Friday, January 15, 2016

To the Sea Bonus & Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop




I'm celebrating the two year anniversary of my new adult fiction debut, To the Sea with some exclusive content and a giveaway!

Haven't read To the Sea yet? You're in luck! I'm hanging out with the Book Hounds this month as part of the Dreaming of Books Giveaway and blog hop!




Want to win a signed paperback of To the Sea? Please enter below. Don't want to wait? Keep scrolling for purchase info and details on the entire Follow your Bliss series.
*Apologies to my international friends, this one is US only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Want to continue the blog hop? See below...
If you're interested in the exclusive content for To the Sea, keep scrolling! 





Kira didn't buy a single wedding magazine, go to a bridal show, or fill a Pinterest board with loads of inspiration for the big day. She'd done all of that before, once upon a time. Although those nuptials went according to plan, even getting write-ups on blogs, society pages, and double-page magazine spread, Kira did not get her happily ever after.

Marrying Ian was going to be different. After experiencing so much grief, losing and finding herself, and finally gathering the courage to congratulate her friends on their marriages, she felt herself opening up to the possibility that she might be able to accept Ian's proposal. 

As proposals go it was the least traditional and the most romantic. He'd asked her to promise herself to him and he to her, to life on the sea. There was no pressure, no sparkly diamond. It was just the two of them, the Pacific Ocean, a couple surfboards, and a necklace.

They'd figured out how to live together, bicoastal, being the parents to a puppy, working together, dining together, and dreaming together. So maybe, they could marry each other. Maybe. The word itself: marriage was shadowy, filled with expectation and connotation. But Ian was different, she was different.

So one afternoon in May, while sweeping the sand gathered from their surfboards and sandals, she said yes.

Ian looked up from his magazine, and said, "What's that?"

"Yes, I want to marry you."

There was a pause, a rustling of paper and then a full-body hug. The kind of hug that told her he'd never let go, but he'd give her space if she needed it, a listening ear, compassion, and kindness, and that little bit of spontaneity that endeared her to him.

For the next weeks, while they planned their annual trip from Sausalito back to New England, Kira made a list. She'd changed, but not that much. Organization was still her forte. The affair was to be simple, lovely, and a celebration of their relationship with all those whom they loved.


They covered the three-thousand miles, stopping for doggy breaks—for Jewel, their rescued pup—and photo breaks. But when the salt air off the Atlantic swept through the car, Kira knew she was home, sort of. She'd felt that same anchored, connected feeling when she and Ian returned to the Pacific months before. It was then she realized that wherever she and Ian went, she'd be home, except maybe in the car, she'd had enough driving at least for the summer.

They threw the doors open, stretching their limbs like accordions. Jewel ran immediately to the beach and splashed in the water. Home. A husband. A family. The thoughts shimmered like the sun off the sea.

The next week, they prepared, apologized for the late notice to their friends and relatives, assured everyone that it wasn't a joke in order to get everyone to the beach to hang. No, this was the real deal, and Kira was peacefully ecstatic. She didn't bounce with nerves or rethink all the details. She was doing it.

The morning of their wedding, they woke, surfed, went to the Boardroom and got bagels. Then returned to the cottage, where Kira's sister and best friends, along with Ian's cousins were waiting. They primped and preened, and after Kira put on her bikini—a turquoise one with needlepoint flowers—she linked her arm in Ian's and they walked to the shore.

"Isn't it bad luck to see the bride before the big moment?" Ian asked.

          "I don't believe in bad luck," she answered. "I believe in us."

(*Originally published during the New Adult Scavenger hunt.)


Thank you for entering, reading, and supporting new adult fiction! Want to read more? Check out To the Sea and all the Follow your Bliss books here

Like YA? PEARL comes out March 1! Check in frequently for news, details, a release party, and the BIGGEST giveaway I've ever done. *Hint, it can hold lots and lots of books and isn't made of wood ;-) Please join my newsletter so you don't miss out!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

#stayGOALden






I've learned some of the best things I know about not-writing from my writing friends. 

Huh? 

There's writing and then there's the not-writing part of writing. No, not binge watching Pretty Little Liars, spending an hour on Tumblr, or doing the other umpteen things I do when I'm not wearing my writer's hat. 

Uh...?

What I mean is the foundation-building that makes it so I can write. 

Hang on...Let me backtrack just a little more. 

Give me a piece of chalk, a cold hunk of charcoal, or a sharp nail against my skin and I can write. I prefer the keyboard, of course, but to create a compelling story, relate-able characters, and a relatively hole-free draft, there's a lot that goes on before I even click in the words Chapter One. 

I've pantsed manuscripts and I've written 30+K outlines. I've named characters on the spot and fleshed out families and known their intimate habits from page one. But to get there, there's an amount of planning and collaboration with the humans in my life to obtain writing time, separate from the dog-needs-a-walk-time, make-dinner-time, and other responsibilities that populate my day. Sometimes this is as simple as jotting a note with the words Do Not Disturb on a sticky note and adhering it to my forehead, while other times I have to make special requests from the Universe for, like, five minutes. It can get very complicated.

But back to my main point. My writer friends have taught me much in the way of character motivation, avoiding the mid-story slump, and how to get in deep with the point of view. But perhaps one of the most useful and practical bits of wisdom came from my author friend, Cheyanne Young. And it was so simple it hardly took more than ten minutes to get together, which then saved me days, possibly weeks of lost time, disappointment, and incomplete chapters and drafts. 

