The Five Stages of Writing


Oh my gosh. It's been SOOOOO long since I've blogged!!! I keep meaning to.. but obviously intending to do something and actually doing something are miles apart for me.

I really thought I would blog after The Redeemable Prince went live, because well, there were lots and lots of feels with that book and I thought it deserved a post.

But here we are. A month later. And yeah... no blog.

I still might do one! That series means so much to me and my writing career that it deserves all of my thoughts. I also have a little more breathing room to do the fun writing stuff. Like blog posts and such. Or I'm giving myself some more breathing room.

I'm a little desperate for some breathing room right now, if we're honest.

But anyway. The Redeemable Prince blog will have to wait because... I WANT TO BLOG ABOUT FIVE STAGES!

Oh. Sorry. I didn't mean to shout at you.

I'm just so.. AH! Or in layman's terms... I'm just so excited! I can't even, you guys! This book!!!

I cannot get over the response. Or the reviews. Or that people are actually willing to take a risk on it and go through the emotional trauma! ;)

I'm only half-kidding with that last one.

I'm amazed.

Of course, this isn't my first book. It's more like my 14th. And that's not counting the 30 novellas I have under my belt too.

But this one... This book is different.

It's like... If all of my other books and novellas and blog posts and journal entries and whatever else I sit down and create, if those things are pieces of my soul (and they are) then this one is more than that.

This one is my heart. And my all of my soul. And the atoms and electrons and blood vessels and heartbeats and nerve pulses and whatever else.

This book is all of me. All of me.

Which is a very hard thing to publish by the way.

I started writing this book during the summer of 2013. Over a year and a half ago!

I was standing there. In my kitchen. Cooking a late dinner with my husband. Sometimes we like to do that and call them dates. We feed the kids early and then share a quiet meal together where I don't have to play waitress and convince the four little monsters that if there is ONE place where they CANNOT talk about farting and popping it is THE DINNER TABLE.

Anyway. I was cooking dinner and listening to my favorite kitchen music and the song, The Way You Look Tonight came one. Which is my most favorite song of all time. I just... I love that song. It's like a gut punch every time I hear it because I love it so much.

And so there I was. With great food. Great music. And this love I have for my husband that is brimming over. Do you know what I mean? It was like I could feel it all. At once. To the very depths of me.

So the line in the song came on... There is nothing left for me but to love you.

It was this exclamation point at the end of all of these beautiful feelings. Do you know what I mean? Have you been there???

I just could not have felt more for my husband if I tried. I loved him so fiercely (And still do) that it made that completely normal, average, not-out-of-the-ordinary moment so poignant that I don't think I will ever forget it. It was clarity and vision and hope all at once.

Naturally the next thought I had was, But what if I lose him???

All of that happiness, fulfillment, joy, beauty... all of it just came crashing to the ground. I could not picture my life without Zach. I could not do it.

I'm one of those obnoxious people that doesn't just think about things. I really think about things. I don't just have thoughts. I have thoughts and thoughts and thoughts and thoughts. And then those thoughts have thoughts.

I always say that I follow it through. I don't have like What if? questions. I have What if worlds? Where I have initial thoughts and then I follow them all the way through until the very very very end.

Which is probably why I'm a fiction writer. My daydreams become stories and plots and trilogies and never-ending sagas in the span of five minutes. That's just how I think.

I don't see a couple fighting in a restaurant and move on. I imagine their beginning, what led them to that moment, how they will work it out or not work it out and then how they'll live the very rest of their lives.

For better or worse, that is my thought process.

And that's how The Five Stages of Falling in Love happened. I didn't just think, what if I lost Zach? I turned it into a story because reality was too too too much. And once I had those initial thoughts of this wife of four little kids, who's husband was her entire world, and what if she had to lose him. That woman became Liz. And that husband became Grady. And those kids became Blake, Abby, Lucy and Jace.

I erupted into tears a minute later. I had to abandon the food and flee to the bathroom. Zach had no idea what was wrong with me and when I explained that it was all because of this book idea I suddenly had, he was even more confused.

But that night, right after dinner, I sat down and wrote the prologue and the first chapter. (Just to be clear, Ben didn't show up in the story until I had shifted the circumstances to a fictional character. When it was me that I was thinking about, there was no happily ever after. Just miles and miles and miles and a millenia of despair.)

As soon as I had the prologue written, I knew the title of the story and I knew the format. I wanted to showcase the Five Stages of Grief while Liz fell learned to love again.

