Stories Matter

It has been awhile since I updated, but every time I thought about it, I didn't know what to say. Sometimes your thoughts aren't there, the words just don't come. That's kind of been the story of my life for the past six months. And I'm not sure why, but I feel like I'm holding my tongue about so many things out in the world that I can't turn it off when I sit down at my computer. This world is turning into a place that I'm not sure I want to be a part of. The hate, the anger, the tragedy, this was not what America stands for, and yet, it feels like it's so much of what it's become. Adults need to learn the same lessons I teach to my third graders, there is never a reason not to be kind to someone. It takes so little effort to be nice, show kindness. You don't have to agree with them, you don't even necessarily have to like them, but you do have to be kind. Who cares what they look like, what color skin they have, what they dress like, what religion they believe in, who they love? Does it affect your life personally? Because it doesn't. It's their choice. That's the foundation that America was founded on. Not just freedom, but the freedom of choice. You have no right to tell someone else how to live and you have no right to be mean, push, call names, discriminate, shoot someone because of it. Kid President says, "If you don't have something nice to say, then you're not thinking hard enough."

"Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." -Lin Manuel Miranda

Also, Hamilton has taken over my life. I was lucky enough to have seen it in March and I wish that I could explain how life changing that two hours and forty-five minutes in the Richard Rogers Theatre was. I have been learning about the formation of American since I was 9 years old (the perks of living in Virginia) and I have never realized in the past twenty years just how amazing it actually was that this democratic country formed. We came out of a rebellion and not one other time in history previously did a new country form with a government by the people and for the people. Washington and Jefferson and Adams and Madison and Mason and yes, Hamilton, were wise beyond they're years in being strong enough to form this country that would one day become a super power. All out of a rebellion.

 

Being in that room (where it happened, couldn't help myself) with hundreds of others as excited as I was to see live theatre was amazing. But the performance itself, the way it interweaved several musical styles, the way the staging drew you in and never let you go, the way the choreography was somehow its own character, it was something that I will never forget. A man who never got the credit he received is now getting his chance in a whole new story.

Stories are important. Stories matter. We are made of stories, and everyone has a story to tell. It is one of my favorite parts of being an author, because I get to share a story. Maybe it changes a life. Maybe it opens up a new perspective. Maybe it's just an escape from reality for a few hours. But words matter, stories matter, people matter. All people.

You just have to be ready to listen.

In the Presence of Greatness

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Do you ever get that feeling in your chest, like your heart is going to explode, when you find something that you love, that you're passionate about, that makes you tear up? Like you are just so overwhelmed with emotion, and you know you can't put it into words, but there's a feeling, just behind your heart, and you know that your life won't ever be the same. I don't get the feeling often, but every time I do, I love it and loathe it at the same time. It almost feels like I'm in pain, like it's so good that it hurts. Usually, it's art that makes me feel that a way. A song, a play, a picture. Isn't it amazing that art can do that to us? Art can change our entire worlds. It's something we take for granted, but how amazing is it, when you take a step back to realize you're in the presence of greatness?

Things that have made my chest ache in the best way recently:

  1. The cast album of Hamilton. It took me a few times, and I really had to listen to the lyrics, but it really feels like I'm in the presence of greatness. Lin Manuel Miranda has woven such an intricate story that you can't help but sink right in and get lost in the rhythms and stories. There are no words to describe it, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't listen to it. Seriously. Do it. Right now. Helpless and Satisfied are sheer brilliance, and Wait for It is beautifully sung by Leslie Odom Jr. Seriously, what are you waiting for?
  2. Watching Misty Copeland dance across the stage, overcoming her upbringing and her injuries, and being a new face for ballet, one that lets girls know it's okay not to look like "a perfect ballerina." She is perfection.
  3. Kate's face when Leo won the Oscar. Seriously, that's what OTPs are made of. 

Art. Something that has been around for thousands of years, from the first civilizations, because even those people realized the need to express, the need to communicate (RENT anyone?), the need to transcend. There is nothing better, nothing greater, nothing more powerful.

Except maybe Leo.

Welcome to 2016

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It's a new year. I always feel like I need to reflect on the past year and all the good things that happened, or bad things that happened, and decide whether it was a great year or not. But, a year is an awfully long time and I think it's hard to categorize it as one or another because it's both. Life is both. I had some amazing things happen, things that I am truly grateful for. And I had some things happen that I would rather not experience again. But in the spirit of starting over, or at least starting a new year, I'd like to focus on some of the positives:

  1. My husband and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary. That means that he hasn't gotten on my nerves so much that I've killed him yet :-P.
  2. I began this insanely crazy publishing journey and self-published 3 books.
  3. I sold over 1,000 books in my first month of being published.
  4. I got to go on some amazing vacations to places like the Bahamas, Florida, Myrtle Beach, and New York.
  5. I met some great new friends, both in the writing world and otherwise, and reaffirmed how amazing my current friends are.
  6. I saw some amazing theatre including Something Rotten and Deaf West's Spring Awakening, which was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had.

