Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eight Years Ago Today

Many of the most important things in my life have occurred on the 18th of the month, which has made 18 my lucky number. Both my kids were born on the 18th, and on this day in May 2005, another of my "kids" was officially born when I wrote the words THE END for the very first time in TREADING WATER. Little did I know then, during this moment of tremendous personal satisfaction and achievement, that Treading Water was an overwritten, 150,000-word, self-indulgent DISASTER. I also didn't know then that Treading Water would mark the start of the most incredible journey, filled with many soaring highs and just as many crushing lows.

Treading Water took me on a roller coaster ride of edits and revisions and rewrites and critiques and soul searching and questions for the ages: What would I do if I was in Jack's situation? Several of my late mother's friends read it, told me it kept them up all night and demanded I write a follow-on story for one of the characters whose story was left unfinished in Treading Water. I had many deep conversations with friends who'd read the book and found themselves questioning their own belief systems.

I began to think... If this book had affected the people in my life so profoundly, maybe, just maybe it would strike the hearts of others, too. I worked on that book for YEARS after I wrote THE END. Even as I wrote a bunch of other books, I returned over and over again to Treading Water, applying everything new that I learned to that first book. Traditional publishers, however, had absolutely no interest in my square peg book, which was heartbreaking at the time. I'm skipping a huge chunk of my writing career story as I jump forward to the fall of 2011 when I self-published Treading Water at a lean, mean 92,000 words. Over six years, I cut 58,000 words (!! almost another full book !!) from that first version. Talk about killing your darlings!

Taking the advice of my mother's friends, I wrote book 2, Marking Time, in three months, and have hardly changed a word since I finished it in early 2006. I learned all the most important lessons about storytelling, pacing, character development, point of view and over-writing from Treading Water. It was then and remains today the ultimate book of my heart. My company is named for Jack, the architect in Treading Water: HTJB, Inc. The House That Jack Built. Everything goes back to Jack and Treading Water.

Almost eight years after I wrote THE END that first time, I got to see my name on the New York Times bestseller list. And then it happened again, with a different book, three weeks later. I have thousands of readers who wait with anticipation for my next book, which is the absolute dream come true times a million because I never dreamed it would be as amazing as it is to have such incredible readers. I have a career I could've only imagined on that day eight years ago today. As a very special thank you to all the friends and readers I've met along the way on this amazing ride, Treading Water is currently free in e-book format. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you all.


**We are waiting on Nook to make it free at It's been submitted and is in the queue! So check back frequently.** In the meantime, you can get it for free in ePub format for the Nook at Smashwords: