Exhaustion, Endometriosis and Endless Appointments

July 9, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness 1 Comment

I’m sure many of you will understand how utterly exhausting it is to just get through one appointment, much less three appointments in one week – two in one day. Wednesday was brutal and I am beyond exhausted and still trying to sort everything out, even though they were both good appointments and I got a lot accomplished in one day.

Monday was my second round of therapy with V, where we briefly talked about my recent bipolar diagnosis, how I was adjusting to medication so far and then we moved onto talking about my coming out experience (you can read about that here) and how it’s been such a struggle for me since it happened. It was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. I thought I’d break down in tears, but I didn’t. I thought quietly at several points during the session, but I really felt somewhat better when I left.

I go back next Monday morning for round three before I head to work for the day. I’m assuming I’ll be going weekly for awhile, at least until we start to make a dent in some of the things that I need to deal with and start working through. It’s overwhelming, but I know I have a good team behind me.

Wednesday morning started off crazy. By the time I was ready to leave to pick up my mom to go to my appointment with me, I couldn’t get my car started. I didn’t pick her up until ten minutes before my appointment and then I had to speed over to the office, but we made it on time. The entire way, I could feel myself start to panic. The stress of the morning plus knowing I could get some huge results had me all worked up. No matter what I did, I couldn’t calm down.

We waited forever. Nearly over an hour. So frustrating, but what can you do?

Finally get called back, and no surprise – my blood pressure is fine but my pulse was fast. I explain it’s anxiety, it’s always that way… so they recheck it in a few minutes. Still high. Telling me to “relax” doesn’t help, it just stresses me out more. Ugh.

Doctor M comes in and tells me my lab work results and I am floor. My A1C dropped from a 10.3 at diagnosis in February to a 6.9, which is under where they want a typical diabetic patient. I almost fell out of my chair and I am still in shock, holy crap. He also said that I can stop all medication for diabetes and just continue to eat healthy and exercise and test daily. I go back in three or four months for another round of lab work to check and see how things are doing.

I also left with an inhaler for exercise induced asthma and a refill of my anxiety/migraine/heart rate medication. Apparently the new call center that was forced on the clinic never relayed the refill request I asked and yeah… not happy. My nurse told me the secret about who to call and what extension to use, so now I don’t have to worry about it!

The big news is that I left with a referral to a gynecologist since my Endometriosis has only been getting worse these last few months. I’ve had a period for two weeks now, doubled over in pain nearly every day and nothing I’ve tried in the past seems to be helping anymore. I’m going to be pushing for surgery. I can’t stand this pain anymore. I go in on July 28 and hopefully we can get things rolling and begin some serious treatment.

Wednesday afternoon was my visit to Planned Parenthood. The pills I got in November just… weren’t working. I was still in pain, still having crazy periods and just… not working the way we’d hoped. After paperwork, waiting and surprise another slightly high pulse, I finally talked to a doctor and got new pills. I started them last night so it’s still too early to tell if they’ll help.

The doctor there also said it sounds like surgery is the next step since everything we’ve tried hasn’t worked and to make sure I tell my new gynecologist this when I see him at the end of the month. So, that’s what I will be doing.

It was an exhausting week for appointments and I know it’ll be this crazy for awhile.

I’ve spent today resting, and plan to curl up again and watch some television for the rest of the night. I go back to work tomorrow for a short shift, and I’m excited to see my work family but I am hoping I am not this tired and sore when I go tomorrow.

One day at a time, right? Just keep breathing. Stay strong.

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All Those Words: Starting a New Journey

July 1, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness 1 Comment

You may have seen me blog about my struggle with depression this winter, an eye opening post about what I had experienced. I was then referred to a clinic specializing in counseling as well as psychiatry. That was almost six months ago.

Five and a half months later, I made my first appointment. I walked into the doors at EH at 8:45am yesterday. I was shaking from head to toe. I was scared. I was worried. I was half convinced that no one would believe me and tell me I was fine. It was a new environment and I didn’t know what to expect.

