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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wait, say WHAAAAT?!

Okay, so this is kind of how I've been feeling the last few days!!!!  

Now that FULL MEASURES has been out a wee bit, I keep hearing the same thing: "what can we expect next?" I have to tell you, every time I get this question, I squeal a little bit, because that means you want to read more!!!

Yes, I love you. All of you. 

So now I can tell you. Yes, I've been writing amid this crazy parenting / military PCS orders / foster parenting life that we lead. Yes, it includes someone I hope you love. 


Remember him from FULL MEASURES? Josh's best friend? 

The door opened, and a lean, extremely hot blond guy answered. “Hello there,” he drawled as his eyes drifted over me appreciatively.
            “Hi, I’m Ember, your neighbor?”
            A very sexy smile lit up his face. “Hello, Ember, my neighbor.”
            “Yeah.” I peeked around him. “Does Josh happen to be here?”
            His face fell. “Ah, shit. Did he already call dibs? You don’t really look like the Josh type.”
            I arched my eyebrow at him, and he stuttered, “You’re hot as hell, he just usually goes for the . . .”
            “Barbies?” I was well aware of what “type” Josh went for.
            “Exactly.” He opened the door, making room for me to slide past him into a hallway that mirrored our own layout. “Walker! You got company!” He turned back to me. “Just in case he isn’t what you’re looking for . . .” He flashed a killer smile. “My name’s Jagger.”
            I tried to ignore that he was hitting on me. He was really good at it. “It’s nice to meet you, Jagger.”
            “Oh, it’s my pleasure.” He held his tongue between his teeth, flashing a tongue ring.

Yes, THAT Jagger - the reckless, temper-driven bad-boy who's about to fall for the one girl he shouldn't.

When he popped onto the pages of FULL MEASURES, I just kind of loved him, and before I could even tell my amazing editor that I wanted to write a story for him, she hinted at wanting it in a sideline note on the FULL MEASURES edits.

 And in that moment, I kinda fell a teensy weensy bit more in love with my editor, because I swear she walks around my brain, just looking around. That, or she was peering in through my office window at night, because the Jagger plot board was already up and full of little index cards. Either way, Karen -

So I started writing it.

And then THIS Happened.

What? You can't squint hard enough to read that?

Let me help! It says:

 Rebecca Yarros's EYES TURNED SKYWARD, about an army pilot in training who is determined to outfly his past and graduate top of his class, but jeopardizes everything when he falls for the commanding general's daughter who's struggling with the same heart condition that killed her sister, to Karen Grove at Entangled Embrace, in a nice deal, in a three-book deal, by Jamie Bodnar Drowley at Inklings Literary Agency. 

Yes, you read that right!  EYES TURNED SKYWARD is going to be published by Entangled!!! Not only that, but it's a three-book deal!!! There's two more books in the series to follow!!!

I can't adequately explain how I felt signing a three-book deal. Seriously. I just can't. 

This is my wildest dream come true - everything I only fantasized about having, and it's right here!!!! Plus, I get to work from home in my yoga pants and a baseball cap, so um... WIN!

Signing? That looks like This:

And three hours, a shower and some make-up later? It's a celebration date night!!!!

And the entire time, I feel like THIS:

But seriously. I love Jagger, and I can't wait for you to meet Paisley!

And what could possibly be better than Jagger finally meeting the one girl who knocks him off his feet? 

Well, you saw that it's a three-book deal, right? That means you'll get to meet: 


Yeah, I'm kind of smitten. ;) 

And maybe the little snippet some of you might be most excited about.... 

I keep hearing, "When will we get more of....." Oh, you know who I'm talking about.

Yes, he'll be around a lot in EYES TURNED SKYWARD, he's Jagger's best friend, after all, but that third book? Well....

He'll be back to finish what he started. 


Are you just a little excited? Because I can't wait to tell you where he and Ember end up.

I can definitely say that this wouldn't have happened without these amazing women standing on either side of me. On the left is my editor, Karen Grove, and my right? That's my phenomenal agent, Jamie Bodnar Drowley. 

So there are some thank you's needed.

My editors? Karen Grove and Nicole Steinhaus??

