Thursday, September 3, 2015

Elise Miller's shining star...plus a book giveaway

How many of you can say that your significant other is your best friend? How many of you have married someone with whom you started out as friends? How many of you are close friends with someone of the opposite gender? Elise A. Miller is here today to talk about how her husband and best friend are one and the same. Thanks to BookSparks, we have a copy of her debut novel, Star Craving Mad, for a lucky US reader.



Elise A. Miller discovered her talent and passion for writing by accident, during a short-lived but rigorous acting pursuit in the late 1990s. She immediately began studying writing in earnest at Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City, and hasn’t looked back since. Elise completed courses in advanced fiction, memoir, novel writing, stand-up comedy and screenwriting. In 2000, she published her first piece in The Sun Magazine, and in 2002 she was one of the founding members of Little Red Writing Group in Brooklyn. She later went on to publish personal essays in anthologies and literary journals. Elise lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two teeny rescue dogs. She blogs about everything and anything at her website, about her personal fitness journey at bodyenta.com and about creative writing coaching at beechwoodwriters.com. You can also find her at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Synopsis of Star Craving Mad:
Maddy Braverman, thirty and single, has taught first grade at an elite private school in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village for the past six years. Angry at herself for not moving on, Maddy is distracted from her pity party with a new student—Lola Magdalena, daughter of A- list celebrities Nic and Shelby Seabolt—a last-minute addition to her class roster.

When Lola breaks her arm on the playground, Maddy has the chance to meet with Nic in his TriBeCa apartment. Maddy’s celebrity fantasies turn to reality—make out sessions, sex and even a Hamptons holiday bash that leave Maddy yearning for Nic’s love.
(Courtesy of BookSparks.)



In Bryan’s Company

Growing up in an unhappy dysfunctional household meant that my friendships with girls were fragile—tenuous and easily breakable, laced with suspicions and back-stabbing. My mother didn’t have the time or resources to counsel me. Nervous breakdowns that left her crying in dark closets were more her thing. My father meanwhile busied himself with explosive tantrums, spurred on by the chaos that accompanies most children—messiness, noise and the inability to follow simple instructions.

My half-siblings from my mom’s first marriage were a decade older than me and had lives of their own. Their hobbies ranged from breaking petty laws and getting high to running away to the Jersey shore for days at a time. Maybe it’s no wonder that I gravitated toward friends who smelled like dirty laundry, read my diary and shared its contents with the entire third grade class.

Left to my own devices I developed an early obsession with romantic love, starting with a crush on Shaun Cassidy, which found me pressing my sticky glossed lips to his album cover. If you looked at my childhood as a recipe, stirred it with a move halfway across the country when I was twelve, you got one lopsided, pathetic soufflé. I was in no shape to have the kinds of girl friendships I read about and saw on television.

I was still, however, addicted to love. And like another popular song of my youth, I looked for it in all the wrong places.

After over a decade of misguided social navigation, during my senior year at Syracuse University, I finally had enough. A switch flicked somewhere deep in my psyche and I felt something I’d never experienced before—self-respect. For the first time I saw my own responsibility and culpability in my misery. I had slept with dozens of guys who clearly did not love or respect me. As for girls, I had counted bulimics and heavy drinkers among my coterie, of which here and there, I was one.

My life was too painful to keep mistreating myself. What’s more, I witnessed first-hand loving, mutually respectful relationships among college roommates and extended family.

Whether consciously or not, I was determined to be happy and mentally healthy. I entered therapy, read stacks of self-help books and started journaling; then writing memoir pieces about my childhood and adolescence, which blossomed into my writing career.

During this transition, I met my husband at a New Year’s Eve party. We’ve been together since January 1991. He’s stuck around while I grew out of old relationships and into new ones. He was there for my tears, pain and generally horrible behavior while I sorted out my past and eventually took up strength training and started taking medication. He’s supported my multitude of professional endeavors and eventually inspired the character James in Star Craving Mad.

Over the quarter-century that we’ve been together, he’s taught me how to be a friend—to him, to the girlfriends I have now, and most importantly, to myself. We joke together about annoying life circumstances, tackle home DIY projects, commiserate about the difficulty of parenting, hug frequently to our children’s embarrassment because as we say, “It’s important to hug,” and he brings me coffee on Saturday mornings.

In Bryan’s company I’ve cultivated the patience and wisdom to graciously endure the unsavory bits that accompany every relationship. As a result, I now have a small but hardy band of girlfriends who I can gossip with over long dinners and dance with until the sun rises.

Even the girlfriends I made and lost along the way, we’ve caught up to each other thanks to social media. And though they remind me of my less than optimal past, they also demonstrate the resilience and ultimate transcendence we are all capable of, in the name of friendship with others and with ourselves.

Thanks to Elise for sharing Bryan with us and BookSparks for sharing Star Craving Mad with our readers. This is part of their Summer Reading Challenge (#SRC2015).

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

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US only. Giveaway ends September 8th at midnight EST.

9 comments:

Janine said...

My ex-husband is one of my best friends.

Bonnie Franks said...

I would have to say that I have had more close male friends than close female friends. I have been married several times, but have never married a male friend. I am still friends with some of the people I married though. Life is strange.

traveler said...

I haven't any male friends but my husband is my best friend ever.

Holly said...

Yes.

rubynreba said...

My husband is my best friend!!

bn100 said...

yes

Bridget O'Neill said...

Yes, one of my best friends is a man, and he was the one who introduced me to my husband! He was best man at our wedding :)

Kimberly V said...

No, I don't have a close friend of the opposite gender unless my husband counts.

Patricia said...

I do! I have two that I really count on.