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I filled out the stack of paperwork I expected and was soon met in the lobby by my new therapist. I’ll call her V. Older, quiet, but very kind and welcoming. Calm and caring – I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Bonus: a woman. I had forgotten to ask on the phone the day before that I’d prefer a woman therapist.

Therapy isn’t new to me. I had gone on and off for years as I grew up, but coming to therapy alone is a new adventure. I have never really been in charge of something like this, planning my own appointments, getting myself there… these are big steps. Big steps I knew I had to take. I knew the first appointment would be more along the lines of getting to know each other, why I’m there, etc.

We talked somewhat about the variety of issues I’m dealing with, why I’m there (depression, things I’m still struggling with that have happened over the years, etc). It had been several years since I had gone to therapy and she openly asked how I had coped and I explained – sometimes I’d keep it all inside, sometimes I’d isolate myself, sometimes I’d rely on my close friends and family.

She gave me a list of coping techniques to try and said we would work on getting pas my experiences and being able to cope/manage when times get rough. After that, we scheduled my next appointment after V told me I could come as often as I want – weekly, once a month, every other month, etc. WOW! That’s awesome.

I go back next Monday afternoon and I am expecting to work hard that session to address some major things I’ve dealt with.

The  next thing we did was schedule an appointment with their psychiatry department. Originally scheduled for August, V was walking me out back to the lobby and the receptionist ran to us saying there was an opening for right now and was I willing to go now?

Why not, I said. I have no plans!

psychiatry pinkWalking into the office of PL as I’ll call her, felt surreal in so many ways. I couldn’t believe that after so many years, I was finally walking into the office a psychiatrist. I was going to get the help I needed. I was shaking again, overwhelmed but I knew this was what I had to do. This is why I was at EH.

I took in a deep breath and sat down in the chair, gripping the arm rests tightly. I was restless, anxious and not really sure what to expect. But I was here. I was doing this. I had already taken the first steps to the rest of my life.

We did the general questions about what brings me here, what meds I’m on, she asked questions about what my depression and anxiety were like, how often I experienced them, how often I had panic attacks or “down” days. We discussed my family history of mental health, how that has affected me, living with chronic illness and how I feel like a burden to others at times and when my own mental health issues began… it was a lot. It was a lot to remember, to discuss, to openly talk about. Overwhelming in so many ways.

As I’m already on Zoloft (prescribed the lowest dose by my primary care doctor), we talked about that and then began the big talk of what other medications could help me and a diagnosis. I was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It’s still a lot to take in. It’s hard. It’s incredibly scary to think about, but it makes so much sense. The days where I am full of energy, can’t stop talking or moving… and then the days where just getting out of bed is a challenge.

In a way, I’m mad. I don’t want to be that person with bipolar, but I also know how strong I am. How I’ve struggled with this for so many years without a diagnosis, forcing myself to do what I needed to do to get by. Now that I have a diagnosis, I can get the medication to help keep me stabilized (well, when my insurance decides to sign off on it and cover it).

PL also gave me something for sleeping – something that has been incredibly rocky for me lately. I slept last night. Almost through the night. It’s an amazing feeling (even if I am still groggy today) and I know that getting the sleep I need will also help in my recovery.

I go back to see PL in August and from there, we will discuss what has or hasn’t been working medication wise and likely add in an anxiety medication for me as well. It’s a lot to digest, to think about, to get used to – it’s overwhelming in a numbing way.

These are just the first steps in a new journey, and as scary as it is – I’ll continue to fight, to stay strong and keep putting one foot in front of the other even on my darkest days.

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BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOL by KK Hendin Release Day Post!

June 22, 2015 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

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Today is the release day blitz for BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOL by KK Hendin. This book is not your typical romance with the perfect HEA, but if you are looking for something a little bit shocking, and evil, this is the book for you. It will be on sale for .99¢ for a very limited time!

 

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AUTHOR NOTE from KK Hendin:

Just a little warning when reading BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOL.
Don’t trust anyone.
Don’t trust anything.
Don’t assume anything.
Don’t hope too hard.
You may be disappointed.
Good luck reading.

