News, Publishing, Shifting Isles

And With No Fanfare Whatsoever…

I released a book two weeks ago, and barely posted a damned thing about it.

It certainly wasn’t for lack of satisfaction with the book. I’m much happier than I initially thought I would be with the story, considering how much I struggled with the plot line (shades of Broken all over again). Although, I didn’t really consider just how content I was with the story until I gave it that final proof copy read-through right before releasing it. There was this constant sense of “it’s technically done” until that final reading, and then I was hit with a sense of “I actually really enjoyed reading that.”

A little backwards from the usual, but whatever works, I suppose.

Overall, I think I’m just … tired.

Too much life change going on at once, and I think it just became more overwhelming than I realized. For an introverted Highly Sensitive Person, change is never a good thing, even when it’s voluntarily chosen. Selling my house and moving was monumental enough. Starting hormone therapy and watching / feeling my body change was a whole other level of stress, even though desired. Hiring someone and training her to take over my day job so I could eventually do the full-time writer gig….I think that just pushed me beyond my limit.

It’s all I can do to drum up the energy to go in to work each day, let alone train her. It’s all I can do to simply adult lately. I forget to pay my bills (which NEVER happens). I forget to do my chores. I put off anything and everything to do with writing, editing, brainstorming, marketing.

Because I just don’t want to.

I’m not giving up on writing. Not even close. It’s definitely still my life-long passion, and I’ve still got (at last count) at least 20 more books to put out, to add to the 12 I have out now. I think I simply overdid things, and might need to take another step back.

Which just kills me, considering the nine-month long dry spell I suffered last year, which set my whole writing schedule back in the first place. Betrayal should have been out last year, not to mention two more that follow it, but now they’ll (hopefully) be coming out this year instead. I just need to ease myself through this depressive funk I’m in and get my head back in the game.

As for Betrayal, though…

This is the first book in the Shifting Isles series that is written entirely in one character’s perspective, rather than switching between the two (or three) MCs. In this book, we get Sam’s story, when he goes off to Ceynes to be personal mage to the emperor there after the resolution of the Westfield virus scandal in The Five-Hour Wife. In Betrayal, we follow Sam as he tries to navigate his new post while also juggling a very unexpected new attraction that just might help him get over his long-unrequited love of his best friend, not to mention trying to make sense of the prophecy that brought him to Ceynes in the first place.

One thing I love about this story is the constant mix of places and technology. Sam goes from Agoran (which is more technologically advanced than our own real world) to Ceynes, which is something like medieval England. There’s even a little sprinkling of Jadu’n, the magical Isle where the magi live, as well as Erostil, the tropical Isle where the Erosti Guildmates (essentially, glorified prostitutes) are trained. One minute, Sam’s in a world with electricity and mobile phones, and the next, he’s in a place where the height of technology is candles and horse-drawn carriages.

And the Westfield virus scandal may not be quite as resolved as Sam thought…

There will be magic. And winged horses. And danger. And secrets. And lots of flirting between Sam and a certain silver-haired mage, which is just about the only thing that keeps Sam sane while he tries to deal with a cocky boy king who sits on the throne of Ceynes.

And there will be betrayal.

Betrayal (Shifting Isles, Book 6) now available on CreateSpace and Amazon.com (in both Print and Kindle formats).

I Novel, JA Wood, News, Publishing, Shifting Isles

Back on the Box

Wow, what a crazy few months. Back in October, my entire foundation felt pulled out from under me. Deciding to sell my house with the intention of banking the proceeds so I could afford to try the full-time writer gig was a HUGE change, but apparently that’s how I do things. I trudge along, tolerating, tolerating, tolerating — whatever the problem may be — then finally snap and make a big decision, and never look back.

The process of selling the house, moving, and getting settled in at my new place took longer than I’d hoped, but it’s finally done. And I’ve found a sense of home again, something I was afraid would be always lacking. My entire mental well-being was so wrapped up in my house that I wasn’t sure I’d ever find that sense of stability and comfort ever again, but now that I’m unpacked, settled in, and have a new routine, my foundation is once again stable. I’m home. I have a new writing space, and I love it. It’s perfect.

And, next week, my day job replacement starts training. Which means I’m not far from being able to finally leave the place I’ve worked for almost 17 years (half my life!), and try to write full-time. It’s a scary prospect, but I have to try it. It’s either that or continue in a dead-end, unchallenging job that leaves me feeling like I merely exist rather than live. I want to live.

