10.27.2014

Magic and Decay is LIVE!!!!!

Hooray!!!!

But just to warn you, I'm probably going to talk a bunch before I give you the buy links. So... Sorry? 

This is one of the hardest books I've ever written. And because of that. Because this book took every ounce of creative energy out of me, and made me use my brain in ways I had never dreamed of using it before, and forced me to think differently, write differently and push myself to every limit and because it just all around kicked my ass, I feel the need to postulate.

So you're going to have to stay with me. :)

The thing is, when you read this book, you'll think, "This is the hardest thing she's ever written?" "She can't mean that!" "She can't be for real." "There's no way this silly thing novel was the hardest thing she's ever written!!!"

But I promise you that it was. 

I have my theories as to why it was so hard, but the truth remains. It's short. It's just for fun. And it's a stand-alone. Those facts alone should have helped me turn out this book in no time.

Instead, I struggled and deliberated and stressed and grew another ulcer and nearly cried.

It was hard. 

But I'm okay with that. I'm okay with hard. 

It just took me by surprise.
I keep meaning to write a Writer Wednesday about Ambition. I want to talk about it because I believe in it. I write manifestos for myself around it. I am contemplating getting it tattooed on my ribs.

Okay, that last one isn't true. 

But the rest of it is. I truly believe that Ambition is underrated. 

There is something to be said about dreaming big and going full-stop for the thing you want most in life. Or the things you want most in life. 

And that's what this project felt like to me: Ambitious.

Magic and Decay was my husband's idea. He reads lots of comic books and thought we could apply this whole Mash-Up concept that they do so well to the world of books. Think Batman and Superman save the world. Marvel especially is great at taking all their different universes and mashing them together for epic story lines. 

The Avengers, for example. 

So, he pitched the idea to me and I told him, I don't think my readers will like it. I don't think anyone will buy it.

But, in true Zach form, he kept pitching it. And pitching it. And pitching it. And then one day he said, I'm just going to start posting about it with a release date, then you'll HAVE to write it. 

I finally started to take him seriously. 

However, I still wasn't sold. So, I announced it to you guys, just to see if there would be any kind of interest. 

And to my great surprise, There. Was. And with each teaser I posted, there was more and more excitement built up around this completely daunting idea. 

Okay, I thought. I'll do this. I'll write this. I'll see what happens. 

Like I said, this was supposed to be EASY. And FUN. And it was to a certain degree. But then there was this other problem... I had to put all of my major heroines in the SAME book and write alternating chapters BETWEEN THEM. 

This is where things got, um, difficult.

I don't think I can stress how difficult that was.

Sure, Eden, Reagan and Ivy each have a unique voice in their own series, but that unique voice all draws from the same well: Me. 

I have this fear every time I sit down to write a book... I really hope I'm not writing the same characters over and over and over.   

And that fear was never more realized than when I had to write heroine after heroine after heroine. 

I learned a lot. I learned a lot about them as characters. (And let me just say, they have never been more real to me.) And I learned a lot about me as a writer. 

And as a person. 

But what came out of me and into this story is something I am truly proud of. 

I think that's how it goes with me. The projects that I have to fight tooth and nail for, that I have to wrestle in the mud with and work all hours of the night just to get a few hundred words on the page, those are my favorites. We bond during that struggle. We beat each other up and dig at each other's souls and in the end we walk out of the fray hand-in-hand and united for life. 

That's this book. This short, fun, fast book. I hope you enjoy it! I hope it's everything you look for in a book and fills all those nostalgic places for Eden and Kiran and gets you excited for the rest of Ivy and Ryder's story and the next season of Love and Decay! 

And when you're finished, if you would write a review, I would just be so honored. And so blessed by you. 

This is a stand-alone by the way. Completely. You don't have to have read any of these books to understand what's going on. And it's not part of any other project. 



Kobo and iBooks links are coming very soon!!!! 





  

10.16.2014

The book might be a little late... but don't you love this cover???? Thank you Caedus Design, Co.!!! You are amazing.


The Redeemable Prince is Book #7 in The Star-Crossed Series.

Seraphina Van Curen and Sebastian Cartier thought they were soul mates once upon a time. But for over a year, they have been well aware of just how quickly love can turn to hate and how cruel fate can be.

They might not be able to stand the sight of each other, but that’s okay since they avoid each other like the plague.

When danger strikes too close to home, and ancient Magic surfaces, they find themselves in the center of a deadly war. Seraphina and Sebastian strike an uneasy truce in order to end Dmitri Terletov, once and for all. They must work together to save what’s left of the Kingdom and protect the people they love most.

Along the way, they discover fate isn’t finished with them yet.

Fate is just getting started.

