Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Losing Me: NEW cover and Release Party info

As you all know, Losing Me is my debut novel. It's book one of my Nickayla Quinn Series, and I finished writing it on January 29th of this year. 

As of today, there is one week until Losing Me is published. My novel will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I previously revealed the cover to my novel, but due to technical difficulties, I had to change it. However, the new cover fits my novel perfectly, and I'm very excited to share it with you!

Losing Me
Nickayla Quinn is not a damsel in distress.

Six months after she experienced a horrible betrayal at the hands of her best friend, her world is turned upside down. At the end of her rope, Nickayla can no longer go on... Determined to end it all, her plan is foiled when she's pulled out of the darkness in a timely rescue in the form of Colin Westwick.

Colin never thought that saving the mysterious, drowning girl would be the end of his life as he knew it. Fueled by a desire to be around each other as much as possible, their walls come down and they let each other in, all while battling demons that neither wants to share. 

Nickayla's not a weak girl who needs to be saved...she just needs to find the most important thing she's lost: herself.

In celebration of the release of Losing Me, I'll be hosting a release party on Facebook. There'll be games, prizes, teasers, and more, so feel free to join the fun and meet Nickayla and Colin for the first time!

Losing Me Release Day Party  Like Jasmine Carolina on Facebook 
Follow Jasmine Carolina on Twitter

Monday, December 30, 2013

Welcome To Midnight


The ball drops and fireworks. Resolutions are made. People scream and people kiss and is it possible to change? Is it really truly possible to leave the past behind?

Welcome to Midnight.

Another year comes to a close. Another year begins. With a moment in between. Why the fuss? Why the fame and fireworks? Is it more than hype? More than something else to sell us? Is there something to this holiday? Something true inside it?

Because isn’t there something inside us that aches for change…

Dreams it to be possible…
To let go.
To hold on.
To leave it behind.
To start again.
To be new.
Is it possible?

Midnight and we’re new.
Midnight and the past erased.
Midnight and we’re free.

Welcome to Midnight.

As midnight approaches, I find myself faced with the questions of the past year, and the promises of the new one. Like everyone, I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s… Like everyone, I anticipate that single moment—11:59, and then, and then…12:00. 60 seconds and poof…2013 is over and 2014 is staring me dead in the face.

But maybe I’m not ready to say goodbye to 2013. Maybe I’m not ready to be new. Maybe I’m not ready to erase the past. I want to grab 2013 by the balls and hold on for dear life.
I made some wonderful friends. I let go of some less-than-wonderful ones. I reconnected with some more-than-wonderful ones. I started seeing a therapist and am feeling much better at the end of 2013 than I was feeling at the beginning.

2013 has been an amazing year for me. I’ve grown so much, especially in my writing.

Goodness my writing. The beginning of 2013, I had a bunch of eggs (novel ideas), some of whom thought they were ready to hatch and leap out of the nest, but one project in particular surprised me.

While reflecting on a darker time in my life, I wrote out a seven page story. It was about a young girl who was in love with her best friend, trusted him implicitly, and she wanted to take a step and make their relationship official. Little did she know, this step would send her off a proverbial cliff and into a downward spiral of epic proportions. In a drunken stupor, he took advantage of her, and left her nearly broken.

This story would later be shared with one of my closest friends, Katelyn, who encouraged the story idea. This story became the prologue to Losing Me.

I have been writing for 9 years—I only began writing novels 6 years ago. For 6 years, I’ve been assaulted with idea after idea after idea, only to start a novel and never finish it. When I began Losing Me on July 1, 2013, I didn’t think it would become anything.

As I talked to Katelyn—honestly, I remember this conversation clear as day—she told me that the prologue gave her goosebumps. I don’t know if anyone understands the effect those words had on me because of the fact that Katelyn doesn’t read. SHE DOESN’T FUCKING READ AND MY WORDS GAVE HER GOOSEBUMPS.

I took those words to heart, because only I, my younger sister, my therapist, and now Katelyn, understand why writing this story was so important to me. I was molested when I was seven years old, and I’ve carried that weight around for thirteen years, unsure of how to let it go.

But as I wrote that prologue, as I created Nickayla Quinn and her story, I was letting go of mine. I was finding myself as I helped Nickayla heal. I knew, from that initial conversation with Kate, that this was a story that I had to tell.

And I struggled.

