On the road for Ransom

There are several things about the new Ransom book that are unique compared to the rest of the series. It’s the first book where we’ll get to directly see what Will Ransome is experiencing and feeling (which I am super excited about! I wasn’t expecting to enjoy writing about Will as much as I did). The Ransome Brothersis also the first book where we’ll switch Point of View between more than two characters. Another way this book is a little different is that the boys aren’t on tour at all. Redeem is the only other book in the series where we don’t see the boys out on the road.

The fact that 4 of the 6 books show the band on tour probably tells you that I really enjoy writing about their life on the road! That’s mainly because a huge source of inspiration for this series was my own experiences traveling around with my friends to follow a band.  To tell you about this, I’m going to have to confess something: I am a huge Hanson fan. Yes, Hanson, those Mmmbop kids from the nineties. Feel free to laugh at me! The funny thing is that I absolutely hated them when I was a kid and they were popular. But then a good friend reintroduced me to them years later and I fell in love. If you haven’t checked them out lately, you totally should! They all grew up super cute! They own their own record label now and write really fun pop-rock songs and seeing their shows is SO MUCH fun. Seriously, go find some of their new music. Okay, Hanson advertisement over 😉

The band themselves didn’t have anything to do with my inspiration for these books—Ransom has a totally different sound, style, and reputation. But my own experiences as a fan did inspire a lot my writing, particularly about Daisy, Paige, and Karen. When I was in my early twenties some friends and I followed a tour around for a few weeks and it was seriously the most fun I’ve ever had. We slept in crappy hotels and camped out on the pavement in the freezing cold to get good spots inside. We lived on gross fast food and traveled by bus for over twenty hours. And I loved it! It was so great to spend that time with close friends and to get to hear music we were passionate about every night. That was the feeling I wanted to capture when I wrote about Ransom being out on tour—that sense of freedom and adventure, excitement and connection with a group of people.

Beyond those tour memories, travel in general has played a big role in my writing. Traveling is something that I truly love and I try to do it as much as possible. So it makes sense that I love writing about characters who are traveling, experiencing new places and new sights. If I’m writing about somewhere new, I try to visit that place first whenever I can afford it. It’s important for me to really get a feel for the places I write about. I was super lucky to be able to visit Paris before I wrote Rescue. That trip ended up changing the entire book.

I always knew that Lennon was going to go and find their mom while on tour in Europe. Originally this was all going to happen in London (which I’ve visited a few times before). But then I got to Paris and that idea totally changed. Paris seemed like a place that Lennon would have such a connection to. I knew he would love the art and the culture and the food and vibe of wandering along the river, looking at beautiful things. When I walked into the Musee d’Orsay, I immediately envisioned the entire scene where Paige takes the boys there as a special treat for Len and he connects with Haylee. I have no idea how their relationship would have been different if I hadn’t gotten the chance to see that place for myself. Something similar happened when I went to the Monet house in Giverny. It was suddenly so obvious to me that Lennon would take Haylee there and that’s where he would see his mother.

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Gardens at the Monet House in Giverny, where I plotted out Haylee and Lennon’s love story

Little surprises like this are my favorite part of writing. When I see something new or travel somewhere I’ve never been before or catch a glimpse of a stranger who seems interesting and suddenly feel inspired to write—there’s nothing in the world that makes me happier than that. I love it when I have a plan for a story and something new and unexpected comes barreling in to change it. To me there’s nothing more exciting!

The Ransome Brothers is set mainly in LA, which I was lucky enough to visit when I was researching the Lovestruck series. It’s also the place where I first had the idea for the Ransome boys (you can read about that here). In that sense, LA is really where this whole series began for me. And it felt completely appropriate and fitting that The Ransome Brotherswould take me back there.

 

**Book 6 in the Ransom series, The Ransome Brothers, will be available on June 12th**

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Two Brand New Lovestruck Stories!

There are two brand new Lovestruck stories releasing today!

