Summer is almost done

I spent my summer teaching in a summer STEM summer program for high school students – so this teacher doesn’t get any summer break!

This summer season is almost to an end. Wait. What? The school year is about to start again marking the unofficial end to summer and start of fall. My daughter started school last year and it’s taken me a while to get into a groove to find time to do the mom things related to having your kid in school (planning/packing snacks and lunches, pick up schedules, school events and activities, etc.) and the teacher side of me. My work role changed a bit and I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to bring computer science to the youngest learners (TK-K) in my school district to high school seniors. I’ve learned a lot in developing experiences for students to learn how to code for the wide age range of students. And yes, kids who can’t read CAN CODE.

That being said, when I’ve sat down to write book 5, it’s been with literal pen and paper. I’m enjoying the tactile nature of it. This, of course, means that I still have to transfer it to the computer. The upside, as I see it, is that I can catch mistakes as I type them in. I’m not typing in a frantic flurry trying to get words out, then backspacing, then putting a bunch of returns to jot down about stuff or things that happen later. But if you saw my notebook, there’s stuff that scratched out, rewritten, scratched out and written again… sometimes with arrows.

The story for Summering is just about down. If I had to put a number to it, it’s probably at the 90% mark. Next, I’ll have to type it all in and edit. I’ll do my best to get the edits done quickly so the book is out sooner. I know you have been anxiously waiting to know what happens. I’m kicking around the idea of randomly selecting a few of you who might be interested in helping me edit – which means you’d get an advance peek at the next book. It’s a thought.

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It’s been awhile…

Hi Everyone!

I know it’s been awhile (okay, a LONG while) since I’ve posted any updates to my latest book.  Rest assured, I haven’t forgotten about it, Liz, Patrick or you.  It’s all still very much alive an well.  Summering is coming along and I wish I could give you a date for when you’ll be able to find out what happens next in the series, I just can’t.  But it’s getting there!

I truly appreciate your interest in Summering and your patience.  Life has been busier and crazier than my typical level.  I knew motherhood kept you busy, but combining that with my “previous self” can be a challenge at times.  Please know that you are never far from my thoughts and I know you are anxiously awaiting to find out what happens next with Liz, Patrick and the crew.  But mostly Liz, since Springing left off with… Wait.  I’ll stop there in order to not spoil it for those who haven’t finished book 4 yet. =)

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Let’s catch up!

I know it’s been a while.  Feels like both a long time and no time at all.  I’ve received several messages on here, via email and on Facebook asking about Summering and its status.  The short answer: it’s still in progress.  Why is it taking me so long?  Where have I been?  Did I fall off the face of the earth?

No.  I didn’t fall off the earth, but close – in a way.  I was pregnant.  I was due in December, but our bundle of joy joined us in November instead – almost 4 weeks early.  So, many of the things I hoped to get done (like finishing up her room, some organization around the house as well as finishing Summering) didn’t happen.  My doctor “grounded” me about a month before I was due and planned to get a lot done with the “extra” time off.  Little did I know my life would change before I expected.  So, between the holidays and my little girl, this first time mom was busy!

I think I’m finally getting the hang of things and I’m ready to, slowly, get back to things in my life pre-baby.  First on the list, my writing.  I want to get some chapters written before I go back to work next month.  I may not be ready to do anything physical, but writing, I can.  Wish me luck!

Thanks to those who wrote in desperation, curiosity and desire for book 5.  I didn’t forget about you or Liz and Patrick.  Life was just on hiatus for a bit, but I’m back and anxious to get to it!

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Les Miserables

The last couple days in my car I’ve been listening to Les Miserables.  On My Own always transports me to that first moment when Liz sings for Patrick and her audition in Falling.  It’s a poignant moment for me.  Singing is a very personal thing for Liz and she doesn’t trust easily – which, of course, we learn why later.  So for her to do so with Patrick silently says something significant about the connection she is making.  I hear the song and it has so much more meaning than it ever did for me in the years and years I’ve heard it before.  (I’m not worried about any spoilers in the above paragraph because if you’re visiting my website, you’ve had to have read at least the first book in the series.)

