Category Archives: writing

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cover reveal | 18 Hours to Us

The title and cover for this novel came pretty quickly to me after I started writing it in early June, and so many times this summer I was itching to share. This past weekend, my newsletter subscribers got the first look. So now I’m revealing it to the world. No release date set in stone for this one yet. I’m hoping by the time the leaves fall and the first snow hits the ground that it will be in your hands (or on your Kindles). ;)

If you’re on Goodreads, the book is listed there and you can hop on over and add it to your “to read” list.

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?

When Natalie Rhodes left her house early that fateful morning to catch the bus to her senior class trip, she never expected to end up in a car with Colton Daynes–the guy she’s had a crush on since first grade, the guy who has no idea who she is. But when Colton’s irresponsible driving causes them both to miss the bus, the unlikely pair set off on a road trip from Michigan to Virginia Beach to catch up with their classmates.

From the tiny village of Middleville, the popular football star and the quiet gymnast will navigate back roads and highways, travel from lake towns to waterfalls to mountaintops and beyond, all the while fielding texts from Colton’s friends and mean girl, Lexi, who also happens to be Colton’s girlfriend.

Hours spent together on the road will lead them to places they’ve never been, discovering hidden talents, revealing secrets and fears. And they just might realize they have more in common than they know.

:)

don’t worry!

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Something I’ve been dealing with the past week or two has been letting go of things I cannot control, which has always been a challenge for me. When I wrote Goodbye, Magnolia, I put a lot of myself into the character of Maggie, one of those characteristics being that she just can’t seem to let go and trust that God has a plan, that He sees the big picture when we can’t. It’s something I’m constantly re-learning in my life, something I fail at often. Because even though I know that God’s in control and truly believe it in my heart, I’m still human and I make mistakes and I’m not too proud to admit that. Every time I go through times like this, my mind returns to the verse that says “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Nope! But I still do it.

My husband’s car broke down last week. I worry about it getting fixed so I don’t have to drive him back and forth to work.

Dad’s got a heart catheterization coming up to make sure his heart is all good and can handle liver transplant surgery. I worry about that, for sure.

My daughter is currently without a gym as we chose to leave the gymnastics team she competed with last season. I worry about finding a new gym for her for this year.

I’ve got a sale coming up on my 3-book set at the end of the week. I worry about promoting it well, whether it will be a successful sale, and if I will make the money back that I paid to advertise it.

These are only a few of the things weighing on my mind these past weeks, and everything kind of came to a head this weekend, leaving me feeling quite overwhelmed.

But when I step back and look at each of these things individually, I know they will all work out. One thing at a time. Jake will get his car fixed. Dad’s heart doctor will tell us if he finds anything troubling and it will get fixed. We will find a gym for Chloe. And even if only one person buys the book set during the sale, then that person was probably the only one that was meant to read it and that’s OK. ;)
So, I’m learning and growing (hopefully), and I’m praying that next time I feel the worry coming on, I’ll say, “Nope! Don’t need to worry about that. God’s brought you through a lot worse than this.”

I’m sure I’m not the only worrier out there, so here is the passage I mentioned in case you need to be reminded of this today, too:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.”
Matthew 6:25-27

Have a blessed week!

the Cornerstone series

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May has always been my month for releasing my books. In May 2014, my first novel, The Truth About Drew, came out. The following year it was Goodbye, Magnolia, and then last May I released Until Then. So when this May rolled around, it left me feeling a little sad that I didn’t have a new release for you. I am writing my next novel right now, but it might not come out until next May. I’d love to get it to you before that, but I’d be OK with another May release. And it takes place in the summer, so it’s going to be a nice beach read.

For quite a while now, I’ve been wanting to put all of the books in my Cornerstone series into a boxed set eBook. I loved the idea of having them all in one eBook so readers could gobble them all up at one time. ;)

One major change I made when putting this eBook together was to move the epilogue of Goodbye, Magnolia to the very end of the series. At the end of that book, we jump forward in time nearly a year and you see where Maggie and Simon end up. The second book, Hello, Forever, which is the sequel novella, then jumps back to the same night Goodbye, Magnolia ends and continues on for a couple months into the early days of Maggie & Simon’s relationship. The final book, Until Then, tells Michelle’s story, but also goes back even further for a glimpse at their college days and continues on through the days following Hello, Forever. So the epilogue from Magnolia really belongs at the very end of all of the books and that’s exactly where I put it. It felt right to have it end that way. It made sense to me, because my brain likes things to be chronological in order.

And since I hadn’t originally planned to write a series, making this big 3-book boxed set allowed me to put everything in its proper order. Yes, I am a little bit picky when it comes to my books.

