Summer 2018 Begins

It’s been a few months since my last update. Life has been busy and I’m afraid that’s pushed my writing to the side. I’ve kept reading (and I’ve been swooning over a new favorite author, Madeline Miller — look her up!) and that’s kept me hungry to return to my writing chair, which I hope to do in the next few days.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to a women’s group in town. I’m not one for public speaking, but sharing my author journey somehow seems less scary. The women who attended assured me my husband, a high school English/Speech teacher, would have approved. Thank you to all of you who attended, asked questions and introduced yourselves. I so appreciate your interest in my story and books!

Also yesterday, my girls and I developed three pass-it-on stories, one featuring a fairy, one about an underwater adventure and another about a lost unicorn. Then, since I was preparing to give a speech, the girls presented the stories to their dad (not the toughest of audiences, but nevertheless good practice). I love seeing how their young minds work and how proud they are of whatever they create. What ways are you creating in your families? I’m always looking for ideas on new, fun things to do, especially now that summer is here.

I’m looking forward to some upcoming book releases in the next few months. Rena Olsen, a local Iowa author, has a new book coming out in August. With You Always is sure to be a must-read leading into fall. I’m also pumped for Tana French’s new release this October. The Witch Elm is a standalone, her first not in the Dublin Murder Squad Series. Do you have any favorite authors releasing books soon? If so, leave them in the comments! I’m always looking to add to my TBR list.

More than halfway through my reading challenge for 2018, here’s how my list is shaping up.

  • The Nix, Nathan Hill*
  • Turtles All the Way Down, John Green
  • The Leavers, Lisa Ko
  • A Good Country, Laleh Khadivi
  • The Lying Game, Ruth Ware
  • Emmy & Oliver, Robin Benway20180612_103622_Film4~2.jpg
  • The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
  • The Perfect Nanny, Leila Slimani
  • Edgar & Lucy, Victor Lodato
  • Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris
  • The Love that Split the World, Emily Henry
  • Whiskey, Bruce Holbert*
  • The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller
  • Circe, Madeline Miller

*Author with Iowa ties

Next up? Sunburn by Laura Lippman.


A Holiday Sale for Book Lovers

The holiday season is upon us—that came quickly, didn’t it?!—and there’s no more perfect time for giving.

Author Jane Smiley, who lived in Iowa for a time, is quoted as saying, ““Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” What better gift, then, could you give?!

So, feeling in the holiday spirit, I’m setting three of my eBooks at $0.99 on all outlets (listed here: until the New Year. The Blue Jay eBook, my debut novel, will be set at FREE until the end of January, which happens to be National Mentoring Month. Last year I was late setting that up, so this year, why not be early? My hope is that if you buy/download a book at this lower price and enjoy the book, you consider purchasing the paperback for that someone special you know who loves to read. Paperbacks are available at the following places:


Thanks for supporting an indie author! Have a happy holiday season! ♥

LIVE: Me & Milo the Great

It’s pub day!!

I am beyond excited for this baby to be out in the world.

Holiday wasn’t always an easy character to write, but her story poured out of me once I decided I wanted to write it. Keep in mind, prior to December 2016 I’d only written a little over 15k and was back and forth on whether I wanted to work on this particular MS or another I had started (that other MS may never come to be as I began a completely new story shortly after finishing MMTG).

I sat down at my computer and wrote a few scenes. Before I knew it, the holidays had passed and my character’s story was well on its way. Holiday Sanchez had come to life.

The journey Holiday goes on is difficult to read at times because you will want to fix her. It was important to me that she came across this way because when you are faced with a loved one going through something, all you want to do is fix it for them. At least that’s my first reaction to their distress. How can I fix it? But you can’t always fix things, and this is where Milo grew from.

The idea for the story also grew from the fact that I find magic fascinating. I know that tricks are illusions, but WHAT IF THEY WEREN’T? I so love the IDEA of magic and I don’t think I’m alone in this, seeing how far some of the magicians went on AGT this season. (My family loves that show.)

It’s always hard to explain where an idea comes from. You see something, remember something, experience something. Small parts of your story come from all different places. In this case, my mind pulled from several things I loved to create this book.

I truly hope you enjoy it.

Here are the order links for MMTG:

Amazon     |     B&N NOOK     |     iBooks     |     Kobo     |     Play

And don’t forget to leave a review, tell your friends, spread the word. I appreciate your support! ♥ 🎩

End of Summer Update

Me & Milo the Great will launch in less than a month! I am so proud of this novel and can’t wait to share it with you. If you are an e-reader you can pre-order the book on all channels. Here are a few of them:

Amazon     |     B&N NOOK     |     iBooks     |     Kobo     |     Play

You can also read a few early reviews of the book on Goodreads. Speaking of review sites, I joined a new one this week. It’s an app called Litsy that is supposed to be a cross between Goodreads and Instagram. I’m not sure what to think of it yet. It might be more work than it’s worth, but for now I’m there so look me up, follow me and if you’re a Litsy pro, teach me what you know! 😉

This summer has flown by! While I’ve been so excited about launching my fourth book, I am also busy with a number of other things. I started freelancing again this spring. I’ve been working on book number five. My girls learned how to swim. Justin and I took an amazing trip to Concord where I got to tour the Little Women house and the site of Louisa May Alcott’s (among many other noted authors) grave. Squee! (See photos below). While Justin attended his workshop on Thoreau every day, I took tours, wrote in the public library a few blocks from our hotel and enjoyed some “me” time. As a mom, that kind of time is hard to come by and I relished being able to write without distraction and just enjoy my surroundings.

