Big Announcement​!

Book 2 is coming! I’m so excited to share with you my blurb for my second novel, A Half Made Whole, releasing early 2019.

Add to your TBR! 

Leighton

I’ve loved, and I’ve lost, and now it’s time to live. My daughter is all I have left, and after years of struggling with the overwhelming weight of grief, I’ve decided it’s time for a fresh start. For both of us. An opportunity lands us in Atlanta, and a career as an occupational therapist is the first step toward rebuilding our lives. But rebuilding comes with walls, and I’ve built them tall and wide around my heart. Having survived so much loss, I’ve learned to hold on and hold back. When a colleague’s brother needs therapy, we hit it off immediately and become fast friends. The more I help him, the more I realize that he’s the one helping me heal. When I see how much he truly cares for me and my daughter, my walls start to crumble and my feelings for him grow into something more. Something I wasn’t expecting… and now fear losing.

Brexen

I was living my dream. Until one day I walked into a burning building as a fireman and I came back out feeling like half of a man.  Tired of feeling helpless, I move to Atlanta, motivated to get back to who I used to be. Even if that means finally going to therapy and accepting the help I don’t want to admit I need. After meeting my new therapist, I’m more determined than ever to prove to her and myself that I can do this. As time goes on and I begin to see her as more than a friend, it becomes clear that not all of my wounds are physical. Facing my fears of inadequacy will require letting go and letting my guard down, but I’m not sure I’m ready. My feelings for her are growing, but I know she would never see me as more than friends. Then she proves me wrong, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like anything is possible, especially when I’m given an opportunity to get a piece of my old life back. But what does that mean for us?

The past pulls at us as we struggle to move forward. Will we ever be able to let down the walls for good and admit to ourselves and each other that together we can be whole?

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Never Forget

There are some historic events etched in my memory that I don’t think I will ever forget. I watched the Challenger shuttle explode on live TV; I watched Princess Diana walk down the aisle for the royal wedding in her gigantic wedding gown and thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world… I also watched the new media cover her tragic death. I remember the Oklahoma bombing and the sadness of the Columbine shooting…

but I think the one that stands out the most is 9/11.

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September 11, 2001… it was a Tuesday. I was a stay at home mom with a one-year-old and we woke up and went about our normal routine like any other morning. My mom had spent the night with us and she cuddled with my son on the couch while watching Sesame Street. It was the first day of Community Bible Study and I was excited to get out of the house to have some quality time with other women. I kissed my son goodbye and walked out of the house around 8:45 am.

The one thing I remember most about this day was how beautiful the sky was. It was a brilliant blue and not a cloud in the sky. The blue was so bright, that I walked out from under my carport and looked up at the sky admiring its beauty. I opened the door to my gold minivan, cranked it up, and the radio began playing a Veggie Tales soundtrack. I switched it over to the radio station, but no music was playing. Morning talk shows are standard, but this was not a light airy topic they were discussing over the airwaves. The serious tone caught me off guard, so I listened.

“A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. We are not exactly sure what happened. Maybe the pilot was flying too low….”

Shocked, I immediately thought how terrible this was. I know the buildings are tall, but something must have happened in order for them to fly straight into a budling in NY City. I left the van running and went back inside to tell my mom.

“Hey, mom…. turn it to the news. A plane just flew into the World Trade Center. I’m not sure what’s happening but you might want to watch.”

As the news channel came into view, I remember seeing the black smoke billowing from the middle of the north tower. Mom and I both gasped. My son cried because we took away his favorite show, but I was able to distract him with toys so we could watch what was taking place. Channel after channel aired the chaos. I went outside and got back into my van and drove to my Bible study.

About a mile down the road the radio crew screamed out in shock, “The second tower has been hit. The plane flew directly into this building! They did not look like they were even trying to avoid it…Something else is happening here…I think New York may be under attack.”

Driving down the road, I pulled into the church parking lot and saw the faces of the other ladies walking in with me. We all knew what had happened – we were listening to the same thing on the radio. It was a feeling of unbelief. As I walked into the front door of the sanctuary no one was talking. It seemed a bit eerie, to be honest. After a bit of time, whispers began to filter through the room until everyone had arrived. The lady in charge stood up and said, “I think we need to stop and pray. We came here today for the first day of Community Bible Study, but I’m sure most of you know what’s taking place in New York. This calls for prayer. ”

That morning we didn’t have our first meeting as planned. Instead, this group of probably 50+ ladies gathered and prayed. We prayed for the victims’ families, we prayed for loved ones who needed to find someone in those buildings. We prayed for rescue workers… we prayed for the leaders of our nation.