Is this the end of the series?

I don’t think so.

I still have plans to write Emma’s story at some point. And there are some other side characters whose stories I would like to tell eventually. But for now, these three books tell a complete story and I’m fine with that. Other books that may come in the future will probably stand on their own, so you won’t have to have read the other books to read them. But I’m sure Maggie, Michelle, and Simon will make an appearance in those, because I love my characters and already miss writing about them.

The CORNERSTONE SERIES can be purchased HERE or read for FREE on KINDLE UNLIMITED.

floating my way to a new book

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I really wish I could bottle up the feeling I had when we returned from Florida and give myself a daily dose. My entire body felt relaxed, more so than it has in a very long time. I realized that I had no aches and pains really, that I felt pretty darn good.

But now that we’ve been home for a couple days, I can feel the tightness in my right shoulder returning. I don’t know why my stress always focuses in on that spot. My neck and upper back are a little stiff. And all I want right now is to hop in the pool, float around on a pool noodle, and soak up the warmth of the sun. :)

It had been nearly three years since our last vacation and we needed it. Badly.

Before we left, I felt stalled as far as my writing goes. I’ve been editing the YA book for a while now, but I’ve longed to write something new, whether it was the next book in the Cornerstone Series (Emma’s story) or a new book idea I had been thinking about and researching for a while. But I just could not do it. Maybe it was the heavy reality we’ve been faced with this year with my Dad’s need for a liver transplant. All I know is I couldn’t really write.

I took the laptop along on vacation thinking maybe I would sit down and get something started, but I didn’t touch it. The only thing I typed was a recap of the things we did each day so I wouldn’t forget. ;)

But something happened while I floated around in that pool. My mind wandered through the beginnings of the new story. I had all these ideas and thoughts and conversations between the characters filling my mind. And I just let it all play out while I relaxed. It was just what I needed — to step away from our everyday life, away from bills and schedules and gymnastics practices and going to the gym, and let my mind take a break. And it opened up that little creative part of my brain again and let the ideas flow.

Yesterday, we were back to our regularly scheduled program (aka gymnastics practice) and I sat there with my coffee and wrote 3,000+ words of the new book. I love it so much already, and I’ve got that giddy feeling about writing that I haven’t had in a while.

Also, floating around in that pool, listening to all the snowbirds chatting about their lives (we stayed with Jake’s parents in an RV resort for retired folks), gave me lots of ideas for future characters in my books.

Merry Christmas!

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As I sat down to write this to you, I took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. That’s how I feel about 2016. It’s been a year of change for our family. In so many ways. There were happy moments and sad ones, too. Busy times and times of rest. Cherished traditions and new experiences. Endings and beginnings. New job. Drivers ed. Middle school drama. It’s been interesting and tough at times, but we’ve seen God work through it all.

This year really stretched me as far as my writing goes, too. I released two books – one in May, the other in November. I’ve been a one-book-a-year girl until now, so writing, editing, formatting, releasing, and marketing two books required me to push myself more than I ever have before. I came out of all that a little stressed but happy to have two more books in my series, stories that I absolutely loved writing and felt God wanted me to tell.

Until Then, the second book in my Cornerstone series, is Michelle’s story of finding love after a rough upbringing while also searching for God’s purpose for her life, and Hello, Forever is a novella that takes place just after the events of Goodbye, Magnolia and gives more of Maggie & Simon’s love story. You can start reading the series for FREE with the first book, Goodbye, Magnolia today.

I hope 2016 has treated you well. I don’t know where you’re at this Christmas, how you’re feeling, if you’re surrounded by loved ones or on your own, but just know that you are thought about and prayed for. From my heart, I wish you so much happiness and peace this holiday.

Thank you for being a part of my writing journey.
Merry Christmas!

wonderful chaos

drewad
“Being a part of the Gilbert family Thanksgiving, complete with several guests of the Bed and Breakfast, was absolutely joyful. There were so many different conversations going on all at once, it was hard to keep track. Claire soaked it all in. Thanksgiving at her grandparents’ house was always a little more subdued. Her family had a good time together, but this was a completely different experience, a wonderful chaos that made her feel warm and happy.”

THE TRUTH ABOUT DREW is on SALE for just 99¢ thru Monday.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KDLTMQY/

I hope your time with family this holiday season is filled with good conversation, laughter, wonderful chaos, and so much love. Hold those you love close, savor your time with them. Don’t let the days go by without letting those you love know it!

Hello, Forever is HERE!


Well, after eight months of writing the first draft, editing, and putting the finishing touches on this baby, HELLO, FOREVER is finally ready and releasing into the world today. I’m so excited to share it with you, and I hope you will find it to be a sweet addition to Maggie and Simon’s story.

