Swoon Author Karole Cozzo: The Difference A Year Makes – It’s Time to Party!
Near the end of June 2014, I received my first edit letter and had my first “edit letter review” conversation with Holly West. We’d discussed some proposed changes, including entirely reworking the first three chapters of the book, and then Holly asked me if I thought I could have the first round of edits completed by August 1st. “Sure!” I said. Of course I said sure. This was my debut novel, for crying out loud, the opportunity of a lifetime, in my eyes.
I swallowed back the panic rising in my throat, threatening to strangle my emphatic promise to come through for my editor. In truth, I was in the middle of the perfect storm of stress. I was off for the summer, which instead of increased free time meant my kids were home with me, demanding my attention from sun up to sundown. We were in the process of packing up the entire house to move. And in the meantime, the house we were living in was still on the market, and every time I sat down to write, it was more than likely I was going to receive a call from the realtor saying a showing was happening in, oh, twenty minutes, and I had to get what was home to two small children and a dog “show-worthy” in less time than that (#impossible). Despite these challenges, I followed a carefully laid-out plan, and sent my edits off to Swoon with time to spare. Days later, we moved into our new house on August 8th.
One year later… I was holding the final version of How to Say I Love You Out Loud in my hands, and our new house had become home. This year, August 8th meant it was time to party… Swoon style! For the record, if I wasn’t a school psychologist… or if I wasn’t an author… I could easily be an event coordinator (I <3 spreadsheets). Number one rule of party planning – it’s all in the details. Colors are key, so everything was red, from the flowers my mom lovingly arranged for me, to the candy in the candy buffet (red dye = my kids were awake ‘til about midnight), to the heart-shaped marshmallow lollipops. A few touches of “chalkboard green” thrown in here and there were the perfect complement to the book’s cover.
Theme is also important, so obviously I had to find a way to include the chalkboard concept as well. Target never fails me, and I found the perfect cork/chalkboard combos so that party guests could weigh in on book and love-related prompts such as “the book boyfriend who still has my heart is…” and “love in ten words or less…” It was super fun getting the definition of love from some of the youngest AND oldest party guests. One cheeky partygoer, whose wife’s initials are S.E.K., came up with “love and SEK are one and the same.” Wink wink!
We never would’ve been partying in the first place if it wasn’t for Swoon Reads, so we were definitely Swoon representing! You didn’t have to look far to find hearts, the Swoon logo, or the book itself. Taking a page from Katie Van Ark’s playbook, I was delighted to personally present a signed copy of the book to my seventh grade English teacher. Not only did this wonderful teacher sponsor me in a speech contest very similar to the one Jordyn enters in the book, but she read my manuscript while it was posted on the Swoon site, took the time to leave thoughtful comments, and has stayed involved in its progress since then. She was definitely a guest of honor.
It was truly a magical night celebrating my first novel with so many wonderful family members and friends. And before the night ended, my husband pulled off a completely swoonworthy surprise. Sometime on Saturday, he snuck out to purchase a case of champagne and dozens of champagne flutes. Then, he took over the mic and treated me to a very heartfelt toast. If that isn’t saying “I love you” out loud…I don’t know what is.
So here’s a huge thank you to all my readers out there and those of you who have supported me as part of the Swoon Reads community. I couldn’t have enjoyed one of the happiest weeks of my life (book birthday on Tuesday, signing at B&N on Thursday, and party on the weekend!) without you, and I’m celebrating with all of you in spirit. There’s plenty to go around, as it seems my friends really know what I like – pink bubbly.