Wrap-Up and the Future of L&D

I can't believe it's over!!!

Love and Decay. From Reagan's Perspective. Is done.

It's the end of an era.

Or at least it feels that way to me.

Maybe I'm the only one with snot running down her face and a constant stream of excessive emotional tears that feels this way, but writing that last episode was really difficult for me.

Love and Decay has been a journey for me. A journey to being a better writer. A journey to learning to live with massive panic attacks... constantly. A journey in meeting deadlines. A journey to pushing out good content with every page I write. (Or trying to.) And a journey into a genre I never expected to write.

I wrote three seasons over two years. My fingers are tired.

My brain is tired.

My adrenaline is very tired.

All three seasons put together make up something like over 800,000 words. Since one of my full-length books is only 100k words... that's a LOT of books in two years. Plus, the other books that I've published along the way! I need a nap... :)

I just attended this amazing writer's retreat with some of my closest friends. I have never laughed so hard in my life.

This job can be so lonely. It's such a narcissistic profession because it's all about the author. We want to share when we get amazing reviews that exclaim how incredible we are. Then we want to wallow in self-pity when we get bad reviews because the world is crumbling and we're useless and can't put two interesting sentences together and we might as well just give up on everything. Then we are consumed with our stories and pushing the plot and the next great thing we're going to write. Then we're obsessed with character development and twists and cliffhangers and really ourselves. Our brains. We never stop thinking about our worlds.

It is a frustrating place to be for us, but also for the people in our lives. It takes special loved ones to put up with us. So getting together with some of the greatest writers I know and sharing our hopes and dreams, downfalls, mistakes and disappointments is an incredible place to be. Because we understand that about each other in ways that nobody else really does. We can support each other and our vanity because it's mutual and we know what it's like to hate something and love something at the same time, but to also be so devoted to this career that it's become a physical part of us. It's something that defines who we are as humans. It's something that we can't let go of no matter what our sales reports look like or our publishing contracts or any other reason.

I'm beyond happy I found people to share this with me. I found the best people.

But anyway. My friends were reminiscing about the good old days when they typed their fingers to the bone and lived off industrial-sized pots of coffee and slept four hours every night, then got up again the next day and did it again. Now they've all slowed down and developed a balance to their work/home life. Or maybe not slowed down, but at least found a steady pace.

My friend looked at me, and said, "We've all slowed down... except you! That's still how you live!!"

And I had to agree that it was. But I blame it ALL on this novella series!! It is consuming and overbearing. It's demanding. It never lets me sleep. It drives me half insane and completely exhausted with never-ending work.

But it's also worth it.

So worth it.

I know, without a doubt, that I am proud of everything I publish. I'm proud of it because if I wasn't, I wouldn't publish it. I'm proud by default. :)

I try to make sure everything I write is better than the last thing. I want to keep pushing myself and striving for the next level. I always want to become better than who I am today.

But Love and Decay transcends all of that. There are a lot of people that would disagree with me of course. Love and Decay is not their taste, nor did they like the direction the story took. There are people frustrated with the format and the cost and on and on and on.

I'm not saying that L&D is the best thing ever written... Not by a long shot. Lol. But for me it was a journey worth taking. It made me a better writer. I feel it in my bones. It stretched me to places I didn't think I would ever go(Like the Horror genre and Zombies. I mean, What???). It forced me to be on time with deadlines. Something we all know I struggle with. And the story development happened over the longest amount of words for me. (Star-Crossed is technically longer over all, but there are two different story arcs in that series.)

Reagan and I are like schizophrenic soul sisters fictional BFFs. I love that girl. I love how strong she is and stubborn. I love that she's at times the toughest girl you will ever read about and also the weakest, most delicate. I love that she's loyal but careful. Smart but not all-knowing. I love that she is broken and damaged, but not destroyed and empty. She is this beautiful dichotomy that I think most of us can relate to. We are a medley of opposites blended together to make complex, endless people. We're complicated in the best way and I hope she is an image of that.

It's really tough for me to let her go and close this chapter. There are parts of me that just don't want to!

But at the same time, I CANNOT WAIT TO MOVE ON!!!!!!  

I have so much planned for the upcoming seasons. Like. So much.

I cannot wait to jump into the new story arc and take you on a new adventure.

The best part of Love and Decay, Season Three, Episode Twelve was that at the end of that episode, I felt that Reagan's story was completely finished. I told everything that needed and wanted to be told. I gave her a happily ever after and tied that last period with a pretty pink bow.

But now I'm ready for more. The last three seasons almost feel like a warm-up to now. I was just winding us up.

Can 800,000 words really be considered a prologue? Umm... probably not. But humor me.

