth it just to give my friend a laugh and every snigger I get beyond that is a massive bonus.
And what have I learnt from this strange, emotional, maddening experience? For every publisher or agent that turns you down, there is a kind tweet or review that keeps you going. If you can just write the first page, you can write a novel. It’s definitely OK to laugh at your own jokes and there will probably always be hairballs in the corners of my kitchen, because whether I like it or not, I will never stop writing novels.
What if the worst thing you ever did was unforgivable?
Davy’s world fell apart after she tested positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome. She was expelled from her school, dumped by her boyfriend, abandoned by friends, and shipped off to a camp that turns HTS carriers into soldiers. Davy may have escaped, but the damage has already been done. The unthinkable has happened. Now, even worse than having everyone else see her as a monster is the knowledge that they may have been right about her all along. Because Davy has killed.
On the run from government agents, Davy is rescued by Caden, the charismatic leader of an underground group of rebels. Despite Caden’s assurances that the Resistance is made up of carriers like her, Davy isn’t sure she can trust them. Then again, she doesn’t even know if she can trust herself . . . or her growing feelings for Caden. But if she doesn’t belong with Caden and his followers, is there anywhere she can call home?
I thought being labeled a killer and losing everything—my future, family, boyfriend, friends—was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. It’s not. Finding out they were right. Finding out that’s exactly what I am?
For those of you who haven’t read my review of Almost Royalty, Courtney is a fantastic writer from California.
Written just for me- here is Courtney’s worst New York dating story!
I, Courtney Hamilton author of “Almost Royalty” was on my way back from Brazil (just like Amalia Hastings in Chase 2), and decided to stop off in NYC to see some friends. (BTW, “Amalia”– I had a great time in Brazil, especially in Bahia). While in NYC, I looked up a guy who I kind of always had a crush on and he asked me to come over to go out with him. When I got to his apt. he was there– looking very great–and so was this other guy in a torn tee-shirt and dirty jeans. It turned out that this was his brother, who had seen my picture, and really, really wanted to meet me. The three of us went out together to a club– it was a little weird, and of course I should have left ASAP– and the brother then asked me if I would go to a party with him the following evening, that he promised would be really amazing– I thought, whatever, this is NYC, and it will be fun to go to a party. The following evening I met the brother (my cute friend had disappeared), and we went to “the party”. When we got to the party, the guy got these keys out, opened the door and there was no one there– just an empty apt. I said “What the hell?” and the guy confessed that this was the apartment OF HIS GIRLFRIEND and she was away (he was taking care of her cat for her), and he was hoping that we could have a “nice evening” together. I left ASAP and somehow made it back to the place where I was staying on my own.
For more info on Courtney, check out her GoodReads page! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7374257.Courtney_Hamilton
I’ve also decided, like Michelle, to give my main character a voice of their own, and let them tell you more about her. Amalia was a little nervous to show herself, so she chose a picture of the person her physical attributes were based on So without further ado, I turn the page over to miss Amalia Hastings.
What is your name and profession? Are you real or fictitious?
My name is Amalia Hastings, and I am a graduate student at New York University. What is real anyway? Isn’t everything you see, smell, touch, and taste just a perception that your brain is conjuring up?
When and where is your story set?
My story is set in present day New York City in the good ole U.S of A.
What should we know about you?
I’m a native New Yorker who just started her first year of grad school at NYU. I have a boyfriend named Nicholas who I believe is my soul-mate, but I still get butterflies in my stomach whenever my friend Michael walks in the room. I have a best friend named Cassandra and another close friend named Olivia.
What’s the main conflict in your life?
Ugh I have to pick just one? *rolls eyes*. Well I think I may be in love with my friend Michael, who has a girlfriend. Even though they are long distance and he hardly ever see’s her, he hasn’t broken up with her yet. It’s my first semester of school and my grades are slipping, I’m drinking way more than I should, and my roommates are more than a little weird.
What is your goal?
My goal is to graduate from NYU in one piece, stop letting my dating life define who I am, and ultimately be happy with myself and the choices I have made.
What is the title of the book you are from?
The book was originally called Chase but has now been renamed “What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan?” The book is being re-released on July 24th by Harper Impulse, HarperCollins. You can pre-order it here! (Ignore the August 8th release date, that’s wrong!)