The end of the year was a hard time for me and as I should have been writing, I found myself extremely unmotivated. The ideas floated through my head, but I just couldn't bring myself to put them down on paper (or computer screen). I'm finally starting to feel more like myself and I'm going to use this blizzard/Snowzilla/Winter Storm Jonas to try to find my voice again.

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I think I'm also hesitant because I've started something new and that's always scary. It's a different type of story than what I've written before, and although it's something that I would love to read, I also have no idea how to do it. But I always hold the advice Colleen Hoover once gave, "Write the story you want to read." So that's what I'm going to try to do. I'll keep you posted and talk more about it when I know more myself.

Also, on another completely random note, I saw these articles on indie authors and self-marketing the other day and I found them really interesting. I think marketing is the hardest thing because the market is oversaturated, so how am I supposed to make my book stand out when it is purposefully like so many others? I hate talking about myself and constantly saying "look at me, look at me, buy my book, buy my book." This author offers up two points of view that I really loved reading about. Check them out:

Please Shut Up: Why self-promotion as an author doesn't work

Wait, Keep Talking: Author self-promo that actually works

To those of you on the East Coast, stay safe this weekend. To those of you elsewhere, enjoy the sunshine we'll be missing ;-).

When Do We Go to Halloweentown?

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“Autumn, the year's last, loveliest, smile.”
-William Cullen Bryant

Where in the world did the past few months go? While it was happening, it felt painstakingly slow, but now, here we are and it's the end of October! Halloween is in 3 days! What?!

I guess I've had to spread my attention out to the many different projects I've been working on. School started (the first quarter ends on Friday!) and I had to go back to work and you know, work, that silly thing I have to do to get money to buy things :-). The end of the first quarter is always busy with report cards and parent conferences. Also, Friday is dress as a Book Character Day (our way of dressing up for Halloween without actually dressing up for Halloween). My team is dressing up as characters from Peter Pan and I'm Wendy. I'm probably way more excited than I should be! I'll post a picture on Facebook so you can see ;-).

On top of that, I'm in tech rehearsal for Avenue Q, the musical that I'm choreographing for the University of Mary Washington. I've been in rehearsals almost every night for the past month and we finally open a week from tomorrow! I've learned a lot doing this show, mostly how to work with puppets and how difficult it is! I have a new appreciation for one of my favorite Christmas movies, A Muppet's Christmas Carol. Walking and talking and singing and moving your hand for the puppet mouth is a lot! I'm actually sitting and writing this in the theatre as lights and sound work through the show (shh, don't tell).

Here are some of some of the puppets we made for the show!

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On top of all of my "real jobs," I went to two different book events which were a lot of fun. I had a great day by the harbor at the Baltimore Book Festival letting people know that Perfect Men Do Exist ;-).

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The following weekend, I went to Tennessee to the Indie Romance Convention. I met a lot of really great fellow authors, even some New Adult authors like me. We had dinner and shared book recommendations and tips on advertising. I've read a few of their books and I can't wait to read more. Here are some of their books with links to their Facebook pages if you want to go check them out!

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I haven't been writing a whole lot because I've been so busy with other things, but I'll be able to start my new book soon. I have a couple of thoughts rolling around in my brain and depending on the day, a different one is winning. We'll just have to wait and see which one demands to be written first.

Get'cha Head in the Game, it's September!

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“A bee is never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower.”
-Kin Hubbard

Oh my gosh, guys, so much is going on! I've been super busy for the past few weeks and am just now getting a chance to catch up on everything. Whew! School started and I'm trying to get out of the denial-state of summer ending and get my head in the game.

The next month is going to be such a whirlwind. On September 27th, I'm going to be at the Baltimore Book Festival in the Author's Tent! I'm super excited about it! If you're in the area, stop by, I'd love to see you! I'm even more excited about this event because I found out that Jay Crownover and Jennifer L. Armentrout are going to be there also! They're in the Romance Writers tent and are going to be leading some fun and sexy panels that sound AMAZING! It should be fantastic!

Then, just a few days later, I'm going to be heading down to Tennessee to the Indie Romance Convention. It's a whole weekend celebrating readers, and bloggers, and authors which I'm excited, and a little nervous about. It should be a great opportunity to learn and meet people. It's a lot smaller than my previous signings so I will hopefully have more of a chance to talk with readers!! And discover some great books to read myself!