I'm shooting for an early November release!!!!!

10.13.2014

You know how everything takes longer than it should??

Like every single thing.

I think I can do something in five minutes and then an hour and a half later and I could swear I fell into a wormhole or time warp or SOMETHING.

Like this morning.

All I needed to do was order some new shoelaces for my oldest child. We're at the stage of life where she either loses them or destroys them.

By the way, how does one go about LOSING shoelaces???

How is that even possible???

It's baffling to me. But it happens so there's not much I can do about it other than adjust.

This is my new reality. I am now a mother to disappearing shoelaces.

Anyway. I jump on Amazon (Because let's be honest, there is nothing better than free two-day shipping. I don't have time to leave my house and hunt down new shoelaces. If it's not on Amazon, she's out of luck. She'll have to learn to wear her shoes shoelaceless. That's just the way it is around here. If you've messed up so bad that Amazon can't fix it... then you better learn that lesson quick. And remember it FOREVER.) to hunt down some new shoelaces. I need at least two pair. One for the pair of shoes she destroyed and another for the pair that she lost. I had never bought shoelaces by themselves before, so I had no idea what to expect.

Turns out most shoelaces come in bulk packs.

Whew.

I mean, I can't imagine needing twelve extra pairs of shoelaces, but honestly, before this weekend, I couldn't imagine needing two extra pairs of shoelaces. So who am I to turn down bulk?

The great thing about Amazon is the reviews.

Okay, there are some days that I absolutely loathe the reviews on Amazon. And it's probably pretty obvious why... However, after a pint of Ben and Jerrys I can usually snap out of it and go back to appreciating all the people that take time to review products.

Because that is a serious gift.

I admire all people that write reviews. Even the perpetually angry ones.

I never think to leave a review. Ever. I mean, if I like something, I tell all my friends about it and get everyone on board. If I don't like something... I just move on with my life. That's how I am.

And I would never think to write a review for shoelaces I ordered off the Internet.

But. There are people out there that DO think of those things. And to you people, thank you so much.

Because it's not easy to just get on Amazon, search Kid's Shoelaces and find what you're looking for. Oh. No. It's some serious research.

1. I need the right colors.

2. I need ones that aren't going to unravel the second Stella leaves the house.

3. I need KID shoelaces. NOT adult shoelaces.

And.

4. I need enough shoelaces that when her sister and brothers see that she got new shoelaces, I have enough to give to them even though they don't need them.

That's just the way it is with siblings.

So, after some intense research and reading as many reviews as I could get my greedy hands on, I finally found the Bulk Pack I set out to find.

Thirty minutes later.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TIME????

Is Amazon an alternate universe that sucks you inside of it the moment you click your browser over??? How did the time pass so quickly???

Especially because check-out is so very easy. Check-out takes a total of 17 seconds.

And all I wanted to find was Shoelaces!!

Here's the real question... Are you tired of hearing about shoelaces yet??

Thought so!

Onto the real business: Me.

So, as you can see The Redeemable Prince is still not out...

Sorry guys. I'm working on it! It's just not going as quickly as I'd like.

Here's the thing. January of last year, I made this resolution... Balance. My life needed balance.

Which was a really stupid thing to resolve just before I released Love and Decay, Season two.

There is no such thing as balance during a Love and Decay Season. Believe me.

But, I really wanted it. I really knew I needed it. And I was determined to find it.

Guess what!! It didn't happen. Not even a little bit.

Okay, that was fine. I was okay with that because at least we survived Love and Decay. That was the most important thing. We all came out alive.

Maybe just barely though.

I finished Love and Decay, Season Two, Episode Twelve and I looked around at my family and house and wondered if we'd just been through the Zombie Apocalypse!

It was scary!!! And I had the exact opposite of balance.

I had chaos and mayhem and I was super behind on all my other deadlines and I was exhausted .

But I decided right then and there that we would not go through that again. We couldn't. We can't! We will not survive it this time.

And it was more than that. I wanted to do more than just survive our lives. I wanted to create an environment in my home where my kids could flourish, where my husband felt relaxed and at peace, where I felt good about working and good about being a mom and good about being a wife and a homemaker.

And have I accomplished that?

Er, not exactly. I kind of think it's impossible to be that fulfilled without nagging feelings of failure and the hovering suspicion that you are irrevocably screwing up your kids for life tugging at your gut.

I mean, I am a mom.

And honestly I can be okay with that. If I wrestle inadequacy a few times a week, that can be okay. Just as long as those feelings don't consume and control me.

Anyway. I might not have found the perfect formula to balance home and work, kids and a career, marriage and ambition, but I'm taking steps to get there.