Now that all the pieces are falling into place, I’m finally writing again. Betrayal (Shifting Isles, Book 6) was supposed to have been out last June, but after releasing the Matchmakers Trilogy, I just seemed to lose all motivation to write. Life, eh?

But Betrayal is now finished, and just getting a last few touch-ups with the red pen before I slog through the tedious process of formatting and setup, getting the files ready for publication. It’ll be so worth it, though. I miss that feeling of having a new proof copy in my hands. I can’t wait.

(Aaaaaand I even got back on my box jumps. Not well, and not every time — I still have to build myself up to them — but they’re not insurmountable anymore.)

As for what’s in store for the rest of the year? All going well, I’m hoping to get back to my previous schedule and also have books 7, 8, and 9 in the Shifting Isles series released throughout the year. If I have time for it, I may even throw in another m/m romance trilogy that the Muse has been teasing me with for several months now. And that’s not even counting the remaining 5 books in the Shifting Isles series after Book 9, and the standalone that takes place before the events in the series, and the other series that takes place before the standalone, and another side series I’m toying with, and…

Yeah. Straitjacket. I need one.

So many books to write, so little time…

News

Moving, Like a Novel

Everything I own now exists in a 10’x10′ storage space, and I’m seriously freaking out.

When I first set things in motion to become a full-time writer (see this post from September 22nd of this year), I had no idea what a rollercoaster of a ride I was in for. Selling a house is a whole lot of hurry-up-and-wait, so much more than I was prepared to handle. The constant rush to get each step done, then the anxious waiting by the phone to find out when the next step finally gets to happen (when they say ‘waiting by the phone for a guy to call’, I’m pretty sure this isn’t what they meant, but that’s all I’ve been doing lately).

All things considered, this has been a relatively easy process (especially when I compare it to the three-times-delayed escrow when I bought the house, not to mention some of the horror stories you hear about people trying to buy or sell homes), but it still did a number on my emotions and my mental well-being. I broke down and lost it a few times. I can’t even think about writing. I actually even forgot I had my endocrinology consultation coming up so I can finally start hormone therapy — and considering how impatient I’ve been this year for that to finally happen…yeah, I guess there just wasn’t enough room in my brain.

But, as I said, in general, things have gone smoothly. Got an offer on the house within a week of listing it, no repairs requested, buyer’s financing already in order. Check, check, check, done. Right now, there remain just three days until close of escrow (*knock on wood*), and I’m waiting for that next step.

I can’t wait to find a place, get moved in, settled back down, and move on with my life. This whole process of moving has felt…

Well, a lot like writing a book.

I started out with this overall plan [idea for a story], and try to figure out the best way to go about it. I’m excited, but when I try to start packing [writing], the sheer amount of work ahead of me seems so bloody overwhelming. I have to pack up an entire house [write 100,000 words]?!?! Am I insane? There’s no way. It’s too much.

So I procrastinated, and hemmed and hawed, and delayed, not wanting to even grab that first box [write that first chapter], because it just seemed like so much work.

But, eventually, I got started, and packed up one whole room [wrote a whole chapter], and started feeling good about the whole thing. Yeah, I can do this. Just one book, cup, plate, blanket [chapter] at a time.

Then I get distracted, as boxes pile up around me [disconnected scenes stack up in a Word file], and can’t focus on what I’m packing because I’m thinking about how much else there is to do [how many more scenes there are to write], what I need to leave out for daily use [a scene I want to edit], and all the while wonder if I’ll be able to get everything actually packed up and moved out [be able to get a whole story written cohesively].

Ultimately, more procrastination happened, mostly in the form of reading when I should have been packing [reading when I should have been writing…gee, yeah, that never happens], and the mental weight of all the work left to be done, all the stuff yet to be packed [all the scenes yet to be written] was just too much, until I finally got up and got started. And once I got started packing [writing scenes], I couldn’t stop until it was all pretty much done, all the main stuff packed [all the important scenes written], and all that remained were those last few things you just don’t know how to pack, or those last few things that you find yourself stuffing into whatever box they’ll fit in [writing those last few minor scenes that tie the important ones together].

Then…finally…it’s done. The house is packed [the book is written], and everything is moved out, so all that remains is cleaning [editing].

Ugh. Cleaning [editing]. Not my favorite thing. That’s my chore for tonight (or, tomorrow night, if I’m feeling like procrastinating again, especially after working my ass off all weekend to get everything moved into storage). And after all this, once I’m moved into a place and finally get to leave my job and write full time, I think I might actually look forward to editing, for a change, even though it’s the most tedious part of the job.