As we head into fall, I’m trying to determine a timeline for my next book. I’ve got about 1/4 of it written and hope to be able to get quite a bit more done in the next few months. I’m also working to reach my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 20 books. I’m reading #18 right now: The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon. It’s fitting that the word beautiful is in the title because it’s a beautiful book—an empathetic book—and I’m enjoying it. Any advice on what my last two books should be? Here’s a look at my “Read” list so far:

  • The Marsh King’s Daughter, Karen Dionne
  • A Book of American Martyrs, Joyce Carol Oates
  • American Street, Ibi Zoboi
  • Still Alice, Lisa Genova
  • Not a Sound, Heather Gudenkauf*
  • Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
  • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Bryn Greenwood
  • Marlena, Julie Buntin
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
  • Wonder, R.J. Palacio
  • A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
  • Tell Me Something Real, Calla Devlin*
  • Walden, Henry David Thoreau
  • My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem
  • Birds in Fall, Brad Kessler
  • Caraval, Stephanie Garber
  • Bone Gap, Laura Ruby

* Iowa Author

Have you read any of the same books? Comment below!

Pre-order Links and a New Review

The eBook pre-order links for my new novel, Me & Milo the Great, are now up!

Amazon     |     B&N NOOK     |     iBooks     |     Kobo     |     Play


My name is Holiday Sanchez. I carry a heavy burden.

But I’m not the only one.

There are others who know what it feels like to remember. Maybe they are the answer. Maybe we can help each other. Maybe I’ll finally get past it.

Maybe it just takes time—and a little bit of magic.



This past weekend, Me & Milo the Great also received its first review. You can read it here. Avni is a book blogger from India and she graciously agreed to read my fourth book and review it after I contacted her. This process continues to surprise and amaze me. Not only did someone I don’t know want to read my book (somebody pinch me!), but someone in a country I’ve never been to (though I’d like to!) read it.

I published my debut, The Blue Jay, in September of 2015. In September of 2017, Me & Milo the Great will become available. I have learned so much over the two years that I’ve been an indie author. I hope that learning only continues, and that I’m able to keep building awesome relationships with book bloggers, other local authors and readers in my community (and beyond)! I feel so lucky to be where I’m at today and am anticipating this new release with gratitude and, still, a bit of awe.

Thank you, Avni, for your kind words about Me & Milo the Great! I hope its future readers love it, too!

Book 4 Title + Cover Reveal

I have been patiently waiting to share information about my fourth book with you, and now I am finally far enough in the process that I can!

My fourth book is called Me & Milo the Great. It’s a contemporary novel set in a fictional city on the East Coast. Here’s the synopsis:

My name is Holiday Sanchez. I carry a heavy burden.
But I’m not the only one.
There are others who know what it feels like to remember. Maybe they are the answer. Maybe we can help each other. Maybe I’ll finally get past it.
Maybe it just takes time—and a little bit of magic.

I don’t want to give too much away, but yes, there is a magician in the book. And yes, his name is Milo.

And now, for the cover…


I’m so excited to share this book with you all Thursday, September 14!

Add the book to your Want to Read shelf on Goodreads!

I will be holding a signing at Plot Twist Bookstore in Ankeny (502 N Ankeny Boulevard, Ankeny, IA) from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 7 in conjunction with the book’s release.

Book 4 Update

Yesterday was the day! I finished writing book #4!

That doesn’t mean the book is finished. It means draft one is complete. It means I still have a long way to go.

I originally started writing this book last summer. I wrote about 15,000 words and then, because it was summer and my girls were at home, I didn’t write any more after that. I was planning on writing a whole lot, but I ended up writing very little. Our family had some amazing days together, but that meant that book #4 suffered for a while. In the midst of everything, I was also preparing for the launch of Come This Way. That meant poor book #4 lost its mojo. Luckily, after I’d decided I did want to finish this particular story, it didn’t take me long to get into it again. fullsizerender

And because writer geeks like me love this kind of stuff, I’m including how my total word count tally grew each day. I kept track of it on these colorful post-its. >>>>>

The scribbles are where I recorded my word count and ended up writing more so had to go back and update the number. What can I say? My system is a little archaic. Here it is, in text form:

12/5/16 – 16,690 words
12/6/16 – 18,101 words
12/8/16 – 20,295 words
12/9/16 – 21,102 words
12/12/16 – 25,030 words
12/13/16 – 27,113 words
12/15/16 – 28,402 words
12/16/16 – 31,002 words
12/17/16 – 34,135 words
12/18/16 – 37,006 words
12/20/16 – 39,168 words
12/21/16 – 41,044 words
1/5/17 – 47,104 words
1/6/17 – 50,438 words
1/7/17 – 51,909 words
1/8/17 – 54,132 words
1/9/17 – 58,224 words
1/10/17 – 59,068 words
1/12/17 – 63,206 words
1/19/17 – 64,622 words
1/20/17 – 65,933 words
1/23/17 – 68,583 words
1/24/17 – 72,185 words
1/26/17 – 74,543 words

You can see there was a fairly large gap between the end of December and the beginning of January where I just didn’t get a chance to write. Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe those few weeks with everyone at home.

I assume I will add to the manuscript once I get into editing. That’s what usually happens. I add in more detail throughout and really start to sculpt everything so that it plays out as it did in my head.

I hope to be able to share a release date within the next month. Stay tuned!

ALSO…if you haven’t read The Blue Jay, my debut novel, get the eBook now for just $0.99 through the first week of February!

I’ll sign off with a short (motivational?) writing quote from Hemingway:

The first draft of anything is sh*t.

Here’s hoping I can turn it into…not sh*t. 😉