The Faux Cinderella~Growing Pains of a Goth Chick Writer

It’s probably no surprise to any of you.

I’m guessing it was a surprise only to me.

Let’s Goth chick owlbacktrack here.

You see…Owls are my favorite birds.  Odd for that one in the photo to be out in the daytime…hmmm.

Most of my clothes are black.

I’ve never minded the whole “sleeping in a coffin” persona because it fit.

If I had no alarm clock, my natural creative cycle would run from about seven in the evening until about three in the morning. So I work as many—or more–hours as the next person. I just work when the sun is sleeping.goth chick trees

Bottom line? By nature I’m a nocturnal creature, and when I first started writing romance, it was in the middle of the night.

The story that first came pouring out of me was a romantic suspense. Think big city. Fog. The sound of a ship’s horn in the harbor. Evil peering around the corner, waiting to pounce.

I probably could have written true crime or hard-boiled detective mysteries. Heck, I like trench coats.

It fits with the whole nocturnal thing, don’t you think?

But see? I needed the happy ending. Even then, happy endings were all I wanted to read.

So I wrote romantic suspense—the best of both worlds, or so I thought. The manuscript that made me a finalist in the Golden Heart—which made me a Romance Bandit– was dark romantic suspense. I had a feel for it, based on the contest wins and the editorial feedback.

Flash forward a few years.

Goth chick degreeI was heading for the computer every day, but I was veering off to do something else. I got a degree. I landscaped properties. I studied wine. I gutted and rebuilt most of an old house.

I was stuck.

My best friends were writers. I talked a lot about writing.

Heck, I was writing. But I wasn’t writing books.

The truth is, I was avoiding it.

Finally I told my friends,“I think I’m not meant to do this. I need to stop saying I’m a writer.”

But my wise and discerning friend, Dianna Love said, “No, that’s not it. Cassondra, you need to write something else.”

Maybe it was the place I was in mentally. Maybe it was the tiGoth chick lightbulb momentme of year. Maybe it was the food I had for dinner or the phase of the moon. I dunno, but those were the best words anybody ever said to me.

Because I heard it.

When Dianna said, “you need to write something else,” I went to my suitcase (we were in some city at the time—I don’t remember where) and I dug out the books I’d brought.

They were light contemporary romance.

Small town romance.

I just stood there, shaking my head.

I got home from that trip, and I went to the pile of books on my bedside table. There was a stack on the back corner that was covered with dust.

And there were two stacks on the front that had no dust at all.

What was in those stacks?

Small town romance.

Jill Shalvis. Terri Osburn. Early Susan Crandall novels I’ve read a hundred times. Susan Mallery.

Happy endings wGoth chick omgith no big world threat. No murders. Real life, but not much ugly at all.

And the truth hit me.

Obviously, the reason I wasn’t writing was that I was avoiding the darker subject matter.

What was wrong with me?

Anybody who’s read the blog for a while knows that when I really write from the heart, what I write about is old houses. Barns. Tractors. Farms. Country.

Small towns.

Well, duh.

So the next day I took my laptop out to the deck, sat under the umbrella, and started typing, and I realized I had a big goofy smile on my face.goth chick blue fingernails

I looked down at myself and laughed out loud. I had on black jeans, a black shirt, and my fingernails were dark navy blue.

All the signs of a Goth chick were still there, but I was writing small-town romance just the same.

And I haven’t stopped since.

My first cover is almost done, and on the 20th of this month, I’ll show it to y’all. I want to show my cover here in the Lair first, because you’re my family. And because I still have this funky disconnect.

“Goth Chick Writes Small-Town Romance. Film at Eleven.”

Does that not sound weird to you?

So a while back, I had this website all planned out. Black. Gray. Fog. Intrigue. But I ditched it.

Now I have a landing page all set, and some awesome people are designing a new website for me…with nary a wisp of fog anywhere.

I feel like Cinderella, except…

I keeGoth chick wicked witchp waiting for the spell to break, and the dark Fairy Godmother to announce, “You cannot write THAT! You must write about BAD things, WICKED things, and good that triumphs over EEEEVILLL! It is who you ARE!!! BWAHAHAHAHA!”

