Friday, September 19, 2014

Fun Friday Q&A with Cassidy Shea aka "Twitter Girl"!

I shared my book release day yesterday with all-around nice guy Nic Tatano. I guess...I mean I've only met him "online" but still, he seems nice. Anyway. I asked Nic if he'd like to come over here and answer some questions today about his book Twitter Girl, but he referred me to the "twitter girl" herself, Cassidy Shea, the main character of this awesome book — and I know it's awesome because I started it last night, thank you. And thank you, Nic, for making me laugh when I really needed it.

So, here's my conversation with Cassidy.

Angela: Tell us about your new book.

Cassidy: Well, first off, your readers should know that I'm a fictional character who has gone rogue and become self-aware. Anyway, the book is about me, as I'm known as Twitter Girl, a television reporter who gets a little too snarky and gets fired. Alas, I end up working for a Presidential campaign and in a relationship with a candidate who happens to be America's most eligible bachelor. Will I become the next First Lady and a remake of Jackie Kennedy? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Angela: Why should readers pick up a copy?

Cassidy: Duh, so the author can get rich. Seriously, I'm a fun gal to hang around with on a plane ride or at the beach for a few hours. I'll take your mind off the world which is doing a swan dive into the dumper and give you a happily ever after that everyone needs from time to time. And I like to think there's a clever plot woven through my romantic escapades. Though you should know this is a sweet romance, so said escapades do not include whips, handcuffs or blindfolds. Fifty Shades of Politics, this ain't.

I should warn you, though, I'm snarky as hell and my sense of humor is an acquired taste. There's a sarcastic tweet at the beginning of each chapter.

Angela: So far, I'm loving the tweets that start each chapter. Where did you — sorry, your creator — get the inspiration for this story?

Cassidy: Well, it's not my story but I'll be happy to tell you how this whole muse thing works. The muses are a bunch of ethereal beings who float around creative people while dressed like Stevie Nicks in these wispy capes. Anyway, before I became a heroine in this book I lived with other unused characters in half of the muse universe. The other half is filled with plots.

When a writer is ready to start a book his or her muse selects a plot, then basically holds a casting call for the right character. You should see it when someone like Meg Cabot or Sophie Kinsella sends a muse... it's like a damn stampede at a Black Friday Christmas sale. Everyone wants to be in a best seller. Personally I was terrified of ending up in a literary fiction novel. I'm not the kind of girl who can spend ten pages describing a garden. You got your flowers, your grass, your dirt. The flowers are pretty and smell nice. Boom, done, outta here. Next chapter.

Anyway, here's the deal on this book's inspiration: The muse (who looked suspiciously like Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu) picks up on the fact the writer wants to do something fun with Twitter and politics. So the call goes out for a snarky redhead and I'm first in line. The muse tells me I'll have to jump through a bunch of romantic hoops but there's a happily ever after in my future. So I told her to sign me up. Next thing I know the author is in my head and he's putting words in my mouth and making me do stuff I shouldn't do. But I had the last laugh as I escaped and have my own Twitter account @TwitrGrlCassidy. Why should I shut up just because he finished the book?

Angela: *blinks* Okay. Darn, I hope this doesn't give my character Spider any ideas. *sighs* Next question. Let's get personal. What's your dream vacation destination?

Cassidy: Since I'm in a book I get to go wherever the readers take me. Though I will say someone downloaded me from Net Galley and took me to Lake Como in Italy. Can't think of a more beautiful place.

Angela: What book do you most recommend to others? 

Cassidy: You know, I ran into one of my old friends from the muse universe, this chick named Rowena who is the heroine in A.J. Nuest's book Rowena's Key. We're cut from the same spunky cloth and she landed in a cool story. Of course the lucky thing is in one of those books with a "heat level" which means her readers have to turn the air conditioning up a notch during the sex scenes.

Angela: I would also like to note for potential readers that Rowena's Key is currently FREE on Amazon. So go now and get it. Seriously. I already have it or I would. Next question. If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?

Cassidy: The ability to time travel. Is there anyone out there who wouldn't want a do-over on something in their life? Plus, you could go back in time, bet on sports since you know the outcome and live off the winnings.

Angela: Well, that was fun! Many thanks to Cassidy for stopping by. You should definitely pick up the book. It goes something like this...

