My Story.

Three years. THREE.

Today is the day!

I cannot believe that I have been publishing for three full years. Seriously, I can't even wrap my head around it.

This was my DREAM. From when I was old enough to dream about something, from when I knew there were things that were so precious to your soul, so vital to your survival that you would work your entire life to accomplish them! This is what writing is for me.

And in my small mindedness, I gave myself the goal of writing ONE book. In my lifetime, I just wanted to write one book.

I'm a big goal-setter. It's how I live my life. I have a white board thingy on the fridge and every day I write my goals for the day. Every week I list out my goals for each day on a notebook so that I know what I want to accomplish by the end of the weekend. I sit down every year and write out my goals for the year. Every five years I write a new five year plan. And I revise my ten year plan.

I just went though all of this when I turned thirty last month. Part of this is because my brain is a chaotic mess and I need concrete reminders of where my life should be headed. And the other part is that I'm a writer to the very marrow of my being and written words speak to me, they call me to action. Saying my goals out loud doesn't have near the impact on my life that writing them down in my own pen does.

And I've always been like this. It started when I was fifteen and wrote out my freshman year basketball goals. And it has evolved into this person that I am today.

When I was twenty and in college, I wrote my first set of long-term goals. I created a five year plan that included realistic accomplishments I felt like I could meet. My small little twenty-year old perspective included things like, graduating college, living on my own, learning to cook and other things that were just centered in my tangible world. But that same night, I also wrote out my life goals.

At the time they felt impossible... They felt like they would take a lifetime to accomplish. And I really imagined myself on my deathbed still trying to finish them off with my last dying breaths.

Some of them were inevitable for me (Since I was in the middle of a four year relationship) like I wanted to get married and have kids. Another was to travel the world which I got to accomplish much sooner than I expected thanks to a study abroad program my junior year of college and a relief work trip I got to take that next summer. Others I knew I would have to work at and didn't exactly group them together. Like build a career and write a book.

I knew I would have to work on the career as soon as I graduated school, but I was afraid I would get stuck in some small-time job that I hated. I wanted to have a career that I could spend my whole life in and feel like I was making a difference. At that time, I totally imagined myself in a relief work organization, traveling the world and helping whoever I could. I still would love to spend my time doing that, but my "dream" career has evolved into what I live every single day.

Writing a book, was the pipe dream. The goal I never actually believed I could accomplish. The one thing I wanted so desperately that I never allowed myself to speak the words out loud. How could I? How could I be honest about the pure intensity of that dream when it felt like failure before I ever started.

I mean, writing a book?? That was freaking hard! And where would I start?? The longest document I had ever written to date was ten pages. And I expected myself to add 200 more pages to that??

I felt crazy for wanting it and knew I could never accomplish it.

It was the impossible. And this is the "lifetime" goal I assigned to the end of my life. After kids, after retirement, after life when I had nothing left but time and experience.

And yet, I didn't wait that long. I couldn't wait that long.

Life got in the way of my other goal- the career goal- and even the family goals. I got married much younger than I originally anticipated (21) and I started having kids much, much, much younger than I ever thought possible.

So there I was, after college, with two life goals accomplished that felt very much like fear instead of satisfaction, a career goal that was dead and buried and a broken, shattered heart from losing my father way too soon and for having to give up on my "dream." (The career I gave up to be a mother.)

I wasn't just a mom and a wife. I was a stay at home mom. Although I did do some nannying.

I can't explain to you what that was like for me without sounding like a horrible person.

So just stay with me.

But I had these huge goals of changing the world. I really believed I would be trekking through the African plains, creating clean water for villages that didn't have any, or working in the slums of Calcutta, rescuing women from the sex slave industry. THOSE were my career goals. And instead, I was trapped in a house that centered around my tiny little life. I didn't use my brain. I didn't think beyond my child's needs. And I felt like I had been reduced to this shadow of who I was supposed to be.

That is the truth. And it's not true for most people in that situation. But it was how it was for me.

Motherhood was hard for me.

Not that I didn't absolutely love my child, because I did. And I was willing to go through ALL of that mental crisis because I would give her, and any future kids I would have, whatever I could. The sacrifice was worth it because that was the best life for my children.

And believe me when I say it was sacrifice. Every day it was a sacrifice to me. And not just with my dreams and goals dying.. but because financially it is a huge sacrifice to have only one income. And we STRUGGLED. Bad.

So there I was... parenting when I wanted to be working and making only just enough when I'd rather be contributing to our income.

I felt lost.

And I felt like a failure.

Those are two emotions that will eat away at you if you let them. And I did for a while. But I also knew that I was in the place God had called me to be. And so I stayed.

Reluctantly. Complaining. A little desperate. But I stayed.

