An Open Letter of Explanation to my Readers

My husband doesn’t read my books. I guess romance novels aren’t his thing. But he does read my blogs, and he recently pointed out that I haven’t blogged in 3 months. I knew it had been awhile, but didn’t realize it had been that long. However, I’m not surprised. There are many reasons why I haven’t been blogging, and I feel like maybe it’s time to explain.

If you’re a reader of mine, you probably feel like I’ve taken a step back from publishing, and in some ways you’d be right. I’ve kept up with my facebook and IG page, so at least I’m still active on social media. But I haven’t blogged or released a book in over 3 months. That may not seem long to some people, but to me it is. In the 5 years that I’ve been published, I’ve released a book on average every other month.

I learned several years ago that in order to maintain a certain level of income as an indie author it was imperative to have a steady stream of new releases. And for the most part, that hasn’t been too much of a challenge for me. I love to write. Plus, it’s my full time job. When you write for 8 + hours a day putting out a book every couple of months isn’t inconceivable. And for a long time it was worth it to me to crank out the books.

But things changed in the publishing industry in the last year. Many authors have weighed in on this recently, so I won’t go into all the details. Mostly, I’ll just say that in the last year my income has drastically declined. As a self-employed author, I know that I’m in a sales position. Therefore, I know that there will be some uncertainty with my income. But the truth is that prior to this year my income had been much more steady than it is now, and I had some sense of what was to come. Not the case anymore.

I’m not saying this to sound whiny or so that you’ll feel sorry for me. I still make adequate money, and I still feel incredibly lucky to have my dream job. I’m merely stating fact. And in order to explain the decisions I’ve made at the end of this year, this part needs to be shared.

Through all of this uncertainty, one thing is certain. My faith in God’s plan for my life. God gave me this gift. He planted it, he nurtured it and he set it on the right path. So, I’ve always known that good things are coming. I believe it with all my heart. Not only do I love writing, but I know it’s what I was made to do.

Knowing this, it became clear to me this year that I could no longer keep doing things the way I always had before. That’s why I signed with my wonderful agent, Stephanie. She’s been a godsend. A serious answer to prayer in so many ways. First, she’s an incredible agent. Second, she’s an amazing support to me. Third, she’s become a really good friend.

When my last couple of releases didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, I re-evaluated. At that time I had a book that was nearly finished that I had planned for a November release. But instead of releasing it, I had Stephanie pitch it to publishers. To my delight (and shock) it sold within the first couple of days of her pitching it. It sold to Entangled publishing and is set to release this summer.

After that, I took the next manuscript I was working on and gave it to Stephanie who is currently in the process of pitching that one.

There are so many reasons I’ve decided to go with publishers on these two books, but the main reason is that I need some help. I don’t want to keep doing it all on my own. I want a marketing team behind me. I want the prospect of seeing my books on store shelves. And I want the potential to have some sort of security when it comes to my income. That may or may not happen with a publisher, but I feel like I need to give this a valiant effort. I took a risk when I self-published and it paid off. I’m praying this will too.

Don’t worry, though. I’m not giving up on self-publishing entirely. I’m too much of a control freak for that. I do enjoy many aspects of publishing on my own, so my ideal situation is to be a hybrid author.

I do have a book I’ve been burning the midnight oil to finish that I plan to self-publish. It is set to release in the next month.

And that is why I haven’t blogged. I’ve written 3 manuscripts in the last couple of months. I know you haven’t seen them, but you will definitely see one soon, and one in the summer. Hopefully, the other will follow as well.

So, rest assured I’m writing. And I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve just been making some changes, and praying it will all work out.

Until next time, happy reading!













When I was told my books weren’t good

It all started when my 14 year old daughter was invited to a friend’s birthday party. We had an extremely busy week leading up the party and we were running out of time to pick up a gift.

“Why don’t you give her one of my books?” I asked, thinking I had come up with the perfect solution. I write teen fiction, after all. My son has given my books as gifts to numerous girlfriends over the years.

“Never mind. I just won’t get her a gift,” My daughter answered.

“What?” I asked, certain I had heard her wrong. How was not getting her friend a gift better than giving her one of my books?

“If I can’t get her something good then I don’t want to get her anything,” she clarified.

“Are you saying my  books aren’t a good gift?” I responded.

“Yikes,” my son said, a cringe on his face. At least one of my children understood how hurtful this conversation was. Then again, he’s a reader, so I know he gets it.

“Not just your books. Any books. Books are not a good gift, Mom,” my daughter said.

Huh. Books are not a good gift. Interesting. 

The truth is that this conversation wasn’t surprising. Mainly because my daughter isn’t a reader. It’s something that makes me incredibly sad. I have boxes of my old books – Nancy Drew, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, Wizard of Oz series, Narnia series, and many more. I had saved them all in hopes that one day my daughter would read them. However, I ended up with a daughter who thinks reading is akin to getting a cavity filled.