Later that morning after I arrived back home, the news continued to get worse. I learned that a plane had plummeted into the Pentagon, another had crashed into a field in the middle of Pennsylvania, and there was possibly a plane headed to the White House (which we later discovered was the plane that crashed in PA). Terrorists was the buzzword on television and news officials announced that all planes had been grounded. Planes flew over our house every day. It was a common occurrence to look up and see a plane flying over our house… but not that day. It was very strange.

I remember sitting in my living room for days on end, watching the events of this horrific tragedy get worse and worse. We couldn’t look away from the television and it consumed our days. Speculation of what happened, people holding vigils right outside of ground zero and the wall of missing people photos continued to grow. I watched people on news cameras pleading for someone to find their loved ones. It was heartbreaking.

Even though it’s been 17 years, each time this date rolls around, a fresh dose of memories come rushing back. To the people who lost their lives that day…those who sacrificed unknowingly and the emergency personnel that went in because it was their job to help… I will never forget.

 

I had a moment…

Do you have a place from your childhood that brings back great memories? I have several, but one place, in particular, has to be The Pavilion at Myrtle Beach, SC.

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My family grew up vacationing in Myrtle Beach every year. (This is actually the first year I’ve not been to Myrtle Beach in *cough* 43 *cough* years.) We stayed in an ocean-front motel (yes, I said motel, because condos were not even heard of back then) only 2 or 3 blocks from the Pavilion. Once we parked our car, we didn’t go out much, unless it was to the K&W Cafeteria a few miles down the road. We ate the majority of our meals there because it was cheap and they had everything you could imagine. I always got square jello that jiggled when the lady with an apron came to carry my tray to the table; because I was too little to hold it without spilling.

myrtle-beach-south-carolina-usa-A46CTEEverything you needed was within walking distance in the heart of The Grand Strand. The grocery store was a few blocks away, entertainment across the street, food within walking distance. I remember my daddy would walk to the Pavilion and get three cherry dipped ice cream cones & run back to the hotel with the ice cream dripping down the cones and his arms. It was the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten.

We walked to the Pavilion each night and played arcade games, laughed at how silly we looked in the funhouse mirrors, rode the ferris wheel while I buried my face in my mom’s chest because I was afraid of heights, and ended the night licking cotton candy from my fingers while we walked back to our hotel.

Oh, I have some great memories from the Pavilion. When I was a teenager, it was the cool place to hang out & cruise the strip. Everyone who was anybody cruised the strip to flirt with all the teens who crowded the streets and sidewalks night after night. I remember when I was old enough to finally go to the Magic Attic, which was a teen dance club on the second floor of the Pavilion boardwalk. I wore my neon, multi-color hammer pants, crop top, and jelly shoes with my hair teased high on my head. The black lights made everyone glow on the dance floor. We thought we were hot stuff while we dance the night away to Pump Up the Jam, It Takes Two, and Funky Cold Medina – just to name a few. We came out soaked in sweat & hairspray, having had the time of our lives while we laughed and giggled trying to find our parents car on the strip. We didn’t have cell phones back then, so you wore a watch – 2  Swatch watches to be exact because it was cool – and paid attention to the time, and you’d best be where your parents told you to be when the clock chimed 10 pm.

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I remember when I turned 16 and my parents finally let me and my best friend drive to the beach that year. By this time, high rise hotels were becoming popular, so our family moved further south to stay in a hotel room with a kitchenette so we could cook some of our own meals and didn’t have to frequent K&W as often.  We vacationed with my best friend and her family every year and she stayed in the room with me and my parents while her brother took a friend and stayed in the room with her parents. I always hated having to go out with her older brother, so it was a celebration when me and my best friend finally got to experience the Pavilion on our own. We cruised the strip until my leg burned from manually changing gears and then we drove to the parking deck and paid $5 to park so we could go ride some rides at the amusement park. Pavilion_Nostalgia_Park_(004)

We rode every ride. Sometimes we stood in line for an hour and didn’t even care. It was worth it. The vibrant lights, laughter, sounds of clanking ride chains, smells of funnel cakes… it was the best experience. Every summer.

The Pavilion had it all… the only beachfront amusement park on the East Coast… and was so crowded you could barely walk because of all the people. Even after I graduated high school, went to college, and got married… we still went to the Pavilion at Myrtle Beach every year until it was set to close in 2006. Thankfully, we took my boys that summer when they were very little and have a few pictures from that exciting place that brought me so much joy as a child. I remember walking through the park that night and seeing how many rides had been shut down and abandoned. The sounds and smells were mostly the same, but it was evident that this iconic park was no longer an icon on the Grand Strand. It had changed.