I freaking love you. Even when you're editing my nookie scenes and I want to disappear in a puddle of "holy cow, I just took Josh's boxers off twice..." yup. Love you.

My kids - for putting up with, "Five more minutes until Mommy finishes this scene..."

For my husband - I'm so glad you like Jagger, because he's you in so many ways. Thank you for making this crazy dream of mine a priority. Oh, and for kissing me like you do, because every single time, I'm back to being a 19 year-old girl, climbing up you like a monkey. Yup.

I'm not sure how you improve on sheer perfection, but you somehow do it, because I love you more today than ever.  ;) 

For Lizzy Charles and Molly Lee, who have seriously pushed EYES TURNED SKYWARD toward the finish line, reading it a chapter at a time and soothing my neurotic little fears,

You guys are the shining lights in my sky, and you give me warm fuzzies. Yup.

HUGE thanks to My agent. Jamie, you are the Ari to my Vince. There's just no words for what you do for me, but without you, well... I'd still be in yoga pants, just without my dream job. You seriously make my life possible in so many ways.

And definitely Entangled Publishing - because working with this insanely talented, inspired group of professionals is the most epic team since, well...

But the biggest thank you for the amazingness that's about to ensue???  

You guys. The fans. (Holy cow, when did I get cool enough to have FANS?!?)

For every email you've sent me, every facebook message, every Goodreads note. You guys took an unknown, debut author and rocketed me into the number one spot for Series Romance on Amazon. You guys, and your passion for that little book I wrote, are the ones responsible for me being able to keep doing what I love. I would kiss you all, but you might find it creepy if I knew where you all lived. But seriously...

So here's to Josh.

And Grayson.

And Jagger.

EYES TURNED SKYWARD is officially happening!!!!  

I guess I should get back to writing, eh?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I freaking hate summer.

First off, welcome to the month where I go nuts trying to blog every day in hopes you guys will click the link above, or THIS one and "heart" me for The Only Girl Among Boys.  Pretty please?

Sigh. Man, I know I should never commit to a blog every day without being supplied with copious amounts of wine and good material. Add to it that it's summer vacation?  Blehhhhh.

Let's start this with how much I love my kids' teachers. You guys are saints.

Okay, so seriously? I hate summer.

First off, when I think "summer" I still feel like I'm 18, and the sun is shining, and I'm at the water park with my sister, and we're all: 

But then I remember. I'm 33, and while I may have dropped those 70 lbs last year, well...  I had four babies within six years, and portions of my stomach more resemble a cat-scratch post than anything else. No regrets, but no binkinis either. I'm officially mom-zoned in the ruched zone. But hey, I guess it's easier for bending over when taking our small herd of children to the splash-pad.

So yeah, and even if I did want to embrace this hellish season known as summer, in the North Country it's kind of like this:

Right. But I'm not done yet. Nope.

Yes, when my kids think summer, they think:

Well... I just kind of think:

I know there are moms who are all "Yay! Summer! All-day fun with my kiddos!" And they get on Pinterest (A.K.A. mommy craft-crack that exists to solely make women feel inferior to the other women pinning crap), and it's all crafty-crafty-cookie-waterfight-happiness like: 

And then they get all crafty and awesome and post their rainbows made out of edible shaving cream on Facebook with their adorable kids who never fight so other moms can be like: 

Oh, I know they exist. How do I know? Because one of my best friends, Running Woman, is one of them.

Oh heck no. She's a way better mommy than I am.
 Which is great when we live near each other because she makes me do said edible shaving cream stuff with my kids too. But generally? To all the summer-happy-zealous moms?

I mean really, go with your bad-selves and your awesomeness. I'll just be over here wishing I had your level of creativity or a tenth of your motivation., rolling my eyes and green with envy. Meanwhile, I'll buy the play dough and then scrape it out of the carpet later. It'll be fun. Really. Oh, and while we're on the subject of pinterest....

Seriously. Do you want me to bake three dozen brownies, eat them while making a quilt, then run five miles on your half-marathon training program, and then make the edible shaving cream rainbow? Seriously. I get the point of Pinterest, I really do. I use it, I love it, and it's how Jason and I designed Little Miss' nursery while he was deployed. But it also generally makes me feel like a crap mom with an unstylish closet.Yup. Freaking Pinterest. Now if I pinned something and it magically showed up on my door? Yeah, I'd totally go for that one. 