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BOOK BLURB:

Eighty seven billion dollars.
One dead New York business mogul.
No heirs.
No wives.
No relatives.
Eighty seven billion dollars.
Not hers yet.
He doesn’t deserve them.
He doesn’t know what to do with them.
She does.
She always has.
Eighty seven billion dollars.
He’s overwhelmed.
She’s prepared.
That will should have had her name.
Not his.
Eighty seven billion dollars.
His looks are a bonus.
Her looks are her weapon.
He’s fighting a losing battle against his heart.
He doesn’t know it yet.
Eighty seven billion dollars.
She gets everything she wants.
He’s what she wants.
Love has nothing to do with it.
To get to where you’re going, sometimes you need to step on a few people to get there.
Good thing her heels are sharp.

 

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ADD THE BOOK TO GOODREADS

SIGN UP FOR KK HENDIN’S NEWSLETTER

Join the BEAUTIFUL LITTLE STREET TEAM

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PURCHASE BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOL NOW!

It will be just .99 cents for a limited time. Grab it while it’s on sale!

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | iTUNES

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

KK Hendin’s Bio:
KK Hendin’s real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she’ll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate.

KK spends way too much time on Twitter (where she can be found as @kkhendin), and rambles on occasion over at www.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com.

FIND KK HENDIN:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

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Worn Down Glories: My Life with Chronic Illness

June 19, 2015 Katie A Uncategorized 1 Comment

Some of you may have seen my more frequent Instagram updates on my health and my struggle with several chronic illnesses. In an attempt to be more open and more brave – I’ve used that platform to begin documenting my struggles.

Then it dawned on me… I can still do that, but also use this blog to reach others who may not use Instagram and draw in a whole new crowd in addition to my beloved bookish community I am part of.

It’s been a rough road to get to where I am – to make this choice to incorporate my love with books and be more open about what I struggle with. It’s been back and forth, thinking I’ll do this, then the next day being utterly terrified about this change.

In order for people to know what I am going through, I realized that I need to speak about it. I need to talk about what I’m struggling with – the good and the bad, the ugly days, and the days where just getting out of bed seems impossible.

In order to reach a wider audience and reach out to those who are struggling as I am, I can’t keep quiet anymore. I have to step out, I have to speak up. No one will know what is going on with me, if I’m having a bad day if I don’t say it.

It’s terrifying.

It’s terrifying to start to become this open, to know that I may lose people. To know that when I open up this way, people could think “oh, she’s just making this up for attention” or “it’s all in your head, Katie”. I’ve been there. It hurts. It’s terrifying to know that it could happen again – but I know that I have to speak up.

This is me, being brave every day as I battle several chronic health conditions – none of which have a cure. This is still the same girl who loves to read and gush about books, who loves to support her favorite authors – but this same girl is sick. I may not look sick, but I am sick. Every day is a struggle.

All I want to do is to be able to inspire, encourage and be there for others going through similar circumstances. I want to show everyone that yes, you can live with chronic illness – it is hard, but I fight every day and I will never stop fighting. ♥

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THIS LOVE by Anna Bloom – Blog Tour (Review)

June 6, 2015 Katie A Blog Tour, Giveaway, Reviews 0 Comments

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I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for THIS LOVE by Anna Bloom! I know once I read the synopsis that I would fall for this book, and I sure did! It was just the book I needed to start to pull me out of a reading slump and I can’t wait to go back and re-read all of my favorite parts and quotes.

This Love 2This Love Synopsis:

Amber’s always planned to leave her overbearing mother and their stifling small town behind as soon as she graduates. That is until her car breaks down outside Bale and Son’s mechanics and she meets Freddy Bale. A boy who’d rather live in the moment than make a five-year-plan.

Ignoring her friends’ warnings, Amber puts all dreams for her perfect future on hold, and dives into the romance heart first. On their last day of school, however, Freddy decides to call off their relationship, and Amber does the only thing she can think of: Run away and never look back. Just like she’d always planned.

Ten years pass before Amber sets foot in town again, only returning to look after her ailing mother. While Freddy wants to make amends, Amber is confronted with her own wrong choices from ten years ago. Choices that could change the lives of everyone she’s ever loved.

When first love is given a second chance and the secrets of the past come hurtling into the present, will Amber and Freddy be able to lay their mistakes to rest and make this love the strongest one of all?

 

My review: As I said earlier, I knew that once I read the synopsis I would love this book. And I did. It started off in such a way that left me speechless because I have been there – someone taking care of a sick parent. I’ve been there – I know how hard it can be.

When Amber and Freddy fell in love, they fell hard and they fell fast. When their relationship ended? It crumbled to pieces in a way that I’m sure Amber felt was nearly impossible to ever put back together – and she ran. She left.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that same thought – to run, to leave, to leave everything behind because I couldn’t deal with it all. It can be such a strong yet scary feeling, and I can’t imagine how Amber felt when she did leave. It had to be a mix of overwhelming emotions.

When she returned home to care for her mom – the unexpected happens – her and Freddy are reunited by chance and this sets them on the path of second chances, the chance to open up and spill everything – something that could change everything for everyone, forgiveness and love.

I can tell you that this book will suck you, give you a lot of feels and you won’t want to put it down. I had a hard time putting it down just to get to work … a beautiful story about first loves, heartbreak and forgiveness. Add this one to your to be read list! You won’t wanna miss it!

Anna Bloom Bio:

Anna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer with the sole ambition of writing about life as it happens. Dedicated to real characters, real problems and real romance Anna writes tales to stir your heart and head. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two young children, working in a local school and writing swoon worthy romance for Mature Teen and Adult readers, she also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys and talking to the voices in her head- all in the name of her art.

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Buy Links:

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Links:

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Author Goodreads

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THIS LOVE by Anna Bloom – RELEASE DAY LAUNCH!

June 2, 2015 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

We’re having the release day launch for THIS LOVE by Anna Bloom! We are so excited about this fantastic new contemporary romance. Anna is giving away a kindle, and sharing an excerpt with us! Be sure to check it all out!

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Release Day Launch Participants:

The Other Side of the Shelf

Stephanie Witter

Happily Ever After…Book Blog

Kimmy Loves to Read

Southern Belle Book Blog

kimberlyfaye reads

Mischievous Reads

This Wacky Momma Reads

Southern Vixens Book Obsessions

Comfort Books

Dayreader Reviews

Kelly’s Kindle Konfessions

Adventures in Writing

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Lady Amber’s Reviews

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Boundless Book Reviews

Kindle and Me

Us Girls & A Book

Musings of the Book-a-holic Fairies, Inc.

Cosying Up With Books

Evermore Books

2 Greek Girls Reading

Between The Lines

Jackie’s Book World

Books, Coffee & Passion

Books Can Take You There

Battery Operated Book Blog

Bawaka’s Book Fair

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Mikky’s World Of Books

Rusty’s Reading

An Aussie Girls WILD Boo Addiction!

Collector of book boyfriends

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I Bookin’ Love to Read

I Dare You To Read

Love Affair with Fiction

Got Nikki?

She Reads New Adult

What Is That Book About

Paola’s Bookshelf

I Read Indie

Musings In Fiction Alley

Lost in a Book Blog

The Phantom Paragrapher

Holly’s Hot Reads

Cafinated Reads

Country Gals Sexy Reads

Renee Entress’s Blog

A Cup and A Book

Best Book Boyfriends

Jax’s Book Magic

undercover book reviews

Reading Bliss

We’re Jumpin’ Books

Stephanie Witter

DANIELRIDING.com

Penny for My Thoughts

This Wacky Momma Reads!

I Dare You To Read

Between The Lines

Reads All the Books

Boundless Book Reviews

New Adult Addiction

Worn Down Glories

Ceres Books World

What Is That Book About

Romance Obsessed Book Blog

Writing Pearls

Kitty Kats Crazy About Books

Comfort Books

lustful literature

A Novel Kind of Bliss

Tifferz and Her Sisterz Book Reviewz

The Consummate Reader

Romance Bytes

undercover book reviews

The Other Side of the Shelf

Kelly’s Kindle Konfessions

Musings In Fiction Alley

Reviews from the Heart

Dark Seraph Book Blog

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs

The Dark Realm

Summers Book Blog

grownupfangirl

Book Butterfly in Dreamland

Best Book Boyfriends

Love Us Some Books

reading away the days

I Bookin’ Love to Read

my midnight fantasies

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G & Co. Book Blog

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This Love 2
This Love Synopsis:

Amber’s always planned to leave her overbearing mother and their stifling small town behind as soon as she graduates. That is until her car breaks down outside Bale and Son’s mechanics and she meets Freddy Bale. A boy who’d rather live in the moment than make a five-year-plan.

Ignoring her friends’ warnings, Amber puts all dreams for her perfect future on hold, and dives into the romance heart first. On their last day of school, however, Freddy decides to call off their relationship, and Amber does the only thing she can think of: Run away and never look back. Just like she’d always planned.

Ten years pass before Amber sets foot in town again, only returning to look after her ailing mother. While Freddy wants to make amends, Amber is confronted with her own wrong choices from ten years ago. Choices that could change the lives of everyone she’s ever loved.

When first love is given a second chance and the secrets of the past come hurtling into the present, will Amber and Freddy be able to lay their mistakes to rest and make this love the strongest one of all?

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Exclusive Excerpt:

My former home looked on the very edge of being derelict. The four walls have never provided the warmth and comfort a childhood home should, but seeing it in a state of disrepair, littered with dirty china, lined with old newspapers and filmed in a greasy layer of dust made me doubt my choice of leaving ten years ago more than ever, and my decision to come back.

I did the right thing. Didn’t I?

You see, I’m the grown up now. Ten years ago I left home, my heart broken, and my ego bruised. With the hindsight of age, I realise my heart wasn’t really that broken, I probably wasn’t even really that in love. For the last ten years I’ve only had room for Isaac in my heart. Isaac is mine.

 

Dragging my mind back from my sadly lacking welcome home yesterday, I keep my mind on the present and scan the shelves of the grocery store searching for anything my mother might like to eat. The shop hasn’t changed at all. The floor still has the same unique surface texture of sticky and slippery. The bread still has to be eaten today because tomorrow morning it will get a cloying smell that hits you in the face when you open the bag. And the shelves are all still precariously balanced with an unpredictable selection of tins: spam next to peaches, tinned spaghetti next to sanitary towels and shoelaces next to the cheese.

The question is, what do women with early onset dementia like to eat? This morning she was cooking cat food. I didn’t know she’d ever owned a cat. My shock at her deteriorated condition mingled in an unpleasant way with the stench of hot Whiskers, my anxiety and guilt quickly transformed into frustration when she kept calling me Cynthia, which is her sister’s name. “I’m Amber,”I kept saying over and over again, my attempt to keep my voice light seriously pushed to the border of shouting, but she just looked at me blankly with no flicker of recognition on her face.

I’m just grabbing another loaf of bread because I’m sure Isaac will want his standard half a loaf and marmite for breakfast, when the door of the shop chimes. Ignoring it, I continue to load my arms with pretty much anything I can see.

A packet of McVities Chocolate digestives wiggles it’s way free from under my armpit and rolls beneath a shelf just as I hear the shop assistant call to the newcomer, “Morning, Mrs. Bale, what can I do for you?”

Mrs. Bale. I stop.

Mrs. Bale.

Last time I was here, Mrs Bale was dead. Interesting.

Anna Bloom Bio:

anna bloom bio pictureAnna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer with the sole ambition of writing about life as it happens. Dedicated to real characters, real problems and real romance Anna writes tales to stir your heart and head. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two young children, working in a local school and writing swoon worthy romance for Mature Teen and Adult readers, she also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys and talking to the voices in her head- all in the name of her art.

Links:

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Author Goodreads

Enter Anna’s giveaway!