The first is Lovestruck at Christmas, a holiday novella about Lizzie, Thomas, and all of their family and friends. I’m a giant sucker for anything Christmas related, so I had a really good time writing this one. I hope you like it as much as I do!

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AmazonAmazon UKBarnes and NobleiTunes, and Kobo

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The second Lovestruck story is called Sofie and the Movie Star. You can find this brand new story in the LOL Anthology #2, along with nine other original romantic comedy stories by some of my favorite authors. You get all ten stories for only $.99!

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Amazon, Amazon UKBarnes and NobleiTunesKobo, and Google Play

Enjoy!

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New Book!

*To check out my post for the Chick Lit Blog Hop, head over here.*

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is waking up safe and sound this morning. The images from Oklahoma are so heartbreaking. My prayers are with everyone who is waking up to so much destruction today. I encourage everyone to do what they can to help. You can visit the Red Cross here to see how you can help. I found that the easiest, fastest way to contribute was to simply text the word REDCROSS to 90999.

It feels quite insignificant on a day like this, but the news in my little corner of the universe is that Lovestruck in London is finally here. You can check it out for your kindle here or for your nook here. I’m still waiting on the iTunes link but I’ll let you know as soon as it’s live over there.

I’m closing the contest from last week and will be announcing the winner later this afternoon. Good luck to everyone who entered!

I’m doing one last contest to celebrate the release. I’ll be giving another $25 Amazon gift card to a random member of my mailing list. All you have to do to be eligible to win is sign up here for the mailing list. I only send out newsletters to alert members of new books, sales, and occasional contests. I promise I won’t clog up your inbox;)

Don’t forget you can also win ebooks and maybe even a brand new kindle by participating in the Chick Lit Author Blog Hop. Check out the details here.

Have a good day, everyone. Stay safe and give lots of hugs today!

 

 

Chick Lit Author Blog Hop!

It’s Blog Hop time! Before I get into all the details about the hop, I just want to remind everyone that there’s still two days to enter to win the $25 Amazon gift card in celebration of the release of Lovestruck in London. To enter, head over to this post and leave me a comment about your favorite book character along with your email address and you’re entered! (The contest is only open to people living in the United States, sorry!)

As promised, there are more chances to win something cool this week and the next one is a BIG one! May is Chick Lit month and I am once again participating in an awesome blog hop. The theme this year is “What’s On Page 25?” so I’ll be giving you a sneak peak of one of my favorite scenes in the new book (which will be available TOMORROW!). During the blog hop there will be chances to win lots of ebooks or even the grand prize of a FREE Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free 3G + Wi-Fi, and a 6″ E Ink Display. That lucky grand prize winner will also receive a “chick lit starter library” filled with great chick lit books written by the indie authors participating in the blog hop.

Learn “How to Hop & Win!” New to blog hops? Want to learn how to win the grand prize? Find complete information here.

I definitely recommend clicking on the link above for full rules but the basic rundown is this: Over the course of the next week you’ll visit 25 blogs and collect “Secret Words” from each blog. You’ll then use the words you collected to enter in the rafflecopter contest linked below. It’s pretty easy and it should be a good time. I know in the past I’ve found a lot of great new authors through hops like this one. I hope you do too!

Additionally, I will also be giving a free ebook copy of my new book, Lovestruck in London, to a lucky reader. Just comment below and you’re automatically entered. If you comment on all the blogs in the hop you have a chance to win lots of books!

Once again, if you want more details on the hop and how you can win the Grand Prize, head over here.

You can find the participating blogs here.

Here’s where you enter your secret words to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Okay, I think that covers the details. So without further ado, let’s take a look at WHAT’S ON PAGE 25! This is actually one of my favorite scenes in the book. Lizzie has only recently arrived in London for her study abroad. On her first night out on the town, she meets an up-and-coming actor names Thomas. They hit it off right away. Keep reading to check out one of their earliest conversations. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for my secret word!

