Saturday, September 19, 2015

New book coming/cover reveal.

Hey guys. Some of you have heard, and some of you haven't, but I've announced a new book coming March 1, 2016. It's part of a 12-book, 12-author series, and a lot of you have had questions. Let me see if I can explain a little.

So... The series is called The Power of the Matchmaker series. It starts with a prequel novella called The Power of the Matchmaker. It's about a young Chinese woman who becomes this sort of magical immortal matchmaker named Pearl. The following 12 novels are stories of Pearl's matchmaking adventures across time. Each novel is written by a different bestselling author, and the stories are in many different genres. The one thing they all have in common? Pearl the matchmaker is up to her usual tricks to make the leads fall in love.

Sounds fun, right? Well here is the cover reveal for all of the novels, with all of their authors and release dates.

Nov, 2015 
Power of the Matchmaker (prequel novella)

Jan.  Broken Things to Mend - Karey White
Feb. Not Always Happenstance - Rachael Anderson
Mar. If We Were A Movie - Kelly Oram
Apr. Love is Come - Heather B. Moore
May Four Chambers - Julie Wright
Jun. O're the River Liffey - Heidi Ashworth
Jul. Chasing Fireflies - Taylor Dean
Aug. Between Heaven and Earth - Michelle Paige Holmes  
Sep. How I Met Your Brother - Janette Rallison
Oct. To Move The World - Regina Sirois
Nov. King of the Friend Zone -  Sheralyn Pratt
Dec. The Reformer -  Jaima Fixsen 

You can find all of the books along with their blurbs on Goodreads.

This is such a wonderful and talented group of writers, and I'm so excited to be part of this project! As for me, Little Miss March (which also happens to be my birthday month, so yay, happy birthday to me!), here is the cover and summary of my Matchmaker novel!

NYU freshman Nate Anderson is a triplet who is desperate to escape his wild and crazy brothers. After they screw things up for him one too many times, Nate flees his housing situation and takes the first available room for rent as far from his brothers as he can get.

Enter his new roommate Jordan—a quirky LA girl who believes that everything in life has already been done in the movies. In this heartfelt tale of love, friendship and family, Nate and Jordan learn how to deal with their new adult lives using the great romantic comedy classics as a guide.

Should be fun! Sign up for my newsletter if you want to be notified when it's released. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Co-Authoring! Q&A with Kelly Oram & Jonathan Harrow

Hey guys! First of all, thanks to all of you who bought Joni, Underway today! (Or had already preordered it.) This has been a great release day. Jonathan and I had a great launch party on Facebook where we did a Q&A. There were so many questions about co-authoring this book since it was a new experience for me, I thought I'd post that interview here. Enjoy!

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.
Jonathan Harrow left a career in Hollywood to pursue his dream of writing novels. He has an author crush on Charlotte Bronte, and a real crush on his author wife, YA bestseller Kelly Oram. They live in Phoenix with their four kids and their cat, Mr. Darcy.

Q. What's it like to co-author a book for the first time?‬

Kelly: Very difficult. We have very different writing styles! And very, very different voice. We had to let him do the actual writing so that the book would sound consistent. If we switched off back and forth, it would have been a nightmare.

Q. What was your method in co-writing a novel?‬

Jonathan: We knew right away that in order to work together, we would need to have one of us take the lead. Otherwise, every single decision would end in a stand-still. So, in the case of Joni, the original idea was mine, so it made sense for me to be the lead. I know some writers who switch off scenes, or whatever, they literally share the writing, but that would never work with us. Our idea was for me to write the first draft (with all Kelly's input) and then together we'd do the real work, which is rewriting. That's when Kelly would really be able to get her hands on the material and make it hers. Well, not surprisingly, the first draft was pretty light on romance. So Kelly really got in there and did her thing in that department, which made all the difference in the world, of course. The next biggest thing was going back in and getting the actual writing to sound like both of us, which was a challenge, as we have very different writing styles. In the end, I feel that the book is a great blend of both our styles. So the image of both of us sitting side-by-side writing is not accurate. It was more like taking turns.‬

Q. Do you have plans to continue writing novels together?‬

Jonathan: Hard to say. We don't have plans for anything right now. After Joni, we were both excited to get back to our own projects.‬ It's so much easier to feel like you have total control over the content. But I feel like Kelly and I collaborate on all our books, to some degree. She is the first to read my stuff and she gives the feedback that really improves my stuff. And sometimes I've been able to provide that help for her, as well. So while we may not be co-writers all the time, every one of our books has been influenced by the other.‬

Q. Was it hard to collaborate together on certain scenes? For instance, maybe one of you felt more passionate for a certain part then the other. Or did you run into any difficulty?‬

Jonathan: It indeed was difficult to give up a lot of control. Some things were easy, like anything to do with the romance, I immediately deferred to Kelly and trusted her choices.

Q. Did you two ever argue over how you wanted the story to go?‬

Jonathan: Yeah, there was some of that, mostly having to do with the romance. Kelly and I have very different love languages, lol, and different ideas about what is romantic. So I'd write something and be like, "Oh, that's so romantic!" And Kelly reads it and she's like, "Seriously? They're just sitting there talking." And I'm like, "I know, right? Getting to know each other." And she's like, "Move outta the way." Hahaha. It took me a while to come around to her way of thinking, but eventually I got it, and after reading her stuff, I was like, "Ohh, okay, I see. Yeah, that's awesome." So if you love the romance in the book, you have Kelly to thank!‬

