Laundry, Donuts, & Dish Towels!

Book news. I am creeping up on 45,000 words. Just a couple hundred away. I’m about to sit down and add some more! 😘

I also need to do a load of laundry, which I’m about to toss in the wash. And it wouldn’t hurt for me to wash the dishes in the sink. It’s not a lot, but still… Who wants to do such a thing with their time? Certainly not me!

It has rained all day, and I spent the majority of my time being lazy. I might as well give the next few hours some real effort.

I intended to do blog posts Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays. But, alas, this week I did not plan well & instead did Wednesday, Friday, & today… (Sunday.) 😂 I’ll try to stay on schedule next week! 👍

What else? Hmmmm.

Oh, I’ve been rewatching Smallville in my spare time, so that’s been fun. I also managed to drag my husband to the grocery store with me today. (Rare feat that that is! 😘)

I bought mini, raspberry glazed donuts… Yum! & laundry detergent… Ya know, so I could do that laundry I mentioned. And because when you’re an adult, buying things for your house is exciting, I bought some new dish towels because I plan to replace the old ones I have. How exciting, right? (Seriously, I’m excited. This is not sarcasm! 😂 I have new dish towels & I like it!)

Anyway, I think I’ll flip the switch on the wax warmer, get the laundry going, and get some writing done now.

See ya! Heather! ❤️

A Valentine's Day Warning…

It’s Valentine’s Day!

If you want my honest opinion… (I know some of you probably don’t. I apologize in advance.) I find the holiday to be overrated. Yes, I said it. Over. Rated. (Okay, I know that’s one word. I was going for emphasis.)

I’ve always felt that way about it though. It’s just an opinion. If you enjoy it, then that’s great.

If you’re single, and you’re watching all these loving couples celebrate each other and find yourself thinking, I want what they have.

No you don’t.

You want love, and I genuinely hope you find it someday. But please, whatever you do, don’t want what you see on social media. Social media is not an accurate portrayal of what love is. And I’m sure you know that. But this is just a reminder. You don’t know what happens behind those closed doors. It’s sweet, and it’s cute, and it’s loving, and adorable… but that’s what they choose to present to you. You don’t see the ugly stuff.

Love should be celebrated, and it’s incredibly special. But… I see people leave comments on statuses and pictures that say, I want what you have. I want a love like yours. And that’s a dangerous line of thinking. If only because you don’t have any idea what their relationship is actually like.

For example, I dated a guy for years, who was a world-class jerk. And people thought we were cute, and they thought, what an adorable little couple. I’d like to have a relationship like that. Let me just say, I came out of it battered, and broken, and a completely different person than I was when I went into it. And not in a good way. But no one saw that happening, because I didn’t share it. Some of the stories I could tell, would stun the living daylights out of people, because there was never an inkling about what was going on when no one was looking. And if those same people that said, I want what they have, had actually seen what we had…. they would have said, Aw hell no, I don’t want that.

I’m not saying every relationship you see is a bad one. I may have dated an awful guy, but I married a good one. So I know there are better relationships to be had. All I’m saying, is be very careful when looking at what other people present to the world, and wishing you had it. Or feeling down because you don’t.

Instead, if you want to wish for love, that’s okay, just don’t wish for what you see someone else with. Wish for the right one for you, because yours is never going to look identical to anyone else’s.

And one other thing. Do not, under any circumstances, settle, because you’re looking around and see all these relationships and you want one, too.

That world-class jerk I mentioned? Had I settled for less than I deserved because I wanted some happily ever after that I saw others around us getting… I would have made a horrible mistake and ruined my life.

You know what I figured out? It was okay to be single. It was okay to be alone. It was okay to be by myself until the right person came along. Was that terrifying for me at the time? Yes. Was I lonely some days? Yes. Was I scared I’d spend forever alone? Yes.

But it was better than making the mistake of marrying the wrong man.

Just don’t let today get in your head and mess with you. That’s all. I know it can be hard for a lot of people.

Anyway, I’m going to kick back and watch Tangled and finish my Oreo milkshake. (Just like a child, rather than the 29 year old adult that I am.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Heather.

An Update, Some Insight, Plus An Important Reminder…

Yesterday I reached 40,050 words on novel number 3! (Insert thumbs up here) — For context, that’s roughly 160-ish actual book pages. I’m halfway there! (Give or take a few thousand words.)

One of my least favorite things about starting new books, is that for me, it takes hitting a stride, which is somewhere close to the halfway point, where I really click with my characters and everything starts flowing smoothly. Until then, getting the words down is a little more difficult. There are more big edits that happen in the first half of my books verses the back half, for that reason.

It takes a bit for me to get to know the characters well enough to do them justice. I miss small details about who they are, which I learn as I spend more time with them. Once I get to that point, or when I’ve finished the first draft entirely, I’ll notice instances where a character says something in the beginning that doesn’t line up with their personality at all. They’d never actually say it. So it has to go. Usually to be replaced with something more fitting.

