Home again, home again

I just spent last week in Los Angeles, partially to finalize Center Stage! (aka the Allison book) and to gather some images that I’ll need for it.  I was reminded once again of how L.A. always smells like flowers, how fantastic the coffee is (hooray for Intelligentsia!) and how it’s home to pretty much the best weather in the world.

Whenever I’m back in Los Angeles, I can’t help but get very nostalgic for Taylor Beauforte, Chase Atwood, and all of the characters in The Rock Star’s Daughter, especially when I’m in the neighborhoods of Larchmont and West Hollywood, where Taylor lived near Allison before the action of the book unfolds.

 

Here’s Rosewood Avenue, the street where Allison lives, not far from North Laurel, where Taylor lived with her mom at the beginning of the story:Rosewood Ave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larchmont VillageAnd here’s quaint Larchmont Village just outside Hollywood, where Allison and Taylor used to ride the bus to get iced coffee in the summertime.

It is also coincidentally where I failed my first driving test by almost hitting a pedestrian. True story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two things are certain about my relationship with Los Angeles: it always inspires me, and it gets harder to leave every time I visit.

View from my room in Silverlake. Griffith Park Bouelvard!

My favorite thing about Los Angeles: flowers, flowers everywhere.

Perfect skies in Glendale.

My room in Silverlake. Check out the sunset view through that back porch!

Sunset over Silverlake.

 

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Center Stage! The inspirational play list

In writing Center Stage, I’ve found it really inspirational to listen to music that I think my main characters would favor. I’ve developed a sort of “inspiration playlist” to help the story unfold, and I thought it might be fun to introduce you to the story through music!

I like to believe that Allison Burch would have a strong appreciation for female vocalists with unique voices. Here are a few songstresses who I think Allison would idolize.

Hope Sandoval / Mazzy Star / Fade Into You

Fade Into You was a big hit when I was in high school, and even today it makes me feel melancholy and nostalgic whenever I hear it. No one in the industry has a voice quite as haunting as lead singer Hope Sandoval.

 

Fiona Apple / Sleep to Dream 

For a while there, in the 90’s, this was the anthem of all girls, everywhere, who aspired to be bad girls. As a songwriter, Fiona Apple packages angst and fury in her lyrics that seemed like a call to arms for all girls who’d been burned by dudes. “Don’t come around, I’ve got my own hell to raise,” she warns the guy who’s wronged her in this tune.

 

Kelly Clarkson / Since U Been Gone

I was a huge fan of Kelly Clarkson when she was on American Idol, and her first single did not disappoint.

I think Kelly’s at her best when she’s vindictive, and in this video as she’s tearing up some guy’s apartment, she cuts loose. It’s kind of hard to believe from Justin to Kelly came out eleven years ago. My, how time flies. In may ways, Allison is based on Kelly, as she was the first girl in the USA to become a huge breakout reality TV music star.

 

P!nk / Try

I’m not going to lie – this song gets the tears flowing and makes me have fantasies about karaoke glory, even when I’m standing in line to pay for diet soda at the deli!

In many ways this song was the inspiration for the dynamic between Elliott and Allison in Center Stage! and of course, P!nk is right. You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.

 

What are your favorite videos, and do you have any favorite contestants from reality TV shows like The Voice and American Idol?

Farewell, 2013!

Finding words to describe this last year is proving to be quite a challenge! It feels like it flashed by in a matter of seconds, thankfully without any major personal tragedies!

Some highlights of 2013:

  • Jamaica, Jamaica
  • Meeting Narciso Rodriguez (so nice)!
  • Completing The Tycoon’s Daughter (coming soon)!
  • Contributing to The Rock Gods of Romance book bundle
  • Powering through Seasons 1 – 3 of Damages
  • Sticking with Insanity and not being a wuss (thank you, Shaun T)!
  • Spending lots of time in my beloved Los Angeles

I also can’t express enough how very much all of the emails and reviews I’ve received on The Treadwell Academy series have meant to me this year. Writing is my passion, and while I don’t always get to devote as much time as I’d prefer to it, you guys make it ever so much worth the effort.

