New Things

Tomorrow is the first day of school for my kiddos. The oldest is starting third grade (the year the dreaded testing begins), and my twins–my babies–are starting kindergarten.

There’s no doubt in my mind that both are ready for this new thing in their lives. They’re smart, friendly, polite, and independent. I’m so stinkin’ proud of them that I feel as if I’ll burst sometimes. I don’t think I was ever as brave about starting something brand new as they are right now.

“I can’t even wait, Mama.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that phrase over the past several days.

This new thing… it’s a big one. They don’t realize how big yet, and thats probably a good thing. I’ll be the one overwhelmed at how difficult it’s going to be for them to learn not only a new language but also everything else required in kindergarten. I’ll fret over knowing that it’s no longer 98% up to me what goes in their sweet little ears and their innocent, blue eyes. I’ll worry about whether or not Susie and Billy play fair and if the teacher will do something about it if they don’t (she will, btw… she’s awesome), or worse if they’re the ones not playing fair! I’ll mourn over slowly losing bits and pieces of them to their teachers and counselors and friends.

It’s not so bad, really… it happens gradually. You don’t even notice until one day you blink and you have a third grader who thinks he knows everything and sitting in mom’s lap for two minutes is about 118 seconds too long. And who doesn’t want that????

Plus, there are so many things to love about starting school–watching your kids learn something new, how proud they get, seeing them read, hearing about their new friends, the excitement in their voice when they get a good grade or go on a field trip or it’s pizza day.

So tomorrow, when they put on their new outfits and I walk them to their classroom at their new school–the place that they’ll spend more of their time than anywhere else for the next six years–and I hand them over to their teacher–who they’ll spend more time with during the week than me–I’ll try my best not to cry as I give them a big hug and then let them go. They deserve better than that. They deserve to see how much I love them and how excited I am for them to start this new adventure.

I’ll save my tears for after. Probably come home and smell their dirty laundry or something equally gross while I snot-sob everywhere. No matter how ready they are, no matter how excited I am to go grocery shopping by myself and actually have real chunks of uninterrupted time to write, I will mourn. No one needs to tell me  how blessed or fortunate I am that I’ve had three beautiful and healthy and intelligent and happy kids. I know there are so many people who aren’t able to enjoy this miracle, so I try not to complain. But tomorrow I will weep for the loss of what was…

Watch out, world… my babies are coming for you! And I have no doubt in my mind that all three are going to kick some ass and take some names. ❤

Reclaiming Hope Cover Reveal!!!

When I first decided to dip my toe into publishing OF, I, of course, hoped that my books would be well-received and sell well, but as a newbie, I didn’t really expect it. Especially since I’m terrible at promo/marketing and would sooner light my face on fire than brag about myself.

It was humbling and exciting to see Redeeming Hope climb into the top 100 on Amazon those first few days and then when I realized what the little star on ARe meant, you could’ve knocked me over with a feather.

I couldn’t have asked for a better reception for Redeeming Hope and it was such a pleasure to finish Adam’s and Elijah’s story in Resurrecting Hope.

But Reclaiming Hope (I probably should have chosen less-confusing names!) is my favorite of the series so far. I don’t know if it’s because I adore Kollin so much, or because it was nice to focus on new characters, or because I’ve (hopefully) improved my writing, or a combo of all that plus some… But I’m most excited to share this story with you.

While I’m (im)patiently waiting for October 14, I wanted to share the beautiful cover LC Chase created. It captures my most favorite moment in the book perfectly. Hope you love the cover and book as much as I do!!

If you haven’t had a chance to read the first two in the series, link is below!!

Redeeming Hope and Resurrecting Hope

 

Without further ado….

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I’ll be posting again soon with MORE ESSITING NEWS re Redeeming Hope!!

Have a fab week everyone!

xoxo

shell

Dem Pride

YOU GUISE!

How proud am I to be a Democrat after all of these amazing speeches at the DNC this week?

SO PROUD!

Michelle Obama slayed as usual, Cory Booker had me waving my hands in  the air, Bloomberg burned Trump up one side and down the other, Tim Kaine has clearly already started taking cool dad lessons from Uncle Joe, and our phenomenal president blew me away with his heartfelt and moving speech… again.

 

 

It’s been a rough summer in some ways… this election has my anxiety skyrocketing because the thought of a Trump presidency is terrifying. Many of my friends are republican leaning, so they either support Trump or a third party…. they all agree that they hate Hillary. Seeing their scathing posts about a party and morals and ideas and opinions that I agree with and a nominee that I respect is tough. Is there something wrong with me? Do I not know all the facts? I thought Christians, my religion that I love and that has shaped my life in such a positive and loving way, were supposed to show love and be welcoming and that seems to be what the Democratic party is about so what am I missing here?

