A whole bunch of Ransom news

The Ransome Brothers are coming! The sixth book in my Ransom series will be available on June 12th and I am so freakin excited. It feels like I’ve been working on this one FOREVER and I really can’t wait to share it with you. And it’s coming so soon!

In other exciting Ransom news, I had pretty new covers made for the series! I really love the original covers but it’s always good to put a fresh face on things. I’m so pleased with how the new ones turned out. I particularly love how strongly they represent the music theme of the books. Next week I’ll be revealing the rest of the series but today I wanted to give you a sneak peak of the new cover for the first book. Check out the new Ransom…

ransom-schurig-ebook

If you didn’t see the announcement a few weeks ago, all of the Ransom books (as well as the rest of my series) are now available in paperback! I know many of you have been waiting for these. You can find them over on Amazon.

One last bit of Ransom news: Over the next few weeks, I’m going to do a short blog series about these books. I’ve been working on the Ransom series since the summer of 2013–so long! Book 6 is meant to be a wrap up of the series. That doesn’t mean I’ll never write another Ransom book (and you’ll be able to visit with the Ransomes in the Intrigue series), but this is the last one I have planned out. So I thought it would be a good time to share some stories about how this series came to be and what my experiences were like writing it. I hope you’ll join me in my walk down memory lane!

Okay, now I need to go and edit, edit, edit. Only three more weeks until release day!

Take care,

Rachel

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Paperbacks now available

A lot of people have been asking me about paperbacks lately. All of my books are now available in paperback on Amazon. I know many of you have been really patient waiting for these–sorry it took so long! I’ve included links for all of the paperbacks over on the books page. Enjoy!

 

p.s. The 6th Ransom book is coming along. I keep feeling like I’m getting close to the end and then it gets longer…and longer…at this rate the book is going to be huge! Stay tuned for release date info!

 

