Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tara Thompson Tour: MELTDOWN

You're in for a treat! Thanks for stopping here along Tara's Tour! Here you'll get a chance to meet Tara as she shares some personal words as well as an exerpt from her novel MELTDOWN.

Support her by checking out her book at www.amazon.com/meltdown and we'd love, as always, to hear from you. Authors love more than anything else, reviews from their beloved readers. It's better than TWO cherries ontop a sundae! I can promise ya that!
 
Meltdown by Tara Thompson
 
NYSSA, internationally renown supermodel, is accustomed to turning heads. As a young girl, her flawless face attracted the wrong kind of attention. She escaped an abusive father and successfully navigated life’s seedy underbelly to become a runway renegade, although not without leaving her share of enemies behind. Lately she’s caught the eye of....

STEVE, handsome hometown hero and soon-to-be Governor of Texas. Unfortunately he’s already married. As Steve publicly dumps his perfect, former Miss Texas wife for Hollywood’s latest ‘It’ girl, his state faces the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Will he be able to turn things around, or is he too embroiled in his political sex scandal? His good friend and business partner....

DEMETRI, sexy hedge fund manager, is at the top of his professional game and tries to save his friend from near financial ruin. Yet he’s distracted by Steve’s new girlfriend, who just happens to be Demetri’s old flame. Years ago, Nyssa ran from him and he’s never forgotten her. But why is he still interested? Demetri’s dating....

AISLINN, a woman as brilliant as she is beautiful. Enjoying all the perks of having a billionaire boyfriend, she’s falling fast for Demetri and has no idea that she might be the one getting played. Although she bets big on Wall Street, the largest casino in the world, nothing is more risky than giving her heart away.

In this fun, juicy, glamorous novel, no one is exactly who they appear to be...
And all of them are heading for a MELTDOWN.

Who will rise from the ashes?
 
EXERPT FROM THE BOOK: 
 
