Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Blitz - More than Music










Book & Author Details:

More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs
(Chasing The Dream #1)
Publication date: June 17th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Synopsis:
Music major Maddie Taylor seems to have her life all figured out. She’s just finished her junior year of college, has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, and plans to go to grad school to write movie scores. Only her roommates know she practices guitar every night and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars.
Tattooed singer Jared Cross has a new girl every week, but when he catches Maddie playing one of his songs, she attracts his attention in an unexpected way. His band needs a fourth member for The Sound, a reality TV show competition—and he wants her. Though Maddie refuses to be another notch on Jared’s bedpost, she agrees to risk everything for the chance to be a rock star.
Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared behind his flirty smile, and with each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore. When the show pressures Jared to flaunt his player image, they’re forced to keep their relationship secret, but Maddie can’t help but want something real.
As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.


Except #1 – 679 Words


Jared’s guitar was beautiful, with a smooth white faceplate, gleaming struts, and a shiny fingerboard. My fingers itched to touch the silvery strings, to form a chord and let it ring out through the amp, to hear what it sounded like without all the other instruments accompanying it. And if I was honest, I wanted to close my eyes and pretend I was on stage, playing for a crowd, hearing them scream for me. The longing I felt every time I went to a concert stirred up in me again. It wouldn’t hurt if I played one chord, right? That was it. One chord, and I’d put it back. No one would ever know.

Before I could stop myself, I picked up the guitar and threw the strap over my head. It settled against my shoulder, and with one hand on the fret board and the other on the strings, I was home. I closed my eyes, picturing Jared when he was on stage and how his talented fingers had moved across the guitar. I imagined him singing my favorite song of theirs, “Behind the Mask,” and the words and notes melted together in my head. I strummed the guitar, the sound ringing from the amp, the vibrations traveling up the ground and into my feet. God, I loved this guitar. It sounded just as good as my own, if not better.

Now that I had the guitar in my hands, the compulsion to play was irresistible. What was one more chord, right? I was alone and the room was soundproof. The door had locked behind me. Kyle was dealing with Becca, and he’d given me permission to come in here anyway.

I knew it was a bad idea. I knew I should put the guitar down and walk out of the room. But I started strumming anyway.

I was hesitant at first, but once I started, I couldn’t stop. My hands found the chords automatically, and the words flowed out of me with the music. Exhilaration swept through me with each note, and I closed my eyes and let the song take me away. Soon I was belting out the words, shredding the guitar like I was on stage playing for a massive crowd. I’d never do this in front of anyone else, but here, alone with this guitar, I could pretend. I could let myself go.

And then I opened my eyes and wanted to die.

Jared stood in front of me, his eyes wide and mouth open slightly. He must have come in while I was playing. How much did he hear? Or worse, see?

My fingers slipped off the strings with a screech, and I nearly dropped the guitar. Thank god for the strap. “I’m so sorry. Kyle gave me the key and I was just—”

There was no way to explain what was going on, so I shut up. I’d been singing his lyrics, playing the song he’d written. Not to mention, I’d been using his guitar. That was like wearing someone else’s underwear. You didn’t just play another person’s guitar without their permission.

I yanked the guitar off and tried to put it back, but knocked the stand over instead. Hands shaking, it took me two tries to right it again, all while Jared stood there, gaping at me. Why didn’t he say anything? Was he so angry he couldn’t speak? I set the guitar down carefully, then backed away like it was on fire—and ran straight into the drum set. Cymbals crashed as I fell against it, knocking the equipment all over the floor. Great, now he must think I’m a stalker and a complete klutz. I jumped up too fast, and my legs were so unsteady I started to topple over toward the table. Jared caught me before we had another disaster, his hands gripping my arms to balance me.

“You okay?” he asked, his blue eyes holding mine and making my heart pound even faster. If I stared into those eyes too long, I’d fall into them completely.





Except #2 – 693 words


“I need your help,” Jared said, fixing an intense gaze on me. “We have a live audition tomorrow for The Sound. Problem is, our bassist quit last night, and we need a fourth member of the band.”

“What?” Was he saying what I thought he was saying? No. Impossible.

“I know—worst timing ever. Can you play bass by any chance?”

“No…”

His face fell for an instant, and some reckless part of me wanted to lie and say yes or promise him I’d learn. How hard could it be to learn the bass if I knew how to play guitar, right? Though I immediately realized how dumb that idea was because a) I could never learn bass in time for an audition tomorrow; b) I shouldn’t care about making Jared happy, even if his disappointed face broke my heart; and c) none of that mattered because he couldn’t possibly be asking me to join his band anyway.

“That’s okay,” he said. “I can play bass, and you can play guitar. It’ll work.” His smile lit up his face again, with a look that could charm any girl lucky enough to bask in it. Right now, that girl was me. “So what do you think?”

Jared was asking me—me—to play guitar in his band. In an audition on live TV. In front of four of the greatest musicians ever, plus millions of people at home. Mind. Blown. Somehow I’d been handed my secret dream on a silver platter. Next up, Jared would ask me out, too. Yeah, and then we’d ride off into the sunset on a rainbow unicorn with our million-dollar record deal.

“You want me to join your band?” I asked slowly, studying him for any sign that this was all a joke.

“Just for the audition. That should give us enough time to find another bass player to take Becca’s place.”

Ah, there was the catch. I would only play with them for one day, giving me a tiny taste of their lifestyle, and then they’d drop me as soon as the audition was over. No, better to never know what it would be like to play guitar on stage, to be part of a band, to make music with Jared and Kyle. Besides, I couldn’t play guitar in front of the world. Guitar was my secret, my fun escape, and nothing more. My internship started on Monday, and I needed to focus on that—not on silly dreams of being a rock star.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t.” I spun around and rushed toward the exit before he could respond. I didn’t want him to see my face and how much I desperately wanted to do it.

