Hi, there. Well, this is my first blog post on my new website. Exciting? I’m not sure yet.
If you happened to read my Facebook post last week, you know that was my first social media post ever. Which, by the way, I didn’t find Facebook as user friendly as you’d expect it to be. Or, maybe it was just the user. Regardless, a big thank you to my sister-in-law who helped me through it.
In anticipation of my debut book, LETHAL LEGACY, coming out on Friday, I thought I’d share with you a little bit about my publishing journey. And I want to emphasize journey.
I’ve always had a secret creative side, and also a passion for reading, but it wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom that I got the idea to write my first book. And, I fell madly in love with it. With writing, with the challenge, with the process, with the characters, with every part of it. Even the days where I stared at the blank page on my computer screen for thirty minutes, literally, not knowing what my next word should be. Forget sentence, I just needed a damn word. I committed to writing every single day, 7 days a week and I still do that today, two years later.
Finally, after months of writing every chance I could (was tough with a one year old), I finally completed my Romantic Suspense novel, LETHAL LEGACY. I was kinda proud of myself, my mom was so proud of me, my dad was too. And even my husband was impressed that “hey honey, I think I’m going to write a book” turned into an actual book.
It was almost immediately after I finished, that I thought – now what? Get published? Okay, how the hell do I do that? So, I researched my ASS off. Hours and hours of reading websites, blogs, submission guidelines, you name it. If it had to do with advice on publishing, I read it. So, then, I came to an interesting fork in the road. To self-publish or publish traditionally? Well, after more hours of research and lots of soul searching, I decided to try to publish traditionally. Many reasons went into this decision, but ultimately, I knew that although I had done my research, the publishing world was a completely new and complex industry to me. I knew that I would be in better hands with experts for my first book. I also wanted to learn the ropes first, if I ever did decide to set out on my own and self-publish.
So, then I had to send out queries to publishing houses and try to get an offer. Fingers crossed.
What happened next? Oh, that’s right. THE REJECTIONS. And not even just rejections, the no responses. Which, by the way, feels way worse than a rejection. However, my mom taught me to never give up, and finally, finally, I received an offer for LETHAL LEGACY. And then, shockingly, another offer the same week. I was so happy! After days of anxiety comparing contracts and weighing the pro’s and con’s, I chose Torrid Books and the process began. And, let me tell you, I am very, very glad I decided to go the traditional publishing route for my first book. I’ve learned a TON. A TON.
Like I said, this has been a hell of a journey, learning curve and fun adventure for me. If there are any new authors about to begin a publishing journey of their own, feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I might not be able to help, but I can share my experiences and what worked and what didn’t. A piece of advice I’d like to give is this: Begin your second book while you're waiting for your first to get published! It can take years to get published and you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. It will help keep you sane too, while you're waiting on bated breath to hear back from them. Oh, also, write every day! This will help to keep the same tone throughout the book and will also help keep your creative juices flowing! I have a word count goal every day, and that helps a lot.
Anyway, here we are. My first book comes out this Friday! Feels pretty damn good, I must say. My second book entitled THE WOODS will come out later this year, and I’m currently working on my third. This one might take a little longer because I just welcomed my second baby boy in September.
Below are the first few pages of the first chapter in LETHAL LEGACY. I hope you enjoy!
“And you’ve got the back-up in case this goes sideways?”
Pause. “I’ve got to go.”
The rain sounded like softballs pounding against the windshield. He glanced at his watch. Fifteen minutes past the arranged meeting time.
He wiped the sweat from his forehead and ran his fingers through his dark hair. Peering out the rain streaked window, he could see nothing but an occasional flash of lightning.
During the daytime, the park was a place of innocence and laughter, filled with giggling children and gossiping mothers. Tonight, it was desolate and pitch black.
His heartbeat turned into a steady pounding, his palms sweaty. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and patted the brown manila envelope on his lap.
“Come on, come on,” he said to himself, tapping the envelope.
He thought of her. Her innocence. She was all he had left. Guilt fluttered his stomach. This would be it, the last time. He’d be done after this one. Yes, yes, this is the last one.
Suddenly, in his rearview mirror, two headlights cut through the darkness. His pulse spiked. The skin on the back of his neck tingled.
Here we go.
The car rolled to a stop behind him. The veins pulsated in his neck as the headlights turned off.
Gripping the envelope, he rolled down the window. Rain poured in, but that was the least of his worries.
A tall, dark figure in a hooded trench coat emerged from the vehicle and as if on cue, lightning struck, followed by a bellow of thunder.
