This isn't a love story. It's a story about love.
This story of love starts with a failed life plan and a sick father. That's how Helen Whicker finds herself back in her hometown of Portstown, Illinois, living with her parents and working as an obit writer for the town paper. Throw in a car accident and a neurotic sister-in-law, and Helen's life is pretty much a disaster.
Benson McCormick is just what she needs to turn things around. He's funny, uses foul language even more than she does, and he can't seem to get enough of Helen. But they live in different cities, and they both have family drama and relationship baggage.
Helen's gotten used to life on her own, but as she faces her worst fears, she wonders if she's really been living at all. The more she gets to know Benson, the more she believes that falling in love is the sweetest possible surrender. She just has to decide if she's strong enough to survive the fall.
So it's been a very long time since my last post. That's because I've been super busy writing. I'm working on the sequel to CASTLE (which is LONG overdue) but should hopefully be ready to go soon. I'm also writing my second contemporary fiction novel. And I've got a whole lot of other projects up my sleeve. Once these two works-in-progress are complete, I've got a sequel of sorts planned for Searching for Glory. I'm really excited about it; I just need to find the time to write it! Hopefully I'll have updates soon.
You may remember that I mentioned starting a new job back in August. I blame that job for my lack of posting. I've been crazy busy, but still loving the job. Unfortunately, with the increased travel component and some big releases, I haven't had as much free time as I would like for writing.
Good news though- my job gives me a winter break, which started yesterday. So with 11 days off, I hope to make some excellent progress on my current work in progress, the follow up to CASTLE. I also managed to get the final details wrapped up on the third and last installment in The Shadows Trilogy- The Warriors. It was a lot of fun to write, and very cathartic to be able to wrap up the stories and give the characters some closure. It's up and available on Amazon if you'd like to check it out.
What else is new... I had a recent trip to DC and NYC and finally got to see both the White House and the big tree in Rockefeller Plaza. I did the Christmas thing with my family yesterday and today, and now I have a lot of movies and books to catch up on these next few days. We got the first snow of the season (and I'm not particularly happy about it). We had a holiday office party that included not one, but two after-parties.
I'm still hanging out with the fam, watching the new Total Recall movie. So I'll include a much longer post later this week but just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays.
Yes, I admit it- I am obsessed with zombies. And I have been for a while now. This can mostly be blamed on The Walking Dead (which incidentally will be on very soon as this is a Sunday night.)
I was in Florida last weekend for a wedding. Prior to going, I made sure everyone knew how I would like to die should I become a zombie. (Also, when I went to Mexico a few months ago I made my dad memorize that line from Taken about "a particular set of skills" in case I got kidnapped. I'm weird.) Do people still remember how that guy on bath salts tried to eat that other guy's face? And then they found out he wasn't really on bath salts but just pot. Anyway, that happened in Florida. I'm still convinced this is the first sign of the coming zombie apocalypse.
I made it back to Chicago without being infected with the zombie virus or a zombie encounter of any kind. Frankly, it's a little disappointing. I've been looking to try out some of my survival
While this post is mostly just an excuse for me to ramble, it does have some ties to my writing. I am still working on the final book in my Shadows Trilogy, but concurrently I have been developing an outline for another series about apocalyptic survival. Mostly because it's just so much fun to write. I will keep you updated but for now I'm off to watch some Walking Dead.
It's October. When did that happen? I swear it was just May and I was hyperventilating about turning 30. I love autumn, don't get me wrong. But I HATE winters in Chicago. And Winter is coming, my friends. Winter is coming.
So let's talk a little about what I've been up to lately. My new job (2 months in) has been going well. I passed my first certification (of many), and even got to hit the road. I was in Philly and New York last week. I've been to NYC a couple of times and always love it. I almost moved there after college for law school but chose Chicago instead and I have to say I don't regret that decision. I love visiting New York, but I don't think I could ever live there. Namely because it's too expensive. But I'm also a midwestern girl at heart.
I had never been to Philadelphia and I must admit, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It almost felt like a small New York to me. I woke up early before my business meetings to stop by the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Swung by Ben Franklin's resting place and Betsy Ross' house. For a huge history nerd like me, this was not an inconsequential trip.
