Verse of the day #fail

Today I failed at the verse of the day. In my defense, I didn’t log onto my bible app until this evening, so that put me at an unfair disadvantage. By that point I’d already epically screwed up.

Let me stop for a second to make sure we’re all on the same page. Do you know what the bible app is? It’s exactly like it sounds. It’s an app on your phone where you can read the bible. I’ve pasted a picture below. Also, yes, that is my husband’s shirt. The one that he’s wearing in almost every picture I have of him. Must be his favorite.



Anyway, whenever I log onto my bible app the first thing I see is the verse of the day. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that some days that’s the only verse I read. Most days I at least read through one of my daily plans. But not today.

This morning I woke up knowing it would probably be safer for everyone if I just crawled back into bed. You have those too, right? Please tell me I’m not alone. From the minute my feet hit the floor, I felt off. Not sick exactly, but also not totally healthy. Not exhausted, but definitely not wide awake. Not angry really, but not super happy. I thought for sure I was nearing that time of the month, but unfortunately I’ve been slacking on my monthly tracker (yes, another app). According to it, I’m months late and probably going into labor any minute. (Ha ha. No thank you.)

But I also felt something awful. Something I hate more than anything in the world. I felt vulnerable. And the truth is I’ve felt like that a lot lately.

Some days it’s seems so much easier to stay home. To keep to myself. To not have to leave the house or get off my couch if I don’t want to. When I’m home I can protect myself. I’m safe. I’m in control.

I LOVE people. Talking with them. Laughing with them. Being with them. Loving on them.

Nothing makes me happier than making someone smile…or laugh…or feel loved and accepted.

I feed off the energy of others. Large groups of people are my jam. Eddie Murphy totally wrote that song about me. This girl does like to party all the time, party all the time, partay all the ti-ime.

But as much as I’m a people-lover, I’m not a people-truster. I’m not good at being vulnerable.

As my reader, you’re probably shocked. I open up to you all the time – on this blog, in my books, in my fan club, on my facebook page, on my instafeed. But that’s not true vulnerability. Not the kind where you bleed out. Where you show someone what’s truly inside – the wonderful and the “oh, dear god, that is so not wonderful.”

I get to choose what I share with you on here. I can measure my words.

I can be in control.

Out there in the real world things can get messy. I’m not always in control.

And that means, I can get hurt.

It also means that I don’t always measure my words. I’m not always poised and grace-filled and joyous and loving. (I know you’re totally shocked right now, huh?)

Today’s verse of the day was Galatians 5:22-23


And I failed at it.

I didn’t live up to this verse today. I was impatient and short-fused. I was over-sensitive and frustrated.

But, guess what, I’m not perfect. I’m messy and broken, and sometimes insensitive and mean. I wish I weren’t like that. Sometimes my feelings get hurt and I lash out without taking the time to think; to pause; to hear the other person out.

I wish I could be as thoughtful and poised in real life as I am on this blog. If only my words always came out measured, and full of grace. If only I always responded in love and truth.

When I first opened my bible app today, I felt like God was pointing his finger at me. I felt shame. I felt guilt.

And then I said, “oh, no – not today, Satan,” and I opened this laptop. I’m processing my feelings as I’m writing, so thanks for coming along for the ride.

God is teaching me a lot about identity this year. I think that may be why I’m feeling so vulnerable and exposed. It’s all part of the process. And I won’t let this setback get me down. I will keep moving forward. I will keep loving and allowing others to love me. I will continue to force myself to be open and vulnerable even when it’s scary. And I will continue to be transformed by the renewing of my mind.

And guess what? Tomorrow is a new day.

And that means a totally different verse. So maybe I’ll win at that one. 😉





My strange collection

I was late to the social media game. I never had a myspace account, and most of my friends had been on Facebook for a year or so before I joined. The first time I heard about twitter, I thought it was silly. I was a thirty-something year old woman with a husband, two kids, and a minivan who lived in suburbia. How interesting could one of my tweets or posts really be?

But one day at work a friend talked me into joining Facebook, and it wasn’t long before I had twitter, Instagram, tumblr and snapchat. This week I even joined a new site called Vero.

I tell people all the time that I’m on social media because of my job. And that is “mostly” true. Being an author means I have to promote myself constantly. I spend at least 3 hours every single day on marketing. Much of that is creating, tweaking and analyzing my ads. But some of that is creating and constructing myself – my brand. Posting videos, pictures, blog entries, facebook posts, Instagram posts, stories, tweets. Then there’s the time I spend interacting with my fans, whether it be in my fan club or in facebook and Instagram messages, emails or snapchat pictures.


I love my life. I love being an author. I love interacting with my fans. I love that my readers allow me to live my dream.

But sometimes I forget to love myself. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am.

I spend my days collecting likes, comments, messages, sales. I gather them, holding them close and allowing them to speak to me. To whisper into my heart, determining my worth. Some days I’m on top of the world, standing on a giant mountain of my likes, sales, impressions and clicks. Other days, I’m wallowing in an empty pit.