And as if that wasn't enough, I'm going to be publishing an Every Series novella this month as well! It is called Every Chance, and is to be read after Every Beat and follows one of our favorite characters ;-). For more information, look at the previous post which has an excerpt and look at the "Books" tab at the top of this page for a synopsis. I don't have an exact date yet, but definitely this month! So many exciting things, so little time!

Here's the 411...and a Sale!

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“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
-Robert Orben

So, last post I told you that I was working on a special project and I am finally ready to tell you more about it! Note: there are spoilers ahead for those of you that haven't read Every Beat, so please proceed at your own risk. I hate when people ruin endings to things that I want to discover on my own, so if you're like me, scroll down until you see Jimmy Fallon hold up a "Safe" sign.

SPOILER ALERT!

 

 

I have written a novella that follows...Gavin! I know we all felt for him when Sadie broke his heart, but everyone deserves a happily ever after. I felt like I owed it to him after Sadie strung him along for so long, especially because he didn't really do anything wrong. He just wasn't "the one." But don't worry, something better is coming down the road for him: -). I'm not exactly sure when it will be available as I'm still ironing out details, but I'm hoping for October. I will keep you posted.

Here's a sneak peak:

Prologue

Pain. That’s all I felt. Although the copious amount of alcohol I had consumed was making it harder to feel. Mission accomplished. Although, now, I thought as I shuffled down the sidewalk and tried not to stumble on the occasional raised brick, that may not have been the smartest idea. I had no idea where the hell I was.

I crossed a street and tried to look up at the sign, but the letters were moving around. A lot. I turned my head left and then right and decided that walking right sounded like the right thing to do. Right was the right thing to do. Ha.

I tried to laugh, but it hurt. Everything hurt.

I continued to stumble down the street when a door appeared on my left. It looked familiar, although I couldn’t figure out why, and there was no way I was going to stay standing if I lifted my head enough to read the sign.

Bells jingled as I opened the door and I cringed as the noise rattled around in my head. I managed to move forward and found a stool at the counter, propping myself up on it. There was a girl behind the counter staring at me. God only knew what she was thinking, but I didn’t care at the moment. I couldn’t really care about anything.

“Coffee, please,” I slurred.

Then I dropped my head on my arms resting on the counter. It felt good to put my head down and close my eyes. It made the spinning stop. But it didn’t make me feel better.

I heard some low murmurings, people were muttering too low for me to understand. I kept my eyes closed and focused on the beat of my heart to pull myself together. The beat of my broken heart. I was surprised it was actually still beating.

“Hey, uh…” The voice was louder than it had been. “Um, I’m really sorry, but we’re closed. You’re going to have to leave.”

Closed? It must be late. Wait, what time was it anyway?

I slowly lifted my head and pried my eyes open to look at her and really saw her for the first time. She had dark red hair that fell just below her shoulders and the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen. No, wait, they were gray. I squinted to try and decide. They were definitely gray. Those blue eyes didn’t belong to me anymore. Maybe they never had.

At that thought, I actually felt my heart break again and I struggled to focus on the girl in front of me, not the one who had just left me. Her gray eyes looked apprehensive…and sympathetic. I must look worse than I thought.

Using the counter for balance, I pushed myself up straighter and looked around.

“Where am I?” I asked.

She took a deep breath. “This is Ellie’s Bakery and Café. In Kensington, Massachusetts,” she added as an afterthought.

Ellie’s? Of all the bakeries in all the world, I had to walk into this one. This one always reminded me of her now, and the snow, and skating, and the last moments of innocence. It would never be just Ellie’s again.

“I shouldn’t be here,” I said quietly to myself. I looked back up at the hypnotizing gray eyes. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you…”

I managed to slide off the stool as its legs screeched against the wooden floor. The door clunked closed behind me as I winced and reached for the nearest lamppost to steady myself back out on the street.

I was a mess. I was worse than a mess, I was a fucking disaster. I guess when your girlfriend, your soul mate, and the love of your life are all one girl and you lose her, you become this.

 

So that's my most exciting news, but in other news, I go back to school in two weeks. I actually don't understand how summer goes by so fast. I wish March would learn how to move like that, it would be great not to spend so long in the blegh weather in a month with NO holidays, meaning no days off from school. If someone figures that out, let me know. I'm also about to start rehearsals for Avenue Q, which I'll be choreographing starting in September. I'm trying to enjoy and soak up as much down time as I can before my life gets crazy again.

