March 07, 2017

March Newsletter from CaraWrites

Cara Writes....

Hey Everyone! Thanks for indulging me with your eyeballs on my newest newsletter! If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve been teasing you about the updated cover for my upcoming novel, Practicing Normal. More specifically, the blurb on the cover of my upcoming novel! So, without further ado, here’s the cover….

And just in case you can’t read the name on that blurb, let me share it here—JACQUELYN MITCHARD!

Yes, THE Jacquelyn Mitchard. The first Oprah Book Club pick. The bestselling author of eleven novels (plus a whole slew of young adult and children’s books, and one memoir). Her novel, The Deep End of the Ocean was made into a major motion picture. Her latest book, Two If By Sea, is out this month. I preordered it ages ago and I'm hopeful it will turn up any day now.

First off, yes, I’m swooning. The fact that Jacquelyn Mitchard read my book is enough to keep me going a few more years, but the fact that Jacquelyn Mitchard liked my book, well, I’m a little hard to live with these days. She is a gracious and generous person and I’m beyond thrilled to have her name on the cover of my book.

And there’s more! Two other amazing best-selling authors, whose books I have LOVED, also blurbed my book! But you’ll have to buy a copy to find out who they are! (Okay, twist my rubber arm, I’ll tell you in my NEXT newsletter! What? Another newsletter? Yeah, baby, I’m getting serious about this now.)

Practicing Normal 
comes out June 6, 2017 but is already available for preorder.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime (sort of ) Opportunity!!

Succeeding in the publishing world is tough and getting tougher. There are many days when I scratch my head and wrack my brain and talk to the cats as I try to figure out how else to promote my books. There seems to be some kind of cosmic Catch-22 wherein if you aren’t a NYT and/or USA Today bestselling author published with one of the Big 5 publishing companies, it’s near impossible to gain much traction in book stores or media, while at the same time you can’t become a NYT and/or USA Today bestseller unless your books are in book stores and shouted about in the media.

Inspired by a few other authors and plenty of rock bands, I’ve decided to form my own Street Team to get the word out about my books. This is your cordial invitation to join my special club, Cara’s Cronies.

I’m looking for people to join my tribe—Cara’s Cronies. You’d sort of be like my super fans/special agents, but hopefully you’d get as much as you give. Here’s how it will work:

Your Part:

  • Talk about my books to friends, family, perfect strangers via in person, online, smoke signals, etc. (I’ll send you promotional postcards you can give out to make this easier.) Suggest it to book clubs and maybe even host a book club of your own. My mother-in-law volunteers in a library and she pulls my books and places them cover facing forward in conspicious places.
  • Ask your local library to carry my book and if you purchase a copy (besides the FREE one you’ll get from me!), request it through a local bookstore.
  • Review my books and post a review (the same review) to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, goodreads, ibooks, and anywhere else they’ll let you blab. (NOTE: I don’t expect you to automatically give me a great review, an honest, kind review is what I’m looking for. That said, I’m assuming you wouldn’t want to be one of my cronies unless you like my writing, at least a little bit. Also, your review doesn’t have to be a great piece of literature – just heartfelt and honest works best.)
  • Comment on my blogs, facebook posts, Instagram, twitter whenever you have the chance. Invite others to follow as well. Even simply “liking” helps because it pushes engagement and presence.
  • Be part of a secret Cara’s Cronies Facebook group where we can chat about anything you want – characters, upcoming books, really yummy recipes, your own writing, what you’re reading, anything goes.
  • Optional: be a beta reader for my upcoming books. Not everyone likes to read drafts of a novel (my husband is one of these people and reads my books after they come out), but if you’re game, beta readers read drafts of a novel and share their thoughts with me on what works, what doesn’t, and if they’re the type, they mark up typos, grammatical mistakes, etc.

My Part:

  • Send you FREE advanced copies of my books about 30-60 days before publication.
  • Post breaking news about my books on the Cara’s Cronies Facebook group, and also participate in the discussion offering my unsolicited 2 cents on pretty much anything.
  • Offer my support, encouragement, and if you’d like it, my opinions, on your writing whether it’s for pleasure or publishing
  • Have giveaways of signed copies of my books (and other author’s books), plus other really cool stuff like gift cards, handmade journals, and cool booky stuff exclusively for my Cronies.
  • Send you SWAG (what does that stand for?)/ free promotional stuff for my latest books (still mulling over the possibilities here, but maybe bags, pens, sticky notes, mugs, bookmarks, and even cooler stuff)
  • More special stuff I’m dreaming up all the time- exclusively for you!
  • Give you my unending gratitude for being one of my cronies

What do you think? If you’d like to be a crony, shoot me an email at If you know someone who would make an excellent crony, please invite them also.

Okay, one last ask. My husband thinks that women would not want to be known as ‘cronies’ but I like that it makes you sound kind of illegal and like we’re in cahoots. But if you would like to be something other than a crony, then by all means suggest another idea – Cara’s Crew? Cara’s Characters? Achterberg’s A-List? (I’m nothing if not accommodating.)

What Am I Up to Now?

I’m very excited to tell you that I signed with literary agent extraordinaire, Carly Watters of P.S. Literary to represent my writing! Carly is pretty much my dream agent. Someone whose name I have had on my list of “if only…” for years.

