Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday Friend: Courtney Corcoran

Please welcome Courtney Corcoran to Heroines with Hearts! 

For days, until just a few seconds ago, I stared at a cursor blinking on a blank page, trying to decide what to write about writing. There is nothing more menacing than the steady flash of a cursor going nowhere, and nothing more beautiful than the steady horizontal movement once the words pour forth and something is created that people may actually want to read and enjoy.

When I was asked to write about writing, I didn’t think I’d have such an issue getting started. After all, I’ve written as long as I can remember. When I was a kid in the 1970s, it was with crayons or sometimes dandelions or clovers as I sat out in the outfield during softball games, where I was relegated as a kid with little to no softball skill. Words helped me escape, work out problems, make friends, and influence people. They also got me into a decent amount of trouble, but those are stories for another day.

In order to get writing, I need the trifecta of time, a great idea, and the gumption to get started. Right now, I’m working on the sequel to my first novel, which is due sooner than I like to think about. I have the great idea and the gumption, but time is always elusive. It’s a good thing November has come, or I’d never get it done. Which reminds me – I also need deadline pressure. Is there such a thing as a quart-fecta? Quarfecta? Fourfecta? I don’t know what it looks like, but I need it.

I am not a writer who creates outlines or meticulously chooses between an appositive or a participial phrase in order to add detail to my sentences. I don’t deliberately debate decisions regarding alliteration. I don’t handwrite everything first and go back and type later. I pick where I’m starting and decide where everyone should end up, and my characters just sort of wind (and sometimes suffer) through their own stories until they arrive.

Over the last year, though, the stars aligned and I completed my novel, Cate in Flux, the first in a series about a girl awkwardly coping with life. This novel started during NaNoWriMo as I was going through a rather hideous divorce. Cate and her friends offered a respite from the day-to-day madness of holding it together for my own sanity and for my children. Writing is an escape for me, as much as losing myself in something that someone else has written. 

I must say there is something surreal about having a book with MY NAME ON IT out there, published, for all the world to see. What if people peek into my soul and don’t like what they see? What if I get 1-star reviews on Amazon? Oh no. Is it too late to take the book back? (Just kidding)

Since I am a shameless self-promoter, as anyone who follows me on Facebook or Twitter knows, I’d like to plug this little book. I find it highly entertaining and uproariously dark and funny.  Please take a look and let me know what you think.

Courtney Corcoran is a high school English teacher and author. Her first novel, Cate in Flux, was released on December 10. Paperback and digital versions of the book are available at,, and You can follow her on Twitter @courtjcorcoran and on Facebook at Courtney Corcoran, Writer.  Read more of Courtney’s work at



Cate is a flighty, yet lovable, young woman who is incapable of making decisions, and when she does decide, it often ends in disaster. Her choices of men are particularly dreadful. Her latest boyfriend is the craziest one yet, and her friends - including a model, a coffee shop owner, and a celebrity attorney - have to save her yet again. From Boston to Vegas and back again, this story is a whirlwind, much like Cate's own love life. Will she ever find "the one"? Will her friends continue to stick by her?

Excerpt from Cate in Flux:

f I had known the mannequins were inflatable, I would never have bought them in the first place, and my life today would be wonderfully dull.

The day I went to pick them up was a typical fall day, breezy, sunny, and cool.  The peacocks that blocked the driveway when I drove up to receive the mannequins should have tipped me off.  They darted manically, plumage wafting, back and forth, heads bobbing.  Alarmed, I almost turned around.  But Amelia needed her dress, and I needed the mannequins to make it, so I beeped the horn.  The peacocks scattered, leaving me room to wind my way through the driveway to the cottage at the end.

I was surprised when an Asian woman opened the door.  I assumed from the transaction e-mails through Craigslist that Simon would be a man, possibly a British one.  But dressed in a short, red kimono with stiletto-heeled boots, Simon threw me for a moment.  Nails done, hair high on the head like a Jersey girl from the 80s, I wasn‘t quite sure what to make of this person holding a door open wide for me, and gesturing that I should come forth.  One diamond earring glinted in his right ear.

“Come in.”  The voice was all cross-dresser.

“Hi, I’m Cate Jakubiak,” I said, shaking his hand.  “Simon?”

“Yes.  Simon Pham.  The mannequins are this way.”

I followed Simon through the house, marveling at his balance as his hips sashayed in front of me.  Each room had a theme.  Dungeon, Care Bears, Disco.  The voice in my head said to run away fast, but I needed the mannequins.  Finally, we reached the sewing room.

“Here they are, Dolly and Sally,” said Simon, gesturing to two torsos with heads, on which he had drawn clownish faces.  “I hope they’re to your liking.”

“Um, sure,” I said.  Even though I was disappointed they were inflatable instead of solid, they would have to do.

“What are you making?” he asked.

“A dress for a friend, and maybe some Halloween costumes,” I answered.  “Is that acceptable?”

Simon picked up a length of gold lame fabric from the table where Dolly and Sally were sitting.  “Do you want this fabric? I was going to make some pants out of them, but won’t have time,” he said, winking.

“Sure,” I told him.  You never know when some gold lame will come in handy.

“All right then.  I’ll help you carry them to your car.”

We stuffed Dolly and Sally into the back of my Scion. 

“It looks like a clown car, full of clowns,” laughed Simon, waving his hands around.  “Oh my.”

“Right,” I said.  “Here’s your check.”  I handed the paper over quickly.  I wanted to get out of there.

Simon leaned in kissed me on the lips, not just a peck but a lingering kiss.  His lips were remarkably soft, and I felt it in my gut, which was shocking.  “I’ll be seeing you soon, Cate,” he whispered softly before going back into the house.  “Don’t let the peacocks bother you on your way out.”

The kiss had rooted me to ground, and it was a few minutes before I recovered sufficiently to move.  Crap.  Even though he was clearly creepy, I felt immediately attracted. I looked at the ground, and was simultaneously disgusted and fascinated by a dead giant slug, its entrails blooming out of its bloated body.

I am a boring person. I like the status quo. I enjoy working, cooking, exercising every day precisely at 5. I prefer men, strong men who want to take care of me. Okay, so some of them have been on the edge of crazy, but that’s not their fault. Well, maybe more than on the edge, really, if my friends are to be believed. Okay, the crazies follow me around like zombies on The Walking Dead. I have no idea why. Anyway, I also read bestsellers, love sewing, and adore having a nice apartment in a quiet Boston suburb.  Simon the Asian Cross-Dresser was not a person I was prepared to find thrust into my life, and if I could change just one moment, I would have driven away at the first sight of the peacocks.


  1. Welcome to HWH Courtney! Congratulations on your new release and I love, love, LOVE the last line of your excerpt!

  2. Courtney, I love your excerpt, and I know how excited you must feel about your first novel. It will always be your most precious one. Thanks for sharing your path to success.

  3. Thanks, Margaret and Jennifer! It was a fun book to write!

  4. Sorry, ladies! The above comment was from Courtney - forgot to change out of my Blogger moniker!

  5. Congratulations on your first release, and kudos for keeping your sanity during your divorce by being creative. You probably know this, but you gave your children a positive life lesson that they'll never forget.

  6. Many congrats on your first novel. As Margaret has said, it will always be very special to you, no matter how many other novels your write. And your heroine certainly seems to have found herself in an interesting situation!