Because it’ll mean I’m writing full-time. And that right there is the dream.

But there are still a few steps to go. House to clean [editing], escrow to close [uploading that final text], an apartment to find [designing a book cover], moving in [getting that final proof copy], settling down [proofing the final version and having it all be real], and moving on with my life [clicking Approve and having a book go up for sale]. So much to do, and my life feels like it’s been pulled apart and turned upside down, but it’ll all be worth it.

I’ll be a full-time writer. Holy shit. I can’t wait!

News, Publishing

Box Jumps Make Me Cry

I swear this does relate to writing. No, really. I promise. Just stick with me here.

box-jumps<–You see this? This, right here, has become a tool of torture. The CrossFit box. Evil, evil, horrid thing. This assemblage of wood has become the bane of my existence, and a metaphor for my entire life right now.

When I first joined the local CrossFit gym back in February (CFPR Family ftw!), I was watching all these amazing athletes jumping up onto boxes, utterly fascinated and envious that they could do such a thing. At the time, I was a total exercise newbie and lacked the strength, coordination, and confidence to try this whole jumping-up-onto-a-box thing, and was firmly stuck in Step-Up Land. Then, one day, I finally managed a box jump. Just a 12″ tall box, but I was stoked. I’d done it. I’d done a box jump.

After that, I LOVED box jumps. They were fun. Exciting. I could do them! Soon, I was adding weight plates on top of that little 12″ box, doing a little bit higher jump, and then a little bit higher. One day, I was going to finally Rx that thing, I could feel it.

Then, it all came crashing down. Almost literally. We were doing burpee box jumps, and partway through the workout, I got so tired that I kept slipping every time I tried to jump. After that, my confidence tanked, and I couldn’t fathom ever getting 15″ off the ground again.

Why? I’d done this. Lots of times. I knew I could do it. But suddenly I couldn’t. I got so pissed off at myself that I punched the wall and almost quit the workout. As it was, my workout time was pathetic because I kept having to walk it off between jumps, just to get my head back in the game.

A few days later, I was determined to get back on the horse, and stayed late after a workout to try the dreaded box jumps again. I jumped and jumped and jumped, and ultimately managed to work my way up to 18″. I was stoked! Only problem was, there was no time pressure. So once there was, once box jumps came up again in a scheduled workout, I froze. I couldn’t do it again. I stared at that damned box and just. Couldn’t. Jump.

Now, any time box jumps show up on a posted workout, I freak. I try to psych myself up for it, and it doesn’t work. I even tried modifying back down to a 12″ box, and couldn’t even do that. 12″! That’s barely a hop off the ground. But my head kept telling me it was impossible. So I keep giving up and walking out.

It doesn’t help that my mental state is not brilliant right now, and my attitude toward box jumps is pretty much my attitude to my whole life at the moment.

In the process of selling my house so that I can afford to leave my day job and try to be a full-time writer, the excitement is tapering off and the reality is setting in. I’m actually going to have to leave my house. Logically, I knew that, but now it’s becoming real, instead of just a plan. I’m going to have to leave this home that I made for myself, and try to find that same sense of home and sanctuary elsewhere.

This house got me through the roughest time of my life. It was my escape from the world, my sanctuary, the place I could run away to when things got to be too much. It was the thing I needed while I was dealing with my parents divorcing, getting used to having a stepmother, and of course going through all the mental trauma of having been raped. Tied to the latter, it was also the place where I started writing. It was in that second bedroom, on my little, rickety student desk, that I opened up my laptop and started writing out the most vivid of my rape memories just to get it out of my head. That one scene turned into a novel, which turned into three novels, which turned into…

Well, now it’s spun entirely out of control, and I have more novel ideas in my head than I know what to do with, and it gave me something I’m passionate about and want to do with my life — something I was sorely lacking all through my school days.

And I’m giving up this house just so I can leave my job (that is how badly I hate my work).

But now that it’s real, now that it’s actually happening, now that my house is in escrow and I have the next few weeks to find an apartment and pack up and move and try to get used to a new space, I feel stuck.

I’ve done box jumps, but now I feel like I can’t do them.

I’ve done apartment living, but now it feels impossible.

I’ve done moving, but now it seems like too much to handle.

And I’ve done writing. Lots and lots of writing. But, right now, I can’t write a thing. At all. It just won’t come. And there are days when I feel like I might never write again.

