READY TO ROCK
by Cara Connelly
Readers of Cara Connelly’s Save the Date series met Jack and Lil McCabe in The Wedding Favor. Go back in time and experience Jack and Lil’s original love story, with a hefty dose of romance and suspense. Ready to Rock, is Connelly’s first indie title. Ready to Rock won RWA’s Golden Heart award (under the title The Sinners), and the Valley Forge Romance Writer’s Sheila Award (also under The Sinners).
His name’s on everyone’s lips–sexy rocker Jack McCabe. His gritty New York City band is red hot, almost as hot as his fiery affair with photography student Lil Marchone, the girl from his past, now the woman he loves. The problem is, Lil’s controlling ex wants her back. Rich, powerful, and ruthless, he’ll stop at nothing–including murder–to get Jack out of her life. But Jack’s a badass himself, always up for a fight. And with the stakes this high, he’ll risk everything for Lil, even his band. Even his life.
“Honey, you have to get help.” Mama’s tone was calm but urgent.
“Me? How?” I was frozen in place. I needed her to tell me what to do.
“Just open the door,” she said quietly, “and climb up to the road. Wave at the first car you see and tell them to call an ambulance.”
It sounded simple, but I was trapped in one of those dreams where you desperately want to run but your legs won’t move.
Then flames licked out from under the hood. Mama quit feigning calm. “Get out of the car!”
Galvanized, I yanked on the door handle. But the frame had bent. The door wouldn’t budge. “Mama, help me!”
“I can’t!” she shouted. And that’s when I noticed the dashboard sitting in her lap. Her legs were crushed, she was pinned to her seat. It was up to me to help her.
Unlocking my seatbelt, I leaned across to the other door. The car was tilted that way, so the door swung open when I touched the handle. But before I could bring my legs around, fire belched up from underneath. I leapt back, singed. Flames curled into the car. Mama was yelling. “Get out the back! Go! Go!” I yanked down the seat. The trunk was jammed with suitcases. I clawed at them. But Daddy had loaded the largest first, wedging it tight against the seat, braced by the smaller bags.
“I can’t,” I wailed. “I can’t move them!” And it was too late anyway. The flames were all around the car, the air inside so hot it seared my lungs. Reaching forward, I wrapped my arms around Mama’s neck; she clawed at my shoulders, trying to pull me between the seats, into her lap, to shield me with her body.
And then my door flew open, and a man thrust his shoulders right into that furnace. Mama saw him, and with all the strength she’d been using to pull me forward, she pushed me back toward him. “Take her! Take my daughter!” His arms locked around my waist and he hauled me backwards. Insanely, I clung to Mama, trying to bring her with me. She batted at my grasping hands. “Go with him!” And though I struggled at first, I had no choice. He was big and strong. He threw me over his shoulder and ran.
At the roadside, he set me down in the grass. The car was a fireball, the cottonwood jutting above it, burning like a torch against the dusky sky. “Mama!” I screamed, trying to get up.
The man pushed me down. Holding my face between his hands, he forced me to look into his eyes. “I’ll get them out, but you have to wait here. Promise me.” He seemed so steady and sure. I didn’t know what else to do, so I nodded. And without another word, he stood up and ran straight toward the car.
Learn about Cara’s Save the Date series- http://www.caraconnelly.com/category/books/
Cara Connelly is the author of the Save the Date series of contemporary romances published by Avon Romance. The latest book in the series, The Wedding Gift, was released in May 2015. Cara’s smart and sexy stories have won several awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart, the Valley Forge Romance Writers’ Sheila, and the Music City Romance Writers’ Melody of Love. A former attorney and law professor, she lives with her husband Billy in the woods of upstate New York.
I begged and pleaded and Cara kindly agreed to share some writing advice with us today. 🙂
My advice for up and coming authors in today’s market
The publishing industry is changing moment to moment, so any advice I (or anyone else) offer on current trends or strategies is already obsolete. Today’s secret to success will be outdated by tomorrow.
With the industry whirling around us, the soundest advice I can offer is to stand your ground—meaning write what moves you, without worrying about trends—and concentrate most of your time and energy on the fundamentals.
First and foremost, master your craft. There’s no substitute for a great story, beautifully told. Study your favorite books and figure out what you love about them. Take workshops. Read craft books. Join writers’ organizations and learn from your colleagues.
Persevere. Friends and family might try to discourage you, maybe because they’re jealous that you’re following your dream, maybe because they’re afraid you’ll get your heart broken. Either way, don’t be deterred. Ditto when you get the inevitable agent/editor rejections. Very few authors succeeded on their first try, or even their first hundred tries. Read their personal stories and you’ll see that even the most successful authors had plenty of incentive to give up along the way. Only because they preserved do you know their names today.
Don’t chase trends: write what moves you, and the trends will circle around to it again before you know it. My current release READY TO ROCK is the perfect example. It won Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award in 2011, and I got my agent on the strength of the manuscript. But we couldn’t sell it. We came close a few times, but editors kept telling us that…get this…people don’t want to read about rock stars.
I was disappointed (more rejection!), but I put it on the back burner and went ahead with my Save the Date series, which we sold to Avon. And then a few years later, lo and behold, indie authors started publishing rock star romances, and readers loved them! They ate them up and wanted more. So I polished up READY TO ROCK (formerly titled The Sinners), and so far the reviews have been fantastic. I couldn’t be happier!
So in a nutshell, my advice is to master your craft and write the best book you can, and don’t be discouraged if the rest of the world isn’t applauding your efforts. Just keep learning and keep writing, and when the time is right, you’ll be ready to rock!
Great advice!! Thank you for being my guest today, Cara.