Not Ready

“I’m not ready for this.”
They are the words I thought in early January when I heard your diagnosis.
The words I repeated over and over on the brink of a panic attack in my bathroom when I found out the tumor wasn’t shrinking.
The words on loop in my mind as I cried in my kitchen the day I found out you had less than two months left.
The same words have been radiating through me today.
I’m not ready.
Not ready to say goodbye.
Not ready to grieve you.
Because I didn’t get you for long enough.
And it’s not fucking fair. It’s not fair.
None of it’s fair, and I’m not ready.

I will never forget the first time I met you. Killian was only a year old and you’d stopped by with Nate on Thanksgiving. Nate, of course, didn’t make the pronunciation of your name clear. You blatantly corrected me with a fierce tone. It terrified me, but a second later you made it clear how important it is to stand up for yourself.
It was the first of many lessons you would teach me on how not to give a fuck. Didn’t always pass that class with flying colors (I’m a type 9 after all), but I learned by your example.

At the beginning, I was afraid to let you in. Afraid to grow close then lose you if you and Nate broke up. How ridiculous of me. It didn’t take long for you to become a true sister. Though we didn’t see eye to eye on everything, you always respected me, and I appreciated that.

A little piece of truth, I was upset when you moved to Maine. I selfishly wanted to keep you where I could see you every weekend. Family gatherings were less fun without your particular brand of snark (and encouragement that I should definitely show my cleavage).

Our girls’ nights were replaced with frequent texting and hour plus phone conversations. During our last phone chat, you told me the only thing you didn’t like about our new house was that you couldn’t picture me walking around in it since you hadn’t seen it.

That sums you up so perfectly, that you wanted the full picture in your mind’s eye.
I hate that you didn’t get to see it. Didn’t get to sit around the kitchen table with us for one last ‘garbage party.’
But I hate even more that you couldn’t have many of the ‘lasts’ you wanted. That your life was slowly robbed from you. First by the extreme pain and then by the side effects of chemo.

I am grateful for our last visit, a last hug that I knew might be my last with you but hoped it wouldn’t be. I was glad it helped with some of the burden you felt, even if the trip was bittersweet.
I’m mostly upset that because of COVID and life, I didn’t get one last in person visit with the fullest version of you. It had been two years since I’d last seen you in person, and damn it, I wanted more. I’ll always want more.
I suppose that’s the selfish side of it all.

You taught me so much, let me see a side of you that you didn’t show to everyone, and encouraged me to follow my heart. Even in those pain-filled moments, you encouraged me to keep writing.
I can’t thank you enough for everything you shared with me. Your light, your love, your pain. I’ll do my best to keep passing those bits of you on.
I have a feeling you’re not done with lessons yet, though. You’re everywhere now, and I’m sure you’ll be guiding me and sending me some more to learn and grow from when I need it. Like the final words you left us with.

Ugh. This sucks.
Cancer sucks.
And it’s not fair. None of this is.
I’m not ready, and I never will be.
But I love you so fiercely, and thus I have to grieve.
I’m sure you’re embarking on your greatest journey yet. I hope it’s amazing. I look forward to meeting with you again someday, in whatever form.
I love you. Always.

What’s up this week (June 7th-13th)

Happy Monday! Here’s a look at what’s happening this week!

What I’m working on:

  • Small edits on a holiday romance I’m finishing up.
  • Playing around with potential edits for the first two books in the Friends Like This series.
  • Working on a fun contemporary romance. It’s a boy next door with a sprinkle of best friend’s older brother, friends to lovers, and second chance romance. Plus some juicy friendship stuff too.
  • Updates to the website, building the beta reading team, and (finally) making a Facebook page.

What I’m listening to:

Currently obsessed with two songs: Leave Before You Love Me by Marshmello & Jonas Brothers and Chinatown by Bleachers & Bruce Springsteen. Also editing the Friends Like This stuff, specifically the love story in it, has me listening to Friends Don’t by Maddie and Tae nonstop.

What I’m reading:

Jillian Dodd’s That Promise comes out on Tuesday so I will be reading and rereading that all week. I cannot effing wait.

What I’m watching:

Finally watching the Friends Reunion special with my mom this week!

