Monday, February 25, 2013

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing
 Blog Hop


GVR Corcillo

The Publishing Revolution - which will not be televised, but downloaded - gives THE READER freedom like never before. Publishing companies are no longer the definitive gatekeepers deciding what the reader will have access to. Now, the reader can smash through the gates, cause a flood, and ride the waves. Readers, and I am one heck of a reader myself, can explore books and authors and make their own choices.

That's what The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is all about. A writer answers ten questions about her or his latest project, then tags more writers to blog the following week. It is one more way for writers to connect with readers and let them know what's out there.    

Last week, I was tagged by the talented and delightful Kitty Bucholtz, author of the refreshing and cozy Little Miss Lovesick. I was also lucky enough to have a short story in the same anthology as she did, Romancing the Pages

After my interview, I will tag two more writers who will keep the blog hopping along.

Now, on to...

1: What is the working title of your book?
My novel She Likes It Rough has just been released in trade paperback,but it certainly hasn't always been called that! First, it was Between a Rock and a Hard Place, but as I wrote, the book became less and less about a dilemma. Then the title became Into the Wild, but then I realized there was a very different book out there named Into the Wild, so I changed my title. Though I hadn't even been thinking of the Jon Krakauer book - I had gotten the title from a line in the movie The Fellowship of the Ring. When the Hobbits ask Strider where he is taking them, Strider responds, "Into the wild," a line I thought just reverberated with excitement. And it was sexy, too, since Viggo Mortensen was the one delivering the line! Next, the title became Girl Gone Wild, but so many people despised that title because of the videos that I changed it yet again. When I hit upon She Likes It Rough, I knew I'd nailed it. My heroine Lisa Flyte makes it rough on herself, doing so many things in the book that terrify her, but on a deeper level, she has been making it rough on herself her whole life because she has always been too scared to live her life to the fullest and go after what she really wants. 

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?  

Viggo Mortensen, again! Kind of. Years ago, I was flipping channels and came across the Sylvester Stallone movie Daylight, written by Leslie Bohem. Viggo Mortensen was in it, so I stopped to watch for a bit. Viggo plays an outdoor extremist who is also a businessman. That sparked the idea for my hero Jack, a an adrenaline junkie who designs gear for outdoor sporting adventures. The rest of the story evolved from there. The inspiration for Lisa? Well, I have this, uh, friend, yeah, a friend, and she's afraid of so many things. Heights, big animals, loud noises, wearing the wrong thing, what her mother thinks of her... 

3: What genre does your book come under?   

I call it a romantic comedy, but that is not exactly a book genre. Contemporary humorous women's fiction is the closest. Though I have to say, I am not a huge fan of pigeon-holing books into genres. I often wonder what would happen if J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye were released today. Would it be labelled Young Adult and dismissed by serious literary critics the world over? Would it make it to the reading list in almost every high school in America? I wonder.  

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  

Mandy Moore and James Marsden. Mandy Moore plays down-to-earth better than any other actress I've seen in her age range. Her performances in Dedication and How to Deal convince me that she would be perfect as Lisa. And James Marsden - this guy is such a good actor that the depths and nuances of his characterizations actually overshadow his amazing looks. And that is my hero Jack to a T - he is so hot that he seems daunting from afar, but once Lisa sees him up close and gets to know him, she realizes he is a guy with issues, attitudes, and opinions that keep her on her toes and knock her for a loop. 

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Can daring outdoor adventures with an adrenaline junkie give a daydreaming scaredy-cat the backbone she needs in order to get tough and make her life count for something?

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

I've created my own company Blackbird Press to self-publish my books. Wow! The control and the satisfaction of creation is exhilarating! Without a doubt, self-publishing is very hard work, but I am loving every second of it. 

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Years! This book has gone through so many incarnations. Very little is left from the first 'first' draft except the hero's name and the scene in his office that involves the wetsuit. Over those years, not only the story, but also my writing style was evolving as I became more and more comfortable with and confident about my own voice.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary. The playful irreverence of the story as a woman tries to become the hero of her own life echoes throughout my book. With one big difference. My heroine Lisa's goal is never to get a guy or get married. Her prime directive is to make her life count for something, to become more significant. Her interaction with the hero Jack is a big part of that journey, but Lisa never focuses on her 'single' status as something she needs to remedy. Because of this shift, She Likes It Rough reminds me of Lisa Lutz's Izzy Spellman Series. Though my book is not a mystery, it uses wacky situations to explore not only romance, but relationships with family, career angst, and ways and means of getting along with the rest of the populated world.  