Q. How did you two come up with the idea for this novel?‬

Jonathan: “Joni, Underway” started as an idea I had while watching “Deadliest Catch” about lobster fishermen. The job is so difficult, and that whole world is so foreign to me, and I remember thinking: “What if a city guy like me had to go work on one of these boats, and the experience changed his life?” That sparked an instant comparison to “City Slickers,” a movie I have always loved. So it’s “City Slickers” on a lobster boat, that sounds awesome! The idea sat in my mind for years, and then when Kelly and I were looking for a romance/drama to work on together, the “City Slickers on a lobster boat” idea morphed into “Joni, Underway.” Kelly was sold as soon as I said, "She falls in love with the hot boat captain!"‬

Q. Which character in Joni, Underway do you most relate to?‬

Jonathan: I relate to Joni, I think. At least when I was her age, anyway. I had a lot of inner strength, but I needed the right experience to bring it out in me. If left to my own devices, I wouldn't try new things.‬

Kelly: I had to think about this one, but I think maybe I'd go with Reid, actually. I have total wander lust and a need for adventure. I want to see and experience everything. And I want to visit and learn all about all different kinds of people and cultures. If I could sail around the world, going from job to job just to get to the next journey, I totally would. Jonathan is definitely the more stable on win our family. But I also have a bit of his compassion and empathy. I was always that friend who would go out of my way to take care of my friends who were having trouble.‬

Q. Kelly: What part of the creation of this novel will you cherish the most?‬

Kelly: Um.... my husband? lol. I think just the experience as a whole. (And come on, lets be honest, I cherish the creation of Captain Reid!) For real though, I also really love the character of Murray. He's based off of Jonathan's grandpa who was quite the character. We loved him so much and I love that a part of Boompa will always live on now.‬

Q. Do you have different jobs too, or just write together?‬

Kelly: Now we don't. I was always a stay-at-home mom while My husband worked in the film industry. Thanks to my writing, Jonathan was able to quit his job and is now going to write full time as well. We are super happy about that, and super blessed!‬

Q. Kelly: were there certain things that you found out about your husband that you might not have known without working on this piece with him?‬

Kelly: Hmm. I mostly saw a lot of things I already knew about him. For one, he's WAY more disciplined than me. He needs a schedule and routine, where I'm all over the place. He's way more thorough with research, but he's always been really book-smart. I did learn that he's a much slower writer than me. It takes him WAY longer to write a first draft than me. But I'm more patient with the rewriting process. I guess he just wants to get it right the first time. He's more of a perfectionist than me. But again, after 14 years of marriage, I already knew that too!

Q. How did you know that the other was The One?‬

Kelly: Actually it was pretty clear. A booming voice shouted down from the Heavens and said, "Hey, you! Yeah, the stubborn one who never dates seriously! HE'S THE ONE!!!!!" We met through my family. He was trying to date my older sister while I was away at college. I came home and she totally tried to pawn him off on me. Two weeks later we were engaged. Two and a half months after that, we were married.‬

Q. Jonathan: How did you propose to Kelly?‬

Jonathan: It was nothing planned out, I can tell you that, lol. Very casual, which is my style. We had been dating for 2 weeks (yes, that's 14 days) and we went to Disneyland together (Kelly had never been) and in a quiet moment afterward, Kelly joked about how fun it was hanging out together and I said, "How about we keep hanging out forever then?" or something really lame like that. The truth is, I'd been looking for a way to propose for a couple days, and that seemed as good an "in" as any, so I took it! I remember Kelly smiled and just said, "Yeah, let's do it." That was it! Very low key. But then she dropped the bomb: "But you have to call my dad and ask for permission!" I was scared of her dad, lol. Anyway, I was 21 and Kelly was 19.‬

Q. Who are your favorite authors?‬

Kelly: Oh, man, where do I start???? Meg Cabot is my all-time favorite. I totally admire her so much. Then there's John Green, Sarah Dessen, Jen Wylie, Julianne Donaldson, Simone Elkeles, Cinda Chima Williams, Cassie Claire, Cassie Mae, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Stephenie Meyer, Karen Lynch... I know I've left out like a million authors... but I could chat books all day...‬

Jonathan: Michael Crichton and Charlotte Bronte. I know, that's a weird combo, but it's the truth!‬

Q. Jonathan: Which is your favorite novel written by Kelly?‬

Jonathan: Serial Hottie is def my favorite!‬

Q. If you guys had Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak, what would you do?‬

Kelly: This makes me think of that Clay Aiken song LOL. Um... with invisibility? I'd so sneak into concerts and go back stage! I want to see the band in their unscripted moments. (And I'm not talking about the changing room you perves!) I'd just like to see what people are like when the world isn't watching them. Also, I could get much better seats to the shows!‬

Jonathan: If I were invisible, I'd go to Pixar/Disney studios and watch them make their films. I'm a huge fan of animation and I love watching the creative process unfold.‬

Q. Jonathan: What are your plans thus far for future writings?‬

Jonathan: I am now writing a sequel to my first novel "Dolls", which is a supernatural horror/thriller in the NA age range. I love creepy/dark stories. But I like haunted horror, NOT slasher horror.‬

Q. Kelly, can we look forward to another book in the Supernaturals series?‬

Kelly: Yes! There is one more still to come. Book #4 is called Priestess and it's Clara's story. Just don't ask me when it's coming lol. Sometime next year... I still have to write it.‬

Q. Kelly, do you plan on writing any sports romance books? And when I say "Sports" I mean SOCCER!‬

Kelly: I will definitely write a sports romance someday. I don't know how soon I will get to it, but I have two ideas plotted already. one for a women's fiction/chick-lit baseball book and a soccer book that is actually a companion novel to my book Cinder & Ella. It's a Robin Hood retelling that has soccer as the focus.‬ Again though, I have no clue when I'll be able to get to those books. SO many stories, so little time!‬