I met Thomas at the velvet rope where he introduced me to a staff member named Bill. “Bill and I go way back,” he shouted in my ear as we shook hands. “He used to tend bar in my local.”

Bill unhooked the rope and stepped aside so Thomas could lead me up a short flight of stairs. I found myself in a small loft area overlooking the dance floor. We could still hear the music, but velvet drapes around our booth muffled the sound quite a bit.

“That’s better,” Thomas said, settling into the booth. “I can at least hear you now.”

“Do you come here a lot?” I asked, amazed that this section of the club existed without anyone below knowing it.

Thomas shook his head. “To be honest, this isn’t really my scene. I’m much more of a pub guy when I want a drink.”

I grinned, glad to hear it for some reason. Maybe Thomas wasn’t too glamorous for me after all. “What about you?” he asked. “Pub or club?”

“Uh,” I felt suddenly uncomfortable. “Pub, I guess. But I don’t really do much of either.”

“A university student who doesn’t go to the pub? I’m shocked.”

I shrugged. “I should warn you right now, I’m kind of a goody-two-shoes.”

“Me, too!” Thomas cried, looking thrilled. He leaned into me and spoke in mock confidential tones. “Would it shock you to know that I spent last New Year’s Eve in my flat studying lines for a film I was about to start shooting?”

I laughed. “I spent last New Year’s Eve at a party at my uncle’s house, so I’m not one to judge.”

“One time my brother convinced me to steal a Coke from the newsagent down the road,” Thomas countered. “He said he would tell all my friends I was a baby if I didn’t. So I did.”

“You returned the Coke an hour later, didn’t you?”

“Twenty minutes,” he said, grinning. “And I cried.”

I laughed, wondering why I had felt nervous about talking with him. He was wonderful.

“Tell me about school,” he said. “Why London?”

“I’ve always wanted to come to London,” I said.

“Are you enjoying it so far?”

“We haven’t seen much of the city. We were stuck in orientation sessions the first few days, and were suffering crazy jet lag at night. Then we had this whole apartment fiasco. It hasn’t been quite what I expected.” I paused, not wanting to admit the underlying disappointment I had been feeling about my London adventure so far. (Win the grand prize! The 12th secret word in the 25-word sentence is: lit) Anyhow. This is our first night really off campus.” 

“So you’ve been here all week and you haven’t seen the city yet? We’ll have to fix that.” The implication in his words made my heart thud in my chest. I couldn’t seem to wipe the smile from my face.

“I think the big draw for me was the literary history here,” I went on, trying to control the giddiness that threatened to overwhelm me. “My favorite authors are British; I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would want to study literature.”

“Funny, my favorite authors are mostly American,” he said, taking a sip of his beer. “Patterson, King, Grisham.” He gave me a rueful grin. “Not exactly high-minded literature.”

“There’s nothing wrong with genre fiction,” I said firmly. “Take it from an English major; people who only read the classics are usually boring and uptight.”

“Cheers.” Thomas rapped his bottle lightly against my glass. “Did you study literature at your university in the States as well?”

I nodded. “My BA is in English. I also have a teaching certificate.”

“A teacher, eh? My mother was a teacher.”

“So are my sisters,” I said, feeling depressed suddenly. “But I have a ways to go. This program is nine months long.”

“Nine months is a long time to be away from home. Where is home, by the way?”

“Detroit, Michigan. You know, where they make the cars. Motown, Kid Rock.”

“I’ve seen Eight Mile, you know. I’m quite familiar with Detroit.”

I laughed. “Well, I don’t actually live in the city. The suburbs. Sterling Heights, to be exact. Much more Pleasantville than Eight Mile.

“Thank you for putting things in movie language for me,” he said, winking. “Taking pity on the brainless actor is kind.”

“You started it!” I cried, smacking his hand as he laughed. “So where are you from?”

“I grew up in Surrey, but the family’s all up in Edinburgh now.”

“Oooh,” I sighed. “I can’t wait to get up there.”

