Book Title: Once Perfect (Shattered Past, #1)
Author: Cecy Robson
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Evelyn Preston’s future once looked perfect—until her wealthy father was caught in an embezzlement scandal and took his own life. Alone and struggling to pay her college tuition and bills, Evelyn finds a job as a waitress at the ultra-hip nightclub Excess, where she used to have more in common with the privileged private-school clientele than her fellow staff members. But something attracts her to the sexy six-foot-four bouncer and underground MMA fighter Mateo Tres Santos. Although they’ve led different lives, their troubled pasts bonds them in both survival and love.
Mateo is ex-army who wound up in prison for assaulting the man who harmed his sister. Now he’s feeling the same protective impulse for this petite blond waitress. When Evelyn experiences a panic attack at the club, Mateo comes to her rescue. And when Mateo is wounded shielding her from a brawl, Evelyn returns the favor and comes to his aid.
As their attraction intensifies, Mateo is determined to find out what nightmares are lurking in Evelyn’s past—even if that means tackling his own to save her.
I Met my Agent in the Bathroom and other Facts About My Path to Publication
I’d like to say I’m joking, but I’m dead serious. I met my agent and now BFF, Nicole Resciniti, in the bathroom at a writer’s conference. No, it wasn’t on purpose, and no, I wasn’t creepy about it. Here’s what happened from the beginning with some facts thrown in along the way. On May 1, 2009, I decided to write a novel. I didn’t take a class, I didn’t sit through “How To” instruction videos on YouTube. I honestly wanted to write a novel simply to see if I could. I’m a registered nurse by trade. To this day, I consider the comma as my evil nemesis. That said, I gave it a shot.
My first book was the Weird Girls, an urban fantasy romance about four unique sisters who obtained their powers as a result of a backfired curse. I’d read close to forty UF and paranormal romance novels in the months prior so I thought I knew what I was doing. Um, yeah. Not quite.
My first draft . . . and possibly the next seventeen revisions that followed didn’t have a plot. Plots are important. Seriously, every fiction book should have one. But one of the things I discovered was that plots aside, I could tell a story. So I kept rewriting, especially when those poor suckers―I mean, my kind and patient friends― who I begged to beta read for me continued to tell me that I had “something.”
Eventually, I did take an online course on query preparation and worked on pitching my series. I also attended a writer’s conference for the sake of connecting with other writers and for the opportunity to interact with agents and editors. During this time period (approximately August 2009 until about April 2011), I aggressively began to query literary agents who represented my genre.
Twenty, no, I’m mean fifty―okay, okay, perhaps seventy-five rejection letters later, in addition to quite a few more novel rewrites, I thought I was ready to pitch my series again. My husband thought I was ready, too, and sent me to a New York writer’s conference to give the traditional publishing venue yet another chance.
I was horribly sick and needed to use the bathroom even before the conference started. While I was blowing my nose to the tune of “I’m a baby elephant and I’m trying to call my mother” the woman in the stall next to me asked, “Allergies?”
I was in no mood to be social, but she was being sweet so I answered, “No, I just have a bad cold.”
She stepped out to wash her hands at the same time as I did. She smiled, I smiled back and asked her what she wrote.
“Actually, I’m an agent,” she answered.
And yeah, that was Nicole, and yes, the rest is history. Nicole sold the first three books of my Weird Girls series to Penguin following our little meet and greet in the bathroom. About a year following the publication of the first novel, SEALED WITH CURSE, Nicole sold two series to Random House: the continuation of my Weird Girls urban fantasy series, and my brandy new Shattered Past contemporary romance series.
I’m preparing to release my seventeenth novel, CRAVE ME, in February and am still over the moon following my two RITA® nominations earlier this year. As thrilled as I am, sometimes I still find myself recovering from the shock and the speed in which everything happened. But that doesn’t mean I’m not forever grateful to Nicole, my husband, and all my friends who supported me on my path to publication.
Lastly, if you take anything from this rant, let it be this: keep going and keep trying―no matter what your goals are and how many rejections you receive along the way. Crazy things can happen, like meeting your future agent in the bathroom.