Q. Kelly...what is your favorite genre?‬

Kelly: Young adult anything. The more romance the better. I'm a huge high-fantasy geek though, so probably YA fantasy is my very favorite.‬

Q. Kelly: We all know you love frosting, but what is your other favorite dessert?‬

Kelly: Frosting!
 Nope, I'm not kidding.
 I totally eat cake just so I can have frosting. And I used to keep some in the fridge in college so I could just have a spoonful when I needed it. Nothing de-stresses like a spoonful of sugar! Okay, maybe white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies, cheesecake, and candy corns.‬

Q. Kelly, I like the jamie baker series and I know that inspiration just hasn't happened yet for the rest of her story. My question is are you upset that it hasn't happened yet?‬

Kelly: Oh, how do I explain Jamie.... It wasn't a lack of inspiration really. I just knew what had to happen, and there were so many different ways it could go. The first way didn't work, so I scrapped it and tried again... after like seven different versions of the first 150 pages I was frustrated and burned out and still nowhere near finishing. Then I started to feel a lot of pressure to have it finished because people were waiting for it and I'd expected it to be done sooner. And then I started getting anxiety attacks when I tried to work on it. It was very strange. I've never experienced anything like that with any other story. I was so upset for a long time. I was upset with the story, and upset with myself. It broke my heart to have to put the book on hiatus. And, to be honest, I had a rough couple of years the last two years, overworking myself in all aspects of my life, and I went to therapy. (Which did wonders, btw!) And yes, I actually worked with my therapist about the issues I was having with this specific book. And that of course helped me get a much better grip on this new career I'd stumbled onto. Now, I'm in a much better place, and I feel much better about my manuscript. I'm still a little anxious to pick it up again, but at least my love for the book and the characters is back and I'm feeling confident in it again. I'll let you in on a little secret... I've been slowly working on it for the last month or so and I've made big progress. I hope to have the book out sometime next year. Cross your fingers for me!

I definitely needed the time out with Jamie. It was hard to do, but it was honestly the best thing I could have done. I'm ready to start on it again, but while I'd set it aside, I committed to a few other projects. (Like Joni, and Libby, and my upcoming If We Were A Movie...) so now I've had to go and finish those before I could start Jamie again. Good news is, I'm finished with almost everything. I need a couple more weeks with Movie, and then the only projects I have left are Jamie #3 and Supernaturals #4. Of course, knowing me, I'll probably write something random and completely new for my annual nano project. But November never counts in my writing schedule!

Happy Book Birthday Joni, Underway!

Well, it's finally here! Today's the day you can sail away with Joni Monday on a life-changing adventure.

Title: Joni, Underway
Author: Kelly Oram & Jonathan Harrow
Publisher: Bluefields
Available on: AMAZON
Summary: Nineteen year old Joni is loving life as an adult—living on her own, dealing with grown-up things like jobs, hook-ups, and doing her own laundry. Best of all: after finishing her first year at ASU, she will never again be called a freshman. 

But when her brother is suddenly killed in a car accident, Joni’s adult life is turned upside down. Struggling to cope with loss, guilt, and anger—not to mention the meddling of friends and family trying to “fix” her—Joni is relieved to be presented with an escape in the form of a sailing trip her brother had been planning for months before he died. 

With her first step onto the sailing vessel Lady Marguerite, Joni plunges into an adventure that will mark the beginning of her real adult life—a journey across the ominous dark blue of the Atlantic Ocean with a small, eccentric crew, and the young Captain Reid, whose gorgeous looks are only outmatched by his talent for care and kindness. Unfolding through the ups and downs of life at sea is an unforgettable story reminding us that love will always be a work-in-progress and coming of age never gets old.

Available exclusively on AMAZON for the special release day sale price of $2.99!

Praise for Joni, Underway
"The story resonated with something deep within me - a novel that left me in awe and deeply touched me. Freakn amazing!" ~ Closet Geeks & Slo Mo

"Wow. I mean... Wow. This book... it was soooo much more than I expected. This was perfection, guys."  ~ Istyria Book Blog


Back on the docks, lost in the middle of a maze of boats and pilings and light posts, I watched painted numbers pass by. I was surprised at how many of the boats showed signs of occupancy. Wet towels hanging to drip-dry, or lights on in tiny windows just above the water line, or a radio playing softly. All the boats had names, of course. Some creative, or dignified, others just silly. Endless Summer. Serenity. Windsong. Yes Dear. Sea Monkey. Get Her Done. My favorite was Breaking Wind; very classy.

I was passing a shiny black yacht with the moniker Obsession, when a sudden commotion startled me. With a thrashing of water and a high-pitched shrieking came a half-naked body from under the boat. Elbows planted on the dock’s edge, a surfer-bodied guy levered himself up and flopped onto his back with an exaggerated yowl and chattering teeth. A headlamp was strapped to his forehead; its powerful beam blinded me as he leapt to his feet. “Sorry ’bout that. Didn’t get you, did I?” He turned toward Obsession. “Eva! All good now, yeah?” I moved to continue on, but he stopped me. “Hold up. Did I get you?”

“No, I’m good.” I squinted against his light.

“Oh.” He ripped it away and tossed it onto the deck of the boat. “Eva! Try it now!” Back to me: “What slip number?”

“What?” He’d caught me in mid-guess about his age. I’d have estimated mid-twenties and gorgeous. No, he was handsome, which is a word I thought only grandmas used anymore. I mean, guys are cute or guys are hot, but this guy…yeah, he was hot, but in a classic way that wasn’t intimidating. His looks didn’t say Hey baby, like what you see? They said—

“What slip number are you looking for?” He took great handfuls of each leg of his shorts and wrung the water out. His entire body was covered in goose bumps.

“Thirty-one,” I answered, and before I could follow up with the boat’s name, he said…

“Lady Marguerite.” And he cringed with a smile. “Uh-oh.”