Okay…but…

My series is set in Honey Bend, Kentucky, not too far from where I live right now.

There’s a bunch of friends who’ve known each other since high school. There’s a few churches, a few decent bars, and in the town square, goth chick courthousethere’s a bunch of old men sittin’ on the benches outside the courthouse, whittlin’ and talkin’ and keepin’ an eye on their grandkids in line for ice cream at the Frosty Freeze across the street.

And there are some folks who really need to fall in love, but they’re not one bit interested in that at the moment.

There are barns, potlucks, and county fairs. There’s gossip, and there are good people.

That’s how I grew up. It’s what I know, and it’s where my soul goes when I want a smile and a good story.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to come around to this, since that’s what I’ve been writing about in my blogs forever.  But that’s what I’m writing in my books now too, even if I still have dark blue fingernails.

So while the Bandits are reinventing themselves, I am too.

I’m not sure how to integrate the black clothes with the small town stories, but it’s all me…maybe more of me than I’ve ever been before.

Barn welcome to honey bend 40 percent sizeThe first book in the Honey Bend series will be out this year.

I’ll announce it here of course. But if you want to know ahead of time when it’s about to be released, you can go to my temporary author webpage and sign up for my newsletter.

It would be great if you also like my facebook page .  I can’t promise I won’t post a photo of an owl or someone with blue fingernails on occasion.  My snarky sense of humor is not going away, and I still need a LOT of coffee to get going in the mornings.  But most of it will be fun, and I’d love to connect with you there.

I won’t bother you much with emails though.

Okay, well…I might bother you a little when the first book is released. I’m guessing I’ll be really excited about that.

I’ll show y’all the cover, and tell you a little about the book, in my blog on February 20th.  I can’t wait.

But in the meantime, to celebrate the reinvention of the Bandits and the reinvention of ME, I’m giving away a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble, and a surprise grab bag of two books and some goodies from my bottomless box of conference swag.

Have you ever gone one direction in life, only to figure out that you should be going a different way entirely?

Ever changed directions in mid-stream?

Have you ever reinvented yourself in any way, large or small?

What about your reading habits?  Do you read everything, all the time? Or do you go through phases–darker, grittier books for a while, then lighter, easier books?

Who’s your favorite small-town romance author?

Did you know any Goth kids growing up?  And did any of them turn out to be, by any chance, romance writers?

Oh yeah.  I’m on Twitter too…but I’m telling you..I need serious remedial help with that.  It might be funny….even when I don’t mean for it to be funny.  Just sayin.

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Comments

59 Comments

  • Amy Conley says:

    I get him?

    • Cassondra says:

      Amy you sure did.

      I’m so sorry I’m late to the party today. I’ve finally gotten to the point that I can bring my laptop into the bedroom. I seem to be okay typing as long as I’m completely horizontal.
      Hmm…I wonder if this is part of the rooster’s plan?

  • Amy Conley says:

    Talk about reinventing one’s self, LMAO! I went from being the “good girl” to being unwed, thank you God, and pregnant with twins. I went from the girl who co uldn’t wait to get to school and go to college to the girl who basically didn’t give a hoot for either , although I wasn’t going to be one of “those girls who quit school” just because she had twins at home. I went from wanting to be married, with a picket fence around her house to just packing up her kids and taking off for wherever I felt like going. I went from not EVER wanting to be married and getting engaged and pregnant again. I also figured out that just because I was pregnant, I still didn’t have to marry a low-life. I went from bding single for 24 years and 3 kids to being married within 3 months, and stayed married, so far, for almost 31 years.
    And I can read almost anything, by almost anyone at any time. I am reading Elizabeth Boyle right now and as soon as I finish it I am going to read Deborah Harkness’ THE BOOK OF LIFE. Her third in her series, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, and SHADOW OF NIGHT came first.
    And we won’t go into the style of clothes I wear or how many colors my hair has been or how many times hubby has come home with all the furniture in a different place than it was when he left for work or even the colors on the walls. He just says it’s a good thing he doesn’t drink because he’d have hurt himself many times over going to sit in a chair no longer where it had been.
    There’s lots more, but more than any one person should change in the 55 years I’ve been on this earth.

