Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Unofficial Book Blitz: More Than Music (Chasing the Dream #1) by Elizabeth Briggs

More Than Music (Chasing the Dream #1)
by Elizabeth Briggs
Release Date: June 17th 2014
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Music major Maddie Taylor seems to have her life all figured out. She’s just finished her junior year of college, has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, and plans to go to grad school to write movie scores. Only her roommates know she practices guitar every night and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars.

Tattooed singer Jared Cross has a new girl every week, but when he catches Maddie playing one of his songs, she attracts his attention in an unexpected way. His band needs a fourth member for The Sound, a reality TV show competition—and he wants her. Though Maddie refuses to be another notch on Jared’s bedpost, she agrees to risk everything for the chance to be a rock star. 

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared behind his flirty smile, and with each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore. When the show pressures Jared to flaunt his player image, they’re forced to keep their relationship secret, but Maddie can’t help but want something real.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

by Elizabeth Briggs

by Elizabeth Scott

- Excerpt from Chapter 3 -

“Hey,” Olivia says, and I know it’s her because I would know her voice anywhere. We’ve been friends since fifth grade, and we’ve been through period trauma, boy crap, bad hair, her parents and their ways. And now Dan and his baby.
“Hey,” I say. I wipe my eyes and look at her. “How’s the car?”
Olivia makes a face at me but also wraps an arm around my shoulders, steering me toward our lockers. Her parents gave her a fully loaded convertible when she got her license, one with a built-in music player, phone, navigation system—you name it, the car had it. Could do it, and all at the touch of a button.
Olivia sold the car—through the one newspaper left in the area, which is basically just ads—and bought a used car. It’s so old all it has is a CD player and a radio. We bought CDs at yard sales for a while, but all we could get was old music, which we both hate, and the radio is just people telling you that what they think is what you should think, so we mostly just drive around in silence.
It used to bother me sometimes but now I like it. The inside of my head is so full now that silence is…I don’t know. There’s just something about knowing Olivia is there, and that we don’t have to talk. That she gets it. Gets me and what’s going on.
Her parents were unhappy about the car, though. Really unhappy, actually, but then there was a big crisis with one of their server farms at work and by the time they surfaced for air they hadn’t slept in four days. And when they said, “Olivia, that car was a gift,” she said, “Yes, it was. A gift, meaning something freely given, for the recipient to use as she wanted to, right?”
As we hit her locker, we pass Anthony, and he says, “Ladies,” bowing in my direction. A real bow too, like it’s the nineteenth century or something.
“Ass,” Olivia says.
“A donkey is actually not as stupid as people believe. However, you are entitled to your own beliefs about asses. And me.” He looks at me. “Hello, Emma.”
I sigh. “Hi, Anthony.”
“If you ever want to talk about your grades, do know that I’m here.”
I can’t believe I ever thought the way he talked was interesting. It’s just stupid, like he’s too good to speak like a normal person. “I know, Anthony.”
“I really would like to be of assistance to you. I believe in helping everyone. I’m talking to Zara Johns later. I think she feels threatened by the fact that I’ve been asked to help her organize the next school blood drive.” Translation: he’s butted in, and Zara’s furious.
“Either that or she just doesn’t like you. Emma, let’s go,” Olivia says, slamming her locker shut, and we head for mine.
“You okay?” she says, and I nod. Anthony doesn’t bother me at all anymore, just like Mom said would happen. I look at him and feel nothing. Well, some annoyance, but then, who wouldn’t after listening to him talk?
Of course, I didn’t always think that he was annoying. I open my locker, deciding not to go down the Anthony road, and hear the guy next to me say, “No way! I mean, everyone knows what’ll happen to Caleb if he steals another car.”
Olivia and I glance at each other. If Anthony is the ass end of the smart part of the school, Caleb Harrison is the ass end of the stupid part. He’s a total druggie and three years ago, when we were freshmen, he came to school so high he couldn’t even talk. I heard that stopped last year, but then, as soon as school got out, his parents sent him off to some “tough love camp,” which is rich-people code for boot-camp rehab.
He came back seemingly off drugs but newly into stealing cars. He started by grabbing them at the mall and parking them in a different spot, but then he stole a teacher’s car.
And then he graduated to a school bus. It was empty at the time, but still, I heard that got him a couple of weeks in juvie, or would have except for his parents, who intervened. I guess now he’s taken yet another step forward and by lunchtime, I know what Caleb stole.
His father’s brand-new, limited-edition Porsche. And he didn’t just steal it. He drove it into the lake over by the park, drove right off the highway and into the water. The police found him sitting on the lake’s edge, watching the car sink. They were able to pull it out, but water apparently isn’t good for the inside of a Porsche.
“You think he’ll go to jail this time?” Olivia asks as we sit picking at our lunches. I love that we have lunch together this semester, but it’s the first lunch block, and it’s hard to face food—especially cafeteria food—at 10:20 in the morning.
“I guess it depends on his parents,” I say. “Last time they talked to the judge or whatever. They’ll probably just ship him off again. He must hate them, though.”
“Yeah. To sit by the lake and watch the car sink like that—”
“Even when my parents are sucking their lives away with all their computer crap, I’d never do anything like mess with their stuff,” she says. “How can you hate someone who raised you, who loves you so—” She breaks off.
“Dan didn’t raise me,” I say tightly. “And he doesn’t love me. Or Mom.”