But the main reason I wasn’t surprised is because I don’t think books are as revered as they used to be. When I was a kid I didn’t leave the house without a book in my backpack, purse, etc. I read constantly. Reading was (and is) my favorite thing to do. But I didn’t have the internet, a smart phone, a smart watch, or an Ipad. When I was in high school pagers were the big thing. Someone paged you and you found the nearest payphone to call them back. Not exactly a rip-roaring good time.

Now kids have a form of entertainment in the palm of their hand. My teenagers spend hours staring down at those little devices. As much as it bothers me, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I also spend hours on my phone. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s addicting.


Reading requires patience, an imagination, quiet. All things a phone doesn’t require.

It’s a different world. That’s becoming more apparent to  me each year in this business. I’ve been a published author for four years now. It’s my dream job. It’s what I’ve wanted to be since I was a small child. And I love it. But it’s also a lot harder than I thought it would be. Not the writing. That’s easy. Ideas, plot lines and characters pour out of me fluidly. In fact, it’s keeping the voices quiet that’s difficult.

The business side is the tough part. When I first published I was just happy to have one person read my  book. But when thousands were reading them, that suddenly wasn’t okay anymore. And when I was making more money than I ever dreamed  I mistakenly thought that would go on forever. But the weird part about this business is that you can’t count on anything. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve read several blog posts written by authors and agents about how challenging the market is right now. And they’re right.

When you start a business you expect to continually move forward. It’s odd to me that this year I’ve seemed to go backwards. However, I recognize that this business isn’t like others. The market shifts and changes, and there are many reasons for this. The blog posts I mentioned above delve into these issues, including the saturation of the market, and the rolling out of Kindle Unlimited, as well as many other reasons. And all of those are true.

But I’m only writing this post on the one that touches close to home, and that’s the fact that books don’t seem to hold the same value that they used to.

That’s what I finally told my daughter. A couple of days after the birthday party I sat her down and had a heart-to-heart. I told her that I understood what she was saying, but she needed to understand that her words hurt my feelings. I explained that this is my job, my career, my dream, and she essentially said it wasn’t of value.

It makes me sad to think that books are losing value, but it also lights a fire in my belly. It makes me want to come up with fresh ideas to get people reading. I don’t just write because it’s my job. I write because I love it. I write because I have stories that need to be told, and characters who want to be known. I write because I believe in the power of words. I believe the imagination is a powerful thing. Stories make us stronger, braver, wiser, more knowledgeable, more empathetic, more understanding. They teach us things our phones never will.

They teach us what’s in someone’s heart. They tell us what someone’s going through. They give us alternate perspectives, and they take us on adventures we might never experience in real life.

As George RR Martin says, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to live a thousand lives. I want to let my imagination take me to places that would otherwise be impossible. What about you….are you with me?



It’s time to say goodbye


Saying goodbye is never easy. This month I had to say goodbye to Prairie Creek, and it was hard. I’ve enjoyed my time with the characters in the Make the Play series. Emmy, Chris, Cal, Taylor, Ashley, Hayes,  Josh and Talia have all woven their way deep into my heart. Now that the series is over it’s been difficult to move on. But it’s time. It’s time to meet new characters in a new place.

That being said, I do plan to return to Prairie Creek sometime in the future to write a second chance romance about Cal and Taylor, so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime I hope you enjoy PLAY DIRTY, the final book in the Make the Play series. It was so fun to write the softer side of Josh, and I hope you have fun reading it!



I’m used to getting what I want.

And what I want is Ashley. The girl I drove right into Hayes’ arms. The girl who is no longer interested in me at all.

But I have a secret weapon. Talia Smith, Hayes’ ex-girlfriend, who wants him back as much as I want Ashley.

It doesn’t matter that our kiss is what broke up Talia and Hayes in the first place. The same kiss that ruined my relationship with Ashley. Because even though we screwed up, we’re going to work as a team to get what we want. By pretending to be together, we’ll make Hayes and Ashley realize what they’re missing.

But things don’t go the way I plan. Pretty soon, the only thing I’m pretending is that I’m not falling for Talia.

Because I am.

Suddenly, what I care about most is proving to Talia that my feelings for her are genuine. But I know that will be difficult, since I’m the guy who always plays dirty.


Words hold weight. Let’s be wise in how we use them.

I was born a people-pleaser. When I was a little girl I wanted everyone to think I was the smartest, the sweetest, the cutest, the most talented. It’s the reason my poor brother endured endless amounts of torture at my hands when he was an infant and toddler. Jealousy. Pure and simple. He was stealing my spotlight, and I didn’t like it.

As I got older my need to be liked got me in a lot of trouble. It drove me into the arms of a boy who seemed to love me but ended up hurting me. It took me down the road of drug abuse and co-dependency.

