A little sappiness before release day…

Working on the sixth Ransom book was truly one of the best writing experiences of my life. Which is really surprising to me, considering how things were going before I started it.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that this book was originally supposed to come out more than a year ago. But sometime after releasing Lennon’s book, I started to have a really hard time with my writing. I don’t know if it was writer’s block or feeling burned out or if my anxiety was getting worse, or what. All I know is that it got a lotharder to write. Over a two year stretch I wrote four books, which is way below my normal output (I usually publish at least five books a year).  I thought about starting The Ransome Brothersall the time, but it seemed like an impossible task. This series means so much to me, and I’ve been planning this book for years. I felt a lot of pressure to get it right and the thought of even starting it scared the hell out of me.

Several months ago, I decided I would read the rest of the series just to see how I felt about it—and man am I ever glad I did! Reading those books again, for the first time in ages, felt like hanging out with old friends. I realized that I knowthese characters, that I understand them and get what makes them tick. I remembered how much I freaking love writing about these brothers and their girls. For the first time in months and months I was excited to write again.

When I sat down to get started, writing felt easier than it had in years. This is the longest book I’ve ever written, and it was also one of the fastest. The words came easily and I finished it in record time (unfortunately this fast writing meant the editing process was crazy long and difficult, but oh well. Totally worth it!) Even better, it was fun—and writing hadn’t been fun for me in a long time. Even better than that, I love how the book turned out! That’s such an important thing for me as a writer. Of course I want the readers to enjoy it too, but so long as I really feel like I wrote what I wanted the way I wanted, I’ll always feel good about the book.

So before the book comes out tomorrow (tomorrow! Eek!) I wanted to give a shout out to my Ransome boys, and thank them for helping me to get back to the thing I most love to do in the world. And to thank all of you, too, for your patience and for encouraging me! And for being excited about this series and this book—I’m so happy to finally share it with you. You’re the best readers a girl could ask for!

One week until The Ransome Brothers!

Last night I finished my last round of editing on The Ransome Brothers! That means we’re getting so close–and I’m freaking out! I’m very excited for you guys to read this and nervous and sleep deprived and all those other things that come with releasing a new book. To celebrate how close we are, I wanted to show you the gorgeous cover Paper and Sage Designs made for the book. What do you think??

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Ever since his wife left him to raise their four boys on his own, Will Ransome has had one purpose—do whatever it takes to give them the life they deserve. Now that they’ve finally made it, now that Ransom is the most successful rock band in the country, Will should finally be able to relax, take time for himself, maybe even find love again. But nothing is turning out the way it should. His boys aren’t talking to him, refuse to even see him. All of the success in the world can’t fill the hole they’ve left in his life.

And Will has no one to blame but himself.

The Ransome Brothers will be available everywhere ebooks are sold on Tuesday, June 12th!

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**

All about Paige

I have a really hard time picking a favorite character—it’s like picking a favorite child! But there are a few characters that really stand out to me and feel particularly special. Paige is one of those characters.

When I was working on the plot of Ransom, I knew I wanted Daisy to become friends with two girls who would help her to regain her confidence and break down her protective shell. The original character notes for the girls ended up really different from the way Paige and Karen look in the book. I had originally envisioned Paige to be a hard-core rock and roll chick. I knew I wanted her to be kind but I thought she would have a much harder edge. I pictured her being sarcastic with a sharp sense of humor and a jaded outlook on life.

But once I started writing the book, Paige totally took over. I love when that happens! Sometimes it feels like the character just reveals themself to me as I write about them and that’s exactly what happened with Paige. Almost as soon as I started Ransom, it didn’t feel right to make Paige sarcastic and sharp and cynical. It wasn’t her. Paige is sweet and excited and enthusiastic about everything. A total contradiction to her rock and roll style, with her leather jacket, dyed hair streaks, and multiple piercings. She’s a little ditzy sometimes but completely loyal and kind and she constantly surprises everyone with how capable she is at just about everything she tries.

This is one of my favorite Paige quotes from Release, where she describes to Reed why she loves all the silly roadside attractions she drags the boys to on tour. I always felt like this was the moment where Reed really fell in love with her:

“Because it’s out of the ordinary,” I tell him. “I like things that are out of the ordinary—that’s the most fun part of life. Finding the things you weren’t expecting, the things you aren’t used to.” I wave my arms around to encompass the store. “Just think about the people who own this place—they must really love it. You don’t put all this effort into a Christmas store unless Christmas is, like, your favorite thing. I like that they’re sharing that with everyone. It’s like the Cadillac Ranch or the Jell-O museum. The people who started those places might be kind of weird, but they really love Cadillacs and Jell-O. It makes them happy. It gives them a purpose. And they want to share that.” I shrug, feeling slightly embarrassed by my enthusiasm. “I just think that’s cool.”

I didn’t plan this silly, earnest part of her character ahead of time . That’s just who Paige is. It almost felt like I didn’t have a say in it—Paige’s personality was already formed and she didn’t need me trying to fit her into my original plans.

I think that’s why I love her so much. She always surprises me, she always makes me laugh. Every scene with her is so much fun to write. Pretty much as soon as I started to write Paige back in book 1 I knew I needed to change things in the future books to give her a bigger role. When I started plotting book 6, Paige’s plotline was the first one I came up with. It was so important to me that this strong character gets a fitting story in the 6th book. I’m so excited for you to read The Ransome Brothers and see what I have in store for Paige Brennen!

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…

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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

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!

 

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!

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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.