It's long been a dream of mine to breed horses. I came so close this year--my yearling is the perfect foundation mare for my breeding program. My mare had an absolutely divine filly for me this spring--it's been kind of a dream year for me as far as horses are concerned. But just like writing Throwaway made me aware of human trafficking in our own backyard, writing Finding Broken Arrow clued me in to a serious problem in our country with unwanted and untrained horses.
After publishing Finding Broken Arrow, I joined a Facebook group that rescues slaughter-bound horses. At least once a day, I see a horse I wish I could bring home. At least once a day, I wish I had more money, more time, more land to save them all.
So I talked to my husband and I changed my dream and Firefly Bluff, our little farm, won't be an appaloosa breeding farm, it's going to be a horse rescue.
In order to fund that, and not take away from the work we're doing to help humans, I'm going to use the money from the Remuda Ranch series to fund my new dream, Firefly Bluff Horse Rescue. Wish me luck...
As my books slowly find their way back to all of the retailers, I can't help but be a bit giddy. Add to that the fact that I have three stories bumping around my brain at the moment - AND my mare had an adorable, healthy filly this spring - and I can't help but be a bit excited. I want to share my happy with you, so I'm giving away some adorable jewelry that inspired the jewelry in my latest book, Finding Broken Arrow. It's made byDee's Creations, and I have to say their prices, quality, and customer service cannot be beat. Fair disclosure, they're family, but down here in the Ozarks, everyone is a cousin somehow or another...so anyway, you can enter to win below. Good luck!
*contest open in US only
So, I couldn't quite bring myself to shut down my website entirely. I've opted instead to work on updating it and only posting current news and notes to the blog. The past couple of months have brought so many changes to my household - me back at work, my husband looking for work (he'd been employed by my now-defunct publisher since 2012), and a dozen books to get back to the market... As I sit here this morning, my kids are at their grandparents for a week and I have a million things I want to do or or should do, and the thought of getting off the couch seems daunting. I'm exhausted - physically and emotionally just wrung out!
But I'm happy to say that my books are at least available on Kindle again. We're working on other retailers and the print versions, but having them on Amazon is a start. I've priced most at my books at $0.99. That's not a sale; that's their new price. I wasn't able to make Throwaway free, so I set it at the lowest possible price, along with most of my catalog, because I want as many people as possible to read them.
I have some giveaways to start - several jewelry pieces featured in my latest release - so look for those in the upcoming weeks!
As some of you may know from my Facebook post last night, my publisher, Booktrope, has announced it's closing down effective May 31st. I'm still wading through how best to get my books back on the market by June 1. In light of this turn of events, I think I'm going to follow my earlier inclination to go back to writing because it's something I love, it's who I am, and not worry about how I "should" do it.
I have to find a way to balance my very real need to feed my family and be true to the job that pays the bills with my love of the written word and the joy I get from interacting with my readers.
To that end, I'll be shutting down this website - it's one more thing to maintain that I just don't have the bandwidth for. I'd rather spend the energy writing, enjoying my family, or raising money for one of the many charities I adore.
You can still connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and sometimes Pinterest. I do plan to keep writing--once I sort out what's happening with my existing books. Thankfully, my latest release, Finding Broken Arrow, was already indie and will be unaffected by Booktrope's news.
I wish all of my Booktrope friends the very best in life. I hope the next stage of your journey is a good one. Thank you for five years of incredible memories!
In February, I did something I’d promised myself I’d never do again… I rejoined Corporate America. I left that world after Blake’s accident so I could walk with him down his road to recovery. It was an unexpected dream come true when I got a book deal shortly after. It didn’t take long for Booktrope to become a significant portion of my world—in addition to my books, my husband got a job with them, I worked as a freelance marketer for them, and I even accepted a position leading several of their imprints. For five years, my world has consisted of my children, my farm, my charities, my books, and helping others bring their books to the world. During this time, I’ve experienced some of my highest highs and my lowest lows, but in all, if I could have hand-carved my world, it would have looked a lot like those past five years.
So it surprised even me when I came to the conclusion that it was time to close that chapter of my life. For lots of reasons, and after a lot of prayer and thought, I came to realize that it was time to shift gears. So when I saw a job posting for a position at a good company that looked right up my alley, I applied. The interviews and subsequent job offer all happened so quickly that my head is still spinning. Just like that, I was back in a world I thought I’d never see again.
It was culture shock—I’d been working well over full-time from home, but it was still a major adjustment to switch to a full-time schedule and commute. The entire family is struggling to find our footing as roles shift and schedules change. In so many ways, my new gig is a dream job. It’s cool beyond belief. But it’s still away from my kiddos and animals, and it’s a whole new, and sometimes unsettling, world.
At first, I cried every day as I drove into work. Again—and I can’t stress this enough—it wasn’t because my job was bad, I was just mourning the loss of what I’d had. But with time, I’ve gotten my bearings at the new place and responsibilities with Vox Dei have ebbed and I find that in many ways, I have more time for my children now. Or rather, they have my undivided attention when it’s on them. It’s not entirely “work is work and home is home” because of the nature of the job, but the new job isn’t quite as all-consuming as Vox Dei had become. And the increase in pay means I have more expendable income to do things with and for my kiddos that I just wasn’t able to do before. It’s taken a month, but I’ve reduced my poor-me sessions down to Monday mornings and I’ve even made a few new friends along the way.
