Friday, October 9, 2015

Sometimes being first isn’t what you expected.

Sometimes being first isn’t what you expected. 

Seventeen-year-old ballerina Emilia Moretti is tired of always being second best. And she’s going to prove the world she deserves to be first. In her upcoming School of the Performing Arts showcase. In the eyes of her birth parents. And in the heart of the guy she loves. She spends hours rehearsing, hours dreaming about becoming number one, hours imagining how her entire life is about to change. But when nothing goes the way she planned, she’ll need to realize what it really means to be first. 

Eighteen-year-old Nick Grawski doesn’t want to follow Daddy Dearest’s rules any longer. He's going to prove he's meant to be a dancer—not a lawyer—and he is not going to stay away from Em just because his father demands it. He needs to show Em that—this time around—he’s there to stay and that he won’t break her heart again. Even when her world goes down to shit, even when he finds out his dad may have been trying to protect him all along, even if being there for one another is harder than falling in love. 

ALWAYS SECOND BEST is a novel of hope and heartbreak and broken dreams. It’s a novel about falling in love and discovering that being first isn’t always what matters.
AmazonB&NiTunes - Kobo


·         One, Two, Three – available now on Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)
·         One Dream Only – available now on Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)
·         A Summer Like No Other – Amazon, B&N, Nook, iTunes
·         Alles fuer einen Traum (deutsche Ausgabe)
·         Alles fuer einene Traum / One Dream Only (zweisprachige Ausgabe)


1.      Each blog can run their own giveaway for an e-copy of A Summer Like No Other
2.      There’s a blitz-wide giveaway organized on Rafflecopter. Link to the giveaway is here:


As a self-publisher, I get to decide when my book is ready. I get to hit the “publish” button. But it never gets easier. And in my view, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Because being nervous in this case means that I care about the book, and I care about their journey. And yes, I need to work on being less anxious, but sometimes I also need to embrace it.
Emilia and Nicholas—Em & Nick—are two characters who are close to my heart. And letting them go in the world could probably be compared to when our parents let us go out of the door on that first day of class. They know it’s not going to be all pink and happy and laughter. But they are also convinced that we deserve the best.
Well, ALWAYS SECOND BEST going out of the door, getting ready for the world, and I know Em & Nick will not only receive praise and love but there’s a big part of me that crosses my fingers that most of the world falls in love with them. Just like I did.
Part of the pre-order process on Amazon is that you need to upload your book 10 days before and in the self-publishing world, everything usually comes out faster, and I’m always scared out of my mind that maybe I should have just re-read it one more, maybe I should have just ask somebody else to give me feedback, maybe I should have scrapped the entire thing. And I’m the only one making that decision at that moment in time. (well, I do reach out to my friends in freaked out text messages or GChat for reassurance and they rock :P)
I keep my head high and my “delete” finger in check and I re-read the comments, and I make sure my little book is ready for all kinds of weather: for the negative reviews storm, for the positive reviews blue skies, for the “I loved this story” rainbows…
And I make sure I’m ready for that to: reaching out to friends, getting a hug from my husband, eating chocolate, watching a movie, going out, reading…
And then I hit “publish”…
And today, Always Second Best is available around the world.
And I cross my fingers you enjoy it at least half as much as I love it.


1.      The part about a “Basil-only” menu comes from my husband, who makes the best steaks with homemade pesto.

2.      The name “Svetlana” is the name of my husband’s aunt.

3.      One of my sisters’ name is Emilie. Hmmm, wonder where I got the idea for Emilia’s name J

4.      I started writing this book almost a year ago—got almost halfway through but it didn’t work, then tried again in May but it still didn’t work. I wrote A Summer Like No Other which is the summer where Em & Nick get together and then wrote Always Second Best in a bit over a month.

5.      There’s one scene in the book where Nick & Em are maybe or maybe not making out against the mirror of the dance studio. This scene exists thanks to Riley Edgewood.


