It’s Okay to Let Go

Just write. Pick up the pen and let ‘er rip.

I stare at the blank page and then close my eyes as if I’m willing the words to appear. Of course, they don’t.

While there is a bit of magic in finding the right words, the right story, and the right characters, it also requires work.

I know I’ve discussed this in past posts, but I’m a plotter. I like to sit with my characters and listen for their voice and stories. My outlines are usually rough sketches written with the intent of being changed as I write and discover the quirks of my characters.

Sometimes, though, I write the perfect outline with characters and stories that I fall in love with. But somewhere along the way, I lose inspiration and stop writing.

Those moments hurt. I tell myself that I can come back to them when the time is right, but I rarely do. In some small way, I mourn the loss and move on. Occasionally, the characters come back to me and I find their new/true story. Most of the time, I don’t. I let them go and move on.

I’m slowly learning to be okay with this, and to accept that while it feels like a failure, it’s not. As a writer, it’s important to know when to walk away and when o push through. The hard stories need to be told, too.

Some day, I’ll find the words and inspiration to return to those characters I’ve left behind. If I don’t, though, that’s okay too.

What Comes Next

As I dive head-first back into my self-publishing journey, I keep looking back at the books and characters that started it all.

When I started my writing journey, I wrote poems and song lyrics. Music was and is a huge part of my life. I could spend hours getting lost in an album dissecting lyrics and searching for a line that spoke to me.

The shift to writing novels was gradual and intimidating. I didn’t know how I could write 80,000 words about anything. Did I even know that many words.

Turns out I did, and once I started, I couldn’t stop.

My latest book, After Everything (keep reading for the blurb), pulls my love of music and songwriting into my love for storytelling. In it, a young woman leaves behind her life to start over and chase her dreams.

While I’ve loved all of my books, this is the one I’m most excited for. It is the most “me” too be allowed my writing to be.

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing a little bit more about Abby & After Everything, and I hope you fall as in love with her as I did.

All Abby Rhodes wants is a chance to pursue her songwriting dreams. When she leaves her husband on Christmas Eve and puts their Missouri hometown in her rearview mirror, she heads straight to Nashville and onto the doorstep of her estranged father.

But in typical Abby fashion, nothing goes as planned.

Unemployed and alone, Abby lands a job waiting tables at her neighborhood dive bar. There she meets a local singer-songwriter with steel-grey eyes and a reputation that threatens to unlock Abby’s small-town innocence.

Just as Nashville starts to feel like home, her past comes crashing back in the form of her soon-to-be ex-husband, forcing her to confront the truth behind her midnight escape.

If Abby can’t reconcile her history with her future, she might lose out on her dreams and her second chance at finding love.

A Burning

I finished this book on Saturday and have been trying to find the words for a review.

As much as I loved this book, it angered me. Jivan’s story was heartbreaking and, sadly, it is a reality for so many.

While reading, I found myself yelling at those who refused to stand up for Jivan and those that eventually allowed the pressures of the government and society.

While I can’t say I enjoyed this book, I did like it—if that makes sense. The writing and narrative voice was unique for each character, which made the story leap from the pages. The topic was heavy but important.

I definitely recommend this book.

Saving Ruby King, Catherine Adel West

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the gifted copy.

Family. Friendship. Secrets. Lies. Saving Ruby King wove all of these elements into an unexpected and heartbreaking story.

Layla’s dedication to both her friend Ruby and the truth was what really sucked me into the story. Her loyalty and strength were inspiring.

I loved pretty much everything about this book, but especially the role the church building played and how the history was told.

I’d Give Anything, Marisa de los Santos

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the gifted copy.

I loved this book. The mother-daughter relationship between Ginny & Avery, and Ginny and her mother. Ginny’s friendship with Kiersten. The backstory. All of it.

I’m still processing it all, but this might be one of my faves of the year.

I’ve seen some confusion over this book being the fourth in a series, but I haven’t read any of the other books and this one didn’t feel like a sequel. So, I don’t think it needs to be read as such.

Something to Talk About, Meryl Wilsner

I’m a sucker for a good, slow-burn romance and boy did Something to Talk About deliver.

I adored both Jo and Emma. Each woman was both strong and confident, but they both also struggled with the same thing … trusting their hearts.

Something to Talk About also tackled the tough topic of sexual harassment in the work place and the Me Too movement.

This was a fabulous read and exactly what I needed to get out of my reading hiccup.

If you’re looking for a great queer read for Pride Month, definitely pick this one up.

Boyfriend Project, Farrah Rochon

Review: The Boyfriend Project, Farrah Rochon

I LOVED this book. It took me forever to read it but I think that has more to do with my mental/emotional state right now. Any other time and this would have been a book I devoured in a day.

This book was everything I’d hoped for … strong female lead, great female friendships, interesting insight into the world of tech, and a steamy relationship. There was also a bit of mystery and mild suspense as Daniel worked to investigate the money laundering scheme.

All in, The Boyfriend Project was a fantastic book.

Pretty Things, Jenelle Brown

Review: Pretty Things, Janelle Brown (thank you to the publisher & NetGalley for the gifted copy)

When I first picked up Pretty Things I wasn’t sure what to expect. Based on the synopsis, I’d assumed it was a suspenseful women’s fiction novel. There’d been a Bookstagram debate (of course) over whether or not it was a thriller (it’s suspense), so I’d come in with a hint of caution.

But I didn’t need to because I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

This book had everything I love—mother-daughter drama, relationships, flawed/awful but likable characters, and a hint of glitz and glamor.

If those elements are your jam, you’ll love Pretty Things.

Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

Review: Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson (audiobook)I’ve spent the last day trying to find the words to review Just Mercy, and I’m not sure I have them.

This book is a must-read. It’s powerful and difficult, but so important. The inequities and injustices in our justice system have been ignored for far too long.

I’ve always had strong feelings about the death penalty and the way the US treats incarceration and the accused, especially minorities, but Just Mercy opened my eyes even wider.

Though there were moments I felt consumed by rage, there were also moments of great hope and celebration.