I had no idea who I was, what I thought, what I valued. I was a chameleon. I liked what those around me liked. My opinions matched theirs. I couldn’t stand the thought of thinking differently. Of having people displeased with me for even one moment.

people pleaser

Luckily, God redeemed me of all that. He healed me, and then took me on a gentle, grace-filled journey. One where I learned who I was, and what I valued. As I grew and matured, I cared less and less about other people thought of me, and more and more about what God thought of me. Now my opinions match his, and I’m not afraid to speak my mind. It’s okay if people are displeased with me.

Everyone won’t like me or agree with me, and that’s okay.

But there is one area in my life where I still struggle with this need to please – my writing. Clearly when I release a book I want people to like it. Honestly, it wouldn’t make sense to write and publish a book if I didn’t. However, I also know there will be people who won’t like it, and sometimes that’s hard to swallow.


When I finish writing a book I go through many emotions. First, I feel relief. Second, I get excited. Third, the doubts start to set in. My mind whirs through all of the possible things readers will hate about the book. I panic and desperately wrestle with myself, wondering if I should take things out, tweak the plot, etc. In the end, I almost always keep everything the same. I surmise that no matter what I change, someone will be unhappy.


So I release the book as is, and inevitably there are readers that love it, and readers that hate it.

I write romances and typically they have an HEA. I can’t tell you how many reviews I’ve gotten over the years, saying how predictable my books are. How they are unrealistic. And since I usually write in the young adult genre, I always get the reviews by the readers who are irritated at how “high school” or “juvenile” the book seems. As if it’s somehow my fault they bought a book without paying attention to the genre it was in.

In For the Win, there were those who were upset with my happy ending and how I made everything tie up neatly for London.But then Until the Sun Burns Out releases and there are those that are angry about the sad ending. Angry that things didn’t tie up neatly. Angry that the ending isn’t predictable.

It reminds me that I can’t win. I can’t please everyone.


I don’t know why the bad reviews are the ones I remember over the good ones. But I suspect it’s because the little girl inside of me; that one that aims to please, is rising up and waving her fist.

But I also think it’s because I’ve never been that kind of reviewer. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I used to have a blog where I reviewed the books I read. And I used it as a way to spread the word about books I loved. I never once wrote a scathing review of a book I hated.

The books I didn’t like, I simply didn’t share about.

And when I became an author I sort of thought every reader was like me. Boy was I surprised the first time I got a mean review. And, let me tell you, my first bad review was a mean one. The reviewer not only tore apart my book but she tore apart me as an author. Literally. Like she said mean things about me. I was floored. I didn’t know people did that, and I didn’t understand why someone would do that. If you love to read, don’t you love authors? Don’t you get that writing is subjective? That what you hate someone else might love?


But I had to move past it. To get thick skin. To realize that readers are entitled to their opinions, even if they’re mean. Now when I see a mean review, I turn the other way and remember that I can’t please everyone. That one bad review doesn’t make me a bad author. That for every bad review there are dozens of good ones. 

This takes practice.

And I still will never understand someone’s need to tear down my books or me as an author. But it’s part of the deal, and I get that now. So I’m working on this. In truth, I mostly just don’t read my reviews much anymore. If I do, I try to stick to the five-star ones.

Years ago, I did the love languages study. I did it once with my husband and once with my kids. In it, I learned that my love language is “words of affirmation,” so it makes sense that reviews hold weight with me.

Words matter.

If you take anything from this post, it’s this: Don’t only share about the things you don’t like. Share about the things you love. Don’t only tell people when  you’re upset. Tell people when you’re happy. I feel like there is so much negativity in our world. Let’s spread joy.

And when it comes to the books you read, review the ones you like. Share with others when you read a book you love. Let the author know what it meant to you, and leave an awesome, glowing review. We need them. We cherish them. We hold them close.

I’m not saying you can’t review the ones you don’t like, but I would challenge you to think of the author as a real person when you do write the review. I’ve had negative reviews that were well-thought out and helpful, and I’ve actually made some changes in my writing because of them. So you don’t have to be mean. You can give constructive criticism. Don’t be a reviewer that tears a book or author down. Be a helpful, kind reviewer.

Words hold weight. They have power.

Let’s be wise in how we use them.




He called me his summer girl

Usually the book idea comes first and then the cover is birthed out of that idea. But not with UNTIL THE SUN BURNS OUT. The idea for this story came to me after seeing a premade cover designed by the incredibly talented Alivia Anders. I loved this cover so much I paused, staring at it and wishing I had a book for it. As I looked at the four photographs, three of the couple and one of a drawing in the sand, it hit me. I was flooded with the story of Mina and Austin. Also, fun fact: You might have noticed that the couple on this cover is the same one I have on THE SUMMER WE FELL.