Meet America's Tweet-Heart. 
She's network reporter Cassidy Shea, better known as @TwitterGirl, with more than a million followers thanks to her sarcastic tweets. One hundred forty characters that can take anyone down a notch. 
But while brevity may be the soul of wit, it can also get you fired. 
When a controversial tweet goes viral the snarky redhead finds herself locked out of the career she loves... and watches her boyfriend take a hike. 
Alas, no industry values sarcasm more than politics, and Cassidy becomes a marketable commodity for Presidential candidate Will Becker, a squeaky-clean, stone cold lock to be the next occupant of the White House. This candidate is unlike any other; he's the country's most eligible bachelor. He's also looking for a running mate, and we're not talking about a Vice President. 
Twitter Girl has caught his eye. 
Cassidy finds herself swept up in a whirlwind romance that turns her into the next Jackie Kennedy and becomes the favorite to be the next First Lady. The country can't get enough of America's First Couple... will Cassidy and Will Becker bring back Camelot?
But an anonymous tip triggers her journalistic curiosity. Is Will Becker all that he seems? The search for the answer teaches Cassidy the meaning of love.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Because. It's almost release day!

Great Caesar’s Ghost! Where has the time gone? Sept. 18 has snuck up on me, and I have a book releasing tomorrow! That’s right. SPIRITED AWAY — and Spider, Noah, Charlie, Abbott and Costello — will finally be unleashed upon the world! Bwahahahaha!

But wait — that’s not all! Oh, no, I have been amiss in multiple ways, because, you know what else? SOMETHING WICKED is currently in a special promotion, and you can buy it for a limited time for only $1.99 at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and other e-retailers. It usually goes for $6.64, people. So $1.99 is a HUGE discount.

That’s the good news. And it is good news, people. Go buy these books. Not just because I want you to buy them, but because I feel pretty confidant they are good books. Why? Because. Go buy them.

Because now, the bad news.

I’m gonna get real for a second. It hasn’t been the best summer for me. It really, truly hasn’t. I won’t bore you with the details of the wreck I had with an uninsured driver back in June, or the layoffs at the day job (I squeaked by — whew!). Or my dad’s heart surgery. Or the multiple trips to the vet with my cat, Dusti. Or the fact I came thisclose to a free trip to Nashville and interviewing Reese Witherspoon, only to have circumstances yank that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity out from under me, or… REESE WITHERSPOON! I mean...come on, now.

So, you get the idea. Point is, I’ve been soldiering on the way Sam and Dean or Katniss would want me to, but I think it’s all catching up with me now and I just feel…defeated. Maybe discouraged is a better word. Yeah, I’m feeling discouraged.

For example, I have no idea if anyone will buy SPIRITED AWAY because I have had the devil of a time promoting it, and I really love this book. I suck at promotion. I really do. Not to mention, it’s tough to compete with all of the amazing other books now releasing. Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother.

True story.

Well, I bother because I do, and I will. It kind of sucks to be down in the dumps for a reason you can’t really describe on the day before your favorite book that you’ve written gets published. But there it is.

By the way, Wicked Little Pixie is running a series on its blog this month where authors get real and share their experiences with depression and other issues in observance of Mental Health Awareness. I’m not the only one feeling a little blue, and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, or else I wouldn’t be sharing it with you. With all three of you who might actually read this.

Sorry. *swats away the negativity* I really don’t like negativity, so I’m not going to stay this way for long. Besides, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” releases soon (even though I am pretty sure that one is going to make me cry, so what?).

And also, Henry Cavill looks like this.

See? Things aren’t so bad after all.  

Soldier on, people. And check back Friday when I bring my Fun Friday Q&As back from the dead. It's going to be awesome!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Release day for 'Texas Twist' by Cynthia D'Alba

Enter to Win


Gift Card, Mugs, T-Shirts, Etc

Real bad boys can grow up to be real good men.

Hit hard by the death of her parents, Paige Ryan needs to figure out what to do with her
life. She moves to Whispering Springs, Texas, to be near her step-brother. But
just as she starts to get her life on track, the last man she ever wanted to
see again sends it right back off the rails.

Cash Montgomery was on the cusp of having it all. Three bull riding titles, fame,
fortune and respect from his family. Until a bad bull leaves him injured, angry
and searching for comfort at the bottom of a bottle. With nowhere to go, he
moves into his sister-in-law’s old ranch house in Whispering Springs—which he’s
surprised to find already occupied.

As Cash rebuilds the dilapidated home and Paige starts out on her medical career, their
old friendship begins to reemerge and sparks are ignited. Paige knows that Cash
is nothing but a heartache waiting to happen. But maybe this bad boy has grown
up to be a real good man?

Warning: Watch out for falling lumber, falling in holes, and falling for the wrong guy…again. You can leave your hard hat on.

