So, for those of you who don’t know, my second book, Where the Yellow Flowers Grow is now out (yay!) and if you have any readers on your holiday list, (especially those who are suckers for a good love story, like I am) here is the perfect deal:
For just $35 (plus shipping if you are out of the Buffalo area) you get a signed one of these:
I’m so excited! I’m jumping up and down right now. Really (no video…you’ll have to take my word for it). But seriously, have I told you how excited I am??
It’s been a long journey to get my first book, Where the Pink Houses Are, onto shelves in a format that I approve of. But it’s here!! I’ve expanded the book and redesigned the front and back cover as well as the interior design. And, it’s not just on Kindle…for all you paper people, you can hold it in your hands. The paperback version is now available on Amazon.com! (click here)
I really tried to get this out in time for Christmas (and if you were to overnight it, you could get it tomorrow) but the process took longer than expected. Still, I’m thrilled that it’s finally ready. And if you need a gift for your mom or your sister and you’re not going to see them till a few days after Christmas, I’d be happy to place the order for you through my Amazon Prime (if you’re local, that is). Then I can even sign it for you 🙂
I promised you occasional updates on the writing process for books two and three in my Where the Pink Houses Are “trilogy.” And for those of you who are waiting, I know if feels like forever. But I promise I’m working on it.
As a matter of fact, this week I will be back to work on book two!Yay! I have over 300 pages done and I’m so excited to finish it. Some of you know, I had put it on the back burner so I could re-work book one and I’m thrilled with the final result. The story hasn’t changed much but Where the Pink Houses Are is even better than it was before. You can get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other retailers.
If you’ve already read my first book, I’d love your feedback on the newer version. If you haven’t read my first book, I’d really love your opinion!! So, check it out and let me know what you think! (It’s less than the cost of a tall mocha latte and hopefully a little bit more enjoyable. Not a lot…I mean I’m a realist. Latte’s are awesome. But, ya know…a novel hopefully lasts you longer 😉 )
Here’s a sneak peek at the new first chapter:
I hate planes. They’re flying coffins. And can we talk about these flimsy seat belts? If there was any way to get Anna to Ireland without being strapped into this death trap, I’d take it. I guess we could have done a cruise. But then—Titanic.
If this freaking plane would just stop shaking! This is it. I’m going to die in a fiery crash or be swallowed by sharks in the North Atlantic. Maybe I should have taken Anna’s drugs.
My heart pounded at the thought of plummeting to the depths below. Breathe, Brenna. Breathe. While I did deep breathing exercises, my mother-in-law, Anna, slept peacefully in the window seat beside me.
Of course, that was because I had forced her to take Ambien.
There had been a lot of that over the previous nine months—me forcing her to do stuff. “You have to eat, Anna. You’re going to starve yourself.” “How about a shower today, Anna?” I mean, I get it. She was grieving. But I was grieving too, and I still showered.
Sorry. That came out mean. She had every right to be a wreck. The freak car accident that stole my husband from me, robbed her of both her husband and her only child, on the same day. It’s hard to come back from something like that. She was so depressed after the accident that she barely got out of bed for a month.
I might have done the same, but I didn’t have that luxury. Someone needed to handle the funeral arrangements, the tons of paperwork and all the other everyday things you never have to think about because your husband takes care of them. And I also had to work. Anna had Joe’s life insurance money to live off of but Ben and I hadn’t even gotten to that point in our marriage yet. What twenty-year-old thinks about life insurance?
The plane shivered again, and still Anna didn’t move. I settled back a little and stared down at her totally relaxed hands. She had been wringing them for days before we left. One minute she’d insisted we weren’t ready for a long trip, and the next, she was telling me how excited she was to see her aunt and cousin.
But mostly she’d been worrying. She worried over my fear of flying. She worried that by taking up two of the rooms at her aunt’s Bed & Breakfast, we’d be putting her out. And she worried that I had to quit my waitressing job to get enough time off for this vacation. Honestly, that part worried me too, but there was no way I was gonna cancel this trip, because I was pretty sure it was exactly what Anna needed.