Now, the space that held so much fun and laughter and many of my childhood memories is an empty, grassy lot with a zip line that is barely used. They moved some of the attractions and arcade games from the Pavilion to the new hot-spot on the Grand Strand – Broadway at the Beach – but it’s not the same. The feeling is no longer there for me. I’m sure this next generation is making their own memories of the latest attractions on the Grand Strand, but it’s evident to me, that mine will have to stay tucked away in my memories.

When I read articles like the one I posted at the beginning of this blog, I feel an empty space inside – like a loss of something familiar. I see the pictures and think about all the wonderful memories I made at the Pavilion. Riding my first roller coaster, watching my great-grandmother nod her head while she sat on the benches listening to the old organ band, sitting beside a cute boy on the Mind Scrambler ride while Def Leppard blasted over the loudspeaker, being hoarse from screaming so loud when the Caterpillar ride decided to go backwards and cover our heads with a tarp, finding a keychain that had my name on it at the store on the Boardwalk, and getting matching air-brush t-shirts with my BFF… these were good times.

the strip

Summer S A L E!

Even though summer is starting to wind down, there is still plenty of warm weather to go around and lots of books still to be read. You can purchase my book Holding on to Someday for 99 cents for a limited time.

FB Cover SALE

But it’s not only my book you can grab, check out this HUGE sale on all of these clean romance titles! Stock up while you can at these great prices.

 

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Click the picture to find these great deals!

 

 

👀Sneak Peek!👀

I was recently tagged by several author friends on Facebook to a 777 challenge…. show 7 lines from your WIP, starting with the 7th line on the 7th page.

Well…..this got me really excited about my second book which I’m working on edits now! SOOOOOOO… I’m posting another teaser here.

This teaser is from Leighton’s point of view (and gives a little more insight to Brexen’s character).

{A Half Made Whole © K. Leah}

I take in his appearance as they approach. He’s wearing black athletic pants, tennis shoes, and a long-sleeve T-shirt with some sports logo on it. His ball cap sits backward on his head with golden locks curling out from under the rim. He has a light, scruffy beard covering his face. My first thought is “OMG, he is one of the most beautiful men I have ever laid eyes on!”

When Bristol first started talking to me about her brother, I never envisioned he would look like this. I really did not envision him at all. I mean, I know they are twins, and Bristol is gorgeous, but picturing a male version of her never entered my mind. Obviously, they are not identical twins, but they really don’t even look that much alike. Bristol with her wild hair color of the month – which happens to be dark auburn at the present – and then her brother with sandy blonde hair.

“Hey, Leighton this is my brother, Brexen. Brex, this is Leighton Matthews.” He extends his right hand out to me and flashes a smile. Oh gah… he has dimples and perfect teeth. I feel my cheeks flush and I get butterflies when he grabs my hand. I’m really surprised by my reaction to him. I need to keep myself in check because I am certainly distracted by his appearance.

“Nice to meet you, Leighton,” he says as his large hand wraps around mine. 
 

**Side note: Apple should create an eyeball emoji with blue eyes instead of the only brown. (RE: eyeballs in the post title)

Vacation & Updates

Who hates coming back from vacation? Me 🙋🏼‍♀️

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It’s been a week and I’m still in denial. Ugh. But life must go on.

I blinked and half of the summer is already gone. Wasn’t it just May???? Anyhooo…. my kids have about a month left before school starts back and none of us are ready. I like lazy days of summer… two of my 3 kids can drive, so they’ve entertained themselves and found plenty to do this summer. I have to work every day, so maybe that’s why I dreaded coming back from vacation so much.

How about an update on book stats:

#1 – Holding on to Someday is getting great reviews. I would love for you to read it if you haven’t. You can buy your own copy here.

Holding on to Someday bookcover

#2 – Book 2 is with the editor. Woo hoo! Do you want to know the name of it? I might do another post later on telling you more. 😏 #sorrynotsorry

#3 – I’m working on book 3. Writing comes in spurts and I wish I could find more time in a day or week to carve out some devoted attention to it. I’m excited about this one!

#4 – People have asked for a book for Drew. If you’ve read Holding on to Someday, you will know what this means. (Does that entice you to read it now?) I’m thinking about it. For anyone that’s read Holding on to Someday, there might be an opportunity for you to contribute to this in the very near future. Stay tuned!

 

 

Blank Pages

As a writer, you go through ups and downs of writing. Sometimes I’m chomping at the bit to get home to my computer. I’ve even jotted down an idea on a sticky note and stuff it in my purse OR I’ve pulled over on the side of the road to type up a note on my phone.

