New Year, Cover Reveal, & Writing Goals

Drum roll please!!!

It’s a new year and with it comes a new cover for me! I am so excited to share the cover for the first book in my World War II series, The Good German Girl. This book definitely took its toll on me, emotionally and physically, but I can say most definitely that it is my favorite of all my books so far.

I think we all want 2021 to be a much different year from 2020. As we were approaching this new year, I tried to think of all the ways I could make this new year better than the old one. Even with all the determination all around me to make this year far better than the last, I must say it’s been difficult to think about this new year with a smile.

Perhaps it was from the mental and physical exhaustion of the past year. But one thing I kept coming back to–the one thing I always come back to in the end–is my writing. Even though I struggled to write anything at all during the last couple of months of 2020, my writing has continued to be a source of comfort. A source of motivation for setting and completing goals. Something to look forward to at the beginning and end of my day.

Which was why I made up my mind to set a goal for Book 2 of my World War II series, A League of Extraordinary Women. Book 2, titled The Red Bird in the Tower, is about halfway done and my goal is to write THE END by the time The Good German Girl releases on April 15th! I am very excited to finish this next book. It will have a very different tone from the first book but will hold fast to the research and essence of the mid to late 1940s.

Each book in this series is inspired by true events that took place during World War II. As I’m sure you’ve realized, The Good German Girl was inspired by the horrors of the Auschwitz II – Birkenau concentration camp as well as the journey our American forces made from Omaha Beach across Europe. Book 2, inspired by the battle of Stalingrad and the snipers recruited during that time. Book 3, the Marines who fought the Japanese in the Pacific and the spies who infiltrated Japanese-occupied Manila, and so on.

A League of Extraordinary Women is a fictional series of at least 5 books that will echo with true stories of the second world war. Every character born in my imagination by the extraordinary stories I discovered during my research of the war. My goal in my writing has always been to write about people who rise up out of tragedy and adversity in hope, faith, and love. I hope these stories depict such strength and inspiration.

Just to pique your interest a bit further, here’s a rough summary for The Red Bird in the Tower (A League of Extraordinary Women, #2).

Brooklyn, New York

Spring, 1948

Katya Rakovich has survived the worst of times. Hoping to begin fresh with her young son, she has worked and fought her way across the ocean to the land of the free. Following her husband’s instructions, she finds a small boardinghouse in a quiet neighborhood in Brooklyn where she hopes her new life can actually begin and the past can finally remain where it belongs. In the past.

Michael Donaghue has known his share of suffering and he lives with the painful memories of the war every day. But when the mysterious Russian redhead moves into his aunt’s boardinghouse with her toddler son, he starts to think life might be giving him a second chance after all. There’s something about Katya that stirs life inside him like nothing else since the war ended. But she’s keeping secrets. Secrets about her life before and during the war and, especially, about her husband Alexei Rakovich.

As her relationship with Michael intensifies, Katya realizes that some secrets cannot remain buried and in order to give her heart to him she needs to tell Michael everything. About the event that changed her life and the love she can barely speak of.

But most importantly, she must tell him about the Stalingrad sniper called the Red Bird.

The Red Bird in the Tower will ring more of historical romance than just historical fiction, but what I love about this book is its structure. We will jump into the past and relive Katya’s story as she’s telling it to Michael somewhere at the halfway point in the book. So, in the end, this is two love stories in one book. I’m very excited to finish this book and am crossing my fingers it works on the page the way it seems to be working in my head.

You will also get to revisit a character from The Good German Girl in this second novel, but to avoid spoilers, I’m not going to tell you who. 😉

This entire series is shaping up to be so precious to me and Book 3 is already in the works as I feel the end of Book 2 approaching. I can’t wait to share more with you as I continue this writing journey for this series and hope The Good German Girl will capture your heart and encourage you to read the rest of the books!

Don’t forget to add The Good German Girl to your 2021 reading list! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55674241-the-good-german-girl

Happy New Year!

Contracts, Editing, & Endorsements!

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it! (Heehee 😉 )

On Monday October 12th I signed a brand new contract with Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. for my World War II series, A League of Extraordinary Women! Which means Book One, The Good German Girl (which I have talked about multiple times over the past year), will be coming your way in 2021!

This is truly a blessing to me and I have found myself randomly crying almost every day over this. 2020 has been a hard year for all of us. My anxiety and depression has been through the roof lately which has made me more introverted and more detached from life, especially lately. When my sweet publisher reached out to me to ask me why I was thinking of indie publishing my series, my response to her was:

“I don’t have an agent anymore and it’s more general market with faith elements, I’m not sure it will fit your criteria.”