It’s hard to be okay with myself when I live in a world of likes, comments and views. It’s even harder in my business. Validation is something I crave, but often it’s hard to come by.

I hate that I reach for my phone a million times a day to check posts, sales, comments, views, clicks, stats, impressions. But it’s reality. It’s not going to change. At least not right now.

But my mindset can.

I am more than the amount of likes I get, and so are you.

Psalms 139: 13 reads:

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

God valued me long before I opened my facebook account, started this blog or published a book. And he called me “wonderfully” made.

Recently, God’s been speaking to me about identity. He’s been gently reminding me of all the times he’s been there, cheering me on, loving me, elevating me, holding me. And he’s been doing this in many ways – through others, through his word and through songs.

As you know, worship is my jam. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with this song by Cory Asbury called Reckless Love.


It’s been speaking to my heart more than any other song has in a long time. It goes like this:

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me”

There is nothing more true in my life than God’s unconditional love for me. He loves me if my writing is beautiful or if it’s crap. He loves me when my books are selling and when they’re not. He loves me when my singing is on point or when my harmonies royally suck.  He loves me when my post gets 100 likes or when it gets 2.

That doesn’t mean I won’t work hard.  I will strive to do my best for him because he’s worth it.

But I’ll remember that I’m worth it too.

And so are you.







HOME RUN HEART released!

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HOME RUN HEART is live!!


Abby befriended me, took me in off the streets, and gave me a place to live. But I’m betraying her by sneaking around with her older brother.
It wasn’t planned. I didn’t mean to fall for him, but it was impossible not to.
Cameron is unlike anyone I’ve met before. He’s the first guy who’s looked at me like I’m a person, not a charity case or someone to use. I’ve never had a home, but in Cameron’s arms I finally know what one feels like.
But if Abby finds out about us, I’ll be back on the streets. Is Cameron worth risking everything for?

HOME RUN HEART includes forbidden romance, love from across the tracks, a shy heroine, a sweet hero, and all the feels.



Fans of my Playing for Keeps and Make the Play series will love HOME RUN HEART!


Home Run Heart - 3D Display_preview

The season finale of The Amber Show

For years, my parents have shared the story of the first Christmas pageant I participated in. According to them, the Wonderland Preschool Christmas Program should have been called The Amber Show. I sang all the solos, danced all the dances, and had all the speaking parts.

In kindergarten I was always in trouble for two things:

  1. Reading entire books to the class every time it was my turn during show and tell.
  2. Writing in cursive.

I was put into GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) early in elementary school.

Growing up, I got the lead in every school play I tried out for and every solo I auditioned for.

As a child I believed I could have anything I wanted, and that I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

But in high school, things started to unravel for me. Suddenly, there were things that didn’t come easily to me. There were moments when I wasn’t number one.

It was hard to come to grips with, and I’ve struggled with it ever since.

Recently I heard a message by one of the pastors at my church. In it he said, “You are not what you produce.”

It hit me hard.

I am not what I produce.

I am not my books. I am not my songs. I am not my voice. I am not my talent. I am not measured by my success.

In some ways this is so freeing. In other ways it’s incredibly difficult.

When my parents tell the story of my preschool pageant, I hear the pride in their voice. I know that my family has always been proud of the fact that I talked at an early age, read at an early age, tested at a higher grade level than I was in. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

What was wrong was my need to always be on top. My need to always please everyone. My need to be seen. To be heard. To be in the spotlight.

To be number one.

It’s set me on a path of constantly comparing myself to others, and constantly searching for approval.

people pleaser

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that the last five years have been rough for me emotionally and physically. I won’t bore you with the details since I’ve blogged about it so much in the past. You probably already know that my mantra for the last several years has been, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”

I began 2017 praying for breakthrough in the area of fear and anxiety. After several years of being sick, I had experienced major physical breakthrough in 2016, but I was still dealing with some of the after-effects emotionally.

God answered my prayers: In the past six months I’ve only had a few panic attacks. After having daily ones for years, this is huge. Fear doesn’t plague me the way it once had. I’m not a slave to it any longer. I know this for sure. That’s not to say that I don’t deal with it sometimes or that I’ll never deal with it again. But I’ve experienced major breakthrough, and it no longer has me bound.

So I’m starting 2018 asking for breakthrough in the area of identity. I want to truly believe that I am not what I produce. That I am not measured by my talent and success. That I don’t have to prove myself. That I don’t have to be the most talented or smartest or richest.

That I don’t have to be number one.

Of course I will keep working hard. I will keep reaching for the stars.

But above all I will seek God.

Years ago, God directed me to this verse:

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
I didn’t fully understand what he was trying to tell me until now. This year I want to know Him in a way I never have before. I don’t want to seek man’s approval. I only want to seek the approval of the one who has always given it to me – freely and without expectations.
I know I will find Him, and in the process I hope to find myself.