“It’s a beautiful city,” he said. “They moved right when I started working in London, so I never lived there full time, but it’s really nice to be able to visit them now.”

We chatted for a while about family. I learned that Thomas is a middle child, his older brother is married and living outside Edinburgh, and his younger sister still lives at home. He seemed fascinated by the idea of my five siblings, and wanted to know all about my family, cousins and aunts and uncles included.

“My grandparents on both sides immigrated from Mexico,” I explained. “My mom’s mom moved back there after her husband died, and my dad’s parents are both gone. But we have a huge family all nearby, more than a dozen cousins, and I don’t even know how many second and third cousins. It gets pretty crazy when we’re all in the same place, which happens all the time. We have more family dinners and parties than anyone you’ll ever meet.”

“Wow,” he said. “I only have three cousins all together.”

I laughed. “Then your house is probably much more peaceful than mine at Christmas.”

“I think it would be nice to have a bigger family,” he said. “You must have had lots of built-in playmates when you were little.”

“I did,” I agreed. “My best friend is actually my cousin Sofia.” I felt a pang. It had only been a week but I missed Sofie like mad.

“It’s pretty brave of you, coming all this way on your own, for such an extended stay.” I looked up and saw that he was watching me closely, something about his expression making me think he could tell what I was feeling. Slightly embarrassed, I reached for my drink.

“I don’t know about brave,” I said, after I’d drained the rest of it. “But my family sure wasn’t thrilled about it.”

“They thought it was too far?”

“They thought I should be putting my hard-earned education to work getting a real job, not spending more loan money on something frivolous.”

“Higher education is frivolous?”

“It is to them.” I reached for my drink again, my hand coming up short when I realized it was empty. Talking about my parents’ expectations always stressed me out.

Thomas noticed and gestured for a waitress. “Another gin and tonic and another Heineken, please.”

“Thanks,” I said, grateful.

“You’re welcome. We can change the subject if you want.”

“No, it’s okay. I just have some guilt issues when it comes to my career,” I laughed lightly, hoping I didn’t sound too melodramatic, but Thomas only said, “I can relate.”

“My parents are big on stability. They saw their parents struggle so much when they came to America. My dad worked a bunch of terrible jobs before he got hired at Ford. For him, a job with a good union, good benefits, that’s like the holy grail.”

“Your brothers and sisters agree?”

“Oh God, yes,” I laughed. “Two brothers are at Ford with him, another is an electrician, and both the girls are teachers.”

“So you followed in their footsteps?”

I was saved answering by the waitress’s return with our drinks, and it was a good thing, too. I had been about to admit that the thought of teaching had lately filled me with a panic I couldn’t explain. I hadn’t admitted that to anyone, not even Sofie or Callie. What was it about Thomas that made me feel so chatty?

“What about you?” I asked, eager to stop thinking about my career prospects. “What did your folks think about acting?”

“They’re supportive, now. It was a different story at first. They sent all three of us to really good schools, education was really important to them. I think they had visions of all three of us becoming barristers, like my dad.”

“What does your brother do now?”

“He’s a barrister.” Thomas laughed. “He’s the good son. But my sister is making noise about wanting to give acting a shot. They’ll really kill me then.” He winked at me, making my tummy flip all over again. I found that I was staring at his eyes while he talked. They were the most expressive eyes I had ever seen, flashing and twinkling, their green depths seeming to darken depending on his tone. If I spent enough time with him I could read his mood in his eyes, I thought. Without him saying a word.

“You said they weren’t thrilled with the acting at first. Weren’t you really young when Darkness came out?”

“I went to an open call when I was seventeen,” he said. “I actually auditioned for Cooper.” When I looked blank, he laughed. “Jackson’s part. I take it you aren’t a fan?”

I blushed to the roots of my hair. “Um…”

He laughed again and patted my hand, the contact sending a rush of shivers down my arm. “Don’t worry about it. It’s actually pretty refreshing. Anyway, I went to the audition kind of on a lark. I really liked drama in school, and kept telling my parents I wanted to study it at university. I figured if I could manage a callback in a major show, they might take me seriously. I was blown away when I was cast.”