At the time, the story felt impossible. So impossible. In fact, so impossible I nearly gave up on it before I ever truly started it. I didn't know how to make it believable. Or realistic. Or so that the reader would fall in love with Ben without hating Liz.

I also didn't know how I would take her through the five stages of grief and still make the story worth reading.

I have personally been through those five stages. I have lived them. (My dad died when I was 21.) Those stages are ugly.

Beyond ugly.

And they hurt every moment of every day.

So it honestly felt like this was a mountain I had decided to climb barefoot.

I didn't feel good enough for this story. Or smart enough. Or any of the other things in a long list of insecurities.

But most of all I didn't feel brave enough.

I have amazing friends though. And I have a stubborn sense of determination. So as a year went by and I didn't add anything to this story, my friends, who had read those first few pages, continued to encourage me to write it. They had fallen in love with the story and wanted the rest of it. In fact, sometimes they would tell me that it was their favorite story of mine.

And there was only the prologue and first chapter.

I tried not to be offended. :) Just kidding! I knew what they meant.

There's something else you should know about me. I am afraid of an abnormal amount of things. Fear is something I deal with daily. I'm afraid of everything. I'm afraid of bugs. I'm afraid of the recycled air in airplanes. I'm afraid of commitment so I won't buy a house. I'm afraid of my kids getting scurvy.

I mean... seriously this is an issue. But it's always been an issue with me and so I know what to expect of myself.

I've also been fighting it long enough that I know how to go to battle against it. I might be afraid, but I also long to be fearless.

I also strive to be a better writer with each book I publish. That is my life's motto. I actively work to push myself and conquer all of my irrational fears and write the best book I'm capable of.

And that's how Five Stages came to be.

I swallowed my fears, my insecurities and my doubts and I poured myself into that book.

All of me.

It wasn't an easy journey. It was definitely the most emotional book I've ever written. In fact, it got so bad that I told my kids to just tell people I was writing a really sad book because they started to tell their teachers I was constantly crying! (I can only imagine what their teachers thought was happening at home...)

Most of all, this book was a risk.

I probably tried to talk myself out of it 200 times. I thought about not publishing it at least 1000 times.

Honestly, if it hadn't been for that pre-order commitment I made, you still might not have this book!

But I had to have it out, so I forced myself to be as courageous as I have ever been and I dived in. Or more accurately, I jumped off the freaking cliff.

And... this is what happened.

My good friend, Candice, read along with me as I wrote it. She basically held my hand and told me to stop freaking out. I will forever be grateful for her patience with me. And her ability to read and understand my unedited work.

My husband teased me the entire time. He really could not believe I was writing a story about a woman with four kids that loses her husband and then dates the neighbor. He constantly tried to figure out which neighbor I wanted to leave him for.

Just to be clear, I don't want to marry any of our neighbors.

And I also conquered my very first sex scene.

That's right, up until now, my characters have stayed firmly in the virgin zone. Or. Their monkey business happened off camera.

Liz and Ben got to know each other.

In the Biblical sense.


But I felt it was vital for the story. Otherwise I wouldn't have put it in.

At the end of the day, I have never been more proud of a book. (Of course, I say that with each one that I publish.) I am so thankful for this road I traveled and what I learned about myself and about myself as a writer. This book is not really words and paragraphs, chapters and a happily ever after. This book is an experience. It is my heart and my soul and every bit of me that I could give you to make the most beautiful story that I could.

So there it is... My journey to The Five Stages of Falling in Love.

So now what??

I'm retiring.

I thought I should end on a high note.


Just kidding!!!!

Actually, what I really want to say is that I will be writing more adult contemporaries. I really really really like the genre. I like the adult conflict and the adult dialogue and the adult thought processes.

But. I will never stop writing YA.


I will definitely mix in the adult. But YA is my home base. And I have something like 10 more YA series I want to start in the next five years... so you probably won't be able to get rid of me.

But now you'll get adult too. At least once a year.

The next adult book I'm writing is called Every Wrong Reason. It will be out in September.

The next full-length book I will release, will be The Heart, which is the third and final book in the Siren Series. And then of course Love and Decay will go all the way until May!

Until then, pick up The Five Stages of Falling in Love if you haven't already!!!!!!!

The Five Stages of Falling in Love-

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It's also available in paperback!!!!!!

The Five Stages of Falling in Love for Print 


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