We’ve now reached the point in book 3 where the words are flying and everything is just peachy. The back half should go much more quickly than the first. And I’m really excited!

Justin and Lynsey, the hero and heroine of this novel, are turning out to be one of my favorite couples. (Granted, for all I know they’ll all be my favorites before this series is over!) I think, really, my heart just goes out to Lynsey, and I love seeing Justin peel back all her layers and show her what love can be. Not what she’s always known it to be. So I’m loving this one.

Quick update on Edits. — Novel 1, still working on in between writing. I edit for a few days, write for a few. I like to give myself a break from the monotony of editing. It really drains so much out of me, and it’s not nearly as fun. Edits also go better the fresher my eyes are upon the pages. So the little breaks help not only me, but the book itself. Plus, I’m still getting something valuable accomplished in the meantime. It’s a win-win.

I’m kind of amazed, really. I had about 7,000 words when I picked up writing book 1 in September 2018. Now, here we are in February 2020, and I’ve written two full length novels, with a million rounds of edits in between, and I’m halfway through book 3. So by the time the two year mark rolls around in September, I’ll have written three full-length novels, and if not a fourth, I’ll be knee deep in writing it. Three, possibly four novels in two years, the first of which should be published by late Spring/early Summer, if all goes well.

I honestly never thought I’d see the day. Ya know, you go to school, you graduate, they tell you get out there now, make something of yourself, get a job, a career, go to college, make it all happen. And some of us, we flounder a bit. We’re still learning so much about ourselves, how in the world are we supposed to have it all figured out already? Some do well, others do not. I used to look at other people and feel like a failure. Why couldn’t I get my feet off the ground? Why was I going nowhere? Ya know? — But none of that mattered. I see that clearly now. But back then, it was a little soul-crushing.

I’m much more self-aware and a lot more self-confident than I was back then. And if I’ve leaned anything from all this, it’s never, ever compare yourself to anyone else. Fight for yourself, move at your own pace, and ignore anyone who might belittle you for being at the back of the pack. That’s not how this works. In a lot of cases, timing is everything. Don’t lose sight of yourself, because all you can see is someone else. That’s more heartache than it’s worth.

Heather!

What You Don't See… The Emotions.

I’m still working on an out of order edit for book one. I just edited Chapters 18 & 23. I went through each chapter twice. Both had a handful of changes that I made. Nothing wild and crazy. The wild and crazy edits are over. I completed those months ago. (Thank God!)

But after two hours of staring at my computer screen, I have headache. That, and it’s late and I’m tired. Also, chapter 23 is one of the more emotionally draining chapters. 22, 23, & 24, actually. So, that didn’t help either.

A lot of people may not realize that as writers, a lot of the time, most of us, really pour ourselves into what we do. Tough stuff hits hard. We feel as we write, and that’s rough.

For instance, my second book. Writing that was incredibly emotionally draining some days. Bits and pieces of Charley’s story are torn straight from the fabric of my own life. I lived it. I understand it in a way that makes it twice as painful than if I’d never known personally what the journey is like. — I won’t spoil that, because I don’t want to spoil her story before people get to read about it someday, but there are moments in it, where I felt the punch that was packed, because I’d been there, done that. I knew the struggle intimately. And there’s no way to write it without part of me bleeding onto those pages.

Anna’s story was hard, too. In different ways. It’s titled Forgiving Anna, not so much because someone else has to forgive her, but because she has to come to terms with forgiving herself. And if you’ve ever been there, I don’t have to tell you how painful it is to forgive yourself for making mistakes that have devastating consequences. It’s one of the hardest things to do. I know what that’s like. I know what it feels like. And that gets poured straight onto those pages as they’re written. And then cultivated as they’re edited.

I’m also the type of person who feels everything. I break down sobbing listening to songs, watching tv shows, reading sad or heartfelt stories. I feel it all, and those feelings end up on the pages.

It gets a little less draining with each edit, but stuff still packs a punch, even then.

That’s not to say I write sad books. I don’t. They’re romance novels slap full of love, witty banter, sexual tension, and even a laugh here or there. But my whole purpose is to write real, relatable characters. And real life is messy. Full of tough, dark moments. But what I love about life, is that no matter how dark, there is light in that darkness. There is happiness to be found. Love wins, it conquers all. And things may get ugly sometimes, painful and sad. We live through things that mess us up and get in our way, break us and tear us down, but we get back up, and we keep on going. We find love, we find happiness, and we find joy again. It doesn’t beat us. And those are the stories that I choose to tell.

My characters, they’re like us. Their stories are like ours. They make mistakes. They get hurt. They deal with loss. Some of them are bitter and angry. Some of them are afraid. Some of them have lost people they loved. Some are addicts. Some don’t have loving families. Some have come face to face with sexual assault or domestic abuse. Some have been in prison. Some have been to war. Some just have messed up families. Some are completely alone, on their own. Others have felt the sting of rejection, what it’s like to never be good enough, to never live up to the expectations their loved ones have of them. — They’re like us.