But guess what? After this week, IDGAF! Hillary’s accomplishments, expertise, compassion, and knowledge are far and beyond the other candidates. I’m proud to support marriage equality and the right for women to make their own choices regarding their bodies. I love that we are diverse and that we never stop trying to find a solution to complex problems, that we don’t discriminate for any reason.

And I mean really… how could you not get emotional over this…

bohc

LOOK AT THEM. JUST LOOK! DO YOU SEE HOW AMAZING THAT IS???????? DO YOU???

I want to cry just thinking about how important this picture is. How historic it is. AND WE GET TO MAKE IT HAPPEN! WE GET TO BE THE REASON that 100 years from now people look back and say, “Not only did they vote in the first African American president AND the first woman president, but those POTUS’ were two of the greatest in the history of America.” WE GET TO DO THAT!

Anyway, that’s my shtick. For those of you only here for my books, I’ll post my cover reveal for Reclaiming Hope in a day or two. I’ve kept my kids busy all summer, so I haven’t had much time for anything else. I think I’ve written a total of 2500 words since June. *sobs* But once the kids are in school (my youngest two are starting Kindergarten!) I’ll be back to the grind and hopefully can finish the two WIPs I have going pretty quickly.

BYEEEEEEEEEE

xo

shell

Thoughts on Orlando

Morning and happy Tuesday!

I haven’t been around much because my family and I were on vacation last week. We had an amazing time together, and I feel so blessed we were fortunate enough to have that luxury.

I heard about the Orlando massacre while at the beach. I actually read the headline on Facebook first and for some reason thought it was some kind of sick joke, so I dismissed it and kept scrolling… until I saw it again.

There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said. Feelings of devastation, fear, anger, and grief over watching the news unfold were followed by hope and pride as we saw the heroes emerge. Whether by donating time, money, blood, or actually rushing into the devastation, America got a front row seat to see the LGBT+ community and its allies show the world that love is greater than hate.

The victims of this shooting, their families, and the entire LGBT+ community has been in my prayers since last Sunday. I can’t imagine how difficult this has been to experience and process and live through. I’m not much, but please know I’m in your corner. orlando shooting

(Social) Anxiety and Me

HI!

How’s everybody doing? It’s been a while. Sorry about that. I have a few reasons….

One (and probably 85% of the issue)… I’m a horrible blogger. It’s kind of like that meme that says, “I’ll probably be late because of who I am as a person.” That’s me… except, I’d never be late because the thought of being late nearly sends me into a panic attack.

Reason two… I’ve been kind of busy. Kids. Editing. Writing. Husband. blah blah blah. That’ll never change so that’s not really a good reason. So… see reason one again.

Reason three… I have a touch of social anxiety. For the record… this is self diagnosed. I did try to see a doctor about it once but she told me I was probably just shy. Maybe one day I’ll go to a different doctor and try again. Whatever I have, I recognize that it’s not nearly as severe as what many people have to deal with on a daily basis, so I don’t talk about it much aside from sarcastically throwing it into conversations.

My point is that most days my shyness/social anxiety/social awkwardness/general speaking idiocy doesn’t impact my life too much. But there’s never a time where I feel comfortable talking to a stranger or someone I don’t know well. I could desperately want to get to know someone better and never find the courage to grab an opportunity. I’m really not even comfortable around friends–too busy worrying if I will say something wrong or if people will care about what I have to say.

Over the past several weeks, my anxiety has been in overdrive. I think because there have been a lot of changes in my world – some are wonderful and some are not so wonderful. That’s life. I get that. But knowing that doesn’t stop the 2 ton elephant from sitting on my chest and over-analyzing every decision I make regarding how I interact with other people. My anxiety tells me no one will care about what I have to say, what I find funny, the books that I write (HELLO PROMO ISSUES), when I’m sad, when I’ve had a tough day, or when something good happens to me.  It makes maintaining friendships difficult for me because I always feel like I’m bothering friends if I text/message them first and then what do I say after ‘how’s it going?’, and opening up to people is difficult because I don’t see why people would care about my problems when they have their own. On the plus side, I’m a fantastic listener! But that can sometimes lead to a lopsided friendship that ends up emotionally draining me if I don’t reach a certain point of comfort quickly enough.

For the record – I have some amazing friends. When my head is clear, it’s easy for me to see that none of those things I just said up there apply to them. Even when my anxiety is flaring up, I can usually compartmentalize enough to know that what I’m feeling, most likely doesn’t apply to my close friends. Not because of me necessarily, but because I know how fuck-awesome my friends are. So, I’m not looking for sympathy or anything like that. I guess I thought that maybe writing it all out would help me stay out of this particular hole I’ve been mucking around in lately. Or perhaps someone will stumble across this and see themselves in my words and know they aren’t alone. *waves*

Anyway, I’m sorry for not being more present – it’s not because I don’t care. I’ve had some really thoughtful readers and reviewers say the most amazing things about Adam and Elijah, and I appreciate it so, so much.

