I just I read an article this past weekend that was generating negative buzz on social media. After seeing it more than a dozen times in a single scroll on my Facebook timeline, I clicked it. I knew from the title, "Kennett Library Hosts 3rd Annual Bad Romance Event,” that I was not going to agree with it, but I couldn't stop myself from finding out just what the fuss was about. The more I read, the angrier I became. If you haven’t read it, let me summarize it for you. The long and short of it is that the Kennett Library and its staff host an event to read aloud from what they have deemed as bad romance novels to the audience as a fundraiser for their library. No, that wasn’t a typo. A fundraiser that mocks the publishing industries highest grossing genre hosted by a library. An institution that sole purposes is to promote literature. It almost doesn't seem real, but this misogynistic take of such a "fun event" is very much real.
Kennett Library's use of "bad romance" to raise funds is a slap in the face of all romance authors, and a continuation of the age old stereotypes that romance novels are trashy. The only trashy thing I see about the article is the author's now revised reference that romance novels are "the discount bin of literature." It seems to be a long-standing tradition to ridicule romance when you don’t enjoy reading or writing it. You’d think being the industry profit leading that it would stave off some of the naysayers. Sadly, it doesn’t. If you didn't know, romance was number one at $1.44 billion in revenue. Second place was the crime and mystery genres at $728.2 million. You might be asking yourself the same question I did when I looked up the numbers. If romance is so profitable and popular as a genre, why do we romance authors constantly get dragged through the mud as smut peddlers and mommy porn enthusiasts? It's simple. Romance is written for women by women, predominantly. Yet, gender is only one factor to the romance stereotypical equation. Diversity, ethnicity, and even the method of publication all play a part.
With the age of e-books came a rise in both reading and self-publishing. Before, an author had to hope and pray that a publisher would read their query and publish their novel. Now, authors have a choice. Many romance authors who you see on the shelves at your local bookstores are either self-published or hybrid, meaning they traditionally and self-publish books. Before the e-book boom, all of those books would have been traditionally published authors. All. Of. Them.
Now, self-published novels are growing every single day, but so is the sterotype that those types of books are poorly-written stories by people who have no business writing a book. Oh yeah, I've seen and have on the rare occasion even in the presence of a traditionally published author degrading indie authors at a large event when I first starting publishing. I'm not saying that all self-published books are perfect because they aren't, but they are bad traditionally published books, too. Not every book is a winner. That's for the reader to decide on their own. It's not a peer review of an entire publication method by someone who has never self-published a day in their life.
So, it begs the question as to why Kennett Library is hosting their “Bad Romance” event. Why are they mocking not only an entire genre, but their library patrons as well to raise funds? The event is a continuation of the age old stereotypes that romance novels are trashy. An idea that is not only absurd, but degrading. Then again, when author of the article calls romance the “discount bin of literature” that has since been revised, I guess I should really be surprised.
As libraries are publicly funded insinuations, it makes me wonder just how many patrons will be coming to your new facility that was partially funded by ridiculing authors. Frankly for an organization that should pride itself on promoting literacy, Kennett Library has instead promoted exclusion, despite the mission statement from their own website stating they support inclusion.
No one, reader or writer, should be shamed for liking romance novels. We deserve respect. You may not like us, but we aren’t going anywhere.
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Happy February, Everyone!
I am so excited for February to finally be here, and for a very important reason. No, not Valentine's Day, but the reveal of my new co-written series with Geri Glenn. We've been talking about doing a co-write for a long time, and now that we can finally shout it out to the world, it just feels amazing. After struggling so much last year with my personal life and writing, the words are finally flowing. Not only am I working on Dark Protector with Geri, but I am also working on BOTH Demons and Desires and Devil's Queen. So exciting, right? I made y'all a promise last month about new book in 2020, and I'm dead set on keeping it. 2020 is going to be a big year of new books. Buckle up because it's going to be one hell of a ride.
On a lighter note, I will be bringing back the NCAA bracket challenge in March. This year's prize is AH-mazing. The best part is that you don't have to be a basketball fan to participate. I'll have more details on that in my reader group once the brackets open towards the end of February. I'll also have some other fun things popping up in my group over the next couple of month's so if you aren't a member, now is the time to join!
You can use the link above in the header or by clicking here.
Better get back to writing!
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Happy January, Everyone!
It doesn't seem possible that another decade is upon us. I guess time really does fly when you're having fun, and if how fast 2019 went by is any indication, 2020 is about to get crazy.
