Archive for the ‘In Deep’ Category

Big Splash of A Release Party for IN DEEP!!

July 16th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in In Deep

My sixth young adult novel, In Deep, is finally here, and to celebrate I’m having the only kind of launch party you can possibly have for a book about competitive swimming–one at a pool.

Who’s Invited:  Teens and Grownups who are interested in the book and want to hang out by a pool.

When it Is:         6:30-8:30  on Monday, July 21st

Where To Be:    Venetian Pools in Decatur, GA   (150 Scott Blvd in Decatur)

What’s Required:  Swimsuit and towel, duh.  Also a ticket ($25–space is really limited!) which includes your own copy of In Deep, pool entrance, food and bevvies and a really good time. (But you can bring a friend/chaperone for only $5 extra.)

What I’m wearing:    What other than a wetsuit and rhinestone-rimmed swim goggles?

Call Little Shop of Stories at 404-373-6300 to get your ticket, and I will look forward to seeing you there!

Getting Even Deeper #indeep

July 8th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in In Deep, Talking with Other Authors

The conversation keeps coming in celebration of the release of In Deep! To wrap things up for today, here are two tales that will pull at all your strings (literally and figuratively) from authors Jessica Martinez and Bethany Chase.

Jessica Martinez is the author of Kiss, Kill Vanish (a super intense thriller coming in October), The Vow, The Space Between Us, and Virtuosity, and she also happens to be a gifted violinist:

The Job: Concertmaster of the South Bend, Indiana Symphony Orchestra

Why I Should Not Have Been Hired: Where to start?

1. I hadn’t actually played the violin for about six years. (Long story made very short, I have a freakish autoimmune thing that affects my hands. It suddenly went into remission, and for reasons unknown I said, “I think I used to play the violin! How about I audition to be concertmaster of a professional symphony?!”)

2. I didn’t have a music degree. Not technically required, but everyone else in the orchestra DID have one. I just didn’t know that. Because I didn’t know anything. Because I was an English major who should’ve been applying for a job checking hand stamps at Chuck E Cheese and not sight reading Mahler Symphonies at full speed.

3. I’ve always sucked as an orchestral player. Please believe me when I say that I’m not being modest. Back when violin was my career, I was a soloist. I mean, I’d always had to play in orchestras, and I’d even been concertmaster of non-professional orchestras (youth orchestra, college symphony) BUT I auditioned into those positions on my skill as a soloist. I knew full well I was a lousy orchestral player, and I’m pretty sure every conductor I ever worked with realized this too, as evidenced by their repeated head-palming during rehearsals. Why am I such a bad orchestral player? I blame the good ear I’ve always used as a crutch. I blame that one year of Suzuki violin. I blame my mom for dropping me on my head when I was a baby. Whatever. It’s HARD. Orchestral playing is like brain surgery at a hundred miles an hour with a bomb strapped to your chest. Also, professional orchestras only have one or two rehearsals with new music before they perform, which is nothing like youth or college orchestras. There. Those are my excuses.

Why I Did Get Hired:

1. The universe wanted to teach me about humiliation.

2. I audition well.

3. The sight reading passage for the audition was unusually easy—AND I NEVER SAY THAT.

4. Everybody else auditioning must’ve been hungover/drunk/stoned/high/asleep. Seriously.

A Humiliating Start:

1. First rehearsal. I’m introduced. I stand up and nod modestly while the orchestra members applaud. I notice that they are real grown-ups (I’m 24, looking 15). I sit down and look for the nearest trash can in case I need to vomit.

2. The orchestra starts reading the first piece. The string section isn’t supposed to come in for about a minute, so I’m counting measures and sweating bullets.


4. The conductor stops the train wreck and looks at me. Everybody is looking at me, but he really looks at me. Then he looks at his music and closes his eyes for a few seconds and every musician there knows exactly what he’s thinking: “What. Have. I. Hired.”

How It Played Out

1. I made a fool out of myself for an entire year. Too many stories to tell, really. I can shudder for about an hour if I start thinking about them all at once.

2. I studied the music and listened to every single piece we played for hours before rehearsals. I signed CDs out of the library, and bought CDs that the library didn’t carry.

3. Anxiety. Ulcer. Cry myself to sleep on my husband’s shoulder. Repeat.

4. I made friends. People have a hard time hating someone for incompetence when the person doesn’t seem to be horrible otherwise. But don’t get me wrong, they still thought I was a complete moron.

Silver Lining

1. Before I was even hired, there was a symphony fundraising auction and one of the items up for grabs was a concert given by the concertmaster and the conductor. (The conductor was a pianist.) So basically, some seriously rich people threw a big party and I got to come give a concert for their guests. I don’t know or even care whether they enjoyed it, but it was the highlight of my year. For one whole night, I got to actually do what I know how to do and not feel like a complete screw-up. The concertmaster and I had this singular moment at the end of the performance where he looked at me and nodded, and I could tell that for once, he didn’t regret I’d ever been born. It was beautiful.