Resolutions for 2014?

  • Continue doing Insanity – no mercy!
  • Run a 10K (preferably somewhere warm and sunny)
  • Finish editing the sequel to The Rock Star’s Daughter – everyone keeps asking about Taylor!
  • Finish the first book in the Allison Burch series

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2014 to all of you!

jamaica

Rock Gods of Romance – Contributing Writer!

It feels like it’s been ages since the last time I blogged, but the reason for my absence from this site is that I was asked to contribute a short romance story for a New Adult compilation of rock star romances, available December 2nd on Amazon. It’s called the Rock Gods of Romance, and it features stories from authors including Ava Lore, Marian Tee, Mina V. Esguerra, K.T. Fisher and Liliana Rhodes.  I’m pretty excited since this is my first venture into New Adult writing, especially because I’ve resurrected one of my favorite characters, bad boy rock star Brice Norris, from The Rock Star’s Daughter. 

Here’s the official blurb and cover art! But please keep in mind – while my story contribution is PG13, the other stories in the book bundle are likely to be intended for readers over the age of 18.

The Rock Gods of Romance book cover reveal!

The Rock Gods of Romance book cover reveal!

My story: Hometown Hook-up

Brice Norris, lead singer of the critically acclaimed new rock band on the scene, Sigma, knows his life is spinning out of control after the band’s first world tour comes to an end. Losing himself in a whirlwind of late nights, fast women, and paparazzi, he decides to ditch West Hollywood to visit his parents and gain a little perspective before returning to the studio to work on the band’s second album. Back at home in Massachusetts, he’s overwhelmed by the mess he’s left behind on the West Coast. He can’t figure out how success has managed to become so complicated in just one year. But after a chance encounter with his older sister’s best friend, Meredith, Brice starts to remember what life was like before he had the world at his fingertips…

The official reason that Meredith Markley’s back in town is to care for her ailing mother, but only Meredith knows the true reason for her return to Danvers: she’s hastily quit her prestigious job with a law firm in New York because of an office romance gone awry. With the legal career she worked so hard to achieve now in ruins, she’s never before felt more like she’s hit rock-bottom. That is, until she catches the eye of her best friend’s little brother and rekindles his smoldering high school crush on her… and these days, he just happens to be a rock star… 

 

Hello again, LA

I was just back in Los Angeles again last week (making me start to wonder if I should just move back!) for work, and fell just a little more in love with the city of smoggy sunsets.  June, although being the time of year when you can expect a gloomy, overcast start to every day, is really the time of year when the air smells like flowers everywhere, and afternoon sunshine can lift anyone’s spirits.

The trip began with kind of a funny misunderstanding: the car service my coworkers had called to book for our drive to Newark Airport had run out of SUV’s, so instead they sent a stretch party limo.  We were so in awe of this ridiculous vehicle that our driver had to fight off a cop (who you can’t see in this photo due to the fact that I was rushing to get into the limo) because we were obstructing traffic while we were all taking pictures. Riding in it was kind of like being in a bachelorette party, only no one was getting married, my coworkers are the least likely people to ever attend a bachelorette party, and it was the middle of the afternoon.

Our party limo driver, fighting a ticket.

Our party limo driver, fighting a ticket.

Our hotel in Beverly Hills was *quite nice.* The Thompson is on Wilshire Blvd, walking distance from one of my most beloved places in Los Angeles (the Starbucks on North Beverly Drive – what can I say? I’m easy to please).

The very sleek Thompson Hotel, where they leave chocolates and phenomenal lemon madeleine cookies in your room!

The very sleek Thompson Hotel, where they leave chocolates and phenomenal lemon madeleine cookies in your room!

While in Los Angeles, I finally had an opportunity to snap a picture of the house that I had in mind as the one where Taylor and Dawn reside in The Rock Star’s Daughter! Here it is…  imagine Chase driving up to this beautiful little house to fetch Taylor’s belongings.

