Coming soon…

Hello, lovely readers! I hope you’re all having a wonderful 2018 so far. It seems like we’ve either had snow or rain all winter long but that’s okay with me–I like to be cozied up inside while I’m writing. And I’ve been writing a lot! I think quite a few of you will be happy to hear that I’m working on the 6th Ransom book–finally!

You guys, I missed these characters soooo much. I’ve been re-reading the whole series to prepare for the new book and it’s been so nice to visit with the boys and their ladies again. People always ask me which Ransome brother is my favorite and I’m constantly changing my mind. Right now I have a huge crush on Reed, which isn’t really surprising. Paige is one of my favorite characters from any of my series. Whoever makes Paige happy makes me happy! Anyhow, I’m really liking the way book 6 is turning out so far and I can’t wait to share it with you soon!

In the meantime, I’ve been working with an awesome cover artist (Shout out to Paper and Sage Designs!) to give the Three Girls series a facelift. I’ve had the same covers on those books for years now so I thought it would be nice to try something new and fresh. What do you think??

The same cover artist has been helping me come up with a more cohesive look for the Lilac Bay series–which is really helpful since the 3rd book is super close to a publication date! All’s Fair is currently in the editing phase and I should have some release news for you in the next two weeks. Check out the covers for this series below and stay tuned for info on the release!

Okay, that’s it for me. Can’t wait to have more news about Lilac Bay and Ransom for you soon. Hope you’re all doing great!

xoxo Rachel


Mapping out the rest of the year

I have new book news!

So, usually when I finish a book I tell you guys about it right away. Once I’ve worked with an editor, proofreader, and formatter, I release it into the wilds of Amazon, pretty much as soon as possible.

The timeline of this book has been a little different because, well, this book is a little different.

If you’ve read any of my previous books, you know that I write romance novels with a generally upbeat feel. It’s what some people call chick lit, or romantic comedy, and it’s usually the kind of book I most love to read (and write!). But it’s not the only kind of book I like to read.

My new book is not chick lit and it’s definitely not romantic comedy. So what is it?

I’ve actually been a little nervous to tell you guys about it, because it’s a bit different from my other stuff. This book is what I would call a New Adult romance novel. Have you heard of this genre? I’ve always loved Sarah Dessen’s young adult novels (have you read her? You should read her!) because she tends to tackle emotional issues while still writing great love stories. I think New Adult books are kind of a more grown up version of that concept—emotional issues with great love stories. They focus on people in that transitional stage of life, either in college or just moving into the work force, trying to figure out jobs and school and relationship. In other words, new adults (next week I’m going to post a few reviews of NA books I love, if you’re interested in checking some out).

My new book is a little darker than my current stuff and somewhat more intense. It’s still a love story, though, and it definitely has great friendships, which I always love writing about. It’s a bit steamy, too! Because this is a new genre for me, I’m going about the release a little different and trying to line up some promotions. So in the next few weeks I’ll be releasing the title and cover. I’m hoping to have the book ready to release in October. I’m really excited about it and I’m going to do a bunch of giveaways and fun stuff to celebrate.

I hope everyone gives the new book a chance but I totally get that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s cool! And no fear, because I will ALWAYS write chick lit novels. They are my first literary love and that isn’t about to change! In fact, I am currently working on TWO new chicklit novels.

First of all, there’s going to be a new Lovestruck book! A lot of people have asked me what happens to Lizzie and Thomas next—don’t worry, I have BIG plans for them! I spent some time in California this summer to do research (Gorgeous Thomas on the beach, you guys. Picture it). I’m really excited for everyone to read it! I am working hard (like, skipping sleep hard) to get it out this winter.

Okay, here’s the BIGGEST news I have: I am working on a new Three Girls book!! I am SO.FREAKIN.EXCITED. I’ve missed writing about Ginny, Annie, and Jen (And Kiki!) and it’s been so fun to revisit them. I get questions about the girls all the time (did you know they make appearances in the Love Story books??) so I know a few of you have missed them too. The new book will come out in January, which I know is a long time to wait. I hope it will be worth it.

