Sunday, December 20, 2015

See ya 2015.

I realized the other day that I haven't blogged in over a year. I remember in 2010-2012-ish, I would start my days sipping coffee and reading all of the blogs that I followed before I got my kiddos up for school each morning. But here it is basically 2016, and do people even read blogs anymore?

I've been quieter this year than in years past, but I'm still around. Observing, reading a ton, and writing things with my whole heart, not trying to work as quickly as possible to turn out release after release as I've done in the past. Not to say that I'm not proud of every single book I've written, I am, but we all know the indie market is a little wacky right now. 

I have a ton of thoughts and opinions on the saturation, type of work, etc... that is filling the indie romance market right now, but this post isn't about all that and in the words of my (anonymous) friend, who summed it up perfectly:


"I feel like the Emperor is stark-raving naked, but no one dares mention that he's not wearing clothes for fear of being cast out of the cool kids club."




When things feel so loud, and so forced and just...so...phony, it doesn't make you want to be a part of it, you know? Even if it's just stepping away for short term breaks here and there in favor of more face-to-face interaction, more organic relationships, more authenticity. I realized that I could in no way change the way the market is, the way other authors are behaving, etc., I could only change my way of doing things. For me, that meant stepping away from social media so that I didn't scroll through my newsfeed and roll my eyes so hard that they'd fall out of my head someday. (Ha. Kidding. Sort of.) But truly, sometimes when things are just too loud, I need to step away for a while.

So I guess that's where I've been. 2015 was a year of re-grounding myself and getting back to basics. The whole, "remember why you started" bit. It was a happy year! Just a quieter one. :)


Here's what 2015 looked like for me:

  
I only attended one signing in 2015, but it was fantastic! I loved being close to home (it was in New Orleans) and it was the week of my 15th wedding anniversary, so the hubs and I got to spend a weekend in a city that is very near and dear to our hearts. (Our youngest, Britta had open heart surgery at Children's Hospital of New Orleans so we lived in the city for a couple of months during that time.) I was finally able to meet Autumn Doughton and Melissa Perea, and so many others. It was a great trip full of great food (as always) and great company!
Me & Autumn!

Melissa & I


I traveled.

My kiddos and I spent a couple of months in California, where I'm from. My best, Liz Reinhardt and her daughter even flew out for a couple of weeks and we took the kids to the Sequoias, to the Getty, ate too much and laughed all night long. It was exactly what a summer should be for us all. :) 




My husband and I flew to Chicago for a night to see my all-time fav, Damien Rice. He was phenomenal and it was so worth the trip. We had dinner at Girl & the Goat and it was legit one of the best meals of my life. If you're ever in Chicago, definitely add it to your list.

My hubs gives good beard.

He barely tolerates me. ;) 

I took a solo road trip to Georgia to visit my best, Liz. I listened to music too loud and audio books and drank too much Red Bull. It was a perfect drive, and just what I needed to clear my head. I hung with Liz and her fam for a few days, then dragged her along for a secondary trip to Washington, DC. Luckily, she's a good sport! :) (We visited the National Gallery, cause we can't go to any city without a museum trip!)





I also took a trip to New York City. The trip was twofold. One part, was to research for a book I had been outlining/dreaming of writing for over two years. A large portion of the book takes place in a museum, so, once again, Liz and I did what we do best together and hit up another museum. ;) This time, The Met. 


The second part of my NYC trip was to visit with other close author friends, and attend a once-in-a-lifetime event, a private screening of Fifty Shades generously put together by our friend, Erika. 
(L-R) Elizabeth Hunter, Elizabeth Reyes, Me, Liz Reinhart
Me, Tracey Garvis-Graves, Michelle Scott
Me, Tracey Garvis-Graves
Me, Liz Reinhardt, Tina Reber
(L-R) E.L. James,
E.L. James + me
Me, Tracey Garvis-Graves, Michelle Scott + Elizabeth Reyes
Liz Reinhardt, Me


I wrote.

As mentioned above, I wrote a novel that I'd been planning to for years. I truly believe that you have to be in the right place to do justice to a story or a character, and I really felt that to be true in the case of the YA that I completed this year. I gave that book my heart and told the story in the best way I could. (It's currently out on submission, or I'd tell you more!) :) 

I worked on other things that will likely never see the light of day, but it was important to work through them anyway. I wrote nonsense. I wrote out of genre. I just wrote for the joy of writing again. I can honestly say that I am in a better place writing wise than I have been in a long time. :)



I was social in ways that felt true to me.

Mostly on Instagram, and also on Wattpad, where I put 3 of my books up in their entirety this year. (side note: My Fate for Yours has nearly 2.5 million reads so far! Very thankful for readers taking the time to read The Crawford series!)






I read. (obviously)

Here's some of my favs from the year:





I binge watched:



and this was my fav movie of the year:


I hung with my gorgeous kiddos
I home schooled them, traveled with them, laughed with them (and the hubs, too) ;) We went to concerts, National Parks, (my oldest son had an emergency appendectomy, that wasn't so fun). My husband's company transferred us and we moved to a new state...




This year was all about reflection. 
About starting fresh.
About finding my true, authentic self again.

There were a couple of years there where I was afraid to leave my office because I felt like I needed to be working, to be writing round the clock. And writing is important and I'll never stop doing it, but all of these experiences are important, too. 

As writers, finding your true voice, experiencing new things so that you can bring them to your writing--those things are invaluable. Those things make you a better writer. Not how often you blog, how many Facebook "friends" you have, or how many selfies you put on Insta. So if you feel like those things are forced, maybe it's time to step back. Do what feels true to you. 

The point of all of this is that in 2015, I LIVED.