She is currently pitching my memoir, Another Good Dog, to potential publishers. Another Good Dog tells the tale of our family and the first fifty dogs we fostered. And, no, it isn’t just my blog put in a book. Some of the stories will be familiar to my blog readers, but now they include the parts I didn’t tell you, plus more about living in a household of teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, my doubts and struggles, and the not-so-pretty parts of fostering. It’s a good read (if I don’t say so myself!). So, everyone cross their fingers that Carly sells it to a big publisher!

I am also in the process of polishing a novel about the aftermath of a texting and driving accident titled, Blind Turn. It is a story of heartbreak, but also one of hope. Currently in the beta reading stage, I’m hopeful this will be my next novel to be published after Practicing Normal.

There is one other story wandering across my keyboard of late. It’s a story I churned out last fall, finishing in a mad dash during NaNoWriMo. This spring I have begun picking it to pieces and putting it back together. It centers on a quirky young waitress who knows a thing or two about being left behind. When one of her regular customers turns up drunk on the night his bride leaves him at the alter and asks her to go with him on his non-refundable honeymoon, you can guess what she says. It’s not as simple and made-for-TV as it sounds, promise! 

Girls’ Weekend was recently released in audio version with a new cover and seems to be all over the internet. The cover actually kind of makes me giggle. I don’t know any moms who look like that at forty, but you know, you go with what sells, right? The narrator is Xe Sands who is hugely talented and has read hundreds of bestsellers, so I’m pretty honored that she slogged through my entire book, unabridged. I’ve yet to listen to it. It kind of feels weird—like someone narrating my mind.

And latest, greatest BEST recipe!

This one is, by far, the best meal I’ve cooked this winter. AND it’s a crock pot recipe (although that doesn’t mean it’s easy, just something you can make ahead and come home to).

Coconut Curry Meatballs with Coconut Rice

Coconut Curry Meatballs  (adapted from Year-Round Slow Cooker Recipes)
1 ¼ cups crushed butter crackers (like social crackers, ritz, etc.)
½ cup finely chopped green onions
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 hot pepper, finely chopped (this is your call – you know your heat tolerance)
4 cloves garlic, minced (or more)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander (I couldn’t find this in my cabinet and skipped it)
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (not sure I crushed them, but you probably should)
1 ½ lb bulk pork sausage (I used sweet Italian, but the original recipe called for hot – again, your call)
½ cup finely flaked coconut (not sweetened unless you’re one of those people)

Mix all the ingredients together. Shape into 36 – 40 meatballs. In extra-large skillet, heat a tablespoon of sesame oil. Brown half of meatballs. Repeat with other half.

In slow cooker, combine:
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 14oz can unsweetened coconut milk
¾ cup Asian sweet chili sauce (this was easy to find in the Asian section of Giant – but you could swipe a few dozen packets from your local Chinese carryout – it’s the super sweet sauce with the little red flecks)
1 – 2 Tablespoon curry powder (I used red curry powder because I have a mouth of steel)
1 Tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca

Stir in meatballs. Cook on low setting for 4-5 hours or high setting for 2-2.5 hours. Turn off cooker.
Stir in 1 ripe pitted, peeled, and chopped mango. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Serve over Coconut rice (or regular rice or nothing if you’re lazy).

Coconut Rice (adapted from Nourishing Traditions)
2 cups long-grain brown rice
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (lime-infused if you have it- makes it CRAZY delish)
3 cardamom pods (critical – don’t leave this out!)
2 Cups Chicken Stock
 Cups Coconut Milk
½ teaspoon sea salt

In heavy pan, melt butter and olive oil.
Open cardamom pods and add seeds to the pan. (I open cardamom pods by rolling my rolling pin over them a few times).
Sauté rice in butter and oil, stirring constantly, for just a few minutes.
Pour in liquid, add salt and bring to a rolling boil. Boil, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until water has been reduced to the level of the rice. Reduce heat, cover tightly, and cook for about 45 minutes or until done.

 And only for those of you STILL READING –

A giveaway! One lucky reader will win a signed paperback copy of any of my books, plus a set of gorgeous notecards featuring rescue puppies and one more surprise!

I’ll mail anywhere in the US, and you can pick which book! If you’re from out of the US and you win, I’ll send you the electronic version.

To enter all you have to do is find me on Facebook or twitter and comment on or tweet the post about this newsletter and you’re entered!

If you’d like more chances to win, share my post about this newsletter and I’ll put your name in my random winner generator 5 times!

I'll announce the winner in my NEXT newsletter (due out the first week of April. I know, I know, that could be a long wait - but I'll give you more opportunities to enter all month long on Facebook AND there will be a special consolation prize for everyone who doesn't win announced in that same newsletter!)

If you’d like to find out more about me and my writing, visit where you can find links to my blogs, books, and appearances, plus lots of pictures of my foster dogs!

If you’d like to follow along on my fostering adventure, be sure to subscribe to Another Good Dog.

You can find me on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, and Linked In. I’d be honored if you followed me anywhere.

  What’s a newsletter without puppy pictures? NOT my newsletter! Here you go…..(my current foster puppies at almost 2 weeks of age)