the long game: now available for pre-order!

Exciting news, friends: My novella, “The Long Game” is now available for pre-order with the Once Upon a Laugh collection on Amazon Kindle!

Even better? The whole collection (8 inspirational romantic comedies) is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time. I am so excited to introduce you to Ryan and Annie and the rest of the stories in this set.

When the arts budget gets cut to make room for a new football coach, small-town choir teacher Annie Jacobs has one long-shot chance to save the spring musical: kicking a field goal on national television. But she swore off sports—and the spotlight—forever when her last attempt resulted in social annihilation. And the new football coach is the golden boy she pined for in high school, who was there to witness it all.

Hometown hero Ryan Collins has returned to Lake Greencliff to restore the football program to its former glory, the opportunity for redemption after his first coaching tenure ended in disappointment. When he finds out his second chance came at a cost, he agrees to help prepare Annie for the contest. But he doesn’t count on falling for the fascinating woman who fell off the map after high school, or how much she helps him in return.

When the past threatens to repeat itself, crippling old fears resurface. With their jobs and their students’ futures in the balance, can the show–and their budding romance–go on?

For more information, including story inspiration and extras, visit The Long Game’s story page! You can pre-order all 8 novellas for 99 cents by clicking here:

Pre-order Now!

the ultimate book news (!!!!)

Last week, I got an important phone call.

This weekend, I went to a restaurant and signed an important piece of paper.

Today, I mailed an important envelope. 

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I’m thrilled to announce my debut book contract with Harlequin Heartwarming!

They are a clean romance line in the general market under the Harlequin umbrella, and the book they purchased is my second manuscript, tentatively titled Just Breathe. 

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To say that I’m excited is an understatement!

This is a moment years in the making,
happened in the most unexpected way,
and the perfect answer to prayer!

I can’t end this post without saying thank you to my agent, Rachel Kent; the editor who showed so much excitement for my book and offered great revision notes, Dana Grimaldi; and my acquiring editor, Victoria Curran!

This book might still be a work-in-progress without the support of my husband and children, lots of babysitting help from our families, love from my wonderful writing sisters, lots of advice from my mentor Kathleen Y’Barbo Turner + veteran authors Kristin Billerbeck and Carla Laureano, and the prayers and encouragement of so many friends!

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God is faithful.

And I’m ready to get to work!

If you’d like {occasional} updates on the book, such as release date, cover reveals, and things like that, you can sign up for my newsletter and follow along on my author Facebook page

 

I wrote THE END {vol. 3}

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I just wrote THE END on my first draft/first edit of book 3!

And around here, we celebrate every little thing that gives us a somewhat viable excuse to throw a party. This is my first story to finish with two kids! Most of it was written with an infant and a preschooler between my day job, sleep regressions, preschooler valet services, trips to the coffee shop, and a few Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups for good luck. Here’s the scoop:

How can someone write a first draft and do a first edit in the same round?

Well, like all good things, it’s complicated.

This book was my second manuscript but was shelved at about 25% complete in 2013…until Mary Weber’s class at the 2015 ACFW Conference revived my love for these characters and the message behind this story.  So I wrote 30K during the first half of NaNoWriMo 2015 before I had to shelf it to complete a revision request on Book 2. My agent gently reminded me that an editor had requested to see the full after this manuscript placed second in the RWA Lone Star Contest, so I have been reading for flow, writing 15K of new scenes here and there, and editing/making editorial notes as I go.

Why did I shelf it?

This story is best suited for the audience between Young Adult and traditional contemporary romance. Like my first manuscript, I call it Inspirational New Adult because the coming-of-age threads are just as important as the romance, yet the term “New Adult” carries a very edgy stigma (four words: 50 Shades of Grey) though my story is obviously clean enough for the inspirational market.

Based on the advice of my agent and the general consensus of publishing professionals in 2013, there were no proven sales patterns for CBA publishers to take a risk on a story geared toward that audience, so I decided to pursue a different story that became Just Breathe.  It was absolutely the right advice and best move to make!

But while I had two manuscripts on submission, I decided I really, really wanted to finish Book 3 before moving forward with my next contemporary romance project. (You can blame Mary Weber and you can blame my characters for being ridiculously irresistible so I couldn’t stay away.)

aren't they pretty?

here’s who I would pick to play them. aren’t they pretty?

I have SO much respect for the brave lovelies learning how to navigate the adult world and going through so many transitions.  So here we are! Hopefully two years later, the inspirational market is ready for a story like this 🙂

Like you, I will probably read this next bit later and want to punch myself in the face…

But I was stuck at the corner of Here and Where-To-Go-From-Here last week when a plot thread fell into my lap while I was driving my daughter to school. And it wasn’t just a normal plot thread, it was a ribbon to tie my ending up in a neat bow AND strengthen two other storylines. Yes! It also explained my random urge to listen to classical music all week, and you’d better believe I think it was very much related 🙂

So note to self and note to you, dear reader: When you’re stuck with no clue what to do in your story, sometimes it can come to you when you least expect it — when your stereo is blaring children’s worship songs + two kids are exercising their lungs in the back seat + BEFORE you’ve had any caffeine. It could happen to you!

What’s next?

I am going to do one more read-through to fix some editorial notes I gave myself and then ship it off to critiquers! After I press send, I am going to take a nap. And read 393990394 books. And then get started on my next contemporary romance, which I’m super excited about!

What can we celebrate for you? Please allow me to cut you a thick slice of chocolate cake with extra sprinkles.