I know that’s not true. Reason tells me that once I’m moved and settled in, I’ll get into a routine and a new comfort zone, and once the day job is behind me, I’ll have a clear head with which to write. I know that there’s just so much else going on right now that my brain doesn’t have much room for writing. I know all that. But I still have this dreaded sense that I’ll never write again.

Just like I have this dreaded sense that I won’t find home again.

Just like I have this sense I’ll never do a box jump again.

News, Publishing

Going Galt (Sort Of)

Well, it only took me ten years, but I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally started the ball rolling that will get me away from my day job so that I can be…

Yep. A FULL TIME WRITER.

Oh my gods. Holy shit. This is officially the scariest thing I’ve ever done, you just don’t even know. But will it be worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely.

See, I’m one of those people who is so comfortable in the familiar that it becomes a ball and chain, stopping me from going after what I really want because it would mean saying goodbye to safety and familiarity and embracing risk. That’s why I’ve been at my day job for over 16 years now, and spent the past 10 years trying to find the balls to leave, but wound up chickening out each time I tried.

At first, before I had writing, I couldn’t make myself leave because it would mean trying to get another job. That’s something I’ve never had to do. How pathetic is that? Both jobs I’ve ever had were handed to me. The first was a case of: “Hey, you’re 17 now, time for some life experience. Go work part-time for the family business.” Aaaaaand 16 years later, I’m still here. The other job was simply: “Hey, you’re a good, reliable worker. Come work for us.” That job only lasted a year, and I was still at my other job the whole time, as well, but it didn’t teach me anything about how to get a job.

Thirty-three years old and I have no idea how to apply for a job, how to interview, how to submit a resume. I’ve just never had to do it.

But once I had writing to give me the sort of life fulfillment that my day job never did, I kept thinking it would be wonderful to get to the point that I was selling enough books every year to cover my expenses so I could afford to leave my job. I’m nowhere near that, and may never be, so I thought I was stuck here. Forever.

Not that it’s a bad job, per se. It’s a familiar place, with good people, and the conditions are nice, but…

Oh, but.

I’m a major introvert, and have a high sensitivity to sensory input, so working 10 hours straight, 6 days a week, in an environment where there is lots of noise and people’s voices and phones ringing and so much busyness that it’s often hard to get a bathroom or lunch break…

Let’s just say: major brain overload.

After dealing with that all day — and especially now, when the general public think it’s acceptable to treat customer service people like slaves — I’d get home and just do NOTHING because I was completely out of batteries. I’d lock the door, close the curtains, shut off my phone, and pretend the world didn’t exist for a couple hours.

It wasn’t enough.

It’s finally gotten to the point that I’m having a hard time being pleasant to customers. I caught myself almost mouthing off to one, which was so not cool. I finally hit the breaking point that made me realize I simply can’t do this job anymore. Besides that, I want my father to be my father and not my boss. I feel like I’ve lost my father in a way because he’s my boss for so many hours during the week that I have no energy left on the weekend to interact with him, let alone the rest of my family.

And when I really started thinking about it, I realized: if I were to die tomorrow, I’d feel like my life was a waste.

Going along, day after day, in a job I hate, and only staying because it’s safe and familiar…what kind of life is that?

So, after a whole lot of brainstorming, I figured out how to finally afford to leave my day job. It may be temporary, and I may completely fail, but I have to try. There’s no two ways about it. I have to try, just to say I tried. I have to at least attempt to pursue my dream of a writing career, and not having to be at the office every day will certainly go a long way to helping that.

Not having to get up at 5 every morning? Not having to sit at a desk all day and be bombarded with ringing phones and chatty people? Not having to miss meals and skip bathroom breaks because the phones won’t stop ringing and people insist on me dropping everything to research a repair estimate for them right this minute? Not having to go home each night exhausted to the point that I have no social life and never get to have free time to do anything other than chores on the weekends?

WHERE. DO. I. SIGN. UP.

So, *knock on wood*, plans are in place. Between selling my house and training a replacement for my job, I’ve got my work cut out for me over the next few (?) months, which means I’m getting no writing done in the meantime, but once it’s all said and done? Once I’ve got a financial buffer under me and no office hours to keep?

Writing all day? Being able to have a life? Being technically unemployed yet able to call myself (for a little while, at least) a full-time writer? HELL. YES.

Hat-Tips, Links, and Shout-Outs, News, Publishing, Shifting Isles

What Matters Most

So, a funny thing happened on the way to this post. I was all geared up to go into some serious ranting. So much ranting. All the ranting. I had a whole list of people who needed to be eviscerated in print and I was ready to rip into them.