That's also when I decided to tackle Life Goal Number Five. Traveling the world had been awesome; but all future trips were indefinitely put on hold. Being married and having children were wonderful but not exactly how I pictured them. It's a whole heck of a lot of work to make your marriage work and it's a whole lot more work to raise your children. And in my grand ideals of happily ever after.. I hadn't exactly planned for the sheer volume of work I would have to put into those things. They never show those parts that the end of Disney movies. Plus, I truly believed my career dreams were in the toilet and I would never have another chance to be successful again. (Pessimistic much?? Ha!)

So the only life goal I had left was writing a book.

Why not? I thought. What do I have to lose? I thought. Nobody has to see this. If so and so author can do it, so can I. Maybe. Hopefully. Let's just try.

And so in my evenings, after Stella went to bed, I would sit down at my computer and I would type. Zach was the only person that knew I was doing this but he supported me and didn't make fun of me too badly. :) And then six months later... I had a book.

Not a very good book. But still, a completed, finished, fully-developed plot... book.

I could not believe it! I seriously couldn't. I had no idea I had that many words in me. Or that I was patient enough to travel all the way from chapter one to chapter... whatever (I can't remember how many chapters that book has).

And mostly, I couldn't believe how amazing I felt! Writing had become like therapy for me. I had been depressed about losing my dad. I had been overwhelmed with being a new mom. Disappointed in the smallness of our little Nebraska life. And struggling day after day not drown in it all.

I sound so selfish now... But that was me. I was wrapped up. I was LOST. I was also only 23.. so go easy on me. :)

Then I started writing. And my soul started healing. My heart started mending. And my mind cleared. I could think again. And I really, really, really like to think. I started to feel like myself again. But a better version of myself. The girl I lost had been through some fire. When I finally pulled her out of that furnace she was quite a bit more mature and had a lot more perspective.

Writing gave me the peace to accept what my life had become. It wasn't failure. And it wasn't a disappointment. It was everything I wanted. And it was beautiful and fulfilling and happy.

Please understand that I'm not using the words "depression" or "depressed" lightly. Losing my father is the single hardest thing I've ever gone through. And I mean those words in every clinical sense of their definition.

But even though I got healthy and found myself... that didn't mean that life miraculously got easier. Only, that I was more equipped to handle it.

Because honestly, it would only get harder. I would only have more children that I was unprepared for. We would only struggle more. Marriage doesn't get easier, it will always be work. I would go through three years of straight rejection with my writing.

And that was probably the worst. Rejection letter after rejection letter. Years of it. Hundreds of them. Failure. I was a failure.

It is hard to live as a failure. A lot of us don't know that until we go through it. I certainly didn't. Before I started submitting that first book and then later Reckless Magic, I had no idea what it was like to be rejected so categorically.

I had been disappointed before. Or one time I had campaigned for Student Council, and I didn't make it. Then three weeks later I got voted Junior Class President... so I moved on with my life.

Zach and I broke up a bunch while we dated in high school and college but we would always get back together and then one day we even got married.

I had never been told that I wasn't good enough that many times. I might have heard it in isolated incidents before and cried over it then. But letter after letter after letter telling me I couldn't write what they wanted was tough.

Really, freaking tough.

But still, there was this joy about it. I had found my purpose in life. I had fallen in love with something so desperately and hopelessly that I knew if I was rejected every single day for the rest of my life I would still write. I would still create stories.

And I would still try to publish them.

After my first book didn't sell, I decided that it wasn't good enough and that was why. So even though I loved the story, probably I could do better.

Also, vampire stories were really popular and I thought, maybe if I write one of those I can get picked up by an agent/publishing house and then I'll get my first book published or just keep writing and that will be it! The key to success equaled one poorly thought out vampire book.

Except I didn't write a vampire book. I wrote Reckless Magic.

And I fell in love with that story beyond anything else (Except for the hubs and the kiddos and my other family) and my dream changed into this writing thing. It was like I woke up. Like the stars aligned and the sun shone directly on me and I had this ah-ha moment where I said: THIS IS IT! THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO SPEND MY LIFE DOING!

Everything clicked. And the healing continued. And my dream expanded. And my "career goal" revived from the shallow grave I buried it in and floated above my head and promised that I could still reach it! That I could still accomplish something!

The End.

JUST KIDDING. Because then I spent the next two years of my life dealing with more rejection. Even less people were interested in Reckless than they were my first, terribly written book. But because I believed in the book, I stayed persistent which in turn brought on... MORE REJECTION.

I really hope I'm a better person because of all that. I mean... all that trauma needs to mean something in my life. :)

Just kidding! That time has had a ginormous impact on my life. And I would love to talk about it but it would take the next five hours of your life and I just won't do that to you.

Maybe a different blog. :)

So there I was with this great book (I thought) and failure. I just did not know what to do with it. I kept sending out query letters and I kept getting a polite "No thanks, not for us." in return.

That's when Zach brought up the idea of self-publishing.

And I was all, ARE YOU KIDDING??? That's giving up! That't basically announcing to the world that I'm a failure and admitting that I have no talent!

And very patiently, as is his way, he said, but look at what Kindle is doing. Look at how their self-publishing options are different than what we're used to.

This was in 2010.