He glanced sideways at me as he pushed excess water down his legs. “Uh, you’re young and beautiful, that’s what.” He said it with a laugh, like Duh, silly girl, didn’t you know? He could have shoved me in the water and I’d have been less surprised. “Nah, the guys are gonna love it, is all.”

I was so confused. Was he warning me or complimenting me? Should I be scared or flattered? “Okay, thanks.” Again, I turned to leave.

Again, he stopped me. “You ever been sailing?”

“What would you guess?”

He smiled, dark eyes sparkling. “Want me to walk you down there?”

I wanted to say You can walk me anywhere you want. Which, after passing through my filter, came out, “Nah, I can find it. You look really cold, so…”

He hugged himself, shoulders hunched, and his smile broadened as he considered me with a look I could only describe as thoughtful, and the kind of intense eye contact that makes your blood race.
A woman’s voice interrupted: “Yeah, that did it. Reading fine now.” From a tall, buxom supermodel standing on the back deck of Obsession with a glass of wine in hand. She swished it around with an eyebrow cocked at me.

The guy gestured down the pier. “You’re nearly there. Down toward the end, look for two guys drinking beer.”

I murmured some sort of thanks and hurried away, embarrassed by the obnoxious clack-clack-clack of my suitcase. I couldn’t help a glance back: The guy was toweling off; the supermodel had taken a seat to admire him above the rim of her wine glass. For a fleeting moment, I allowed myself to marvel at the incongruity of lifestyles in this world. Most of us have to trudge through life, get jobs, go to school, and get sunburned, while others are blessed with naturally-tanned Maxim bodies and live on rich yachts with gorgeous, muscled, goose-bumped handymen.

So, we're excited, yeah? Head on over to Amazon and take advantage of the sale price. It's only for today! The book will go back to its normal listing price of $4.99 tomorrow!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Deleted Scene from A is for Abstinence

Hey everyone! As I sent off The Libby Garrett Intervention to my editor today and was looking over some of the scenes I had to cut from the book, that made me think about a number of other scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor from some of my other books. I remembered this specific gem from A is for Abstinence and thought I'd share it with you.

So, in A is for Abstinence, Kyle finally agrees to try and abstain from sex so that Val will go out with him. As you can imagine, it's an entertaining affair. Well, at one point, Kyle officially becomes a spokesperson for the Not Everybody's Doing It Foundation. I thought it would be fun to show Kyle attempting to actually fulfill his duty as a spokesperson, so I wrote this scene where he makes is first high school visit as a guest lecturer. Of course, after I wrote it I realized that the book takes place in the summer, and that high school would be out of session for the entire book and that the scene couldn't possibly work. It had to be cut and I had to find a different way for Kyle to meet Val's younger brother. Yup, authors make bonehead mistakes like that all the time. But sometimes the end result is still entertaining, so... enjoy this deleted scene. (It's spoiler free.)