“And they let you do it. That’s pretty cool.”

“At that point, they couldn’t have stopped me,” he laughed. “I had visions of Hollywood superstardom in my eyes. I was impossible for months.”

Just then, my phone beeped. I groaned as I looked down at it. “The girls are leaving.”

Thomas sat up straighter. “I could take you home,” he said. Was I imagining the eagerness in his voice?

“Thank you, but I should go with Callie. The other girls don’t live on our side of town, and we’re too new here for me to be leaving her on her own.”

“You sound like a nice friend,” he smiled at me, and I noticed, for the first time, that he had dimples. Or maybe they only appeared when he smiled a certain way. I had already mentally catalogued at least four different smiles to obsess over when I was alone.

He stood with me to walk me down the stairs. As soon as we were out of our protective alcove, the club noise hit me all over again. I had to lean up to yell right in his ear for him to hear me, brushing my arm across his as I went. I wasn’t complaining. “Look, I’d introduce you but I’m afraid Callie will go all fan girl on you. Are you up for that tonight?”

“Hmm, can I take a rain check on the fan-girling?”

I laughed. “Sure.”

As I scanned the room for Callie, Thomas took my hand. I looked up at him, surprised, as a rush of warmth shot through my fingers. “I’d like to see you again,” he said, leaning down so I could hear him. “Would that be okay with you?”

I couldn’t speak. Being so close to his face, his hand holding mine so firmly, I was overwhelmed with the desire to reach up and kiss him. I’d barely have to stretch at all. Instead, I nodded wordlessly, earning another grin from Thomas.

Five distinct smiles, I thought to myself. I wonder what they all represent.

“Tomorrow?”

I nodded again, pretty sure that my grin had turned downright goofy looking.

Thomas squeezed my hand before releasing it. “Text me when you get home then, we can set a time and you can give me your address.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

He nodded across the room. “I think I see your friend. Talk to you soon?”

Before I could respond, he was brushing his lips lightly across my forehead, squeezing my hand one last time, and turning away. I stood gaping after him, still feeling his lips on my forehead.

###

If you have any questions about the Hop don’t hesitate to ask. Remember to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of my brand new ebook, Lovestruck in London. And don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for the grand prize kindle!

Keep hopping! Click here to return to the list of blogs.

Cover reveal! Title reveal! Contest! Exclamation points!

Thank you guys so much for being so supportive of the Three Girls and a Baby sale! The book was downloaded quite a bit yesterday and it was so fun to see it show up on some best-seller lists. For a while Baby was the #16 ebook on BarnesandNoble.com! Weee! The sale will continue through next Monday so if you haven’t grabbed a copy yet there’s still time to get it cheap;)

The big news for today is that I am finally ready to reveal the title and cover of my next book. Without further ado, I present…

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Lizzie Medina went to London to reinvent herself. Tired of being the quiet baby sister, and in no hurry to settle into a boring existence in surburbia, she escapes from home at the first opportunity. When she settles in London for a year of post-graduate studies, Lizzie is sure she’ll be able to start a whole new life. Immerse herself in the books she loves. Explore a new country. Work on her dream of writing a novel. She might even be able to find a little bit of excitement for once.

But falling unexpectedly in love with up-and-coming actor Thomas Harper causes Lizzie to re-think her wishes for excitement. When Thomas’s career suddenly explodes to superstar levels, Lizzie finds herself forced to navigate the fame game of red carpets, catty co-stars, gossip magazines, and paparazzi. When she wished for a new life, she had no idea it would be anything like this!

Lizzie must now determine if her love is strong enough to get her through the complications of dating a movie star. Even if she and Thomas are able to pull through before she leaves London, how will she deal with the inevitability of returning to a life at home that no longer feels like her own? Will the changes Lizzie made in London be enough to help her find true happiness?

