Wednesday, January 29, 2014


What Inspires Me?

I wanted to write this post on the 20th, but had to wait.  So why did I write Fan Girl?  Where did the inspiration come from?  To explain that I have to give you a look into my crazy head. :) 

At age... we'll say 12 I think, is when Hanson came out.  I KNOW I KNOW.  Cue the groans of disgust.  I loved them.  Had the posters all over the walls.  Taylor was my man.  My best friend loved Zac and we talked about them literally nonstop.  One late night jam session to Mmmbop lead to the question, "What would you do if..."  and the scenarios of all of the seemingly practical ways we could meet these guys, then logically they would fall in love with us, kept us up all night.  It started a four year long running dialogue (we called it day dreaming) of romance stories with JTT, Sam Huntington (Jungle 2 Jungle), young Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Nick Carter, AJ McLean and Heath Ledger, among others. 

This lasted through a move across the country, where we wrote letters back and forth of 20 pages or more of a story.  When it got boring we would switch to a new idea.  Finally 16 came, and after reading all four of the Harry Potter books that were out at the time and making up scenes in Hogwarts where we wore cool old fashion dresses and had makeup charms I got a car and that was that.

Now my mom was the coolest mom ever.  I'm 12 and obsessed with Hanson?  She takes me out of school to sit in the blazing sun, so that I can get into the standing room only Hard Rock CafĂ© in Orlando Fl.  My first concert was Garth Brooks at age 8 and I swore I was going to marry him.  A few years later I was at the concert where Faith Hill and Tim McGraw came out as a couple for the first time, in Jacksonville FL.  I had seventh row seats for a Backstreet Boys concert in New Haven CT. 14 and mom couldn't get enough tickets so she let my friend have hers and paced the front door of the arena in Boston for another Backstreet Boys concert.   At 15, O-Town was doing a meet and greet at the Wal-Mart two hours away, so mom surprised me by taking me out of school, and we met the band.  Then she sped down the highway after their limo in our periwinkle Ford Aerostar all the way to their concert.  My mom was is so cool.

I've been to a lot of concerts.  Music is a huge part of my life.  My last concert was at 18, right before I got married.  I went with my mom to a Rascal Flatt's concert and leaving it, I realized for the first time what she was doing.  Concerts give me the biggest high.  It's endorphins that build you up, and screaming out lyrics stripping away your frustrations.  I come out of concerts blissed out.  Consequently, I was completely mellow and not a raging teenager for about a month afterwards.

Fast forward. I'm in Germany, four kids, husband is on his third deployment.  I start watching The Voice.  It's the third season, my mom LOVES Blake Shelton so I know about the show, just never watched.  We have 10 channels on AFN and they choose what's played.  The Voice is the only show on TV and I need to hear another adult talk.  A few episodes in I'm thinking man that guy Adam is funny.  Then I start thinking man that guy is really pretty cute.  Then I start thinking where do I know Maroon 5 from?  Google search leads me to YouTube and I suddenly remember all of my MTV and VH1 stalking, waiting for MmmBop or Where's the love? to come on.  Maroon 5 had their Harder to Breathe and She Will Be Loved videos out.   

YouTube brought the concert footage.  The concert footage is epic these days.  You can go to a concert and if your speakers are loud enough, it's almost like you're there.  However, your kids might think you're nuts for jumping around the house.  I found out that Maroon 5 was coming to Europe for a tour that summer, right around my wedding anniversary.  The closest they were coming to me is Amsterdam.  I mention it briefly on Skype one night to my husband, and he tells me I have to get tickets to that show.  I tell him there's no way, the tickets are 150 euro a piece for the pit, and there's no way I'm sitting any farther away when I can be that close.  He insists.  I buy the tickets, book the hotel and find a sitter.  I AM PUMPED.  I buy a new camera, plan out my outfit, everything. 

My husband comes home from the deployment and I have him listening strictly to the set list of Maroon 5's American tour.  Why?  Because when I was at my first Backstreet Boy concert in the 7th row, I didn't know a word of their songs except what was on the radio. To this day I swear Nick pointed at me and laughed.  We are not going to a concert unless we know all the words to every song.  Told you I'm crazy.  Husband is game, he's bopping around the house and doing the dishes to Lucky Strike and Hands All Over. 

Maroon 5 postpones their European concert six months.

I almost cried.  My mom kept laughing, saying since it had been almost 10 years since I had been to a concert I was probably going to go into a coma afterwards.  I wanted to.  LOL.  I was ready for that release. 