The question I’ve gotten most as I’ve told people about the job is whether I’ll keep writing. The answer is a definite yes. In fact, I hope to write more. Once I made the decision to no longer rely on books for an income, I wrote the entire rest of Finding Broken Arrow in one week. That’s right, a flippin’ week! It was like an enormous weight had been lifted and the words just poured out of my fingers. Even better—I enjoyed the process. I loved it. In keeping with my new “I’m just going to do this because I love it” philosophy, I am publishing this one indie. I hired an editor and proofreader, but I did design my own cover, which have to admit, I'm pretty proud of!
And just as I stressed earlier that my daily sob-sessions of the past month are no reflection on my current employer, my decision to leave Booktrope is no reflection on them. I’ve met some of the most amazing people during my time there, and I’ll be forever grateful to them for the past five years. We simply came to a fork in the road and chose different paths. I wish them all the best. (And yes, my existing books are still proudly under the Booktrope banner!)
There is so much I’m excited about right now, so many grand adventures I’m on the cusp of. Thank you for being part of the past five years with me. I look forward to seeing what the next five years hold!
I know I've been quiet on the blog for the past month. But this time I'm not going to apologize because I've been writing like a madwoman, and it feels great!
I'm really excited to say that the third and final installment of the Vance Davis Dossier is finally available for sale on Amazon! It might be a year later than I planned it, but it was worth the wait. (For me anyway... I just don't think I could love Vance more if I tried.) When I started writing these short stories to bridge the gap between Devil in Disguise and Finding Broken Arrow (Vance's upcoming full-length novel), I had no idea where they would take me, where they'd take Vance.
The journey wound up being my favorite of my writing career. (And I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about Finding Broken Arrow, but more on that later.)
So, without further ado, I present to you Vance Davis Dossier 3: Redemption
When the human trafficking ring he’s intent on destroying proves bigger than he imagined, Vance finds himself trekking across America’s heartland to take down an insidious evil hiding in plain sight. But regardless of the outcome, will he ever be able to find the peace that has continued to evade him? In this third installment of the Vance Davis Dossier, our hero’s life takes an unexpected turn that will forever change his destiny.
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to watch your child struggle, knowing they must fight their way through the obstacle their facing so they can come out stronger on the other side. When Blake has his accident, I could walk beside him, but the battle was his to fight. I couldn’t do it for him, no matter how badly I wanted to.
Last fall, Blake joined the local archery club and has since set his cap on competing in the Olympics someday. It was smooth sailing at first—archery seemed to come naturally to him and he excelled effortlessly. The kid could shoot a bow for hours and not wear out. (Which is saying something, considering it’s 28 pounds of force he’s pulling against with each shot.)
Then he hit a wall. Scores started falling and no matter how much he practiced or tried, he couldn’t seem to improve. As his mom, I could encourage and cheer him on, but the fight was his to win.
Blake’s doctors would say that for him to be in archery at all after a brain injury like that is a medical miracle, to excel in archery—to the highest ranks of archers—is asking too much. But Blake has never been one to let the accident hold him back, and this was no exception. He refuses to let it be his excuse to settle.
The first weekend in January brought with it a practice tournament to prepare everyone for State. Blake, despite his efforts, got the lowest score there. He left incredibly discouraged and down on himself. I told him that everyone had those days, everyone had failures. It was what you did with them that mattered. I encouraged him to make the week leading up to the state competition his “training montage” so the victory at State would be even sweeter. All week long, the entire family would periodically hum the theme from Rocky at him, a joking reminder of what he was working for.
He worked hard, listening intently to everything the coach said and practicing every day. When I couldn’t take him to the range, he practiced outside in the bitter cold.
Friday, I took off work early so we could head to the tournament. I wanted to give the boys a night in a hotel and I didn’t want the impending snow to keep Blake from his tournament. Of course, nothing went as planned—from work emergencies that had me stopping at McDonald’s for Wi-Fi to put out proverbial fires, to bickering kids, to ending the night with a lapful of lemonade. We couldn’t sleep, and somebody (not us) set the alarm in our room for 5:21 am. The entire experience had me feeling pretty flustered. And then we got there, and the whole thing seemed so big that I was a nervous wreck, and I wasn’t even the one shooting. Per Blake, he was partly excited, partly terrified.
But then he started to shoot, and I could tell he was remembering and doing everything he worked on with his instructor. I couldn’t keep track of his score because I’d forgotten my binoculars, but I could tell he was doing well, that whatever the scores for the day, he’d be able to walk away with his head held high.
Most importantly, I could tell he was having fun and making friends. Blake thrives on social interaction, and he was completely in his element here, doing two of his favorite things: shooting his bow and making people smile.
When he told me his score, he’d scored 44 points higher than the “Please Lord, let him at least score this” amount I had in my head. As the awards ceremony began, I quickly realized that he’d scored well enough to at least place in his division, which was, of course, just about the last division to receive their awards. (Talk about suspense...)
And in true Rocky fashion, Blake’s training montage paid off with a gold medal! (There might have been tears from mom... it's a possibility.) As difficult as it was to watch Blake fight a battle I couldn't help with, but there is no greater feeling than watching your child succeed when they've worked so hard for something. Even better, watching him make good friends and develop into the kind of young men you can be proud of.