    • Cassondra says:

      OMGosh, Amy, that is a LOT of change to cope with in one lifetime. Yesterday when you said you were not good with change, I knew you’d had a really rough year and I was like, “I don’t blame her at all.” but honestly I think you get the Lair prize for the most change–and for coping with it amazingly well, all things considered.

      By the way, I got your lovely note yesterday. Thank you so much!

      • Amy Conley says:

        Wow, that took it’s time. That was one of the things Ui found in my mother’s things, and one of the few things we both loved, beautiful, annd sometimes funky, stationary. I’m glad you liked it. And don’t tell my sisters I grab it and hid it as soon as I found it.

  • Helen says:

    Cassondra

    I am doing the happy dance with tears of joy I have been so looking forward to your first book for so long I can’t wait to read it and will be good waiting for the big cover reveal before the release I have signed up to your newsletter I don’t want to miss anything 🙂

    I don’t think that I have re-invented myself or changed directions I know that I am loving retirement 🙂
    I read everything depends on what I feel like at the time 🙂
    Suzanne Ferrell easy question I love Weston
    Goth was a bit after my time but I have friends who have children that are Goth and they are lovely kids 🙂

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Cassondra says:

      Aw, Helen, thank you so much! You’re probably newsletter subscriber number three–right behind my web guy, who just got it set up, and me, testing it. *grin*

      The thing about the Goth kids is that I think a lot of people see all that black, and see them looking different, and think, “Oh, they must be bad.” But they’re not at all. It’s like body art and tattoos I think–just another form of self expression. I’m too scared of needles to go for the body art though. *heavy sigh*

      I can’t wait to show you all the cover. It’s almost done and I’m loving it!

  • Jane says:

    Hello Cassondra,
    I don’t think I’ve reinvented myself, but I am always looking to better myself in terms of seeking things that make me happy. My reading habits do vary. Sometimes I’m in the mood for light contemporaries and others I’m looking for some dark romantic suspense. One of my favorite small town romance author is Toni Blake.

    • Cassondra says:

      Hey Jane!

      I was exactly this way –reading based on my mood–until a few years ago, and I’m not sure what happened. Maybe real life got too overwhelming. I just don’t know. But all of a sudden I found myself gravitating toward the lighter reads for my escape. I haven’t read Toni’s books. I’m going to add some to my tbr list!

  • Mary Preston says:

    I reinvent myself every ten years or so. It just seems to happen. Not planned at all.

    One of my friends in High School was most definitely a Goth. She was artistic.

    • Cassondra says:

      Mary, wonder why the artsy kids have a higher tendency to like all things Goth? I spent so much time on stage that I was always looking for unusual clothes and something out of the ordinary to wear for that, and it just seemed to bleed over into the way I dressed in the everyday. I wasn’t truly Goth–not with the vampire teeth or any of that–but with the black clothes and the funky jewelry…yeah. Hmm. Maybe it’s the drama of it.

      Love it that you reinvent yourself often. And you don’t sound one bit afraid of it. That’s awesome, but I don’t know how you manage it.

  • Maureen says:

    Congratulations on finding the stories that you were meant to write. I know I changed a lot when I got married and had children but that is pretty unavoidable. There were no goth kids when I was young but my a couple of my daughter’s friends dressed like that. I read a real variety of stories and it seems to depend on my mood at the time.

    • Cassondra says:

      Thank you Maureen!

      I fully expect that one day I’ll return to my romantic suspense. There are some books of my heart in that series. Some written, some not. We shall see what the future brings. :0)

      And yes, having kids is a MAJOR reinvention, whether you want it or not.

  • pearl says:

    Congratulations and best wishes. I read and enjoy so many books and genres since I want to experience many things through books and this is my outlet. I haven’t reinvented myself at all and am the same person even though there have been many trials and tribulations in my life.

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Pearl-
      Thank you so much. I’m very excited.
      I love it that you use books as your window to different experiences. I think they function marvelously for that, no matter the person’s situation.

