<—BLURB JOLT ALERT!! OMG YES PLEASE!! When the author told me about her books (they all sound amazing – there’s even a bully one!!) this one (The Beauty Beneath) stood out to be me BIG TIME!! So I’m thrilled that she’s this week’s newsletter sponsor. I love her incredible enthusiasm and zeal, and I’m so happy to have found out about her. Her stories sound right up my angsty alley! 😀
So all that to say, she’s put her book on super-sale and to celebrate, she’s giving away a signed copy, some swag AND she’s sent over some “behind the scenes” peeks about her book… and about her!! TEN fun facts!! 😀
Take a look at this synopsis and tell me it doesn’t give you that Oooooooooooh!!!! blurb-jolt like it gave me:
Ugly. Freak. Fatty. I had been called those things and more for as long as I could remember. I didn’t mind it, though, because to the outside world, those words described me perfectly. But it was all a charade, a façade to keep people away. Never let anyone get too close. It had worked for twelve years of my life, ever since I caused my father’s death.
And then Carter Anderson pushed his way into my world. Gorgeous, of course, charming, naturally, and cocky, a given—he called himself my friend and broke through every one of my carefully constructed walls.
Cue the “happily ever after,” right? Wrong.
This isn’t some fairy tale where the ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan, and once the beauty beneath is revealed, all is right in the world. This is real life. When things seem too good to be true, it’s because they usually are. And when people say your past will come back to bite you, they mean it. And trust me, it does.
- I use things from my real-life in my stories. Usually, it’s scenes, traits, scenarios. Nothing too “major.” One of the things I used for The Beauty Beneath was the fact that I’m constantly (still to this day) trying to curse less (man, I curse SO much – to the point my 3 year old is saying “oh shit” eek! Shh, don’t tell anyone). I end up saying things like “fudge biscuit” instead of the “f” word when I remember. The keywords being “when I remember” lol. You’ll find Emerson does that too. Gee, I wonder where she got that from?
- There’s also a scene in the book where Carter learns a little bit about Emerson’s hobbies/schooling. Those are basically my hobbies and what I did for school. Hey! I need inspiration from somewhere. The same scene actually features him telling her he thought she was older. Guess what??? Yep, happened to me too. I was twenty-three and mentoring my boss’ son, whom was also twenty-three. I was getting my Master’s degree at the time, and when he found out I was still in school, he said, “Wait a minute, how old are you?” I told him, and he responded with, “What? You’re my age? I thought you were like thirty.” (Imagine how awesome that felt…not!) I told him as much, and he backpedaled, saying something like, “It’s just that you’re more mature.” Good save, buddy. The scene in the story is very, very similar, but not one-hundred percent the same.
- I have a few jokes I’ve heard over the years that have stuck with me, and I never forget them (because I think they’re funny, of course). Sometimes, I add one of them into my stories (i.e. I don’t go specifically searching for a good joke to add). The Beauty Beneath has one of those jokes.
- The first time I read a book with lyrics in it (that I can remember lol) was one by Colleen Hoover, and I immediately thought about how I wanted to do that too. There have been a few books in which I’ve added song lyrics into, and The Beauty Beneath is one of them. It’s just once, if I remember correctly, and it’s not a complete song, but it’s there. If anyone wants to finish the song and write music for it, I’d be ALL for that!
- I am horrible at picking lines for teasers. I still try, and I make my own (not very good ones lol), but I know with one-hundred percent certainty that lines I never would have thought to make a teaser with, but others have, end up being my favorite teasers. My favorite one from The Beauty Beneath is, “You can’t change the truth with pretty lies.” I never would have thought of that, but a blogger friend did, and it’s literally my favorite teaser of ALL my teasers (and it came from The Beauty Beneath!)
5 Fun Facts: DC Renee
- My family is from the former USSR (currently Ukraine). I was born in the USA, but as a result of where my family is from, I speak Russian fluently, but I can only read/write like a 1st grader.