Dear God, did I struggle. I remember Katelyn bugging me incessantly for the first chapter of Losing Me, but I wasn’t able to give it to her until almost two months later. I wrote it, and re-wrote it, and re-wrote it, and re-wrote it, all the while crying, screaming, and agonizing over it because I wanted to do my story and Nickayla’s—and anyone who was taken advantage of by someone that they trusted—justice. I would NOT give Katelyn, or anyone, a less than perfect chapter, or a less than perfect representation of the damage done when you trust someone and they break that trust.

And yet here I am, months later, pushing through it. It gets easier to write Nickayla’s story. It gets easier to let go of mine.

I’m almost 90% done with Losing Me. I’m planning to hit Publish in April. I have another series in the works, and two standalone novels—all of which deal with subjects equally as difficult as rape. I’ve got an author page on Facebook with over 400 likes. Over 400 people are interested in my writing. Over 400 people want to read my work, want to read my story—and that’s not including my extensive family and all of my friends.

In April of 2014, I’ve got to take Losing Me, my baby bird, and kick it out of the nest to see if it can fly.

This year has been such a good one for me. Bad things happened, sure, but so did a lot of good things. I’m not ready to let go of this year yet, because I’ve never felt so alive. I’ve never felt so whole. I’ve never felt so…fulfilled.

I’m reaching my dream and that has me jumping for joy, wanting to scream from the rooftops and tell everyone how much I love them, because this hasn’t been a singular effort. They say it takes a village to raise a child?

Guess what? It also takes a village to make someone’s dream come true.

To Katelyn, who seriously was the person who made me continue this story, THANK YOU. You will never know how much your words shaped this story, and how much dedication, blood, sweat, and tears I’ve put into it. Welcome to Midnight, because I am going to be bugging you nonstop about Losing Me in the new year. (Also, the lovely Kate is gracing the cover of one of my WIPs, Never Let Me Go, releasing in August 2014, God-willing).

To Ashley, my writing buddy, the person who lets me talk her ear off for days on end about writing, books, and even the most random shit in the world, THANK YOU. Your partnership, dedication, and assistance has been unmatched. Welcome to Midnight, because this is FAR from over! (Ashley will be publishing her first book, Dandelion Me, in May of 2014).

To my lovely Betas, Danielle, Katelyn, Sandra, Jennifer, Amber, Yarida, and Ashley, seriously, you all are the best. Your enthusiasm, dedication, love, and support for this project has honestly moved me to TEARS. You all truly are Colin’s biggest fans, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. Welcome to Midnight, because if you love Losing Me, you’ll DEFINITELY love what comes next. Don’t hop off the roller coaster yet, ladies!

To my best friend Elizabeth, who has known me for years and never fails to ask how my writing is going, THANK YOU. Thank you for telling me that one day in that one text message, “You better not stop writing!” Who knew five words could change everything so much. Welcome to Midnight, because I’m sure I’m going to need lots more of those texts in the coming year.

To my little sister Jade, who leaves me alone for hours on end and understands completely when I need time to myself to get writing done, THANK YOU. Thank you for supporting me, for telling me when something is too boring, or when that one sentence doesn’t belong in that place, or when I need to name a character something different (you are WAY better than a baby name site). Welcome to Midnight. You’re kind of stuck with me until one of us dies.

To my family, most notably Yesenia, Amber (double mentions, of course), Selena (who commented on my first status about Nickayla, saying she couldn’t wait to read the new story), Nina (who is seriously the most misunderstood person in my entire family who I don’t know as well as I’d like to, can give a pep talk like no other, and listens better than anyone I know), Tia Patsy, Tia Phyllis (who told me when I was 15 that I needed to write everything down), and even Nylaya, who are seriously the best cousins and Tia’s any person could ever ask for, THANK YOU. You all give me endless laughs, tears (most times from laughing), and memories that help me get through the rough days. Welcome to Midnight. Seriously, keep doing what you’re doing.

To my friends, Maria (my book best friend and the one person who will tell me if my MMC is a Mary Sue, who will not rest until I finish that book, Quinn—which now needs a new name—, and who is now dabbling in writing herself), Alessandra, Kacey (this girl is a goddamn SAINT, I kid you not), CyChristi (also a saint), Salvador (there just aren’t enough words in the English language to tell you how thankful I am for you), Sarah (who has a namesake in Losing Me and never failed to accept my aggravatingly long text messages as I shared with her a story idea I had every time one struck lol), Amber J., Jessica (who told me she hopes my books become bigger hits than Twilight LOL), Apryl, Nicole F. (funniest person on Facebook EVER), and Shirley (I’ve sent her pieces of my writing since like middle school I think haha), THANK YOU. I’m sure I missed a bunch of people here, but Welcome to Midnight. You probably don’t even know what I’m thanking you for, but thank you for being you, because I cherish every single one of you more than you know.