And I sat on that for six months. And kept sending letters that I knew were going to be rejected. And the feelings of failure kept building. And my dream kept dangling in front of me, forever out of reach but always close enough for me to ache for it.

That was my next lesson. Wanting something so desperately and not being able to get it. No matter what I did. No matter how many times I cleaned up Reckless and researched the most perfect agents for the book or how to write a query letter or the secrets to getting published. No matter how hard I prayed or dedicated my time or pleaded with God or did everything that I was supposed to do... I was rejected. The dream seemed unattainable.

And even though I had done the first part and written the book... I really believed I would be on my deathbed before I ever got published. If even then.

But Zach stayed persistent with his encouragement to self-publish and slowly his argument started to make sense.

Then I got a Kindle for my birthday. Read Amanda Hocking. And decided that day I would finally listen to my intuitive and wise husband.

There was a lot that went into publishing Reckless. A lot of work. A lot of fear. A lot and lot and lot of insecurity. But finally, March 13th, 2011 I pressed publish.

And then I blacked out in a puddle of my own vomit.

Just kidding!

Then I announced it on Facebook to all my family and friends and exactly ten people downloaded the book.

Thank you original ten. You guys were the beginning of this. Seriously, Lindsay, Aunt Helen, Jen, Suzie, Susie, Zach's work buddies that were nice enough to support me. Thank you.

I took six months to write and publish Hopeless. In that time we changed the titles and added "Magic." We changed the cover to what it is today. Thank you Pat!!!!!!! I also had them edited for the first time. Thank you Carolyn!!!!!!!! And I sold a total of fifty books.

In six months.

Zach wrote a review for me. And then slowly I accumulated two more. Two more GOOD reviews. I can't even tell you what that did for me. Like.. the first time I ever got a review by someone I didn't know.. I just can't. There aren't words that exist that can adequately describe the joy, relief and hope that came with those kind thoughts.

When Hopeless came out, we decided to put Reckless for free. Another one of Zach's ideas. In fact, if you would like to credit any of my success... it can go first to God and then to Zach. Zach has been the genius behind almost all of this. He is the most amazing person I know.

Not just because he's my husband.. but because he just is. He is incredible.


It took FOREVER to go free. Weeks and weeks. It was the early days and Amazon didn't put books for free. It seriously took from the beginning of August when Hopeless came out to the end of September.

And during that time I sold maybe five more books.

There was this pivotal moment in all of this that I can just remember with absolute clarity.

We lived out on a farm at this time and we had this very old kitchen. Zach and I were standing in the middle of it after he just got home from work and I was making dinner. I had checked my sales earlier that day and hadn't sold anything and here I was devoting all this time and energy into writing a third book that would be out in a couple weeks.

And it felt like, for what??? What was I doing this for? It took up SO much time and energy. And what was the point? Nobody was going to read this book. Nobody was going to care. I probably looked like an idiot to all my friends who felt sorry for me. Oh, poor Rachel and her poor books. And my heart broke with every day that there wasn't a sale. Plus, was self-pubbing really the answer?? Now publishers would NEVER look at me. I hadn't sold any books! They would never take a chance on me. I had just shot myself in the foot and embarrassed myself in front of all my family and friends. And for what??

More rejection.

More failure.

More heartbreak.

So, in all my insecurity, I asked Zach, "What if nobody ever buys my books? What if they never sell?? What if this 50 books is the most I ever sell?"

And Zach. In all his wisdom. And his typically aloof, laid-back manner, said, "Who cares? Who cares if you never sell another book. Who cares if not another person ever reads a word you write. You are doing what you want to. You are living your dream. And that's all that matters."

That was it for me. That was what I needed to hear. Because he was right. My dream was to write. And I was writing. I could tack on everything else in the world but those were only accessories to the dream and not the dream itself.

I found this huge peace about everything and I really believed I could go the rest of my life selling every book to only those first ten friends and family members and nobody else.

A week later the seemingly impossible happened. Reckless Magic went free. In the span of one week 35,000 copies had been downloaded. I started to get messages and emails and comments and friend requests, all demanding the third book.

People didn't only love Reckless, and Hopeless, they needed Fearless.

To say I went into shock would be a severe understatement. There are just way way way too many emotions for me to even begin to unpack.

That dream that I had, that I truly didn't believe would ever come to fruition, was happening right in front of my eyes.

Four full years of rejection, of being told I wasn't good enough... of believing that I wasn't good enough.

All of that and finally I had a book people wanted to read.

And it wasn't a power agent that was taking a chance, it wasn't a publishing house pushing me into the face of readers, it was YOU GUYS. It was readers reading my words and wanting more of them.

I will never stop feeling gratitude and awe. Never.

Fearless debuted at #16 on Amazon's top 100 books. NUMBER 16! It was right in between a Nicolas Sparks book and Water for Elephants.

I just can't even tell you.

I can't even show you.. because let's be honest, Zach is the brains of this operation and I didn't even think to take a picture of it!!