The plane from Paris to New York was crowded, even in first class. As usual, there were delays at Kennedy Airport and the pilot announced they would be circling overhead until they were given permission to land. Unfortunately for the annoyed passengers, the drink cart had already been stowed away. Though the actual flight had been calm with only a slight touch of turbulence and the refreshing absence of screaming babies, the passengers were getting antsy, Nyssa included.
Known only by her first name, Nyssa was considered a ‘top model’ well before the phrase was used as the title of a popular television show. At only five nine, she wasn’t considered tall but her legs were long for her height, her breasts full for her frame and her hips just wide enough to give Nyssa an hourglass figure, rare among her peers. She had rolled in the sand for Sports Illustrated, worn wings for Victoria’s Secret, and strutted the catwalk on nearly every continent. But what the camera truly loved was her face- Nyssa could take beauty shots like no other. Her skin was luminous, her forehead smooth and wide with green eyes that tilted up at their corners. Her nose was small and straight and led to a full mouth. And almost hidden by her thick fringe of eyelashes was the tiny, tear-shaped beauty mark that had become her trademark.
Without cosmetics, Nyssa looked like a fresh-faced teenager. Only after a makeup artist accented her cat-eyes and lush lips did she look like the supermodel that had graced the covers of French, British, Italian and American Vogue, and so many other magazines.
It was Fashion Week in New York, the riotous semi-annual ritual that descended upon Manhattan’s Bryant Park each fall and spring. This season she had booked seven shows, more than most but fewer than she’d committed to in the past. Six were names she would be crazy to turn down and one was a racy, fun fashion upstart whose designs were original, an adjective she rarely used after being in the business for nearly a decade.
Nyssa had met the new designers in Paris a couple of years ago. From what she’d seen of their work, they were amazingly talented. But luck was every bit as important as talent, perhaps even more so. She herself had been extremely lucky, plucked out of complete obscurity in Greece by a fashion photographer who had put his neck on the line by asking her to take a few test shots. Modeling had given her money, fame and confidence. Now that she had achieved success, she often tried to give those still struggling a helping hand, especially when they were so deserving.
They couldn’t afford to pay her typical rate, but she didn’t care. Nyssa’s bank accounts were substantial and she was offered more work than she could ever possibly accept, each job better paying than the next. She owned an apartment in Manhattan and one in Paris. She had an agent, a business manager and an accountant- all of whom were paid to accommodate her needs. At twenty-eight years old, she was beholden to no one. It was more than she had ever dreamed of, and yet still not enough.
As the plane circled around and around waiting for clearance from air control to land, it occurred to her that she was in a similar holding pattern, flying high above the clouds though only temporarily postponing her eventual descent. An experienced pilot might have many hundreds, even thousands of takeoffs and landings over the course of his career, honing his skill level to make them as smooth as possible. Nyssa’s career had taken off like a shot and she’d been flying high ever since. In the world of fashion modeling, few had ever managed to navigate their way down as successfully as they had their ascent, and their time above the clouds was usually fleeting. Not that Nyssa was ready to land anytime soon.
Early on, a more experienced model had taken Nyssa under her wing and had thankfully introduced her to a reputable business manager. After analyzing the state of her still relatively meager earnings, he taught her to invest her money rather than spend it carelessly or let it sit idle in a non-interest bearing account. He had also convinced her to buy both of her apartments and was presently encouraging her to look for a house in Los Angeles. These and other investments had done so well, he’d promised that if she worked for another five years she could retire and still be able to maintain her present lifestyle. “What lifestyle?” she asked, laughing. Her life was her work and she had no intention of retiring anytime soon.
With a restrained sigh Nyssa pushed her melancholy thoughts aside and flipped through her schedule for tomorrow. Up at dawn for a quick workout, two shows, then the inevitable after-parties where the rich and beautiful mingled, each hoping part of the other would rub off amid the self-laudatory haze of alcohol and drugs that so often infused these functions. Rock stars, porn stars, movie stars, supermodels, and the creative geniuses and money men that made their world possible all crammed into the latest, hippest venue. Paris or Milan, New York or London- it was all the same.
When Nyssa first got into the business, she loved it- the madness, the frenzy, the clothes, the attention, the money. God, how she had embraced her life back then. She’d been seventeen when she landed her first Vogue cover. A dozen had since followed, not to mention the number of pages she’d garnered inside. In the early days she had scanned every magazine for her image, practically jumping up and down when she found herself staring back. But the excitement of seeing her own face on a newsstand had long since faded.
The captain announced their final descent and Nyssa tightened her seatbelt. She felt a lurch as the plane’s landing gear was lowered into position and they banked left, turning ninety degrees towards the runway before making their final approach. She gazed out the window at the twinkling lights of the city below her, anxious to be back on the ground again. She had a busy week ahead.
 
