Fortitude is Almost Here

A week and a half to go until Fortitude is out in the world. It’s an exciting, frightening, emotional time but being surrounded by encouraging family and supportive friends make it all easier. So does having a gorgeous cover and awesome professional team.

Fortitude cover

If you’re interested in a Kindle copy, Amazon has the pre-order link up. I’ll be sure to share other sources as they become available.

For now, have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend!

Next Month

2015 has been an exciting year for me and it’s becoming more so by the week. First, after waiting over two decades, I experienced my favorite band in concert (front row, center!) in the spring.
Then I visited the largest home in America late summer.


But the year isn’t done with me yet. 2015 will afford the experience of my third bucket list item: the publishing of my first book.

Yes, the release date for Fortitude (Surge imprint, Anaiah Press) has been moved from January 2016 to December 8, 2015. Thirty-four days to go! I’ll be posting more about this historical novel in the days ahead.

Also, last month Europe (favorite band, as linked above) announced the second half of their U.S.A. tour to promote their newest album “War of Kings” and they are coming to one of my favorite venues on the Gulf Coast. I bought my tickets and will be seeing them for the second time in less than a year in 93 days!

One of the best years ever! How are things looking from your perspective?

Decade in the Making

I’m halfway through the second round of content edits on Corroded (Surge Imprint from Anaiah Press, April 2016), which makes it at least the fiftieth revision. It’s been a learning curve, to be sure! Even though it’s coming out second, this is the oldest “book baby” of my adult life. My first born, but she had to stay in the ICU so that the second child, Fortitude, will be out in the world four months ahead of her.

Corroded has been through two different critique groups, a full manuscript critique by Laurie Halse Anderson, and a handful of beta readers. Not to mention that it went through two rounds of submissions—and rejections—in the past four years (when I thought she was mature enough) before she was accepted this year (on the “first” try.) I’ve swaddled and re-diapered this story more than anything else I’ve ever worked on. Early readers will recognize the story, but Corroded is now so much more than I thought possible when she was formed a decade ago.

In the beginning, I was too close to the main character. By separating myself from her, I was able to dig deeper. How is that? Probably the same way you can find yourself by losing yourself in service. I had to give up my own ideals to find the true complexities of the characters. And in doing that, I maneuvered through the layers of the story to find the heart. I journeyed so far that I ended up with two main characters and dual point-of-view novel.

Foritude-Corroded quote

Thought it all, I couldn’t give up on Corroded. The story needed extra nurturing and that took time off and on throughout my other projects. Even now, there’s work to be done, but I’m confident the book will be the best version of itself when it’s finally released from the nursery. Anaiah Press has given me a stellar editor to make sure that happens. It’s been a longtime coming and I’m grateful for each step of the journey.


Since I’ve been in editing mode this year—and under deadline—many things around the house have fallen into states of disarray. Some of the most noticeable cluttered spaces are my bookshelves. After turning in the first round of content edits on my second novel I took a few days to organize my wall of books.


But before I could tackle all those, I went to my other shelves and organized them so I could relocate some of the reference collection, among other things.


Not too shabby.
The Shannara books are out of the cabinet.


Some of my favorite authors—and writing reference books—are located on the side of my standing desk.


Many of my YA (and other) books are now located on the other side of my desk.

Besides organizing I’m donating a box of MG-YA books to a friend who’s a first year middle school English teacher.


But rather than totally streamlining, being the bibliophile that I am, I’ve already added fourteen new books to my collection so I now have some stacks in front of the stacks…


I tried, really I did.

What’s your (book) weakness?


P.S. For those who subscribe to my newsletter, I skipped September because I hope to have some exciting news to share early this month, so be on the lookout.



2015 has been a year of edits. Multiple rounds of edits on my first novel, Fortitude, carried me through winter and spring. In between those, I reworked my second novel, Corroded, to be submission ready for my publisher. (I signed the contract for it in April.) Over the summer, I worked on my messy work-in-progress, as well as line edits on Fortitude.

And Fortitude is finally done! The manuscript is with the designer and cover artist. WooHoo!

Teen me.

Teen me.

Now I’m back to edits on Corroded. I’m spending my early morning hours going through life with Mary and Ben, revisiting the angst and thrill of high school. Would I go back in time if I could?


But I’ll take the safe distance of fiction to reassess those emotions, whether through my own storytelling or the art of others. After all, I think we are all still “coming-of-age.” Even if you are happy where you are in life, there is always something you can do to stretch yourself to the next level.

If you could redo a section of your life, would you?

Adventure Ahead!

At the beginning of August, I took a trip with a comrade (both in homeschooling and writing) to North Carolina. Thanks to a visit from Santa in 2014, we had V.I.P. seats for The Piano Guys concert, and enjoyed two nights in downtown Raleigh.




As many concerts as I’ve attended over the years, this was my first V.I.P. experience. Great, third row seats, as well as a meet-and-greet afterwards. So much fun! Thanks, girlie!




Then, on the way back south (well, home to the DEEP south), we stopped in one of my bucket list locations—Biltmore Estate.



100_8148Yes, for those keeping track, this is my second “Bucket List” check-off this year, and both involved traveling.

As if that adventure wasn’t enough, I’m soon to be off on another. Information on that in the days ahead.

Where have your travels taken you lately?

Grace and Guidance

It’s been a surreal week of reading through Fortitude’s galley (early e-version of the book.) One hundred forty days until it’s out in the world! On top of proofing the galley, I need to turn in the dedication, acknowledgements, and biography sections.

Freak out time!

This is getting real, people!


Granted, I’ve been working notes for an acknowledge section for a couple years—probably since the first draft was complete—it feels odd to have to finalize it. The journey is getting close to the end, but at the same time, it’s just beginning. I thought I had it all worked out, but about an hour after getting into bed last night, I was up again, altering the list of thanks.

Adding to it.

Because there have been so many people along the way who have helped, inspired, and answered questions.

The dedication remains the same, but how to fit all those who’ve touched the story… that’s a difficult question. But I think I found the answer. Come January 12, 2016, you’ll be able to see for yourself.