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Let me tell you who inspired me to do something even more amazing than write this book - I'll tell you who inspired me to publish this book. Leonard Wang Kingsley! I went to school with him, and we met up again a few years ago at a class reunion. So, we began emailing each other. (We live on opposite coasts.) Last spring, he sent me an email suggesting I self-publish my novel. Really? I thought. Could I be so bold? He sent me a list of everything I would need to do, and ever since that email, I have been working on everything on that list! With his help!  Debra Holland, a wonderful and phenomenally successful author that I have known for years, has been another inspiration. She self-published several of her novels last year and has blasted a beacon of light and guidance across the world of publishing.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Jack and Lisa'a adventures out in the wild were so much fun to research and write! Lisa is so scared, but she steps up and jumps when Jack says jump - into the middle of the ocean, off a cliff, out of a plane. Lisa jumps completely out of her own world - a world dominated by pop culture references to the movies, TV shows, songs, books, and commercials she's been surrounded by all her life. How she melds what happens in the wild with what goes on in her everyday life is the essence of the story.  
Tag - you're it!
What an energizing interview! Now I'm tagging two more writers to blog next week about their captivating latest projects.

Claire LaZebnik
author of humorous women's fiction and delightful YA! Click on her name to see what she is all about and what she writes and blogs!

Paula Martin
author of wonderfully satisfying contemporary romances! Click on her name to see what she is all about and what she writes and blogs!

The Next Big Thing....
Though I blog every night (sometimes day), this The Next Big Thing Blog will remain posted as my primary blog for the next week. However, comment on my blog if you want to check in with me, see how I'm doing, ask about my writing, or find out about my tallies. I will write back with alacrity! 

GVR Corcillo

author of

Queen of the Universe coming this Fall

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cover Me

Cover Me


GVR Corcillo

When I decided to self-publish my ground-breaking chic lit masterpiece, She Likes It Rough, I contacted cover design goddess Lex Valentine of Winterheart Design. I commissioned my cover and explained through email, in excruciating detail, just what I wanted. A pretty do-able cover, I figured, made of inexpensive photographic images. In less than twenty-four hours, she emailed me back a cover that - horror of horrors! - was EXACTLY what I'd described. But it didn't make my heart sing. It was the cover I'd asked for, but not the cover I'd dreamt of. I hadn't requested the illustrated cover I'd been imagining for months because I figured that my vibrant, wild ideas would be impossible. And who was I, mere unpublished writer, to reach for such heights of mad fancy? So I asked for what I thought I could get, what I thought Ideserved. And I got it. 

But some survival instinct in me bucked at my willingness to sell myself short without even trying. I deep down wanted an illustration that would convey the sexy and off-kilter humor of a story about urban scaredy-cat Lisa Flyte trying to find her backbone by teaming up with aloof adrenaline junkie Jack Hawkins. They go on white-knuckle adventures out in the wild in order to make her brave. But what happens in the wild doesn't stay in the wild, at least not for Lisa, who starts to fall for Jack. Will what she learns on her escapades give her the courage to go after him? Come to think of it, would I have the guts to pursue what I most desperately wanted? I had to bite the bullet and go for my dream cover. I commissioned a new cover from Lex, and this time I told her my ideas. We both scoured available images for days, but we found nothing that would satisfy me. 

Then she told me about Annicka.

Lex's daughter, digital artist Annicka Rietveld, code name Brosephiine, has a lot of her artwork posted on if I wanted to check it out and see whether I liked her style. If I did, she would put me in touch with Annicka and we would see what we could work out. I loved Annicka's illustrations and her style. Her women were sexy, flirty, and kick-ass. 

Here is what we worked out:

The vivid illustration pulsated with sass and humor beyond my most daring imaginings. The details of the artwork blew me away. The lining of the shoe? Wonderful! I'd told Annicka that Lisa Flyte, the heroine of my story, has brown eyes with blue-green flecks. And sure enough, her eyes are brown with blue--green flecks! And the combo of the cover's colors - sky blue contrasting with deep brown, accented with red and a little green - it just pops! Once the illustration was magnificently complete, I sent the artwork and all the cover info to Lex so she could design the cover. Here is what she sent back: 

You know, they say writing can be a very isolated profession. But putting this book together was anything but an act perpetrated in solitary confinement. I had the chance to work with two incredibly gifted and professional artists, who brought both my book, and me, to a higher level. I needed to not only believe that I was a writer, but I needed to be a writer. Putting this gorgeous cover on my book made me feel just and powerful, like Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) putting on the Iron Man suit. Suddenly, I was a professional writer. I could feel it. My professional connections with Annicka Rietveld and Lex Valentine have been integral building blocks as I construct my life as an author. And the beat goes on. I have commissioned Annicka to do some artwork for my website that I'm building and Lex to do advertising bling for me. Creating my first novel has galvanized me to plow into a career in independent publishing. And with the majestic She Likes It Rough as my flagship, full speed ahead!