And, what better way to kick off 2020 than with a new book announcement. Not only a new book, but a new series, and an amazing co-write with one of my favorite people on the planet. Geri Glenn. We've kept this secret under wraps for a few months now, but we are so excited to finally make the announcement now that we have a GORGEOUS cover ready to go. The debut title in our new series is hot, hot, hot, and we can't wait until release day. Stay tuned for more information about this series.
I am also working on both Demons & Desires and Devil's Queen. No definitive release date just yet, but I will be announcing them as soon as I send them off for editing.
On top of that, I do have a few other books up my sleeves that might just be coming this year as well. New series. New genre! All kinds of good things coming.
2020 is my year, and I can't wait to see where it takes me.
See you next month!
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May 2020 marks my fifth anniversary as a published author, and honestly, it seems that it was just yesterday that I published Damaged. My very first book. My HORRIBLY written first book. One that isn't available anymore because.. yeah, that horrible part I just mentioned up there. The story was my first escape from mourning my father's loss. One that I wrote in three weeks without a clue about how hard writing really is as a second career. It's easy to write a book and hit publish these days. It's even harder to watch your book get torn to shreds because you just didn't know or even understand the dynamics of your reader base. Which brings me to this month's topic. 10 things that I wish I had known before I published my first book. This comprehensive list is something I've been thinking about writing for awhile. Not only for myself as a reminder of how far I've come as an author, but to maybe those of you reading this that are struggling or even thinking about writing that first book.
1. Write For Yourself
I think this was the absolute hardest lesson that I had to learn after publishing. Everyone has an opinion. Good, bad, and the indifferent. Some like cliffhangers. Some don't. Others like the taboo. Others want that Happily Ever After like there's no tomorrow. Every reader is different, and you can't please everyone. Read that last part again. You can't please everyone. Bottom line. Write the story that you want to write, and how you want it to end because it's your story to tell.
2. Bad Reviews: Do NOT Engage
One of the hardest things you will have to do is learn to deal with bad reviews. It also goes hand in hand with number one. There's always going to be someone who doesn't like it. Everyone's personally tastes vary, and it goes back to that pleasing everyone thing again. One of the worst reviews I've ever gotten was someone who was just appalled that one of the characters in my Heaven's Rejects MC series was a fire bug. This review ripped me up and down for allowing such a person to go unchecked in that fictional world. The icing on the cake was that they ended it with thanking all fireman for what they do. Don't get me wrong, I have a very healthy admiration for the men and women who are firemen, but this reviewer was equating a fictional story to real life. It's not the same. I am writing a story, but to her... it might have been real. I totally get that she might have a personal experience with an arsonist or even been in a fire herself. I'm not discounting that at all. Everyone has their own life experiences, and reading about them trigger different things for different people. However, it didn't make that review hurt any less.
There are reviewers out there that live to rip a book to shreds, and they do not give one rip about how you think they're wrong. It's their opinion. Just like you have your own. One the biggest pieces of advice I can give to you is to not engage them. Fume all your want and vent to your close friends, but do not post anything about it on social media or even respond to their reviewers with a comment. It's just not worth the trouble. You might just ruin your reputation before it even takes off. Just don't do it.
3. Finding the Right Team
You likely see all the time on social media where an author is looking for a new editor, personal assistant, cover designer, etc. I know I do, and I've been in their position multiple times over the last five years. Finding your "tribe" for all aspects for your books is almost as hard as writing the book itself. I have found that having someone on your team that isn't trust-worthy or as qualified as you originally thought for the job puts you at a major disadvantage both personally and financially.
If your reviews constantly ding you for your editing, it might be time to find a new editor. Same goes for all of your book related services. Editing and cover designer are the two biggest things readers mention in a bad review. Well, outside the story in general. If you're seeing those two things consistently, you don't have the right team of people, and that could mean you need to make some changes. Books that are riddled with mistakes or covers that are just plain messy will hurt your sales. You have to do what's best for your business. That's the bottom line. Surrounding yourself with the right team is key to that.
The other major bullet point under this topic that we all make mistakes at the beginning. Know what? You can always go back and fix your mistakes. Remember me mentioning how horrible that first book I wrote, I'm currently in the process of fixing it right now and re-releasing it. You CAN fix it. Just don't wait until you're too far down the rabbit hole to right the ship.