The man walked up to the car and without preamble, he opened his jacket, revealing a wicked looking revolver, then lifted a small briefcase. But before handing it over, he reached out his arm, opening his hand. Rain pooled in the large palm.
Without words, the brown manila envelope was exchanged for the briefcase.
He watched the man tuck the envelope in his jacket and return to the black car.
Adrenaline pumped through his body as he looked at the briefcase sitting on the passenger seat.
Before starting the engine, he glanced in the rearview mirror and watched the car reverse out of the park and drive off into the dark night.
He released an exhale and pulled out his cell phone. His hands were still shaking as he dialed the number.
* * * *
“Daddy, Daddy, look!”
Charles Henry knelt down and took the picture into his hands. A smile crossed his face. “It’s beautiful, sweetheart.” He stroked her long, dark hair.
“Is that what she looked like?”
“It is, honey.” He ran his finger over the painting. In colors of yellow, blue, brown and red, there was his wife—her mother—sitting in a beautiful dress against a tree. “Yes, she looked just like that.”
Little Victoria beamed with pride. Jumping up and down she said, “Yay! Can I go put it on the fridge with the others?”
“Of course. And then it’s time to get ready for bed.”
She groaned. “Okay.”
He watched her run down the hall in her purple floral dress, her messy hair flowing behind her. “Vee?”
She stopped in her tracks and turned around, “Yeah, Dad?”
Tears filled his eyes. “I love you.”
She smiled the sweetest smile. “I love you too, Dad.”
He slowly stood, took a deep breath and walked to the parlor.
It was an elegant room that oozed wealth. Positioned on the far side of the house, the room boasted floor to ceiling windows with a view of the garden. The side walls were lined with shelves that held thousands of books. Most of which had been passed down from generation to generation. In the center of the room was a large sitting area accompanied by an antique coffee table. A red china rug covered the floor beneath. It was a lavish room, and he worked damn hard for it.
Charles had grown up dirt poor and was ridiculed by his school mates on a daily basis. He resented and blamed his parents for his harsh upbringing. It didn’t take him long to decide that he was going to be rich one day, no matter what the cost. It took half his lifetime, but eventually hard work, ambition and the keen sense to recognize opportunity had paid out well for Charles Henry.
With the briefcase safely tucked away, he walked to the bar and poured himself a brandy on the rocks. A celebratory drink.
Savoring the taste, he sipped and felt the burn of the liquor run down his throat. Releasing an exhale, he leaned up against the bar and glanced at his reflection in the window. He looked tired, run down. His puffy eyes were accompanied with deep, dark circles. His pale face looked pasty and thin. Living a double life will do that to a man.
He walked across the room and sank into his oversized brown leather chair. Closing his eyes, he thought of the new life ahead of him. He would start over. He would leave the past in the past. It was over now and he and his beautiful daughter would begin a new life. Maybe somewhere along the coast.
He took another sip and thought of his wife. He could still remember how she smelled, the softness of her pale skin, the wetness of her lush lips. He could still remember every curve of her body, as if she were standing naked in front of him. Not even death could fade those memories. He hadn’t been intimate with another woman since she’d passed.
Looking back, that’s when everything had changed for him. When she’d died, his heart hardened and turned black. His vision became murky. He’d held it together for Vee, but felt dead inside. To this day, he still felt dead.
He gazed out the windows. The sun had just set and dusk was on the horizon. Bright colors of red and orange rested on the mountains, the sky was dark blue, filled with twinkling stars. The days were growing shorter.
He leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
* * * *
Charles’ eyes shot open as a fabric gag wrapped around his mouth. First confusion, then ice cold terror spiked through his veins. He frantically looked around, noticing the parlor was dark, and it was dark outside. Night had fallen and he must have drifted to sleep. The room was quiet except for the swift shuffling and heavy breath of the intruders behind him. He was pulled to his feet and thrown face first onto the red china rug.
Vee. Oh God, Vee.
Charles screamed through his throat until his tonsils felt like they were about to burst. He twisted and bucked but was momentarily paralyzed by a swift kick to the face, then to the ribs. He felt a pop in his side. Bright dots sparked his vision as he withered in pain. Tears involuntarily streamed down his face.
Disoriented, he tried to see his captor’s faces but before he could focus, he was flipped on his side. One began tying his feet while the other secured his hands behind his back. His teeth gnashed the fabric gag as bile rose in his throat. Unable to move, he forced himself to open his eyes.
The intruders were dressed in head to toe black, wearing black masks with only slits for eyes. He inhaled through his nose and screamed again, as loud as he could.
* * * *
Simon&Schuster, LETHAL LEGACY