This is some mind-bendy, Matrix level stuff.
Out of the Picture was released last week. Today, it was spotted in the wild at a Hallmark store, flanked beautifully by other recently released Hallmark books.
I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this.
For years -- since I was a kid, really, but in earnest the last couple decades -- I've dreamed of having a book I wrote on shelves in stores. Sometime in the last handful of years, the dream went from being a silly idea, to an all-consuming endeavor, to a crushing failure, to a filed-away, unfulfilled wish in the index of my life.
For so long, I refused to let myself consider any possibility other than the dream happening. But we all have a breaking point. When I hit mine, I did my absolute best to put the dream away. I stowed it in a sturdy, tightly sealed box, and refocused my energy on other things.
I did okay. I kept the box in the furthest corner of my mind, but I could not forget what was in it. But I left it sealed, for my own mental health.
When my agent (see multiple other blog posts regarding Superhero Agent) pushed me to pitch Hallmark with this little idea of three mystery solving sisters in a lakeside town, I did it without expectations.
I still have the voicemail saved in my phone from when Fran called to tell me she had news from Hallmark.
When I signed the book contract, I remember thinking, 'Wow, this is pretty damn cool.'
When I finished content edits (which I thoroughly enjoyed; Hallmark editor Stacey Donovan and Out of the Picture editor Rhonda Merwarth are brilliant, amazing women who seriously know their stuff), then line edits, I still had reservations: What if it wasn't good? What if Hallmark changed their mind? What if advance readers hated it?
Reviews came in, and they were overwhelmingly good.
Now, the book is on a shelf in a store. Many, many stores, if you can believe that. I'm still having trouble with that one. Imposter syndrome is real, guys.
I'm going to Barnes & Noble tonight to see for myself.
I think this is real life, but it's crazy. Like, absolutely crazy, and so far beyond what I ever let myself believe could happen.
If anyone sees me, please don't pinch me. If this isn't real life, I don't care, I'm staying.
I have news!
My book, Out of the Picture: A Shepherd Sisters Mystery, is being published by Hallmark Publishing. The release date is September 3rd. The cover reveal is today!
I am beyond excited that this is happening. Savanna Shepherd, her sisters, and their idyllic Lake Michigan hometown are so close to my heart; I love their story, and I hope you will too!
And a brief note about this blog post title, "I'm back!"
I didn't go anywhere.
But I think it's fitting that my last blog post was titled, "Write Scared," nearly two years ago.
This is one of those 20/20 hindsight moments: a year and a half ago, in my writer-life, I was feeling discouraged, frustrated, tired, bitter ... I was feeling all the negative things. And I decided that I am a writer. I have to write. When I don't, all the scary things that that previous blog post mentions happen. So I made peace with the idea that, although I am a writer, I might be the only person who ever reads my words. I told my husband and my agent I quit. I told my agent to take me off her site. I was defeated.
But my agent told me no; she wouldn't take me off her site, and I was not done.
My husband told me I was full of crap (he said it a little differently).
But something changed. I got off the merry go round. I kept writing, but it stopped mattering (as much) that I was writing just for myself. During the last two years, I found the courage to leave a job I'd invested 7 years in, and started a new adventure with a different company. I soaked up every second of my kids' last few years in high school. I watched my son grow from a cute little boy to an amazing young man. I took my rockstar daughter on college tours and a spring break trip and then a mom-daughter trip to NYC to see Be More Chill and get tattoos together. I made myself present when my husband felt like talking about his garden or his motorcycle. I used days off to RELAX. Sometimes I wrote, but sometimes I had lunch with friends or saw a movie with my sister.
When my agent (she's actually a magical superhero in disguise, but don't tell anyone) asked me -- pushed me -- to consider submitting something to Hallmark, I never imagined it would turn out like this. I'd say I owe her my firstborn, but I'm kind of attached to that one. And the other one. But I owe her ALL the love and chocolate.
And now, with my debut cozy mystery being released soon by Hallmark Publishing (listen guys -- HALLMARK PUBLISHING), I am sort of still waiting to see if I'll wake up soon, and this has all been a dream. I also realize my friend who keeps telling me that things happen when they are supposed to happen has been right all along. About this, anyway. Not saying she's right all the time ;)
Check back this evening for the gorgeous cover reveal!
Thank you for reading. xo