This one has been a major eye-opening experience for me. When I released Damaged, I had it in my head you can't heavily advertise your book until it's released. WRONG! You should be advertising your book for months in advance of the release. When I first started publishing, Facebook group takeover parties and posting in large promotion groups on Facebook were a great way of advertising. Five years later, they are basically extinct thanks to the algorithms that hide everything anymore on social media. And, I mean everything. Posts, photos, links. None of it gets seen anymore especially in those promo groups. I recently went through my groups and removed myself from nearly every single pimp group I had joined over the years. Not only did it clean up my timeline, but now, I am seeing more relative content that I actually want to see.
But, how can you advertise on social media if posts aren't seen? Ads. Paid ads should be a major part of your budget. Done correctly, paid ads on Facebook and even Bookbub can help you sell more books than no ads at all because of the audience targeting. You can select your ad to be delivered to readers who follow authors who write in the same genre as you or even readers who use specific reading devices. Ads get your book in front of readers looking for books like yours. The downside is learning how to create eye catching ads, and not spending thousands with little return. There's plenty of courses and books that can teach you the best targeting and ad copy methods for your genre. I've taken the last year to study and test what works best for me. It's honestly helped even when I didn't publish many books last year. My blacklist sales are funding my future releases with some well targeted ads. If you aren't using ads as a major source of your advertising, it's time to start looking into that now.
5. Book Covers
Your cover is the very first thing that a reader sees. If it doesn't fit with the genre you're writing it, the chances are the readers will skip on past it. For example, you have dark romance book you've just released with great ad copy, but when I click your link on the ad, I find the cover is a couple laying in a green field with horses. As a reader, I would see that cover and think it's contemporary romance. Not dark. Off first glance, you've lost a potential sale because the cover doesn't match the ad copy.
Now, let's say you have a dark romance with a book with black tones and ominous looking person on it. Now, the genre and ad copy will fit the cover thus drawing in your reader's to check out the club or even a sample chapter.
Knowing the trends of your genre is key to your success. It's great to stand out among the crowd. It's another thing to hide what is possibly a great story behind a mismatched cover.
6. Promoting Your Book
Social media is still very key in how we interact with our readers, but you can't control it. By investing your time isn't something that isn't controlled by someone else, you're making better use of your time, and delivering the right content to those who WANT to see it. In fact, many of the promotional platforms that I have used over the years have become less and less effective. Blogs used to be a huge staple in my advertising plan. But now, they are being stifled on social media platforms because of the algorithms. I used to dream about having one of my books featured on the top dog level of blogs. Now, I don't even see posts from them unless I search for their page. It's sad to see such an important platform for authors go by the way side, but we can't control how our social media platforms pick and choose how we can share our content.
But, you have two great options at your disposal that you can control. Your website and your newsletter. The biggest of that being your newsletter. Since 2017, I have focused a lot of energy in building my newsletter subscribers organically. What does that mean? I have targeted those readers who already like my books. I've done that by keeping my back matter of my books current and by including a link to my newsletter.
Newsletters are one of the best tools you have, and one you can control. It's delivered directly to the readers inbox, and you can see the percentages of opens, clicks, etc. You can't say the same for social media. If someone has received a dozen newsletters and not opened a single one, you remove them from your list. Building your list takes time. Giveaways and Subscription freebies also known as cookies are a great way to attract a mass amount of new subscribers to your content. But, be wary. Those readers aren't loyal to you. Most will unsubscribe or even report you as SPAM once they get their free e-book or find out who won the giveaway. The best way to grow your list is to organically get readers to subscribe just like I mentioned above with adding the link in the back matter of my books. Those subscribers will have already read your content and want to know more. That's who you need to target.
The same goes for your website. If you are providing your readers with exclusive content on your website, you have more of a chance of them seeing the information you want to deliver than you would say posting on your Facebook page. Try posting character quizzes or blog posts about your writing process on your website site. Yes, you can share those links on your social media or even in your newsletters, but it drives traffic to your website.
7. Value Your Time
I can't stress this enough. Value your time. Value your work. Readers nowadays have gotten accustomed to indie e-books being priced at $0.99 even for full length books. You are basically giving away your hard work away for free. Book piracy takes away enough as it is. Don't do that to yourself. At most, you're only making $0.35 per book. If you've got all of your books priced that way, you're hurting yourself and your bottom line. This is your BUSINESS. Treat it like one. You don't see longstanding retailers like Apple handing out free iPads on the hope that consumer will buy something else to make up for it.