HELLO, FOREVER is available on the following sites:

eBooks
Kindle
Apple iBooks
B&N Nook
Kobo

Paperback
Createspace
** the paperback will be available on Amazon (should be later today or tomorrow), but for now it can still be ordered direct from my Createspace storefront.

What’s it about?
Maggie James spent years all-consumed by her wedding photography business, hiding out from love after a painful breakup. When fellow photographer and consummate rogue Simon Walker came into her life, she held him at arms length to protect her fragile heart from being broken again. But after discovering how he selflessly helped her business in a very big way and admitting her mistaken assumptions about him, she is finally ready to give him a chance. Will fear keep her from truly opening her heart to him? Or will secrets tear them apart?

From small town Michigan to the sunny shores of Malibu, California, Maggie and Simon must navigate their budding relationship, survive family drama, and come face to face with the past to see if their faith and ever growing love are enough to get them to forever.

NOTE:
This novella is the sequel to GOODBYE, MAGNOLIA, so I highly recommend reading that one first. ;)

Happy reading!

Hello, Forever has a release date!

preorder
So excited to announce that Hello, Forever has a release date of November 15th and is now available to pre-order for your Kindle for the special release price of just $1.99. HERE is the link or click the image above to order your copy and it will be automatically delivered to your Kindle on release day. :)

My little family spent a week camping in the upper peninsula of Michigan last week, so I’m getting back to work this week editing the book before I send it off to a few people to read. Then it will be more editing, editing, editing then formatting, formatting, formatting for the next two months leading up to the release. I love this part really. It’s where the story really fills in and comes together.

Plus, this one is all about Maggie and Simon and their relationship. We get to know Simon and where he comes from and why he is the way he is. We get to see them together while they deal with family, exes, etc. It’s a sweet little story with such a happy ending moment that it makes me grin just thinking about it. Can’t wait for you to read it.

camping 2016


Just returned from a weekend away with my dear friend, Jen. We traveled to the thumb of Michigan this year (our 12th year of doing a camping trip together), which is a place neither of us had ever been. It was lovely there. Really pretty. The campground at Port Crescent was nice. The small towns we visited (Port Austin and Caseville) were both so quaint with that wonderful old town feeling – cute shops, farm markets, etc. It was a wonderful trip and it flew by too quickly.

Before I left for this getaway, I had been feeling very antsy, kind of stuck when it came to my writing, spending too much time online and not enough time getting progress made on editing the novella. This weekend was exactly what I needed to recharge and reset my brain. A little fresh air is so good for that.

There was one point when Jen was out swimming and jumping some big 2-3 ft waves that I just stayed on the shore wading in the waves. Wading is one of my favorite things to do – just listening to the sounds of the water, the smell of fresh air, the beauty of the lake, while the water splashes over my feet and ankles again and again. My mind started wandering to Simon and Maggie in Hello, Forever when they travel to California to visit Simon’s parents. There is a scene where he is teaching her to surf and I just stood there in the cool lake water thinking about those scenes, about the sheer power of the ocean and the waves. I ended up pulling my phone out of my back pocket and typing up some lines I had for the book while I stood in the lake just hoping a wave didn’t knock me off balance and make me drop my phone in the water. ;) It didn’t! hehe!

Getting away from the usual routine and even just taking a little time for yourself is so healthy and restorative, and I’m thankful that Jake doesn’t mind me doing this every year. I’m blessed to have such a supportive husband.

While I was glad to get away for the weekend, I’m so looking forward to another camping trip later this summer with Jake and the kids, Mom + Dad O, and possibly more family. It’s been far too long since we took the kids camping and I’m excited to show them a few of my favorite campgrounds that Jen and I have visited over the years.

Drew is FREE!

The Truth About Drew, my first published novel, came out in 2014. It’s a sweet story of 14 yr. old Claire, who has a quirky best friend, Drew. He’s different than her other friends. He talks differently, speaking only in quotes and clichés and Bible verses. He disappears all the time. Sometimes she turns around and he’s gone. It isn’t until she’s a freshman in high school that it really starts to bother her. Her friends and family have never met him, yet he’s always been there. So she becomes determined to find out who he really is or if she’s going a little crazy, wondering if he’s real. It’s a wonderful story of friendship, family, first love, and Claire’s journey to faith, as well as her finding out who Drew really is.

Today (July 9th) is the first time The Truth About Drew has ever been FREE on Amazon. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll pick up a copy today.

THEN check out the two books in my Cornerstone series, which are only $2.99 each. :)

AJAXed with AWP