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So Much Gratitude...

Hello, everyone! You can't read any social media these days without seeing people ranting about what a challenge 2020 has been, and how they can't wait for it to be over, and I sure can tell you that I feel that on a molecular level in many ways, but I think it's also important to take stock--especially today--for all the things we have to be grateful for.

On a personal level, I have many things: my family has remained largely healthy and are being careful throughout this pandemic; as a teacher, I've learned a lot of new skills and have even grown in my bonds with several of my student via online interactions that have been surprisingly meaningful; as a writer, I have some big things to be thankful for, too.

The first thing I can wait to share with you, dear readers, is the fact that my first novel, Arcana Book One: Rise of the Moon will be available for purchase on Amazon, both in Kindle and paperback, by the end of the year. This is the fruition of a lifelong dream for me, and I'm also grateful for all of you who have come along for the ride, righ here at the beginning of my writing career. My whole life, I had two aspirations that never wavered: one was to be a mom, and I have the blessing of the most awesome and glorious daughter on the planet (I fully admit to being biased in this area); the other was to be a writer. For as long as I can remember, my brain was full of stories, and I am so thrilled to be started on the journey to finally share those stories with you.

Rise of the Moon was a joy to write, and if you've read my previous blogs, you know that I've found inspiration in some fantastic people. I'm so excited to finally be able to share the beginning of Lia Alvarez's adventure! I'm also grateful for the team who has been behind me from the jump: my sister Barbara, who was my very first editor and whose knowledge of YA Lit was invaluable to refining the story; my good friend novelist Kelly Miller, who not only helped me with editing, but also with navigating some of the business end of writing; my husband Buck and daughter Haley, who have been my biggest cheerleaders; my character inspirations Jessica and Shawn; my beautiful cover model Reanna; my beta readers Kelly and Emma; and my graphic designer and GISH leader Tracey Fry, who has put in the time to build a truly beautiful product. I'm also incredibly thankful for all the friends and family (yes, you!) who have encouraged me and sent so many positive messages and helped keep my spirits up. The publication of this very first book is a major

milestone for me, and being able to finally hold a copy in my hands will be one of the great big bullet points on the timeline of my life.

And as if all of that wasn't enough, I have another big writing-related announcement: the first draft of Arcana Book Two: Rush to Judgement is finally complete (thank you, National Novel-Writing Month!)! I'll address the long journey to the completion of this book in a future post, but the completion of this rough draft is so exciting, not only because I can't wait to introduce you to Aria Rush, the next member of the Arcana, but also because it shows me that finishing a manuscript isn't a one-off for me...I really can make a career as a writer and see these books through to their conclusion!

Dreams do come true, even later in life! Stay tuned for more information on Rise of the Moon's publication date...I'm planning a launch event, so spread the hype!

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