And to my friends (even tho some of you won’t even read this) – thanks so much for sticking with me… even when I flake out and hide for a week because the thought of talking to too many people is overwhelming. Love you bunches. ❤

Also – I just read my last post and apparently I’m just using this as an online journal. SORRY GUYS! I’ll start posting about books soon too. Maybe. I’ll try at least!

xoxo

shell

Becoming More Self-Aware

Hiiiii, peeps!

Between the holidays and the twins’ birthday and finishing the writing and starting the editing of Reclaiming Hope, I’ve been crazy busy and haven’t checked in here for a while. I’m still crazy busy, but I think I’ve accepted I always will be forever.

 

Anyone who follows me on Facebook might have seen that I cut my hair recently. Like… really cut it. Chopped it all off. Though I asked her to cut it short and showed her a picture, the hair dresser took it an inch or two shorter than I requested, but when you only have an inch of hair left in some spots… an inch makes a big difference! If anyone wants a visual of what my hair is SUPPOSED to look like… ta da!!!!

jlaw

 

JLAW AND I ARE SUPPOSED TO BE TWINSIES.

Alas… it wasn’t meant to be and we are not. Instead, it’s closer to Ginny’s hair as pictured below, which is super cute on her.

ginny

 

I SWEAR THIS IS GOING SOMEWHERE… stick with me.

It’s taking me some time to get used to the haircut. Not only just because it’s a big change from what I’ve always had but….. there’s absolutely, positively zero ways for me to hide my face now. Which would be fine if I walked around all the time looking like either one of those two beautiful women!

 

Nope… Instead, I walk around looking like this…

 

rbf

 

No lie… every time I see myself in the mirror, I’m taken aback by the look on my face. WHY AM I SO PISSED OFF???? IDK! I THOUGHT I WAS HAPPY.

As someone who is naturally shy and content to hide in the shadows, it’s been a struggle to simply adult these past few days. I know it sounds silly, and my poor husband probably thinks I’m a lunatic… or more of one than he already thought, because I literally didn’t want to leave the house Saturday. Maybe part of it was because I didn’t love the cut, but a big part of it was because I have never felt so exposed. I had no way to avoid people’s gaze and when I look down at the ground, there’s no veil of hair to protect me from the outside.

I’m sure you can all guess what happened…. I went out Saturday and no one even noticed I’d cut my hair. HAHAHAHAHAHA! GUESS THE WORLD DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND ME AFTER ALL.

But seriously… my RBF isn’t new to me, but with nothing left to hide behind, I guess I’m much more aware of it. Though I don’t consider myself a vain person (I haz no problems going to the store in sweats and no make up) I’m so much more self-aware of how I look now. I don’t want the random woman at the grocery store to think I’m plotting twenty-six different ways to murder her and bury the body where no one will ever find it. And I wish I were exaggerating just a little bit with that visual….

So, maybe there wasn’t a point to this post. If you want to glean some hint of wisdom, it would be that it’s nearly impossible to judge a book by it’s cover. I’m certain I inadvertently put people off because of the way I present myself to the world. Hell, I’d never approach someone who had my constant death glare! But inside I’m really just immensely socially awkward and freaking out and yeah, maybe I’m wishing I weren’t there but I promise it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me thinking I’d be better off running through the glass wall across the room than having a chance at carrying on a normal conversation with you. Will I start reaching out to people who have the RBF?????? Uh.. no. Please to be rereading the part about socially awkward and immensely shy.

BUT, after this inadvertent social experiment, I’m making an effort to stop looking as if I want to kill you and every member of your family.

You’re welcome.

 

shell hc

SUCCESS! (tho it’s hard not to smile around her!)

If you made it this far, hope you all have a fabulous week! ❤

Shell

GIVEAWAY!!!

So I totally planned to do a giveaway on my birthday.

That was two weeks ago.

WHOOPS!

Then I thought I’d do a giveaway one week after because for some reason that made sense in my crazy brain.

WHOOPSIE AGAIN!

Anyway… I’m finally getting to it. To celebrate my birthday *cough*twoweekslate*cough* I’m offering a free copy of Redeeming Hope to anyone who follows my blog! So, if you don’t already, just click that little “Follow” button in the bottom right corner, and then go to my Facebook page and comment or like my post to let me know you want to be entered!

RedeemingHopeFS

Easy Peasy!

I’ll use random.org to select the winner and will choose someone at 9:00 PM Eastern time on the 12/22.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous holiday season! ❤

xo

shell