****
 
The clock on Nyssa’s nightstand read 4:48am. She had been awake for almost an hour, trying to will herself back to sleep. Unable to contain a frustrated sigh she finally rose naked from her bed, a long legged vision of perfection. Pulling on a pair of lycra pants and a top with built-in support, Nyssa tied her sneakers and left the apartment before walking briskly to the promenade bordering the East River. Barely taking the time to stretch, she headed north. The sun was just coming up and the air was chilly. It was a perfect spring morning.
When Nyssa first took up running, she felt as if she were running away from her past. As she achieved success, she ran towards her future. But now, like everything else, it had become just another habit, her way to start the day. Even so, she still enjoyed it. She relished the way it made her feel in control of everything- her body, her mind, her life. She felt empowered knowing every muscle in her body was doing exactly what she wanted it to do. After a mile her heart was racing, her legs and arms pumping. A light sheen of perspiration dampened her body, her skin glistening in the still weak sunlight. Four miles later, her clothes were slick with sweat, her lungs near to bursting. She slowed to a fast walk and headed for home.
Back in her apartment Nyssa stripped and showered, then pulled her hair into a loose topknot. Never heavy, she had still gotten thinner over the years, a necessity for runway work. She grabbed a thong from her drawer and shrugged into jeans and a black v-neck shirt. Nyssa rarely wore a bra. She felt sexier when she could feel the bounce of her breasts, the pull of fabric across her nipples. It was the same reason she slept naked. Whether she was with a man or not, she reveled in the way her body responded to temperature and texture.
Though she normally preferred to take cabs and even the occasional subway around the city, having a driver on call for Fashion Week was vital. Designers were notoriously unpredictable and Nyssa had staked her career on being consistently prompt and professional. With shows often running late and last minute emergency fittings being the norm, it was comforting to know she could be assured of getting around town without any hassle. Her car was waiting. The driver headed to Forty-Second Street and dropped her off at Fifth Avenue where she quickly ducked into the nearest tent. Eric Calvados and Nathan Yurg, the new designers Nyssa had taken a fancy to, were freaking out.
“Oh Nyssa, thank God you’re here!” Eric yelled as he came bounding over to her.
“Yeah, we’ve had a few changes since your fitting,” Nathan added. “Angelique!” he screamed. “Double-check that number six fits.”
“I thought there were only five looks,” Nyssa mumbled, already thinking that this show might make her late for her next, and Michael Kors did not like to be kept waiting.
“There were, but we had a huge brainstorm and came up with something fabulous,” Eric explained, his animated expression and expansive hand gestures conveying his enthusiasm.
“I promise, it’s a real show stopper,” said Nathan.
It was a given that Nyssa would both start and finish the show. She allowed herself to be led further into the tent. Rock music was blaring from speakers and workmen were still arranging the chairs. A full house was expected but it was really only the front rows that mattered. Celebrities, fashion editors, and major buyers would all be placed as strategically as possible, the seating plan often taking longer than the designs themselves.
“Angelique,” Nathan screamed again, aiming at no one in particular. Nyssa frowned, she hated raised voices. A frazzled looking woman came running up to them with several dresses overflowing her thin arms. “Nyssa, this will be your fitter, Angelique.” They exchanged polite nods.
“Angelique, show Nyssa to hair and makeup immediately. Come get me as soon as she’s finished- I want to see her before they start on anyone else.” Eric and Nathan quickly kissed her on both cheeks and then scurried off. Angelique veered left and Nyssa hurried to follow her, sidestepping several fashion journalists and other assorted hangers-on as she went.
Once in the chair for hair and makeup, Nyssa closed her eyes and let herself become a blank canvas upon which the designer’s aspirations could be painted. Around her, the volume seemed to increase every minute as models, fitters, hair and makeup artists, the stage and sound crew, and of course Eric and Nathan themselves hurried to pull everything together in time. In other words, it was a typical fashion show: crazed and energetic, stressful and chaotic.
As Angelique helped Nyssa into her first outfit, the two designers came careening towards her. Her hair had been teased into wild abandon, extensions falling to her waist. Makeup covered her face so it appeared that a mask covered her from the cheekbone upwards, the color a dark eggplant. Her first outfit was the same shade as her face paint, simple and exquisitely cut.
“Ok, Nyssa, we’re ready for you,” Eric shouted from his stance by the curtained entrance. She strode towards him on five inch heels with Angelique following behind, frantically making adjustments as she walked.
The music stopped for a moment and even in the crowded tent you could hear a pin drop, everyone holding their breath as they waited for the show to begin. Eric gave Nyssa a glance up and down, tears in his eyes. “Thank you,” he said quietly.
Nyssa smiled and reached out to squeeze his hand, letting her guard drop for just a moment. After this show she knew Eric and Nathan would be a huge success. It felt good to help them out. Through she committed to several well-known designers each year, they had nowhere to go but down. At shows like ECNY there was excitement in the air, an anticipation for something that had yet to be achieved. Years ago, she felt the same kind of excitement on a daily basis. She missed it.
From behind the curtain, Eric motioned. With a blast of music, the lights illuminating the catwalk came on. “Three, two, one…Go,” Eric whispered urgently.
In a fusion of power and elegance, Nyssa stepped from behind the curtain into the walk she had made famous. Shoulders back, knees high, back arched. The audience let out a collective gasp the moment her stiletto-clad foot stepped onto the runway. Though her expression remained aloof, Nyssa heard their reaction, felt their awe. Her emerald eyes stared forward, twin pools of confidence.
No one would ever guess that Nyssa, an obvious winner of the gene-pool lottery, had escaped an abusive, alcoholic father and a brief stint in a Greek whorehouse. And if she had her wish, no one ever would.
She had come a very long way, succeeding where so many other girls had failed. This was Nyssa’s game and she played it better than anyone else.
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 
Tara Thompson.jpgI am a married thirty-something with three awesome kids and a sweet, workaholic husband. We had two dogs but about the time I was feeling completely overwhelmed, they abandoned my chaotic house for doggie heaven (for their sakes, I hope no children are chasing them anymore). In my former life I attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before giving up on both. I thoroughly enjoyed my twenties and am quite content settling down to a much quieter life in Suburbia, USA. For me, writing is a much welcome respite from the reality of running to the bus stop, pediatrician, food store, gym, soccer games, tennis lessons, etc. etc etc. My family and I recently moved from Garden City, Long Island to Wilton, Connecticut and couldn’t be happier.
 
