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Category: News

Welcome Guest Author Kelly Parra

Today I have author Kelly Parra visiting. Her young adult novel Invisible Touch has just been released with MTV books. Here’s a little about the book that Teens Read Too says is “an amazing, touching novel that deals with big issues in an original context”:


Kara Martinez has been trying to be “normal” ever since the accident that took her father’s life when she was eleven years old. She’s buried the caliente side of her Mexican heritage with her father and tried to be the girl her rigid mother wants her to be — compliant and dressed in pink, and certainly not acting out like her older brother Jason. Not even Danielle, her best friend at Valdez High, has seen the real Kara; only those who read her anonymous blog know the deepest secrets of the Sign Seer.

Because Kara has a gift — one that often feels like a curse. She sees signs, visions that are clues to a person’s fate, if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle in time. So far, she’s been able to solve the clues and avert disaster for those she’s been warned about — until she sees the flash of a gun on a fellow classmate, and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Kara does her best to follow the signs, but it’s her heart that wanders into new territory when she falls for a mysterious guy from the wrong side of town, taking her closer to answers she may not be able to handle. Will her forbidden romance help her solve the deadly puzzle before it’s too late…or lead her even further into danger?

JG: Tell me a little about your book.

KP: Invisible Touch is about Kara Martinez.  Kara was in a tragic accident at eleven and lost her father, yet also gained something else–visions.  Or “signs” that she sees on individuals’ torsos.  She must piece these signs together like a puzzle and do her best to stop unfortunate fates.  Because of the pressure and mystery of the events, Kara keeps an anonymous blog called Secret Fates.  When she sees the sign of a gun on a fellow classmate, the latest mystery takes her into dangerous territory that increases with a relationship with a boy from the wrong side of town.  Invisible Touch has mystery, romance, and family drama, and I’m hoping I give readers an entertaining read.

JG:  What got you writing in the genre in which you write.

KP: When I started writing, I was writing Romantic Suspense. But I always wanted to write in two genres. I had a great idea for a young adult novel. Once I had sold my Romantic Suspense, my YA novel Graffiti Girl sold a couple of months later.

JG:  Favorite thing about being a writer?

KP:  The creativity of building characters and their stories from scratch. Using my imagination has always been a rush for me, and creating stories is what I love to do.

JG:  Least favorite thing about being a writer?

KP: The business side is hard to keep up with, such as the market and promotion. If I could just be a recluse and ship off stories to my agent whenever I wanted I’d be thrilled. :)

JG:  What is the most interesting thing that’s happened to you since becoming a published author?

KP: I’d have to say learning that my novel Graffiti Girl is being used in classrooms and recommended for high school students and have a producer option the film rights. I never thought these things would be possible.

JG:  What’s your favorite type of pie?

KP: It has to be Blueberry with a golden crispy crust. Yum.

Kelly Parra is the author of Graffiti Girl, a double RITA nominee and a Latinidad Top Pick, and the contemporary paranormal, Invisible Touch. When not pulling her hair while writing her current novel, she likes to play with her abundance of websites and feed a serious television addiction.

Welcome New York Times Bestselling Author Allison Winn Scotch

I’m thrilled to have Allison Winn Scotch join me today. Her latest novel, Time of my Life (in which she explores what might happen if you could live your life all over again, and change the course of history) has met with enormous success and hit the New York Times bestsellers list. It was also chosen as a Today Show must-read for the fall season, received a glowing review from People Magazine, and has been optioned for a film by the Weinstein Company. Allison and I have been on a number of online writing groups over the year, and I know her as a very gracious person willing  to share with other up-and-coming writers and someone who has worked very hard for her success. I can’t wait to read her novel, which is sitting atop my to-be-read pile.

JG: Tell me a little about your book.

AWS:  Time of My Life is the story about a woman who, on the surface, seems to have it all.  But when you peel back her layers, you discover that she is deeply unhappy and has lingering “what ifs” about her past.  Rather than face her current problems, she wakes up one day seven year in her past – at her old job, with her old boyfriend – and has the opportunity to rewrite her future.

JG:  What got you writing in the genre in which you write.

AWS:  I write commercial fiction, and I write it because I read it.  I’m not going to pretend that I pore over highly literary works: I like books to suck me in, entertain me, and spit me out when they’re done.  Look, I’m a working mom with two young kids…I simply don’t have the mental energy to read a book that’s going to take a month to finish because I have to reread every other sentence to fully understand the hidden meanings.  I like sharp, intelligent, thought-provoking commercial fiction…that I can finish in less than a week. So I hope that my book meets all of those criteria! It’s definitely one that if I hadn’t written I’d pick up.

JG:  Favorite thing about being a writer?

AWS:  The freedom of it.  I love being able to schedule my day as I so choose; to hang out with my kids and then retreat to my office and get some work done; to totally blow off days if I’m not in the mood but to also hunker down and write for hours on end when I’m inspired.  I also love that I can create something from nothing but what is purely in my imagination.  It is so, so cool to get that finished book from my publisher and think, “Wow, this is 100% all me.”

JG:  Least favorite thing about being a writer?

ASW:  The freedom of it. When I’m not writing–which I’m not at the present moment because I’m rooting around for my next book idea–I have no one to blame by myself. And I put a lot of pressure on myself to jump-start my work, but if it’s not happening, it’s not happening…so…I’m waiting to be inspired by my next big idea. And that can sort of suck. 