  • Cassondra, what a lovely post! I can’t wait to have Honey Bend to actually read.

    For the questions:

    Have you ever gone one direction in life, only to figure out that you should be going a different way entirely?

    Oh, sure. I ditched my former career to stay at home with the boy and to write.

    Ever changed directions in mid-stream?

    Have you ever reinvented yourself in any way, large or small?

    What about your reading habits? Do you read everything, all the time? Or do you go through phases–darker, grittier books for a while, then lighter, easier books?

    I read a lot of different things, usually several in the same vein one after another and then switching up after a while.

    Who’s your favorite small-town romance author?

    Terry Osburn

    Did you know any Goth kids growing up? And did any of them turn out to be, by any chance, romance writers?

    LOL! When I was growing up, Goth had not yet been invented, so no.

    • Cassondra says:

      Nancy, thank you.
      Goth had not been truly invented when I was a kid. By the time I got out of high school and headed for college, I was starting to see some people lean that way. Of course, on a college campus, there’s a much wider variety of people than in a small town like mine. Or at least those people are maybe freer to express themselves without backlash.

      I think it’s an amazing thing to have left practicing law for your stint as a mom. That’s not an easy career to get in the first place, so it’s a powerful love that drove that reinvention, for certain.

  • Cassondra asked me to let everyone know she’s sick and won’t be able to get to the blog much but will come by and respond when she can.

  • jcp says:

    I like Karen Templeton’s or Donna Alward’s small towns. I hope you feel better soon.

  • Deb says:

    Cassondra, how exciting to be able to soon read your book!! Woot!!

    I haven’t reinvented myself. My daughter (14 1/2 thinks I dress like a dowdy, no sense of fashion lady. She is right in some aspects. I’ve learned to wear comfortable clothing, but it’s also called not having money and 20 pounds of baby fat that did not come off. Honestly, when single and having money, I dressed to the hilt.

    I don’t know any Goths…or Emos (Emotionals), as my daughter calls them. And, dressing in black doesn’t make you Goth. I actually think a lot of people look good in black; I wore a black A-line dress to my SIL’s wedding last summer. I do know a man that has tattoos all over his body and wears huge earrings, but he is the nicest guy and really takes an interest in others. He’s a former student!

    As for small-town authors, Debbie Macomber does a good job of writing such stories. I look forward to yours, though, Cassondra!! 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Deb is that the new name for them? Emos?

      Hey, that might fit me actually better than Goth. And no, wearing black doesn’t make you that. I do tend to dress the part–at least a little more than most folks my age. *grin* I’m not growing older without a fight. ;0)

      That’s the thing–to dress cool you really have to have either money–or time and access to excellent thrift stores.
      Trolling thrift stores was how I built my funky wardrobe, but even that–it needs to change over the years. I have some clothes I just love, but now when I put them on they don’t work as well with my”older” body, and so I guess I do make some concessions to age. I’m going to have to do a closet cleaning here soon, and part with some of my old favorites.
      I’m very excited about the Honey Bend series, and I hope readers like it too. I’ll let y’all know when the first book is ready.

  • Colleen C. says:

    I have felt a need to change direction in my life… even moved looking for a new start…
    As for my reading I go with my moods… it is what grabs my attention at the moment as for heat level or subgenre in romance…
    One of my fav small town authors is Brenda Novak… really love her Whiskey Creek series…
    Goth kids… I knew some… do not know how things turned out for them…
    Love the owl pic!
    Where I live there is a small type of owl that sits outside its burrow during the day… they are so cute!

    • Cassondra says:

      Oh, wow, Colleen, you have burrowing owls where you are? That’s awesome.

      As far as I know, we don’t have any burrowing owl species right around here.

      I’m impressed with your courage. It takes a fearless spirit–or a strong one–to pick up and move in order to reinvent yourself. That’s amazing.

  • Cathy P says:

    Hi, Cassondra! I really enjoyed your post.

    I have been working on reinventing myself for the last 1-1/2 years. I went from a happily married woman of 39-1/2 years to a widow.

    I love to read historical, contemporary, and mystery books as long as they have romance in them. Right now I am into historicals, but I go back and forth.