From the guy who got pissed at me because I couldn’t tell him why another business across town wasn’t answering their phones (Seriously? Am I fucking omniscient?) to the SJW morons who don’t know a thing about economics (Hello? Supply and Demand is called a law for a reason, and do you know what happens when you mess with natural laws? That’s right. Bad stuff.), from the woman who let her children run rampant around my office while I was trying to answer the phones and couldn’t hear a damned thing (Discipline, anyone?) to images.duckduckgo.comthe people who get pissed at me for not wanting to work late or on the weekend even after I’ve told them I’ve already been stuck in the office over 60 hours this week and I’m exhausted and can no longer think straight (Apparently I’m supposed to be a robot just because I work in customer service?), from the guy who threw a fit because we charged him for a service he agreed to, signed for, and we performed while he proceeded to tell us we were thieves and must be raking in the dough (What part of “We actually lose money on this service” did he honestly not understand?) to the guy at the parts store who had no fucking clue how to do his job and I wound up doing it for him over the phone (Seriously, what are they teaching kids these days? Nothing?), from the people who assume I’m a Democrat just because I’m trans to the people who assume I’m a Republican just because I shootback gadsend flagpractically run a small business in a conservative town (Actually, if you want to know, I’m neither. I’m anarcho-capitalist, the best of both worlds. I’m more economically conservative than the conservatives and more socially liberal than the liberals.), from…

Well, you get the idea.

Lots of people. So many people. I had a whole list of people who were two second away from getting punched in the dick. Possibly even myself (even though I don’t have one…yet) because all the noise and stupidity of the day had gone well beyond the limits of my high sensitivity (yes, apparently, it’s a thing – complete mental overload, and boy have I got it) and I was quickly turning into an asshole. Hence, the desire to punch dicks.

So violent, right? Like, so much violence. All the violence. There was going to be blood. So much blood. All the blood.

Alright, so maybe I’ve been reading a bit too much TJ Klune lately…

Anyway, moving along.

So I was in a fully misanthropic state of mind, ready to go on a rage-blind rant, because my life, when I got a phone call.

Let me back up a bit, first.

A few months ago, the outside sales rep for one of our suppliers came in for one of his usual visits. He brought along a representative from one of their manufacturers. This representative (read: Completely Stereotypical Salesman) proceeded to give his little presentation, all the while spewing obligatory compliments and flashing cheesy grins like any Completely Stereotypical Salesman would do. Since I have a little ad propped up on the counter for my first book, BookCoverImageThe Prisoner, he of course had to filter into his sales pitch some gushing remarks about how wonderful it was that I was a writer and self-published and how proud I ought to be of myself. I’ve had lots of salesmen behave exactly like this when they come into the shop, and it always falls flat. No matter how much they gush, it’s obvious they don’t mean a word of it. So I did the polite smile-and-nod thing like I always do in this situation, just knowing he was spewing bullshit (shows what I know), and the conversation went on.

At the end, just as he’s about to walk out the door, he turns back and pulls out his wallet, saying he wants to support a budding author and buy my book.

Now, I was pretty sure he wasn’t actually going to read it, but…hells, a sale is a sale, so I sold him a book and he left.

Then, yesterday, completely out of the blue, I get a phone call.

You probably don’t remember me, but I was in there with Larry…bought your book…finally got a chance to read it…”

I was just starting to get a vague memory of who the guy was when he completely bowled me over.

I just…wow. This book … It’s absolutely amazing. Like, I couldn’t put it down. I just totally got all the relationships between the characters and the tragedy of the guy feeling like he failed his son and how the woman died and it all just worked and…”

Jaw, meet floor.

Please tell me there’s another book out because I have to have more.”

Jaw now permanently married to floor.

The phone call left me giddy and grinning and, quite frankly, a little bit stunned.

And it made me realize a few things.

One, I did exactly what I accuse so many other people of doing: categorizing a person into a particular box just because of a particular trait. I should have known better, and I was wrong.

Two, all that ranting stuff, in the long run, doesn’t really matter. Yeah, stupidity and ignorance and rudeness pisses me off, but life is too damned short to be angry. Why let myself get sucked into those moments when I’ve got moments like this to revel in? Why let myself get mired in despair over the fact that this country is never going to be free and people as a whole are never going to understand how things work (though I keep trying to educate them even when I know better), when I could be enjoying what life I have while I have it? Why dwell on all the negative when I’ve got so much beauty in my life because of fiction?