To my favorite teacher in high school, Mrs. Cambria D’Amico-Wu, who accepted me into her AP English Language class, pushed me to get off my cell phone and actually do my work, who decided to start a creative writer’s club with us, who encouraged my writing at every turn, THANK YOU. I will forever be indebted to you for everything you’ve done for me as a student and as a writer. Welcome to Midnight. I hope to share all my progress and success with you for years to come.

To my big sisters, Lanita and Flora, for being the best big sisters anyone could ask for, for always asking when I’m coming to visit, for reaching out to me when I’m being a hermit, and for telling me that you’re proud of me (seriously, I take those words to heart EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.), THANK YOU. Welcome to Midnight. We have a long road ahead of us, girls.

To my grandma, who took me in when I was 14 and needed a fresh start, never bothered me when I spent hours on end at her computer writing, bought me my first flash drive (I wish I still had it for sentimental value, but my dog chewed that to pieces), bought me the book that changed my life, Les Miserables, put up with my…eclectic music taste, and never asked for her laptop back when I would take it in the middle of the night, writing until 6 am while drinking numerous bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino’s , THANK YOU. I honestly feel sorry for everyone else because I’ve got the best grandma in the world. Welcome to Midnight, because I’ve gotten worse. I write for even MORE hours. I drink even MORE coffee. You thought the book Les Miserables was huge? There’s a movie musical now that I watch AT LEAST three times a week. My music taste has gotten even MORE eclectic. Just wait until next summer. You’ll see.

To my parents, Curtis and Debbie Simon, who, as far as I know, neither of you have a single creative bone in your body, but happened to create me, with more creative bones than I will ever need, THANK YOU. I wouldn’t be here without you. Welcome to Midnight, because, well, I’m kinda stuck with you guys (I kid, I kid. Lol).

Last but not least, to the Indie community, (particularly Tasha Gwartney, Kyla Grabowski, Cassandra Janey, Dani Hart, and Danielle Taylor), THANK YOU. Thank you for embracing me, sharing my page, for talking with me about writing, and overall just showing me how KICK-ASS the Indie writing community is and how you don’t need a traditional contract to share your story with the world. Welcome to Midnight. This journey is far from over.

As I bring this annoyingly long blog post to a close, I’m STILL not ready to welcome the New Year. I’m still not ready for Midnight. But I’m welcoming it because as AMAZING as 2013 was, 2014 is going to be even BETTER.

I love every single one of you that are mentioned in this post more than you will ever know or imagine. I can’t wait to continue this journey with you.

Welcome to Midnight. Welcome to 2014. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Losing Me: The Prologue

Reader beware: This post contains the prologue of my work-in-progress, Losing Me. Losing Me is book one in my Nickayla Quinn Series, and once I got the prologue down, I felt that it was a story I just HAD to write. The idea for Nickayla's story came to me in a moment of clarity, and I'd be more than happy to share all the inner details of her life and experiences as the novel progresses.

I really hope you enjoy the story, and although this portion of the novel is NOT the most emotional part, it IS extremely heavy, and so I warn you ahead of time that it does deal with a touchy subject. If you're unable to deal with emotionally touchy subject matter, this novel (and the subsequent novels) is not for you.

 I really wanted to wait to share the prologue, but after seeing a post by a fellow Indie author, I couldn't wait any longer. I just had to let it out. Feel free to comment and share. Here is Nickayla's is Losing Me.

Disclaimer: This portion of Losing Me is unedited, and is subject to change at any moment.