    I never knew any Goths growing up.

    • Hugs Cathy.

      That must be difficult. Life is simply not fair at times. Sending prayers and hugs your way.

    • Cassondra says:

      Cathy, big squishy (((hugs))) across the ether to you.
      I can’t imagine how hard a reinvention that is, and it takes a long time to go through it.

      So glad you find escape through the books. I go back and forth between historical and contemporary also. I go through phases, it seems.

  • LOL Cassondra –

    I’d say going from an accountant/business executive/self-employed CPA to writing romances is a fairly big switch. At least, it is according to the open gapes by the other CPAs when I tell them 🙂

    One of my favorite small-town authors is LuAnn McLane because she’s a good friend of mine. 🙂 She’s been a guest here in the lair.

    I’m afraid I predate the Goths 🙂

    Can’t wait for this book to come out. It’s been a lifetime in the making.

    • Cassondra says:

      Donna, it HAS been a lifetime in the making. Wow. That’s very insightful and I never thought of it that way until you said it.

      Yes, that is quite the reinvention–CPA to romance writer. And I’d imagine your CPA peers are not used to hearing that one. *grin*

      I have always wondered—did you have the fun hats when you were a CPA? Or did those come with the writing? I know you are also an artist, so….were the hats part of artist Donna?

  • anne says:

    Just these past few years there were major changes in my life due to a major medical issue and this has impacted my life. I no longer look as youthful and am an old fogie but it is comfortable and fine with me. Reading takes my mind off of the troubles and gives me hope.

    • Cassondra says:

      Anne, it’s the “forced” reinventions that are the most frustrating, don’t you think?

      I’m really glad books are your escape. They’re mine too.

  • catslady says:

    i’ve never reinvented myself but maybe I should lol. I too am a night owl but everyone else I know likes getting up at the crack of dawn and oh how some of them will still call me early!! Well maybe I did reinvent myself since I was always an early bird too but not out of choice. The first 50 yrs. I got up early but when I no longer had to I kept making my days later and later lol As to reading, I started out with horror, scifi and then gothic. Kathleen woodiwiss got me hooked on romance. I tend to read a bit of everything but I seem to find myself going back to historicals – you’d think I would have stayed with paranormals and suspense although I do still read them. I must admit contemporary is what I read the least but I mix it up and enjoy them too at times.

    • Cassondra says:

      Catslady I didn’t know that about you–you started with horror and scifi? I had no idea. So glad you found Woodiwiss and came over to the …bwahahah…dark side. *grin*

      Historicals are a guilty pleasure of mine too. We have some of the most fantastic historical writers here in the Lair, and they feed my habit. They’re enablers, that’s what they are. *grin*

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Hi Cassondra! First, I’m so sorry that you’re sick. Hope you’re feeling better soon! Second, I’m so excited! This is awesome news. As I said the other day, you always touch me heart with your blogs and I found myself wondering several times why you weren’t doing that type of writing. I’m a very giddy reader knowing the type of stories you’re now creating. Can’t wait to read your books!

    My career course was set from about fourth grade. I always knew I’d be an English teacher and everything I did throughout grade school, high school and college was designed to reach that destination. Then I took a summer job in a bank. I never made it to the classroom and I’ve never regretted it

    Have you ever reinvented yourself in any way, large or small? – Yes. My husband died one week after my 50th birthday. After almost six years of being his caretaker it would have been easy to return to my former places of comfort but instead I chose to forge new paths for my life. Those new paths led to where I am today; a place that fulfills me and makes me very happy.

    What about your reading habits? Do you read everything, all the time? Or do you go through phases–darker, grittier books for a while, then lighter, easier books?

    I bounce around, depending on my moods and read just about everything.

    Who’s your favorite small-town romance author?

    Lots of favorites! Terri Osburn, Virginia Kantra, Jesse Hayworth (set on a ranch but like a small town), Patience Griffin (set in a small Scottish village) and many more.

    Did you know any Goth kids growing up? And did any of them turn out to be, by any chance, romance writers?

    I also pre-date Goth. 😉

    • Cassondra says:

      Thank you PJ. I’m better than I was this morning and last night.