Award-winning author Cynthia D’Alba was born and raised in Arkansas. After being gone
for seventeen years, she’s thrilled to be back home living on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. When she’s not reading, writing or plotting, she’s doorman for her two dogs, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dragoncon 2014

I am back from Dragoncon and Atlanta, and holy cow, am I tired. But I always post something about my experiences, and photos — because, hey, photos!

So Friday was a whirlwind. I mostly started out by people watching, as in standing back and gawking over cosplayers and admiring how in the heck they created such amazing costumes for this thing. I saw tons and tons of "Guardians of the Galaxy" cosplays, as in lots of Groots, Star Lords, and Rocket Raccoons. And this hilarious Sharknado cosplay.

I also thought this cosplay was particularly awesome.

The first panel I went to was for SyFy's "Being Human." If you read my post about the series finale, you know I heart that show and mostly Josh and Nora. AND THEY WERE THERE! Well, not the characters, but the actors. All four of them. Their panel — hilarious. They obviously had a lot of fun working together.

After that, I headed over to the panel hosted by the guys from "The Guild." Another fun one because those guys are every bit as funny as they are on the show.

Afterwards, I mozied over to the Walk of Fame, which is where all the celebrities gather to meet people, sign autographs, charge insane amounts of money, and be gawked at. The "Being Human" cast were all there, so I went over to meet them. Yep, all four of them, starting with Nora, aka Kristen Hager, who was super nice and humble and let me talk to her for probably longer than was decent, considering her line was loooong. And then I met Meaghan Rath, who played Sally, and she is funny. As in had me laughing out loud talking about her dog. So then I went over to Sam Huntington — Josh — and waited and waited and finally got to tell him that I loved his version of Jimmy Olson in "Superman Returns" and loved, loved, loved him as Josh. He was super hyped to be there and joking with everyone. And he went out of his way to chat with the nervous and awkward young woman in front of me who was completely too tongue-tied to talk to him. So he earned brownie points for taking time to do that rather than simply signing her picture, smiling and saying thanks for coming.  A lot of celebrities don't bother to engage their fans at these things, and that is a sad truth. So anyway. Sam Witwer was next, and whoa mama. He is super hot in person. I never really had a thing for him before. I mean, I liked him, but not in that way. Again, he was taking time to talk to everyone. We talked about his role on "Smallville" and it turns out he's a Superman geek like me, although he said "I mean, there are few things I don't geek out about." ME TOO, Sam! Me too! Anyway. So yeah — the "Being Human" cast was super hyper and really engaged their fans, so they get a shout out.

Know who else did it too? The guys from "The Guild." I talked to them for a while. Got high fives. It was awesome. I can't wait to see what they do next now that "The Guild" is no more. *sniff*

When my niece got off work, she and her boyfriend met me for the "From L.A. to Sunnydale" Buffy the Vampire Slayer panel with Julie Benz, Emma Caulfield, J. August Richards and Todd McIntosh (the makeup artist from the show).

Every single year I look forward to the Buffy panels at Dragoncon. And every single year, I'm pretty sure everyone else does too. The line forms early and is long and half the people in line never make it into the panel. That's amazing that the show has so many dedicated fans so long after it's been off the air. Anyway. It was great. Emma Caulfield (Anya) is a huge X-Files fan like I am, apparently, and Julie Benz (Darla) is just always nice to her fans. We actually met Emma Saturday, and she was really nice. I reminded her of that time she Vlogged herself doing the "Which Walking Dead character are you?" quiz and how hilarious it was (she got Andrea), and she asked if she'd ever tweeted me back when I told her I followed her on Twitter and loved reading her tweets. And then she took a photo with my niece — and my stupid camera decided to be a jerk and not cooperate. She was cool and let us retake the picture until my niece had one. Thank you, Emma!

After that we did some more people watching. Dinner. Rode the Marta back to my niece's place and crashed.


We tried to watch the parade but mostly just saw heads and hands blocking our view. So we went to the Tolkien guests panel. It was four actors from the Hobbit movies, and they were all really funny and had great accents. British? New Zealand-ish? I'm not sure. I just liked hearing them talk. And Craig Parker is a total cutie.