And, I'm not talking about putting books on sale because that's a great tool to bring in new readers to your series. Short term sales are great, but long term and steady sales are what you are looking for in terms of profit.
Pricing is another big thing you need to research. Find what works best for your and your reader base. If you have a long series, make the first book $0.99 as a way to draw in a new reader, but don't do that for your entire series.
8. Book Signings: The Good and The Bad
I love going to book signings. Getting the chance to meet readers that I have only had the pleasure of talking to on social media and getting to spend time with author friends is one of the biggest draws for me. Signings are fun, but they are expensive, especially if you are traveling a long distance to get there. Fun doesn't pay the bills. That being said, if you are going into a book signing thinking that you will make back all that you have invested into it... take a deep breath because 99% of the time, you won't even be close. I can count on one hand how many times I have made an actual profit on my signing investment. One hand. I've been to at least fifteen signings in the past four years that I can name off the top of my head. Maybe three have I come out in the green. That's 20%. Many other authors will likely tell you the exact same thing. Signings are great marketing tools, but if you walk into a signing thinking that you are going to make big bucks, think again. You won't. And, if you are working on a very tight budget, there are other ways to advertise your books that may be more cost effective than attending a signing, which is my next point.
9. Quit Spending Money You Don't Have
I don't know how many times I have seen authors posting about the mountains of debt that they are in because of their books. Admittedly, I was one of them for the first two years of my career. I wanted to be just like the authors at the top of field. I used promotion companies I couldn't afford. I went to signings where I was the only new author there and bought so much swag to give away that it took me years to finally hand it all out. It wasn't until I saw how much money I was really sinking into my then failing business at tax time that I realized what I was doing wrong. You can seriously hurt your family's finances when you don't spend within your business budget. One of the best things I did was to start tracking my monthly sales in a spreadsheet and budgeting out what I wanted to spend it on months in advance. When I had excess, I saved it to use for future releases. Within a year, I turned my failing business in a profitable one that I have today. Even when sales are down, I have a reserve of money sat aside that can offset a bad months of sales. A safety net as you will.
The bottom line is if you can't afford it, don't spend it. I don't care how much you love that exclusive photo. If your sales can't cover what you'd spend on it, just don't.
Another useful tool that I use is to try to find ways to cut my service costs when it comes to publishing. For me, it was learning to format my own books with Vellum. I was paying around $100-$200 a book on formatting alone. With Vellum, I took that $200 I would have put into formatting one book and reinvested it into a tool that will save me money in the long run. And in fact, it also gives me the ability to use formatting as a side business to generate more revenue for those authors who choose to not do it themselves. There are numerous ways that you can make your business profitable outside of writing books. Profits that you can then re-invest into your business and use to do things you weren't able to afford to do before like signings.
10. Stop Setting Unrealistic Deadlines
This one has been the hardest lesson of all for me to come to terms with. Working full-time in a stressful field and writing part-time is not easy. When you put yourself up against a deadline that you thought you could make three months ago, you're hurting yourself and your family. I don't care how many times I have talked about how I write well under pressure in the past. The truth is that it's not always the same for every book. This year has been a testament to that. Outside of a few small projects, I haven't been able to finish a single full-length title. Something always gets in the way. And, it came at a cost when I lost my pre-order rights for a year on Amazon for having to cancel a release. Long pre-orders are the most financially lucrative for me, and because I thought I could push and punish myself to get a book done, I paid the price.
If you know you can't make a deadline, stop making them. Be more realistic on your writing schedule. Your loyal readers are always going to be there to support you if you have to push back a date. Don't punish yourself when you don't get many words down for your daily writing goal. It happens, and the more pressure you put yourself under, the harder it will be to get it done. Find a pace that works best for you and stick with it.
The author life is far from easy, but I hope that if you're reading this you can see that you aren't alone in your struggles. We've all been there at some point. Pushing yourself to put out a book or even trying to write to market in a genre that you are just not comfortable with is not the answer. Write what you love. Be who you want to be. Find yourself. That's how you truly exceed.
Happy December, Everyone!