Until then, Pinterest is simply a place to store my ambitious thoughts and then go about my day without actually doing them. Yup.

But back to the point. Who can hate summer? Well... me. 

But there's sunshine! Right? Meh. I'm a writer who works from home, and as rock star-author Neil Gaiman said:

Yeah, it's kind of like that.  I swear, I try to like summer. I try to embrace the later mornings, the sunshine, the smell of coffee and bacon. However, I live with these four little dictators (oddly enough, Princess Pumpkin is seriously the easiest going in the morning). So while I may skip down the steps, ready to pop that K-cup in, well, I've already been assaulted by the screaming of at least two of the boys demanding a plethora of things from breakfast (okay), to YouTube on the X-box (Um... No), to immediate ice-cream (really? REALLY?). And there's always a fight to break up prior to 8 am, so it's kind of like this:

Right. Which means by 9 am, though the kids are fed and play has ensued, I have to put on my striped shirt and whistle, because THIS is already going down.

Yeah. By this time Jason has headed off to work, and I kind of feel like I'm suddenly outnumbered and mutiny is coming. This is confirmed at 10:00 when snack time comes around and we're out of oatmeal-raisin granola bars, so Iron Man (who can't have the ones that are left because chocolate triggers his seizures), is now having a meltdown in the kitchen of epic proportions because his meds affect his impulse control. Yeah, and I'm just like:

Because Dude.... it's a granola bar, and I know where the store is.

So I placate him with a banana, get the baby down for a nap and then totally bribe the four boys with an hour and a half of minecraft just so I can get some writing done. Funny thing, my career doesn't take the summer off. During this hour and half of bribed quiet time, I will be interrupted no less frequently than every five minutes due to the current creeper-apocalypse online, the destruction of someone's virtual room, and IronMan's constant request to "eat somfing."  And by GOD, be QUIET, because the baby is sleeping! And let's just say, that telling 4 boys ages 5-11 to be quiet? Well, you kinda get this:

So yeah, I'm trying to work, which is kind of ... well, impossible. Seriously. I instituted this system. Which Captain America immediately took a picture of and then violated.

So after about an hour and a half of utter frustration and a lot of "Seriously, are you bleeding?" I just kind of learn to:

Over lunch, making & cleaning up, at least two fights will break out, because they're basically a pack of wolves, and stealing food is a form of displaying dominance and pack order, right?

Once lunch is over, shenanigans ensue outside, which they assure me is "ninja game," but looks more like:

And luckily, my desk is at the window, because I have to immediately break that all up.

But Iron Man always claims to miss the memo and has to get that one last shot in. 

And maybe I can make a phone call, but when I talk to my best friend, she's well aware that half of what I say isn't directed at her because I'll insert "GET OFF YOUR BROTHER" into a conversation about her latest triathlon. She laughs. I wait for the day she has kids so I too can join into the laughter.  ;) 

And if I happen to talk to a buddy who has kids? Well, we both kind of send envious looks out the door, because all we can think is:

Oh that's right. They're off flying helicopters and stuff.

And we're both like, "Remember when they had school? And they got on the bus? And they came home later in the day? And they were like... happy to see one another because they'd been apart all day? Yeah."

So, okay, the baby wakes up, and the house is loud, raucous and generally insane, but happy, and now the boys have a new focus: her. So now on top of "get off your brother" I have "seriously, put your sister DOWN," along with constant cries of, "but I want to hold her next!" And she's chill, and loves all the attention, but seriously, I'm pretty sure that growing up with four older brothers (if she gets to stay), will basically look like:

Sigh. Right. And I want to RUN. I want to drop the kids at the Y daycare and then lose myself in some Buckcherry for a few miles (no judgement, peeps). But you see, our Princess Pumpkin isn't fond of... well... anyone who doesn't live in this house, so if I drop her at daycare? They're pulling me off the treadmill 2.5 miles into the run because she's not having it. 

She's also not fond of the stroller. Or sun. Or the bunny. Hey, we're working on it.