But just like us, they find happiness. They have hope. They find love. They laugh, and they smile, and they live.

And those are the stories that I tell. That is the point that I make. That even in the dark, or after it, there is light, because there is love. And yeah, it’s in romance form here, but these people have friends and family, too. There is a whole lot of love and whole lot of beating the odds in my books, and that’s because I think it’s so incredibly important to remind people… there is light in the darkness. There are good times after the bad. Hold on. You will love again. You will laugh again. You will know happiness again.

So when I write these books, I have to feel all these things. Process them and wade into the deep end. But it’s worth it.

It’s so worth it.

Anyway, I’m going to call it a night. Hope you all have a fantastic day!

Heather.

Update On Posting Schedule.

So originally I set out to do a blog post a day in 2020. I did one every day for January, but moving forward I’m going to switch it up to three days a week and see what I think.

I may like it better, I may decide to add a day, who knows! We’ll see.

This is not one of the weekly posts, it’s just a quick update on that.

See ya!

Heather.

It's My Birthday… And I Bought Myself A Milkshake!

I turned 29 years old today. Can y’all believe that? I feel so old. I’m almost 30! Whaaaat?

Wanna know what I did? Woke up and went shopping. As if I don’t shop enough already, I used my birthday as an excuse to do more shopping.

I bought a pair of jeans at T.J. Maxx. Really, I love that store. I could live in it. I’d be quite content there.

I’m kind of funny about my jeans. So it was a stroke of luck, or rather, a blessing from above, take it how you will, that I found them. I don’t really care for extra stretchy denim. I know most people love it. But I am just not one of those people. I prefer that tougher denim, the kind that was more popular back in the 90s, and has a little less stretch in it, a little less give until you wear them for a few hours. I don’t really know how to describe it. (Some author I am, right?) Maybe y’all know what I’m talking about, maybe y’all don’t, I don’t know.

Anyway, when I come across that kind of denim, in a pair of jeans that fit me just right, I snatch em up. More than one pair if I can. I found a pair about a month ago and I absolutely love them. But they only had the one pair. It’s a brand I wear a lot of, and the jeans are actually from like two seasons ago. 2018, I believe. So they aren’t just hanging out on the shelves everywhere. I’ve been popping into the store about once a week hoping to find more, but it’s been nothing but stretchy denim. A lot of new arrivals and stuff, but stretchy.

I was looking around today, and on a whim, because I rarely check out the clearance section. I probably should, that’s the smart thing to do, but I just never do. It’s no where near my section of clothing, so I just never think about it. Anyway, low and behold, but what did I find… one pair of the same exact jeans I bought a month ago. For… half the price!

Can you say Happy Birthday to me? I sho did!

That’s all I bought though. I looked at purses and kitchen stuff, but in the end I left with only the jeans.

I did go by the Cookout and get a chocolate syrup milkshake, which I’ve never had. It tasted like my childhood, by the way. Fitting, given it’s my birthday and all. It’s like when I was a kid and I’d ask my mom for a glass of chocolate milk with the Hershey’s syrup? It tasted just like that, in milkshake form. Delicious!

Also, a little tidbit completely irrelevant to the rest of this post, I worked yesterday, and we have gone from 30,000 words to 35,000 on novel number three! (For anyone curious, that’s a total of about 140 actual book pages.) Woo-hoo! Progress! (Don’t remind me that I’ve still got 50,000 words to go, just don’t remind me.)

Will see y’all later!

Heather!

Book Updates! Sweetgum Valley Series

I think I’m going to try and finish making my book cover this week. I think.

I’ve also been contemplating a title change for the first book. I haven’t found anything else that fits though, so we’ll see how that goes. Maybe. It’s a maybe.

This past week I worked on an out of order edit, (still working on it ) meaning I’m jumping around randomly, editing chapters out of order. It helps because I tend to stay focused on just the chapter in front of me, rather than the book as a whole. A line by line, paragraph by paragraph look at it.

Book 2. It’s hanging out in ‘haven’t touched it in weeks, still requires multiple edits’ land. It’s only had one so far, and that’s not nearly enough.

In between stuff for the other books, I’m writing book 3. It’s at 30,000 words, roughly 1/3 of the way there.

I have a million other things to do as well, but my primary goals for the moment are to completely finish edits on book 1, format it, finish the cover, and write book 3.

I plan to publish the first book around late spring, early summer. And the second around late fall, early winter. We will see if I manage to keep this timeline. I’m sure going to try though. 😊

— Somewhere in there before I publish, I’ll start working on sending out monthly newsletters. It’s not as high up on the priority chain as getting book 1 complete. It’s coming though! —

Just thought I’d share a quick update.

Heather! ❤️