What else?:

Crazy children. Trying to figure out the minutia of self-publishing without losing my mind (it’s not going well lol).

What are you up to this week??

Let me know and don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and follow me over on Instagram!

The fictional boys I’ve fallen for…

We’ve established that I love love. And romance. Which means I’ve been crushing on fictional characters for as long as I can remember. Here are five that stand out in my memory…

Randy Taylor- Home Improvement

If you’ve read my about me page, you know that I was in love with Jonathan Taylor Thomas as a kid. He was my favorite ’90’s heartthrob, and because of this, I fell in love with Home Improvement and Randy Taylor, played by JTT was the first fictional character I ever remember crushing on. Now, I can’t lie, I had to go back and look up the name of this character, but at the time I was obsessed and most definitely found myself swooning over him plenty of times.

Nathan Scott- One Tree Hill

I could sing my love for One Tree Hill forever. I love this show so much. I grew up with those characters and I was a little bit in love with James Lafferty. But really I loved, loved, loved me some Nathan Scott. He was a little bit of an asshole/bad boy but had such a big heart and would do anything for the people he loved (like get caught up with a loan shark– okay I did not love every plot that happened in this show). He was sexy and sweet, he learned and grew with everything that happened to him, he was a loving husband and great dad. Needless to say, I stan Nathan Scott as the best Scott brother and I always will.

Logan Huntzberger- Gilmore Girls

Yes, I am proudly #teamLogan! I mean, don’t get me wrong I could see Rory ending up with Jess (not Dean, never Dean), but I always felt like, while Jess got her, Logan knew parts of her that no one else did. Plus as we’ve established, I have an affinity for the asshole with a good heart types and Logan definitely fits the bill. But also, he was protective of Rory, saw her brilliance but didn’t worship her, and could fit into both of her worlds easily. Plus he had that sexy, charming grin nailed.

Cooper Cartwright- Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells series

I think Cooper Cartwright may have been the first book boy I ever fell in love with (though he would not be the last). Tall, sexy body. Protective and charming. The good guy but also tough. He’s the perfect combination of sweet and caring and manly. He was the first book boy to make me swoon and his love story with the main character was the first to make me plow through a book, desperate to know when they would finally get together.

Danny fucking Diamond! – Jillian Dodd’s That Boy series

Danny is my favorite, favorite, favorite. I love him so damn much. If you aren’t familiar with Jillian Dodd’s That Boy series, go read it, please. While I love the other (very) swoonworthy boy in those books, Phillip, it’s Danny who wins my heart every single time. He checks all of my boxes. A little cocky and a touch of an asshole but with a big, big heart. He loves his friends and family and would do anything for them. Plus he’s a hot quarterback and an awesome dad. If I had to pick anyone off this list to date it would be Danny Diamond every time.

What’s up this week…

Happy Monday! Thought I’d give you all a little glimpse into what’s happening with me this week!

What I’m working on:

  • I am reading and editing the first two books in my series Friends Like This. And also working on the third book in that series.
  • Starting a new contemporary romance standalone (that will be the first in a 3 book series of related standalones).
  • Prepping an announcement about a Kindle Vella project, so stay tuned for that!

What I’m listening to:

I’m writing a lot of break-up/angsty things this week. You can look at my Instagram to see what is on repeat for me today, but in general, lots of sad, break-up, broken-hearted music. There’s some Taylor Swift in there, some Yellowcard, Where I First Found You and Wish I Knew by Forest Blakk, Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo, No Right to Love You by Rhys Lewis and what’s currently stuck in my head, which is I Lied by Lord Huron.

What I’m reading:

This week I’m rereading books from one of my favorite series, That Boy from Jillian Dodd. I love this whole series and the next book comes out in two weeks so this week I’m rereading That Love and That Ring. They always make me feel so cozy. Plus Danny Diamond is my book boyfriend and I love him.

What I’m watching:

I really only watch TV when I’m folding laundry. Given that is getting summer-y here in the southern tier of NY, I’ll probably be watching Royal Pains, however, summer always puts me in a One Tree Hill mood, so I might be watching that. I almost never watch new shows, although I may be rewatching the series finale of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. That depends if I’m prepared to sob (again).

What else?