So what is it?

A calendar. 

Yep. 

Derp.

Simple, ya?

I started with a simple monthly calendar I printed out for free. Each day I made note of word count goals, blog posts, deadlines, etc. Having it all on one sheet, clearly in front of me saved my November and December months from slipping into the wasteland of lost time (not to mention holiday madness). 

But then Cheyanne one-upped the simple sheet calendar. 

Yup. 

She introduced me to the Passion Planner. I went from tap water to champagne in, like, sixty days and it is awesome. 

Here's what it's all about in the words of entrepreneur and organization fairy, Angelia Trinidad: 

"I wanted people to use this planner as a compass they could use to guide their daily decisions. It's simple. You ask yourself: is what I am going to do today going to get me closer to my goals? Yes? Do it. No? Don't do it."

I have a lot on my life-plate this year aside from the usual gluten-free, sugar-free, vegetarian fare. In fact, some might say I'm taking second helpings! All the prep for the blitz that is PEARL releasing on March 1, writing 3 sequels: TIDE, THE BIG THIS, and a super-secret NA shortie, (also we have a puppy, are planning a surf trip, and big, exciting things for my growing family in the fall). So like most people, it's important to me that I make the best use of time. Because, durn it, it's flying by mavericks. 

So with the help of my #stayGOALden Passion Planner, my 2016 goals in the writing-realm are:

1. Stay focused. Eyes on the freedom prize: having time to do all the things I love with the people I love. No slacking off when it comes to writing, promoting, and reaching readers. I love this gig, so I can't imagine not putting my heart and mind together, but ya know, distractions happen. *Cough Downton Abbey, cough.* Not to say I can't enjoy little nips of fun, but protecting writing time and using it well is primo. 

2. Efficiency. I sometimes find myself wandering down internet rabbit holes, doing irrelevant research because jeez, there's some interesting shtuff out there. I also bog myself down in second-guessing, rechecking, and over-thinking, which can seriously cut into me getting what I set out to by the end of the day or week or month. So sticking to mini-goals will help me better reach the bigger ones. 

3. Patience. I've talked about patience a bit, and I think about it a lot. It's one of those things I have to continuously work on as a human. It isn't that I expect things now or have an instant gratification complex, but more that I believe that life is a matter of our personal agency and the results of our efforts combined with one of my favorite Paulo Coelho quotes: 

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”


Meaning there's more at work than what we perceive. So my lesson is allowing things to unfold in their time without getting disheartened or giving up on dreams. I imagine the Passion Planner is going to help me keep perspective. 

4. Simplicity. I tend to take on too much. I know this about myself and I know it's too much when I start to stress and lose all sense of focus, efficiency, and patience. So if my to do list gets too long, it's time to scale back, say no every now and then, and refine what it is that makes me feel the creative sizzle! Under this goal I include making sure to meet my body needs: food, water, sleep, etc. I'll refer to this post about writer health

5. Sparkle! Yep, I want to sparkle, be surrounded by sparkle, and eat, drink, and breathe sparkle. I don't mean glitter, well, not really. I really love glittery things (and fluffy things in case you were wondering), but what I really mean is the shine that comes from within. I want to amp up the bright light a few notches this year and really see the radiance of my true heart in everything I do.

Hashtag life goals. 

How do you keep yourself on track? Any tricks or tips I should know? Please share below! 






Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dear 2015


Dear 2015, 

Thank you. Thank you for difficulties and lessons. For the ease of routine and growth. For the opportunities and triumphs and connections. 

You taught me about patience and persistence, for diligence and what it is to practice something until it's a joy and not a tiresome chore.

I think I smiled more of these last three-hundred-and-sixty-five days than not. And laughter. There was an abundance of laughter logged, more so than in most years previous. I'm especially thankful for this and getting my wonder-muscles pumped. 

Courage figured into this year in big and little ways, and I appreciate the challenge. Pushing through resistance makes me stronger even if I don't see it that way in the moment. 

Thank you for the ocean and sunshine; the salt and light has brightened me from within. And walks and talks, dancing feet and sailing balls, sandy toes and long sips of ice-cold water. 

Thank you for opportunities and partnerships. I learned that I tend to prefer to do everything (my way), but working in collaboration draws the best in me and broadens my capacities and creativity, not to mention connects me to some pretty outstanding people. 

A late lesson in the year was simplicity and sometimes the right answer is no even though it isn't always an easy one. Taking time for mind space, quiet, and stillness in this jittery body of mine is vital. I hope I put this more into practice in the coming year. 

Thank you for carrying me through the days and nights, hopes and dreams, longings and losses. Thank you for helping me get to know myself better. Thank you for drawing me into new friendships. 

Thank you, 2015 for so much love and light. Thank you for peace. I look forward to all of this and more in the coming year.


P.S. Here are 12 of my favorite blog posts from 2015:

On My Writing and Publication Journey

On Self Love

On Writing & Road Trips

On Thresholds

21 Ways to Help Creatives

On fiction or non (aka Would you Rather, the Reader Edition)

On Writer Health

Top Tweets

On Sugar

On the Whys behind Sugar

On Authoring

On Book Covers and Pearl