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NOWHERE BUT HERE by Katie McGarry RELEASE BLITZ!

May 26, 2015 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for Katie McGarry’s NOWHERE BUT HERE! NOWHERE BUT HERE is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance and is a part of Katie McGarry’sThunder Road Series, published by Harlequin Teen. Grab your copy today!!

Nowhere But Here - cover

Amazon ** Kobo ** BAM ** Barnes & Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

About NOWHERE BUT HERE:

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

 

Hand rider on handlebars, close-up

 

NOWHERE BUT HERE Trailer:

 

Ready for more? Dive into a excerpt from NOWHERE BUT HERE!

From Oz’s Point of View. Set up: Emily has been separated from her parents and after a long night of worrying, her emotions and exhaustion catch up to her and it causes Oz to have his first fluttering of emotion for Emily.

WIND BLOWS IN FROM THE NORTH AND A FEW pieces of Emily’s dark hair sweep across her face. One min­ute Emily’s a bright flame, then a gust snuffs out her light. Her body sways like a top at the tail end of a spin and I lunge forward.

Emily’s knees give out and her eyes roll back into her head. I catch her inches before she crashes onto the porch. She’s light as I swing her into my arms and her head circles onto my shoulder, reminding me of one of those rag dolls Violet used to play with when we were kids.

“Emily!” Eli’s on top of me, attempting to yank her out of my arms. “Open your eyes.”

Her eyelids flutter, but remain closed as her hand limply clutches my shirt. Eli rams his arms underneath mine and he makes Emily a rope in a tug-of-war. I should let her go. I should want to let her go, but then Emily goes and screws it up for me. “Oz.”

It was a damn whisper, but I heard my name on her lips and so did Eli. His eyes flash to mine and Cyrus’s words repeat in my mind. That girl trusts you. And screw us both for that.

“She’s exhausted,” I say. “Hasn’t slept at all tonight.”

Eli’s expression hardens as he glares at me. I’ve seen Eli throw a coma-inducing punch for less defiance and I readjust the sleeping girl in my arms. A reminder if he decks me now, he’ll be putting his daughter at risk.

Temporarily surrendering, Eli cups Emily’s face in his hands and angles her toward him. “Emily, please open your eyes.”

She does. It’s barely a crack and they’re completely glazed.

“Everything’s going to be okay,” Eli affirms.

“I want my mom and dad,” she mumbles.

“You’ll see them tomorrow.” Eli pushes a strand of hair from her cheek. “You’re safe here. I promise.”

She rejects Eli by curling into me. Her head fits perfectly in the crook of my neck and I loathe the wave of protective­ness that rumbles through my body. Emily’s fingers tighten their grip near my shoulders and the impulse is to shield her from the guys gawking at this intimate scene. Yeah, this is club business, but Emily never asked for any of this.

——————————————————————————————————————

Katie McGarry Author PhotoAbout Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

 

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Goodreads ** Pinterest ** Tumblr ** Instagram

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ALL PLAYED OUT Bucket List Tour – 5 Crazy Things You Should Do By 30!

May 24, 2015 Katie A Blog Tour, Giveaway 0 Comments

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I am so excited to be a part of this tour for ALL PLAYED OUT – In so many ways I could relate to Nell. I was never really active on campus through high school and college. High school was just a mess for me, but in college – I went to classes, I did my work and I came home. I kept to myself for the most part, and still do as I finish up my degree. So when the chance came up to make my own bucket list? I jumped for it!

Today I’m featuring “5 Crazy Things to do By 30”.

I turned 30 in October and honestly, haven’t done anything too crazy so this was fun and challenging to think of!

1. Go on an epic road trip with friends – I did this just a couple months ago with my girlfriend a couple of her friends. They picked me up in Nashville at the airport and we drove all night long through Tennessee and all of Alabama until we got to Florida and the beach. So many memories were made and it was a blast.

2. Splurge on an expensive, nice meal for yourself, just because! I haven’t done this, but I think it’s something nice to do for yourself. Go somewhere you usually couldn’t go, save up the money and indulge. We all work hard, so why not? Treat yourself!