Several times over the last two years, I've described L&D as a pre-Dystopian. Meaning... this is the world before we get to the Dystopia. This is the Apocalypse part of the Post-Apocalyptic tale. This is the major event that Dystopian books only reminisce about. This is the flashback of the tragedy and heartbreak the world went through to get to that tyrannical government or new world order. This is the war that caused Chicago to break up into four factions in Divergent. The event that caused America to break up into thirteen districts in The Hunger Games. Love and Decay was the part of the dystopian stories never told before.

This was the beginning of the end of the world.

Now, we get to the meat of it.

The juicy stuff.

We're going to jump nine years into the future, where our gang of Parkers and friends are going back to the former United States of America.

The Colony has assumed complete control. Matthias lives and reigns with an iron fist and armies of Zombie hordes. He kills those that disagree with him. He imprisons those that question his authority. And he has never forgotten the small group of rebels that took away his family and gruesomely disfigured him.

The next few seasons will be told from Page Parker's point of view. She is on a mission to restore world order, even though she can't remember a peaceful world or an existence without Feeders. And because the title of the story is Love and Decay and I can't write anything without romance in it... she's probably going to fall in love. :)

This is a new world than what we've seen in L&D so far. So while there will still be Zombies and a struggle to survive, it will be at a different level. This is a world that has adjusted to the Zombie outbreak. They've learned to live and cope in a world of decay. They've moved on as much as they can and day-to-day survival has become something less than impossible.

Maybe not for the Parkers... but at least for the rest of the remaining population.

Reagan was a learned badass. She transformed from peppy cheerleader into Zombie killer extraordinaire.

What you need to know about Page Parker was that she was raised a lethal killer. Page is a weapon, taught to protect herself and her family with punishing skill and exacting precision. She knows how to kill. She knows how to survive.

She knows how to take down the Colony.

Or at least she hopes she does.

Page and Reagan are very different heroines, but they each have a very interesting story to tell.

I hope you'll come back in December to find out all the new places Love and Decay is headed!!! One thing is for sure... it's not going to get less exciting.



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  1. I stumbled upon your books only 2 months ago and caught up just in time for the release of the last episode. I was floored that you release a novella every week and was like, here is an author that has taken this world of electronic books, instant releases and auto-everything and embraced it!

    Not only did I read page one of L&D and love it (like close my eyes and smile YES, I found my new series!) but I looove and gladly pay ONE measly dollar for four more awesome chapters of your writing. There may be typos and the occasional odd sentence but I felt as if this was Reagan almost writing her Diary of sorts, telling this tale of how she came to be. Your conversational style of writing is so refreshing and allows me to feel as if Reagan is my best friend =)

    Anyways, this is my own perception and story of finding and reading you. (Which while I waited the 2 loooong weeks for episode 12 I found Shelly Crane and her Significant series though your FB page... um <3 ) I love that you all are friends and I can't wait to look up the rest of those girls. =) I appreciate all you do. If the internet and FB have taught us anything, there is always haters, but you gotta do what you love and ignore them.

    I have shared you with so many others who are now starting Reagan and Hendrix's journey and I appreciate you bringing my friends closer to me by having their stories to talk about.

    Thanks for making a positive impact in my life Rachel! Mean it from the bottom of my heart and I can't wait to read your other books... which you said this isn't the best you've ever written... what is!? Cause' I wanna read that! ;)

  2. Rachel first off thanks for all of the AWESOME reads you provide. Secondly, I'm really excited to see what you bring to the table in December with the next stage of Love and Decay, it's been a great series so far and I have a feeling it's about to get way better. And any chance you plan on putting more of the Love and Decay series and Starcrossed series in paperback, hint, hint, pretty please!!!

  3. Bird Love (Sarah)June 2, 2015 at 7:53 AM

    I just want to say, that your series love and decay is hands down my favorite story ever! as impossible as it sounds, this brought me and my teenage daughter closer together (Which is a miracle in It's own). we have fallen in love with the characters and the adventures that you took us on will always be remembered. it is sad that her story has ended, but we love all of your books and we are looking forward to what's next. we know you will not disappoint. you're an amazing writer! keep up the good work!

  4. I just finished volume 8 yesterday and I pretty much cried the whole book. I am addicted to L&D series. I was not able to put it down since I started it. It's like my drug. I have never read so much in my life. I can't wait to get my fix in December. Thank you for such a great story.

  5. I just finished volume 8 yesterday and I pretty much cried the whole book. I am addicted to L&D series. I was not able to put it down since I started it. It's like my drug. I have never read so much in my life. I can't wait to get my fix in December. Thank you for such a great story.