I have a deleted scene, which I decided not to put in Black Box. I felt the story ended in a good place; a place where readers could see how Mikki and Crush’s story had come full-circle. So I opted not to add this chapter so as not to dampen the impact of the ending. However, I’d like to show my appreciation by offering this deleted scene to anyone who has shown me their support by pre-ordering Black Box.
To claim your deleted scene, fill out the short request form here.
Black Box is available for pre-order here:
Don’t forget to scroll down to read an excerpt from chapter three of Black Box. (more…)
Your wife’s new haircut….
The glaring typo in the title of this blog post.
Also, you may have noticed that the indie version of Abandon has a new cover. And, yes, you also may have noticed that, to celebrate the new cover, I’ve put the ebook on sale for 99¢ for a limited time. You can get your copy here:
The stone spheres on the railing are covered in cone-shaped piles of snow. I brush the snow off the sphere nearest me and attempt to balance my beer on top.
“My granddad used to say that he never left New England because magical things happen in the snow.”
My fingers are really starting to ache, so I guzzle down the rest of my beer and toss the empty bottle onto the snow-covered table behind us. I turn back to the railing and Crush is gazing up at the sky with a wistful look on his face as the snowflakes fall on his cheeks.
“This is the same granddad that gave you the book?”
He looks down at me and my stomach flips. “This was the last thing he gave me before he died.” For a moment, I assume he’s talking about the book, until he reaches into his coat pocket and comes up with a crushed penny. “It’s my lucky penny. I use it every time I have an important performance.”
“You have a lucky penny?”
He gazes into my eyes and nods. “Do you believe in fate?”
“Neither do I. Do you believe in luck?”
“What’s the difference?” His gaze is intense as he awaits my answer.
“I don’t know. You’re the one with the lucky penny. You tell me. What’s the difference between fate and luck?”
He smiles and turns his attention back to the view of the city. “Fate is for fairy tales. It’s a romantic notion. Luck is what happens when you’re in the right place at the right time … with the right person.”
A shiver travels through me and I tuck my hands inside my coat pockets. I lean over the railing to get a view of the street below and Crush grabs my arm.
“Please don’t do that.”
“Do what? I was just looking at the street.”
Not that it didn’t cross my mind to leap, but we’re only four stories up. Not high enough.
His eyes are fixed on my arm where his immense hand is clasped around my bicep. It takes a moment for me to realize that this is the first time he’s touched me and I didn’t flinch.
He gently releases his hold on me. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to grab you. Just instinct, I guess.”
“That’s okay.” I pull my lighter and pack of Lucky Strikes out of my pocket.
He glances at my cigarettes and smiles. “You smoke Luckies?”
“My best friend Rina smokes a Blackjack, but I can’t do that. I don’t smoke just because I’m addicted to the nicotine. I like the flavor.”
“Where’s your best friend now?”
I pop the cigarette in my mouth, but the snow and the slight breeze keep stamping out the lighter’s flame. Crush cups his hands around my hands and the flame holds as I draw a long pull on the cigarette. His face is less than a foot away from mine as he slowly lowers his hands. I don’t notice I’m holding my breath until I begin to choke on the smoke. I turn my head away so I don’t cough in his face, but when I turn back he’s still there.
“Are you all right?”
“Not if you keep smoking those.”
*** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ***
Winner: Cassie Hoffman
For a chance to have a secondary character NAMED AFTER YOU, enter via the Rafflecopter below. Winner will be announced here on the blog and on Facebook on Friday. Good luck!
Around this time last year, I woke up (having hit publish on Relentless the night before), clamored down the stairs of my sister’s house where I was staying at the time, opened up my laptop to check if I’d sold even a single copy of Relentless while I was sleeping, and nearly went into shock.
Less than two weeks later, Relentless hit the USA Today bestsellers list.
I think sometimes people hear stories like this and think, “Oh, she’s an overnight success. I can do that, too.” Overnight success does not, in any way, describe my story.
I have been a storyteller all my life. Before I could even write, I recorded my stories on cassette tapes. All I wanted to be from elementary school and all throughout college was a professional novelist. But, for twenty-five years, I told myself that my stories didn’t matter. That no one wanted to hear what I had to say.
Eight and a half years ago, at the age of twenty-eight, I decided to start writing the first novel I would ever finish. Though I’d been writing fiction and poetry my entire life, I had no idea what I was in for. I hated every draft of that book, even the final draft. I spent years honing my craft while writing that book, attending writing classes, workshops, writers’ groups, online beta groups, author forums…. I read every book on the craft of writing and getting published that I could get my hands on. I even studied screenwriting in hopes to gain a slight edge. I was obsessed with becoming the writer I knew I could become. But I still hated everything I wrote.