      I’m kind of giddy myself about it. And see…once the brain went *click* I started to wonder if other people saw what I had overlooked for so long.

      I’m not saying the suspense isn’t still a part of me. But even when I go back to it, I’m not sure it will have exactly the same feel to it.

      How interesting that you knew your course your whole life until you worked in a bank! Some day I’d like to hear the story of that…of what made you fall for that kind of work.

  • ellie says:

    Books are my sole form of entertainment and have always been my ultimate favorite interest which have expanded as I matured. Reinvention is something which I have witnessed in some and think it is very amusing. The way they adopt a new persona and feel they can start over. I think you have to be strong to remain true to yourself.

    • Cassondra says:

      Ellie this is a really good point, and I’ve seen that too. I don’t know if what they’re doing is true reinventing or not, if they only make over the outside. Actually I think one reason for reinventing myself in the past is that I realized I was NOT being true to myself–either in my work, or what I was studying–or a few times, even with a particular religious denomination. My goal has always been to move closer to my authentic self, but I have not always been the best at finding that. It’s been an interesting, twisty road.

  • Shannon says:

    At work, I was doing one region of the world, and suddenly, I was focused on one country that I had never studied and wasn’t interested in. I think mid-stream changes is a little dramatic, I think I do course corrections from time to time. My biggest reinvention just happened; I started to exercise and I lost weight. The doctor shifted me to a med that destroyed my get-up-and-go and caused me to crave carbs. I’m off the med, but getting back on the wagon has been difficult.

    As for reading, I read mostly historical romance, but sometime the mood hits to read sci-fi, fantasy, or steam punk. For the most part, I want light and fluffy, the equivalent of emotional candy or cake.

    Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green is my favorite small town.

    I’m afraid I was a teen before there was Goths. The main dress modes were scruffy lumberjack, jock cool, or nerdy homemade. In this dark age, there also weren’t much selection in footwear–converse, Adidas…

    • Cassondra says:

      Shannon said this:

      The main dress modes were scruffy lumberjack, jock cool, or nerdy homemade.

      OMGosh, that’s the BEST description of the styles at my grade school and high school, only you had to add “farmboy tshirt and boots” which was always accompanied by an FFA jacket (I had one of those too.) But I fell into the “nerdy homemade” category most of the time. Once I started performing, my mom actually let me pick my patterns and fit different sleeves with different bodices, etc, to create funky clothes, and she did a really good job. But what I wore to school? Definitely nerdy homemade.

      I’m so proud of you for getting back on the exercise wagon! That’s so difficult when the choice is taken pretty much from you because of meds. *high five* on getting going!

      I’ve heard about Pennyroyal Green from at least three people. I have GOT to look that up!

      • Amy Conley says:

        Julie Ann Long’s PENNYROYAL GREEN series is one of the BEST. You’ll be shocked, laugh, cry, any and all emotions will be felt.

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    Yay! Yay! Yay! Cassondra, this news makes me so happy! I can’t wait to see the cover, and I definitely can’t wait to read the book! Yay!!!!

    I love small town stories! I didn’t read a whole lot of them until the past couple years. Brenda Novak’s Whiskey Creek series is one of my faves! Nancy Naigle is another favorite!

    Congratulations on all the big news! 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Hey Heather!

      Thank you! I’m excited about it too! Can’t wait to show y’all the cover. Isn’t Brenda Novak wonderful?

  • Mozette says:

    Have you ever gone one direction in life, only to figure out that you should be going a different way entirely?

    Oh yes! I became a born again Christian… if any of you have read my horror writings on my flash fiction blog, you wonder how I ever was one. 😛 But I was in my late-teens and very early 20’s. However, I found I needed to research being a pagan, so I lived the life of a witch for one year; which meant I had to leave the church. Do you think they’d let me? No… I ended up doing it in secret, enjoying being a Pagan so much, I got them to kick me out instead… now, that was the fun part! 😀

    Ever changed directions in mid-stream?

    yeah… I did that while living the life of a Pagan for the one year, and wanted to immerse myself more publicly, so I told a few of my close friends and they hated me… my Religious Instruction teacher – Mr Brian Gilmore (such a lovely man, now retired on the Gold Coast, but still working God’s Work with Street Van) told me to do what I thought was right within my heart. So, I did. 😀

    Have you ever reinvented yourself in any way, large or small?