For more information about me, and my upcoming releases and series, please visit my website or follow me on social media.
I’ll admit. I have trouble focusing if there’s noise in the background―talking, singing, traffic―any kind, it doesn’t matter how soft. What can I say? My ADD will not be tamed.
While I require absolute silence when I write, there’s one thing I do need before I can commence my storytelling: music. It’s my ultimate go-to to jump start my creative process.
Music, as many of you are aware, is a powerful tool to trigger emotions and stir memories. So before I work out a scene, the first thing I do is search through my music list on my iPad and select songs to help me create the intended mood for that particular scene. The moment I’m done, I hit the play icon and engage in monotonous household chores like laundry.
From the first note to the last, my mind goes elsewhere, allowing me to envelop the intended emotion and work out the entire scene before my fingers strike the first key on my laptop. The music has to fit the tone of the scene and depending on its impact, can greatly affect the outcome. Thank the Killers for writing Somebody Told Me. That song rocks and has helped me create some of my darker and more action-packed fight scenes in my Weird Girls Urban Fantasy series. Once I connect with the mood the music invokes within me, the dialogue is easier to craft because I’m already “feeling” what my characters are feeling. I’m able to put their emotions: fear, excitement, sadness, etc. into words that fit their experience. Make sense? ☺
For my Shattered Past series, my selection of songs seemed to take a different turn specifically for the first novel, ONCE PERFECT in which the background is an ultra hip dance club. Behold, my ONCE PERFECT playlist which will give you an idea of the heat and heart behind some of the scenes:
In the Ayer―Flo Rida featuring Will.I.am
Just a Fool―Christina Aguilera & Blake Shelton
On the Floor―Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull
Wild Ones―Flo Rida featuring Sia
Echa Pa’lla (Manos Pa’rriba)―Pitbull
Chasing Cars―Snow Patrol
Robi-Rob’s Boriqua Anthem―El General & C&C Music Factory
My badass hero and underground mixed martial arts fighter, Mateo, is Cuban. Latin music was a must. Now that you know my secret behind scene writing, want to know if my playlist measures up? If so, check out ONCE PERFECT, and follow it up with ONCE LOVED, ONCE PURE, and the spin-off series the O’Brien Family novels: ONCE KISSED, LET ME, CRAVE ME, and FEEL ME.
CECY (pronounced Sessy) ROBSON is the new adult and contemporary romance author of the Shattered Past series, the O’Brien Family novels and upcoming Carolina Beach novels, as well as the award-winning author of the Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series. A 2016 double nominated RITA® finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, Cecy is a recovering Jersey girl living in the South who enjoys carbs way too much, and exercise way too little. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, you can typically find her on her laptop silencing the yappy characters in her head by telling their stories.
I like carbs. There. I said it. I also like fried foods and most things with butter and salt.
I suffer from severe motion sickness: cars, planes, trains, boats―I don’t discriminate. And don’t get me anywhere near the dreaded merry-go-round.
Two of my favorite places are the Jersey Shore (specifically Point Pleasant) and the stretch of Interstate 78 West from New Jersey into Pennsylvania. I always make a wish as I cross the bridge over the Delaware River just for luck.
The summer before I started second grade, my parents took my brother and I on the ultimate road trip from New Jersey to El Salvador. No, this is not a joke. Yes, the event sucked. Have I mentioned I suffer from severe motion sickness?
I go out of my way to speak to managers when I’ve received good service.
I don’t like mean people. There’s no reason to be cruel or petty. Life’s too short.
I’m a registered nurse and once delivered a baby in a car.
I can open doors with my feet.
I named my son after my favorite X-Men.
I have an abnormal fear of bats and the Headless Horsemen and carry a crazy obsession for Thor.
Most of my relatives own machetes. I’m not sure why. How high is your grass? And surely a lawn mower is more effective.
I always wanted to do voice over for cartoons and can do a badass impression of Bobby Hill.
I love to write and entertain people. My hope is that I never run out of stories to tell.
That’s basically me in a nutshell―that, and I’m absurdly superstitious. For more information about me and my novels, please visit my website and follow me on social media.