It took me six years to finish my first novel and it still sucked. It wasn’t until I realized a pattern in all my stories (a strong theme of romance) that I began to think I needed to switch genres in August of 2012. At the time, I was living in Portugal, in a house that was more than 100 years old. We had a leaky toilet, a leaky shower, a leaky roof, and barely enough food. We were living on anywhere from $300-800 a month in royalties from my first novel, some short stories, and freelance articles.
At that point, I knew I had studied long enough and I had worked hard enough. I was sleeping every other night for a while there just to meet my deadlines. I knew in my heart I deserved to give myself a chance.
That was when I began writing the Chase and Luke series.
When Luke was finished, I wanted to write another full-length novel. I had just completed two novella series. I wanted to branch out. And I had a story brewing in my mind about a girl who was running from a dark secret, until that secret quite literally came banging down her door. I knew I wanted to tell that story in a beautiful beach setting. And I knew that, if it did well, it would be the first in a series about a girl torn between running away and confronting the past she was terrified of facing. A girl who made a sacrifice that no one could imagine making for the one person who saved her and showed her love as no one had ever done before.
The night I hit publish on Relentless, I allowed myself to hope that it would be at least successful as Luke, which had been fairly successful and had earned me in one month more than I had made the entire previous year. I did not expect what would happen in the weeks that followed the publication of Relentless.
If you ask anyone who knows me well, my sisters, my daughter, Mimi Strong, they will tell you what a complete and utter wreck I was. It was as if all the twenty-five years of dreaming, the eight-years of grappling with the written word, the one and a half years of crippling self-doubt and sleepless nights, were finally worth it.
So, no, I was not in anyway an overnight success. And if you ask me now, I have no idea why Relentless became so successful. All I know is that I could not have done it without my family, my friends, and all of you. You made me who I am today by taking a chance on a fairly unknown author who felt she had a story to tell.
*** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ***
Winner: Paula Jackman
You must have read Relentless to be eligible for this giveaway. We will verify this when notifying the winner. If you haven’t read Relentless yet, there’s still plenty of time to do that before Friday, and it’s only 99¢ right now.
We will pick a winner of the $365 gift card on Friday, February 28th. Good luck!
WORDLESS WEDNESDAY #1
*** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ***
Wordless Wednesdays is when we post pictures of some of our favorite moments in Cassia’s books, with NO WORDS! For a chance to win your choice of a signed Cassia Leo book, guess which scenes the pictures are depicting and comment below. We will pick a winner using Random.org and announce the winner here on this post and on Facebook tomorrow. Good luck!
- Natalie (assistant)
I constantly get asked for advice from new writers. It’s difficult to answers those kinds of queries. I can’t tell you how to succeed in this business because so much of it depends on luck. I can give you some advice on how to write better, which will certainly increase your chances of getting lucky.
This is an article I wrote as a guest blog post for one of my fellow authors back in 2011, and the same advice still applies. As with all creative pursuits, rules are made to be broken. So take my words to heart or with a grain of salt. It doesn’t matter whether you follow the rules. It matters whether you break them willingly or unwillingly.
Ten Ways to Improve Your Writing (for New Writers)
(The following article was originally published July 2011.)
Mikki is lying on her side on the bathroom floor next to the tub, a thin stream of blood trickling from a cut on her forehead. I crouch next to her and put my fingers on her neck to check her pulse. It seems strong, maybe just a tad fast.
“Mikki?” I call out again. “Mikki, can you hear me?”
I scoop her up in my arms and that’s when I see it. I nearly drop her body onto the floor at the sight of it.
*** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ***
For a chance to win one of two Black Box ARCs, all you have to do is share this blog post or the image on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your blog, wherever, and comment below letting me know what you think it is that Crush sees while carrying Mikki.
Thank you to everyone who participated in celebrating Abandon’s release! The twenty-one winners from the Rafflecopter giveaway are listed below. If your name is on the list, you should have received an email. If you did not receive an email please email email@example.com. (more…)
Let me start off by saying that I love my job. This is the job I dreamed of having since I learned that books were written by people and not just poofed into existence. Books have always been a source of magic and joy for me. That I get to sit down every day and do what I love is so, so surreal. I am still not sure I believe this is real life.
Unfortunately, because of the way this industry works and the way the market works in this genre, readers have come to expect an author to put out a new book every one to three months. I remember back in the days when we were happy to get a new book from a favorite author once a year.
Some readers (more…)
Abandon is now available for purchase.
Well, my journey with Tristan has not been long enough. I’m not quite ready to let him go, but I know it’s not fair to keep him all to myself. You will all get to curl up with him now; take the journey with him. And, what a sexy and, at times, heartbreaking journey it is.
And now, instead of the boring old synopsis you usually get, I’m giving you all a summary of Abandon in gif format. Don’t forget to scroll down after the summary and excerpt to enter the GIVEAWAY! (more…)