Tomorrow is the first of a few events coming up to celebrate the release of More than Friends. Gabby and Owen's story is one that I'm very excited to share. Gabby has loved Owen for some time now, but as he's usually got his eyes on a computer screen, he seems to have missed her looks of longing. When Owen's white lie backfires, he needs Gabby's help and saying yes to being his fake girlfriend might be her only chance to know what it is like to have an all access pass to the man that owns her heart. She doesn't want to fool herself into believing he could ever feel the same, but soon, lines are blurred and Gabby isn't the only one who's not pretending.
Join me tomorrow for a Blissfully Sweet Event over at Ramblings with This Chick.
On Wednesday, you can join me and fourteen other authors for a Romancing the Holidays Hop!
If you've already read my most recent holiday stories, Falling for Kate or More than Friends, head over to Amazon and pick up one of my other Christmas reads.
Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2)
by Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: June 30th 2015
Genre: GLBT, Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary
Rate: 4 stars
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls...opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.
Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved...and the person she never imagined she could.
It's not going to surprise anyone who follows her on Twitter or has read her other two books that Dahlia Adler can write. She has, in all three of the books I've read now, the perfect blend of humor and heartache to connect readers to the characters. I always think the sign of a truly talented writer is their ability to make you care for a character you strongly dislike. Even more impressive, is an author's ability to have the character (Josh) retain many of the qualities that annoy you, even while clearly showing growth. Dahlia Adler understands what it means for a character to evolve and be transformed without having to become someone entirely new.
Perhaps this is a life lesson in addition to good writing. We grow, we change, we become different versions of who we are. The people who matter, the people who truly care, accept those changes even when we're not entirely sure which version of ourselves is the truth. Sometimes the truth gets buried behind fear of how people will react. In alternating chapters, both main characters face this realization.
Vanessa and Josh are both at a crossroads in their lives, as most 18-20 year old people should be. Though they both have different reasons, they are on a similar journey-- a journey we're all familiar with-- the quest for happiness and fulfillment. I'm not sure which character was more surprised by the realization of what would lead to said happiness, but it was fun to watch them get there.
Under the Lights is an honest and blunt look at how hard it can be to make decisions that you know will forever alter the next stage of your life. What I loved most about the relationship between Vanessa and Bri was how Dahlia showed regardless of the gender dynamics: boy-girl, girl-girl....it doesn't matter-- love feels like love. It's scary and exciting and sometimes a bit traumatizing, but with the right person, it's worth the risk.
One of my favorite parts of Josh's relationship with Vanessa was when he realized he could care for a girl without sleeping with her-- other than Ally. When we love someone, we want the best for them and seeing Josh want that for Vanessa was the biggest proof of his character's growth.
Readers who loved Ally and Liam (like me) will be pleased to see them in Under the Lights. Another authentic story arc: how we can love our friends and envy them a little at the same time. Because we're human. And that's what makes readers love Adler's characters-- they're human. They're real and flawed, just like us and it makes us think if they can find their "Hollywood ending", so can we. Sometimes the happily ever after is a surprise, even to the person searching for it.
It's difficult for a writer to put out a sequel to a well-loved book because it ups the pressure of not 'letting readers down'. I can assure you, because I was lucky enough to read it early, this won't be the case with Under the Lights.
Who would I cast in the movie production of under the lights?
want some music with that?
The songs playing in my mind during scenes of this book do not have a specific order but they have some common themes: standing up for yourself, trusting yourself, relationships, reaching for something new, and the angsty-uncertainty that comes with love and life decisions.
Follow the Under The Lights by Dahlia Adler Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.
I'm an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and I blog at The Daily Dahlia, YA Misfits, and the Barnes & Noble book blog. I also write contemporary YA (The Daylight Falls duology) and NA (The Radleigh University series). Rec-ing books is approximately my favorite thing in the universe, with macarons being a close second. Come say hi on Twitter, where I'm @MissDahlELama!
As part of the release for Dahlia's novel, Behind the Scenes, she has asked that we share a little peek at what "behind the scenes" looks like for us, as writers. Every writer is different, not just in style and voice, but in how they plot and plan, the space they work in, maybe even the time frames they write in. For me, writing is a little like breathing; it tends to happen while I'm in the middle of doing everything else. I've heard rumors that some writers have a space for themselves in their homes where they go to write all the words. In my mind, these dreamy spaces have shelves full of books, a comfy chair at a beautiful desk, Maroon 5 and Matchbox 20 on shuffle and a door that CLOSES. In reality, however, my writing space looks like this:
What do you see? A lovely surface, yes. But it's my kitchen table. While there's nothing wrong with that, at all (I totally love my kitchen table), I can assure you, there are no doors that close the space off and give privacy or quiet. I've got a diet Pepsi beside me at all times. After 4 p.m. I switch to water. But diet Pepsi is my coffee, tea, whatever others drink to provide sanity and clear eyes. You'll note the little blue chair in the background. That's where my eight year old is supposed to sit and keep herself busy while mommy writes. My eleven year old is an avid writer as well and she works on the computer downstairs. However, my eight year old just piles her stuff on her workspace and, instead, shares mine. Sometimes I can put in ear buds so I have the music going, but this does lend itself to a lot of shoulder tapping to get my attention. Most of the books I'm surrounded by belong to my daughters, as mine are mostly on my kindle. And they're not on shelves-- almost everywhere, except shelves. Still, in the last two years, I've written Forever Christmas, A Not So Lonely Christmas, Damaged, Dangerous Love, and Falling For Home. So something is working. Maybe I'm just one of those people that thrives in chaos, though I really don't think I do. But I don't mind one bit typing away to the sounds of my daughters laughing, another episode of Good Luck Charlie, the dogs playing, my husband watching TV (sometimes the Good Luck Charlie episode that is on) or any other sound that says I am in my own home, surrounded by the people I love most, doing what I love to do. Whatever your space, whatever your method, if it works, why change it? Though, this doesn't mean I would turn down a beautiful office with patio doors opening onto a gorgeous terrace overlooking a lake. But for now, I'll make do with the kitchen table command station.
