Wednesday, February 19, 2014

EMBRACE BLOG TOUR: In Bloom & Full Measures

My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.
I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me. 
How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I've ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it's all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all… 

 IN BLOOM Inspiration
IN BLOOM was never meant to be a book. It was born out of my inability to write, rather than the dream to do so. For several years I was safely travelling down my chosen career path as a fashion designer and things were going well. Dresses I had helped design were being sold at Anthropologie and Barney’s—it was a dream come true! But then the economy came to a crashing halt and so did my dress design job. In a merger with a larger company, I was given a new position as a lingerie designer and soon realized my design skills weren’t going to cut it. It was kindly suggested that I try something new and I was asked to start the ecommerce website for In Bloom by Jonquil lingerie ( I started the site from scratch—learning as I went—and things got off to a rocky start… AKA, I was pretty sure I was done for when Google accused me of selling “mail order brides” and banned me from advertising. But, in a strange twist of fate, the ban turned out to be a blessing.
 Needing to find a new way to drive traffic to the website, I decided to start a blog. Having never written a blog, though, and not really being an expert on lingerie, I didn’t know what to write about so I thought writing fiction would be easier than pretending to understand bra fitting. I invented a girl named Olivia Bloom, with the intention of her being a fictional In Bloom employee who was live journaling while she planned her wedding. In Bloom is known for bridal lingerie and I wanted to be sure to include lots of wedding keywords, but when I wrote the first line:  My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Engaged. I got stuck. Who was she marrying? I couldn’t write about a wedding without knowing the couple’s love story… And the flood gates opened.
As Liv fell in love with Berkeley, I fell in love with storytelling. The story took hold of me and I was up at all hours, writing every chance I could get. I didn’t know anything about writing outside of what I’d learned in high school, but all those things I now know writing books tell you to do—write what you know—write the story only you can tell—happened organically. I relied heavily on my personal experiences to bring Liv’s story to life. Having been thrust in front of a camera or two for my design job and having spent my ten years in LA surrounded by bands—some of whom became famous, some of whom met their demise—I was proficient at hiding in corners at celebrity parties wondering, “what am I doing here? I so don’t belong.” And yes, my mom might be psychic.
After nine months of posting the Bloom Blog and tweeting as all of the characters, I’d written a novel, but I still never dreamed I’d be a published author. The path to publication is a magical story for another day, but it required me (and still does) to overcome tremendous amounts of fear and self doubt. The process has been both exhilarating and painful, but I’m grateful for every moment. I’ve grown so much in the last three years and have been delighted to discover a layer to IN BLOOM that I might have missed because it was happening as I wrote (and rewrote) it:  Be brave and follow your dreams, even if it seems like you’re failing. What feels like failure might just be life nudging you in the right direction, giving you the chance to bloom.

Katie Delahanty is a fashion designer turned novelist. She holds a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Professional Designation in Fashion Design from FIDM. It never occurred to her that she was a writer until an economic-crisis-induced career shift from lingerie designer to e-commerce webmistress led her to start the company blog. Not being an expert in lingerie, she decided to write the blog as a fictional serial starring a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked for the lingerie line. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. She hasn’t looked back since. Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.
Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.
Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.
Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She's a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

 When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they're currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

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