Find out in Lovestruck in London, available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore Tuesday, May 21st 2013!

I am so excited to release this book! I researched it and started writing during my trip to the UK last fall. It seems so crazy to me that a book I started while sitting in Hyde Park one afternoon, worked on while cruising across the ocean, and finished after moving into my new house will actually be published. I really hope you guys like it as much as I do! I think the thing I’m most excited about is introducing a whole new set of characters. I tend to get really invested in my characters–in fact, I kind of refuse to believe that Kiki Barker Thompson is not a real person and my actual friend. I hope you guys will enjoy meeting Lizzie and her friends because I’m so excited for you to get to know them!

To help spread my excitement, I’ll be giving away a $20 Amazon.com gift card to one of my readers. To enter, all you have to do is comment below and let me know your email address and who your favorite literary character is. The contest is only open to those living in the United States, sorry!  I’ll randomly select a winner the day of the book release, Tuesday, May 21.

I’ll be doing at least two more contests throughout the week in anticipation of the release. One will be open to newsletter members only, so if you haven’t already, sign up to be on the email list here. I only send out *occasional* emails regarding new releases, sales, and contests, promise! I will not clog up your inbox because I hate that as much as the next girl;)

I’m still working on the last minute polish of the novel so I better get back to work. Hope you all have a lovely Tuesday. Good luck with the contest!

CONTEST NOW CLOSED. CONGRATS MARY DOWNING ON YOUR $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD!

How is it April??

I’ve been a very bad blogger in 2013! Sorry that I fell off the face of the Earth, guys. Things have been nuts but I’m finally settling down. Yay!

One of the biggest reasons I’ve been MIA is because I’ve been working very hard on a new book. I’m having trouble choosing a title and I really need to get on that, because the book should be ready to publish in May. So what can I tell you about this book if I can’t give you a title? Let’s see…It’s set in London, it features a cute British boy (who just so happens to be a movie star), lots of references to Jane Austen novels, and a love story that I am particularly fond of. It’s very strange to write a book not set in Michigan but I loved writing about London. I hope you guys like it as much as I do. I promise to do better about updating in the next few weeks.

In other news, I am working to get all of my books available for nook, kobo, and iTunes. I’m also getting audiobook versions made, which I’m very excited about! It’s not a difficult process, but it is tedious, which makes it hard to do when I’m so focused on writing and editing. Again, I’ll update the site when the books are ready everywhere.

The other thing I’m working on is a prequel to the Three Girls series. I’m VERY excited about this! I think you guys know how much I love those girls, and how much I miss them when I’m not writing about them. The story I’m working on will be a novella (meaning it’s shorter than a novel) and will take place prior to Three Girls and a Baby. The best news about this prequel is that I will be offering it for free! I’m hoping to  have this out sometime in the late Spring.

I think that’s all the book news I have for now! Besides for writing I’ve been staying busy watching The Walking Dead, Dr. Who, and Community. I’m kind of obsessed with Community, actually. Joel McHale is so very dreamy and I’m more than a little bit in love with Danny Pudi and Donald Glover. Sigh. If you don’t watch this show I highly recommend giving it a shot (before NBC, in all their infinite wisdom, cancels it).

Oh, I also moved! I bought a new house with a great back yard for Lucy. It is also very near a park with walking trails and a little nature center. Lucy LOVES it! But she now gets even more annoyed when I spend all day writing. She just wants to be in the park all the time!

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Lucy says, “Hey, stop writing and take me to the park!”

I hope you are all doing well and that spring is arriving where you are. It was a whopping 35 degrees today. Woohoo :/

Talk to you soon!

Crazy Dreams

Okay, I’ve been awful at keeping up with my blog lately! I’m sorry! I kind of have a good excuse. First of all, I’ve been writing like a mad thing. Kiki’s book came out in July and it’s been selling well. I love the feedback I’ve gotten from readers. I really love Kiki and it makes me so happy to hear that other people enjoy reading about her too. I’ve been working hard on the sequels to In Search of a Love Story. I like how they’re coming along so far and I’m hoping they’ll both be ready by the new year.