WORDS FROM TARA THOMPSON
I was reading books with half-naked women on their covers long before I dreamed about getting half-naked with a boy. I can remember hiding books from my parents, not because of the content, but because of the awful, over-sexualized covers.
Like most people, I wouldn’t say that I had a perfect childhood. I mean, who does? But one thing my parents got 100% right is their belief that I could read anything I wanted, at any age. Harlequin Romance at twelve, Judy Blume’s Forever at thirteen, Jackie Collins at fourteen.... My reading choices were up to me.
Did they know that I read Nine and a Half Weeks or the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy (by A.N. Roquelaure, not the fairy-tale version) when I was barely in high school... Probably not. But some books by Bertrice Small or Johanna Lindsay were just as racy.
By delving into a variety of genres, I wasn’t drawn to erotica any more than crime thrillers, or vice versa. Because I could read anything, my choices were dictated by to quality of the storytelling and not simply the subject matter.
The result was that I aced almost every history exam I ever took, because dry textbooks were enhanced by talented historical romance authors. Standardized tests were a breeze because the most interesting books weren’t confined within my grade-level, so neither was my vocabulary. And once I got to college, I was a faster reader than most of my peers- a huge advantage given the intense workload.
My kids aren’t old enough to have heard of Fifty Shades of Grey, let alone buy it from a bookstore or download it onto their iPad (of course, they don’t have iPads yet either), so I don’t know how I will feel if they ever ask to read it. But I hope I will tell myself that there is no such thing as a Bad Book. In this day of Facebook, Facetime, Minecraft, etc anything that motivates a kid to read is probably a Good Thing.
 For more on Tara's Tour: You can follow her trail....
 
June 27 – Michelle’s Book Nook – Guest Post
June 28 – Step Into Fiction – Review & Guest Post
July 1 – Keep Calm & Blog On – Review
July 2 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
July 6 - Karma For Life Chick – Review
July 7 – Lavender & Camomile Press – Excerpt
July 8 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Q&A
July 11 – Chick Lit Goddess – Review
July 15 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like it'd be a great book club read! Thanks for the suggestion! You should look in to the book we're finishing right now in our book club, called It’s called “Secrets of a Spiritual Guru” by Tamara Lee Dorris, http://tamaradorris.net/. It's a great chick lit/women's fiction read and it pokes fun at serious topics in life, just in case you're in need of that kind of read! Thanks for the review and again for the suggestion, I'm going to bring it up to the girls tomorrow night!

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