THE LAST TIME I SAW HER is available for preorder. It’s only $2.99 until release day on December 8th. Then it will go up to $3.99. So snag your kindle copy today!



Two weeks ago, Dylan DiMarco and his sister Claire discovered Lauren Pascal’s body lying in a creek near his home.
Dead. Lifeless.
Today she is standing in the middle of the store where he works.
Alive. Breathing.
It’s not the first time he’s seen her lurking around. Following him. In life, Lauren had wanted nothing to do with him. In death, she won’t leave him alone.
He knows what she wants. What he has to do so he can finally be free.
With the help of the school’s bad girl loner Harley, Dylan sets out to solve Lauren’s murder. But when the lines begin to blur between finding justice and seeking vengeance, things take a dangerous turn.



Why Even Bother?

When I wrote my first book I had one goal in mind: finishing. The story was fun and engaging for me. I enjoyed every minute I spent scrawling out sentences in my notebook or typing furiously on the computer.

But something changed after penning that first novel. I entered the world of submissions. Of agents and publishers and synopses and query letters. And, of course, the dreaded rejection letters.

Once I started submitting, I found it difficult to write a new book. I longed for the rush I had while writing my first one, and that wasn’t happening. Instead, it felt like a chore, a task; it felt like work.

I was no longer writing for the pure enjoyment. I was writing with a different goal in mind: to secure a publishing deal. I was desperately trying to come up with a unique, marketable plot. I would hurriedly write three chapters and a blurb and send it off, then start brainstorming a new idea. It became less about writing and more about getting published.

Needless to say, years went by without a publishing deal. And I never found my niche; my genre. I just kept trying to play to the fads and trends.

Then Twilight came out, and I began devouring YA fiction. That’s when I wrote PROWL, and I knew I had found my niche. I loved writing that book. It felt a lot like that first novel. But once again, it didn’t sell.

ProwldSo, I self-published it.

And it did okay. Not great. Nothing earth shattering. Just okay. But the amazing part is that it opened up a new world to me. A world with readers. A world with other indie authors. A world with the freedom to write what I wanted.

This began a five-year journey of writing full time. In that timeframe I rarely, if ever, suffered from writer’s block. I always wrote what I wanted and I loved every second of it.

Then something happened.

I stopped making the money I had gotten used to making.

So I had to reassess; make some new and different choices. One of those choices was submitting and ultimately signing with a publisher. It was a dream come true, and I know it’s what’s necessary right now. The indie market isn’t what it was. It’s not sustainable anymore.

But I’ve found that I’m losing my enjoyment. I’m losing my attention span. I AM actually suffering from writer’s block. I’m back to where I was six years ago. And I don’t like it. I miss the rush of writing what I want. I miss falling in love with my characters. I miss writing for the pure fun of it.  But I also want to stay in this business. I don’t want to give up as so many in the indie community have done lately.

I recognize that this is a business. And in business you have to do what you have to do. I’m not complaining. I’m so blessed to have my dream job. I’m blessed by my readers and by the writing community.

I’ve just been thinking a lot lately about the difference between writing for love and writing for money. And I’ve come to the conclusion that you always have to do both. Unless you are only writing for yourself, you DO have to write something marketable. There are certain “formulas” that work better than others. I’m not saying that you can’t be unique or creative in your style or execution. But I’m learning in my own writing that there are some tried and true tropes and formulas that work, and there’s no shame in using them. However, you do need to like what you’re writing.

The truth is that deep down I’m a thriller writer. I love writing dark thrillers. I would write them exclusively if I could. But they don’t sell as well as my sweet romances do. Even so, I will periodically write one. They’re more for me than anything, but some ideas I can’t walk away from.


However, since this is my business I can’t do that too often. Most of the time I have to stick with what sells. But I do always add some aspect of mystery in all of my romances.

As an artist, we are creative. We like to think outside of the box. And there is something so magical about the thought of doing our own thing. About writing what makes us happy. About writing something unique and different and entirely our own. But the reality is that everything has been done before.

Starving artists are a real thing, and I don’t want to be one.

So I’ll write to the market. I’ll write to the trend. I’ll write for my editor. I’ll write for my readers.

And I’ll find a way to love what I write.

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My first traditionally published book released today!!

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I like Kassidy Milton. There, I said it. She’s funny, beautiful—even though she doesn’t know it—and my favorite kind of weird. But I can’t tell if she’s into me or just trying to get close to me for a chance with my famous twin brother instead. I mean, it has to be me. I am the better-looking one.


But Kassidy has some demons, and she’s not good at letting people in. That happens when you’ve been hurt by someone close to you. I can relate. Trust is a funny thing; it’s hard to gain but easy to lose. I might just learn that the hard way.


Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book includes a snarky heroine, a swoon-worthy hero, crazy best friends, your favorite music, and lots of feels.


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