I'm a little oblivious. I didn't even check sales ranks with Endless because I didn't realize they were important.


Which is just one example of how I've gone about this entire business completely backwards. I seem to do everything wrong before I get it right. I have more release day issues than any other author I know. I'm always late. Always forgetting important things.. like that I'm supposed to mail out books or t-shirts or whatever. I can't seem to do anything right.

But the dream is still there. The words are still being written. The books that I love so dearly are still getting published.

And people are still buying them.

Three years later and I have a "readership." Three years later and I have people that anticipate my books and tell me my work is their favorite. In all of literature, my books are their favorite! There is nothing more humbling or miraculous than that.

Not a single thing.

At least for me.

For four years before I published Reckless, every day was hard and I struggled and I had self-esteem, self-worth and insecurity issues.

And for three years since I've published Reckless, every day has still been hard, I still struggle with self-worth and feeling good enough, I still would rather believe I'm a failure than believe that success is possible and I am still insecure.

Every single day.

I'm just going to assume that every day after this will be much of the same.

But there is so much reward at the same time. So. Much.

Self-publishing was a HUGE risk for me. But it was worth it. And I really like to believe that even if all this hadn't happened. That if I was still selling ten books at a time, that Zach's words would still ring out clear and true.

Because it's all about the writing. It's all about this one thing that is my soul laid bare and my heart fulfilled.

I truly hope you have that. And if you don't have that, I hope you work for it and do whatever it takes to find it. It's not easy. And mostly, let's be honest, the journey SUCKS. But the reward is great. No matter how big or how small... the reward is great.

A few thank you's are in order. And then I will finally tell you about the Giveaway!!!!!

God. Always to God first. Whether you believe in Him or not, He has a plan for each of us. And He takes us through this in His timing. Life is the hardest thing we will ever do. But He makes it worth it. Man plans his steps, but the Lord directs his paths. -Proverbs 16:9 I very much feel like my life is a testament of that.

Zach. I seriously could not do this without him. From his original ideas like Love and Decay and publishing and free books, to his support, to the covers and promo pictures he makes, to his manly encouragement, to his pride in what we've accomplished, to his dedication, to the way he fathers my kids. He is the best man I know. He is the reason I can write great romance.

My mom. I couldn't write anything without her! She has always been my biggest fan and my biggest support system. And she takes all of my kids so I can focus. ALL of them! All FOUR of them at once. And she keeps them for hours and hours. And they love her and feel safe with her and can't wait to get back to her. And while I dedicate so many hours to working and have to leave them so often... I cannot tell you what it means to me to know that they are some place safe and where they are unconditionally loved and cared for.

And then to YOU GUYS. Thank you!!!! And I mean that, from the most honest part of me. Thank you. Thank you for reading my work. Thank you for taking a chance on me. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for your support, your encouragement, your notes and emails and comments, thank you for sharing with your friends and coworkers and writing reviews and falling in love with these characters as deeply as I have. This would not be without you. You have changed my life forever. And I will never ever be able to repay you for that. Thank you.


Phasellus facilisis convallis metus, ut imperdiet augue auctor nec. Duis at velit id augue lobortis porta. Sed varius, enim accumsan aliquam tincidunt, tortor urna vulputate quam, eget finibus urna est in augue.


  1. I adore you! I love that you shared your story!

    This is not a poker term really, but what about Collect In The Light to be sort of opposite and hopeful?

  2. You rock Rachel, and I'm so glad you stuck with it and Zach kept you writing!! Congratulations on the third birthday of Reckless, the series that pulled me in to your fantastic writing. Beckett's story sounds awesome. I can't wait to read out, Keep going... we're waiting!!! :)

  3. I don't want to sound condescending or offensive but I am SO proud of you and all you have accomplished already! You make me feel so behind :(.

    As for Beckett's story maybe something like Big Blind (okay that sounds silly but it is a term!) or Ante Up? Up the Ante?

  4. I am so very glad I came across someone's post on mothering(dot)com telling us to check out your book.
    I don't know where I would be without your stories... and just you in general.

    I'm horrible at titles. But all I can think of is something with "All In" in the title.

  5. I love this so much. I got tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arms when reading this. I'm so happy and so proud of you for living your dream and taking those risks. I absolutely love your books, thank you so much for writing them! And thank you for sharing this story with everyone. I can't wait to see what else you come up with. I'm going to put in my possible title - "Calling Her Bluff" ? Maybe? or just Calling The Bluff ?. I suck. hahahaha. But once again, thank you so much for everything!! <3

  6. Betting A Rainbow
    Under The Gun

    This is something I will really have to think about. But I absolutely LOVE all your stories and am so excited about this. Good luck to everyone!

  7. Congratulations, Rachel! I have only been reading your books for about a year, and I've already read them all! I can not express how ecstatic I am for you and that your dream has come true. So, I think a title is in order. ;)
    I was thinking maybe, "Fold Equity".

    Then again, congratulations on your success and being able to make people rave about your books like I have. I'm not a fortune teller, but I can tell you one thing, there is much more success headed your way :)

  8. Congratulations!
    How about Forced Bet or Play the Board!

  9. All or nothing

    That is so exciting!!! I loved your books!!! Especially the star crossed series!!! I love them so much!

  10. I am so glad that you persisted in your dream. Thank you!

    You said we could suggest more than one. I hope it's okay that they are all in one comment. If not, then let me know and I'll split them.

    "Going on Tilt" - Steaming - A blackjack term where a player has become frustrated with how badly the events of a session of play have turned out. 'Steaming' in blackjack has practically the same meaning as 'going on tilt' in poker. In either case the player has lost emotional control and is betting more aggressively and often recklessly in an attempt to turn things around.

    "Playing the Rush" - A poker term referring to a player who has just enjoyed a short-run of good luck marked by winning a very large pot of money in one hand or winning several hands in close succession. If the player subsequently begins to play more loosely or more aggressively they are said to be 'playing the rush'.

    "Let It Ride" or "Press a Bet" - Adding the winnings over the current bet, to 'let it ride'.

    "Down to the Felt" - Totally out of money, broke.

    "Going For Broke" A play off of the one previous.

    There you go! Hopefully one of those rings true for you. BTW, I am totally excited for "The Five Stages of Falling in Love". ;)

  11. Loved reading this. <3 Happy Birthday to my most FAVORITE book EVER!!!

    For the title, what about "Catch Perfect" which means to catch the only two possible cards that will complete a hand and win the pot, usually those leading to a straight flush.

    Or, "Half Bet Rule" which is the rule that placing chips equal to or greater than half the normal bet amount beyond the amount required to call constitutes a commitment to raise the normal amount.

    Or, "Flush"..."Royal Flush"...."Straight Flush"

    Or, "Double Down"?

  12. Thank you for sharing your challenging but ultimately rewarding story! Happy 3rd Birthday to Reckless! So happy to have discovered your stories I look forward to each and everyone of them including this new one! As far as a title for you how bout "Implied Odds" It's when pot odds that do not exist at the moment, but because of calculations and bets you expect to win if you hit your hand. Sort of goes along with the blurb a little haha! I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

  13. Bet in the dark was the first of your books I read.then I got zombie apocalypse obsessed with love and decay.really looking forward to bet in the dark title choices are
    Bad beat- a term where the underdog beckittaybe gets the hand (event Etc) where he wins (gets a hea)


  14. Congratulations! I am so happy you persevered and did go through with publishing Reckless, so big props to Zach also! Health problems having been holding me down from my dreams for a few years, and my boyfriend has been trying to keep me from sinking under in the meantime. One of his big ideas was I needed more happy in my life, and downloaded some "happy ending YA" to my Kindle as a push. Somewhere between how much I loved the series, and recognizing his good intentions, it really helped adjust my perspective and pull me out of a funk. (In the least fangirl crazed way possible,) Kiran and Eden have changed how I see my relationship and my health. I imagine there is blue smoke surrounding me every trip to the hospital, every mouth full of pills, and every lab result I anxiously wait for. I can see there is magic swarming me and Paul when we're together. I really, really, want to thank you- for giving me Magic in my life.

    As far as my silly poker phrase input goes, "hit by the deck" could apply to Beckett's position as you described it, good fortune with little effort. An "ace in the hole" could be fitting if Britte has a secret giving her the upper hand.

  15. In The Hunt

    When a player says he is 'in the hunt,'
    it means he is still alive in a poker
    tournament, usually with a reasonable
    chance of winning.

  16. "Catch Perfect" means when catch the two cards that will make you win the hand.

  17. Call Bet- when a wager is made before the money is shown. :) loved your Star Crossed series!!

  18. First off, CoNgRaTuLaTiOnS!!!!! You are a rock star and should be very proud of all you (and Zach) have accomplished. Your talent leaves me in awe. I'm so blessed by you allowing me to have the pleasure of being on your "team"!!!

    Secondaly, "The River" and "Fifth Street" are my entries! I love The River the best but wanted to present both of them. These terms refer to the last card that is played in the dealer's hand - it's the last thing the players see coming and the last thing that they bet on (when playing Texas Hold 'Em poker). I think that it's perfect for the last thing Beckett saw (and the one thing he never knew he always wanted).

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Crap, I cannot spell...
    That should say Secondly. Ugh!

  21. Rachel I'm so glad you are a writer! I'm blessed to have your stories to read, that the Lord you didn't give up. I'm almost sure I was one of your first free Reckless Magic downloaders. I had just got my first Kindle as a gift, and I was trying out the "kindle experience". I downloaded Reckless as my first free book. I was immediately hooked. I needed more! I bought Hopeless right after, and I had to wait for Fearless. Your story is so inspiring for this 20 going on 21 year old. Thank you for being amazing!