So why am I telling you all of this? A couple of reasons actually. One, it explains why I haven't gotten a lot of writing and blogging done in the past couple of weeks. But also because it has really made me reflect on the last decade and a half of my life.
When I was fifteen, I was living in a small town in the middle of the midwest. Life was pretty simple and bland. I was relatively smart, and that meant I was often bored in school. I couldn't wait for college and life beyond because I was certain I was destined for greatness. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to live in a big city, have a fancy job as a lawyer, go on business trips. Basically, I wanted the exact opposite life that I was living.
Fast forward fifteen years later- I live in a cool apartment in Chicago. I spent five years working as a lawyer, and now I'm still in the legal industry. I work for a hip, trend-setting company and take business trips to amazing cities. I've travelled to a bunch of different countries and seen a lot of America in the process. And now, I'm also a (self)published writer. It's a pretty cool thing to see your dreams come true, even if they don't turn out exactly how you see them in your head.
And one final dream is coming true later today- I'm going to see Taken 2. Loved the first movie and pumped about the second one. I'll let you know my thoughts on it later.
Oh- writing update. Working on the final book in the Shadows Trilogy. Should finish it up this month. And I'm also working on something a little different that I'm still feeling out so I'll update you about that later.
It's time for a disclaimer- I hate winter. I hate being cold. I live in Chicago, so this is problematic. I love summer. I love the sun and hanging out at the beach. But my absolute favorite time of year is September and October. Autumn, fall- whatever you want to call it.
So when I got the email saying that pumpkin drinks are back at Caribou I was equal parts excited and sad. Happy that it's pumpkin time, but sad about the fact that winter is just around the corner.
In other news, it's almost time for fall TV to start up again. I don't watch a ton of live television. DVR and Netflix are my best friends. But the first week or two of new episodes is still a little exciting. Especially for the brand new shows that start up and either amaze us, or end up getting cancelled in six episodes.
In writing news, I just finished up my rewrite of my contemporary adult novel, Searching for Glory, and now it's time for editing. I should hopefully be publishing it soon, so I'll keep you updated. In the meantime, I've got a gazillion writing projects going at once so I'll give you sneak peak:
The Warriors- Book Three in the Shadows Trilogy should be released in early October.
FORTRESS- Book Two in the CASTLE Trilogy will be released in either late October or early November.
The Guardian- A Shadows Novella will be out in November.
The Sweet Surrender- My second contemporary adult novel will be out in December.
It should be noted that I'm using adult only to signify that they are not young adult novels. Try not to read anything into that ;)
So that's where I'm at for now. More updates will follow.
I can't believe it has been a month since my last post. I try to blog at least once per week, but obviously I failed at that recently. I have a good excuse though! It's been an insanely busy summer for me, so let's do a bit of a recap.
Turned 30 and went to Los Angeles for my first ever game at Dodger Stadium. They beat the Giants with no problem. Also got to see Magic Johnson. Go Blue!!!
Published my first book on Amazon, The Shadows. I believe I had two sales in May (the book was available for about 10 days I think), and I was thrilled.
Saw two of my dearest friends get married in Mexico. It was amazing, and I was so excited to be a part of it. I was in the wedding, too, so it was even more special. We were there for six days and everything was so perfect none of us wanted to leave. Amazing.
Published my second book, CASTLE, on Amazon. Did some free promos and gave away a lot of books. Also sold about 40 books total for the month of June and was so happy that people were actually willing to pay to read my books. Also got my first reviewer feedback and was so happy it was positive.
Moved. I upgraded to a two bedroom in the city and I love my new place. There was a lot of stress around getting everything set up for the move, but once it was done I immediately fell in love with my new place. My mom came up to help me move which was great for two reasons. 1- I got to see my mom and 2- I came down with a terrible cold the day before the move and was practically useless. Mom to the rescue!
Published my first novella, SHANE. Sold between 40-50 book total in July. Received my first reader fan mail and almost cried. Received some reviews on Goodreads that were both good, and not so good. Still amazed that anyone is actually reading my books.
AUGUST (So far):
Became obsessed with the Olympics. This happens every two years because I'm equally impressed by both summer and winter Olympics. Also became convinced that I could've been an Olympian if I wasn't so lazy.