Robin had booked Val for a high school appearance that afternoon, but I didn’t want to wait until dinner to see her so I decided I’d make the appearance with her. Hey, I was an official spokesperson for the Not Everybody’s Doing It Foundation after all. I figured no one would get mad at me if I showed up.
Surprising everyone seemed like the best way to go. When I got to the high school I pulled my cap low and ducked into the building. The office secretary nearly had a heart attack when I showed up. Her hands shook so hard as she filled out my visitor’s sticker that you could barely read my name. Not that anyone would need to.
She chattered about how excited the students were going to be as she walked me to the auditorium. I really only cared about the look on Val’s face. She’d tried several times to get me to come to one of these things. I’d never thought it sounded like a good idea until now.
She introduced me to the school’s principal, a sharp looking lady in her forties wearing a suit like all the ones Val always wore. I bet the two of them had a lot in common.
She seemed as thrilled to have me as the secretary and said to go on up. “They’re actually almost finished,” she whispered as she pointed to a set of stairs that led up onto the stage.
A proud smile swept over her face. “Val’s birth mom is here too. It’s her first Not Everybody’s Doing It appearance. She shared her experience about being pregnant at fifteen. It was fantastic. Really got the kids to think. We were lucky to have her. Her son goes to school here, you know. Brody. He’s a decent kid. Good student. Plays on the varsity basketball team.”
That made me smile. “Val’s an athlete too. She plays college volleyball.”
The woman smiled and nodded toward the stage. “If you’re going to say hi, you’d better get to it. The bell rings in ten minutes.”
I grinned at the woman. “That’s plenty of time for me to get into trouble up there. Thanks for your help, Marcie.”
The principal flushed when I said her name and whispered, “Good luck.”
I didn’t need it. I climbed the steps and swaggered out to the middle of the stage where Val was sitting on a stool holding a microphone. “Hey everyone!” I called.
The room shook from the screams of the students. I’d sent all the teenage girls into a frenzy that didn’t stop for a good three minutes. If any of them passed out I’d probably get in trouble, but it would be worth it for the look on Val’s face as I joined her on stage and kissed her hello.
“What are you doing here?” she gasped.
I took the microphone from her hand and smiled at the audience. “I’m a spokesperson for the Not Everybody’s Doing It foundation,” I said. “I’m spokespersoning.”
The kids screamed again. I grinned at Val and offered the microphone back to her but she shook her head and waved me on. “Be my guest.”
I turned to the crowd and suddenly realized I had no idea what to say to these kids, so I blurted out the first thing I always said at my shows. “What’s up Riverside High?”
I got more cheering, and a bit of crying.
They waited for me to say something…
“Uh…so…have these fine ladies convinced any of you to not have sex yet? They’re pretty good at doing that. Val, especially.” I held up my wrist to show off my bracelet and grimaced. “Believe me, I know.”
There was a mixture of laughter and cheers that time. When the noise died down I scrambled for something else to say. “So, as you guys may have heard, I’ve been, uh, celibate for over nine months now. What can I say about abstinence? It sucks. A lot.” Gasps and laughter. “And it’s painfully hard all the time.”
That got a roar of laughter and applause so loud that I lost it. I laughed at all their dirty, little, horny teenage minds.
Val jumped up and swiped the microphone from me. “He meant that abstaining is very difficult for him,” she said, giving me a look of death that only made me laugh more.
I stole the mic back and said, “It’s that too, but I actually meant—”
“Kyle! Val shrieked.
“I’m teasing!” I said before she decided to kill me. “I really did mean that it’s not easy for me to abstain. All you perverts need to get your minds out of the gutter. You’re getting me in trouble with my girlfriend.”
“Oh yeah? What’s she gonna do?” some tool in the auditorium shouted. “Stop putting out for you?”
The audience roared again and Val slapped her hands over her face as she shook her head in shame. I decided I’d better get back on track before she had an aneurism.
“Anybody have any questions for me?”
Hands shot up all over the auditorium. “Appropriate questions!” Principal Marcie called out in a sharp warning tone. “Questions relevant to the topic!”
There was a low groan from the audience and most of the hands went down. I pointed to a girl near the front of the stage. “If you hate it so much,” she asked, “why do you do it?”
That was simple. “Because it’s important to Val.”
The girls all swooned while most of the guys scoffed or laughed.
Mr. Teenage Tool from before shouted, “Dude, you are so whipped!”
I laughed. “Hell yes I am.”
“Lame!” the guy called out.
I wasn’t bothered in the least by his taunts. “Are you telling me you wouldn’t want to be whipped by a woman like Val?”
“Okay!” Val shouted, snagging the microphone from me, while the auditorium once again fell apart with laughter. “I think that about covers it for today! We’ve left a bunch of pamphlets about the Not Everybody’s Doing It foundation and the V is for Virgin campaign with your principal. They’ll be passed out to you in your homerooms tomorrow. Remember anyone who comes in and officially takes the abstinence pledge gets a free V or A necklace, bracelet, or keychain. Thanks for having us here!”
With that she dragged me off stage, glaring at me so hard it was a wonder she wasn’t pulling me along by my ear. When we reached principal Marcie, I held my hand out for a high five. She slapped my palm, but the motion seemed subconscious, like she’d done it without thinking because that’s just what you do when someone holds up a hand to you.
“How’d I do for my first time?” I asked, still wondering at the look on her face. She gaped at me with wide eyes and flushed cheeks, at a complete loss for words.
I looked to Val to see if she knew what the principal’s problem was, but she didn’t see me. She was too busy pinching her nose between her eyes. “I am so sorry,” she finally said. “If you get any angry calls from parents, please direct them to call the foundation. I will speak with all of them personally.”
“I would appreciate that,” principal Marcie muttered.
“What’s the matter?” I asked, my gaze bouncing back and forth between them.
Principal Marcie blinked at me again. “He doesn’t even know, does he?” she asked. She was staring at me but the question was directed at Val.
Val sighed. “No, he really doesn’t have a clue. I’m sorry. I didn’t know he was coming. I would have talked to him before.”
“Are you ladies planning to fill me in?” I asked with a forced laugh. I didn’t like feeling cornered by the two of them. “Did I do something wrong? I thought it went well. The kids seemed to have a good time.”
“You can’t even be angry,” Principal Marcie mumbled, astonished.
“Nope.” Val laughed a little, but it was a defeated gesture. “You can’t even get mad. Honestly, I’d say we were lucky. Knowing Kyle, it could have gone a lot worse.”
“I’d believe it.”

Principal Marcie finally snapped out of her trance and a faint smile broke out on her face. She held a hand out to Val, thanking her for coming, and then to me. “Well, Mr. Hamilton, it was certainly interesting meeting you. Thank you for stopping by the school.”

Friday, August 7, 2015

Confessions of an antagonist: Aiden Kennedy Tells All

Back by popular demand, I have Spanish Fork High's most hated misunderstood science geek on the blog today, and he's ready to shed some light on The Great Aiden/Avery Fallout as their friends have come to call it.

Joining me once again to ask the tough questions is Mel from Words Feather blog. Hey Mel! Thanks so much for hanging out with my characters this week.

Mel: Oh, of course! It's been a blast.

Kelly: And Aiden... You're a good sport.

Aiden: *snorts* Thanks so much, Kelly.

Kelly: So, I guess I'll let you guys get too it. Take it away Mel!

Mel: Thanks Kel! Hey Aiden! Thanks so much for coming back today to sit with me in a one-on-one interview. I know it’s been rough for you since the whole Avery Shaw Experiment went down last year. Some mistakes were made, people were hurt, and those close to Avery and Grayson haven’t been particularly forgiving even if Avery has. You seemed so sincere the other day sitting with Avery, that my heart went out to you. Hopefully we can clear the air a little with all the fans out there, and you can finally move past the Avery Shaw debacle and find your own peace with what happened.

Aiden: *mutters* One can only hope.

Mel: So, I guess the best way to do this is just to dive in and get right to the heart of it. What all the fans out there really want to know is…WTF? How could you? What was going through your head when you abandoned Avery and broke her heart?

Aiden: *lets out a long, heavy breath* Every story has to have an antagonist, right? Guess I drew the short straw. *sends Mel a small self-deprecating smile* Really, though, I just made a mistake. I never meant to hurt Avery. I’d never want to do that. She’s my best friend.

Mel: So what happened?