But what happens when you stare at a blank page?

It’s happened to all of us a time or two. I have all the ideas stirring in my head but when I open my computer it’s like I forgot everything I had originally thought of.

I’ve successfully published one book, working on edits for book 2, and books 3, 4, and even 5 have all been started. So how do I pick one to keep my focus?

I don’t know. If you have a great idea, I’d love to hear it. Writing urges flip from one book to the next for me.

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Back to blank pages….

The first book I wrote start to finish. It was a sequence of events that I wrote in order as it happened. Not too bad. Book two I wrote the beginning and the end and had to fill in a little bit in the middle… but primarily, again, I wrote start to finish.

HOWEVER….. these other books are a hot mess. I’ll get a whim of an idea and start typing. Random chapters are all over the place in these books and there is no rhyme or reason to where they need to fit into the story. And I have all these  b l a n k   p a g e s  in between. What needs to go there, I often think to myself. How should I transition? 

I’m still learning and it’s a lot of figuring-it-out-along-the-way, but even if it’s slow progress… it’s progress.

Hoping to fill these blank pages with words very soon!

 

What comes next?

I’ve had quite a few people send me messages on Facebook or tell me in person… “I’m going to need you to write sequel to this book.” The book they are referring to is Holding on to Someday. *If you have not read it, you totally should.*

Honestly, I never had the intention to write a second book to make HOTS a series, but enough people have mentioned it, I feel like I should at least entertain the idea. So, I started looking through my Pages files earlier this week and found this little nugget.

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I did think about it for a brief period of time… in 2015 & apparently long enough to start the second book.

I’m making no promises on a second/sequel book, or even a date for it, but if you’ve read Holding on to Someday (HOTS), you will understand why people might want a follow-up.

And if you’ve not read HOTS… well, this is the perfect opportunity for you to read it!

Buy my book

 

How does it feel?

Since I released my book last week, a lot of people have asked me, “How does it feel to be a published author?”

The answer: Surreal

I don’t feel any different than I did on May 7th… maybe a little less stressed – okay, that’s a lie – but I do feel accomplished.

So, you see, for me, this has been a LOOOOOONG journey. I never expected to publish a book. I typed some words in a Word document over the course of two years and that was the end of it.  At least, I thought it was the end. I was so nervous to release my soul words to someone else to critique. It’s truly like handing your baby over to a new babysitter and wondering how they are going to take care of this precious child you adore and have spent so much time growing and nurturing.

It was scary.

BUT… had I never taken the leap, I would not be typing this blog post today and sharing with you about all the wonderful words of encouragement I’ve received over the last ten days.

Writing is a hobby – a past time – so it’s not like life stopped when I published my book. I went to work that morning, as usual, worked an 8 hour day, came home to cook supper, took my daughter to a softball game, and did a couple loads of laundry. Just a day in the life of me. My phone chimed all day with Facebook alerts and texts messages of people telling me “happy release day” or “congratulations!”

Now that my book is live and people know, what’s next? You wait. And then you wait some more. You wait to see how many people buy your book. You wait to see if any ARC reviews come in. You wait to hear what people think. OH THE WAITING GAME!

I saw my first review on accident as I was uploading live links to my Goodreads page. I had a minor freak out. Oh my gosh, there is a review! Do I read it? Do I look away? *closes Goodreads*

*calls friend immediatley*… dials number… beep beep beep.

Me: “OMG I have a review!”

Friend: Well, what is it?

Me: I don’t know, I didn’t look.

Friend: Well, look!

*nervously opens Goodreads back up. Takes a deep breath. Goes to my book.*

Me: It’s 4 stars!!!

Friend: Yay! That’s great!

So there’s that. I was pleasantly surprised to find someone liked my book. *Whew*  Then more reviews started coming in, as well as Facebook messages, of people telling me they couldn’t put the book down and loved it so much! That feeling is what makes all the difference. The feeling of knowing you were able to capture someones attention for a few hours and give them a little escape, is priceless. To be encouraged to keep writing and have people wanting to read more of your words is indescribable.

My husband has bragged on me to friends, family, and co-workers. He’s telling everyone, “My wife wrote a book” with a sense of pride that makes me feel like a million bucks.

I’ll relish this feeling now and hope I can continue this ride a while longer. I’m not done telling stories, I just hope people keep wanting to read them.

 

 

 

It’s here…

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My very first novel is now a published work! I’m so excited to share my words with you and hope you will enjoy Clara’s story.

You can order at Amazon or read for Free on Kindle Unlimited: