Greetings! It’s 2015.

I guess technically it’s nearly 2016. I’m not sure where the time has gone. All I know is that every morning I’m dropping my oldest son off at the high school wondering how on earth I ever got here, old enough to have a kid that’s taller than me and only a few years away from being a grown up. I just had a friend tell me having a high schooler doesn’t make me old. It just means I’m in the prime of life. No one told me the prime of life would make me so tired!

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Having writer friends is the very best part of attending a writing conference.

So let’s talk writing news, shall we? Last spring I attended the 2015 LDStorymakers Conference where I served as Vice-chair of the conference and worked my tail off. It was, as always, an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience. I’ve taken the reins as Chair of the 2016 conference which means I’m STILL working my tail off, but also? I’m having so much fun. I love this conference and all the people that attend and feel so, so fortunate that I get to be involved.

We just launched a brand new beautiful website. Would you like to see?

LDStorymakers Conference

Registration opens December 9th if you’re interested in attending. If you aren’t interested in attending, but have any aspiration to be a writer? You should be interested. It’s the best conference ever. Amen.

In book writing news, my publisher just picked up my next manuscript, a lovely romantic comedy called Love at First Note. It’s musical and fun and I’m so excited for everyone to read it. We’re slated for a March release which feels like it’s just around the corner. Care for a little teaser?

Concert violinist Emma Hill has left her high profile career as concertmaster of one of the nation’s premiere symphonies and moved home to Asheville, North Carolina. For a single Mormon girl? Pretty much dating suicide. Of course, Emma has her reasons. But a singles group spanning five hours, ten counties and 13 different wards and it still has less than ten people? Yeah. 

But then Elliott Hart, a pianist famous for crazy YouTube videos and contemporary mash-ups moves in next door. He’s Mormon, at least he’s got that going for him, but Emma is convinced he’s nothing but a giant ego that clearly plays the wrong kind of music. 

Of course, Emma and Elliott have more in common than they first realize. Their connection through music (and kissing) is intense, but dating someone famous brings challenges Emma doesn’t expect.Will sizzling chemistry and a little bit of Rhapsody in Blue be enough to keep her hanging on?

Sounds fun, right? Hopefully I’ll have a cover to share soon!

Books! (Plural!)

A friend of mine posted this photo on Facebook this week–my two books, newly purchased, together side by side.

books together

I admit, it’s been a bit of a low key book release. I moved just weeks before release day and was a little overwhelmed getting kids settled into new schools and finding the routine and rhythm of our new home. Then, all of a sudden, there was a box of books in my kitchen and release day came and went and my second book was officially born–sent out into the world to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed by others. But it didn’t really hit home, I think, until I saw this photo. This is the one that made me all sappy and happy.

I’m not sure I could ever actually quantify all the heart and energy and love that goes into the writing of a book. It’s an emotional experience, a taxing experience, an experience that often makes you want to bang your head against the wall or scream from the rooftops or worst of all, chuck your laptop off the side of a mountain. That’s not to say it’s always cupcakes and roses after publication. Marketing is hard, and bad reviews are hard, and the sheer vulnerability that comes with knowing your words are out there for anyone and their cousin to read? It can be hard too. If I think about it too much, it still freaks me out a little.

You know what though? It only takes one person saying “Hey, I really loved this” for it to all feel worth it. I know I can’t speak for all authors. I’m only me, and I may feel differently than many. But you want to know why I do this? Mostly because it just feels really good to write things that make other people happy. Even if it’s a temporary happiness that only lasts for the four or so hours it takes to read the book. If I can do that? Give someone four hours of happiness? I’m totally willing to endure the trials that accompany getting there. (Also, writing is the only thing that tames the voices in my head. Sometimes they talk like I’m not even in the room. Rude, right? They won’t shut up till their stories are written, so, you know, what’s a girl gonna do? I don’t know though. This might be a conversation we should save for another blog post. You think? Yes? Okay, me too.)

And here is where I say THANK YOU, because really truly, I feel so fortunate that I get to do something that I love so much and share it with others. It is an honor and a privilege and it makes me happy and I so hope it makes you happy too. That’s all.

A Book Launch Recap and A Look at What’s Coming Up!

So, it’s been a bit of a busy summer. Book launch parties and trips to Utah and of course, SIX CHILDREN… I’m maybe feeling a bit tired. But also? I’m feeling tremendously grateful. It’s been so fun, guys.

I had a book launch open house here in my home that started the summer festivities off well. I signed books and visited with friends and had a lovely time. I wish I could show you pictures, but I didn’t take any. My camera was out, sitting on the table next to me. But I didn’t use it. Because I’m a doofus.

columbia book signing

The following weekend, I went to Columbia, South Carolina and did a book signing at the amazing Nephi’s Books, a lovely bookstore that you should visit if  you’re ever in the neighborhood. (And also they have an online store, which you should totally use. They’re selling a great book called The House at Rose Creek. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Heh.) The Book signing was great, even though I had a few moments when I wished the floor would swallow me up. Guys, seriously… if you’re ever in a bookstore and you see someone signing, go say hello. Even if you don’t buy a book. I promise we authors won’t throw books at you if you tell us you can’t buy one. Just smile and say hi. Really. Cause sitting there watching people walk by pretending like you aren’t in the room because ACK! then they might have to feel guilty if they don’t want to buy your book? It’s pretty darn awkward.

But it was still fun anyway. Even with the minor moments of awkwardness.  (And look! Photo documentation!)

The weekend after the Columbia book signing, I had an amazing launch party in the town where I grew up, thrown by my sister, Emily, and my dear friend, Randi. Oh my word, what a party. It was so overwhelmingly wonderful, I could cry just thinking about it. So many old friends came by and I felt utterly and completely loved and supported. It was incredible. If you were there, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you; for your presence, for your support, for everything. My mother took pictures the entire evening, but they are still being held captive on her memory card. For now, I have only this one… captured by my lovely friend Melissa and her Iphone. (Mom! Free the pictures!) It was a lovely evening that I will never forget and forever cherish.

book signing

The weekend after the second book launch, I traveled to Utah (are you tired yet? I was totally tired at this point) for the LDS Booksellers Association Convention. I signed books for an hour and talked to book store owners to promote the book and encourage them to encourage their customers to buy it. It was a quick trip, just two days, but I had a wonderful time visiting with my publisher people, and of course, with a handful of my lovely friends in Utah.

And now? I’m done! Not entirely. I’ve got a book club discussion coming up and another signing at a Streetfest in the fall, but the crush of new release activity has passed, and I’m glad. My husband and children have been amazing supporting me through this very busy time, but I’m ready to settle back down into a regular routine again, which of course must include more writing! I’ve learned about myself this summer that I’m not great at writing and promoting at the same time. Too much mental energy, I think, and time away from the kids. So I haven’t been writing and I’m missing it terribly.

Current projects? I’ve got to get some editing done for my second novel, due to be released in August of 2014, and I’m just getting started on my first nonfiction, a book on Joyful Mothering that I hope to have ready for Mothers Day, 2015. I love my fiction. I really, REALLY love writing fiction. But this nonfiction book… it’s been in my heart a long time. I’m so glad for the opportunity to write it.

And finally, one more quick thought. There are many, many books out there. The very best way for an author’s words to reach others is for readers to share their opinion. If you feel so inclined, and you’ve read something lately that you enjoyed, consider writing an online review. If you read a lot of fiction by LDS Authors, consider nominating your favorites for a Whitney Award. The Whitneys honor fiction books in multiple genres (not just LDS fiction) that are written by LDS authors. You can learn more about the the Whitney Awards, as well as find the nomination form here.

The Whitney Awards