I'm currently at my in-law's new house at the beach and loving being on vacation. I'm relaxing, drinking mimosas with my mother and sister-in-law, laying out in the sun, and reading a bunch. I can't usually read and write at the same time, so I'm using this brief reprieve while the novella is being edited to get some reading done. I think I'm currently on my 10th book of the summer, which I have to say I'm pretty proud of. Right now, Jay Crownover owns my soul. The Point boys are pretty great, although the Marked Men will always be my favorite:-).

If you're looking for a new end-of-summer read...Luca would love to spend some time with you, and he's only 99 cents for the next few days!!! Sounds like perfect timing to me ;-). EC Facebook Ad Sale

Happy Summer!

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“What time is it? Summertime!”
-High School Musical 2

I'm officially on summer vacation and loving it! I haven't had many days yet where I've had the opportunity to sit and read (or write) all day, but I'm hoping that's coming soon!

A lot has happened in the past month. The biggest thing is Every Choice was released! This time I had more of a chance to prepare and knew more of what to expect than I did in December with Every Beat. I've gotten some amazing reviews from even more amazing bloggers and I'm grateful that they took the time to read my stories! Go take a look here and here. A blog tour is starting on Sunday and there will be lots of opportunities to fall in love with Luca and Cassie. Go check out some of the blogs here.

I'm also super thrilled to announce that I will be at a few more author events and signings in the Virginia area in the next year. At the end of September, I'll be at the Baltimore Book Festival in the Author's Tent. Next April, I'll be at Richmond Reader's Rehab author event (where all proceeds go to benefit Honor the Sacrifice, a charity to help soldiers) and A Royal Affair in Front Royal, Virginia.

I'm working on a special project for the Indie Romance Convention I'll be attending in Lebanon, Tennessee in October, but I don't want to say too much yet. Check back soon for an update when I can finally tell you more ;-).

Speaking of that project, I'm using this post to procrastinate and I need to get back to it. Don't forget to check back soon...Mr. Ellis has been missing you :-).

It's Gonna Be a Busy Few Weeks

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“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”
-Bo Bennett

I blinked and all of a sudden it's June. June! Part of me can't believe it's here and the other part of me is so glad that it is. Summer vacation is just a few short weeks and I can't wait (15 days with students left, just in case you were wondering). So much is happening that I'm excited about!!

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First of all, I'm going to my first ever book signing next week in Dayton, hosted by Just One More Romance. I'm thrilled and honored to be along side of many other authors who share my love of stories and romance. My friend, editor, fellow writer, supporter, confidant, and fangirl, Shannon is coming with me to help me get through it and I'm super excited. She's the one who introduced me to this wonderful world of books (thank you Shannon...and Travis Maddox and Kellan Kyle) and I'm lucky enough to be able to bring her along with me.

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The following week, on JUNE 13TH, my second book, Every Choice, is being released! I am over-the-moon excited and proud of this book and I can't wait to send it out in the world. Like with everything, the more you do it, the better you can become. I can proudly say that this book is better than the first and I'm thrilled with the response so far. I can't wait for you to meet Cassie and Luca and root for them, even when they can't root for themselves. You can go check it out on Amazon or on Goodreads right now.

I've also started working on a new project (which I'm procrastinating by writing here) that I can hopefully share some details with you soon. I'm still trying to figure it all out, but let's just say some familiar characters will be coming back ;-).

In completely other random news, I've been reading, which is great because I feel like I haven't done it in forever. I have a really hard time reading and writing at the same time, so it's become a one or the other situation. Since I've mostly been editing recently, I've been able to read and have read some fantastic books. I am completely in love with All Played Out by Cora Carmack. I've read her books since the beginning, but this one was hands down my favorite. It's the third in her Rusk University series, but you can read it as a standalone and it is sexy, and steamy, and laugh-out-loud hilarious (just ask my husband who kept shooting me looks as I laughed). If you're looking for something new to read until Every Choice comes out, I highly recommend that.

I better get back to my real work, it seems like it's never ending. Happy June, everyone!

This Has Almost Nothing To Do With My New Book

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“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes when people feel sad, they try to make a list of things that make them happy in hopes that it makes them feel better, allowing them to look for the silver lining. Well, a lot of pretty great things have been going on lately, so I just started making a list of things that I love and make me happy because...well, they make me happy. I'd like to share them with you:

1. Ian McKellan-this one isn't really just about him, it's about the entire cast of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. I mean, c'mon, Emma Watson as Belle? Could that casting BE any more perfect? But, back to Ian, his tweet after their read-through was just perfection.