Every day Almost every day, I'm striving to level out all responsibilities I juggle. It's not that I have more responsibilities than anyone else or that mine are more important. It's more like I'm just really, really, really bad at balance.

It takes me more time to figure this out. It takes a LOT more focus for me to get it together. And more often than not I get it wrong.

I'm just behind the curve a little bit.

And that's okay. I really am okay with who I am and where I'm at. I just hate it that I can't keep a deadline to save my life.

But I'll get there.

This year, I've already published three books, two Star-Crossed Novellas, a co-written full-length and a Love and Decay season. I plan to publish two more full-lengths and get halfway through the next Love and Decay season.

Oh and the Mash-Up!

That's a lot. And next year I won't be nearly as ambitious.

At least I don't think so... But who knows! I have so much that I want to write!!! Stories I haven't even hinted to you about. Stories that are planned as legit series and already plotted out. Stories I can't wait to tell.

But I'm trying to focus on the here and now. And I'm really trying to focus on balancing everything in my day-to-day life.

So, TRP is coming!!! And the Mash-Up is for sure coming. Love and Decay will start again December 12th. And The Heart will be out before the end of the year.

Please stay patient with me! I promise you, I am doing everything I can to finish these books and do them justice.

And I promise you that you don't want them before they're ready.

Just a few housekeeping items... I'm going to reveal The Redeemable Prince cover on Thursday!!!!!! So get ready for that!!!!!!!! And tomorrow you can expect another teaser from the Mash-Up!

Also, I'll get back to a Writer Wednesday on Wednesday. Zach and I are going to do a podcast on Thursday. And I'm going to do a little Question and Answer thing on Friday!!! So if you have any questions about any of the series/characters/craziness of my life you can submit those questions now and I'll answer them on Facebook on Friday during the segment.

So see you back here on Wednesday!!!
   

10.06.2014

For real.

If you know me in real life, you know that I am honest. To the point of weird. I can't keep a secret to save my life. I can't hide my opinions or emotions. And more often than not, I stick my foot all the way in my mouth because I have no filter.

I just word vomit. Constantly.

Being online is completely different.

I get to hide behind some anonymity. I get to write the perception of myself and update all my million statuses with whatever I want you to see. There's a backspace. And an edit button.

I can read it and reread it and reread it before I ever push publish.

I can filter and crop my pictures and choose which images of me you all get to see.

I can delete any unkind sentiments or ignore the things I don't like.

It's incredible.

In like the really horrible, awful, exhausting kind of way.

Right? Am I alone with this???

Maybe it's the fact that I've had a massive cold/virus thing for OVER A MONTH. Maybe it's the fact that this plague is now pushing into my sinuses and I am positive that tomorrow I will wake up with a sinus infection. Maybe it's the fact that there is some hard stuff happening in my personal life right now. Stuff I'm not ready to talk about yet. Stuff that needs a couple more days, but honestly, these next few days are going to be some of the hardest I've faced until I have answers.

Maybe it's that I'm behind. With all my deadlines. And social media. And the house. And the laundry. And just in general... with life.

Maybe it's the fact that this last weekend I had the most amazing time at Women of Faith. I took in good teaching that came straight from the Bible and spoke to my soul and spirit. I spent time with some of my dear friends that spoke truth to me, that listened to my story and gave me peace. Maybe it's that yesterday I took the day off. Off. All the way off. I read a good book and spent time with my husband and made sure my kids were well fed and ready for the crazy week ahead of us. I ignored the Internet and my daunting work load and I put my feet up and relaxed. And breathed.

Maybe it's all of this. Maybe it's that these things have become a spinning vortex of anxiety in my life and I can feel the pull and suction sweeping up from the bottom. It wants to pull me in and send me into chaos and confusion. And never let me go.

But I'm not going to let it.

I have a lot on my plate. But you know what?? We. All. Do.

There is not one person, not one woman, who is not out there right now juggling a thousand different things while doubts and fears and anxiety and her To Do list assaults her violently and relentlessly.

We are all going through something. Something big. Something that is exhausting and draining and tires out our very soul.

And so I don't want you to look at me and think that I'm complaining or whining or making excuses. I'm not.

Really, I'm not.

At least not at this particular moment.

Don't stick around for too long though because that might change. :)

Right now I'm just trying to accept this crazy life for what it is and get some work done. Any amount of work. Ten words on a page or one status update.

I had a friend say something so true to me last Thursday and I have been saying it like a mantra in my head since last week.

She asked, "How's the writing going?"

And immediately guilt and doubt and anxiety plagued me because I'm behind with TRP and I need to get the mash-up all finished. And I need to start on The Heart so it's not late. And I hadn't blogged in forever. And I have edits of L&D just WAITING for me to get to but I've been too behind with everything else to get them done and uploaded. Plus, I've got all these minor tasks that need to be done. And then there's my non-working life with all its demands. And I feel guilty. And unprepared. And unqualified. And STRESSED OUT.

