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What I’m Hoping For in 2019

Hello 2019! It’s only three days into the year and it feels like a new start. 2018 was a year high on reading, and I’ll admit, I’ve read ten pages of a book so far this year. I’m hoping to focus more on writing than reading (70 books is a lot of books). Last year I did “Coming Out in 2018.” Since none of those books came out last year, I figured I’d focus on books I’m hoping to put out in 2019.

What I'm Hoping For in 2019

Airtime & Alibis


Emily Burnet has covered some high-profile stories in her time as a reporter, but she’s never come across a story this personal. It’s been six years since Emily last saw Claire Scott in college, but now Claire has vanished in Emily’s hometown, just days before the launch of her national talk show.

Curiosity has carried Emily in her career so far, but it might be too much when Emily finds herself bargaining with Detective Austin Cooper, the lead investigator on Claire’s case. She offers him information and insight on Claire, in exchange for first dibs on new developments in the case (and maybe some unanticipated sparks.)

As Emily tries to tie the woman she knew to the woman who disappeared, she realizes the bubbly journalist everyone loved was hiding a dark private life. Curiosity has helped Emily in the past, but this time it might make her the next big headline instead.

Betrayals & Bylines


There isn’t an official blurb for this one, but it’ll be the second story involving Emily Burnet and Austin Cooper.

Cameras & Confessions


This will be the third story featuring Emily Burnet and Austin Cooper. These books are closer to short story or novella length and I’m hoping to release all three in the first half of the year.

Justice & Lies


Justice & Lies will be the third book in The Cassie Morgan Series, picking up about two years after the events of Double Played. The book will open with the trial of Brent Rossett and see Cassie testifying at court and getting sucked into the investigation of a copycat murderer. This book and the follow up will have a darker tone than anything I’ve written before.

Hit List


Hit List, the fourth book, will start hours after Justie & Lies ends, and will finish out this narrative for Cassie Morgan. Previous drafts of the story have found Cassie in England and I look forward to seeing how she does as a fish out of water. While this won’t be the last Cassie Morgan book, it does feel like a pause in the story.

2019 is going to be a busy year and I’m hoping to make it my most successful year yet as a writer. Here in the next two months, I’m hoping to have the cover reveal for Airtime & Alibis and to release it. As always, I encourage you to sign up for the newsletter to get the latest news first!

A Look at 2018: The Writing Recap

I can’t believe that 2018 is already over. This year was such a split between the beginning of the year when I was completing a draft every few weeks and the second half of the year. Between January and July, I can think of at least four drafts off the top of my head that were started and finished. Then I moved in August and it killed my writing.

A look at 2018: the Writing Recap

After so many years of working on my main series The Cassie Morgan Series, I took some time this year to focus on something new. That’s how I ended up writing a new series – The Emily Burnet Series. I’ve taken a break over the past month or so to just not worry about writing, but I’m hoping to get started back up next week. When I move in January, I’ll be jumping back in full-steam ahead. I look forward to the late nights of writing again.

Related Post: My Writing in 2017

The main focus of 2018 and the first half of 2019 will be The Emily Burnet Series, which starts with Airtime & Alibis. With more information coming in the new year, Airtime & Alibis tells the story of a journalist who works with a police officer to find a missing woman – someone she went to school with. The series takes place in Austin, Texas, which is where I live. Knowing a city so well allows a lot of fun ways to bring it into the story and I’m excited to build it into the series.

In the new year, I’m excited to introduce you to Emily, like I did Cassie.

Even as I focus on this new idea, Cassie Morgan has been bubbling in the back of my head. While I’ve been writing, I’ve also taken the time to organize some thoughts and plot lines for both series. Between getting organized and the amount of reading I’ve done this year, I’m really excited to flex my creative muscle again in the new year.

Related Post: How I Fell in Love with Writing

This second half of 2018 has definitely been a transition period as I rearranged things to make 2019 a better year. While this year didn’t have anything big in the limelight, I made some pretty big moves in stories that make me really excited for 2019 and what it will hold.