Another reason I’ve been MIA relates to a very fun adventure I got to go on earlier in the fall. I got home a few weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to post this. It’s a blog entry I wrote while crossing the Atlantic ocean on a cruise ship. Here goes:

Last September I was heading back to the classroom after a summer of amazing, fulfilling, humbling writing experiences. I remember a feeling of almost desperation. I had been able to focus on my writing all summer long, and it made me so happy. While I was excited to get back to my students, a huge part of me badly wanted to continue to write full time. I had published my first book over the summer and had finished writing and revising the second. The excitement of those experiences was unlike anything I had experienced. The thought of regulating the writing stuff to after school hours made me feel so sad—and scared, in a weird way. What if I never got to write full time?

What a difference a year makes.

When September rolled around this year, instead of heading back to the classroom, I got on a plane. Many hours later I landed in Scotland, a grand UK adventure ahead of me.

I’ve always wanted to write a book set in London. Most of my favorite books are set in England, from Jane Austen’s classics to Sophie Kinsella’s chicklit to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’d been to London before, years ago, but I knew that to really do justice to a book set in the city I would have to spend more time there. Now that I’m not teaching, I finally had the opportunity to do it. I would spend some time in Edinburgh Scotland, London, and Winchester, before heading home on a transatlantic cruise (The cruise doesn’t really have much to do with the book research, but it seemed much more romantic and interesting than just flying home).

The experience was everything I wanted it to be. All three cities were amazing. I saw castles and churches, museums and markets, parks and palaces.

Buckingham Palace

Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

Edinburgh Castle

I went to the house where Jane Austen lived, where she wrote and published her books. I went to the church where she is buried and cried as I read her sister’s correspondence announcing Jane’s death.

Jane Austen’s house

Miss Austen’s writing desk

Well said, Jane!

Winchester Cathedral

I met interesting people everywhere I went and got enough material and inspiration to fill several books. Cruising home across the vast Atlantic I spent hours sitting out on deck, writing and watching the waves.

It was the trip of a life time. When I first arrived in Edinburgh and went through customs, the agent asked me my profession. Without hesitation, I told her: “I’m an author.”

Before I left home my best friend made me a series of CDs to listen to in the various cities I would visit. There was a moment listening to that music in London that I will remember for the rest of my life. As I walked along the Thames, in the shadow of Big Ben, a song came on my iPod called Crazy Dreams. Do you know this song? I guess it was originally done by Carrie Underwood, but it was covered last season on the show Smash. You can hear a clip of the Smash version over here on NBC’s site. Anyhow, the song is basically all about not giving up on stuff and how amazing it is when our dreams come true. It’s a little cheesy, but totally appropriate for walking around in London on a grand adventure of sightseeing and book writing. Ooh, and the actress who sings it on Smash, Megan Hilty, is who Andrea and I would want to play Kiki if they ever make a movie of my books.

Doesn’t she look just like Kiki?

It was such an amazing moment, walking along the river in this amazing city, hearing those lyrics randomly start up on my ipod.

Here’s to you free souls, you firefly chasers
Tree climbers, porch swingers, air guitar players
Here’s to you fearless dancers, shaking walls in your bedrooms

There’s a lot of wonder left inside of me and you

Thank God even crazy dreams come true

I think sometimes of what would have happened if I had given up last fall. My books weren’t selling well, teaching was taking a lot out of me, and it was difficult to write as much as I needed to in the limited amount of time I had after school. Writing the third book of the series was hard for me. I remember feeling tired and frustrated. The writing didn’t flow the way it did with the previous two books. What if it was no good? What if I never got my chance, if my books never started selling? Would it be worth it to continue to work so hard when the rewards seemed so little? A voice in my head told me it was time to slow down a little, stop writing so much, take a break.

Thank God I didn’t listen.

And thank God even crazy dreams come true.