3. Follow your favorite band/singer on tour – In my late teenage years, I did this for a couple years with one of my then favorite singers. In fact, my brother, best friend and youth leader all drove several hours to see him play at a large festival one summer. I got to know him and the band pretty well, but after a couple years – things changed and I haven’t been to a show of his in several years. It was fun while it happened, a blast to see the surprise on their faces when we showed up!

4. Drive/fly to another state or city to see your favorite author – I have done this! It was so much fun and something I want to do again. It brought me so much joy to see the surprise on her face when I showed up for the launch and to spend time celebrating. I’d love to go to an out of state event or conference one day, but with money tight – I have to stick to local (or semi-local) events. Still, mini road trips, favorite authors, bookstores… what more could you want?!

5. Explore another country – I haven’t done this, but have always wanted to go to England, Ireland and Scotland and just explore and take in all the beauty. Now with my brother moving to London this fall, it seems more and more likely that in the next three years, I’ll be able to do just that! It’ll be a dream come true and definitely out of my comfort zone as I’ll leave the country for the first time, fly overseas and find myself in an entirely new country to explore!

 

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a signed set of the Rusk University series!!

 

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About ALL PLAYED OUT:

 

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

 

BUY LINKS:

Get Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes

 

And don’t forget to grab your copy of ALL LINED UP and ALL BROKE DOWN Today!

ALL LINED UP, Book 1

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes

ALL BROKE DOWN, Book 2

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes

For more of what’s next in The Rusk University Series, go here!

Add Book 4, ALL CLOSED OFF, to your Goodreads now!

 

About Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.

 

Links:

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** ALL PLAYED OUT Goodreads

 

 

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Special Announcement from Cora Carmack!

April 29, 2015 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

HERE’S THE SCOOP!

Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement:

 

ALL CLOSED OFF Coming 2016

ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!!

 

Check out this message from Cora!

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven’t yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I’m not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*

 

Hello beloved readers!

The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was “Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?”

At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They’d make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end… I couldn’t envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again).

But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It’s a wonderful experience, but in Stella’s case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports.

I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said… Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, “Mine. This is my story.” I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn’t take crap from anyone. She was everything I always hope to be. And I didn’t want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella was vibrant and enjoyed a wild party. She was not afraid of her sexuality, and she had no problem with casual sex. She was the kind of girl that probably had a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn’t mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, “Someone needs to tell this story. And I’m strong enough to do it. Let me.” And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I’d been adamant wasn’t right for her. Because as it turns out… Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren’t so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before.

So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It’s about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It’s about the way that kind of event can change everything– how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It’s about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you’re still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light.

So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book…



ALL CLOSED OFF:

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same.

But none of that matters because she’s just fine.

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again.

Vulnerable.

*****

ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don’t have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I’ll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I’ll be able to ensure that I’m able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won’t be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you’ll add the book on goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links.

Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella’s story. When it’s finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do.

All my best,

Cora Carmack

 

*Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network)

 

#WhenitHappened banner

And an opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s…

Stella’s experience is only one story of many. She was with someone she trusted when it happened, and the only memories she has are pieced together from her own blurred recollections and the things people have told her. Not everyone’s experience with sexual assault is the same. Each person reacts, copes, and overcomes differently. And while this book is about one specific character’s journey, I would like to tell as many sides of this story as possible. As Stella grapples with her thoughts and emotions she’ll be searching for advice, for comfort, for a place where people understand her and can identify with what she’s experiencing. There will be room for truth within the fiction, and if you’d like that truth to be yours, this is your chance.

If you have a story like Stella’s, and you want your voice to be heard….

If there’s something you wish more people understood about what you’ve gone through….

If there’s something you’d like to tell people struggling with a story like yours…

I’d like to give you the opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s. Use the hashtag #WhenItHappened and let your voice be heard on your own by posting on your own social media, or if you’d rather I share your words fill out this google document and tell me your story. You can fill out this form anonymously or not. I’d like to begin this discussion now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But my hope is to include as many stories as possible within the book itself.