The house that I imagined as Taylor's.

The house that I imagined as Taylor’s.

We also made a mandatory stop at the holy of holies, In-N-Out burger, for crispy fries with cheese and milkshakes.

Teenage boys worshipping at the burger altar.

Teenage boys worshipping at the burger altar.

And because it’s Los Angeles and in so many ways just an absurd, laughable city, here’s a picture of two Fiats parked in a row (something you would never, ever see in Brooklyn).

Fiat, Fiat!

Fiat, Fiat!

 

Now, back to writing the Taylor sequel!

Enter for your chance to win! Win! Win!

I totally love Alice Marvels, from its spot-on YA book reviews to its dreamy illustrations. And right now at this very second, they are not only featuring The Viscount’s Daughter in the Indie Spotlight section, but they’re also sponsoring an awesome giveaway!

You could enter for a chance to win one of three Treadwell Academy paperback trios, featuring The Rock Star’s Daughter (still in the Top 10 Romance books for teens after all these months!), The Believer’s Daughter, and The Viscount’s Daughter. And one grand prize winner will also win the books, plus a totally cute Kate Sutton-designed backpack for Le SportSac filled with nifty school supplies.

So you might not be going back to school at the Treadwell Academy, but you can take the Academy with you!  Don’t delay, enter before September 7th, and while you’re there, sign up for the Alice Marvels newsletter. They feature really fantastic books and always have tons of giveaways going on.

Good luck!

Tomorrow I’m off to the beach and I’ll be blogging all my shopping adventures.

The Treadwell Academy – one year anniversary

Exactly one year ago today, The Rock Star’s Daughter was first published.

I had written the first book over the course of a year, inspired to write a story about how difficult it is to move forward in life after something completely unexpected happens. While my own dad is not a rock star (and probably if pressed to name a rock star, he might only be able to come up Mick Jagger) and my mom (thankfully) is in perfect health and is not at all the type to hang out in seedy bars in Hollywood, the event in my own life that inspired Taylor’s story was the very untimely death of a close friend. After the initial sadness and shock over his passing subsided, what was far more painful was the part that followed: figuring out how my life was still my life in his absence, when everything felt so different (and at the time, unbearable).  I shaped Taylor’s struggle to embrace all of the changes thrown at her on my own day-to-day acceptance of changes in my life.  Taylor’s story became one of triumphing over loss, of opening her heart to love even though she was in pain, when the risk of getting hurt (by everyone… her Dad, Jill, and Jake) was great.

Never, ever did I dare to dream that this book would be downloaded by hundreds of thousands (yes!) of readers, and that so many readers would review it so favorably and reach out to me. I’ve heard from readers who wished Taylor had chosen Jake instead of Todd, from readers who were angry that Allison never called back to apologize, from readers who have lost their own parents and identified with Taylor’s shock over her mother’s death, and readers who complained that Iowa doesn’t stink like manure!

Pretty much as soon as I started writing the Taylor book, I realized that there were a lot of other stories I wanted to tell about things girls go through at Tayor’s age. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than writing these stories, and I really cannot thank every single one of you who have downloaded the book and read it enough for your support. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this year so very special for me.

This summer, I’m busy editing books 3 & 4 (dealing with topics of sexual abuse and eating disorders) for release, and writing the sequel to Taylor’s story. In the follow-up, Taylor deals more thoroughly with her grief, but all of the Beauforte/Atwood clan will be back: Jill, Kelsey, Chase, Todd, even Betsey Norfleet…  and of course, Jake.

Inspiration comes in strange forms

Look what was parked right in front of my building this morning when I walked Max:

A sign from above?

Yes, a gold Saturn.

No open bags of Doritos or 2-liters of Pepsi in the back seat, though. I checked.