Olivia nods and I think about hate. I understand what can make someone do what Caleb did, although I don’t think a bored, rich druggie really gets hate. Not real hate.

Where did you get the idea for More Than Music?

I went to high school for a short time with Adam Levine and Maroon 5, back when they were called Kara’s Flowers. They played at our school dances and I sat behind them in class and was completely in love with them. Of course, they had no idea I existed! Many years later I saw Adam Levine on The Voice, and had the idea of a geeky girl joining an up-and-coming rock band at her school and going on a show like The Voice, and the book grew from that.

What kind of research did you do for More Than Music?

Most of the research I did was on the music in the book, because I really wanted to get that right. I play the guitar but I’m not great at it because I don’t have time to practice regularly. Still, I tried to learn many of the songs that Maddie performs so I could describe the way it feels when you’re actually playing them. I studied a lot of guitar tutorials, live performances by the original bands, and covers by other bands. I also watched documentaries on what it’s like to be in a band, especially in high stress situations. And of course, I watched many episodes of The Voice!

How did you pick the songs in More Than Music?

I tried to pick songs that are well-known because I wanted anyone who is a fan of rock music to recognize most of them by name (especially since I couldn’t include lyrics due to copyright issues). I also chose songs that reflect what the characters are experiencing in the book, so that each song is like background music for what Maddie and Jared are going through.

The show in More Than Music is obviously based on The Voice, but were any of the characters based on particular celebrities?

None of the characters were based on any particular celebrity, but many characters were loosely inspired by them. The most obvious one is Jared, who was named after Jared Leto, the singer of Thirty Seconds To Mars. Both Jareds are flirty, talented, and hard-working, but also pretty down-to-earth – and both have brothers in their bands, too. And the mentors on the show were inspired by lots of different musicians all rolled into one. For example, Dan was loosely based on Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Chris Cornell, but also had a little Adam Levine and Blake Shelton in him, too.

What’s next in the Chasing the Dream series?

First up is Kyle’s prequel novella, MORE THAN EXES, set at the Battle of the Bands that leads to the gig at the beginning of MORE THAN MUSIC. Next will be Hector’s novella, set a week after MORE THAN MUSIC at Comic-Con. After that, I’ll be writing books about Maddie’s best friends Julie and Carla, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for info on those, sorry!

Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.

First giveaway:

Win (1) ebook copy of More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs (INT)

Blitz-wide giveaway:

Win (1) signed paperback of MORE THAN MUSIC + bookmarks
Win (1) paperback copy of FIFTY FIRST TIMES: A New Adult Anthology


  1. Thank you for the chance to win this, it sounds really good! :)

  2. Its sounds great would love to read it! Thank you for this chance.