1.       What do you love most about Em & Nick?
How much they love one another. It takes them time and it’s not always easy and they make mistakes but at the end of the day, they understand one another and are there for one another.
2.       Do you have plans to write more books in the Broken Dreams series?
I have a few more…I may or may not be currently writing a holiday novella featuring Camilo—the “bad” guy from One, Two, Three and Chloe, a new character.
I’m also outlining Jen’s story. Jen is a part of A Summer Like No Other and Always Second Best…and I’m actually thinking of her moving to France for the summer after the showcase for an intensive workshop at the Opéra de Paris. Thinking out loud here… And I also have a novel about Becca—Natalya’s best friend. Oh and maybe about Roberto—Emilia’s brother.
3.       Wow, that’s quite a lot. Any chance we’ll see Em & Nick again though?
Hmmm. Definitely in Jen’s story, they will pop up. And I may or may not be looking into writing a few short stories…featuring Tonio & Nata, Em & Nick and maybe Giovanni & Roberto.
4.       Emilia & Nick are ballet dancers. Natalya in One Two Three and One Dream Only was a ballet dancer. Are you also a dancer?
I danced ballet for a few years, but nothing like Natalya or Em or Nick…I’ve done research, watched videos, read articles and tried to remember what I loved about ballet when I was dancing. It’s a world I tried to learn a lot about. Part of the Broken Dreams series will move a bit away from ballet thought when it comes to Becca’s story and Camilo’s.
5.       What is your favorite part about writing?
I have several favorite things I love about writing. The creating process. Yes, it can be super painful and sometimes I hate it, but I am still grateful that I get to call this “my job”. And then, I love the contact with the readers. Really, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter (@ENowodazkij) or per email ( And if you’ve read my books and enjoyed them, I love hanging out in my cozy book on Facebook J (


EXCERPT 1 – From Chapter 12 / Nick

Em steps back and tilts her head, looking at me carefully like she does when she’s trying to assess me. “If it’s important, if you need someone to talk to, I’ll always be there for you. But…” She takes a deep breath, almost like she wants to ground herself. “I don’t want to be the one you use. That’s all.”
“I’ve never used you.”
“Whatever,” she replies and I know the conversation is over.
I turn the music on. Em stretches, letting her body fall on the leg she has propped up against the mirror. I get the spot next to hers and do the same. We switch legs. We look at each other in the mirror.
“Tomorrow, they want you to show them your technique—which is perfect—but also the emotions.” I grab the remote control and change the music to Sleeping Beauty.
I stand next to her. And pull her to me. “We know your technique is amazing. Show me how you fall in love.”
“W-what do you mean?”
“Aurora…at first she falls in love.”
Em gulps but then she stares at me, raising an eyebrow that says, Two can play this game, my friend. “Yes.” Her voice is breathy. And she may be winning the game I didn’t even know we started just by looking at me.
“You need to let those emotions loose, your movements need to be full of passion, and your eyes need to have that passion in them too.”
Em positions herself, with one arm up and the other behind her back. She angles her foot and then starts dancing. Her movements surround me, she surrounds me. One pirouette, one jump, one pas de deux… She’s looking at me, like I’m her anchor point, like I’m the only thing that makes sense, like she’s in love with me.
I want to grab her hand. I want to pull her to me.  I want…so much.
But I know if I move she’ll disappear back into that hole inside of herself.
So, instead I dance alongside her. An answer to her unspoken questions. A promise to her unspoken demand.
And when we stop, both out of breath, she kisses my cheek before turning away.
It may not be much, but it’s a first step.