JG:  What is the most interesting thing that’s happened to you since becoming a published author? 

ASW:  OMG, that people somehow think I’m famous.  Seriously.  I run into old friends or acquaintances who say, “You’re famous now!”  Which is hilarious.  Because a) I’m not and b) really, I’m not.  And if I were, I’m incredibly grateful that there is no US Weekly for writers.  Because I walk around all day in my sweats, looking like total crap, and if a paparazzi were to follow me, I’d definitely be listed in that “Stars without make-up” section!

JG:  What’s your favorite type of pie?

AWS:  Strawberry-rubarb.  I love the combination of sweet and tart.  Which, yes, is also a metaphor for my personality.


Allison Winn Scotch is the author of a novel, The Department of Lost and Found. She is a frequent contributor to numerous magazines including American Baby, American Way, Bride’s, Cooking Light, Family Circle, Fitness, Glamour, InStyle Weddings, Lifetime Television, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Parents, Prevention, Redbook, Self, Shape, Stuff, USA Weekend, Woman’s Day, Women’s Health, and,, and She lives in New York with her husband and their son and daughter. 

Multi-tasking for the Multi-tasker

Okay, class. Today’s lesson is on multi-tasking. For the uninitiated, multi-tasking is the process of doing as many things as humanly possible in the same space of time: fixing dinner, cleaning dishes, feeding the dogs, writing a book, scrubbing the floor, fighting for world peace. It’s one way to maximize the limited 24-hour day.

It is a skill that has been honed throughout millennia by women in particular. Often times they receive their inaugural multi-tasking trial by fire upon the birth of their first child, whence they are called upon to perform such challenges as soothing a screaming newborn over their shoulder while picking up the burp cloth that’s inconveniently fallen on the ground with their toes while simultaneously attempting to clean up the projectile vomit said screaming child has just emitted while letting the barking dog out because the barking dog is what caused the child to scream in the first place. Oh, and cook dinner, dust the bookshelves and make the bed. While carrying a basket of laundry up from the basement.

Of course, when the husband comes home at the end of the work day and finds the new mother looking as if she just gave birth (again) and asks, “What did you do all day, honey?” implying that it looks as if she’d parked her butt in front of Oprah and didn’t even get up to go to the bathroom, a woman has to learn to cast that sphinx-like smile and just glibly tell her man, “oh, a little of this, a little of that” (either that or club him). But we know better.

Women are excellent multi-taskers. I have female physician friends who I’m sure could readily perform a C-section, bake a pie and clean the dishes, if only the operating theater were within reach of the kitchen.

Another friend of mine wins the award for multi-tasking. I saw her one time, shortly after her baby was born, on a neighborhood stroll. The baby in a jog stroller, the dog on a leash, and a book in front of her face. If that’s not an ambitious undertaking, killing three birds with one stone, nothing is.

I have found over the years that I can multi-task with just about everything. I read while brushing my teeth. Sometimes I clean my sink while blow-drying my hair. Check my e-mails, talk on the phone, feed the dogs, and clear my desk. You get the drift. I like to think of it as hyper-efficiency. My husband calls it ADD.

But I’ve found there’s one task that absolutely thwarts a person’s ability to seriously multi-task, and that is driving. Now, to a certain extent, we all multi-task when we drive. It’s an inevitable side effect of the process: checking mirrors, scanning the horizon, glancing over your shoulder before going into the passing lane. Even to the point that you might be eating a burger, licking an ice cream cone, or drinking hot coffee with one hand while driving. Who hasn’t steered with their knees occasionally?

Of course the cell phone has enabled those of us who spend an inordinate amount of time behind the wheel to at least partially fulfill the need to multitask. As a mother of three, I’ve spent several hours a day over the past decade or so couriering my charges to their various and many activities. At least with a cell phone I can take care of returning phone calls that are only interruptive when conducted at home, or catching up with someone I’ve neglected to contact in ages.

But I yearn for the ability to do more behind the wheel and long for the day that technology will catch up with a mother’s need to achieve while driving: how about a plug-in blow dryer so I can dry and drive at once? Or a way to fix dinner while stuck in traffic at 6 p.m.? We’ve all see those ambitious ones who boldly do the idiotic while behind the wheel: applying make-up, curling eyelashes, shaving, for God’s sake. That’s about as crazy as trying to perform a pedicure while tooling along the road. Those undertakings are obviously foolish. But really, I think the blow-drying idea is imminently do-able, provided of course that styling brushes are not required.

Having now ushered two kids through driver’s ed, where they learn to drive the way we’re supposed to drive, however, I realize that my days of ambitious achievement above and beyond the task of getting to and fro have drawn to a close: I now have a driving-age backseat drivers who are ready and willing to correct every little transgression I might possibly make while in the course of my daily driving. 

Because after all, while idly sitting at a traffic signal catching up on my reading is a useful way to spend the forty-five seconds during which I’m stuck at the light, it’s probably more incumbent upon me to pay attention to other drivers. That is, not looking at what they’re wearing or how funny they look belting out a song alone in the car, but rather whether there are last-minute light runners who might impede my forward momentum once the light does change to green. Alas, it looks as if my days of multi-tasking are now limited to off-road moments. And that’s a good thing.