I consider myself an optimist who can find joy in any situation so it is not entirely out of character to say that this past year has been one of the best. Each year brings different challenges, joys, problems, and triumphs and at any point in time the current year is my favorite. But 2019 brought my husband and I are wonderful, smiley, talkative son and so I think 2019 will remain my favorite for quite some time.
Some personal highlights of 2019:
-we bought our first house and while we love it, we had NO idea how much work it is
-we both love our day jobs and are approaching our third and fourth years there
-we handled pregnancy during a move, the Phoenix heat, and got through a pretty traumatic birth
-we welcomed our son!
-I survived maternity leave and going back to work full-time. It is difficult being a working mom and trying to find any time for myself and it's a struggle still--but I'm giving myself time to adapt to the new role and hope for the best.
-we hosted Christmas for the first time ever
Some author highlights of 2019:
-I finished writing three books despite the pregnancy/no sleep/baby thing
-My final book from my Cleat Chasers Series went through edits and is releasing January 2020 (this was hard because edits were due right around my due date!)
-I got a new contract with City Owl Press! INTERNSHIP WITH THE DEVIL is a personal favorite story of mine because it is a slowwww burn romance. I love writing the first kiss scene and it takes these characters a while so there is SO much tension. This book also was a therapeutic way to cope with losing my grandma and feeling helpless at my mom's sadness. The main character talks about how roses remind her of her mom and that is a based off my own mom--she LOVES roses and has this rose smelling lotion that will make me think of her every time I smell it.
-My young adult romance got a like during #pitmad and it ended with a contract! (The best happy ending for a twitter contest) OUR LAST CHANCE is coming out in 2020 with an awesome publisher with lots of energy and it is different than my other books because it is young adult, high school characters and doesn't have a lot of steam. It features two student athletes desperate for scholarships and fun fact: the coach's name in the story is a tribute to one of my coaches who made softball a wonderful sport for me.
-My books are available in paperback for the first time and there is NOTHING like the feeling of holding your own works that you created. Nothing. (Except maybe my son...) I got to mail out copies to readers and had a stupid smile on my face while at the UPS store. I got an odd look but I didn't care.
2020 and Beyond:
-Writing looks different now for me but I'm hoping to finish a couple of manuscripts and get them out into the world!
-I'm hoping to continue writing relationships with some awesome writers. Writing a book is never a single person journey so I am thankful.
-What I'm working on:
-the second book in Out of the Park Series feature Michelle and her mystery guy
-copy edits for my two 2020 releases
-the second book in my enemies-to-lovers series with City Owl Press. It is my favorite trope to write and I'm already planning how to make these two characters love to hate each other.
I wish you all the best for 2020. Happy New Year!
There a million reasons to be grateful but it's crazy how that list changes once you have a kid. Yes, I'm still grateful for Netflix and breweries, but now...it's hard to not think about how grateful and blessed I am when it comes to my kiddo. So, I wanted to compile a list of all the things I am thankful for so I can revisit it when I've had 3 hours of sleep total and crave an 8 hour a night sleep more than oxygen.
I'm incredibly grateful for:
-snuggles with my baby boy (so. many. snuggles.)
-that I could take 12 weeks off work to spend time with my little dude
-every smile our guy gives us because it erases the memory of how little sleep I get
-the brief, fleeting sleeps I get from time to time
-the delicious cold beer I can have on occasion
-the 300 mg of caffeine I'm allowed
-my husband, who has been the best teammate in life and parenthood
-our fur babies who took three sniffs of our son and decided he was in the wolf pack
-our family members--who traveled all across the US to come see our little guy and bring us food and take care of us
-our friends, who decided to do a two week meal train for us because they knew how hard being a new parent could be
-the doctors who saw our dude and were so kind and patient
-all the romance books out there because they allow the perfect escape for a couple of hours
I'm even grateful for the final adorable picture I got of this onesie, before our dog decided he wanted to eat it because it had some spilled milk on it. #RIPtomyfavoriteonesie
I am thrilled that I am a mother now. My husband and I have been dating/married for over ten years and we got out all the "crazies" that we wanted before starting a family and we were SO ready. We found out on Christmas Eve of 2018 that we were pregnant, while visiting my parents across the country, and it was the best holiday gift we ever could've asked for. The thought of having a kid always seemed so far away but it happened fast and we almost burst with excitement.
Nothing could prepare me on how to be a mom. It is hard. The hardest thing I've ever done. I've lived most of my life worrying about myself, my doggos, and my husband. I would go to my day job (that I love) and come home to write every night. At the prime of my writing time, I could write the first draft of a book within a month--and continue having a social life and keeping our place clean. My husband and I are fortunate enough that we have our own hobbies that keep us sane outside of work. His is baseball everything (he does work for an MLB team for his day job, too) and mine is writing. We would spend weekends visiting breweries where I could plot a new story and he would share interesting and facts about baseball that I never needed to know.
Like, did you know a "dying quail" is a baseball term?
Defined as: a batted ball that drops in front of the outfielders for a hit, often unexpectedly. Also known as a blooper, a li'l looper, a chinker, a bleeder, or a gork.