Go to Mickie B. Ashling's Behind the Cover Art blog today to read an interview with cover designer Lex Valentine!

GVR Corcillo

author of

Queen of the Universe coming this Fall


Whatever Lola Wants

Many years ago, I wrote a category romance novel Whatever Lola Wants. I entered it in many contests, and it either won or placed in every contest. But then when I submitted it to a publisher, it was turned down with alacrity. I folded like a lawn chair. I never sent that book out again.

Why not? Who the hell knows?! Maybe Eli Manning knows. I just wasn't much of a gamer.

Not long after that crushing rejection, I submitted a short story to a Marlo Thomas anthology. I didn't write according to any perceived rules or limitations - just my voice telling my story. I sent it in around 11:50pm. The deadline was midnight. The next morning my husband woke me up and handed me the phone: the anthology wanted my story.

From that day on, my writing changed. I strayed away from category romance and began writing first person, present tense stories. Like "Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants." And "All Summer on a Date." And She Likes It Rough.

Whatever happened to Whatever Lola Wants? I am rewriting it my way and calling it Queen of the Universe.

In fact, I started rewriting it today. I accomplished all of the goals I set up for today. And all almost before 3am!!!!! Yay!!!!! My website glitch took a lot longer to fix than I thought and my cat got sick, but I still did it all. All that AND made some new friends on Facebook. And reconnected with awesome writer Cheryl St. John who I met many years ago at a conference. And she really got me thinking about even more stuff I need to be doing as an author. A good, tiring day.

It was Friday, and I was in love all day.


Total blog hits:188

She Likes It Rough sales: 6

Website hits: 503

GVR Corcillo

author of

Queen of the Universe coming this Fall

Friday, February 22, 2013

Down and Dirty

I am getting sick of myself.

For almost a week now, I have been blogging about how publishing my book has changed my life and everything I have been realizing since the moment I clicked on the icon that would unleash my power. And everything I wrote is true - at least, it is my truth. But enough of the rah rah. Time to buckle down and make a plan.

As many of you know, one of the first pages of my book, She Likes It Rough, page viii actually, throws down the gauntlet. Queen of The Universe, expected publication Fall 2013. So, I have precious little time to write the novel, edit it, format it, upload it, proofread it, and publish it. And all this time, I have to be promoting my first novel and building my readership. But I am an author now, so I simply must get it done. So, every day I will do the following:

1. Actually write some of Queen of the Universe.

2. Work each day promoting She Likes It Rough and myself as a writer.

3. Work out - I need to feel fit and bursting with energy.

4. Blog

All of this is going to be friggin' impossible on days when I have to work all day, like today, but I will have to find a way to tackle this terrain. I have been doing 2 for two weeks now and 3 and 4 since Sunday. But time to add 1 to the mix and up 2 into hyperdrive.

Goals for tomorrow:

1. Find my notes on Queen of the Universe and start writing.

2. Order bookcards for She Likes It Rough for dissemination among potential readers.

3. Get more involved in the writing community of Loves Romances Cafe.

4. Find out what the hell Twitter is.

5. Fix the glitch on my website.

Goals for the Week:

1. Get on Goodreads

2. Find out about donating to local libraries

3. Inquire about guest blogging

I will keep a tally. Of work I do and progress I make. Some of this might be embarrassing. But this blog is about my journey, right? Becoming GVR?

So, here I go. My progress up to this point:

Total Number of Blog Views: 183

Total Number of Copies of She Likes It Rough Sold: 6

Total Number of Website Hits: My sixth goal for tomorrow: figure out how to see how many people have come to visit

I have my work cut out for me, no?


My work is not cut out for me. I have cut it out myself. When I was in kindergarten, Miss Maroni sent a note home informing my mother and father that I did not cut along the lines. I totally screwed up this one Christmas ornament project because I did not cut it correctly. It had to do do with cutting a circle from the face of a Christmas card, then pressing the circle into the twist-on ring of a canning jar lid. Well, I did not cut on the lines, so my ornament had a big gap between the card and the lid. I ruined the ornament.

For decades, now, I have not been cutting on the lines. But it about to start paying off.

GVR Corcillo

author of

Queen of the Universe coming this Fall

What do you think? Am I crazy? Can I do it? Will I do it? Comment here or leave me a note on my website  or on facebook.