2. When we got married, my husband didn’t really know I played the violin. I mean, he knew, but he didn’t know. How do you explain an entire lifetime of defining experiences when you can barely pick up your instrument anymore? Before we got married I think I showed him some videos of a pre-puberty Jessica playing with a symphony, and that was the extent of it. Anyway, that year my classical music virgin husband went to every single symphony concert by himself and bragged to the complete strangers sitting all around him that he was the concertmaster’s husband. He was there beaming at that private concert where I got to do my thing, and he was on his feet clapping the night of my last concert when I was presented with flowers. So, yeah.

Worth it.

The take home message: I will endure a year of soul-altering humiliation in exchange for positive attention from a boy. Yikes. Never mind. There is no take home message.


Bethany Chase is the author of The One That Got Away (a smart romantic story coming in March 2015 about a young female architect who is happy in work and love and thinks she’s nailed the blueprint to the perfect life, until a heartbreaking old flame waltzes back into town—and hires her to renovate his new house, with her life getting a bit of renovation as well), and also has a wicked sense of style.

My junior year of high school, I was dating simply the best boy in the world. His name was Jesse, and like Charlie in IN DEEP, he was cute, kind, loving, supportive, and crazy about me. And like Brynn, I crushed him.

He was a talented actor, good enough to get into the summer program at the Royal Academy of Art, so off he went to London while I did the summer show in our hometown community theater. He promised to write. He promised to call me. He only had one particular request for me in return: “Don’t fall in love with Chris while I’m gone, OK?”

Chris was his best friend. I barely knew him when the summer started, because I went to a different school from the two of them, and Jess and I had been pretty tucked away in our own little ecosphere since we’d gotten together the fall before. But plays create camaraderie in a uniquely intense way, and before I recognized what was happening, I was addicted to Chris’s snarky wit and the endless loops of joking that we’d fall into. The long talks we’d have in quiet corners at post-rehearsal hangouts, while everybody else snuck suspicious and hostile glances our way.

The first time he kissed me, on a warm, clingy summer afternoon, I knew it was wrong. I also knew I didn’t want to stop. I was telling myself the things cheaters have been telling themselves since the beginning of time: “I didn’t ask for this. I don’t want to feel this way, but I can’t help it.” I spent a lot of time lying in my bed, staring at my ceiling and stressing about what I was going to do, but the truth was, part of me loved it.

I loved the attention, and the drama of it all. I was high on the feeling of being wanted by not just one but two amazing guys, to the point that one of them was willing to destroy his closest friendship to be with me. I loved the feeling of doing something forbidden, even though it was forbidden for the very good reasons of being dishonest and cruel. Like Brynn, I made other people’s lives be all about me, to the point that looking out for their feelings became less important than indulging the ego trip I was on. By the time the dust settled, I had hurt both of them, badly. And I had finally started to realize how crappily I was behaving, and lost a little respect for myself when the weight of that came down to roost. Thankfully, I stopped short of deliberately manipulating anyone, but I will always wish that I had handled the situation more carefully than I did.

Thanks to *all* my friends who helped roll out this new book about competition and getting in over your head, both here and on Twitter at #indeep. I will look forward to all the thoughts and comments that keep coming in!

More Stories About Getting #indeep

July 8th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in In Deep, Talking with Other Authors

All day today to celebrate the release of In Deep, authors and friends are sharing their own stories about getting in over their heads, and you can too! Join the Twitter convo at #indeep, but while you’re here check out what Delilah Dawson and Christa Desir have to say.

Delilah Dawson is the author of Servants of the Storm (releasing in April 2015):

So my parents did a terrible thing to me in the 80s, a thing psychologists urged them to do: they told me I was perfect. Seriously. I was told that I was the most special, amazing, talented, intelligent person in the entire world. And because I received this message every day, I made perfect grades and never did anything wrong and never, ever took any risks that might expose me as the non-perfect person I was. I had great self esteem, but I was terrified to fail, much less to disappoint my parents. Which meant that at 18, I was on the road to Valedictorian, had won many awards, had a great job, and had never engaged in a single risky behavior.

