about the dates



Back in my wedding photography days, dates were super important. Just about everything I did revolved around the date of a couple’s wedding and those dates still stick in my head sometimes. I often booked weddings more than a year in advance and committed to that special date above all else. My schedule – my life, really – was all about those dates.

So when I was writing Goodbye, Magnolia, it was a no-brainer that the chapters would follow along with Maggie’s wedding photography schedule. And I stuck with the dates for the non-wedding chapters as well to keep things consistent. What was going on in Maggie’s life on this date? Oh, right … meetings. What happened to her on this date? Oh yeah, this was the day Simon showed up and blindsided her with his “brilliant” business proposal. And really, that’s sort of how I looked at my life at that time, too. Based on my work schedule. Based on the dates. Meetings and engagement sessions and weddings and tons and tons of photo editing.

Going with the dates rather than Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. may not be the norm, but it felt like the right choice. For the other two Cornerstone books, I actually used the dates as chapters during the writing process, too, so I could keep the timeline straight in my mind. But Hello, Forever wasn’t focused on Maggie’s wedding photography and in Until Then, Michelle isn’t a photographer, so it didn’t really make sense for those books.

Goodbye, Magnolia got spruced up a little recently with new fonts in the chapter titles (shown above). I’m loving the new look.

Hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes.
Happy reading!

The Bible in a Year

It’s a new year. I always love the fresh start feeling of a new year with all its goals and plans and resolutions. I’m not really one to make resolutions, but one thing that I am determined to do this year is read the Bible. The whole thing. I attempted this using the She Reads Truth app a couple years ago and let life distract me about four months in, so I never finished. And honestly, I think I was just doing it to be able to click “mark as read” on each days’ chapters. I didn’t dwell on what I was reading, didn’t really try to learn something from it. Some days I did, but not every time. Not on days when my brain was elsewhere, thinking about things I had to do or wanted to do.

My prayer is that I will approach each days reading with an eagerness to understand and learn more about who God is and who I am because of what He has done and continues to do for me.

If you would like to join in, download the She Reads Truth app on your phone. The Bible in a Year plan is free. Or follow along on their website HERE.

I also found their 30-day study of the book of Genesis on their site and am going to read that this month to go along with my daily reading as well. Click the image to read Day 1 of Genesis.
01genesis
Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

christmas2016
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!

halloweens past


We’ve walked Green Street in our little town every Halloween for the past decade. Sadly, we won’t be going this year. Mostly because the schedule didn’t work out this time. I think if it had, Chloe would have dragged her brother out there again this year. ;) I get a little nostalgic thinking about all those years of trick-or-treating. The pretty fall colors. Some years warm, some years freezing and pouring down rain. How when we first started going, we had to keep hold of our kids’ hands and cautiously dodge the traffic when crossing the street, and how over the past few years, wonderful volunteers, along with the police department, have blocked off the street to make it safer for the kids to wander around. We’ve loved going every year. It’s been a wonderful tradition.

So in honor of that tradition, I thought I would share these pictures of the kids in their costumes over the past 8 seasons.

• Boba Fett & Dorothy

• Supergirl & Link from Legend of Zelda (my mom MADE this costume!!! favorite!)

• Harry Potter & our little angel/devil

• Coraline & Steve from Minecraft

• Monster High character & a ninja

• Dr. from one of Zach’s video games & our Native American princess

• CARL (from The Walking Dead)

• Alice in Wonderland w/Carl

• A baby and a knight

Are your kids dressing up this year for trick-or-treat or a costume party? What will they be?

a fun fall contest

Hey all! Coming to you at 10:10 a.m. on 10/10 to share this little surprise with you. In celebration of my favorite season, I have partnered with over 40 amazing inspirational contemporary romance authors to offer a fun contest. You could win Goodbye, Magnolia and 40+ other books by authors such as Susan May Warren and Melissa Tagg (love their books!) and so many more. Plus you could win a Kindle Fire, too! What? Cool, right?

The contest starts today – Monday October 10th – and ends on Monday October 17th. Waste no time. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

budding photographer


Earlier this month, we went camping as a family for the first time since 2007. The last time we went, the kids were little (Zach was 6 and Chloe was 4). Not sure why we never went again. We took other vacations instead over the years. But in June, I asked the kids to make a list of some things they would like to do this summer. Two of the things on Zach’s list were to go camping and to go to the U.P. again. I asked what he thought about combining the two and camping in the U.P. He was OK with that idea and so the planning began. We decided to ask Jake’s Mom and stepdad if they would like to join us and it was a really great time together.

I will share more pictures of the trip later, but I found these two today while looking through the ones that Chloe took. I gave her my backup camera from when I used to photograph weddings, showed her a couple of settings she could play around with, and told her to have at it. She was so excited to be using the big camera, and I love seeing all the things she pointed her lens at. A lot of little detail shots – just like her mama. And she’s got such a good eye.

I love these two pictures taken on our first night of camping at Muskallonge Lake State Park north of Newberry in the Upper Peninsula. It’s a favorite campground that Jen and I discovered a few years ago, and ever since then, I’ve wanted to take my family there. So glad I was finally able to. The lake is so pretty, sometimes so still that it reflects like a mirror, sometimes with these pretty ripples like the night these were taken. And the sunsets there are always so beautiful.

Here’s our little photographer. I took the one on the left of her that night while we were photographing the sunset. The other is one she took of herself when we were visiting Fayette, the old ghost town near Manistique.

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.

AJAXed with AWP