A Visit with Author Cheri Allan

 One of the pleasures of joining a writing group is  meeting talented, lovely, funny, and supportive people who love the same thing you do: writing. When I joined the New Hampshire Romance Writers of America chapter in 2013, one of the talented, funny, lovely and supportive writers I was delighted to meet was Cheri Allan. Cheri is one of the warmest people I have ever known. Her constant smile and positive way of looking at the world make her such a delight to be around. She is the kind of person who will turn your really bad day into a sunny, bright one. I’m so thrilled she accepted my invitation to guest blog today since her brand new book, STACKING THE DECK has just been released. Part 2 in the Betting on Romance series,  Stacking the Deck tells us the story of Liz Beacon and Carter McIntyre. At the end of Cheri’s blog entry is a except from the book.
Stacking the Deck cover image kindle cheriphoto 
Who said coming home is easy?
Author Bio:
Cheri Allan writes hopeful, humorous contemporary romance. She lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, two dogs, four cats and an excessive amount of optimism. She’s a firm believer in do-it-yourself, new beginnings and happily-ever-afters, so after years of wearing suits, she’s grateful to finally put her English degree to good use writing romance. When not writing, you might find her whizzing down the slopes of a nearby mountain or inadvertently killing perennials in her garden.
 
Cheri loves to hear from readers!
E-mail her at cheri@cheriallan.com.
Friend her at facebook.com/cheriallanauthor.
Or, visit her website and blog at http://www.cheriallan.com.

                Who Am I?  Authors in (Identity) Crisis

When Peggy first invited me to guest blog I immediately leapt at the chance to promote the release of my newest romantic comedy  Stacking the Deck and then I went into panic mode. WHAT. TO. WRITE? This is not, of course, much different than the typical day as we authors sit down at our keyboards, but having been through this blog tour/book release drill once before (thereby rendering me a veritable expert <snort!>) I wondered what NEW thing I had to write about. (Also a typical worry of authors on a daily basis.)

Which, if you are prone to distractibility (squirrel!) led me to thinking about how I wanted to portray myself to all you lovely people. And THAT, my friends, is what we authors struggle to master as much as the writing itself.

Let’s face it, we are fans, followers and social media friends with dozens of bestselling authors whose news feeds are filled with witty, pithy posts and pictures of adorable kittens, sexy men and sexy men cuddling adorable kittens. But… what if that isn’t us? What if we are allergic to cats? (Perish the thought!) Or we feel vaguely uncomfortable when we have a nearly naked man pulling on his underwear on our computer screen when our under-18 kids walk by? (“I’m doing research!”)

We’re told time and again we must develop a “presence” on social media, to “build a platform,” to “engage our readers.” As a writer, this feels like a blank page. A great and wonderful, horrible and magical blank page. I can be anything! we tell ourselves. AN-Y-THING! We whip out our hair dye and Photoshop manuals and practice our French just in case… well… who knows! We have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves! How cool is THAT? We do it every day with the characters in our books, why should we, ourselves, be any different?

Except we aren’t characters in books. We’re more like fan fiction. The basic character and backstory are already there. We can’t wash them away. We have to work with who we already are. I mean, I enjoy dress up as much as the rest of you, but I’m here to tell you, that taking on a social media persona that doesn’t feel like ‘you’ will eventually not ring true with readers or with yourself.

Figuring out how you want to portray yourself to the larger world is not so much about putting on airs as it is peeling off layers  to get to the core of who you are.

Because your image is, fundamentally, your voice. YOUR voice. What makes YOU write the books of YOUR heart and turn phrases with just the right elegant finesse to make your heart beat a little faster with excitement. You can’t fake the ‘you’ you present to the outside world any more than you can successfully copy someone else’s voice.

On the other hand, this doesn’t give you carte blanche to let it all hang out. No. No one needs to see the down and dirty, unshowered, ‘haven’t eaten food that didn’t contain unpronounceable chemicals and/or chocolate for a week because I’m on deadline and this is how I roll’ you. No. Neither do people want the ‘I’m stepping on my soapbox’ you. Because we can’t throw rotten vegetables over the internet, the mudslinging ‘you’ will have to rant in person.

The you WE want to see and interact with and get to know is still fundamentally ‘you’, but freshly bathed, and happy (generally) and sitting across from us in a coffee shop or in a park because we’re old friends, and we DO that sort of thing. And then you reveal those unique observations about life and love and friends and family and the shows you watch and the things that bug you… as friends. Because THAT’S the ‘you’ we readers want to know.