Once A Little Fall of Rain comes on my mind turns to Springing.  I won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t read it yet, but I’m transported to a particular chapter in which Liz sings that song.  There’s another reference to part of a song in Les Miserables in book 4 and I think of all of you – my readers.  Many of you have posted on the the Facebook page or here or messaged me on Facebook, asking about the next book.  You want to know when it’s coming out and how’s it going.  You’ve told me you’ve read and reread the four books in the series and can’t wait for the fifth book Summering.  When I listen to the end of Les Miserables I think of all of you anxiously waiting where Liz, Patrick and the crew left off in Springing.

In about a week, I’ll share a little bit of Summering, but there’s a catch!  You have to subscribe to my newsletter to get the sneak peek!  If you haven’t subscribed yet, go to my website and sign-up.

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The adventures continue…

If you have seen me on Facebook or photos I’ve posted, you’ll notice a penguin and giraffe in many of my pictures.  I’ll give you one guess as to their names.  That’s right!  Liz and Patrick.  It all started innocent enough.  Less than a year after I started writing Falling, my husband and I were at Sea World and came across one of the gift shops there.  It was a Build-A-Bear type place and they had a penguin and giraffe.  I bought a basketball outfit for Patrick, but they didn’t have any clothes I liked for Liz.  So, you can guess how those first pictures looked.  One dressed, the other was not.

What’s funny is, for me, I can see them “age” in a sense.  Obviously, they don’t grow up or put on weight, but the do look different – more worn, fur less fluffy.  The very early pictures look different to me than the more current ones.  It’s like any stuffed animal or doll you’ve had, you’d be able to identify yours in a pile of identical ones because of its “personality”.  I notice how different they are all the time from the ones hanging in the store – and not just because the ones in the store aren’t stuffed yet.

They’ve traveled all over the place with me.  When I first got them, I thought, “It’s be kind of cool to take pictures of them in places that Liz and Patrick have been in the book.” Places like Disneyland.  And let’s face it, Disneyland is a place for you to be silly or goofy.  People buy crazy hats and giant Mickey hands or shoes and wear them – publicly.  Carrying around stuffed animals isn’t all that odd.  People looked at me and my husband as I had him pose my stuffed penguin and giraffe before I took the picture.  But they always thought it was cool or cute.  Once, when I brought them to Disneyland (yes, you can infer from that that I have brought them there many times), they were dressed in Celtics uniforms.  I had several people ask where I got it.

But that’s Disneyland.  What about else where?  Like the nation’s capital?  When you are on a business trip with university professors that you don’t know and don’t know you?  You bring them tethered together (underneath their clothes so it doesn’t show in the picture) and hold them up with one hand and take the picture with the other.  Keep in mind, this is a very difficult thing to do.  Not only am I trying to balance two stuffed animals in one hand, but I’m short and therefore have short arms.  So it’s tough to get some sort of background in the shot and not just their cute faces.  But I did.

And you know what I took to heart?  That I didn’t really care what others thought.  In general, I don’t.  But far too often we are afraid to do something that might seem silly.  What do I care if I seem silly to some passerby?  They don’t know me.  They don’t know my resume. They don’t know that I do have lots of people that respect in me various fields.  I’ve worked hard to build a name of myself.  A good reputation.  This doesn’t hurt anyone.  In fact, most people (who either say something directly to me or I overhear) do think it’s cool or cute.  And if they think negatively, I don’t care. It’s not for them anyway.

Here are a few pictures from their summer adventures…

First visit to Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center.

First visit to Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center.

Visited a Lihue beach in Kauai, HI.

Visited a Lihue beach in Kauai, HI.

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It’s Been a Busy Summer

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  I try to post at least once a month and today’s the last day of July!  The reason why this day just doesn’t roll past me is because it’s my birthday!  As birthdays sometimes do, it’s making me reflect a bit over the last couple months.

My summer has been very busy – to say the least.  Once school let out (and the teachers were released – we have to stay past the last day for students), my husband and I went on vacation.  A real vacation.  We haven’t done that in almost eight years!  Don’t worry, despite being on vacation from “real life” I did continue to write.

The day after we got back, I was training teachers for the summer program I teach in.  Maybe you can guess the program?  Then it was prep for that program since the students would be moving in later in the week.  Since then, it’s been the summer program.  Fun.  Exciting.  Busy!  But, yes, I still wrote.  During these past several weeks, I’ve been working on getting to a scene that’s pretty significant and I’m just about there.  So I’m thrilled about that!