2. Younger- If you are not watching this show on TV Land, what are you doing with your life? Seriously. It is one of the best new shows I have seen in a long time, and that's saying something because I watch a lot of TV. It stars Hilary Duff (yay Lizzie McGuire!), Sutton Foster (yay Broadway star!), and Nico Tortorella (yay cute boy!) and is so subtly funny. To get a job, Liza (Sutton Foster) lies about her age and says she's 26 instead of 40. Kelsey (Hilary Duff) helps her navigate her new job, but it takes Liza a while to understand how just to act like a millennial (speaking in acronyms, using hashtags, debating over JTT vs. Andrew Keegan). Plus dating hot tattoo artist Josh is kinda fun. 10 pm on Tuesdays, do it!

3. Slam Poetry- Oh my gosh, I don't know why I have a sudden obsession with it (or maybe I do...blame it on Colleen Hoover), but I have found some freaking fantastic ones lately. If you're interested, try checking it out: Explaining My Depression to My MotherSomewhere in AmericaFor Teenage Girls, and what started it all-

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4. Humans of New York. If you're not following them on Facebook, you should be. The photographer walks around New York taking pictures of people every day and asks them questions about their lives. You hear love stories that are 50 years old and some that are 2 weeks old. You hear about the couple who take turns following their dreams: one is off being a dancer and the other is painting the front stoop until he can pursue acting again. You hear about the man who has been in the U.S. for five years and he went to Central Park to talk English to someone, but he ended up just sitting on a rock instead. You see the little boy who says his sister isn't old enough to have superpowers yet. You see the teenage boy who credits his high school teacher for changing his life and keeping him off the streets. It is amazing how many great, inspiring, heartbreaking stories are out there.

5. Also, T-Rex short arm jokes and reenactments of The Lion King make me laugh always. Seriously, go Pinterest it!

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For every silver lining, there is a rain cloud, so here are the things that are NOT making me happy:

1. Shonda Rhimes and Grey's Anatomy...I do NOT want to talk about it.

2. All TV shows that kill off/get rid of characters I like...I'm talking to you Vampire Diaries, Chicago PD...and that other show I am NOT talking about.

3. My house is a mess and I don't have enough time to clean!

 

Ok, I guess I should update you on my writing. So many exciting things are happening that I can hardly keep up. Every Choice is going to be released on June 13th which is SO SOON and I'm beyond excited about it! I'm in my final rounds of copy editing so it's getting close. I should have a cover reveal for you shortly ;-).

I am appearing in my first author signing on June 6th in Dayton, Ohio! It's going to be a great time and I can't wait to meet everyone. Check out this link for more details!

To end, here's a little teaser from Every Choice, out June 13th :-P:

I had just pulled my key out and was about to slide it in when his door flung open and an intense Luca charged across to me. He caged me against my door with one arm on either side of my head.

“I told you I could play the game, sweetheart. You ready to surrender?”

I narrowed my eyes at him and tried to ignore how good he smelled. “Not a fucking chance,” I said.

He pressed his body in closer, so it was just a few inches from being fully against mine and I couldn’t stop the gasp that escaped. He leaned in and I could feel his lips coming closer. Yes! This was what I had been waiting for. He hadn’t touched me yet, but my body was ready to explode when he did. 

My eyes closed of their own accord as his mouth came closer to mine. I could feel our lips barely brushing as he whispered, “Suit yourself. Game on.”

He pushed himself off and I heard him chuckle as he walked back into his apartment and closed the door.

How Did I Get Here?

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“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
-E.L. Doctorow

I am constantly amazed and humbled by what has happened in my life in the past three months or so. I had no expectations about publishing a book. How can you? How can you possibly know what expect? You know what to hope for. You hope that someone will buy your book. You hope that the person enjoys it. You hope that the person will recommend it to a friend. You hope that someone will like your status on Facebook supporting the book. You hope someone retweets your Tweet about it. But you also know that there are tens of thousands of other ebooks out there so what's to make anyone pick up your book?

I'm not going to lie, I've had some moments of complete doubt in myself. And by some, I mean a ton. But every time something happens that makes that pit form in my stomach, something wonderful happens that reaffirms my confidence, at least for the time being. I hope that the feeling goes away with time, but I'm not sure it ever does. I think when you put something out there to be judged, whether you're an actor, singer, poet, author, painter, whatever, you will always have moments where you worry that your work is complete and utter crap. It makes the kind words and good reviews and friendly support mean that much more.

Instead of focusing on those moments, I think it's important to focus on the good things. Like my friends and my husband who are insanely supportive and celebrate with me every time I hit a milestone. Like the readers who take their time to leave a review saying that they enjoyed their time with Sadie, Gavin, and Jamie. Like every single person who has liked my page on Facebook, or followed me on Twitter or Instagram.

Like the fact that over 5,000 people have taken a chance on an unknown author and purchased Every Beat.