Aiden: *sighs* I took Avery for granted, plain and simple. I didn’t do it on purpose, and I didn’t hurt her on purpose. I never dreamed that quitting science club and getting a girlfriend would destroy my relationship with Avery. I never once considered the possibility that I could lose her. It was Avery. We were… were… *sighs* I mean we just were. The thought of that changing—of us not being whatever we were—was incomprehensible. We did everything together, loved each other unconditionally. She was such a part of me that I couldn’t separate us. I couldn’t think of us as individuals. Nothing was ever about what I liked or what I wanted. There was no I. It was always we. What did we like? What were we going to do today? She wasn’t my sister, but she wasn’t my girlfriend. She was part of me. Does that even make sense? I’m not sure I can really explain it any better.

Mel: I think I get it. But if she was such a part of you, then how could you abandon her the way you did? Wouldn’t that be like cutting off your arm or leg, or something?

Aiden: *meets Mel’s gaze with a pained look* Losing Avery was like being ripped in two. Without her I wasn’t whole anymore. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced, probably the worst thing that I ever will experience.

Mel: *frowns* But… But it was your choice to leave her. I guess I still don’t understand how you could do it. You had her. She loved you. She would have probably stayed with you forever and been happy. If you cared so much for her—needed her to make you complete—how could you give her up?

Aiden: *closes his eyes and takes a long deep breath* Look. I really hate to use such an overdone cliché, but sometimes you really just don’t know what you have until you lose it. Have you ever felt lost? Confused about who you are, or what you want? I was almost seventeen, half way through my junior year of high school. And I had no clue what I really wanted in life. All of my friends kept making decisions about college or were involved in activities or programs that were going to help them after school. They were dating, going to dances, kissing, breaking up… They were experiencing life. I’d never had a girlfriend. Never kissed a girl. I’d never done anything on my own.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I grew up, wasn’t sure what my interests were. I’d never thought about myself. My first thoughts were always about Avery. Always. We did science club because I knew she liked it. We watched most of the movies we did because I knew she wanted to. I took her to museums because I knew it made her happy. Yeah, I enjoyed all of those things too, but would I have done them if Avery wasn’t factored into the equations? I didn’t know.

The truth is, my relationship with Avery, the way it was, wasn’t healthy for either of us. I did what I did because we needed the separation. We both needed to learn to think for ourselves and figure out who we were as individuals. I still stand by that thought.  I didn’t handle it the best way, because I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, and how do you handle something like that anyway? Is there ever a good way to tell the person you love the most in the world that you need some space?  I think Avery would have understood if we’d sat down and really talked about it. I think she would have even been okay with it or a little excited about it. *smiles to himself* She’s have treated it like an experiment. The Avery and Aiden Self Discovery Experiment. We’d have tried different things and spent time apart, but we’d have done it together.

My biggest mistake was letting Mindy manipulate me. *smirks bitterly* But what guy has never acted stupid over a girl at least once? Mindy was good at using the truth against me to get what she wanted. She was jealous of Avery. Intimidated by how close I was with her. I still can’t really blame her for that. But that’s what made it so easy for her to get me to stay away from Avery. I understood Mindy’s insecurity. I sympathized with it. From her perspective, it was a horrible situation. She had a boyfriend who spent all of his time with another girl. A girl he loved. To an extent, Mindy had a right to ask me to back off of my relationship with Aves.

And she was my first girlfriend. I wanted to make her happy. I wanted to let her know she could trust me. I wanted her to feel like I cared about her, put her first before any other girl. I wanted her to feel safe with me. Are any of those desires bad for a boyfriend to want? No. Those kinds of things are qualities a girl should look for in a guy. They’re things she should expect in a relationship—things she deserves.  So while it was happening, I was trying to look at a confusing situation logically. I was trying to make everything black and white. But Avery’s and my situations wasn’t black and white. I needed to think with more than just my head. I needed to use my heart too. I just figured that out too late, and by then, the damage had been done. And the worst part of it was, I was heartbroken, and I felt like I didn’t deserve to fix it. It was my fault. I’d destroyed Avery. I was in my own personal hell, and I deserved everything I got.

Mel: *a little choked up* That must have been hard.

Aiden: It’s still hard. I’ll pay for those mistakes for the rest of my life.

Mel: But Avery’s forgiven you at least. You guys are friends again, right?

Aiden: She’s forgiven me, but she’s not mine. What I lost last year, I will never get back. Not completely. I’m relieved that she’s forgiven me, and grateful we can still be friends, but it’s not the same. I have her still, but in a way, I also lost her for good.

Mel: *just a little bit heartbroken for Aiden* So, you still love her.

Aiden: Of course I love her.

Mel: No, I mean you’re still in love with her. Aren’t you?

Aiden: *looks away and glares at the ground*  *doesn’t answer the question*

Mel: *in a soft voice* But some good came out of this still, right? I mean you said that you guys needed the separation. You’ve changed a lot over the past year. You have some knew friends, and you seem to know what you want to do with your life now. After everything is said and done a year later, do you regret what happened? Even with the positive changes in your life?

Aiden: *thinks for a long time* Honestly? Yes there have been some positive changes in my life, but I think I could have figured things out without losing Avery. I could have done things better. I didn’t have to hurt either of us and destroy the amazing relationship we had, so yes. I regret it. I probably always will.

Mel: I’m sorry.

Aiden: *shrugs* We all have to live with the consequences of our mistakes. The best we can do is learn from them.

Mel: So what have you learned?

Aiden: *sends another bitter smirk into his lap* To think before I act. To use my heart more. To cherish the people who mean something to me and never take my friends for granted. To trust myself more and not allow people to manipulate me. And I’ll definitely take a much closer look at any girls I date. I won’t be jumping head first into a relationship ever again.

Mel: So, are you dating anyone then?