I know what that means and can use it correctly in a sentence. Again, it's interesting, but I never really needed to know that. To spare you, I won't provide anymore interesting facts.😀
But those days are long gone sipping IPAs and cold brew all day. Now, my day goes by in cyclical blur of changing diapers, feeding my adorable baby, cleaning bottles, cuddling, rocking, singing, and somehow finding time to shower and eat. I lost a lot of my creative thoughts once I reached about 30 weeks pregnant and that means in almost five months, I think I've written maybe 4,000 words. This is hard for me to accept because on those beer-drinking weekends, I was writing 10K.
Before having my son, I was a dedicated worker to my day job, a good wife, and a writer. Now, my identity is "mom" and mom alone. There are hard moments where my kid won't stop crying and I've been home alone for 10 hours with him and I have food in my hair and the dogs are barking, but the good moments outweigh the bad by a million. I mean, look at these pictures of my kid?
He's so happy and wonderful, but during those middle of the night feedings where he won't go back to sleep and I'm left with my thoughts, I can't help by wonder if I'll ever be able to write again. Will I get an hour once a week to dive into some old WIP? The stories I started months ago... will I ever finish them? It's difficult to accept my routine from before no longer works. It's taken six weeks for me to accept that and by no means am I complaining, more just curious how my "new" routine will look. Maybe, I finish one draft a year. Maybe not.
For those out there who are mommas, writers, workers, wives, etc. Any advice on how to balance it all? What worked well for you? What didn't?
I'm still trying to figure it all out but for now, I'm enjoying my unlimited cuddles with my lil guy because I know my maternity leave is going to fly by.
With the latest release of the third book, Best Player, and the upcoming release in January 2020 of the final book in the Cleat Chasers Series, I wanted to do a mood board for each story. First--I LOVE creating photo collages for stories. It is such a fun and easy way to showcase the mood of the story with a few key plots. Secondly-- showing how I envision the characters in my mind is always a challenge and I spend way too much time searching for the perfect photos. But here we are. Photo board for each story.
Book 1 | Challenge Accepted
-Cinnamon roll hero who adores his mom and sister
-Sassy, tomboy heroine who fights for what she wants
-Found family on college campus
-Lots of baseball lingo
-Slow burn friends-to-lovers romance
The recipes all used in this story are ones my father taught me and are my go-to's!
Book 2 | The Game Changer
-BFFs who fake date to save reputation
-Constant nickname battles
-Angsty & dramatic with LOUD characters
-Steamy and lots of chemistry
There is a scene where Greta, our heroine, almost misses an observation for one of her classes which is based off a real event from my college life. I did miss the observation and had to sprint across campus... I didn't have a "hunky" bff-fake boyfriend to bring me coffee and drive me.
*my now husband did attend a different college than I did, so no shade at him. : )
Book 3 | Best Player
-Roommates for the summer
-Falling for brother's best friend trope
-Secret fling with lots of kissing
-To do lists and coffee dates
-A feel good, low angst sports romance
The film class that both Kenzie and Tanner have to take is based off a VERY real film class that I took during summer classes. The films we watched were featured in this story and if you haven't heard or seen Delicatessen... that movie scared me for my life.
Book 4 | No Easy Catch
-Party girl and jock teaming up
-Investigators with benefits
-Steamy as hell
-Uncovering a campus scandal and totally "not" dating
-Second chances are a real thing
My Alma Mater, The University of Illinois, is where the entire series takes place in my mind. I envisioned real places when writing this but created fictional names and changed just enough details for it to not be recognizable.
Releasing January 2020!
As I recently received a contract for my eighth book to be coming out in 2020, I wanted to do something fun with the stories I already have out and pair them up with the perfect companion drink. It's summer, hot as hell in Phoenix, and I'm eight months pregnant so this gives me the perfect time to live vicariously through the pictures of delicious cocktails.
(I've been rocking the "mock-tail" Arnold Palmer all summer)
Let Life Happen: Sam Adams Boston Lager
Take a Chance On Me: Peach Sangria
Challenge Accepted: Old Style
The Game Changer: Vodka Sprite with a Lime
Evening the Score: Old-Fashioned
Whiskey Surprises: Jameson
Best Player: Blue Moon
Romance Bookfair: Summer Edition
Discover a new author today with free and Kindle Unlimited Books. Get all the romance feels this summer by clicking here!
Rooming with your best friend for three months is no big deal…right?Kate Zell and Brody Carlson have been best friends since elementary school. Their relationship had always been easy. Both of them loyal to a fault, they had been there for each other through everything: heartbreaks, hangovers, and tragedy. So when Kate needs a place to stay for three months, Brody doesn’t think twice about agreeing. After all, they had known each other forever. What could go wrong living with his closest and oldest friend?
Apparently, everything. Three months in a small apartment becomes more than complicated. Brody shouldn’t be attracted to his dorky best friend…he most definitely shouldn’t. That would be absurd. She’s a relationship girl and he’s more a one-night-sans-clothes kind of guy.
One drunken dare of strip poker changes everything. Suddenly, two people with too much to lose play a dangerous game. The unapologetic playboy and the girl-next-door have a choice to make, if only their pasts didn’t keep getting in the way of their future.
Get it for free now on Amazon!
Challenge Accepted: Cleat Chasers Book 1
Most college girls ‘swipe right’ to meet the right guy—Callie meets All-Star pitcher Zade while he’s buying tampons. College is all about learning, right? Opposites attract in this sports romance.
The Game Changer: Cleat Chasers Book 2
Pretending to date your best friend is always a good idea…right? Wrong.
Coming soon...Cleat Chasers Book 3: Best Player