Like the fact that I am #24 on Indie Author News's Top 50 Indie Books for March...something readers *voted* on! Check out the list!

Like the fact that I will be appearing at my first author signing in June! Check out the signing!

Like the fact that I just finished writing my second book, which is incredibly mind-blowingly fantastic.

For every moment of doubt I've had, I've had five of infinite love and support. I am so grateful, just so completely grateful that I have been able to go on this journey and that I am where I am today.

Book #2 is out in my trusted beta-reader/editors' hands and I can't wait to hear what they think and to share it with you. Cassie and Luca are getting restless, so stay tuned for another sneak peek at their story soon!

Thank You and I Don't Have a Title

"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once."
-John Archibald Wheeler

Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it feels like it's racing by and all of a sudden minutes, and days, and months have passed in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, it crawls so slowly that you are sure that a snail could travel a mile before that terrible work meeting you're in will end. And sometimes, the days seem to pass slowly, you are fully aware of every hour and what you are getting accomplished (or not accomplished), yet, all a sudden, six weeks have gone by and you have no idea how it happened. For me, it's that third one.

Every Beat was published six weeks ago today and I feel like it's been forever and like it was just yesterday. It has been a crazy six weeks, and I've loved almost every moment. I have sold over 2,100 books and it is amazing to think that there are 2,100 people out there who have met, are meeting, or will meet Sadie, Gavin, and Jamie. I am thankful for each and every person who has taken a chance on a complete unknown and decided to one-click. Thank you to the bloggers who have helped to promote and review my book so far (Exclusive excerpt and Author Q&A over at Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads http://wp.me/p3OnYR-2Na and 4.5 Star review at Red Cheek Reads http://bit.ly/1CUT3En). Thank you to each person who has added the book on Goodreads, and thank you especially to each person who has taken the time to review the book. It is extremely helpful for authors (and readers) to hear opinions to make informed decisions on how to spend their hard earned money. So thank you for your time and your words. Not every review is a positive one and that is completely okay! I know my book is not for everyone. While I don't always love when negative reviews seem like they are attacking, I do appreciate their opinions. Even with my closest reading buddies, we have differing thoughts on books sometimes, and that's just the way it works. But thank you to those of you who shared positive and kind words, and thank you to those of you who left constructive criticism that will help me grow and make the next book even better.

Speaking of the next book, I'm probably a little more than halfway done with it right now. It is exciting and crazy scary at the same time. With Every Beat, I knew the big plot ideas and how I wanted the story to end (for those of you that have read it, the tent scene and the final scene drove me). With this one, let's just call it I Don't Have a Title, things are unfolding as I go and I'm not quite sure where we are going to end up. It is terrifying and thrilling letting the characters talk and just sort of see what happens. I tried to outline the rest of the story the other night, and I had some ideas, but the characters are not being as helpful as I would like. I keep changing my mind, people's names have changed, their relationships, their jobs. I'm still trying to decide what makes for the best story...and the most drama. (We have to make Joey Potter and Brooke Davis proud.) My main character is being super stubborn and is proving to be her own worst enemy. I've made a complete mess of things which is fabulous, but now that I'm trying to get out of them out of the mess...it seems like I've dug a pretty deep hole. I guess only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

As a special treat, I'll include a small teaser from I Don't Have a Title. Keep in mind, this is pre-re-reads, pre-edits, pre-everything, so don't judge too harshly! *Warning: language and mature themes*

“Do you want to make love to me?” he growled. I titled my head and observed him for a moment. His expression gave nothing away. “You hardly seem like someone who makes love,” I replied. “You’re right. I don’t. I fuck. Hard.” I arched off the wall and my breasts brushed against his chest sending tremors through my body. “That’s what I’m offering. No strings. Just a fun night.” “Sweetheart, you aren’t capable of offering me that.” My eyes narrowed at him. They had adjusted to the minimal light but saw no humor in his expression. In fact, he was a blank slate and I didn’t like that I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. “You don’t even know me,” I said, throwing his words back at him. “I know enough. You are confident enough to use a fake trip to gain my attention. You’re a little arrogant in thinking that games could actually fool me. And you are sexy as hell, and I’d like nothing more than to peel you out of this dress and fuck you against this wall with your legs around me, screaming my name.”

The Aftermath

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"Joy is the feeling of grinning on the inside."
-Dr. Melba Colgrove

A little over two weeks ago, I pushed "publish" on Every Beat and there was no turning back, even if I wanted to. It has been a whirlwind of mostly positive feelings and excitement and shock since then. The support from my family and friends has been overwhelming. The support from my husband has been overwhelming. The support from strangers I don't even know has been overwhelming. And fantastically amazing.