    I have some ideas for Beckett's story...all poker terms.
    Bad Beat Story: a player who was statistically picked to win, but lost(Beckett is used to getting his way. He is the chosen winner..)
    Blow up : Physiological or tactical meltdown a action in a poker tournament
    But How Much Did You Lose? : Discussion about a game lost.( I think this is my favorite because Beckett is experiencing a loss of control, and really neither of them lost at all. They gained each other.)
    Cold Call: Player faced with a raise and has no money in the pot to make a call. (Britte raises the bet on everything for him)
    Dark Tunnel Bluff: repeated continuation bet on multiple streets based on the belief you have to bet but do so without thinking why (Beckett feels like he is losing his mind/control)
    Hero Call: When a player makes a marginal call solely based on a gut feeling. (Both of them are going against their heads, only dealing with their hearts.)
    Open Shove: Move that refers to when a player acts first in a hand and shoves all of their chips in to raise. (It's like a way cooler way to say ALL IN)
    Set Under Set: When 2 players show their hands in a Hold'em or Omaha game and one had higher that the other. ( I feel like both of them put their reputations and hearts on the line, so they are showing all their cards)
    Tapping the Glass: Refers to the counter-intuitive approach that frustrated players use to vent educating weak players in the process. ( I feel like Britte is the auto weak player in this game, but Beckett is having trouble keeping his cool. It suites the game perfectly.)

    I hope you like some of these! My favorite is probably But, How Much Did You Lose? But...I think any of them could be a really cool name for this story. Set Under Set writes nicely, and Dark Tunnel Bluff sounds a bit more like a sequel name for Bet in the Dark.
    No matter what title you pick, I cannot WAIT to read it!

    Keep writing!

  22. This just will not let me post, I've tried 3 times... So once again, Congratulations on all you have accomplished big and small. I absolutely love your writing. You have amazing talent. Everything in our life happens for a reason and where you feel that your dreams got pushed to the side, they were possibly only being pushed to the side so you could accomplish this dream of yours that you were doubting you could accomplish. Anywho, I don't play poker but my friends do... Here are a few titles... 1)the tilt 2)high stakes 3)catch perfect Those are just a few that I have heard and actually know the meaning... And they make good titles without anything added to them.

  23. I am a huge fan of your writing; I love your character development! I am still amazed that I have fallen in love with a zombie series. I am currently trying to wait patiently for The Fall. A few ideas for Beckett's story are Drawing Thin, Burn Card, or Call the Clock.

  24. Lay Down Your Hand
    Tilt & Rock
    Decked Out
    What Are The Odds

  25. Ante up, All in, Implied Odds, Live Blind, Pocket Pair, Ring game, Scare card, Under the Gun, those are my favorite poker terms that may make great book titles. That is if you want a Poker theme.

  26. Playing the odds!

    I love your story, it's beautiful to see where you came from and how supportive your hubby and family are! It amazing how in Gods time everything works out!

  27. I have enjoyed all your work over the last couple years and the blog puts it all into perspective. I can't wait for Beckett 's story! "Raising the stakes"

  28. You choked me up with this. For so many reason. Thanks for writing this. And thanks for making me realize I LOVE the zombie apocalypse.

    I don't think I'm very good at this but I have to give it a try:
    Bad Beat (Losing with what is, or appears to be, a considerably stronger hand.)
    Buy In
    Double Up

  29. How fun! What a great way to get us readers more involved! Tied with Reckless Magic (which introduced me to you), Bet in the Dark is my favorite. I was SO hoping for a sequel because of that!

    I narrowed it down to my 2 fave potentials:

    1) CREATING A SKIN GAME - I think that based on the synopsis this is something both Beckett and Britte need...a partner. Someone who will help them "cheat" life by being there and working together through whatever life deals them.
    (In poker, it is a game having two or more collusion cheaters. Collusion is two or more players acting with a secret, common strategy. Some common forms of collusion are: soft play, that is, failing to bet or raise in a situation that would normally merit it, to avoid costing one's partner or friend money; whipsawing, where partners raise and re-raise each other to trap players in between; dumping, where a cheater will deliberately lose to a partner; and signalling, or trading information between partners via signals of some sort.)

    2) REACHING BREAK-EVEN POINT - They each want the risks they take to be worth their time, but that takes effort that we one doesn't always want to put in to get to that point.

    (The break-even point is the point at which if you played forever, the bets you made would approximately equal the payoffs you would receive.)

    Whatever the title ends up, it'll be spectacular!

    Wishing you a successful hiatus...selfishly, so we get this book sooner, rather than later.... ;)

  30. A huge CONGRATULATIONS to you Rachel!! That was a lot to go through and still you showed everyone that you do what you do 'cause you're the best at it. You are an inspiration to all the aspiring writers :)
    Here are a few of my title suggestions (I searched on Google for poker terms and these are the ones I liked best) -
    Double Up
    Under the Gun (means the player who must act first in the betting round)
    Heads Up (means a game with only two players in it)

    And these I just made up -
    Draw in the Dead ("Draw Dead" in poker)
    Call Off the Bluff
    Take on the Bet
    Draw Me In
    Bet on You
    The Last Call ("call" in poker means to put into the pot an amount of money equal to the most recent bet or raise)

    I have no idea if these sound good to you but I hope I helped :) And no matter what the book's called, I just know it would be good. I cannot wait to read another book you've written Rachel! Thanks so much and congrats again! :)
    And rest assured that if I come up with any more, I'd post it here :D

  31. Congratulations! I am so thankful you kept going. I have to say my favorite would be High Stakes Hand. It just sounds like a title! ;-)

  32. Oh I love you and this story of your life! I am so proud of you!!! Happy Birthday to your baby! It is an amazing story and I love where your writing has taken you! You are very talented as well as a wonderful friend!