When I went to Toulouse, France with a student exchange program, I was the best French speaker from my school. And yet I was utterly surprised that the other American kids wanted nothing to do with me for the week of touring before we met our host families. They invited me to sneak out once, and I turned them down and told them they were going to get in trouble, and that was it. It was painful, realizing that being The Best Person Ever Who, By the Way, Could Speak French meant that I was ostracized. So when I was handed over to my host family, I realized that this was my chance to be someone else, someone I had never been. They didn’t know I was a goody-goody teacher’s pet. They only knew my age and that I didn’t like tuna fish. And the first time my host student invited me to sneak out… I did.
Her boyfriend’s name was Fabrice, and when he and his friend Gael pulled up on their motor scooters and urged us to hop on, I did. Without a helmet. Without mentioning the many dangers of speeding through French traffic on the back of a motor scooter with my arms wrapped around a boy I’d never met. Back then, we had no cell phones, no Facebook. No way for me to know who these boys were or even their last names. But I went anyway, my heart beating in my ears with my first taste of risk.
And it was amazing. Eating pizza at a sidewalk cafe with a strange boy’s arm around my shoulders. Getting into another friend’s carved-out van and speeding across the Spanish-French frontier, shouting lyrics to a French song I’d never heard. Then we unloaded in a field in the middle of nowhere, and they started a bonfire and brought out the alcohol. And I reasoned that it was legal to drink in France and that my host student would take care of me, so for the first time, I drank whatever they gave me. And I got drunk. Very, very drunk.
At this point, the story could take a dark turn. There was a moment where I looked up at the unfamiliar skies and thought, “These strange boys could kill me and throw me in the field, and no one would ever find me.” But instead, they turned on Led Zeppelin and Nirvana and asked me to finally explain the lyrics, since I was so talented with French and English. For the first time in my life, I felt popular and fun and like other kids wanted me around. I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t the straight A girl. I was just having a great time explaining Stairway to Heaven to hot French boys.
The next morning, I woke up in my host family bed with my first hangover and the feeling that taking risks– the right risks at the right time– might be a good thing.
As a writer, I started out writing heroes who only made the safe decision, and I let fate and circumstance propel them through their stories. Then I realized that the most interesting stories start when the main character impulsively takes a risk or follows their heart into strange and unfamiliar territory. In Servants of the Storm, my Southern Gothic Horror out August 5, Dovey is in a medicated haze after Hurricane Josephine destroyed her life and killed her best friend, Carly. But when she sees Carly alive in a coffee shop, she starts spitting out her pills, knowing that she would rather be true to herself and find her best friend than do what she’s told and keep taking her medication. What she finds is… a lot scarier than cute French boys on motor scooters. But it’s that one decision that reveals what’s truly there and changes her world forever.

Christa Desir is an amazing activist, plus the author of Fault Line, and Bleed Like Me, which releases in October:

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to smart people. There is nothing that rings my bell more than intelligence. Big brains are the frosting to everything. I love being around thoughtful, eloquent, well-read, brilliant people. So it should come as no surprise that I developed crushes frequently on my college professors. 

The last semester of college, I spent abroad, studying in London. My theatre professor there had my number by the end of the first class. I was well-versed in dramatic literature and the two of us got into a big discussion over Measure For Measure. By the third class, pretty much everyone else stopped participating. My prof would foist challenges out to me about obscure Shakespearean plays and I would parry back. Because for fun, I’d read the entire canon. I guess it was less obvious to me what was going on than it was to the other students, because a few weeks into class, I was surprised when I got a call at my flat. My professor. Asking me to lunch. When I hung up the phone, my roommate, also enrolled in theatre with me, raised an eyebrow and grinned. Not at all surprised.

The thing is, I wanted to go to lunch. Because my prof had a big brain and it was all very flattering how he thought I had a big brain too. How he thought that I was worth having lunch with. And the hand on my thigh, and the sitting too close, and the rest of what happened afterwards, I thought it was just me being sophisticated. Or me pursuing fun. Or me crossing lines that I had no business crossing.

Until we reached the night of the student/faculty dinner about two months later. Me in a slinky black dress showing up with my gay roommate, the two of us already 3 martinis in, and my theatre professor standing across the room next to his wife.

I didn’t know about her, of course. Engaging in an already dodgy ethical relationship was one thing, but getting involved with a married man made me want to crawl out of my skin. Of all the identity crises I ever had, I was not interested in ever being the “other woman.” I did love and do love women far too much. But my ignorance is hardly an excuse. I never asked him about his relationship status. I didn’t think to. I got in too deep because I wanted to be liked, I wanted someone older and smarter to think I was worth it.

And the moment I saw her, his arm curled casually around her waist, his eyes dropping to my legs in my way-too-short dress, I realized I wasn’t worth anything to him.

So whenever I think about when people are “in deep”, I almost always equate this with a loss of self. With a time in one’s life when we’ve let go of who we are and given ourselves over to another person or another thing that leaves us compromised and without an identity. And I think of all the factors that get us there, what we want, what it buys us, what we’re willing to do. And I’m grateful that for the most part, I’m solid enough in who I am now that if I ever end up “in deep” again, it will be with both eyes open as to the possible consequences.