I have been obsessively checking my sales on Amazon for the past two weeks simply because every time the number goes up, I am a little in shock. People I DON'T KNOW are buying my book?? Oh my God. Complete strangers all over the country, in different countries, are buying my book?? That's crazy and insane and unbelievable and fantastic. They are hopefully falling in love, choosing sides, gasping, crying, biting their nails, and hopefully, hopefully, smiling. I so desperately want to talk about this story but it is so hard to mention anything without giving something away, so that's all I can say. But PM me on Facebook and I'll talk your ear off ;-).

There are almost 40,000 Kindle books on Amazon. That is more than one can read in an entire lifetime and I am so grateful and humbled and absolutely thrilled that almost 500 people have decided that my little book is one they would like to jump into for a time. That is crazy! I've watched my book become the number one item that shows up when you search for "Every Beat" instead of fifth. I've watched my ranking on Amazon drop until I was in the top 3,000 books on Amazon. 3,000 out of 40,000?? In two weeks?? I am stunned and amazed and thankful.

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So, if you are reading this and have read Every Beat, thank you for taking a chance on me. If you are reading this and haven't read it, what are you waiting for?

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I'm a Published Author...What?!

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"The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story."
-Ursula K. Le Guin
Oh my God, guys, what just happened?!? About eight months after completing the book, and after months and months of edits, I finally figured out which buttons to push to format the manuscript correctly and I clicked "PUBLISH." It said it would take up to 12 hours...but less than 2 hours later I got a text:

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I never thought it would happen so quickly, and I never expected to feel like I do. I've been talking about publishing for months. Even when I was writing, I knew that was the end goal. What I didn't expect was this feeling, this feeling of falling and flying at the same time.

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The only thing I can compare it to is when you are standing in the wings about to enter the stage for a performance. You are a jumble of jitters: excited, nervous, ecstatic, and scared all at the same time. That's how I feel. I can't believe I have a giant piece of myself out there for the world to enjoy, out there for the world to judge. It is terrifying. But the best kind of terrifying. I mean, what if they hate it? What if they rip it to shreds? What if they say it's the worst thing they've ever read? I would like to say I've prepared myself for it. I know everyone won't love it. And I'd like to think that I'm okay with that. But even so, you still kind of hope that it doesn't happen.

I am thankful that I was able to get out of the house today and couldn't sit by my computer refreshing the page to look and see if people had bought my book every ten seconds. I think I would have gone mad. Every Facebook post or new Twitter follower I've had today has made me want to jump for joy and has kept this ridiculous smile on my face for the last twelve hours.

I know I probably should have expected it, but the outpouring of love and support I have received from friends and co-workers today has blown my mind. If I didn't already think I had the world's greatest friends, then I definitely do now. I could never have guessed that they would have jumped at the opportunity to tell me "congratulations" or to say "I bought your book." It is so overwhelming and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are amazing.

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I could go on and on forever thanking those of you who have showed faith in me today, so I'll leave you with one last thought.

I remember writing stories in elementary school...none of which got very far because what eight-year-old has enough discipline to write a book, but I remember them vividly. In high school, I entertained my friends with a teen drama based on us full of all the teen angst you could hope for. When I joined Facebook nine years ago, I wrote that it was a dream to publish a novel one day, never really thinking that it could actually happen.

But today it did. Today I was able to achieve something I have wanted to do for practically my entire life. And it is amazing.

It feels like I'm falling and flying all at the same time.

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Content Edit = Complete!

"It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly."
-C. J. Cherryh

We are closing in on the finish line! I finished my last content edit (where I change or fix actual plot points, word choice, etc.) this afternoon! I'm very excited, I've been working on this for months!

That means that all I have left to do is a final copy edit (where I fix all the silly typos and grammatical errors) before I publish! I've set a goal to have it published by Christmas and it looks like I'll be able to make the deadline.

Editing is a long process and I have several friends that were gracious enough to offer up their time and services to help me. I know it was a lot of work, but I appreciate everything they did...it has definitely helped strengthen my characters and my story.

I am also appreciating that I can listen to Christmas music as I blog because I have to work in quiet to edit and it's helping get me in the holiday spirit. I hope you are getting there, too! And Every Beat should be available just in time to gift to your fellow readers for the holidays:-).