    "Hearts Fold"

    Thank you.

  34. I have a couple more after my initial one. I've been thinking. So here you go! Battle of the Blinds. Putting on the Heat. Proposing Bets. And lastly After-Hours Game. that one sounds a little r-rated but what the beck haha!
    Thanks for the opportunity! Whatever you pick will be great!

  35. Love this, love you, love your books! You're so very inspiring! I wish I would have stumbled upon you AGES ago. Congratulations on all of your success so far and may all your work continue to pay off!

    I don't think anyone's entered this one..
    But my entry is "Blind Defense". Essentially it is forcing the attacker to fold or call. The idea is to play defensive and then outplay the attacker in a later round.

    Since Beckett is the one who makes the bet, he would be the attacker. While Britte of course would be on the defensive at first, her ultimate game plan would be to win and outplay Beckett at his own game!

  36. Winning Streak maybe? And Happy Birthday to Reckless Magic! Awesome Series... + Covers!

  37. Bet the limit. It continues the bet theme but I have the feeling he will do all he can to get the girl.maybe changing himself? Or giving all of his self a way to her and only her:)

  38. Title Ideas: (keep in mind that I am really bad at this kind of thing, I just thought it could be fun to try and come up with a title and I like a lot of these other ideas better than mine) I just looked up some poker terms.
    (i also posted this on facebook)
    -Calling the Bluff
    -Play it fast
    -Maniac Player (Based off the term- Maniac)
    -The (Mystery? Wild?) Card
    -In the Pocket (Term-Pocket)
    -The Tell
    -Under the Gun
    -Steamed Player (Based off term- Steam)
    -The Cause of the Tilt (Based off- Tilt)

  39. How about Implied Odds or Dominated Hand? I am so glad that your husband talked you into self publishing. I love your books and can't wait for them to come out.

  40. I am so excited about this contest. Is it terrible that I am most excited about my name being in Love and Decay even if I have to die a quick and gruesome death. Possibly being kissed by a Parker Brother (please oh please let it be Vaughn or Hendrix) is worth the gruesome end.

    My suggestions are-
    Catching the Bluff- when you call and expose a failed bluff
    Hit by the Deck- when a player is experiencing an usually good run of cards in a short time.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You have shared bits and pieces over time with us but to hear the whole thing is pretty inspiring.

  41. Book title: The Wild Card

    1. The above comment made by S. Hatfield

  42. You are amazing! So happy for you to get to live your dreams. Not many people can truly say that. As for a book title, Aces In or Aces Up. I can't wait to read Beckett's story no matter what it's called.

  43. Ok a couple more ideas...

    The Ultimate Bet
    Stacking the Deck
    Surviving the Game

  44. The final bet
    ace in the whole
    holding em close
    laying down the cards
    betting the farm
    unfavored odds
    betting blind
    against all odds
    dealing for love
    betting on love
    love and a bet
    betting on Beckett
    Winning the bet
    poker faces
    betting with twos
    the Tell
    betting on the tell
    watching the tell
    all in for love
    staying in the game

    Ideas for book name from Ferdi

  45. Here are a few more:

    Under the table
    The game
    the game of love
    betting on a prayer
    waiting for the tell
    face down cards
    dealing with Aces
    acing (ace ing) a Dream
    Chasing the Ace
    love and spades
    playing for keeps

    More Ideas from "Ferdi"

  46. Book title ideas: from Ferdi

    up the Ante

    The Bluff
    betting big
    Call it

  47. I'm trying again....

    I really like 'playing for keeps' in your summary. It seems to capture your character.

    I rarely buy ebooks, but I have not been able to resist yours. :). Congratulations on your anniversary!

  48. Rachel, I am so happy you followed through on your dream of writing. You are so talented and I love all of your books. Love and Decay is my favorite but they are all awesome. As for a book title I would say .....Know When to Hold'em.....Or .......Winner's Game

  49. I just want to say that you're such an inspiration. As an *aspiring* author, your books and your process and your story have truly been inspirational. I discovered Reckless in March 2012, and I've followed you ever since and read every book of yours. I really love all of your stories. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

    As for Bet in the Dark sequel titles... I like Call the Clock, Guts to Open, & Under the Gun. They're all poker terms and I like the three word titles. :)

  50. Another name.............Bluffing Blind, Hearts Are Wild

    Lena Noble......