I went to the "Arrow" panel next because, ohmygosh, Arrow! Sadly, Stephen Amell wasn't at Dragoncon. Neither was John Barrowman this year. But Manu Bennett (Slade/Deathstroke), Caity Loitz (Sarah/Black Canary), and Katrina Law (Nyssa al Ghul) were! Katie Cassidy (Laurel) and Paul Blackthorne (Det. Lance) were there too, but those two weren't on Saturday's panel. No spoilers were given, but some behind-the-scenes tidbits were shared. A fan asked how well Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) was fitting into the cast, and Caity said she'd just made a movie with Brandon and was thrilled to have him on the show. She said people were used to seeing him as Superman, but his character on "Arrow" is going to be very quirky — kind of like Felicity. I can't wait to see him on the show!

I met back up with "the kids" and we went to the "Guardians of the Galaxy" panel. The movie's director was very humble and gave great insight into how he wrote the script, did casting and made the movie, so that panel was just...excellent. So glad we got into it.

Then, we did some more people watching...

We also went to the panel "Five Truths and a Lie: Kessel Run," which featured six celebrity guests all telling a story to the same theme, and one person was lying. It was up to the audience to decide who the liar was. I won't ruin it, because you can download the podcast and hear yourself. It was quite hilarious.

So here's my I-will-never-forget-this moment from Dragoncon this year. Before this panel, we were starving. We grabbed some junk from the little cafe inside the Hilton and then sat on the floor in the line before the panel to eat it. There was a Hacking 101 panel going on in the room we were sitting across from. So there I am sitting on the floor, stuffing pineapple in my face, when I see the door open. A guy and girl walk out. The guy looks familiar. I'm thinking, "Wow, he could be Kevin Tran's twin." Kevin Tran, in case you don't know, is a character on my favorite show "Supernatural."

So he walks right up to me and says, "What are you lined up for out here?"

In my head I'm thinking "I am 99 percent sure this is Osric Chau talking to me right now. Nah, it can't be. He's not a scheduled guest." Because I would know, because I am a HUGE fan of that show, and I would know, right?

Anyway. My niece and I both answer him, he says, "Thanks" and then walks off. I lean over to the niece and say, "That guy looked exactly like an actor from Supernatural." And she shrugs and says, "I bet he gets that a lot." So I shake my head and say, "Exactly like him. I think that was him. Could that have been him?" She shrugs and forgets it. But not me, because I'm sitting there, 100 percent certain it was him. So I look on his twitter feed to see if he mentions being at Dragoncon. Um, he doesn't, but other people have mentioned running into him.

So I'm like, "Oh my gosh! I just talked to Kevin Tran! Well, not Kevin, because he's not real, but his portrayer and..." And in my head I'm freaking out, because he came up to me. And I did not say, "Are you on 'Supernatural'?" like my gut wanted me to. Gah! So we go look and he's gone. No idea where he went. And I'm still freaking out about it.

So I tweet this. And get this response.

So holy cow, I kind of sort of met Osric Chau in a totally casual way, and dang it, I need his autograph for my collection. But still. That was pretty cool.

Then we went to a couple of dance parties — the Tolkien-themed one and the Star Wars-themed one — before dragging ourselves home, exhausted.


I started out by going to the Doctor Who discussion panel where fans of the show talked about the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi. Veronica Belmont and Ann Hoevel were there, and some other Whovians in the know. Geek girls especially should know who Veronica and Ann are, because they are awesome and represent. But that whole panel was awesome. Great insight into what's ahead.

Next, I went to the "Grimm"-themed panel with C. Thomas Howell, even though I've only seen the first season of "Grimm." I have loved C. Thomas Howell since I was a tween. The man was my first celebrity crush. No lie. "The Outsiders" is one of my all-time favorite movies. Ponyboy forever! I've seen most of his movies — yeah, even the bad ones — and was super nervous. He was amazing. Getting older, but who isn't? Nothing was off limits to ask. He seemed very humble. And he looks much better in person than he has been looking on TV lately. Just sayin'. I met him afterward, and I got tongue-tied. Yep. Can't deny it. And then my niece tried to help by saying, "She's loved you forever. She forced me to watch all your movies." Awkward. But then I think she realized what she'd said, because her eyes got wide and she added quickly, "And I loved them too!" Bahahahaha. Sigh.


After that, I made my way over to the Decatur Book Festival in nearby Decatur, because my friend and critique partner Abby Niles was scheduled to make an appearance. I got there late, sweat-soaked, and face as red as a tomato (Atlanta was too HOT and humid, y'all).  But I finally got to meet her in person, and it was awesome. Her latest book, "Winning Love," is now available, and you should go buy it because it is a great read. Trust me.

So someone mentioned pictures, right?

I've put up photo galleries on my Facebook page that you can go see here: FRIDAY photos. SATURDAY photos. SUNDAY photos.

I already can't wait until next year!


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