Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Today is a very rough day for so many people, I thought I'd post about something happy to help take our minds off of it for just a moment. Feast your eyes upon this:
Isn't that cover to die for?? I just love the covers of Brodi's books.

And I love her books even more. (Which is always a great thing when you're friends with the author--to truly, madly, deeply love their books.) ;-)

I was lucky enough to nab a copy of EVERBOUND in a local ARC tour, and I devoured it in one day (I drove my three kids up to Idaho that day, so that's really saying something that I squeezed it in). And for all of you Cole fans out there? Let your little hearts start racing right now, because you get TONS of Cole in this book. And even those haters out there, you might start rethinking your feelings about him...

I don't want to be spoilery, so I won't say much more except to tell you that you should definitely put this on your TBR pile or go pre-order it right now. Brodi did an amazing job with her sequel, and now I'm dying for the last book! (Can I somehow bribe you to let me read it? Chocolate covered cinnamon bears? Gluten-free Thai food??) Ah, well, can't blame a girl for trying.

Great job, Brodi!

My thoughts and prayers are with all those struggling right now back east, I hope you all stay safe, dry, and healthy--and that the recovery process from this devastating storm can be as quick and painless as possible for as many as possible. <3 p="p">

Friday, October 26, 2012

News! (And it's mine this time)

Wow. I'm not going to lie, there were times over the last nine months when I really thought I'd never get to write this post. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while probably noticed that in February, I quietly took the name of my agent off of my bio. I never made a public announcement that I had decided to part ways with her, but I'm sure most of you have figured it out by now. It was a gut-wrenching decision, and one it took me a looong time to make, for many reasons. The biggest being that she was so nice, and had worked hard on my behalf, and still believed in my books. But sometimes, things just don't work out the way you hope, and over time, you realize that even though you're both nice, professional people, you aren't the best match to be working together. But it was so hard to actually do it--especially because it had been so hard to get an agent the first time. I had really amazing family and friends (some who had been where I was and things worked out great for them the second time around) that encouraged me, and believed in me.

So I did it. I wrote her and waited my thirty days and then I was officially un-agented again. I was freaking out.

And then I started querying. I got requests. I started to feel hopeful. Until the rejections came in. Ouch, those really hurt. Especially when I'm questioning myself the whole time: why did I do this? Why am I querying agents again when I could be on sub with editors?? And the rejections were all the same: your writing is excellent, this story is great, but the timing is wrong.

In the meantime, we had a terrible tragedy in our family. Again, for all who've followed me for a while, you'll remember what happened at the end of February (right when my thirty days were almost up): we lost Josh to cancer.

I was in a dark place. I was full of grief. The stark reality of death for someone so young was hard to bear. But out of that grief came two books: I started them within a week of each other, but ended up putting aside the fantasy (which is what I usually write to some degree), and focused on the light sci-fi (something I'd never attempted before), because I thought the timing might be better. I finished that book, revised it, and when it became clear the book I was querying was just not going to make it because the timing wasn't right, I switched and began to query the light sci-fi one, FINDING JANE.

I got requests. LOTS of requests. I got such amazing feedback, but after four months, still no offers. During that time, I was trying to write the fantasy, but man... that book just didn't want to come out. As the months wore on, I was as low as could be. (You may recall a post or two about that, and me trying to overcome it.) I have hit rock bottom quite a few times on this LOOOOONG journey of mine. And every time I think I can't get lower. But then I do. But everytime, not matter how bad it is, I somehow drag myself up and keep going. This last time was the closest I've been to actually quitting. To walking away--forever. But I didn't. As I wrote about in September, I kept going, and I finished my fantasy, DAUGHTER OF WAR.

I sent it out to beta's. I waited. I read my feedback. I made myself think about it, mull it over, and then attack my revision with everything I had. I knew this book was special. I knew it was the best thing I'd ever written, and I needed to do it justice.

When there wasn't anything else to do to make it better on my own, I knew it was time to start querying. That was Monday of last week. On Tuesday night, I queried an amazing agent who requested the full in ten minutes. I was cautiously excited.

And then. The NEXT DAY--only about fifteen hours later--I got an email from this agent. I pulled over to read it (I was on the way to drop my son off at preschool). And I started screaming, laughing and crying all at once. We spoke that night and I was just blown away by her enthusiasm and love for my book.

But there were also other agents who had it, and who ended up interested in my book. I'll be honest, I've dreamt of being the girl with multiple offers from agents (it didn't happen the first time). It was so exciting and wonderful--but it was also SO hard. I really loved more than one agent, and I was so torn. But I knew after speaking to one particular agent that he was the right choice. Everything just clicked when I spoke to him and in our subsequent emails.

So it is with great excitement and happiness that I get to announce that I am now represented by the amazing JOSH ADAMS of Adams Literary!!!

This is has been such a long journey, and ended up in such a whirlwind this last week, my head is still spinning. But I am so excited for this new direction in my career and for all that lies ahead. I can't wait to share DAUGHTER OF WAR with you all--hopefully sooner than later!

Monday, October 22, 2012

TRANSPARENT Cover love!!

You guys!

My friend, the amazingly talented, wonderful Natalie Whipple has given us all a reason to celebrate the fact that it's Monday. She gave us this:

Isn't it AMAZING???!?!!!!

This book is incredible (is it on your TBR pile yet? Have you pre-ordered it yet? NO?? GO. Do it. I promise you'll thank me!) and the cover is just perfect.

I'm so excited for you Natalie! I can't wait for you to get to share your awesome book with the world!

Now go over to her blog and tell her congrats! :-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Heartbroken and a lesson learned--again

This is the same post I put on the Kindness Project blog--my first post there. But I wanted to share it here, too. And for some reason I thought I was supposed to post on Monday, but it wasn't until Wednesday, so this one is up a couple of days early. Oops. So now it's all messed up and this is posting two days before the other one. Maybe I'll end up changing the other one after all. Basically I'm just a mess at the moment. And you'll soon see why. Anyway, I was so excited to do a big, inspirational post. Share some powerful quotes, maybe a life experience or two.

And then something happened. And I have to apologize up front, because this is kind of long.

If you've read our bios on the TKPblog or on here, you'll notice that my sweet little dog Charlie is mentioned in mine. That's because he's such a part of my family and my life. I've had him since I was sixteen. On Thursday of last week, he was attacked by a deer. Yes, a deer. So here's my public safety announcement for anyone else out there like me who thinks does are docile and sweet: They. Are. Not. They are dangerous and you need to keep your pets and children away from them.

I was there for the whole thing. I let Charlie outside to do his business and looked out to see him and a deer standing by each other. They were kind of sniffing at each other, following each other around a little bit. I never in a million years thought a deer--a doe--would attack my tiny, little 7 lbs maltese (who was doing nothing more than wagging his tail and being friendly). But all of a sudden, she lunged at him. And I said, "that was weird--she looked like she was going to attack him." And before I could even finish my thought, she did just that--she attacked. She lunged up on her rear legs and then crushed him to the ground with her front hooves. I screamed and banged on the door, desperately trying to get my son out of the way so I could open it and save my dog. I thought the noise would scare her, but no, she just kept going and going, rearing up and crushing him again and again. I ran at her, screaming and throwing my arms to scare her off, because she wouldn't stop. I ended up having to hit her in the side to save my sweet Charlie before she stopped and sort of trotted off. I thought he would be dead when I knelt down beside him on the damp grass and scooped him into my arms.

But miraculously, he wasn't. He was alive and as sweet as ever. During the whole attack and after he never, not once, snapped, barked, whined or anything. I was shaking and crying sure that he was dying, even though there was no blood and he acted okay. How could he survive being struck over and over by a deer's hooves?

But he did. His x-rays were clear, no broken bones, no internal bleeding. They kept him overnight for observation, but sent him home on Friday with painkillers, calling him the miracle dog. And he was. He was such a fighter.

But you might have caught that word. "Was." Because that night, he started struggling to breathe. We took him to the 24-hr emergency vet, and they put him on oxygen. By morning, he was really struggling. My husband was at work already, and I was home with my kids, so my sweet dad went to get him and transfer him back up to our normal vet and was going to let me know how he was doing and if I needed to get a babysitter so I could come be with him. When he pulled into the parking lot, ten minutes before they opened, Charlie took two gasping, coughing breaths, and stopped breathing.

My dad slammed the car into park, scooped Charlie up and ran. When he burst throught the doors, yelling that my dog had stopped breathing, the techs jumped into action. And in a stroke of providence, the vet had come a few minutes early for the day--she was literally walking through the door when they put Charlie on the table and started trying to bring him back. His heart had stopped. He was gone. But that sweet vet gave him CPR and brought my Charlie back. My dad called me, and told me I needed to come right away. There was no one to watch my kids though, and I didn't know what to do. My sister and my sweet neighbors jumped into action, helping me find someone to help out. I rushed over and got to be with my sweet little puppy one last time. The vet told us dogs that were in as bad as shape as he was, and are as old as he was, don't come back. Once their hearts stop, they don't start back up. But my Charlie fought, and came back. At first I thought he came back because he wanted to survive--but in the next couple of hours, it became clear he came back so I could say goodbye.