Ever since I started having kids I have reverted back to the 'day dream' somewhat.  If I can't go to sleep at night I dream of having enough money to go to Babies R Us and picking out every single thing I want.  Weird, I know.  But it puts me to sleep every time.  But this time I thought of a story instead.  I wrote about a girl who loved music, knew the guy before he was famous and how they could meet later in their lives.  I went to sleep within five minutes of thinking on the story so it took me a while but I eventually got stuck.  Over and over, every night I couldn't get past this one scene, it was keeping me up.  So I thought I would write it down, and try to work out my problem.  And it kept going until it was a full novel.  Over 100,000 words of rock and roll, love, hardships and life choices. 

Fan Girl for the name was a no brainer.  My beta readers have loved them, unless they lied and I'm screwed.  But I've heard a lot of good things about this book and had a lot of constructive criticism that has helped me immensely.  My editor has had to take out all of the 'and then' s from the book, which is hysterical to me.  I never realized I was doing it but that's how my bestie and I would continue every story, whether on the phone, in person or in a letter.  And then... ?

 I pictured a more masculine Adam Levine as Deklan, Ali is this badass chick with tattoos.  They developed and shaped into some really cool people and I can't wait for everyone to meet them!

But first, a video.  We spent the returned concert money on a Wii U for our son.  The rescheduled date was last week.  Here's a video from where I would have been standing.  :(

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

How did you find love?

What draws people together?  Is it destiny?  Fate? Blind date?  Common interest?  Timing?  The wind?  Or paper planes? 
We as human's want happy endings.  People want to have someone to come home to, watch a movie with, snuggle at night, and wake up to in the morning.  Even if we are jaded and cynical enough to trick ourselves into thinking we're perfectly happy to lead a solitary, lonely life, only responsible for number one.
So how do these people find love?  Romance is a huge genre for a reason.  People love to see the story of how people find their imperfectly perfect partner. 
Is it a series of 'coincidence', like with my husband and I?  How many have gone out searching for 'the one', only to find it when we least expect it?
Here's my love story:
Eighth grade, I was awkward.  Glasses, gold braces, new kid.  My dad was Navy and even having lived in that little southern town for five years before, leaving for two years in middle school changed everything for me.  My friends from before were popular now, while I was uncool.  Suddenly coming back 'home' wasn't so great anymore. 
I made friends with the other awkward kids in my neighborhood, and listened to Incubus on the bus acting like we didn't care what people thought.  Vividly I remember my new friends pointing out a boy across the gym, where the school busses dumped us in the mornings.  He was blond and seemed to float between all of the clicks in a way I could not. 
Drifting from the popular kids, to the emo punks, he slapped hands and bumped fists with everyone.  Who was this boy? 
One day one of the higher level popular kids told me that this guy liked me.  I laughed, embarrassed.  What reaction did you have in Eighth grade?  He kept asking through friends, never talking to me face to face until I finally gave a friend to give him my number.  I remember watching her walk across the gym and handing him the piece of paper, holding my breath as he looked across the basketball courts, seeming to know exactly where I was.
He never called.  Friends said he hated talking on the phone, so in the theme of things I broke up with him after a week.  I know how it all sounds. 
Flash forward~
In 9th grade, he moved away to Massachusetts, coming back to the south in 11th grade.  I moved in 11th grade to Washington State.  After graduation I wanted to go back bad.  Having borrowed my mom's car, gas card and cashing my $100 in graduation money I set off.  52 hours later a friend and I pull up into a friends driveway in the deep south.  I was back.  Now what?
I socialized, partied, got tattoos, went to the beach.  Finally after running out of money, I start putting in applications, getting a job at a local sports store in the strip mall.  My coworkers were great, I had money, was eating out three times a day (hey, I was 18) and able to buy whatever I wanted at the mall.  (Not that I paid my friend's mom any consistent rent)
I started working there in July.  In November I got arrested.  Yup.  Raw truth time. I was a wild teenager. 
After spending the night in county, being shackled wrists and ankles, standing in front of a judge next to a prostitute with no front teeth, while my mom (whom I didn't call) spoke through her tears about how she didn't know how this could happened, I woke up.  I grew up. 
The judge asked where I worked.  When he found out it was retail, he laughed saying I would never be able to work retail again.  He also said he was tempted to leave me in for a week to teach me a lesson.  Believe me, I had learned.
As soon as I got out my friends started calling me Tweety.  I moved back in with my mom, who had made the trip south a few months after I did. TERRIFIED that my boss would find out what I was arrested for, I quit shortly after.
This boy was on a state scholarship at a university living it up with his buddies, until he realized how much books and dorm living was costing his family.  He quit, moving back home after a semester to go to community college.  But he needed a job.  Wouldn't you know that the local sports store recently had an opening?  He took the job I left open.
January I'm sitting in a hospital Emergency Room with a friend, when I see my old Assistant Manager being brought in.  She was clearly unwell, so I decided to go by the store and see what was happening at the store. 
When I walk in there's a guy with chin length blond hair behind the counter I don't recognize, along with my boss.  She's excited to see me and pulls me to the back so we can talk.  As I walk to her desk I say, "I think I know that guy."  She nods, "He's trying to take the assistant manager job, but I just don't like him." 

We wind up talking for a while, until I get up the nerve to ask her if she would consider me for the position.  Then we were working together.
I found out the boy's name and he reminded me that we 'dated' in middle school.  I was shocked, totally forgetting about that non-dating boy who wouldn't call.  I happened to be dating two different guys at the time, they would come in to the store, I would lament their hopelessness to my coworkers and they had no choice but to listen. 
My blond co-worker would come to work on his days off for my smoke breaks.  He started talking about this cool theater room he had at his house.  We both loved Chinese so he would bring me dinner sometimes on a long shift.  The day I got my first new (to me) car, I pulled up to my work completely content with my new grown up purchase.  The boy gets in the car with us, riding in the back sharing my excitement.
When we leave, my mom turns to me and asks, "Why don't you date him?"  My eyes widened in shock, "Him?"  I had never considered it.  Even with his hints, I never took him seriously. 
The next day he speeds in to the parking lot before work, jerking to a stop with seconds to spare.  As I unlocked the front door, I glanced at him for the first time.  Squinting my eyes I said, "You did something to your hair."  No.  He didn't do something, he shaved his head.  The whole day I kept looking at him, my mom's words in my head.  Why don't I date this guy?
February 26th my mom went out of town.  I was getting a friend to get me beer, and had stopped at work to help put away a shipment on my way to get it.  I turned to him as he's ringing up a customer and ask, "Do you want to come over tonight?" 
He freezes, then slowly nods his head.  "Yes, I do," he told me.  He came over and looked terrified as he leaned in to kiss me.
We've been together 9 years this February.  He proposed to me in front of the middle school where we first met.  Getting married 4 months later in June, him leaving for Army Basic Training two days later, moving to Alaska with him after that.  Four children.  Three deployments.  Now we're in Germany.
If all of those seemingly random things hadn't happen, I wouldn't have my husbands, my kids, my life.
So what things matched up perfectly, or maybe imperfectly to give you your love story?  If you haven't found that person yet, don't be discouraged.  Maybe you met him a long time ago and he'll come into your life again.  Maybe he's the guy you sell coffee to every morning at 7:40 sharp.  Maybe he's the guy who ran into you at a stop light.  Maybe he's the one who you will strike up a conversation with over twitter, because you hash tagged something crazy. ;)


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fan Girl Blurb

I talked to the cover designer today.  She loved my concept, said it was unique and eye catching and wanted to do a mock up.  YAY!  Then I realized I don't have a blurb for the back cover. AH!  So I wrote all day long, showing my husband who kept saying no.  I showed it to other people, they say no.  Then a friend gets online, reads what I have saying, "No Brandi, can I play with it a little?"  Uh, yeah.  Ten hours of trying to sum up 108k words without giving anything away and still make you want to read.  I had no more ways to say the same thing, again. 
Boni has what I had come up with, maybe thirty minutes.  I rave to her how amazing it is!  She tries to be modest and tells me she just took out all the details from mine.  Reading it 50 times I tweak here and there until I'm happy.  Thanks Literally Jen, Jenny Sims  and Jennifer Sell for proofreading.  So here it is! 

Little more than a girl when Ali meets him, his voice resonates with her in a time when she needs it most. As an adult, Deklan has the potential to devastate her.

Deklan Thomas catches Ali Pierce's attention at a young age. Not that he notices. His band Rolling Bridges provides Ali the escape she desperately needs from her home life. Music. It's during this journey that she is confronted with what she has attempted to suppress all along. Her discontent with herself.

Refusing to settle for mediocrity, Ali sets off on a mission. Moving to the Big Apple, she gains a new outlook on life, a snarky online friend, a college degree, and a unique internship others would kill to have.

Though she grows leaps and bounds, her first love remains the same. Nothing can keep her from the music—music that will lead her down a road of passion and predicament that even the new Ali is unsure she can handle.