On Saturday, the summer program wraps up and I’ll have much more time to focus on writing.  I know many of you have been aching to get your hands on Summering.  I don’t have a specific ETA on it, but I’m really hoping to get it done before the year is over.  If I can do that, then it could be out as early as January 2014.  Don’t hold me to it.  But I’m trying!

Meanwhile, go to my website and sign-up for my newsletter to get the latest updates.  Who knows?  You might get little treats like a bit or piece of the next book or a teaser!

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Summer is almost here!

Spread the word about Liz and Patrick and get your friends to take the fall with you.  Falling is available on for free purchase with the coupon code: YK23X (expires July 5, 2013).  Add the book to your cart and  purchase Falling.

Please note: “Download” simply downloads the first 20% of the book, not the entire book.  You must purchase the book and use the coupon code to get the entire novel for free!

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Music of the…

My brain finishes the sentence by saying “night” but it’s really for the series.  If you’ve read Springing then there’s one song that very predominant in it.  I know for me that after I wrote that scene I never heard the song the same again.  Maybe it’s done the same for you.  There are songs that Liz sang during auditions or during the shows that might do the same thing.

But there are songs that aren’t mentioned in any of the books that appear on my playlist for the series.  Yes, I have a playlist on my iPod entitled “Bits and Pieces”.  They are all songs that make me think of scenes, characters or feelings from my books.  Some I found. Some my husband told me about.  Others friends or fans have mentioned to me.  They are grouped within the playlist by book.  In some cases, the song is overarching.  In a few, they represent what hasn’t happened yet.  They are representative of something in a character’s future.

Since music is a big part of Liz’s life, I wanted to share some that are in my Falling group of songs.  “Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus reminds me of Patrick.   “Officially Over” by New Kids on the Block always makes me think of Becca.  I can envision a Patrick and Becca in a music video for that song.

Those are just two of the many on my playlist. If you were to make a soundtrack for Falling, what would you put on it?

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Get your friends to meet Liz and Patrick!

Spring break is just around the corner!  Why not get your friends to meet Liz and Patrick and have them add FALLING to their fun-reading list?  Spread the word that they can now get FALLING in many e-reader formats!  Download a FREE copy of FALLING from by using the coupon code JN93B.  Offer expires March 31, 2013.

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An Incredible Journey

On Sunday, I stared at the walls of my bedroom trying to sleep, but couldn’t.  My mind kept racing–work, science fair, Liz–nothing new.  But a new thought entered my head.  I knew I started writing in 2009.  And I thought–when in 2009? Even though I had already folded up my laptop and set it beside my bed (and was trying to sleep), I turned it back on and searched through my folders to find the earliest date and first chapter I wrote.

March 10, 2009.  That’s when I first started writing Falling.  I had called the chapter Aftermath (which later found its home in the Alone chapter).  That was the starting point.  The Origin.  Patient 0, if you will.  I set on a course that led to the unknown.  At that point in time, I didn’t know much.  I didn’t know much about Patrick, let alone his family and friends.  I didn’t know what happened to Liz to make her even contemplate what she was contemplated after the carnival.  I had no idea how intense her friendship would be with Patrick or what would happen with Becca.

And I certainly didn’t know that anyone besides me might be interested in finding out more about them.  While writing Falling, I told myself that even if no one else cares to read it I accomplished something and I was okay with that.  It truly fills my heart that there are people of all ages and from everywhere that enjoy the series and can’t wait for the next installment.   When the first book was released, no one was looking.  My husband and I bought the first book to make sure it came out looking right.  Now, still surprising to me, others have bought it before I know that it’s gone live.  Thank you.  The words are simple, but the feeling is deep.

B & P Bracelet
The reminder I wear with me every day.

A few years ago I had one of those leather bracelets that you can get personalized made that states the year I started the series.  I wear it every day.  It reminds me of the journey I’ve willingly undertaken and the commitment I’ve made to myself, Liz, Patrick and all of you.

I got this overwhelming feeling of something significant almost four years to the day.  Weird.  Unbeknownst me, I felt something life-changing happened to me–then and now.  It snuck up on me, but somewhere deep inside me, I knew.  Four years.  Four books.  One series.  And I’m not done yet.  =)

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