EXCERPT 2 – Chapter 13 / EM

Svetlana gives me a reassuring smile as I enter the room. “You got this,” she whispers and I nod, but my muscles feel all tight and it’s like I have tunnel vision. I can only see the faces of the judges, the way their eyes glance over me. They are sitting on chairs in front of the scene. They lean toward each other for a few seconds. They whisper “Natalya” several times and “fantastic” and one of them smiles as if he’s discovered water in a desert. Of course, Natalya impressed them. As I knew she would. Nata is the best dancer at the school; I’m only crossing my fingers I maybe reached her level, or that some sort of miracle will happen.
I should really stop believing in fairy tales.
“Welcome, Emilia Moretti,” the director of the school says, and I smile at the judges. The room feels bigger somehow today, but at the same time more oppressive. Maybe it’s their eyes on me, the way they smile. The former prima ballerina of the American Ballet Company nods, but she purses her lips in an I-have-much-more-important-places-to-be or we’ve-seen-the-best, what’s-the-point way.
I ground myself. I’ve been judged many times before. I won’t pretend they’re naked. I won’t pretend they’re not there. I’m going to give it my all, give it my best and show them that I’m worth it.
There’s a familiar smell of wood and window cleaner. We’re the first ones to audition so the room still smells as it does every morning.
Images of the summer flash back to me: how my body became one with the music, how I let my guard down, the pain I felt when my birth mother pushed me away, the happiness I felt when I was with Nick. How at ease. I hold on to those emotions instead of pushing them away like I usually do. Those emotions are my anchors.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes,” I reply.
And I am.
The music invades me and as I turn into a pirouette, I let the story become who I am, I let myself becoming Sleeping Beauty.
I let myself believe once again.

EXCERPT 3 – Chapter 15 / EM

I FORGET MYSELF in his kiss, in the way his arms tighten around me, in the way my entire body wants to get even closer.
One of his hands cups the side of my face. I jump so my legs are around his waist. He’s holding me and I deepen our kiss. I don’t ever want to stop.
“Em.” His voice is hoarse and he walks forward, my legs still around him, until my back hits the mirror.
His lips trail down my face, to my collarbone, and his hands detangle mine from his neck to bring them over my head.
I can feel him, all of him. “I’ve missed you,” he says.
And I’ve missed him too. So much. My brain’s screaming for me to stop, my heart’s hesitating. What am I doing? What are we doing? Setting ourselves up for failure again.
“I have to go.” My voice shakes. “I have to go,” I repeat and Nick slowly puts me back on my feet before stepping away.
“What are you talking about?” He’s almost out of breath.
“I have to go.” I can’t look at him, or I’ll never leave.
I rush out. My feelings and my heart trailing behind.

EXCERPT 4 – Chapter 17 / EM

“You’re either in love or you’re having a stroke,” Nonna says and chuckles.
“That’s so not funny,” I reply and she hugs me.
“If I can’t laugh about it, who else will?” she replies.
“No one. You shouldn’t be laughing about it and no one should be laughing about it.”
“I’d rather spend my last good years, or months or weeks, laughing at death coming than being afraid to look at it in the eyes, Bellisima.” She checks on the boiling polpette. “Have you eaten?”
“Not yet,” I reply. “They’re not going to be ready for another thirty minutes or so.”
“Why don’t you sit down with me and then we’ll eat,” she says and we settle at a table she has set on the side of the kitchen.
She puts her hand on mine. “Loving is scary. And sometimes getting hurt is worth it. I was hurt when your Poppa passed away. I was hurt when I lost your aunt and she was so little. But I don’t regret those loves because they didn’t mean to hurt me. I didn’t go into those relationships thinking how bad they were for me, but rather how good they made me feel.” She catches her breath. “If you’re afraid to get hurt, there's a good chance he's worth you giving him a chance. But if you know you’re going to get hurt, for no good reason, he’s not worth your time, and certainly not worth your love.”
“What if I already got hurt?”
“Maybe you both weren’t ready.” She leans forward. “You were not the only one who got hurt this summer, Bellisima. Nicholas did too.”

My eyes widen and she chuckles. “I’m old but I’m not blind. Now, tell me more about the recipe you used for the polpette.”

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