I’m taking a leap. A few weeks ago I wrote about the word Jump (thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday prompt). I said that jump made me think of standing on the edge of a cliff knowing I was supposed to take a leap.
Well, I think I just did that. I booked a flight to Ireland. Not a sightseeing trip. Not a getaway with hubby. Just me and my computer heading to the Emerald Isle to write. (It’s a dream come true and without an amazingly supportive husband, it wouldn’t happen. Thank you babe!)
So, why Ireland? A few years ago, I wrote a novel called, Where the Pink Houses Are, set in a charming Irish country town. Thankfully, it seems some people really loved the book. (click the title above if you’d like to read a review ;)) The comment I most often hear is, “When are you going to write the next one?” My response has always been, “I’m working on it.” And that’s true, to an extent. I have written some chapters. I have some ideas.
But for almost two years now the nagging feeling in the back of my head is that I can’t write book two until I’ve been to Ireland. I can only “fake” it so long. Anyone I’ve talked to who has read my book and also been to Ireland tells me they can’t believe I haven’t been there. But I think that’s because their minds fill in the blanks. They are seeing it vividly because they have already seen it! I haven’t. And it handicaps me.
When I decided to set my book in Ireland, I knew it would be difficult, never having set my eyes on the multi-hued green hills. I chose a fictional town and called it Millway. But I actually based it off of Millstreet; a real town, location-wise, so that distances to Cork city & Limerick, etc. would be consistent. I wanted a reference point.
I figured google would be my best friend. And it was. I was able to look up any locations my characters visited and describe the scene from pictures. But I didn’t even try to describe the actual town because it’s not a tourist area so I didn’t have pictures. I just used my imagination. It was the best I could do and it worked, mostly because my main character, Brenna, was an American tourist. She didn’t know the town well, either. It was fine. But this time around, she will have lived there for a few years. It will be her home and she will know it better, so I should too, right?
That’s why I’m going to stay for a week in the very town I set my novel in. How cool is that?? This time around, I will actually be able to infuse the real town into my book. I will have a feel for the “personality” of the place. It will still be fiction. But it will feel so much more real to me…and hopefully to my readers!
But confession time…I’m a little scared. Not of traveling by myself. Been there, done that. I was scared of driving on the wrong side of the road trying to leave the Shannon Airport, but Michael, the charming B&B proprietor, assures me I won’t need to “hire” a rental car. His wife will be on “holiday” and will gladly drive an hour to the airport to get me. Really? (I’m already blown away by the Irish hospitality.) He also assures me I’ll have “the life of Reilly” while I’m there. And I believe him. My father’s from Ireland, as are all his relatives. In a way, this feels like a home-coming for me. So that part…doesn’t scare me.
Why am I scared then, you ask? Well I imagine it’s a fear that every writer has at some point; what if the words don’t come? What if I spend the money and take time away from my family and I still don’t come away with my story? That’s the scary part. There’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to trust that it will be there. That my story is waiting for me.
Before I booked my flight, I was still a little hesitant to make the jump. I thought maybe I was just making excuses; I should just try writing book two from home. And then, last night, I was reading a book my sister, Sarah, recommended to me years ago. A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle (think A Wrinkle In Time…one of my fav books as a child) is a must read for any writer or artist. Sarah told me that back then but I never got around to reading it. Now I know that I was just saving it for the right time. I have highlighted it like crazy, but one particular line jumped off the page last night.
Madeline was talking about how her characters often do things she doesn’t expect. That even if she has everything mapped out, she will sometimes have to change huge sections of her book if the characters surprise her with something. (That’s one of my favorite things about writing fiction!) So, her point was that her characters were fluid, unpredictable, changing and that was okay. But the next sentence was, “But I do have to know, with all five senses, the places in which these unpredictable people move.” Yes! Yes. That is what I needed to hear. I need to know Ireland with all five senses. So I’m taking the leap. I’ve booked my flight and I’ll just have to see where it leads me…and my characters.