It's finally here. Christmas! My favorite time of the year. The house is decorated to the hilt. Trees and lights as far as the eye can see. Jimmy Buffet's Christmas Island is blasting through the stereo. The power bill is skyrocketing because... I like lights. LOL. I can hear Mr. Paige already grumbling about it, but I just ignore him. I live for this time of the year, and I can't help it. Reliving those childhood traditions just brings a smile to my face, and even more so as I introduce our nieces to a piece of our family history. Do you have a favorite Christmas memory? Mine would have to be listening to the scanner for Grissom Air Force Base's Christmas Eve Santa sighting report. I used to listen so intently then drag my parents home because I was not about to be skipped that year for presents because they were lolly gagging at my granny and paw's house.
Speaking of trees, as promised, I have included the video of my office tree with so many of the ornaments that I have received from readers this year. Each one a special token of support. From the handmade to the ornament, they are all beautiful in their own way. I can't thank you all enough for helping make my year round office tree so special. Every time I look at it, I am reminded of all the love and support I have behind me. Even when I can't find the words to write. I know y'all have my back.
Because this is the last newsletter of 2019, I want to touch quickly on what I have planned for 2020. Books are coming. Demons and Desires and Devil's Queen being two of the first releases. Dates are still TBD, but early 2020 is the goal for both. I will announce the pre-orders when I get to a certain point in the book. I also have a few other projects in the works, but I am not ready announce those yet. I even have a surprise return trip back to my very first book, Damaged, which has been off the market since 2016. It's about time I finish that story.
Oh... did I forget I have a little present for you all? I didn't? Shame on me! For those of you who didn't get a chance to read Silver Belles from the Christmas at the Clubhouse Anthology last year... you can read it now.. FOR FREE! My gift to you.
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I hope you're ready for a fantastic 2020!
See you next year!
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Happy November, Everyone!
If you follow me on Facebook or just about any other of my social media platforms, you may have seen a post that I began circulating around mid-week last week. Tragedy has struck members of our chosen family, but before I talk about, I want to go back to the beginning.
In late 2009, Mr. Paige, then my fiance, headed off to California with full-ride scholarship for his Master's degree, and a dream that I would be joining him in the summer after our wedding. Living apart was one of the hardest times of my life. We coped the best we could, but it wasn't easy planning a wedding when one half of your partnership was on the opposite end of the country. A month into his move, I received a call that I never expected.
Glen had hurt himself on a youth group trip to Six Flags. He assured me he was okay, but turns out, he wasn't. He struggled for weeks to get medical care and an answer for his shoulder when a guardian angel came into our life in the form of our friend, Pat. A woman in her 70s who was a board member at my husband's church. She showed up to Glen's apartment with a few of the church men in tow, and moved him into her house while he sought medical treatment. She drove him to class, helped him do his laundry, typed papers for him. etc. You get the idea. Throughout the months he lived there, they became close. You see, Pat, had lost her to youngest son to drug addiction. Her husband followed soon. After losing two important people in her life, Pat began giving back. Her home became a shelter to those who needed help. Friends in need became her family.
Even after Glen was forced to move back home for medical treatment, she never let him give back her house key. This wonderful woman even flew in for our wedding that next summer, and even came home for the weddings of friends who had come with us on our annual trip out to see her. Her home became our home. A refuge for us all.
In July 2018, our annual trip was something much different. The minute we arrived, Pat's beautiful smile was a little dimmer. You see, Pat's breast cancer that she had bravely fought off the year before was back. This time in her lungs and very aggressively growing. Something that she knew weeks before we arrived, but hadn't told us. We made it a mission to spend as much time with her as we could that week because I knew how bad it really was.
Two weeks after we got home, she passed away. Her death hurt us both so much. Hurt the friends who she had welcomed into her home and life as family. But, her legacy wasn't over yet. Her son, Darren, continued her life's work by offering her now vacant home to our friends and their family, filling it with love once more.
That is until last week when a plane tragically crashed into the master's bedroom, and destroying the house. With a friend's husband and 18 month old son inside the home. Thankfully, they escaped, but their home. Our home was gone. Watching the national news coverage brought so many memories back for me this week. The love we shared in that house now gone. Our memories there the only thing left. You can read more about the crash here.
Until I realized tonight that it was just a house. Not the definition of her life. Her spirit and her love is still with us, and a part of me truly believes that she kept our friend's safe. That she protected them from harm. The house may be gone, but her love will always live on.
Now, I know that this isn't the kind of story you expected to read this month, but it's the story that was on my heart when I sat down to start writing this month's newsletter. I hope that you found hope in it because even if you lose every physical possession you own, life and love is all that matters. And with Thanksgiving this month, I can't help, but feel thankful for Pat being in our lives and how she impacted those around her.
