The blog titled RISE: How a House Built a Family, or OMG THIS CHICK IS AMAZING

There are buttons in my car that I have no idea why they are there or what they do. I’ve driven this car for over three years. Lately, I’ve begun to think I should know more about the buttons- more about EVERYTHING. Perhaps I’m shorting myself some amazing aspect of driving, maybe the button is attached to a pair of massage hands, or it will cook my dinner and serve it up piping hot. More likely, it will turn off some safe driving element and I’ll crash and die.

Sometimes, you just leave well enough alone. You don’t press the button. You don’t ask why it’s there. You simply continue bumbling on blissfully ignorant.

Not this woman. Meet today’s guest author. Cara Brookins.

Cara Brookins is the author of Rise: How a House Built a Family, a memoir about escaping domestic violence with her four children and building a 3,500 square foot home from the ground up with their own hands.  She is also a keynote speaker, hosts Raise My Roof, a weekly podcast with Macmillan, and is a fiction writer with seven published novels.

Yes, she really is that pretty and perky and sweet in real life. I’ve bumped into Cara at a few writers conferences and finally got the balls to ask her to come over and play 10 for 10.  Just so happened the dates coincided wonderfully with the release of her memoir. Which I pre-ordered as soon as she gave me her card. And then, I read the small print. What? You taught yourself how to build a house? From YouTube?  And here I was using video tutorials to learn how to apply fake eyelashes and bake the perfect quiche. Yeah. I suck. But enough about me.



Okay, now that we know you can handle a hammer and nails, and saw, and level and…  let’s see if you can count to ten.


                       Take the Author Challenge: Answer 10 Questions in 10 Words

  1. Have you ever cried while writing a scene? What was it?
    Scenes that meet a 30th rewrite earn a tear bath.
  2. What are you reading this week?
    Shakespeare! Sigh. Okay, actually Small Great Things: Picoult. (And Twitter)
  3. It’s a typical day of writing for you. What does that look like?
    What, it’s 2:00 a.m? Double coffee shots in four hours!
  4. Your book needs a cheerleader from your past. Who is it and how do they help you?
    My 1st grade teacher dipped the blade in poison.
  5. An author in your genre is too sick to write anymore. Their publisher calls upon you to fill in. Who’s the author and what’s the title of the book you’ll write?
    Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat Cake, Pray for More, Love Your Hips.
  1. A famous NYC deli is naming a sandwich after you, what is it called and what’s in it?
    The Optimist: Almond poppy seed cake hidden in lettuce wrap.
  1. You get to own an exotic pet. What is it and where do you keep it?
    A tiny monkey in a miniature house made of books.
  2. You have to choose between your story reaching success as either a book or a film, but not both. Which do you choose and why?
    A book ages slowly and translates with more grace.
  3. Everyone has a bucket list. What’s on yours?
    My empty passport wants a visit to Italy and France.
  4. Go to your current WIP. Turn to page 10. Write the ten words that appear on line 10.
    …we smelled like old seafood drizzled with an orange sauce.


OH! I love the idea of a little monkey in a house of books. Please, please write that story. 🙂 and yum, I’ll take one Optimist wrap to go!


Everyone!  Get yourself to BARNES AND NOBLE and buy this book, or stay in your jammies and order it right here:


After escaping an abusive marriage, Cara Brookins had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible. Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan, and a mile-wide stubborn streak, Cara built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children.

It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her kids poured concrete, framed the walls and laid bricks for their two story, five bedroom house. She had convinced herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family.

Be sure to check out the photos of Cara and her family posted on her blog while building the house.

Follow along on Cara’s continued journey via Facebook or Twitter, where she posts some amazingly encouraging tweets. All day long. 🙂

Wait there’s more. Cara hosts an amazing podcast called Raise My Roof.

This is a podcast where I talk to ordinary people who ran into a tough time but used it as fuel to build a bigger life. After I wrote Rise, my memoir about escaping a dangerous marriage with my four kids and building a house from the ground up with our own hands, I realized the story wasn’t over. I just kept meeting people with incredible stories, and there’s no way I could keep them all to myself. So I spent weeks interviewing experts, activists, authors, and even my own kids about what they’ve overcome and how. Now I’m ready to help you lift the roof off your dreams with Raise My Roof!

It’s easy, informative, uplifting and FREE. You can begin listening to her podcasts RIGHT HERE.

Cara, Thanks for playing 10 for 10. I’m sure RISE is going to fly off the shelves So happy for you. See you on the page- and at the next conference! I’ll be in the bar trying to figure out which button pours the calorie-free wine.




Every month new authors are featured on Linda’s blog. If you’re a writer or have a suggestion for an author to interview, please reply in the comments or drop us a line on the Keep in Touch page.

You can also subscribe to the blog here.

We are happy to announce Linda’s newest book, GRAND THEFT CARGO, the first book in the Cargo series featuring tenacious trucker, Jojo Boudreaux will debut in MARCH 2017.

In the meantime, you can enjoy her other books right here: 3 books-page-001

The books of Linda Sands, 2016 Georgia Author of the Year, 2015 Kindle Scout Winner, 2016 Silver Falchion Judges’ Choice Award for Neo-Noir, 2016 Silver Falchion Judges’ Choice Award for Best P.I.

“Clever, sexy, witty, and shot glasses full of fun, 3 Women Walk Into a Bar is no joke — and with one of the freshest and most exciting new voices in crime fiction, Linda Sands is an author to watch.”

~Douglas Corleone, author of Robert Ludlum’s The Janson Equation
I hate to use the hackneyed phrase “refreshingly original,” but boy howdy, does it fit the bill here! A hard-nosed (and hard-other-things, apparently, based on his past as a stripper) detective investigates the death of three young women, none of whom are precisely what they seem. Linda Sands has written a wickedly witty and viciously vindictive story whose only flaw is its comparative lack of alliteration. Puns and irony abound, however, so I’ll let that slide. The remarkable thing is that she gets so much into her main character’s voice that you’d bet your bottom dollar the book was written by a man. She absolutely nails the lovable light misogyny that is ever-present in the genre, while lightly lampooning it as well. I mean, this woman has some major cajones – in a very female way. But this is definitely not a book for girly-girls. They can go read Twilight, and let the rest of us have a blast with Linda Sands.