A couple of fun facts to amuse you and possibly embarrass myself:
1. My husband often walks into the room and asks if I'm okay because I am making odd faces at the computer. He says that I actually move my lips as though I am speaking the dialogue I am typing.
2. I rub my feet together constantly when I am sitting. I don't mean to. I don't know why. It's weird and I stop myself when I realize I'm doing it. Then I start again.
3. My daughters find it very funny when they look over my shoulder now and again and see the "F" word. They get a funny look on their faces and giggle.
and now for the Behind the Scenes you came for, let me tell you about Dahlia Adler's new book
High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.
Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.
Doesn't it sound awesome!!!!!!!!?
You can find it on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository, and Indiebound just by clicking on the links provided.
I like lists. I like making them, looking at them, and checking them off. Here's a list of ten (writing related) things that happened to me this year that mattered:
10: I received over one dozen partial and/or full requests from agents since May (I am still waiting to hear back from 5 for one manuscript and 1 for another manuscript)
9: I had my blogs read by real authors like Ellen Potter and Tanya Lloyd Kyi.
8: I sat in a room with Diana Gabaldon, Michael Slade, and Jack Whyte for an entire evening. I didn't say much but I nodded like a fool and didn't hide in the bathroom.
7: I connected with an amazing group of fellow writers via Twitter, such as Brenda Drake, Jessa Russo, Rachel Pudelek, Roselle Kaes, Lauren Spieller and so many more I'm probably forgetting but not because they aren't awesome.
6: Rainbow Rowell and Jill Shalvis tweeted me and The Bloggess followed me. All three events made me inexplicably happy.
5: I read Elenor and Park. It matters. It made me want to be better.
4: I met this truly awesome agent that I won't name. She might not be my agent, but she became my friend, which is pretty cool all by itself. Turns out agents are real people.
3: I found critique partners and new friends, Tara and Kelli, that will go beyond writing and be part of what makes 2014 special.
2: My story, A Not So Lonely Christmas, was published in Foreward Lit's anthology, Holiday Spice
1: I self published Forever Christmas via Amazon
Tuesday is release day. Unless I mess it up somehow, which is entirely possible. This morning and last night I was instant messaging with my critique partners about writing, confidence, and audience. Basically, we decided that it shouldn't matter what others think if you've written a book you can be proud of, that told the story you wanted to, and that you're happy with. I feel that way about Forever Christmas and the people that I care about, that matter, really love the book. So, why does the thought of pressing "Save & Publish" make my stomach feel like I 've eaten too many advent chocolates? As one critique partner said, WE'VE WRITTEN BOOKS! Not everyone can say that. They can say they want to, they're going to, and they have the best idea ever but how many people sit down and actually write 40,000-80,000 words that mesh together to create a story? As it turns out, A LOT! Maybe not a lot in my circle of friends, but when you join the online writing community via social media, you realize how many books are being written, how many people are 'authors'.
So what makes an author? Surprisingly, there's nothing in the definition of the word author that says 'one who is published'. I think that when you're surrounding yourself with writers, agents and contests, you lose sight of what matters. It's not just about being published. It's not just about the praise of random strangers. It's about starting something AND finishing it. It's about feeling good that you've created something, whether one person or a million read it. The other day my daughter said something to me and I responded with a partial quote (cause our house is like that: we spout quotes and break into song at any given moment). She was worrying about someone recognizing her for something. The quote I shared with her is below and I meant it when I said it. It's not about what you're recognized for, but that feels at odds with doing something that you know begs recognition. I guess that's why we told our critique partner this morning that it has to be for ourselves. We have to make decisions based on what we want for ourselves and not for how others will see us. We need to put our best selves out there if we're going to do it, but in the end, it's not about the applause. So while I hope that many people will enjoy Forever Christmas, I need to remember, even if only my closest friends read it, that it wasn't about sales or praise. It's about sharing something that I'm proud of; something that reminds me, and maybe you, of the point of this season and this life: having people in your life that love and support you no matter what. And if all else fails, I'll just try to remember that: I WROTE A BOOK!