2013 Reading Project

I didn’t read enough last year.
I got into this really bad habit with my own writing. Every time I had a book to finish I would work like crazy, writing for 10 or more hours a day. Then I would completely crash and burn out. I wasn’t good for much of anything except vegging in front of the TV watching Vampire Diaries on Netflix until I felt recharged enough to start the whole process over again. This didn’t leave much room for reading.
I’m not usually big on New Year’s resolutions. For me, the fall feels more like the start of a new year than January does. But I am very determined that I will find more balance in the next year. I have a whole writing schedule worked out that I really want to stick to.
In addition to keeping a better writing schedule, the Better Balance in the New Year Plan also includes sleeping better, exercising, eating well and muse-feeding. Muse-feeding is basically anything that helps me feel inspired, curious, interested, awake, and creative. There are so many good museums in Detroit that I never make the time to go to. There are also gorgeous hiking trails that I feel too busy (or lazy) to take advantage of. Movies I don’t go see. Recipes I don’t try. And so, so many books I don’t let myself read.
But not anymore!
In 2013 I’m going to try my darndest to read 100 new books. 100 books is a little less than 2 books a week, which is a lot. But I’m a fast reader, and when I read every day I definitely average better than 2 books a week. I think it’s doable. I hope it is! I spent a huge chunk of time tonight searching for books I want to read and now I am SO.EXCITED. I want to read them ALL. NOW. God, I love books. So many pretty covers, so many intriguing synopsises! I seriously can’t wait to get started.
Since I’m super nerdy I spent way too much time making a book list, which I will share below.  So far I have 79 books. I’ll leave the last 21 spots blank for now. A lot of my choices are the first books in a series, so this gives me room to finish out the series if I like them. And hopefully leaves a few spots for new things I discover throughout the year. I have a mix of genres, though it’s pretty heavy on the YA. Basically the only rules I gave myself were that I couldn’t have read the book before (or at least it had to have been a LONG time ago. I’m looking at you, Wuthering Heights) and they had to be books I really, REALLY wanted to read. Not books that I thought I should read, or books that I thought would make me smarter. I figure if I’m going to keep at this they better be books that I’m truly interested in.
I’ll update here as I go, and maybe write a few book reviews as well. I’m also totally open to suggestions for my list! Feel free to let me know what you think is missing in the comments. I have the list organized by genre and by author name–you read the part about me being a nerd up there, right? There’s a key, if you’re interested.
Have a great New Year everyone!!
YA=young adult, CL=chicklit, NF=non-fiction, ROM=romance, HOR=horror, SF=science fiction, FAN=fantasy, MYS=mystery.
  1. YA Dollhouse-Anya Allyn
  2. YA Thirteen Reasons Why-Jay Asher
  3. YA Beauty Queens-Libba Bray
  4. YA Rebel Angels-Libba Bray
  5. YA Caddie Woodlawn-Carol Brink
  6. YA A Curse Dark As Gold-Elizabeth Bunce
  7. YA The Changeling-Elle Casey
  8. YA Wrecked-Elle Casey
  9. YA Dark Is Rising-Susan Cooper
  10. YA The Moon and More-Sarah Dessen
  11. YA What Happened to Goodbye-Sarah Dessen
  12. YA Hush Hush-Becca Fitzpatrick
  13. YA If I Stay-Gayle Forman
  14. YA Hunger-Michael Grant
  15. YA The fault in Our Stars-John Green
  16. YA Princess Academy-Shannon Hale
  17. YA The Summer I Turned Pretty-Jenny Han
  18. YA Wake-Amanda Hocking
  19. YA Slam-Nick Hornby
  20. YA Fallen-Lauren Kate
  21. YA I Am Number Four-Pittacus Lore
  22. YA Son-Lois Lowry
  23. YA Bumped-Megan Mccafferty
  24. YA Sloppy Firsts-Megan Mccafferty
  25. YA The Host-Stephanie Meyer
  26. YA Exit Here-Jason Myers
  27. YA Evermore-Alyson Noel
  28. YA Delirium-Lauren Oliver
  29. YA Flat Out Love-Jessica Park
  30. YA The Golden Compass-Philip Pullman
  31. YA Six Moon Summer-SM Reine
  32. YA Divergent-Veronica Roth
  33. YA The Vampire Diaries-LJ Smith
  34. YA Easy-Tammara Webber
  35. CL Thanks For The Memories- Cecelia Ahern
  36. CL The Wedding Day-Catherine Alliott
  37. CL Every Boys Got One-Meg Cabot
  38. CL Love By The Book-Dara England
  39. CL Love Always-Harriet Evans
  40. CL Where We Belong-Emily Giffin
  41. CL Austenland-Shannon Hale
  42. CL The Mystery of Mercy Close-Marian Keyes
  43. CL I’ve Got Your Number-Sophie Kinsella
  44. CL Wedding Night-Sophie Kinsella
  45. CL Always the bridesmaid-Whitney Lyles
  46. CL Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble-HP Mallory
  47. CL An Offer You Can’t Refuse-Jill Mansell
  48. CL The One You Really Want-Jill Mansell
  49. CL To The Moon and Back-Jill Mansell
  50. CL Me Before You-Jojo Moyes
  51. CL When Girlfriends Step Up-Savannah Page
  52. CL 10 Years On-Alice Peterson
  53. CL When in Rome-Gemma Townley
  54. NF At Home-Bill Bryson
  55. NF The Mother Tongue-Bill Bryson
  56. NF Shakespeare-Bill Bryson
  57. NF A Year of Biblical Womanhood-Rachel Held Evans
  58. NF Under the Duvet-Marian Keyes
  59. NF Wild-Cheryl Strayed
  60. ROM The Look of Love-Bella Andre
  61. ROM Northanger Abbey-Jane Austen
  62. ROM Wuthering Heights-Emily Bronte
  63. ROM Overbite-Meg Cabot
  64. ROM Entwined With You-Sylvia Day
  65. ROM False Colours-Georgette Heyer
  66. ROM Beautiful Disaster-Jamie McGuire
  67. ROM Unhitched-EL Sarnoff
  68. HOR World War Z-Max Brooks
  69. HOR The Stand-Stephen King
  70. HOR Walking Dead Compendium One- Robert Kirkman
  71. HOR Interview With the Vampire-Anne Rice
  72. SF Jenny Pox-JL Bryan
  73. SF The Hurricane-Hugh Howey
  74. SF Third Shift-Hugh Howey
  75. SF Rex Rising-Chrystalla Thoma
  76. SF No Shelter-TS Welti
  77. FAN A Game of Thrones-George RR Martin
  78. FAN The Hobbit-Tolkien
  79. MYS Gone Girl-Gillian Flynn
  80.  _
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30 and Out

I hate when things feel bittersweet. I honestly think I would rather feel downright sad than have that tinge of bitter tainting what would otherwise be a pleasant emotion.