Being a momma as always and hopefully some chill time this weekend.

What are you up to this week??

Let me know and don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment, and follow me over on Instagram!

How quarantine helped me fall in love with writing again

The year was 2020. Wait, am I allowed to even say that? Is it like a Bloody Mary or Beetlejuice situation? Because I do not want that year back. It can stay down in the fires of hell where it belongs.

I have always loved writing. I’ve loved creating stories and I’ve done it since I was young. Long before I knew what I was really doing. They were just there in my head. Eventually I started writing them down but I struggled to find the right way to write my stories. I went from book to screenplay and then back again. Each time learning more about how to write but feeling more furstrated and less creative. Honestly, it felt like a passion that was going nowhere.

Then I had my second kid and when you have a newborn, you achieve nothing. I focused on him. And then when he was just five months old, lockdown happened. Quarantine. I already had anxiety. The world was getting more chaotic by the week and I was stressed trying to handle raising a baby and a six year old who was suddenly relying on me to be his teacher, occupational therapist, physical therpaist, speech therapist, and mom. All while my husband was working from home in our open den two rooms away.

I was burnt. I was longing for stress relief, but writing didn’t feel like it used to. And because it was the year that shall not be named, the hits just kept on coming. I lost two grandparents (neither to covid) without the proper way or space to mourn them. Life just kept tumbling on and as election season came through, I was on Facebook and news sites constantly. My stress levels were high, I was still homeschooling a child who desperately needed to be in a classroom, and my infant was rapidly turning into a toddler.

I sought comfort in my favorite TV shows but ultimately nothing really provided what I was looking for. That soul-swelling story that sucks you in and makes you feel like you’re home. I’d watched all my favorites so many times, they’d lost some of that feeling. I wanted that again. I wanted that inspiration.

So, after Facebook and news overload, I saw a Black Friday deal for Kindle Unlimited and decided to do it. That would be a much better way to spend my free time, especially all the nights up late with my little one who never wanted to sleep.

I read the first few books in the Sweet Magnolias series since I’d become obessed with the TV show and wanted to know what happens (even though the car accident thing is not in the books so I’m still on the edge of my seat about that). And then I kept seeing this other book recommended: That Boy by Jillian Dodd.

Finally I gave in to my Kindle’s recommendations and started reading it.

And suddenly, I was in love.

And inspired.

I was reading a book that gave me that soul-swelling feeling. But I was also reading a book that felt like me. It felt like the way I write. With characters who feel like they’re your best friends. They feel real. I connected with that. And suddenly I was writing again… I actually stopped reading it a few chapters in because I was so inspired to write.

Then I picked it up again and kept reading, lost in the story, which is not always easy for me. And just when I thought I knew where the story might go, the twist happened. And if you’ve read the book, you know the massive shock that happens. It totally changed my perception of the book and I loved it more.

I kept reading, plowing through the book and then onto the second in the series, That Wedding, which has become one of my favorite books ever.

Then I thought… I want to write a friends to lovers story. So I did. And it flew out of me. The first iteration, anyway.

Now it’s blocked out to a multi book series with the first two written, the next two half-written, and the rest all blocked out.

Finally I not only started feeling like myself again, but I started seeing a path toward writing as a career. And then I learned about self-publishing. And because I’m controlling with what I create and a glutton for punishment, I decided hey, that could be a thing for me to do.

In the last five months I’ve written four books, started three more, and have many more blocked out. And though it won’t be easy, I’m ready to jump on this path, more ready than I’ve ever been. So, that’s what I’m gonna do.

I’m not sure when I’ll self-publish the first book or which one it will be, but the first thing I launch will be a story told in “episodes” on Amazon’s new Kindle Vella service.

More to come on that when I know it! Look for announcement on the title and a teaser for what to expect soon.

Until then, check back here for my random thoughts and recommendations, behind the scenes and teasers of what else I’m working on, and maybe some free fictional content.

If you want to keep up with me, follow me over on Instagram

And if you’re curious about me, you can read more here

As for what to expect from my writing… true love, epic romance, friends who are always there for each other, complicated families, and lots of cozy, warm feelings that will hopefully make you feel right at home.

Hope you’ll join me on the ride.