6 months ago
            “Come on, Nic,” Kyle said, nudging me softly. “I won’t tell Mama Quinn if you won’t.”
            I sighed as I reluctantly took the red Solo cup filled with Vodka and cranberry juice from his hand. It wasn’t my first time drinking, not in the slightest, but I had promised Mom and Daddy that I would be responsible, especially since I had to babysit Naomi and Noah for the week.  I didn’t want to babysit my younger siblings with a hangover, so I vowed that I’d only drink half the cup, then pass it along to Michele or Rowan when they showed up.
            “Fine,” I said, taking a sip. I closed my eyes and reveled in the taste of the strong alcohol racing down my throat.
            Kyle knew how to get to me, and he used that to his advantage: Vodka cranberries were my favorite drink.
            He laced his arm through mine as we tried to make our way through the crowd.
            Ben Kingston threw the hugest party of the year right after final exams, and for the first time since high school started, my entire group of friends was able to get together and make it. Honestly, I could have cared less if Angie, Michele, Brody, or Rowan made it. The only real reason that I came to Ben’s party because I was hoping that Kyle would finally kiss me for the first time.
            We had been feeling each other for over a year, but the both of us were just waiting for the right moment I guess.
            I even wore a special outfit for the occasion: a skintight leopard skirt that stopped just above my knees paired with a sheer black halter top and red platform pumps. My long, curly hair was twisted into a sophisticated, messy bun on the top of my head. I had only worn one coat of mascara and a dab of peach tinted lip gloss. I wanted Kyle to see me, and really see me for the first time that night.
            “Nic!” Michele said, rushing over to me and giving me air kisses. “I’m glad you made it! Brody just left me alone to fuck whatever girl looks good to him right now, and Row and Angie haven’t gotten here yet.”
            I gave her a halfhearted hug, and stepped back slightly to examine what Michele was wearing. She was all dolled up in a strapless “little black dress” and glittery gold peeptoe pumps. Her makeup was flawless as usual, and her long, straight hair descended like a blonde waterfall over her shoulders and down her back.
            “You look great, Michele,” I said, smiling.
            Kyle tightened his grip on my arm, and I turned to face him.
            The music was so loud that I could barely hear him, but I could see his lips moving. I would remember that song forever: Outta My Head by Daughtry. I leaned closer to Ky, and within seconds we were mere inches apart.
            “Wanna get out of here?” Kyle whispered. “I think we should talk.”
            I nodded.
            I looked apologetically at Michele, raising my eyebrows. She was the only one of my friends besides Brody who knew how I felt about Kyle. I grazed her arm, letting her know that I’d be back as soon as possible.
            Kyle pulled away from me, breaking the twining of our arms. He grabbed my hand, closing his around it as he led me toward Ben.
            Ben was sitting with his girlfriend, Taylor, in the living room. They were sharing drinks and talking to a group of people when Ky tapped Ben on the shoulder.
            “Hey, man, can we go in your room really quick?” Kyle asked.
            Ben grinned goofily and nodded.
            “Sure,” he said. “Up the stairs, second door on the left. Go in the first door and I’ll kick your ass, York.” He smiled at me and winked. “Good to see you, Nickayla.”
            I nodded, turning away as Kyle led me upstairs.
I was so excited. For the first time, I was going to get what I wanted. I wanted to kiss Kyle that night, at least just kiss him. I didn’t need a date, or a relationship, not yet anyway. I just needed one kiss to see if the sparks we thought we felt were real.
            Once we were upstairs, I immediately spotted Ben’s room. I giggled at the sign on the door that read, “Do Not Disturb: Tay and Ben couple time” in dry-erase marker. Ky reached up and wiped off the bottom line. He smiled tentatively at me and opened the door.
            “After you,” he said.
            I walked into the bedroom and sat on the bed. The minute that I did, Kyle closed the door.
            I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as he walked toward me. I kicked my shoes off and sat back on Ben’s bed, my back against his headboard. Kyle climbed on the bed and sat next to me, grinning wildly at me. His eyes were wide, and he didn’t blink for a couple minutes.
            I pushed his face away from mine, giggling. “Ky, you look like the Cheshire Cat,” I said.
            He gingerly placed his hand at the nape of my neck. I gazed up at him, taking in the charcoal color of his eyes as they bored into me. It was as though he were really seeing me for the first time. When he leaned forward to kiss me, I swear, it took my breath away.
            His lips touched mine, and fire erupted. When his tongue grazed my top lip, I had to resist the urge to scream. It was everything I ever wanted, and I was being granted my only wish by my best friend, by Kyle. My Kyle.
            I slowly adjusted myself and got on my knees, positioning myself on his legs so that I was straddling him. If this was going to be my first kiss with Kyle, it was going to be a damn good one.
            I twined my fingers in Kyle’s hair as he broke our kiss. He began a trail of kisses from my neck and continued down to the valley of my breasts. He placed his hand on the small of my back, pulling me closer to him as he attacked me again with a kiss. He dug his fingers into both sides of my waist, lifting me off of him with ease, and tossing me onto the bed. He was above me then, staring down at me with pure hunger and passion in his eyes.