“Wait!” He ran after me, but I kept going, past other students who watched us with curiosity. “Maddie, wait!”

Damn his long legs. He caught up to me, practically jumping in front of me to stop me in my tracks. I kept my face glued to the floor, to the contrast of his black combat boots and my green Converse. I couldn’t look up at him or I’d be tempted to say yes to anything.

He lowered his voice. “Please, you’re the only person who can help us. You’re an amazing guitarist, and you already know our songs. We need you.”

I shook my head, looking anywhere but at him. Hearing him say he needed me with his whiskey-chocolate-sex voice made my legs a bit shaky, but what he was asking for? It was too much.

Jared got down on his knees, right in the middle of the hallway, and everyone stopped to watch us. He raised his hands like he was begging. “Please, this is our one chance, but without a fourth member, we can’t do it. You’re perfect and it’ll only be for a day, and then I’ll owe you. I’ll do anything you want.” He topped it off with a grin. “Help me, Maddie Taylor, you’re my only hope.”

Damn. How could I say no to a Star Wars reference from a hot guy on his knees? The word slipped out before I could stop it. “Okay.”



Except #3 – 519 words


Our ten minutes were up too soon, and we were directed down a brightly lit hallway and into the backstage area. The Sound used a special kind of rotating stage that I’d also seen at music festivals, with a platform on each side so bands could set up and break down their equipment while another band was performing. Then the stage rotated, and it began again. This saved a lot of time with so many bands playing back-to-back.

I couldn’t see the band currently on stage, but their music pounded under my feet as the crowd cheered for them. We were about to be in the exact same spot, in front of that same crowd, with our music blasting through the speakers. No, I couldn’t think about that or I’d run straight back to that waiting room.

We rushed onto the back side of the stage, which had already been cleared by the previous band. Our gear was waiting for us, and some roadies helped us get it unpacked quickly. After hours of waiting, everything was happening so fast. I didn’t have time to think; I just shoved my earpiece in and grabbed my guitar to check the tuning while the other guys handled their own instruments. I got my distortion pedal and mic set up just as the band on stage finished their song. I heard the mentors commenting but couldn’t tell if the band had done a good job or not. Either way, it meant we had to hurry.

Kyle got behind his keyboard, Hector sat at the drums, and that left me and Jared up front. My sweaty fingers dropped my guitar pick, and when I went to grab it, my knees nearly gave out from under me. When I straightened up, Jared stood right in front of me, his bass hanging from his neck.

“Ready?” he asked.

“Um, as ready as I’ll ever be.” Which was to say, hell no. I smoothed my hair and yanked the bottom of my dress down, wishing I had a mirror to check how I looked one last time.

“Just have fun. It’ll be over before you know it.” He brushed a finger against my cheek, making me shiver. “Stray eyelash,” he explained. “You look amazing, by the way.”

Our eyes locked, and for a second, it was only the two of us on stage, about to make music together. He offered me one of his heart-stopping smiles, and it gave me the strength I needed to go through with this.

The stage began to turn, ending the moment. Jared and I moved back to our positions in front of our mics as the roar of the crowd grew louder and spotlights flashed in our eyes. My heart pounded as an entire sea of faces stretched before me. And in front, the four musicians who would decide our fate.

This was our one shot to change our futures forever. Our one moment to lose ourselves in the music and hope we brought the audience along with us. Our one chance to turn our dreams into reality.


I was ready.




Purchase








AUTHOR BIO

Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.




XpressoTours Book Blitz for More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs

Interview:

Where did you get the idea for More Than Music?

I went to high school for a short time with Adam Levine and Maroon 5, back when they were called Kara’s Flowers. They played at our school dances and I sat behind them in class and was completely in love with them. Of course, they had no idea I existed! Many years later I saw Adam Levine on The Voice, and had the idea of a geeky girl joining an up-and-coming rock band at her school and going on a show like The Voice, and the book grew from that.

What kind of research did you do for More Than Music?

Most of the research I did was on the music in the book, because I really wanted to get that right. I play the guitar butI’m not great at it because I don’t have time to practice regularly. Still, I tried to learn many of the songs that Maddie performs so I could describe the way it feels when you’re actually playing them. I studied a lot of guitar tutorials, live performances by the original bands, and covers by other bands. I also watched documentaries on what it’s like to be in a band, especially in high stress situations. And of course, I watched many episodes of The Voice!

How did you pick the songs in More Than Music?

I tried to pick songs that are well-known because I wanted anyone who is a fan of rock music to recognize most of them by name (especially since I couldn’t include lyrics due to copyright issues). I also chose songs that reflect what the characters are experiencing in the book, so that each song is like background music for what Maddie and Jared are going through.

The show in More Than Music is obviously based on The Voice, but were any of the characters based on particular celebrities?

None of the characters were based on any particular celebrity, but many characters were loosely inspired by them. The most obvious one is Jared, who was named after Jared Leto, the singer of Thirty Seconds To Mars. Both Jareds are flirty, talented, and hard-working, but also pretty down-to-earth – and both have brothers in their bands, too. And the mentors on the show were inspired by lots of different musicians all rolled into one. For example, Dan was loosely based on Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Chris Cornell, but also had a little Adam Levine and Blake Shelton in him, too.

What’s next in the Chasing the Dream series?

First up is Kyle’s prequel novella, MORE THAN EXES, set at the Battle of the Bands that leads to the gig at the beginning of MORE THAN MUSIC. Next will be Hector’s novella, set a week after MORE THAN MUSIC at Comic-Con. After that, I’ll be writing books about Maddie’s best friends Julie and Carla, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for info on those, sorry!








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