Quit my old job as a lawyer and started a new job, still in the legal industry. Spent two months interviewing and was blessed to be offered the job. Saying goodbye to my old colleagues was hard, but I'm so excited to learn so much in my new job. I've been there a week and so far I love it.
Published third book- the second book in the Shadows trilogy, The Rebels. Hopefully it is as well-received by readers as the first book. Nothing worse than a crappy follow-up to a book you liked. I also got my first two reviews on Amazon (one 4 star and one 5 star. Thanks!!!!), and did a free giveaway on LibraryThing.
Along the way, I also attended bachelorette parties in both Illinois and Wisconsin. Celebrated a half dozen birthdays of friends (almost all of which were 30th birthdays). Said farewell to a friend that moved to DC. Made new friends. Had some scary health moments for family members that turned out okay. Saw the Cubs beat the Cards at Wrigley. Had a root canal and a bunch of other dental work done. And basically had one of the most amazing summers of my life.
So yeah, that's why I haven't blogged as much as I would like. Most days I can't believe how blessed I am. So I thought this recap would be a good way for me to list all the great things that have happened to me recently and remind me to count my blessings.
I have had quite a bit of dental work done the past couple of weeks, including a root canal (ouch) so I've been splurging on milkshakes and ice cream almost non stop. It doesn't hurt that it has been 100 degrees in Chicago lately.
I'm also in the midst of packing up my entire apartment to make a move eight blocks north. While I'm excited about the new place, I'm not excited about moving all my stuff. However, as I have been cleaning things out and packing up boxes, I've been formulating some ideas for a giveaway blitz.
I will be releasing the second book in the Shadows Trilogy, The Rebels, in August and I'm going to be doing 5 days of promotion leading up to the release. Blog readers and fans will have a chance to win copies of my books, both paperback and kindle version, and some other fun stuff. So be on the lookout for that the first week or so of August.
I will also be creating a nice long blog about my experiences as an indie writer. Part of the process is keeping track of what works and what doesn't, so I'll be including some details of my successes an failures over the past couple of months. While I've been writing for a few years, I only recently took the plunge and put my stuff up on Amazon and I'm quickly learning that simply loading your book doesn't guarantee you fans and sales. There's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into selling your books online and I'm just beginning to wrap my brain around it all.
So if you have read one of my books and enjoyed it, please tell your friends. And family. And pets. And neighbors. Tell everyone that will listen. I will be eternally grateful.
The fourth of July is such a great holiday. Warm weather, food, family and friends, and fireworks. But it's also a day to remember that we wouldn't be who we are today without sacrifice. This is true in the history of America and in our own personal histories. Sometimes you have to be willing to do things you don't want to do to achieve something great or important.
So I encourage people to think about the sacrifices they have made in their own lives and the sacrifices others have made for them. I also encourage you to eat something that was cooked on a grill and have a cold beer or two.
Oh and also, if you haven't picked it up yet, my first book The Shadows is free on Amazon today as my own little birthday gift. Enjoy!
Has anyone else been watching the Olympic Trials? I'm a huge sports fan in general and the Olympics in particular. I think my favorite part is how everywhere you go during the Olympics, everyone is cheering for the same team. That rarely ever happens in sports.
Another reason I haven't blogged in a while is that I had one of those crazy weeks where I barely had any free time. I had to get a root canal a couple of days ago and had a lot of work stuff going on. But the crazy part was how even after working insane hours and sitting in a dentist's chair for two hours, when I came home I still couldn't wait to start writing.
So, you may be asking, what do the two distinct thoughts above have in common. I'll tell you. The title of this post is For Love or Money and it's something I've been pondering the last few weeks. I don't love my job, but I make good money and it could certainly be worse. However I do love to write, but I barely make any money at it. Olympians all over the world dedicate years to becoming the best at their sport but only a few dozen will become famous at any Olympics. Most of the others will never make any real money doing what they love.
So is there a way to make money doing what you love? Or is it better to take the job that will pay you and just keep doing what you love in your free time? If you start to get paid for what you love, do you stop loving it because it becomes just another job?
Okay enough of the deep thinking. I recently published my first novella, a follow-up to the the first book in the Castle trilogy. It's actually a prequel, but makes more sense if you read it after CASTLE. It hopefully answers a few of the questions people had while they were reading CASTLE about the characters' back stories. I had a blast writing it.