            Only that time when I looked into them, they looked black.
            His hands moved up my skirt, feeling and grasping closer to my entrance than I was comfortable with.
            I pulled away from him, smacking his hands away.
            “Kyle, what the hell are you doing?” I all but shrieked.
            He smiled down at me.
            “I’m giving you what you want, baby,” he said, grinning. His eyes bored into mine, and I shook my head.
            He reached for his belt and began taking off his pants. I sat still, frozen. When Kyle touched me again, I could have sworn that his hands were ice cold. He untucked my blouse from the inside of my skirt and began pulling it up.
            “Are you going to help me with this?” he asked. “I can’t exactly take your shirt off if your hands are frozen at your side.”
            I shook my head as he struggled to get my arms at an angle that would make it easy for him to remove my blouse.
            “I don’t know if I want this, Kyle,” I said, my voice barely a whisper.
            He gave up the battle with my arms and sat still, staring at me. He placed his hands on either side of my face, pulling me closer to him.          
            “Nickayla, look at me,” he urged.
            I closed my eyes.
            I didn’t want to look into those eyes again. I didn’t want to see what brewed behind them, didn’t want to feel what anger was buried deep inside his soul. He wasn’t the Kyle that I knew, wasn’t the Kyle that I loved, and definitely wasn’t the guy that I wanted to lose my virginity to.
            “Nic,” he pleaded.
            I opened my eyes, and everything that I feared was reflected in his eyes. I had no idea what was going on in his head, but it couldn’t be good. It seemed as though whatever hunger was festering within him was insatiable.
            “You love me, don’t you?” Kyle asked.
            I nodded. “Yes, of course,” I said. “But I’m not ready.”
            He kissed my neck again, groaning as he did so. I was Jell-O beneath his touch as he succeeded in removing my blouse. He unzipped my skirt and pulled it down, grinning at the sight of me only in my bra and panties.
            He grazed my body with kisses, but he wasn’t being gentle anymore.
            He kissed me from my neck all the way down to my abdomen. His hands slowly moved themselves up my inner thigh, and I jerked at his touch.
            “Kyle, wait,” I said, my voice thick with emotion. “I don’t want to do this.”
            He sighed, but he didn’t stop.
            “You love me, don’t you, Nic?” he asked. “If you love me, this should be exactly what you want.”
            I shook my head.
            “I don’t want to do this,” I said.
            If only that were enough to stop him.
            I didn’t cry. I wouldn’t cry.
            Not in front of Kyle anyway.
            What had happened to him? I didn’t know who he was anymore, even as he slept next to me, the look of absolute peace residing in his features.
            I sat up, Ben’s flat sheet wrapped around my torso. My eyes skimmed the room for my bra. I grabbed it, putting it on as quickly and quietly as was possible. I walked over to Ben’s dresser, rummaging through it for a t-shirt, for something, anything to put on. I didn’t want to put my own clothes back on. That was too disgusting to fathom. I wanted to burn the outfit, to be honest.
            I grabbed one and tugged it on, scooping up my heels as I raced out the door of Ben’s bedroom.
            Everybody seemed to have left hours ago, and Ben and Taylor were asleep on the sofa. It was strange, really. The entire house was silent, but I could still hear that damned song ringing in my ears. I tiptoed past their sleeping figures, easing myself out the front door quietly.
            Once I got to my car, I didn’t look back, not even once. I raced down the back streets until I reached my house. I got choked up just seeing it.            
            Finally. Finally.           
            I didn’t think I’d ever see it again for a moment there.
            I walked around the back of my house to the backdoor that was adjacent to the stairs that led to my room. I pilfered through my purse, searching desperately for my keys. When I found them, I unlocked the door, racing through it and up the stairs.
            I silently prayed that my twin brother, Nikkolas, had stayed out with his friends all night. I pushed his bedroom door open slightly, and breathed a sigh of relief when I noticed that his bed was still made up.
            I’d give him hell in the morning. At that moment, I didn’t care where he was, or what he was doing.
            I burst through the door of my bedroom, dropping all my belongings on the floor as I shut my door. I trudged over to my bed, and collapsed into it, wrapping a blanket around myself. I grabbed my body pillow, clutching it to my chest. I held onto it like it was my life preserver.
            I closed my eyes, willing away all my feelings from that night, my thoughts of Kyle, the look in his eyes as he hovered above me, taking from me something that didn’t belong to him.
            A lump rose in my throat as I regarded how dirty, how unworthy he’d made me feel.
            I’d said I didn’t want to.
            I’d said I wasn’t comfortable.
            I’d said that I wanted him to stop.
            I wasn’t going to cry.
            I promised myself that I wasn’t going to cry. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to show any emotion. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let myself really feel it.
            I promised myself that I wasn’t going to cry.

            The tears came anyway.