Another calendar page has turned, dearest readers, and I'm ready to hit the keyboard hard to give you plenty to read in the year ahead. If you follow me on Facebook, then you've been getting inundated with lots of exciting little bits of info in the past few days:
1. Under Renovation is now available in audiobook format on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes! This is a first for me and I've been tingling with adrenaline since it dropped last week. I promise, you're going to LOVE Melissa White, the super talented voice actor who produced this delightful edition.
2. I've revamped my Patreon a bit and dropped the membership. You can now sign-up for various tiers at $1, $3, $5, and $10. Many of the benefits remain the same, but you'll have more content for less money. What's not to love?
3. My very first newsletter goes out tomorrow! I'll be sending this out early each month and it will be THE first place to hear news about me and all the titles I'll be releasing this year. (Yes, I said "all." You're gonna pass out from all the excitement.) So, sign up NOW so you don't miss a single thing!
I hope to put many new titles on your bookshelves this year, dearest readers. Stay tuned for all the final drafts I can muster! And have a happy, healthy, and wonderful new year!
Hey, readers! I've just created and launched a brand new Patreon! This is totally foreign territory for me but I am super duper excited about it. As I hurl myself towards my life-long dream of becoming a full-time writer, I realize more and more every day how much I rely on the support of my friends, family, fans, and followers. I am so grateful for each and every person who has ever picked up one of my books, even if it was just to read the back. It's incredible to know my work is SEEN, and the feeling never ceases to amaze me. So, thank you all from the bottom of my little writer heart.
From the time I could read words, I wanted to write them. There's power in words. The power to create people, places, stories, visions, whatever you can dream up. When I write, I know that I'm the first people in the world who has ever written these words in this order on these pages. Writing is powerful and magical and... so, so very darn hard.
With your support of my Patreon, you'll help me to keep putting words into that unique order. You'll help me to harness their power and create worlds full of people and places. You'll give me the opportunity and motivation to script witty dialogue and wrestle raw emotions onto the pages of a new novel.
There are four tiers to choose from:
When you inhale books the way I do (and always have), many fade into the background of your consciousness. I have ready MANY a book only once and forgotten many of them in the wake of a lucky few. In general, I don't re-read books... There are only so many hours in a day and days in a life; I need to keep moving forward, devouring new books, pushing through that TBR pile and the local library's extensive fiction collection. If I'm going to read it again, it's gotta be GOOD.
I recently discussed this with a friend, one who often re-reads her favorite books, and did some reflecting on the books I have read multiple times--and why. Why those books? And I realized something important. Not only did I like these books, but they changed me somehow. Some changed how I look at life, at myself, at reading, and at writing. There are books in this world that just find you. They get you, and you get them. It's a magical experience to find one of those literary gems. When I do, I want to live in those pages again and again.
And that's the thought train that led me to this blog post series: The 5 Books That Shaped Me. I use the term 'shaped' in the broad sense, since some have almost 'dropped a pin' in a certain place in my life, helping to shape the road map of who I am and where I've gotten so far in my life.
Without further ado, here's the first book:
Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White
If you know me, then you know the irony of this book's appearance on my list. I am absolutely, irredeemably afraid of spiders. My arachnophobia runs deep, my friends, and there's no amount of therapy that's going to help. Yet, this sweet, poignant book about a spider left an indelible mark on my childhood. How? Why?
In a way, maybe I am Wilbur, the little pig in desperate need of the love and acceptance of a true friend. He is the runt of the litter, rejected by Zuckerberg for being too small and useless. The farmer's daughter Fern falls in love with him and pleads for his life. But once he has been spared from death, even with Fern's love and friendship, he spends his days and nights alone in his pen, where the other animals are uninterested in him. Pigs are smelly and gross, right? And he's the only one of his kind, so he has no companion to snuggle with at night or keep him company when he's scared. Wilbur is the piggie embodiment of rejection, sadness, solitude, and anxiety. Young Stephanie could relate.
Enter Charlotte, the beautiful little spider who inexplicably loves Wilbur. She has the extrovert energy this little quadrupedal introvert needs. She declares them friends, promises to keep him company when he can't sleep at night, and gives him a reason to smile. All she asks in return is a quiet corner of his barn where she can spin her webs to catch her dinner and eat in peace, without the threat of being squished by anyone.
When Wilbur's life comes under threat again, and not even Fern can save him, Charlotte is the one who swings in with a plan. Overnight, she spins beautiful webs that help Wilbur in two ways: 1. getting him attention as some amazing freak-show of a pig who can write in spiderwebs and 2. boosting his confidence with positive, empowering words. Charlotte calls him Some Pig, Radiant, and Humble in her artwork. Although I am not "some pig," the feeling I got when I witnessed the love of one friend to another has stuck with me forever.
Perhaps this is the reason I am so free about expressing love and friendship for others. Perhaps this book is why I have unknowingly dedicated my writing to relationships, character growth, and self-discovery. And perhaps I found some strength in those webs too. It's hard to say exactly how this book affected me, because it's been a part of who I am for about 30 years.
I don't know where my original copy is, but I don't need it anymore. Charlotte and Wilbur live in my heart for free, forever.
Come back next week for Book 2!
Well, hello there, and welcome to the new year. I don't believe in resolutions, which are just really lofty goals we create to drive ourselves insane, but I do believe in fresh starts. With that in mind, I invite you along the journey I'm planning for 2022.
What's on the horizon? New novels, new short stories, new essays, new pen names, new writing goals, and a whole lot more. I'm going all-in on myself this year, because I'm strapping in for one big exciting ride. Look for news in the coming weeks and months. That's all I can say for now, but I'll post again soon!
What are you planning to take on in 2022?
That's right... Under Renovation is now available in paperback and digital formats via Amazon! To celebrate, I'm hosting my first ever online book launch via Zoom. Join me on Wednesday, July 22 at 8PM!
This will be a casual, open-house style event so join when you can and stay as long as you like!
Open House event 8pm - 11pm
8:30pm - Excerpt reading from "Under Renovation"
9:00pm - Q&A session
**Raffles and signings will occur throughout the event**
I'll be raffling off copies of all of my books. And one lucky person will win their very own character in my next book!!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Quinn Davis may have too many responsibilities on her plate, but she's making it work. Mostly. After her parents died in a tragic accident seven years ago, Quinn stepped away from her own goals and dedicated herself to filling their shoes. She spends her days as the president of her father's charity foundation, her evenings as a drama teacher, and the rest of her time as the family caretaker.
When she meets Theo Miller, the widowed single father of a drama student, their instant attraction forces Quinn to look at how tragedy has shaped her life. Coping with his own grief, Theo opens his heart to Quinn. but can she let him into hers?