I’m so excited about this release. I’ve been dying to share this story with you for months! Pick up your copy today. Exclusive at Amazon currently. The paperback should release in a couple of weeks. Kinde copy is only $2.99 or FREE with Kindle Unlimited.


We spent three perfect summers together.
He called me his summer girl, and said that was all I could ever be.
But that didn’t stop me from wanting so much more.

Click HERE to purchase from Amazon!




To those who think I’m a potty mouth….

Sometimes it’s hard to be a Christian, and the author of secular romances. It can be a challenge to hold true to my values, but also write authentic books for a mainstream audience. I never want my books to be “cheesy” or unrealistic. That’s the reason I address sex in my books. It’s the reason my books have some colorful language. Because a teenage boy isn’t going to say “Darn it” when he screws up a play on the baseball field. And, whether we want to face it or not, teenagers think about sex. If they don’t, it’s not realistic. If they don’t, they’re not relatable, and no one wants to read their story.

I’ve written over twenty young adult romances, and I’m proud of every one of my books. I know some people don’t get how writing romances can be my calling in life,  but it is. I’ve been specifically designed for this job and I love it.


But, as with anything in life, there is a margin for error. We all make mistakes. And I’m here to confess to a mistake I’ve made and apologize.

If you read my books you enjoy “clean romances.” You’re looking for a good story with a lot of passion, maybe some heat, but not anything more than that. And I’ve held true to that mandate.

However, there is one area that I’ve allowed to slip a bit, and recently I’ve been called on it. That’s the area of bad language. As I’ve said before, I want my books to be authentic, and some of my characters cuss. I’ve written jerks. I’ve written good guys. I’ve written competitive guys. I’ve written bookworms. I’ve written rockstars. The point is that all of my characters are different and they all have their own language. If a bad word is called for, I use it. No excuses.


For instance, if there is a heated exchange between two ball players, and the guy says, “I’m gonna kick your ass” I’m not going to change that to “I’m gonna kick your butt.” No one would say that in the heat of the moment. Unless, of course, I’ve already written that character to be someone who never cusses. That being said a guy who threatens to beat someone up probably isn’t going to be my goody two-shoes character.

Anyway, my point is that as clean as  my books are there will be some foul language. That won’t ever change. However, it was brought to my attention by several readers that my language has escalated in the last year and a half. I still have never used the F-word, but the amount of other cuss words has multiplied to a level that makes some of my readers uncomfortable.

This bothered me because my books should never make anyone uncomfortable. Not in that way, anyway. Sometimes my subject matter is sensitive, but even so I always promise a “clean” reading experience. And if some of my readers aren’t feeling like my books are “clean” anymore that’s something I have to take seriously.

play_nice_v2_ebook (2)

So, first off, I’d like to apologize.  I’ve gone through my books with a fine toothed comb and I’ve identified the books in question. What’s weird is that I hadn’t even noticed this shift until it was pointed out. But now that I have noticed it is very obvious. My books went from a handful of bad words per book to a handful every page. I’m not sure how this happened. My only defense is that my characters feel like real people to me, so perhaps the shift happened with a potty-mouthed character and escalated from there. I know that the baseball books have a lot of scenes on the baseball field where guys are razzing each other, so the language became more colorful in those scenes.

Whatever the reason, I am fixing it. So far I’ve gone through and changed FOR THE WIN and FOR THE GAME. I am working my way through the remainder of the books. I am only taking out the unnecessary bad language. There will still be some, just not as much. It will take awhile to get through all the books since I also have to stick to my current release schedule. So I appreciate your patience in this.


To those that have been offended  by the language in my books, please accept my heartfelt apology. Those who don’t care about the bad words, carry on.

To all of you, happy reading!!


Do you like to choose your own ending?



Remember those choose-your-own-adventure books?

I used to read those all the time in elementary school, and into junior high. In MARK MY WORDS, Lennie talks about how much she loved those books as a child too. In order to make her happy, Colin searches through his boxes of old books and finds his choose-your-own-ending books. Then he brings them to her. After that, these books become a huge part of the theme in MARK MY WORDS. When I originally released the book, it was a straight thriller, complete with one ending. But after releasing it, I wished I’d done something different, something that I’d toyed with but ultimately didn’t do. So when I unpublished the book, I decided to pull the trigger on that idea.

That’s why when MARK MY WORDS re-released this week, it included an alternate ending. You can choose to read it or not. That’s your call. And if you do read it, you can decided which one of the endings is the truth.

Good luck!




Re-release sale! Only $0.99 for a limited time on kindle!

There are two sides to every story.
And not every narrator is reliable.
Sometimes things aren’t as they seem.
Even in a novel.
Lennie (Lennox) and Colin have two very different versions of their story.
I could’ve only shared one.
But where is the fun in that?
In this twisty thriller, two endings are presented. It’s up to you, the reader, to decide which one them you believe.