And the crazy thing? I'd kill for a quiet shower, where no one busts in with a Minecraft emergency, or goes into the back yard screaming my name like I've abandoned him even though I just said, "I'm hopping in the shower." Yes, I ran in a towel. Yes, I'm sure the neighbors think we're insane and that DSS is at our house regularly for an entirely different reason than than the truth. And MAN, I'd kill to go to the bathroom without someone talking to me through the door. Nope, I don't care that he took your turn on whatever it is. It can seriously wait another minute. Oh, look there's the other boy to plead his case. Through the door. I get that it's the "throne," but could we not have an audience right now? I only need three minutes. No? I'll settle for two.

So now we've arrived at another snack time, and yup, Iron Man is still ticked off that there's no freaking oatmeal raisin granola bars. Yeah.. you know? I'll have your dad pick those up on the way home, because I'd seriously rather walk on a floor covered in legos than take all five of you to the grocery store. Nope. 

And I've said we'll go to the park, where they will exercise and not fight for an hour, but as I look out the window? Oh, it's raining. Again.


Yeah. At this point, Jason usually calls and says, "hey baby, how is your day? Have you thought about dinner?" And my first thought is usually, "WHY THE HELL DOES EVERYONE HAVE TO EAT AGAIN!!!" Because all I've done all day is open snacks and prep meals. How is there room in any of their stomachs for MORE food? All I can think is that if they'd agree not to eat or wear clothes for a week, heck, I could get a TON done! And he's like, "Well, what can I bring you?" And I'm like, "wine. Oh! And Oatmeal raisin granola bars." Because I'm not doing THAT again.

And he walks in the door a little after five (on a good day) and kind of finds:

And he knows better than to utter, "so what have you done all day?" Because, well, we've been married this long for a REASON.

And the minute he comes in? My stress level drops about 2 billion percent, because the odds have evened up. We make it through dinner, and have those phenomenal moments I live for, where everyone is at the table, and one of the boys says Grace in the sweetest voice ever, and we tell each other our favorite parts of the day, and it really is amazing all the things we do that they think are awesome, and I'm just like... wait... you liked that? And I remember why this insanity is all worth it.

We put them to bed. Kind of. We snuggle them, and sing to them, and smell the sunshine in their hair. I send a prayer of thanks up to God that he has gifted me with such strong, smart, loving little ninja boys. Then I kiss their foreheads and run downstairs with Jason, where we declare ourselves "off" for the night. 

Or not. We  may have put them to bed, but they get out of it. Again... and again... and... wait... yup. Again. Because they tip-toe to each other's rooms and begin fighting? Yeah, I don't get it either.

The last reason I hate summer? I don't watch TV but maybe an hour a day, but man, I'm a rabid fan of some shows. And I really, really, really miss this one.

Because of this:

And let's face it: I'd watch Stephen Amell read a freaking phone book, let alone climb a salmon ladder. 

yeah. And at some point, Jason will read this and go:

Whoops. ;) 

What do I love about Summer? The return of THIS:

Sigh. Okay. So the hour of TV I do watch gets kind of balanced out. The kids get to bed, it's now 11:45 PM, and I just spent 5 hours, I kid you not, prepping this blog. Yup. The good news? A new blog is up. The bad news? They're up in 6.25 hours, and I'm still in the clothes I went for a run in. 6 hours ago. But maybe if I'm quiet, the shower won't wake up Iron Man. Maybe. 

I think it's worth the chance.

Here's to the moms like me, the ones not afraid to admit that this summer stuff is basically a hodge-podge of awfulness spritzed with a taste of sugar to keep us from losing our minds, or at least what's left of them. 

Is it September yet? I love September, but by the time we get there? I'm all:

So you go, Pinterest Mom. I will watch from afar with awe and a little jealousy over your genuine excitement of something that I truly loathe. The good thing? I'm pretty good at faking a smile, so the kids will still have a phenomenal season. Oh, and Hockey camp is this weekend!

Nothing like dropping the two who fight off at camp so they can morally beat the stuffing out of one another. (Insert Evil Scientist Laugh Here....)

Crap, now it's 12:05. Yes, I think the shower might still be worth it.

12:10. Dang it. I mean it.