    Oh, my word yes! When I was re-diagnosed with Epilepsy, I took up a paintbrush and never looked back… it was fun. 😀 In the last few years, I’ve really come into my own with my art by starting my own little craft hobby business and going to the markets. It’s been great fun and I’m totally enjoying my new life… however stressful it is. But you see, it’s the stress I live off now, instead of the stress triggering my problems, I have found my life is better for it (does that sound weird?).

    What about your reading habits? Do you read everything, all the time? Or do you go through phases–darker, grittier books for a while, then lighter, easier books?

    I read anything I can get my hands on – romance, thrillers, horror, funny stuff… well, except Y.A and spaghetti westerns… eeww… I can’t stand those.

    Who’s your favorite small-town romance author?

    I don’t really have one… like I said, I read anything now, because time is precious seeing how busy I am.

    Did you know any Goth kids growing up? And did any of them turn out to be, by any chance, romance writers?

    Um.. yeah… me… 😛 I was a Goth in disguise. My brother could see I was but Mum and Dad dressed me all girly because they didn’t want to know the real me… they just didn’t like it that I was into The Cure, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Dead Kennedies and other such bands… but I was; and I could dress really dark as well, but they just wouldn’t allow it in their house.

    My brother? Well, he loved me for who I was and am… always has. 😀 And I have grown up to write Gothic Horror… which my niece loves as it gives her the chills. But I do put a little romance into it, which makes it weird. 😛

    • Cassondra says:

      Mozette said:

      But you see, it’s the stress I live off now, instead of the stress triggering my problems, I have found my life is better for it (does that sound weird

      doesn’t sound weird to me, Mozette. I think that’s fabulous. Because you love what you’re doing, you can feed on it. It’s the best way to live,I think.

  • gamistress66 says:

    no reason you can’t be a bit goth/punk and still be sweet/fun, small towns have their rebels with hearts of gold too 🙂 tastes change & grow in different ways over time, so excited for you that you found where your muse has been hiding and that the 2 of you are getting along happily, congrats on the upcoming release 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Thank you so much, gamistress!

      You’re right of course. I’m enjoying making my town a conglomeration of the places I’ve lived and visited.

  • Huzzah! I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to know your first book will be coming out soon!! Can’t wait! I am going to put on my platform shoes, my furry vest, my gold chains and my hat with the feather in it and pimp that sucka like Huggy Bear!!

    I think it is absolutely perfect that you are writing small town romance. We become all sorts of people as we go through life. Some for fun, some out of necessity, and some simply because we need to stretch who we are. The average person is perfectly happy with being one person. Some people are afraid to be anything else. Some people, honest to God, only want to be one person their entire lives. How they do it I have no idea. Even if they’re unhappy they simply refuse to be anyone else.

    To be creative, and to survive all of the mayhem being creative can wreak on one’s heart, soul, mind, sanity – the ability to be who we want to be at any given moment and for however long we need to be is as natural to us as breathing and as vital to us as breath. And for writers it’s a Godsend. Where do you think all of those stories come from? Most people live one life during their time on earth and sometimes they live the life they are told to live. How sad. A writer can live hundreds of lives and if they are creative enough and serve that creative spirit long enough they can live forever.

    You have one of the most creative minds I know, Cassondra. Am I surprised the Goth chick has created her own small town and is sharing it with us? I’d be more surprised if she didn’t. Congratulations.

    • Cassondra says:

      Awww, Louisa, I’m getting the warm fuzzies again. You keep doing that to me lately.

      I never thought of it like that, but I’ve reinvented myself a few times, and I’m glad for the ability. The inside of me doesn’t change at its base, but as I mentioned to a commenter earlier, I think I’m actually getting closer to who I really am–or at least I hope that’s what’s happening. And I’ve had a lot of adventures on the path to finding her. I hope I have more adventures yet to come, because I doubt this is the last reinvention. As soon as I get comfy, something else will come along and shake that up!