Today, the student’s last day of the school year, was a bittersweet day.

I’ve been a special education teacher for the past four years. During that time I’ve met some truly amazing people. I work with some of the most patient, compassionate, passionate professionals that I’ve ever known. Many of these people have become friends—some are like family. The students that I’ve worked with represent the definition of kindness. They are open minded, sweet, funny, loyal, hardworking, and positive, even in the face of enormous challenge. They humble me on a daily basis and I have loved being their teacher.

So it’s a bittersweet feeling to reach the end of the school year, the end of this school year, because I know I won’t be back with them in September. When fall rolls around, for the first time since I was five years old, I won’t be starting a new school year. I am so lucky to work for this amazing school district because they are allowing me to take a leave of absence to concentrate on writing for a year. Come fall, I will not be working as a teacher; after today I will officially be a full time writer.

A little more than a year ago, and a few months before our 29th birthday, a dear friend and I embarked on a crazy scheme. We were going to get serious about writing, publish our books, and make every effort to be where we wanted to be in our lives by the time we turned thirty. We even had a name for our plan: 30 and Out. It was a promise to ourselves, a mantra, a motivation to kick our own butts and get a move on. Our own personal revolution. 30 and Out.

I’ve done everything I could over the past year to try to make that promise come true. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words. I’ve researched my market and the publishing industry. I’ve given up free time and skipped social events. I’ve forced myself to sit and write even when I didn’t feel the slightest amount of creativity or motivation.  I put out four full-length books and pretty much worked my tail off, in addition to teaching. Some of the time that sucked, some of the time I felt tired and discouraged. Okay, a lot of the time I felt tired. Writing 30 hours a week in addition to working full time is no joke!

But it’s also been the most amazing year of my life. In the past year I’ve told stories that I’ve wanted to tell for ages. I’ve had the chance to work with some truly gifted professionals in this field. I’ve sold more than 45,000 books. Most importantly, I am satisfied and fulfilled in a way I never thought possible. Every day I feel a rush knowing that someone, somewhere, may be reading one of my books. There is no better feeling than that, honestly. The idea that I’ll get to do this thing full time is completely mind blowing. Exciting. Scary. Overwhelming.

For the next year I am sure I will miss teaching, but I am also certain I will wake up every day excited to write, excited to focus all my attention on this thing I love so much. I am positive I will miss my students and I will miss the people I work with, but at the same time I am so proud to say that I did what I set out to do a year ago: I changed my life.

I’m not totally sure what this new life will look like, but I’m excited to find out. And I’m excited to be able to continue to tell my stories. I promise I’ll let you know how it goes.

30 and out.

I can see clearly now…

Well, almost.

I got LASIK surgery on Saturday. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been in glasses for twenty years and I loathe them. Really, I do. I hate exercising in them, I hate that I can’t see in the shower, I hate that I can’t see when I’m swimming, I hate that I can’t see when Lucy wakes me up in the middle of the night with doggy kisses (At least, I think they’re doggy kisses. I can’t see. For all I know they’re monster kisses). I have contacts and I hate them too. I think they’re hard to put in and harder to take out and they generally give me a headache.

So the idea of not having to deal with contacts or glasses was incredibly tempting to me. I researched it a lot and finally decided to use some of my hard earned royalty money on fixing my eyes.

If anyone is considering it I suggest you do your research. There are pros and cons and lots of information to consider. Personally, I opted to get an insurance package with mine which would cover any “enhancements,” or corrections, that I might need. My doctor recommended this because my vision was so bad. The procedure itself was pretty simple. I won’t go into gory details but I will say it was incredibly fast and painless, though I did find it very uncomfortable and quite freaky. If they offer you Valium, take it. It helps. Love the lovely Valium!

Post surgery I had some issues. My eyes burned like mad for a good five hours, and they watered constantly that entire time. The constant feeling that something is poking your eye is hard to ignore. But I got through that stretch and noticed improvement right away. I have to say, I’ve been a little jealous of all those people who say they woke up the next day with perfect vision. Those people stink. I woke up the next day with improved vision, but not perfect. It still isn’t perfect. It seems to be great for a while then I slip back into blurry. I’m wearing reading glasses for using the computer and I have my kindle set to a pretty high font for reading. I did get to drive today, and that was awesome. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will continue to improve and maybe I won’t need corrections. If I do, I’ll have to wait four months. And four months of seeing like this would suck.

