The random number generator gave me No. 6, which was Lynnette Dodge. She has won the Launch Day “Island Life” giveaway.
Lynnette, I’ll contact you asap and find out which 2 editions you would like.
Okay, I have to admit, my blog is starting to feel overwhelming. Mostly because I’m so behind now that I don’t know how to catch up.
But – now that I think about it – I do know. One foot in front of the other, right? That’s become my new mantra.
So here we go:
- I skidded into the finish line getting my fourth book done (Lavender Island 2) on Oct. 6.
- The next day, I went in for a long-overdue mammogram because I felt a lump about 2 days prior.
- Over the next couple of weeks, I did a follow-up visit to my dr, a diagnostic mammo, an ultrasound, a biopsy, and was diagnosed with breast cancer on Oct. 19.
- My edits came in on Oct. 21.
- Life became a bit of chaos through the end of October as I navigated fear, appointments, more fear, a PET-CT, an MRI, a gene test, meeting a breast surgeon, meeting an oncologist, fear, edits, having port-placement surgery, my regular full-time job, fear, edits, and more edits. Also Halloween. Also my son’s 16th birthday.
- I started mellowing out once all the testing was done and I was “staged.” I was put at Stage II-B breast cancer, which means lymph nodes were also affected, but also nowadays has about a 97% success rate of living beyond 5 years, so that relaxed me considerably and made me square my shoulders and just get ready to do this thing.
- November was mostly about telling everyone that I had breast cancer – Who to tell? How? Plus I worked on edits for 6 weeks. By Thanksgiving, though, I was feeling strangely calm and ready to roll on the breast cancer treatment! We’d decided on chemo first, surgery second.
- My first book with my new publisher (The Kiss on Castle Road) came out in the UK on Dec. 1.
- My first chemo was Dec. 3.
- I turned in my edits on Dec. 7.
- Then December was another month of chaos, but the fun kind — lots to keep my mind occupied while I did two rounds of chemo. My older kids came home from out of state; we mostly sat around and visited (very low-level shopping, wrapping, and decorating – they helped out a lot!) Plus there were lots of family gatherings and parties that made the month fly by and kept me very preoccupied. My husband shaved my head on Dec. 25, and things got real.
- My third round of chemo was on New Year’s Eve.
- The Kiss on Castle Road launched officially on New Year’s Day.
- January was adjusting to a new reality of no hair, feeling sicker with chemo, and not as many happy distractions to keep me from noticing how sick I felt. But I was excited about my book!!!
- My copyedits for the second Lavender Island book came in on Jan. 7ish and were due Jan. 26.
- I had my fourth (and last) round of the “worst” chemo on Jan. 14.
- I turned in my copyedits for the 26th.
And here we are! – Both books are done, all edits are done, my contract is done, my “worst” chemo is done, the holidays are done, and I’m suddenly feeling like the groundhog from yesterday’s Groundhog’s Day, popping my head out, looking around, and seeing what’s going on. What happened while I was in my own little personal tornado since late September?
And where do I go from here?
There really is no greater feeling in a writer’s life than typing those words “The End.” We get to know the characters, we wrestle with them, we talk to them, we argue with them. We rearrange scenes, we rewrite whole sections, we stay up late and get up early. We say no to events, we eat dinner at our computers, we write a gazillion notes, we review them and then rewrite more scenes. We struggle, we cry, we anguish.
And FINALLY … months later … we hit those keys and type “The End.”
It’s really glorious.
So I just finished Lavender Island Book 2 and turned it in this week! This one will follow “The Kiss on Castle Road” and will come out next July. Both of these books are about the Grant sisters, Natalie (“Kiss”) and then Paige (Book 2). I loved writing about these sisters, and I LOVED writing about Lavender Island! I can’t wait to bring these books to you, both in 2016!
So what’s next? Well, for the immediate future, I just have to get my life back in order! Racing to these deadlines means your house sort of falls apart, mail piles up, your to-do list becomes insane, your son points out that he’s grown out of all his shirts, your friends and family are all calling and texting and wanting to get together, and you sort of have to come back to the real world. So that’s what I’m doing now!
But in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be updating about “Kiss” release day fun, the review crew, and more, so stay tuned!