      Thank you for your kind words. *smooch*

  • Pissenlit says:

    Yay largely black wardrobes and dark nail polish! And yay small town romances! I’ve got that kind of disconnect too. Congrats on the new subgenre! 😀

    I don’t know if it’s so much reinventing myself as swapping different versions of myself periodically 🙂

    I go through phases in reading. I’ll read a whole bunch of books in the same genre and then usually, when i feel like swapping genres, i’ll try to find something to read in that new genre that is somehow still tied to the last book I read…like a small town romance to a small town murder mystery.

    My favourite small town romance authors are Beth Andrews and Donna Alward.

    I was a Goth um…university student! Well, a sort of periodic quasi-Goth. Mostly just lots of black with a few extra dramatic pieces…and funky accessories…and a bright red or purple streak of hair…and totally kickass boots. Also various weird experimental things. You can get away with oh so very many things as an art student. 😀 I’ve since toned down the drama and odd experiments and picked up fun dark nail polishes. I don’t write but I do love romances! 🙂 And things like Disney movies with princesses and fairies and sparkly things…and other things that I look funny doing and watching while wearing all black, sometimes with black nail polish. 😀

    • Cassondra says:

      Yay! PIssenlit said:

      Mostly just lots of black with a few extra dramatic pieces…and funky accessories…and a bright red or purple streak of hair…and totally kickass boots. Also various weird experimental things. You can get away with oh so very many things as an art student.

      YES! This is it exactly. I wasn’t a university art student (though sometimes I wish I’d gone that route) but I had the artsy thing going. Never had the nerve to do the streak in my hair, but I still look at those streaks and feel SO envious. I never had the nerve when I was younger, and now that I’m older, I’m afraid to do that to my very fine hair. :0/

      Doesn’t Beth write amazing small-town romance? I haven’t read Donna, but I’ll have to try hers too!

  • Barbara Elness says:

    There was no “goth” when I was growing up, long, long ago. I love to read lots of different genres of romance, and I kind of rotate, usually one darker UF, Paranormal, SFR, and then one lighter historical or steampunk romance, usually reading one of each at a time. I worked in one industry for many, many years, even transferring to the same company when I moved across the country (which was a huge change in my life). Four years ago I quit my job, searched for six months for another, and got the best job I could ever ask for in the public sector, which is a totally different environment than I’ve ever worked in before. I never could have predicted that change, but I’m so glad it happened.

    • Cassondra says:

      Barbara, what a cool story of reinvention! I love it when the universe’s plan–even if it’s not ours–comes together in a way that is so much better than one we could have made.

      Love it that the public sector work that was so different, actually turned out to be perfect.

  • flchen1 says:

    Wow, Cassondra! Fortunately I’ve already liked and followed and all that jazz 🙂

    And as for your question–a resounding yes. I started out as an electrical engineer in college, thinking that I was going to keep on heading down this geeky, science-y, math-y pursuit… but really? I was not really well suited for that, despite all my good math grades in high school and all that… By the time I figured this out (and yes, I was a slow learner!), it was too late to completely change majors, but I have never worked as an engineer. I worked as an editor, starting as soon as I graduated, and now I do that as a freelancer…

    As for reading habits, mine vary widely, except that I really prefer romance 🙂 I’ll read dark and gritty, but I do prefer to mix it up a little with the lighter as well.

    I have a lot of small-town romance authors I love… Erin Nicholas is one 🙂

    I did know some Goth kids; none to my knowledge are now romance writers, but I might also be remiss in keeping up 🙂

    Can’t wait to read yours, Cassondra!!!

    • Cassondra says:

      flchen1, you are not alone.

      I know so, SO many people who have degrees they have not used. I don’t think a college education is ever wasted, because you learn so much MORE in school than just your subject. It stretches your mind, usually (I do know of a few exceptions to that), but often that education doesn’t end up paying the bills.
      Thanks for following all the social media! I’ll be seeing you more there in the future. :0)

  • Kimh says:

    Like Susan Mallory books

    I am. Reading the same,
    Great prizs

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