So as you may have guessed, I’m working on the sequel to the Taylor book and finding this car waiting for me on the street today was like a friendly little gesture of encouragement from the universe. Sometimes, when I have writer’s block or am a little overwhelmed by other responsibilities in life that distract me from writing, it’s nice to get a little kick in the buttocks from an unexpected inspiration.

The Taylor Playlist

Greetings, Treadwell readers!

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I had been planning on being in Italy this whole week to do exciting publishing stuff, and then some personal life stuff came up, and now I’m back in Brooklyn without my passport having been stamped! But, that’s sometimes how it goes. On the upside, since iTunes is taking their darn sweet time adding Book #2 to their catalog, you can find it for a limited time (not sure how long) on Wattpad!  If you haven’t joined Wattpad yet, you really should – it’s an awesome online community for writers & readers to share work and interact. You can download their app for your iPhone or iPad and read just like you would, using iBook. ENJOY!

In Taylor news, I am hard at work on the Taylor & Todd sequel and I’m simultaneously writing a story about Betsey Norfleet (heavily featuring Taylor).

Here are some songs related to Book #1 that if you’ve read the book, you’ll recognize!

Challenge by Japanther (off of Skuffed Up My Huffy). The night Taylor’s mom passes away, Taylor’s wearing her Japanther t-shirt.

The Perfect Kiss by New Order (off of The Singles). Taylor has a New Order poster in her bedroom in Los Angeles.

Dance, Dance by Fall Out Boy (off From Under a Cork Tree). Sigma isn’t based on a real band, but if it were, they’d be totally cute young guys and Brice would kind of look like Pete Wentz. And of course, Allison would l-o-v-e- Fall Out Boy.

Always by Bon Jovi (off of Cross Road). The Chase character isn’t really based on Jon Bon Jovi, but rather, a whole bunch of rock stars. However, I like to imagine Chase as being as good-looking as JBJ. I personally have attended many Jovi shows (can you say, superfan?) and the crowd always goes nuts when Jon invites fans on stage to slow dance. Especially in New Jersey.

A Long December by Counting Crows (off of Recovering the Satellites). “One more day up in the canyon, one more night in Hollywood.” No song makes me more homesick for Los Angeles than this one. It captures the beauty and the loneliness of that city so perfectly.

Where is My Love by Cat Power (off of The Greatest). Man, whenever I am really feeling nostalgic and missing someone in my life who has passed away, this song gets the water works going.

Weekends!! by Skrillex (featuring Sirah). Wow, I love Skrillex. Jake spins dubstep at big nightclubs and is trying to build a name for himself as a DJ, just like this dude.

And of course, Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, Spring. Even if you don’t play violin, you’ll recognize this classic. It’s the piece that Taylor struggled to learn all summer, and finally mastered in her concert back at Treadwell.

What to do with the Norfleets….

One of you crazy kids suggested in your iTunes review of The Rock Star’s Daughter that I write a book about Betsey Norfleet transferring to Treadwell Academy.

I have to confess, I had a brief inspiration to do this while I was writing the book, and then forgot all about it.

But now I am totally in love with the idea! Those of you who’ve started reading The Believer’s Daughter (don’t worry, it’ll be on iTunes soon, my publisher tells me) know that I introduce a ton of new characters in that book, all of whom will have their own stories told eventually (if I start drinking more Red Bull and calling into work more frequently)!

A few of those characters are…

  • Emma Jeffries, the main character of Book 3, who suffers from significant body image disorders as she tries to advance her modeling career.
  • Juliette Santangello, the daughter of an investment banker in Long Island who’s convicted of running a Ponzi scheme.
  • Lauren Glover, a senior at Treadwell on a scholarship, who finds out a terrible secret about her family (and how it binds her to another student at Treadwell).
  • Ameera Thompson, the daughter of a high-powered record label executive.

Why not Betsey Norfleet? What could Betsey possibly do to get kicked out of her private school in New York and end up at Treadwell? And how would the lovable troublemaker behave when her bad-influence older sister wasn’t around?