Is Deklan ready to give up his rocker lifestyle? And does Ali really want to be put in the spotlight after so many years in the shadows?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Crossing off my list...

I have decided to get this book out by April 1, 2014.  Here are the things I can cross off of my list:
  1. Contact cover artist
  2. Redo end scenes
  3. Get blog up
  4. Get Facebook up
  5. Find Editor
1.  The Fan Girl cover is going to be AMAZING.  Najla Qamber Designs are going to blow my mind.  I can feel it.  I've already picked the image I want to use, told her my vision.  I fully expect her to run with it.  Thank you S. L. Jennings for recommending her, I can't believe how affordable she is! 
2.  Several Betas were unhappy with the way I ended the book.  I turned up my Ellie Goulding after putting the minions to bed and wrote three thousand words that ripped my heart out.  Sniveling at my computer I was surprised when my husband pulls an ear bud, "Why are you crying babe?"  I cover my face with my hands and cry, "It's so good!"  He laughed, relieved nothing was wrong and went back to his X-Box game.  Poor guy.  I was in bed until 2a.m. tossing, turning and slapping him on the shoulder still sniveling, still teary but completely high on what happened.  My first Beta, that hasn't read the first ending is going to read it shortly and I can't wait for her reaction.
3.  Blog is up.  Obviously.  Upon setting it up I realized I have very little pictures of myself so I'm working on remedying that.
4.   Facebook is up!  Every day I yell through the house, "I have 6 likes!" "I have 8 likes!" 
5.   My search for an editor has been so frustrating.  One small company asked for my first chapter, said I had a ton of mistakes and then sent me an edit of the first page, with two added words.  She tells me I had two sentences that start with I, and then she started them with As I.  So I sent the same first page to the second company while talking to a fellow author that I am beta-ing at the moment.  She says, "Send me your first chapter and I'll look."  Getting the first page from the editor, and then reading what my fellow author did with it is like night and day.  She suggests another editor, someone who did great work with her sample chapter, and enhanced her story.
       I feel like I have the meat and bones.  Now I need the skin to contain it, hold it's shape and be pretty.  Reading all of the self-publishing articles I've seen the point made time and again how important it is to choose the right person to revise your work.  I get it.  Now, for some tunes:

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Resolutions....

 What happens when I've written 50k words in seven days, have my first alcoholic beverage in over month and it's New Years Eve?  I went to bed at 8:30p.m. foolishly thinking my husband would wake me up at midnight.  Nope, next thing I know it's 5a.m and the first kid is popping out of bed.  Why then am I so happy?  I'll tell you.  It started like this:

As with every morning upon hearing a child's voice I reach simultaneously for my glasses and cell phone to tell me what ungodly hour they've woken up.  5:02 a.m. flashes my phone.  This is actually normal, anything earlier and I can hope to give an essential oil and/or sippy cup and go back to sleep.  Under the time on my beloved IPhone I see that I received a message.  S. L. Jennings wrote me back in regards to my earlier email asking her advice on self-publishing overseas.  She suggests I talk to Calia Read, another amazing author who happens to be stationed at the same base in Germany I am.  Yay! 

After changing a diaper and getting breakfast for the gang I sit down with my coffee and laptop to check my email.  One of my Beta's left me this:
Hi Brandi, 
It's 3:04 am on New Years Day. I just finished "Fan Girl" and I can happily say I couldn't put it down. I'll send you more of a review after the holiday "#, but I just wanted to let you know I finished it and LOVED it! I want to trade places with Ali - and I want a hunk like Deklan! LOL! 
Happy Writing, 
 More yay!!  2014 is starting out A-MAY-ZING!  So what are my resolutions and goals for this year?  I thought I would post them a) Because I need to get better at my social media voice #awkward and b) If it's out in the world I'm held accountable and have to do it.  Here we are:
  1. Self-Publish Fan Girl, Baby Girl and Farm Girl on CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing.
  2. Lose at least twenty pounds.  Everyone has weight loss resolutions and I'm no different.  I have an image in my head of what Brandace Morrow- Author looks like and it's not Brandi- post four kids.  Last last year (2012) I lost twenty pounds, and kept it off for a year.  I'm going to do the dreaded thing, exercise.
  3. Take more family vacations.  We know this will (better be) our last full year in Germany.  I want to take the kids places, do things, before we leave.  Having said that...
  4. Save save save save save, because when we leave here we aim to buy our first house. Fingers crossed for Alaska.
 Now, to bring #1 to fruition I must get back to editing with my lovely assistant. 

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