So, I groaned and said, "UGH. Don't ask!"

She laughed and said, "Are you behind again?"

And I said, "So. Very. Behind."

She laughed again. Because she is a wonderful, amazing woman with four kids and a husband with incredible, mind-boggling aspirations and she homeschools and has a puppy and takes care of her mother, and all these other people. And she is the woman I want to be.

But she laughed and said, "Rachel, you have four kids! I would be more concerned if you were not behind with every single thing!"

See? I told you she was amazing.

Because at that moment I felt the truth of her words. I have a crazy life. And right now it's a little crazier than usual. I don't want to be behind with deadlines. I don't want to have to fight tooth and nail just to carve out space during my day to write. I don't want to have a brain that sometimes refuses to work properly because there are a million things packed inside of it and someone forgot to send me my upgrade.

Well, I say I don't want to. But... really I wouldn't change this for the world. I love the chaos of my world because I get to be a mom and have my dream job. I get to have a career but still be the woman of the house and feel feminine and important to my family, to feel necessary. I get to create and daydream and push myself in ways I never thought I would go and still be an active participant in life so that my creativity keeps coming, so my ideas never stop.

And the best part? I'm not alone.

We're all going through this, right? We're all silently wishing for a Xanax prescription while we juggle all the different hats we wear and struggle to just remember the correct name of the child we're speaking to. We're cursing dinner because who can honestly think of something for dinner every freaking night??? While we're helping with homework and ironing our husband's shirts and breaking up sibling fights and comforting tiny broken hearts and being everything to everybody.

It's a curse.

And it's a blessing.

We are in it. We are in life and we are fighting to survive it.

To simply survive it.

But there is joy in survival and bigger blessings than we knew existed, than we knew were even possible!

So thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for not hating me because I have this horrific disease in which I can't be on time for a single thing in my life. Thank you for reading this and empathizing with me.

I just want to say that this blog post is coming from me. Nobody has said anything to me or written me one word that wasn't absolutely encouraging and understanding.

But I feel the guilt. I feel it heavily. And I hate it. So this is all from me.

One last thought. I just want to encourage you. If you're in it with me. If you're juggling and sprinting from event to event. If your house is in disorder and your laundry pile the size of Mount Everest. If you have little kids who need your attention for every second of every day or older kids who won't give you their attention because they're way too cool for that. If you are longing for kids but that hasn't happened yet or think I'm crazy for ever thinking the idea of procreating was not the dumbest idea ever. If you're working through your career day by day, minute by minute or if you're managing a household and everything that goes along with that. You just need to know that you are not alone. We are all here. In this place. This hard place with hard expectations and hard circumstances.

And you will survive it. It might not be pretty, but it can definitely be happy.

Forgive yourself first. That's what Shauna's comment helped me do. Forgive myself first. And then seek out hope beyond that moment.

Juggle. Struggle. Fight. And forgive. That's what I'm trying to do. And I hope that you're trying it too.



 

9.30.2014

So, like I said yesterday... Bet in the Dark got a makeover!!!

The first thing you should know is that I love this book. 

I think it's one of my favorite books I've ever written. I think. It's hard to pick out which are my faves when there are so many and I love them all like children. :) 

But this one is definitely up there!!! 

Anyway, I've had it re-edited and recovered and re-titled! It got the works!!!

And while it's still the same story! It's a better version of itself. If you haven't read it, now is the time!!!! And if you've already fallen in love with Ellie and Fin, please help me spread the word! :) 

Bonus! In the back of Bet on Us is a sneak peek of The Five Stages of Falling in Love!!!!!! 

  


All Ellie Harris wanted was a life of her own.

In a shortsighted decision, she follows her high school boyfriend to college, only to get cheated on and then dumped. And to add insult to injury, her overprotective family is suddenly clinging to her again, fighting to control every part of her life.

Bad luck follows her hasty decision and when her roommate steals her identity and leaves town, Ellie is left to clean up a gigantic mess.

Fin Hunter insists Ellie owes him seven thousand dollars from an online poker game and he won't stop until he collects it. Determined to keep her family out of her life, Ellie agrees to work for Fin in his illegal online poker operation. He's given her six weeks to pay off the debt.

Soon sparks are flying between them and the only thing keeping her from falling for him is the debt she still owes and the money she doesn't have.

At the end of those six weeks, Ellie will have to pay the mistaken debt or bet that her feelings for Fin will be worth more than the money.
                                   
This book was previously titled Bet in the Dark.