Yeah, notice I said I might be getting the hang of this blogging thing. This is still a little late, but I am getting better at it. That counts for something, right? I wanted to write a post to tell you about a new standalone project I'm working on. Fret not, Elijah's second book, My Soul Is Sealed, is still coming. But it'll be a bit. And there's a reason for that, which I'm going to share with you. It's kind of a long story, so sit back, relax, and grab a cup of coffee (or tea, or soda, or whatever your beverage of choice is).
A little bit before Christmas, I ended up in the ER with some health issues. Without going into too much detail, I've had stuff going on that my doctors brushed off for way too long and told me would go away if I would just get an expensive gastric bypass surgery that I couldn't afford. And, well, it ended up coming to a head in a really bad way, landing me in the ER at 10pm on a Sunday night a week and a half before Christmas. I finally got a doctor to confirm what I already knew, that something was going on that was way more complicated than just my being overweight. I needed treatment, I needed specialists, and I needed occupational therapy. For another month, I struggled through working full-time and dealing with my health problems and trying to get to a ton of doctor's appointments. Well, something had to give, so my doctors were kind enough to help me get short term disability from my job so I didn't have to work full-time while I was trying to get better.
Seems like a great thing for my budding writing career, right? Being off of work should have meant I had more time to write and I could just keep churning out Sealed With a Kiss books when I wasn't at the doctor. Except nothing's ever that easy. The medicine I'm on for pain makes concentrating difficult, which isn't good for writing. I'd already committed to a release date for My Bonds Are Sealed at that point and I didn't want to disappoint, so I pushed myself and got River and Mason's book released on time. And I'm so glad I did, because I think it's my favorite book of the series so far (sorry, Zoe and Elijah, lol). But, once that was released, I struggled to concentrate and get back into Elijah's mind so I could write his second book, My Soul Is Sealed. I was making progress and I knew where the story needed to go, but it just wasn't as good as My Fate Is Sealed was. I didn't want to end up putting something out that I wasn't going to be happy with, because if I'm not happy with it, I know you guys won't be either. Plus, the Sealed With a Kiss series is my baby and Zoe, Elijah, River, Mason, and all of their friends and family have become like old friends in a way. I needed to stay true to them, and I really felt like the best way to do that was to take a break, focus on my health, and then get back into it when I started getting better. So, five and a half chapters into My Soul Is Sealed, I decided to shelf it for a bit. It'll still happen, I promise, but it might be a little while.
I couldn't just quit writing, though. I mean, writing is who I am. It's my escape from the real world. And when I just plug in, put some music on, and put fingers to keyboard, I don't think about the pain I'm in as much. So, after reading an ARC of a book that was a similar trope to a story I'd been thinking about writing for a while (speaking of, if you haven't read the new book Stronger by Erica Marselas, I highly recommend it), I decided to just fool around with writing a new story with new characters for a bit to pass the time. Even if it was just for myself, just for fun. I needed to be writing.
It was around this time that I made a new friend on Facebook named Rebekah. What started as me giving her a few tips and tricks I've picked up along the way about breaking through in this crazy world of independent writing and publishing (not that I'm an expert by any means, but after five books, I've learned a few things) turned into chatting about our books and our stories. I told her about the story I'd started fooling around with, and she encouraged me to keep at it, even if it never saw the light of day. So I did. I kept at it, and it slowly started to take form as a new novel. And with Rebekah's help beta reading and helping me conceptualize some plot points I was having trouble with, it's turning into something way bigger and better than I ever anticipated. Even with my pain medicine, I'm writing again. The words are flowing again. And it's incredible.
So, now that I've completely bored you with my tale...I give you What Doesn't Kill You, a standalone novel about love's healing power (you didn't think I'd completely go off script, did you?). What Doesn't Kill You is a story set in a fictional high school in the Kansas City area and it tells the story of Kyler Strong, the shy and quiet girl who suffered a trauma that she never told anyone about, and Ian Thomason, the football player with a soft side who not only helps her to heal, but helps her get the justice she deserves. While it is a high school story, it's dark and gritty and it talks about the kind of stuff that happens in high schools that no one wants to talk about. Stuff like sexual assault and bullying and teachers looking the other way, and sometimes even participating in it. But it's also a story of hope, and of finding love when you're not even looking for it. If you're a fan of the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why or of shows like Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, I think you'll really enjoy this book.
I'm not completely done with the rough draft yet, and because I do still have to take breaks when the pain medicine makes my brain too foggy to continue, I'm not nailing down a release date quite yet. But it'll be coming out soon, before the next installment of Sealed With a Kiss. Once I get a little further along with it and can nail down a timeline I feel comfortable with, I'll announce a cover and blurb reveal date and a release date. But I'm already in love with Ian and Kyler and I just couldn't wait any longer to tell you about them. So, keep your eyes peeled for more news soon. And, until then, make sure you catch up on the Sealed With a Kiss series, especially My Bonds Are Sealed if you haven't read it yet.