Three, it made me remember just how great a story The Prisoner is. Not trying to be an egomaniac when I say that, but just reflecting the reactions to it that I’ve gotten over the past year since its release. The response to it, though small so far, has been overwhelming in its intensity. People who read the story call me at work to tell me how much the book meant to them, how great the story was, how much they want more. And it reminds me just how much I loved that story, how much I enjoyed writing it, how many emotions it invoked as I wrote it. The Prisoner is a great story, and I’d forgotten that.

I think I’ve pushed myself so intently on always getting to the next step, the next book, that I’ve lost track of the depth of feeling I originally experienced when I started the series. I got that back somewhat with the Matchmakers trilogy, even if those books did get me completely off-track, but when I try to think of continuing the Shifting Isles series, I get bored, to be honest. I’d lost my love of the series because I’d lost track of the beauty of the stories that I first clung to when the series started.

MatchmakersThat probably has a lot to do with why I got so far off my writing schedule when the idea for Matchmakers came along. The stories in Matchmakers just called to me in a way that the main Shifting Isles series no longer was, because I’d lost touch with the feeling that The Prisoner gave me, the feeling that carried me through to S.P.I.R.I.T. Division (S.I. Book 2) and Return to Tanas (S.I. Book 3), but started to slip away with Broken (S.I. Book 4) and The Five-Hour Wife (S.I. Book 5).

Clearly, I need to dive back into The Prisoner, reconnect with it, and get that feeling back. No wonder I didn’t feel as excited about books 4 and 5 as I did with the first three, nor as excited as I felt about Matchmakers (hells, those three novels went from Idea to Published in just about five months, so if that doesn’t scream passion and excitement, I don’t know what does). Outside of Matchmakers, I lost track of the emotion, the story, the experience. I need to reacquaint myself with those stories and those characters, or the next books are going to suffer, and neither I nor my readers will be happy.

So the next book, Betrayal (Shifting Isles, Book 6) will probably be even later coming out than planned, even though I’ve already pushed back the release date, but I’m not going to rush it. I’m going to dive back into the world, and instead of rushed and forced, it’s going to be good. It’s going to get to people the way The Prisoner does.

Because The Prisoner is a great fucking story. And I need to remember that.

Hat-Tips, Links, and Shout-Outs, News, Publishing, Shifting Isles

The Five-Hour Wife — Now available!

B05 - The Five-Hour WifeI’m sitting here, trying to think of what to say, and all I can seem to get my brain to focus on is how many tabs I have open on my browser right now.

Launching a book pretty much demands that. Checking the listings on Amazon, making sure the print and Kindle formats are linked, confirming the listing in the publisher’s storefront, adding the book versions to Goodreads, updating the Pinterest board (which in this case, admittedly, doesn’t have a whole lot on it), posting about it all on Facebook…

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Gods, I need more coffee for this.

*ahem* So, to The Five-Hour Wife. First, the title. I have no bloody clue where the title came from, but once I had it, I pretty much ran with it, and crafted most of the story around it. Granted, the story changed pretty significantly from the first version to what is now available to read, but the general idea was always still there: something incomplete, something aborted, something unfinished. This was a feeling I struggled with for a long time in my personal life. I distinctly remember my mother always telling me that the key to life was go to school, get a degree, get a job, get married, get the house and the car, have kids, etc.

You know? The whole ‘American dream’, blah blah blah.

Instead, I wound up a college dropout, single, childless, and still in the same dead-end job for going on 16 years. But, I do own my own home (yay!) and I’ve found passion in writing, which is something I completely lacked up until just a few years ago. Still, I had a really hard time adjusting to the idea that I could be happy and successful without having that rigid list of things my mother outlined for me — a hard time adjusting to the idea that I could feel complete without checking off every single item.

That can be a hard lesson to learn, as my heroine, Jani Shyford, discovers throughout the book.

While Jani is struggling with feeling incomplete, she runs into her celebrity crush, Kal Rydyn. Actually, it’s more accurate to say he runs into her. Literally. As they spend time together, they both think the other is the answer to all their respective problems, until a deadly scandal breaks, pulling up secrets from both their pasts and threatening to ruin both their careers.

And they’ll have to work against each other.

This story takes place basically between the last two chapters of Broken (Shifting Isles Series, Book 4). It does end with a happily-ever-after, but maybe not your typical one. You’ll just have to read it to see. 😉