- I started out writing fan fics in a forum devoted to EJAMI lovers (EJ + Sami from the soap opera Days of Our Lives). Sadly, both EJ & Sami are no longer on the show, but if you google/search for the “ejami forbidden love” forum (and join), look for fan fics by “fan22” – they are still up (including some “smut” chapters in the “smut hut”).
- I played piano for most of my childhood (until I started college), but I hated reading music (I can, but I was never quick at it), so I would play every song I learned from memory. I can still remember a couple of songs, my favorite being the theme from the movie, “Love Story.”
- I love diy & themes! For any party me or my family have, I make sure there is a theme, and my hand is always in the decorations, the desserts, etc. I’m not that good lol, but I still love trying. Even my wedding had a theme – timeless love. I’ve made my own invitations, I make my own cake pops (although, I cheat and just use crushed Oreos with cream cheese), I’ve made other desserts, decorations, party favors, etc. Notice, my diy comes out with parties? I never have another reason to diy, so I LOVE parties!
- A bit two-fold: I am superstitious and I’m obsessed with elephants. I know my love of elephants stems from the fact that they’re supposed to be good luck in so many cultures. I wear evil-eye stuff all the time (to ward off evil eyes), I have safety pins placed inconspicuously in my kids’ rooms (because they’re also supposed to be good luck), I don’t whistle in doors because if you do, you whistle you’re money away, I don’t show injuries on myself (because then you are asking to have them on your body), etc. I think you get the point lol. As far as elephants, I have keychains, and décor around my house, my kids have toys and decorations, and even crib sheets with elephants. My party favor for my wedding was even an elephant shaped watch keychain (tied in my love of elephants plus that “timeless love” theme). I could keep going, but I’ll stop rambling now. 😀
Ready for an excerpt?
“I can’t seem to get rid of you,” she said but didn’t bother to hide the smile on her lips. We had texted since the anniversary of her father’s death, and aside from the fact that I couldn’t get her eyes out of my mind, things had gone back to normal. “And you apparently don’t know the meaning of calling ahead, huh?”
“What’s the fun in that?” I asked as I walked in.
“So what’s it this time? Bored? Lonely? In need of some ego deflation? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Step right up and I’ll knock you back into place,” she joked.
“You always know exactly what I need,” I teased.
“Okay, okay, cut the shit. What do you want?” she asked.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said,” I started.
“What I said? The ego deflation?” she asked with a smirk on her lips, but her tone was completely serious. “I’m all for that if you want. All day, every day. Just say when and I’ll start. Your shirt’s too tight. It makes you look like you shopped in the kiddie section. Your hair is messed up, and I’m pretty sure you’ve been off your game lately.”
“That’s not what I— Hey, my shirt’s too what?” I cut myself off. “I’ll have you know, this is a perfect fit. It hugs my body while allowing some breathing room. Slim fit and stylish.”
“You’re also turning into a girl,” she deadpanned.
“Whatever,” I said.
“Correction, a teenage valley girl,” she interjected.
“Okay, wiseass. I’m trying to be serious here.”
“Okay, fine. What’s up?”
“So as I was saying, I was thinking about what you said the other day.”
“What did I say?” she asked.
“The day of the anniversary of your father’s death,” I practically mumbled, not really wanting to bring it up.
“Seriously, Carter, I can’t thank you enough for being here for me. You don’t know how much that meant to me, but can we not talk about that day? Just pretend it didn’t happen.”
“That’s fine.” I nodded. “But you talked about perception,” I said, not wanting to use the word “ugly.”
“Uh … what?” she asked and scrunched her nose. It was quite adorable, and I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t noticed that before.
“So how about a makeover?” I sprung it on her.
“A what?” she screeched. “For who?”
“For you,” I told her. “Beth can help you pick out clothes that fit better, give you some tips on makeup application, find the right hairstyle, maybe get rid of those glasses.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” she asked, raising her voice.
“What do you mean?”
“Do you even hear yourself?”
“Yeah.” I nodded. “I’m offering to help you.”