Hug your love ones a little tighter today.
“I’m going to miss this, Iz,” he laments. His voice, trailing off as if he has something else to say. “Sitting here with you. The town. Just everything.” He pauses. “Maybe, I shouldn’t go.”
“This is your dream, Alex. You can’t just turn your back now. This is your chance to change your life. Why wouldn’t you go?”
“You,” he answers quietly, but without a single bit of hesitation. All the while, not looking at me. My breath hitches, as my chest seizes. Why now? After all this time. Is it because he’s leaving, and he’s trying to check another girl off his list, or is this one last desperate act of a boy finally admitting what I have been feeling all this time? Neither seems likely, but yet, here we are. Alex adjusts to face me, and I notice his knees, bouncing with his nervous tick.
“Me? Alex, are you crazy?” I fire back. “There is absolutely no reason why leaving me behind should be any reason for you not to chase this. I’m not that special. There’s bound to be hundreds of girls already lining up in Nashville, waiting to take my place.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Iz. No one can replace you,” Alex leans in. His face is so dangerously close to mine. “None of this makes sense without you.”
“What are you saying?” My voice is soft and cautious.
“Come with me.” He leans in closer. His lips so close to mind that I feel the heat rolling off of them. I move closer, but the front porch light flickers on. I turn to see Dad standing behind the screen door, scowling. I stammer out an excuse, but when I turn back trying to explain Alex’s presence on our porch yet again in the middle out the night, he’s gone.
Falling for your best friend, who just happens to be an up and coming country star, is probably not the best idea. Not even being a blip on his romantic radar? Yeah, shoot me now.
Growing up in Alex McCloud’s shadow was far from easy. Then, he blew out of town, before the ink was even dry on his recording contract, with empty promises of keeping in touch that he has never once kept. Some best friend, right?Now, he sings his heart out to millions of fans, and I milk cows on my family’s struggling dairy farm.
Well, that is until Alex strolls back into town, and he’s got more than writing his new album on his mind. I know from experience that I need to guard my heart, or I may end up being just another girl in a country song. It’s just harder than I thought, trying to get my brain and my heart on the same page.
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You may be wondering about the title, and why I would want to blog about my not so perfect wedding. Why would I want to share about one of the scariest times in my life? Sure, the pictures above look happy and blissful, but that day almost never happened.
It's weird thinking about to 9 years ago today, and our wedding day. The flowers fragrance filling the old church my husband served as minister. Our family and friends gathered around us, surrounding us with love and support. A perfect dress. But, the only thing out of place was my soon to be husband, carefully being helped to the alter by his groomsmen. You see a our wedding was delayed a week. My husband the Tuesday before our original wedding date began experiencing severe pain and swelling in his leg. He thought he'd strained it at a church league softball. That it was just the remnants of one of his horrible night time leg cramps. I was at work over an hour away, unable to see his pain and to access what might be going on. It was until that night when I arrived at the home that would soon be ours together that I realized something was very wrong. My soon to be husband, stubborn as always, assured me it was fine, but when he struggled to walk, it took my dad coming over to help me convince him to go to the emergency room. It was there his condition went from concerning to life threatening.
He had a blood clot in his leg, but that wasn't the most concerning part of it. It was the at least six other smaller clots that had passed through his heart and embedded into his lungs. The next few days were a blur. Spending my days in the hospital with him. My nights at our hopeful home with my cat, and re-planning our wedding. The biggest event of my life on hold until we knew whether or not Glen would make it through. After an experimental procedure, he was released, but we weren't out of the woods yet. As much as I wanted to postpone our wedding further, Glen insisted we would get married the next week.
And, we did. On my 24th birthday. Of course, things weren't perfect. Glen was restricted in the length of time he could stand so we had to have a stool for him to sit on for the ceremony. He had to walk with a cane when he did walk, and the only time he stood unaided was our first dance at our reception.
That was not so perfect wedding, but I wouldn't trade it for the world because I almost didn't get to be his wife. I almost didn't get to marry my childhood best friend. The boy I had fallen for in the 5th grade while he read the morning weather report over the intercom, and spent years admiring after him until he finally saw me for me. I may write happily ever afters for a living, but the best one of all is my own.
Avelyn Paige is an Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY bestselling Motorcycle Romance author.