I got out from behind my computer and really lived. I soaked up all of the moments--the stressful ones, the ones where I laughed so hard I cried, the ones where I was scared and wasn't sure what to do to fix things, the ones where I felt so much love my heart felt strained. I allowed myself to write slowly, with more care and heart than ever before. 
I was fully present and felt things wholly and acutely.
I did normal things. Nothing newsworthy, but no less important.
So, no, I didn't release a new book this year; I didn't attend a pile of signings or voice my every thought on social media. 
I just lived.
I hope you are too. 

xx,

S-



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Even the Moon Has Scars is LIVE!!

Guys, it's finally here! Even the Moon Has Scars is live and people are getting to know Gabe and Lena and GAH! I'm so excited. This book holds such a special place in my heart (more on the inspiration behind the book here). 

There's an excerpt, some teasers and a giveaway floating around to celebrate the release!
(HUGE, tremendous thank you to Wordsmith Publicity and ALL of the bloggers who have helped with this release! :) 



(and make sure to scoop Even the Moon Has Scars 
up while it's still at it's 
special release week price of $1.99!)



Monday, October 27, 2014

#bloggerblackout

So, if you've been following the whole #HaleNo sitch on Twitter, then you probably already know about #bloggerblackout. But in case you don't, here's some info. I have thoughts...on both the original article that Hale wrote, and the response, but I don't think it's my place to share them. 

Instead, I'll just say to each their own and respect and support the bloggers decisions to not post during the blackout. 

I respect the hell out of book bloggers, who do what they do because they LOVE BOOKS, not because they have to. I appreciate all that they do, and have become close friends with many. 

So, if you need some book rec's while all's quiet on the blogger front, here's some past posts I've done with some of my favorite books! I no longer review books because I think it's a conflict, but I hope you'll check out some of these awesome reads! :) 
(And if you haven't already, reach out and let a blogger know that you appreciate them!)




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Two more sleeps!

It's almost time!!

Even the Moon Has Scars will be LIVE on Tuesday!!


Since we're so close, I thought I'd share the prologue with you HERE! 


(And don't forget, the special pre-order price of $1.99 is valid until release!)


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On writing the book of my heart...

My next release, EVEN THE MOON HAS SCARS has been a long time coming. It's something that people have told me I should write for the last couple of years--but it wasn't something I could tackle then. I wasn't ready. The main character in the book, Lena, was born with a heart defect and because of the near-death experience, her parents have kept her very close. As many of you know, our youngest daughter, Britta was born with TAPVR, a rare heart defect and we very, very nearly lost her.
Last year, when the indie world starting going crazy (it's still continuing as evidenced by the drama on FB lately, amiright?) I pulled back a lot. I read a ton, and I stopped writing for a few months (which was the longest I hadn't written in years.) There was just too much noise in the book world, too much competition, too much backstabbing... I'd be lying if I didn't have those fleeting thoughts of: "This isn't worth it..." I did a ton of reflecting, I surrounded myself with people who were real and legitimately cared about me, and where I turned up was a good place. The place where I remembered why I started. The place where I became determined to write the book of my heart, even if it wasn't what was most popular.
There's nothing that is more straight from me and my heart than my family. I wrote this post about Britta on her blog for the one year anniversary of her surgery and this part jumped out at me as I started slowly forming Lena's character:
"...But because of your struggles, because of your tenacity, your display of strength and fight and bravery--even as tiny as you were, you taught us to have faith that we never knew we could. You showed us all that even the most fragile, broken hearts could be repaired..."
So, yes, though my Britta is not quite 3, she inspired the YA character of my upcoming book. And she inspires me. She reminds me what is important every single day. And it isn't Amazon rank, or how many likes you have, or any of that...
Life is short. Stop the infighting. Stop the drama. Be brave. Be bold. Surrounded yourself with positivity and people that love you. Stop chasing trends and go write the book of your heart. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

YA book recs!

With the rising popularity of YA, (yay!) Nyrae Dawn and I got to thinking about books we've read over the last several years that have really stuck with us. Books we loved and hope you'll love too! We are so passionate about YA, and wanted to put together a list of some of our all-time favorite YA reads.

We're hoping there’s something here for everyone, and that it’s helpful when you’re looking for your next book! Happy reading!


(broken down by category--and in no particular order)



Thriller/suspense:

The Body Finder: Kimberly Derting

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: Michelle Hodkin

Anna Dressed in Blood: Kendare Blake

Name of the Star: Maureen Johnson



Paranormal:

Hemlock: Kathleen Peacock

Sweet Evil: Wendy Higgins

This is Not a Test:  Courtney Summers



Falling Under: Gwen Hayes


LGBT:

Two Boys Kissing: David Levithan

Don't Let Me Go: JH Trumble


Realistic:

Harmonic Feedback: Tara Kelly

Graffiti Moon: Cath Crowley

Speechless: Hannah Harrington

Sloppy Firsts: Megan McCafferty

Cracked Up To Be: Courtney Summers

Some Girls Are: Courtney Summers


Boy POV:

Freefall: Mindi Scott

Split: Swati Avasthi

I Know it's Over: C.K. Kelly Martin

Lovesick: Jake Coburn

Winger: Andrew Smith



Beautifully Tragic:

The Secret Year: Jennifer Hubbard

Twenty Boy Summer: Sarah Ockler


Take Me There: Carolee Dean


Soon to be a movie/already a movie:

The Duff: Kody Keplinger

Geography Club: Brent Hartinger


historic premise:

Between Shades of Gray: Ruta Sepetys



Out of the Easy: Ruta Sepetys


Gritty:

Pointe: Brandy Colbert

Wintergirls: Laurie Halse Anderson

Fault Line: C. Desir


Issue Books:

Stay: Deb Caletti