I think that covers all of it. To recap: new NA Romance coming in October, new Lovestruck book this winter, new Three Girls in January. And lots of giveaways, prizes, etc. to go along with them. If you’re not on my mailing list you can sign up right here to get information on new releases and sales. I do NOT send out a ton of emails, so I won’t be clogging up your inbox, promise.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. Enjoy your weekend (I’ll be writing!)

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!


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.

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.

Let’s Get Fired Up

I have a new obsession.

Last week I spent a good sized portion of every evening watching the show Everest: Beyond the Limit (My book is with the editor. I’m allowed to watch some TV, right?). Then I went up to the cabin for a few days and felt like I was in withdrawal. It felt totally wrong to go to bed every night without my Everest adrenaline fix.

What is Everest: Beyond the Limit, you ask? I will tell you. It’s a fantastic reality show from the Discovery Channel, circa 2006 (I find really weird stuff on Netflix since I cancelled my cable). It chronicles an expedition of climbers attempting to summit Mt. Everest. It was only 19 episodes long, but they are 19 episodes of fantasticness.

You might well wonder what the draw is for me in a show like this. You may have heard that I dislike snow. You may also have heard a rumor that I’m terrified of heights. Both factoids are true–I do hate snow and being up high makes me break out into a cold sweat and start hyperventilating. But in spite of those things, watching this show makes me want to chuck it all in and become a mountaineer. Crazy, right?

I think the reason the show draws me in so much is related to its epicness. These are people that are trying to accomplish a feat that is literally the hardest thing they will ever do in their lives. Their desperation to succeed is palpable. I find myself rooting for them and feeling crazy excited when they make it. It’s the story of people who are passionate and driven beyond reason. And I can get behind that.

Since I started my publishing journey I find that I seek out these types of stories–stories of passion and drive. Stories of people following their dreams, and succeeding. Biggest Loser anyone? Amazing Race? I can’t get enough. And though all this might sound ridiculously corny, it’s also very true. For the first time in ages I’m feeling really fired up about my life. Writing has everything to do with that but even when I’m not writing I will happily sit and watch people climb Mt. Everest, or lose try to lose weight on television, or race around the globe in search of adventure.

I’m looking for the epic in life right now. I feel like great things are within my reach. Anything that adds to the general feeling of potential awesome is much appreciated.

I might even watch American Idol this week…



Where to go next…

I’m currently working hard on my next book and liking where it’s heading. I don’t have a set title yet, but I’ll let you know when I do!

I’ve been a little frustrated with myself because I haven’t been as productive as I could be. My day job has been so emotionally draining lately (and physically exhausting) and it’s hard to snap out of that and write when I get home. The other day I gave in and took a nap. Lucy, by the way, was thrilled about this, as it meant she got to lay on the couch with me. Anyhow, when I woke up, I had an idea for my next book pretty much fully formed in my head. So I guess sometimes being unproductive leads to inspiration, or something. At least I’ll tell myself that when laziness next strikes.

On the subject of being productive, I’ve been considering cancelling my internet at home. Cancelling my cable didn’t result in as many words written per day as I had hoped. The culprit? Netflix instant streaming. There are just so many good shows! And when they’re all there, episode after episode, just waiting for me, it’s so hard to turn it off and get to work. Since I cancelled my cable I’ve watched the entirety of Vampire Diaries (which I am totally obsessed with), Downton Abbey (also obsessed), Firefly, and Mad Men. So not good for my writing pace. Then there’s the general time suck of surfing the internet. Oy.

Now that I have the iPhone, I can use that for blogging, email, facebook, etc. Do I really need a home internet connection? What do you think? Could you live without internet? I’ll have to ponder it some more.

On that note, I should probably try to add to my word count before bed. Which means I should turn off Vampire Diaries. Even if they did just find out that Katherine is the doppleganger and Klaus is after her. I don’t need to see what happens next. Really. I don’t.

Oh, by the way, that idea I had for a new book? It may or may not involve Kiki Barker/Thompson. Just saying…