If you haven’t already, I highly suggest signing up for the newsletter for the first news of the year. 2019 is gonna be legit, y’all. I can’t wait.

A Look at 2018: The Reading Recap

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2018 is almost over and I’m taking time this week to recap a year full of stories and words. Today, I want to recap a rather impressive reading year. Last year, I took time to call out some of my favorite highlights, and I want to do a similar recap this year. So here’s the the 70-book year of 2018.

A Look at 2018: Reading Recap

1. Favorite Stand-Alone of 2018: The Woman in the Window

I read this book back in January, and it still one of my favorite reads of 2018. I read 200 pages of this 400-some page book in one day, when we had a technical error at work and couldn’t do our jobs. Because I read half the book in one day, it added to the suspense and the “oh my gosh, what is happening.” It was the first “unreliable narrator” book I read this year and it was a solid story.

Honorable Mention: The Flight Attendant

2. Favorite Old Book I Discovered: Gone Girl

Despite having this book on my list for years, I didn’t read this book until 2018. The first half was a rough read, and I almost didn’t finish. But once I got to the middle section, it definitely picked up. That book was twisted, y’all, and I loved it. One of my favorite parts of reading this was when my coworker informed me that this book made him terrified of being married. I’m not married, so I couldn’t relate.

Additionally, the movie was one of the truest adaptations of a book I think I’ve ever watched, so points for that.

Related Post: My Year in 2017: Reading Edition

3. Favorite Re-Read: The Heather Wells Series

I’ve been a Meg Cabot fan since I was in high school, and while I love basically everything she writes, her mystery series was my favorite. When it came time to start planning my new short stories series, I wanted to read something a little bit lighter than the In Death series, so I went back to something that I knew was reliable. These books are much lighter and a little goofy. I love the humor of them, too.

4. Favorite Nonfiction Read: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

This book was on my list when it came out early this year. About a month and a half after the book came out, they finally made an arrest, and I knew I had to pick it up. I looked everywhere in Austin and finally found the last copy at a Barnes & Noble. The author did this wonderful job of weaving the story of the Golden State Killer and her own story about her obsession. While the book doesn’t have any real conclusion (as she died before finishing it and they hadn’t found the killer yet), the book is still a fantastic read.

If McNamara had lived to see the Golden State Killer caught, I have no doubt she would have put out a stellar follow-up.

5. Favorite Series: In Death

The main goal of 2018 was to read the entirety of J.D. Robb’s In Death series, which currently has 47 books. I read the first three books at the end of 2017, when I first stumbled into the series, but the rest of the books happened this year. I’m currently reading the latest one, Leverage in Death, and I will definitely finish before the end of the year. The next book comes out in February and I already have the date written down in my planner.

70 books in one year is a lot of books and I definitely do not expect to read that many next year. Next year will be more focused on writing and that’s okay, they give and take one another. But damn, y’all, what a great reading year.

Come back tomorrow for a little recap on my writing year, and be sure to sign up down below for more information in the new year.

 

Behind the Scenes 2018

Behind the Scenes was a linkup I joined in 2015 and did again in 2016, but skipped out last year. Given that I’m planning to ramp back up in 2019, I thought it would be fun to see how things have changed since 2016. I’ll be sharing recaps of my year this week, so I hope you enjoy!
Behind the Scenes in 2018

WHERE DO YOU WRITE?

This year, I’ve written in just about every situation – at work during my lunch hour, at coffee shops, the Austin Public Library, and in bed. I’m getting ready to move in January and I look forward to getting back to my writing desk and a dedicated space to tell stories (and I’m hoping to share some pictures of the new space once I move).

WHEN DO YOU NORMALLY WRITE? NIGHT, AFTERNOON, OR MORNING?

When I have my desk, I can go late into the night writing. Many nights it would be midnight and I would still be plugging away at the words, often aided by a nice glass of wine. This year didn’t feature any 10,000 word days, but we might have to make up for that in 2019. I’ve also snuck in some editing in at my lunch hour for my day job, which is at three in the afternoon. I am definitely a late-night writer.

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IS THERE A CERTAIN SNACK YOU LIKE TO EAT WHILE WRITING?