So many have stories of #WhenItHappened. Your voice and your story deserve to be heard. I’m listening.

#WhenItHappened Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/4VRjWgZYSW

 

HeadshotABOUT Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.

 

 

 

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook **Newsletter **Author Goodreads

 

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PLAY ON – Promo Post (Blog Tour)

April 20, 2015 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

I am so excited to share with you the excerpt for PLAY ON today for my stop on the blog tour! I have been anxiously awaiting this book since I first heard about it and cannot wait for everyone to get their hands on this book and read it!

play on cover

Title: Play On

Author: Michelle Smith

Release Date: April 21, 2015

Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

 

Synopsis: In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

 

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek–he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

 

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything–maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.”

Pre-order Links and Goodreads:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Goodreads

EXCERPT:

In this scene, Marisa’s reporting for her first training session at the Braxton family’s flower shop, and Austin is in charge of the grand tour.

~

I clap my hands together and start for the first display cooler. Marisa’s shoes squeak against the floor as she follows me. “All right, then,” I say on an exhale, turning to her. She stares up at me, all bouncy ponytail and bright eyes. “We’re supposed to be training. So, first things first. Flowers: how much do you know about them?”

She giggles, and dang it, she needs to stop. Please make it stop. All these little things she does that make my stomach do weird flip-flops are going to turn into big things, and big things are a lot harder to ignore.

“It’s safe to say I know a bit about flowers,” Marisa says. “Your mom gave me one heck of a quiz during my interview to make sure I knew my stuff. She even asked what my favorite flower was and how often I’m supposed to change vase water. I mean, really?”

I twirl my finger, signaling for her to continue. “And your answers were…?”

She tilts her head to the side. “Purple roses. Every two-to-three days. Do you think I’m an amateur?”

Even if I did, it wouldn’t matter. I’d train her all day, every day as long as she kept smiling at me like she is now. But that smile falters as her gaze falls to the floor. She clears her throat and says, “Before we moved here, my mom was obsessed with gardening. She taught me everything I know.”

Her voice dips. Before I can ask if she’s all right, she shakes her head and looks back to me, her eyes not nearly as bright, but still as piercing as they were before.

I shrug and force a smile of my own. “Looks like we have something in common. My momma’s a gardening freak, too.” As if owning a flower shop didn’t already give that away. Strike two, Braxton.

She steps to my side, her arm brushing against mine as she gestures to the cooler. “Anyway, continue, Floral Prince. Teach me your ways. I’m sure you know much more than I do.”

I narrow my eyes. “You’re makin’ fun of me, aren’t you? Is it the apron? Because I’ll have you know, I’m rockin’ this apron.”

She grins. “I would never make fun of a prince,” she says seriously and curtsies. The girl freakin’ curtsies.

I cross my arms. “All right, feisty pants. I see what you did there.”

Her jaw drops. “You did not just call me feisty pants. What are you, sixty? Who even says that?”

“I do, obviously. And what I was going to say is, you can’t put whatever flowers you want in the cooler. This is where we keep the special order arrangements and loose flowers. Single roses and stuff like that.”

Instead of replying, her lips curve up again. My heart hammers against my chest. No matter how tough he acts, every guy dreams of someone looking at him this way. Like every word out of his mouth is coated in gold, even if it’s the cheesiest thing that person’s ever heard.

No one’s ever looked at me this way before, not even Jamie. It’s killer. And it’s kind of freaking me the hell out because I’d never even seen this girl until a week ago, and she’s got me acting like an idiot.

“What—” I cough to cover the crack in my voice. “What’s that look for?”

She shrugs and moves past me toward the cooler. In its reflection, I see her staring at the arrangements, her fingertips pressed lightly against the glass. “I like your voice,” she says. “It’s laid-back. Easy-going. Like you have all the time in the world.” She faces me again. “And your accent’s kind of to die for. But you can pretend I didn’t say that.”

About the Author:

author photo michelle

Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

 

Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

 

 

Author Social Media Links:

 

Website |Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

 

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a paperback copy of the book (US only)!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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