His lungs were full of fluid, his heart was failing. Old age and the deer attack were too much for my sweet boy. But he came back for me. I held him, and once he started struggling to breathe even with the oxygen, I finally knew. I'd been struggling all morning, not knowing if we should keep fighting to save him and prolongue his suffering if it didn't work, or if we should let him go. But when he started having a hard time breathing with a 100% oxygen mask on, I knew he wasn't going to make it. And for the first time since the attack, he whined. He was in so much pain. I held him as they gave him the sedative, as they eased his spirit out of my arms, into those on the other side waiting for him.

His lungs were full of fluid, his heart was failing. Old age and the deer attack were too much for my sweet boy. But he came back for me. I held him, and once he started struggling to breathe even with the oxygen, I finally knew. I'd been struggling all morning, not knowing if we should keep fighting to save him and prolongue his suffering if it didn't work, or if we should let him go. But when he started having a hard time breathing with a 100% oxygen mask on, I knew he wasn't going to make it. And for the first time since the attack, he whined. He was in so much pain. I held him as they gave him the sedative, and as they eased him out of my arms, into those on the other side waiting for him.

Me, Trav and Charlie when we'd been married for just over a year. Boy are we babies!

Why am I sharing all of this? Because kindness for me this weekend was in the form of my father, who went above and beyond to help me, to help my Charlie. It was in the loving way my husband made him a casket and helped me bury him beneath a beautiful tree. It was in the kindness the vet showed me, in the way she hugged me, holding her arm around me when I first came in to the room to see him on the table getting worked on. It was in my neighbors and friends and family, helping to watch my children, sending me kind messages, letting me know they understood and cared why I was so upset, even though he was "just a dog."

And it was in the tender mercy of having Charlie come back so I could hold him one last time, alive. Have you ever thought about how amazing dogs are? That no matter what happens, or how they're treated, they always are ready to lick your hand, to curl up in your lap, to snuggle in your arms. At least, my Charlie always was. I loved him so much and I will miss him so much. He was never just a dog to me. He was my comfort, my sweetheart, my cute little puppy who would always give me loves when boys broke my heart growing up, who layed his head on my belly when I was pregnant with my first son, who let my kids pull on him and play with him and never bit them or snapped at them. He was a part of our family.

When he got older we eventually stopped torturing him with costumes. But he's pretty cute as Santa's reindeer, don't you think?

Do yourself a kindness and don't take for granted anyone or anything in your life. Because they could be taken from you at any minute. For anyone who has been following my blog, you'll remember how we found that out earlier this year with my cousin's husband getting taken from us because of cancer at the age of twenty-four. We found it out again this weekend with Charlie. And then, shortly after all of this happened, we found out that a friend of mine and my sisters' lost her son in a drowning accident while she was out of town. She had to fly back home knowing she was going to say goodbye to her son, who was on life support just so she could get there and see him one last time. As hard as it was to lose Charlie, I am SO grateful it wasn't one of my children who got attacked by the deer--because it could have been. It's been a VERY hard, sad weekend.

I took SonA to visit him at the vet when we were still hoping he'd pull through...

Since I joined this project, I've tried very hard to make a conscious decision to be kind--even to people who aren't kind to me. Who maybe don't "deserve" it. One thing that helps me is to think, "What if this were that person's last day on earth? What if I knew they were going to die tomorrow? How would I treat her (or him)?" And when I remember to think that way, it's amazing how differently I feel and act toward others.

So here's what I keep learning over and over again in many different ways: Show kindness to everyone, including yourself. Because you just never know when that chance you had to do something, anything, might have been your last.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Kindness Project BLOG!!

Yes, you read that right -- we are now making a separate blog for The Kindness Project, and it is launching TODAY! Please go over there, check it out, and follow! We will all be taking turns posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; sharing our triumphs and failures, our hopes and thoughts and wishes, as we all strive to incorporate more kindness into our lives. We hope you will join with us and help spread the word.

You can also follow The Kindness Project on Facebook and on Twitter!

I am so excited be a part of this with some of the most amazing, kind, wonderful people I'm privileged to have in my life.

Hope to see you there!