Aiden: Can’t. Avery’s taken. *flashes Mel a small smile to let her know that was a joke, but can’t quite hide the truth in his words*  *sighs, resigned* No. I’m not dating anyone right now. I don’t think I’m ready to try that again. *smiles a small smile for real this time* I might have to try Avery’s seven stages of grief first. Right now I’m just focusing on finishing school. Graduating. Learning more about myself. Getting ready for next year.

Mel: What are your plans for next year?

Aiden: I’m going to study journalism at the University of Utah. I think I’d like to be an investigative reporter. I love the news. I like learning the truth of things, and I’m good with words.

Mel: Yeah, I’d say you are. I think you’ve done a great job explaining your side of the story today. I’m sure you’ve convinced at least some of the haters out there that you actually are a decent guy. You’ve convinced me, anyway. I think I can forgive you for hurting Avery.

Aiden: *smirks* Thanks.

Mel: No, thank you for coming back today. I’m really glad I got to hear your story, and I’m sure a lot of others are too. I wish you the best of luck next year at college. And hey, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you find exactly the right girl for you so you can find a little inner peace. You know, I happen to be in pretty good with Kelly. I could put in a good word for you. I hear she’s pretty darn good at the matchmaking thing.

Aiden: *chuckles* *shakes his head softly* *mutters more sincerely this time* Thanks Mel.

A Sneak Peek Into The Libby Garrett Intervention

Well, here we are folks. The final day of Science Geek Appreciation Week. And what a week it's been! We've read all about The Avery Shaw Experiment, revealed the cover and got a few teasers from The Libby Garrett Intervention releasing this October, we've gotten up close and personal with Science Squad author Kelly Oram, and we've invaded Avery's and Grayson's privacy by reading their journals.

We've partied on Facebook with games, teasers, bonus material, and giveaways. (The party's still going on, so stop by the FACEBOOK EVENT and enter the giveaways before they're over.)

Hopefully you've all bought your copy of Avery at its Science Geek Appreciation price of just $0.99. I promise, it's worth the dollar! Amazon * iBooks * B&N * KoboAnd, of course, The Libby Garrett Intervention is coming October 24th! So hopefully, you've signed up for Kelly Oram's NEWSLETTER to receive special preorder discounts and be notified of the book's release. 

It seems there's only one thing left to do, and that would be get a nice good look at The Libby Garrett Intervention in this first-ever sneak peek!

Libby Garrett is addicted to Owen Jackson's hot lovin'. But the sexy, popular college basketball player doesn't appreciate all of Libby's awesomeness. He refuses to be exclusive or even admit to people that they're dating. The relationship is ruining Libby and she's the only one who can't see it. 

When Libby's behavior spirals completely out of control, her best friend Avery Shaw and the rest of the Science Squad stage an intervention hoping to cure Libby of her harmful Owen addiction. They put her through her very own Twelve Step program—Owen's Anonymous—and recruit the help of a sexy, broody, hard as nails coffee man to be her official sponsor.


Adam Koepp has watched Libby Garrett for years. How could he not notice the sassy girl with the purple skateboard and helmet plastered with cat stickers? But in all the years he's crushed on her, Libby has failed to take notice of him. Why would she when he was just a nobody high school drop out who served her apple cider several times a week? Especially when she was hooking up with a guy like Owen Jackson—a guy with a college scholarship and more abs than Kyle Hamilton.

Adam finally gets the chance to meet Libby when his co-worker Avery Shaw recruits him to take Libby on the journey of a lifetime. With his ability to play Bad Cop and his experience with the Twelve Step program he's the perfect candidate to be Libby's sponsor. But will he be able to keep his personal feelings out of the matter and really help her the way she needs? And will Libby hate him when he forces her to take an honest look at herself?


(This excerpt hasn't been though it's final round of edits and is subject to change in the final draft.)