Water or wine. If I’m at a coffee shop, a cold brew is usually called for (but only one or two – any more and I’ll make myself sick). I try not to eat while I write, but I have snuck in some writing while eating lunch or dinner.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU WRITE A NEW NOVEL?

At the beginning o the year, I was crushing it with a new draft about every 45 days. Then in June, I started a new job and in August I moved in with family temporarily (for personal reasons) and the writing train slowed down. Once I move in January, I plan to focus on writing and revving back up.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WRITE?

I’ve listened to music, watched Youtube vidoes, binged on podcasts, and chased tornado coverage on the internet – all in the name of something to listen to while writing,

WHAT DO YOU WRITE ON? LAPTOP OR PAPER?

Latptop. Always the laptop.

IS THERE A SPECIAL RITUAL YOU HAVE BEFORE OR AFTER YOU WRITE?

There really isn’t, I just write.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INTO THE MOOD TO WRITE?

I don’t do anything special to get writing, I just sit down and write. If I’m struggling, I might take a break and go on a walk, but I often keep powering through. I like to break my writing segments up into 15-minute chunks. If I’m really on top of my game, I can get 500 words done in that time. I use the target window in Scrivener to keep myself going, and I love hitting the goal and resetting it to push myself farther.

WHAT IS ALWAYS NEAR THE PLACE YOU WRITE?

A drink, probably my planner, and my phone.

DO YOU HAVE A REWARD SYSTEM FOR YOUR WORD COUNT?

I don’t, I just expect myself to keep going.

IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS THAT OTHERS MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT?

This new series I’m working on, I want to rewrite the first three books before I get the first one out. I’m hoping I can do this to cut down the time between releases. Then after I release the first three short stories, I’ll go back to The Cassie Morgan Series. At this point, it’s been eight months since I’ve worked on those books and I’m really itching to go back to them.

Read past years of Behind the Scenes: 2016 | 2015

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The Women in Books

It’s been three years since I published my first novel, The Assassin. Three years is a long time when you’re in your twenties and over the past few years, as a reader and writer, I’ve grown to appreciate the love for women in books. The women in books have influenced my life for a long time and in nod to the women I’m creating in my books.

The Women in Books

I’ve read books as long as I can remember, but there are some characters that have stuck out to me in ways I can’t describe. I was in high school the first time I picked up a Stephanie Plum book. It hit me that a woman in a book could be rough and tough and most importantly, she could be funny. She could be a little crude, have friends that made off-color comments, and be still be likable. 

Before reading these books, I never remembered having a woman lead a book who was funny – especially in a mystery novel. A funny woman in a mystery novel felt like a magical unicorn. 

Even after finding Stephanie Plum with her mystery and humor, I found another woman who made an impact. A series of mystery novels that were also historical fiction? Lady Georgiana (better known as Georgie) is a woman who doesn’t meet the standards of her family – who would rather marry for love, even when she’s thirty-something in line for the thrown.

She’s the idealistic kind of character – determined not to give up, always fighting to continue to figure out her case. 

This year, in 2018, the woman who has really left an impact on me as a reader has been Lieutenant Eve Dallas from the In Death series. This is a woman who in some ways reminds me a lot of myself, coasting through life until she realizes something isn’t right. She found love, but I’m still looking.

She’s a little grumpy and she’s got a mean streak when provoked – both things that remind me of myself. I’m not perfect, far from it, but the fact that all these flaws that I see in myself, I can see in a character who is still loved – I can’t imagine how that has impacted me, not just as a reader, but as a person.

I was thirteen when I first started writing The Assassin, in a little lime green notebook. Back then, I didn’t expect anything out of writing. I didn’t know anything about creating well-rounded characters, or about putting them into tough situations. I knew nothing about how to make a character that had an impact. Looking back now, I realize how much strong, slightly messed up women (both real and fictional) have impacted my life.

Without the women in books, I would have never realized some of the values I want out of my life or out of my characters. Women in books have had a profound impact on my life, and I hope they continue to do so. I hope at some point, my characters have an impact on someone else’s life.

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