“I don’t want your help!” she yelled. “And I sure as hell don’t want you telling me how horrible I look. I know that, Carter. I know exactly how I look.”
“But if you changed a few things, maybe you’d feel better about yourself.”
“Nothing can make me feel better about myself. Nothing!” she screamed. “Do you hear me? I don’t care what pretty words you told me or how you tried to convince me it wasn’t my fault, but it is. I am responsible for a person’s death. My father’s death. People like me don’t deserve to be beautiful on the outside because we’re ugly inside.”
“But it wasn’t your fault, Em!” I screamed back at her. “I thought you got that through your head.”
“You can’t change the truth with pretty lies,” she responded. “I want to believe you. God, I do. But it’s just not true.”
“You’re not ugly, Em.”
She snorted in response. “Look at me, Carter. I’m the same on the outside as I am on the inside. And I don’t want to be any different. I don’t want a makeover. I don’t want to be pretty on the outside. I don’t want your help.”
“Why not?” I asked, frustration filling my voice. We were arguing, fighting, battling back and forth with words, voices yelling over each other. I didn’t like it, yet somehow, I felt alive, felt like I could literally touch Emerson’s feisty spirit with my own.
“Because if I wanted to be beautiful, I would be, damn it!” she yelled.
“You what?” I asked, not comprehending what she said.
“I’ve worked too hard …” she trailed.
“Worked too hard at what?” I question.
“It doesn’t matter,” she tossed at me.
“It does. I want to know why you’re so closed off, why you’re so distant, and why it was such a struggle to be your friend. Why a person like you has no one close by, and why you don’t want my help unless I force it on you.”
She stared at me, not speaking for minutes. I stood frozen in place, waiting for her response. Finally, she hung her head and whispered with defeat in her voice. “Because I don’t deserve it. Because it should have been me. Because my father—my vibrant, young, handsome father, who loved watching the sun set, taking me to the park to just walk along the path, and look at the trees change color, who called me his beautiful little princess, and told me my hair was like golden rays of sunlight—was taken away, taken far away from everything he thought beautiful. Because of me. Don’t you see? What made me beautiful made me ugly.”
“It’s a tragedy, Emerson. But he didn’t want this for you. This suffering inside.”
“How would you know?” she asked. “You didn’t know him.”
“No, but I know you. And I care about you. And if I left this world for whatever reason, I’d never want you to stop living. And he loved you enough to save you, Em. He loved you enough to let you keep living. Don’t throw that away. Let me help,” I urged as I took a step closer to her, then another until I was standing right in front of her. Her head was still down, and she wouldn’t look at me.
I put a hand under her chin and lifted her face gently so that I could see those crystal-clear depths I had been thinking about nonstop. So much sorrow filled them. I wanted to take that away from her. I would have shouldered it myself if it meant she could smile instead of frown.
“I wanted it this way, Carter. I don’t expect you to understand. But please don’t ask me to change. You’re offending me, hurting me, and frankly, disrespecting my wishes.”
“I’m sorry,” I told her, looking directly into her eyes. “I just wanted to help.”
“I know,” she whispered. “I know,” she repeated.
I pulled her into a hug, and she let me. After a beat, I felt her arms around me. “I appreciate everything you’re trying to do, C,” she told me. “But I am who I am. Accept me or don’t.”
“I accept,” I told her, and just like that, we were back to normal. We ate dinner together and joked and were our usual selves. And you know what? I liked it. I liked Emerson just the way she was.
Now for the giveaway!
The author is giving away a signed paperback of the book and a swag pack!!
How to enter for a chance to win it? Just leave a comment below (and better yet, if you have one, tell me your favorite “ugly duckling” story) and by 10pm EST, Sunday August 25th, 2019, I will randomly select one lucky commenter as the winner.
The winner will be contacted and will have 48hrs to respond confirming their mailing address, so if you are picked, do not delay or you will lose your chance. The signed book will be sent to the winner directly by the author.
Giveaway open to International!!!