  51. A couple of titles:
    Late Position... Position on a round of betting where the player must act after most of the other players have acted

    Suited Connectors... Two cards that are consecutive in rank and of the same suit

  52. Congratulations on your anniversary. I love your books and am so happy you stuck it out as long as you did to our benefit as readers. How about - Implied Odds - Pot odds that do not currently exist, but may be included in your calculations because of bets you expect to win if you hit your hand.
    Linda DiGregorio

  53. Dealers Choice, Calling your bluff, lucky draw, slowroll, sandbagging, cards in the air, hit by the deck..gotta say im ones of thosereaders that consider you my favorite author! Thank you for sharing your stories with us!

    1. My contact info is below...Brittany Harris...

  54. ^My name is Brittany Harris,

  55. I love your stories, and good luck choosing a title. Here are a few suggestions: "The Hero Call," "Changing Gears," "Having the Edge," or "Bet Down to the Green."

  56. Congratulations on three amazing years! I am so glad that with the help of your family you decided to self publish, we would all be missing out big time if you hadn't!!

    I'd pretty much love to be killed in one of the L&D books, and maybe sneak a Kane kiss in ;) err... hug maybe?? falling over into him as I die? teasing, teasing!! So here are my additions to this list, though there are already some up here that I'm loving!

    Forward Motion
    No Limit
    Slow Play
    Breaking Even
    Double or Nothing <-- love this one!
    Out of Line
    Upping the Stakes
    Playing the Game

    Bet in the Dark is the cutest, I can't wait for Beckett's book! I'll buy it even it if it is called BitD2 haha! ♥
    Good luck everyone!!

  57. Congratulations!! I'm such a fan of your books and I think you have incredible talent :) My submission is "Squeeze Play "

  58. How about:

    Empty Hands (Or some variation of that)
    Second Act
    Gamble All You Have

  59. I just sat here and cried and laughed. I so proud of everything you accomplished in your life. because of authors like you, I am able to live a different dream every day through your stories. Thank you!!

    now as for titles?? Double Bet (A wager for twice the size of one's usual wager; also known as "double pop" or "doubling up."), Press a Bet (Adding the winnings over the current bet to 'let it ride'.), Check in the Dark (Checking before the next card is dealt when you are going first to act in a round of betting.) Those are just a couple slangs I found. I don't understand poker so it probably has nothing to do with it lol

  60. I didn't see these ones, but I might have missed them:
    The Winning Hand
    All Bets are Off

  61. The Last Play
    The Last Hand
    Everything or Nothing
    The Overbet
    The Stakes are Raised
    The Highest Stakes
    The Last Call

  62. Here it goes it might be part of your five year plan to finish reading this comment! I adore your books all of them! I stumbled across them when I first got my kindle and boy was I glad I did! I instantly fell in love with your characters but most especially Kiran and Eden (and Sebastian who couldn't?) Eden was different from other girls in ya books, she was strong and independent when she was hurt by Kiran she didn't stay down didn't lament over him and how she was nothing without him like so many other books make out the main character to be. Eden picked herself up and carried on she didn't need someone to define who she was and I feel this carries out a huge message to girls (and boys alike) that we don't need someone else to define who we are. You also helped me with my huge fear of zombies and I mean huge they were my top fear! but after reading love and decay I got over it,but most of all thank you for sharing your blog I'd love to be a writer but was so scared people wouldn't like my work or wouldn't take it serious but you show its worth it to take that risk even if for now its giving me the courage to attach my name to articles written in the school newspaper.
    As for Bet in the Dark here are some I think relate to the book
    maybe "Blind mans bluff" ( a play on words)
    "The draw out" (to get a card that transforms your hand from a losing hand to a winning hand)
    "Up the ante" ( a small bet everyone has to make)
    "Fates bet"

  63. I was thinking, The All-In Chance, because he is smitten with Britte. Or Draw Dead, because he doesn't actually want Britte, just wants to make her see he is not forgettable and he ends up wanting her instead.

  64. Congrats on following your dreams! I'm so glad that you did so that I was able to discover you as one of my favorite authors! ;)

    The Wild Card
    Playing the Odds
    The Angle Shooter
    Big Bet

  65. Rachel! You rock. I have really enjoyed reading your books and I look forward to your new material. Good luck with all of your endeavors! God bless you and your family!

    Pay to Play
    Dealer's Choice
    Anything's Wild
    Bid Your Best
    Dead Give Away

  66. Back into a hand
    Bad Beat Story
    Cards in the Air

  67. And also, thank you so much for writing such amazing books. I love them and I seriously don't understand how any person is able to write something that people get so obsessed with. One day, I hope to write books like you do and have people go crazy over them like your fans do!

  68. I loved everything you had to say at the Speculative Fiction Convention in Orlando. I'm working on that 8 Point Story Arc now and your blog is like the fourth result for that Google search. I loved reading your story here and also hearing portions of it at the con. When I'm done with a reading challenge I'm currently doing for my blog, I plan to read your stuff. :)