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Heads Carolina by @grea_warner is a Canada/America event pick #newadult #womensfiction #canadaday
Title: Heads Carolina
Author: Grea Warner
Genre: New Adult/Women’s Fiction
How did a sheltered girl from Carolina end up in a national scandal involving one of Hollywood’s most powerful music couples?
When want-a-be singer Bethany Opala tries out for a TV talent show, she is rejected. But then comes an amazing offer … a songwriter’s dream. Bethany has the opportunity to learn and develop her skills with top music manager, Ryan Thompson.
With a mutual passion for music and words, Bethany and Ryan’s writing partnership develops into something more … something love songs are written about. And while it isn’t wrong, it isn’t right, at least in the public eye.
Surrounded by secrecy and half-truths, Bethany doesn’t know how much she should put up with. Especially, when one more rejection could scar her for good. Will her decision to leave not only Ryan, but the music business and California, come down to the toss of a coin?
The all-glass wall behind him hosted a view of numerous buildings in downtown Los Angeles. The others were filled with either awards or photos of famous people … most with him in them, too. It was a little intimidating— the world of the elite percentage who had achieved the dream of what I wanted. But it was also empowering, knowing I had gotten that far. I was actually a step— or a desk— away from possibly joining one of those walls. I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself, though. I had, after all, read and reread what he had told me in the initial tweet. I was a good songwriter. My talent was in my words … not so much my voice. If I was honest, I would agree.
“Exactly.” He settled more completely into his chair, and I had to remember he was talking about coffee.
When nervous, I tend to be oddly bold. “So, is this legit, or is it like a publicity stunt?”
“What? You being here?” He drew his dark eyebrows closer together.
“Yeah. I mean, do you pick one contestant or person and put it out there so you don’t come across looking so mean?” My boldness probably went a bit too far that time.
But he vibrated his lips in an appreciative burst of air. “Uh, no. I thought I answered the ‘real’ question with the tweeting last week.”
“You did. Just wanted to make sure.” I was trying to ease myself back into a respectable conversation.
“When the show actually aired and I was able to focus a little better …” He hesitated and then continued, “I picked up on your songwriting side. I’m kinda regretting it, though …” The expression on my face must have sunk as low as my stomach suddenly dropped because he quickly amended with, “No, no … not regretting meeting with you. I’m regretting making the request public. I’m afraid I have gotten a lot of other people wanting a second chance, too.”
“Oh.” So, it really was legit.
“This is new to me— the judging thing.” It was his first year on the show, which had been around a handful plus. “I thought it would be easy. I mean, essentially it is what I do for a living— weed out talent. And it would be nice to say ‘yes’ to everybody, but you can’t.”
“Because they’re too raw and people are way ahead of them.”
“An exact quote?” He lifted his eyebrows.
“I have it painted on my wall,” I teased.
“You do n—” He was starting to catch on to my sarcasm.
“It would be kind of good inspiration, though.”
“Just so there isn’t a dartboard with my photo on it.”
“No, I took that down after you sent the nice tweet.”
He laughed, but the funny part was, I had actually considered putting up a nasty Ryan Thompson picture right after the audition. “All right, Bethany, you got spunk. You didn’t show it so much on your audition, but I could feel it in your words.”
“Thanks.” Assuming that was a compliment. “I appreciate you reaching out and asking me to come in. I’m not sure what it all means, but—”
“It just means I want to hear and see more of your original songs. And then we’ll see where it goes from there.”
I unzipped the soft, but secure, black guitar case and brought the instrument into my hands. Dark mahogany with fake gems encircling the soundhole, the guitar was a hand-me-down from one of my father’s parishioners, and I couldn’t love it more. In both the darkest and happiest of times, it was my trusted companion and revealer of truths.
After warming up with a few chords, I started playing and singing some of my original tunes. I wasn’t sure if I should make eye contact with him or not. I knew it was important during the show auditions, but his office seemed more intimate, and I found it harder to look into those eyes, which were closer yet just as hard to read. He didn’t say a thing during or after any of the individual songs. Although, I did see him scribbling some notes on the lyrics and bio info I had provided him. I tried to nonchalantly look at the papers, but his handwriting had something to be desired, especially from my upside-down point of view.
One word was all he provided after I finished. I was going to have to invest in adult diapers when it came to communicating with him. My nerves and bladder didn’t work well with anticipation.
“I like some things. Let me … let me play around with it a little. I, unfortunately, have another meeting. It’s my fault for arriving late in the first place. But I’ll be in touch.” He stood as I put my guitar back in the case.
“Um, okay. Thanks.” The sassy, outgoing personality of Bethany Lenay evaporated. In its place was the more legit, insecure girl from North Carolina. I knew a brush-off when I heard one because I had heard one or two or seventy before.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
How many of us have pursued our dreams only to have them crushed by rejections or circumstance? It’s easy to relate to Bethany’s tale, as she tries to get her first big break in the music world. When trying out for a TV talent show—similar to The Voice or American Idol—she meets Ryan Thompson and discovers there is much more to him than the “Mr. Mean” persona he emulates as one of the show’s judges. He is a caring father who is caught up in the shadows and lies of the Hollywood world.
If you like a contemporary, character-driven story, Heads Carolina is a must-read. It will lead you on an emotional journey where you feel for all the characters. You will ache at the choices and decisions they feel they need to make and hope they come out stronger in the end.
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Grea Warner wants you to cry. She wants your heart to break a little, too. Why? Because that means you feel her characters as if you were one of them. With a background in daytime dramas and a realistic approach to life, Grea writes novels that blur the line of Women's Fiction and Romance. If you're a fan of binge watching a TV series or have a passion for the arts like Grea, then you'll love her fictional serials.
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YouTube trailer link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXxR7Vk6zWw