Let your public “persona” be the face of who you are when you are in the ‘zone’ of writing. That’s the real you. That’s the ‘you’ readers want to know and engage with. Maybe ‘you’ like kittens, pictures of sexy men, travel photos or talking about crafts. Whatever you enjoy sharing is the persona to share with the world, and the more you do that, the more ‘you’ in the larger world will mesh seamlessly with the ‘you’ you are everywhere else.

Now you all may be saying, “Ha! She’s talking about being real and honest and yadda, yadda but look at her PINK author photo! What’s that all about?” Well, I’ll tell you a secret about that photo. My critique partner HATES that photo with a purple passion. She thinks it’s cheesy and odd and not befitting my professional author persona. And while she has the looks and demeanor to portray a beautiful and glamorous author-self to the world. I am… pink. And I like being pink. When I look at my photo, it makes me smile in the way I do when I think of holiday lights and Dr. Seuss. It reminds me not to take myself too seriously. Maybe it isn’t glamorous or polished or sexy, but it feels like a more honest portrayal of who I am, at heart, than any glossy Glamour Shot ever could.

So, in the words of Dr. Seuss in Happy Birthday to You! come climb to the top of the world and shout with me: “I AM I!” Go ahead. It’s easy. And after we can grab a cup of coffee and chat about our books while searching the internet for random photos of sexy men cuddling kittens… because that’s how we roll.

Sharing time! Have you ever tried on a different public persona or image on social media? What happened? Did it feel “right” or like someone else’s hand-me-down you couldn’t wait to peel off when you got home? Tell us your story!

Amazon 1-click! http://amzn.to/1sCELnt
(Coming soon to B&N Nook!)
 
Stacking the Deck, Book Blurb:
 
Who said coming home is easy?
Liz Beacon has life all planned out—prioritized, color-coded and cross-referenced. She long ago traded in the geeky high school nickname, teenage pounds and dysfunctional family for a fab career, killer abs and a man every woman would envy. Okay, so her sex life is non-existent and her almost-fiancé is technically a coworker.  Life, if not perfect, is still on track. But then, Liz is called home to Sugar Falls, NH, to prepare her childhood home for sale. She’s spent ten years denying her insecurities and hokey lawn-ornament roots. There’s nothing she’d rather do less than face all she happily left behind, including her embarrassingly one-sided high school crush.
 
Carter McIntyre has sailed through life on his winsome smile… and by the skin of his teeth. A college drop-out with ADHD, he’s learned it’s safer to play the carefree charmer than step up and take over his uncle’s landscaping business. But then his class valedictorian returns to Sugar Falls and hires him for some home improvements. Now Carter’s wondering if it’s too late  to grow up, take a chance and win over the only girl who ever believed in him…
 
Luck of the Draw and Stacking the Deck, books 1 and 2 of her ‘Betting on Romance’ series available now in print and ebook. Betting on romance… because every woman deserves to get lucky.
Stacking the Deck, Excerpt:
He didn’t reply. Instead, he held her gaze, leaned closer and brushed his lips against hers. Soft. Warm.
 
Heavenly.
 
Her eyes fluttered closed and she clamped down on the impulse to drag him toward her and grind her mouth against his the way her body craved, fearing what might happen if she took even one tentative step down that slippery slope.
 
Instead, she let herself glory in the moment. Finally! Here! Today was the day Carter McIntyre kissed her again! Had she imagined it like this? His lips so incredibly warm? His breath melding with hers as his mouth parted ever so slightly? Journey playing ‘Open Arms’ in the background?
 
Okay, maybe there wasn’t a rock ballad playing on cue, but she made up for it by humming a soft moan of pleasure somewhere in the back of her throat as she let herself sink into the pleasure of this one, perfect kiss.
 
Just like the first time…
~ Cheri Allan 
Hopeful, humorous contemporary romance
Luck of the Draw  Available NOW in print and e-book! Amazon: http://amzn.to/1r1VePK 
Stacking the Deck coming October 21; Available for pre-order now! Amazon: http://amzn.to/1sCELnt 
Sign up for my mailing list! www.cheriallan.com

 

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5 Comments

Filed under Characters

5 responses to “A Visit with Author Cheri Allan

  1. Cheri

    Thank you so much for hosting me today, Peggy! I’m feeling very PINK today–especially after reading your kind intro. ❤ I shall try to keep the exclamation points to a minimum, but I'm very excited–it's release day!!! 🙂

    Like

  2. targa12

    thanks for GREAT blog post.- lack of proofreading (I blame lack of caffeine)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cheri

    Well, done, Peggy–although I still think I’m the queen of exclamation points! LOL I have to CONSCIOUSLY keep my pinkie away from that key at least once in a while, but then I feel driven to add a smiley face! 🙂 (ACK! Sometimes BOTH!!)

    Like

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