You know what doesn’t suck? My family. Particularly my mom, and dad, and my sister, Hannah. My parents took care of me all weekend, driving me to my appointments and to get my medicine. This was particularly nice of my dad as he is still suffering the painful effects of the Great Old-Man Trampoline Debacle of 2012. My mom made sure I took my eye drops and made me delicious food AND she even took Luce out for her walks. And when they both had to leave for the evening Hannah came over and took care of me. Seriously, how lucky am I?

(The answer is very, very lucky)

So here’s hoping my vision keeps getting better. It’s kind of important for me, being a writer and all. Even more so, I need to be able to read. The thought of having difficulty reading is one of the scariest things I can imagine. How would I get by without it? I love reading more than just about anything else on Earth (minus the people I love, of course. And Lucy). Before surgery I was in the waiting room reading a kind of crappy chick-lit. Before I went in I had a terrible thought–if something goes wrong and this is the last book I ever read, I’m gonna be pissed. Luckily I can already read somewhat with the bigger font on kindle. Thank God for that. But I promise here and now I will never take my ability to read whatever I want, whenever I want, for granted. It’s way too precious.

So what are you reading that you’re grateful for?

 

dilemma

I have a SERIOUS problem. I’m leaving for vacation in a few days and I have no idea what books I want to take with me!  I’m not sure if I want to read chicklit or YA or some kind of thriller. It’s a beach vacation so I definitely want it to be light and easy reading. I’m a pretty fast reader, and I plan to read pretty much all day, so my book list is essential! Does anyone have any suggestions?

Speaking of the vacation, I’m so pumped for it! Like, so SO pumped! I’m going on a cruise with some of my best friends and it’s going to be a blast. We’ll be hitting Key West and Cozumel. I’m hoping for hot weather and cold drinks for a blissful 4 days! Oh, and food. Man, there’s a lot of good food on a cruise ship. I’m drooling a little, just thinking about it.

While on this trip (the day we’re in Cozumel, which is also St. Patrick’s Day) I will be celebrating a pretty big birthday–30. How the heck did that happen? A few days ago one of my co-workers was telling me that after my birthday I should probably start getting regular mammograms. I looked at her in confusion and said, “They don’t recommend that for 25 year-olds.” Uh, yeah. Not so much 25 anymore. But I still feel like I am! Actually, I feel about 20. It still shocks me sometimes that I’m allowed to go into a bar and drink. Or that I own my own house. My friend Maddie had a baby a few weeks ago and I can’t wrap my mind around it. Kids our age don’t have houses and babies! Except they do. Because we’re not kids, we’re grown-ups. So weird!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset about getting older–just incredulous. I think 30 is going to be an AMAZING year.  I have plots hammered out for at least 5 books and I plan to publish my booty off in the coming year. I can’t wait!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! On the 17th, raise a green beer to me. I will be on a beach in Mexico doing the same:)

Today is the day I sit at home and write.

Seriously. I need to do this.

Now that I’m back at school it’s getting harder and harder to write during the week. I’m still making time but I really look forward to weekend days where I have nothing to do but stay in and write.

I was reading the blog of this super successful indie writer this morning. She has been able to make a living from her books and I find her blog posts really interesting and inspiring. Every time I read one I think, “I want to be a stay at home writer too! I need to be more like her. What the heck am I doing on the internet??” And then I go sit down and write. So that’s the plan for today.

Tomorrow there will not be much time for writing. Tomorrow I am going to participate in my first ever author’s event! I am really geeked about it. The event is at a very cool little store in Clawson, Mi, very close to where I grew up. It will feature lots and lots of local authors who will have the chance to meet people, sell and sign books, and, apparently, eat refreshments. How could that be anything but awesome?

I had business cards printed for the occasion. I can’t stop looking at them. Dork!

So if you happen to be in the metro Detroit area tomorrow, stop by Leon and Lulu’s in Clawson and see me. It should be a grand time! All the info can be found right here.

Hope everyone is enjoying nice weather today! 77 and sunny in Detroit on October 8th!