“I love Avery, and I’m happy for her—she certainly deserves Grayson—but now her perception of reality is totally skewed. She thinks everyone has a fairy-tale ending coming to them. She doesn’t understand that most of us won’t be so lucky. Especially not someone like me.”
Adam kept his gaze on the window and let out a breath. “Someone like you?”
“Yeah, someone like me. Fat girls don’t exactly get a lot of love.”
He pulled his eyes away from the view to glare at me for that one. I wasn’t sure what his problem was. It’s not like my weight was a secret.
“Maybe I’m not three hundred pounds, but I’m definitely pushing it when I use the word chubby. In high school, that equates to being the fat girl, and, before you ask, I can’t just lose the weight. I have hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed when I was eleven because I became borderline diabetic. I’ve been on a strict diet and exercise program ever since so that I don’t develop more serious health problems. I’m actually in decent shape cardiovascularly speaking; I just can’t get rid of all the weight. This is as good as I will ever get.”
Adam pulled his eyes away from the window and shifted his entire body so that he was facing me. “You don’t think you’ll ever find someone that loves you because you’ll never be thin?”
I scoffed. “This is real life, not Hairspray. There is no Link Larkin out there waiting for me. Don’t even try to tell me that there is. You know there’s not. It’s a miracle Owen even gives me the time of day.”
After pulling the beanie off his head to rake his hand through his hair, Adam slumped in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest, glaring out the windshield. I didn’t understand the mood swing. He’d seemed pretty chill when I first picked him up. Now he was back to being that stick-up-the-butt grump I first met. “What about Owen?” he asked suddenly. “He doesn’t seem to mind your weight.”
“Ha!” I clenched my hands so tightly on the steering wheel that my knuckles turned white. I’d been telling myself that same thing for a year, but that didn’t make it true. “Of course he does. That’s the biggest problem we have. He acts the way he does with me because he’s embarrassed of my looks. I always knew that, but I told myself it didn’t matter, because even if he was ashamed of his feelings for me, at least he had them.”
Adam was appalled by my logic. “Are you serious? The guy is ashamed of you, and you don’t think that matters?”
A surge of anger pulsed through me, but I managed to keep hold of my temper. “Of course it matters. Do you think I like that he won’t introduce me to any of his friends? I don’t. I hate it. He won’t even admit to Grayson that we’re dating. Do you know how that makes me feel?”
“Then why do you put up with it?”
“Because it’s better than nothing. Which is what I have without Owen. No one has ever wanted me before. At all. In any way. Owen can be a jerk, but I know at least part of him cares about me. It’s not like he hooks up with me because I’m his only option. The guy is gorgeous, popular, and athletic. He can be with anyone he wants, but he still chooses to be with me. He likes being with me. He’s not a total douche. He does appreciate my awesomeness. When we’re together and it’s just us, he can be so sweet. He makes me feel beautiful—desirable, special, wanted. I don’t get to feel like that any other time in my life, so I take the bad with the good.”
I couldn’t believe I was having such an intimate conversation with this odd stranger, but it was surprisingly nice to be completely honest for once. “I can’t say no to Owen because I know that if I say yes, I’ll get to feel those things. The bad stuff will disappear and I’ll feel amazing, at least for a little while. And I’m afraid that if I don’t come when he calls, he’ll find someone else. I’m sure he sees other girls at college. Yes, I hate that, but what other choice do I have? If I push him away, then I’m back to having nobody. Without Owen, I’m back to being a lonely, fat nerd. I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.”
The conversation died there.
I’d never been so honest with anyone before, not even Avery. I wasn’t sure how Adam got me to crack open like that, but I felt so exposed. I’d spent years building up the thickest skin a human being could possibly have, and somehow, in less than an hour, Adam broke right through all of my defenses. That scared me. Who was this guy? How did he get to me so easily?
Adam sat in silence on the other side of the car. I knew he was thinking about everything I’d just said. Knew he was putting it together with all the times we’d met so far, and forming a new opinion of me. I didn’t want to know what that might be.
I drove us through the winding mountains, paying more attention to my crappy thoughts and feelings than the road. We were lucky I didn’t send us plummeting over the side of the canyon to our deaths.
“Believe it or not, I understand how you feel,” Adam said, breaking the long silence with his soft voice. “I know exactly what it’s like to be so desperate for someone’s affection that you’d let them destroy you just to win their approval.”
My chest tightened at his admission. It made me crazy with curiosity. Who had he loved so much that he could sound as full of despair as he did now? There was truth in his words, and whatever truth it was, it had been devastating to him. Was there more to Avery asking him for help than just his ability to play Bad Cop? He said we had something in common, but I couldn’t understand how a guy like him could ever be an outcast the way I am.
“If you don’t let him go,” Adam said, pulling my attention back to the conversation, “he will destroy you eventually.”
I had no doubt he was speaking from experience, but I didn’t ask, and he didn’t elaborate. He left me alone after that, and we spent the rest of the drive in silence. It wasn’t until we reached the ski resort and climbed out of the Escalade that he finally said, “You have to want it, Libby. Admitting that the relationship is unhealthy is a good start, but it isn’t enough. If you don’t genuinely want to give him up, then we’re wasting each other’s time.”
I wasn’t sure I’d ever fully want to give Owen up, but I didn’t want to let him keep using me, either. “What exactly are we doing with each other, anyway?” I asked as I led Adam through the parking lot toward the mountain. “How do you plan to help me?”
“Every twelve-step program is a journey. It’s actually a very spiritual experience for the person taking the steps. It requires a leap of faith. My job as your sponsor—so to say—is to take that leap with you and sort of guide you through the process. You’ll have to do all the work. I can’t take the steps for you, but I can show you the way. I’m here to hold your hand or give you a nudge when you need it, point you in the right direction if you can’t see clearly, and pick you up if you fall.”
We reached the base of the mountain and immediately hit a wall of people. The mountain was packed because it was the last weekend of the season, and it looked like the competition had also drawn quite a crowd as well.
I grabbed Adam’s hand tightly so that we wouldn’t get separated, and headed toward the halfpipe. Adam startled at my touch, but didn’t pull away. He looked down at our hands and then did that infuriatingly sexy thing where he raises one of his eyebrows at me, as if demanding an answer.
Man, he could be so hot when he wanted. If I weren’t in such a hurry, I’d have stayed locked in that challenging stare with him until the snow melted. Unfortunately, there was no time to explore the tension that sometimes ignited between us. I rolled my eyes at him, pretending I wasn’t the least bit excited to be touching him, and started tugging him through the spectators. “Gotta move your honeybuns, Coffee Man. We’re late.”
“You know,” he said lightly as he followed me through the crowd, “when I mentioned hand holding before, I was speaking metaphorically.”
“Well, that’s just too bad, because right now I need it in the literal sense. I don’t have time to lose you. It looks like they’ve already started, and I’ll be the worst daughter ever if I miss my dad’s first run.”
Adam chuckled. Then, a few seconds later he relaxed his grip, shifting his hand in mine so that our fingers laced together. There was something intimate in the casual way he clung to me as we walked. It was as if he weren’t hanging on for the purpose of staying together, but rather holding my hand simply for the pleasure of it. The way a boyfriend would. The way Owen had never done. The way no one had ever done.

It took everything in me not to stumble to a stop and gape at him. I glanced back as subtly as I could manage. He met my eyes, smiling as if he didn’t have a care in the world. As though holding my hand was something he did every day, something so natural he didn’t even have to think about it.

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The Libby Garrett Intervention is coming October 24th! 
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Kelly wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy. 

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