A First Look

"A bee is never as busy as it seems; it just that it can't buzz any slower."
-Kin Hubbard

I feel like my schedule, or maybe just life in general, ebbs and flows with how busy a person is. It is too busy sometimes and not busy enough other times. I can go for weeks with no real plans besides work where I have plenty of time, but then there are weeks where everything seems to happen and there is no time. And it doesn't matter how hard I try not to let it happen...it's like it's inevitable. white Now, I'm back in the "ebb" part of the cycle and finally have time to get back on track. I'm back to working on edits for Every Beat. I am in the middle of the first round of copy edits which means the end is near! I am checking for all those typos that tend to drive me crazy when I read books in an effort not to annoy the wonderful, amazing readers who for some reason decide to buy my book. I will keep you posted when I have a definite release day which should hopefully be in the next month or so!

I'm now up on Goodreads and my wonderful husband made a button for it to go on this page to match the others so everything you need is all in one place. I am incredibly thankful that he knows how to work everything because there's no way I would've been able to do it alone.

417027_10150734457702028_1843042659_nLast, but not least, I did promise a teaser, just a little piece from the beginning of the book that hopefully makes you want to read more ;-).  

   As I started to move along with the music, I felt all the tension release from my body. Dancing had always been my escape, the place I went where no one else could touch me. I was safe, I couldn’t be hurt, not by my mother or boys or…anyone. I was invincible.      I closed my eyes and let the music take me over. I could feel it pumping through my body as if it had become part of my blood. It was crowded, hot, and sticky and I was relishing in it. I put my hands over my head and I could hear Henley giggling next to me. I smiled and, not wanting to witness Jude’s promise to get “handsy,” kept my eyes shut.      I continued dancing, my body pulsing to the rhythm. Henley’s giggles seemed to be getting further away, but I couldn’t make myself care. A bead of sweat slid down my neck when suddenly, I felt a strong body come behind me. It wasn’t unusual for me to dance with a guy, and as long as he had rhythm and kept his hands to himself, it was okay by me.      I could tell he was tall, maybe a little over six feet. His hips moved easily with mine, my back fit perfectly against his chest, which I could tell was made of hard muscle. We continued gently rocking to the music when I felt one of his hands come around to my stomach and hold me flush against him. My eyes flew open, but not because that was usually a move I didn’t allow with an unknown dance partner. It was because I got this rush of heat that ripped through my body like a fire through kindling. My heart beat faster and the spot between my thighs pulsed.      I wanted to turn around, to see this man that elicited such a response from my body unwillingly. “Don’t.”      My body tensed. It was difficult to breathe, to think. It was like I was suffocating, but couldn’t get enough at the same time. His head was titled down to mine, his mouth grazing my ear in a slow, seductive way. “Don’t turn around. Because if you do, you’ll use your eyes to tell you how you feel. If you don’t, you’ll let your body tell you how you feel. You’re safe, I promise.”      Holy fuck. If I had been in a more stable, non-inebriated state of mind, that might have freaked me out. That’s like, something serial killers say. But in that moment, I couldn’t move even if I had wanted to. For some unknown reason, I did feel safe in his arms. I was sure he could feel my heart beating double time, pounding in my chest. The slow fire that had started low in my core was now rushing through my body. I had never felt more alive.      I leaned my head back against his chest as my body burned. He pulled me closer, if that was even possible. We relaxed into each other and just felt the music. His intoxicating scent that I could only describe as man, hot, sweaty, sexy man, engulfed me and everything else faded away.      In what seemed like hours and mere seconds at the same time, my mystery man started to pull away. I felt his hot breath by my ear, his mouth again almost caressing it, and a shiver ran down my spine. I didn’t even know how a shiver was possible in the heat of the club.      In his deep, masculine voice, I heard “Thank you for the dance, pretty girl. You have truly made my evening.”

The Beginning

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"From small beginnings come great things."
-Proverb

 

Hello everyone! Before I do anything else, I'd like to thank you for visiting my website and taking the time to read my blog! If you feel like I do, there are never enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do, so thank you for spending a part of your day here.

FlynnI am here because <drum roll, please> I have finished writing my first book! Those of you who have written your own, or write at all, know that a lot of hard work goes into it but it feels so good when you finish! To be honest, writing has always been something that I have loved to do. From a young age, stories captured my imagination and they are part of the reason I majored in theatre in college...because I wanted to be a part of and tell people stories. I remember writing stories as a child and in high school, I added writing and publishing a novel to my bucket list. It seemed like a far away dream that would be difficult to reach, but thanks to new technologies and the ever-growing indie publishing scene, that dream is now a reality!Every Beat Cover Art

My first book, Every Beat, will be published soon! (Synopsis) I finished writing it earlier this year and some wonderful, trustworthy, amazing friends of mine have helped me edit it (so hopefully I can avoid those pesky typos that are distracting). I am currently finishing the editing process and it will be available as soon as I am done!

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Check back soon for a Goodreads link and a teaser;-).

I'm happy to meet you all and as Humphrey Bogart said:

Casablanca