Her answer:

“You’re one of ours. Send me chapters and we’ll see.”

For someone who was feeling down and alone and who was struggling to write day by day, these words lifted me up in ways I can’t even describe. I felt like I belonged and that my talent for storytelling wasn’t at an all-time low as I thought. I also knew that even if she didn’t find my book to be a good fit, I’d been wonderfully uplifted from the darkness I’d been struggling through.

And now, I’m looking forward to the editing process! The Good German Girl should be coming your way early to mid 2021 (no official release date yet but hopefully soon!) and I can’t wait! This book is so dear to me. I put in hours–even days–of research, reading story after story about the experiences of survivors of Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Digging deep into the dark and twisted mind of Josef Mengele. This book has a permanent, solid hold on my heart and I am so happy I get to share it with you in a few months!

Editing always makes me nervous, of course, but it’s a good nervous. I’m so excited to hear what my editor thinks of the story and to iron out all the flaws between the lines. You’ll probably be hearing from me as I cry and laugh my way through this next, long process. But like every other time, I know that all my tears will be worth it in the end.

One of my missions with this book was to show two very different perspectives of World War II. I wanted to include the journey of an American soldier from Omaha Beach to Germany, while also giving a peek into Berlin. But bringing this soldier and this German girl together? That was the real challenge and I absolutely loved conquering it! Margot and Bernie became so real to me as I wrote this story. They are my favorites and I hope they’ll be yours too!

Anxious for a little bit more detail? Here’s a brief (rough) overview of the novel:

When battle-hardened Private Bernie Russell witnesses a fellow soldier shoot a young German boy with his hands up point blank on the treacherous shores of Omaha Beach, he’s shaken to his very core. Then, as that same boy is dying he presses a packet of photographs and letters into Bernie’s hand and utters three words in English.

It must end.

After having the letters translated, he discovers they were written by the dead boy’s twin sister and the photographs within the packet reveal evidence of Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jews.

In Berlin, Margot Raskopf is a young art teacher, forced to conform to the education Hitler has designed. Then, when one of her sources with the underground resistance receives a letter for her from an American soldier telling her how her brother was killed, she’s shocked, and filled with renewed hope. But Margot has been harboring a secret. In her house, she hides a young Jewish woman she’s known since childhood, risking being discovered by the gestapo with each passing day.

As they begin a dangerous correspondence, both Margot and Bernie embark on treacherous journeys. One taking Bernie across Europe and right into Germany. Another taking Margot through the gates of Auschwitz … and under the scrutiny of Josef Mengele.

Now, before I say goodbye, I’d like to announce that I’m getting a head start on my endorsements! Editing is about to begin, but if you’re an author and you think you might be interested in reading and writing an endorsement for The Good German Girl, please private message me here or on Facebook! I’m being proactive so I don’t wait until the last minute (like I’ve done in the past, lol).

Thank you for stopping by!

The Romance Authors Who Inspire Me

So why Romance? What made me make the switch?

Before, I didn’t think Romance was much of an option for me. Because I realized, if I was going to do Romance, I was going to run with it to a level that people wouldn’t expect from me. I was worried for a very long time about being judged for that, so I avoided writing romance.

But no more!! I am so excited to be writing romance. I have a ton of ideas bottled up in this brain of mine and I can’t wait to share them with you. Now, I’d like to talk about some of the romance authors who have inspired me over the years. These authors went a long way in my making this switch, urging me with each page of their beautiful works to begin my journey toward the Romance genre.

As most of you know, my library was limited for a very long time to Christian Fiction. However, a few years ago, I decided to pick up a few books from the general market. And which category did I pick? Romance, of course. 😉

First, let’s talk about the Romance author who taught me what passion could look like on the page. That would be, of course, Christian author and one of my favorites, Julie Lessman. Reading her novels, Julie taught me so much about the romance genre. She was the first author who taught me that putting passion on the page could be meaningful and beautiful and have a real purpose. She turns up the heat while also weaving faith and hope throughout.

Now, we all know that every genre has their Queen (or King in some cases). For me? The Queen of Contemporary Romance is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The first novel I pickedSEP Books up from a general market publisher was It Had to Be You. Then, I discovered it was the first book of a series so, of course, I had to read the rest! The Chicago Stars series absolutely blew me away and opened up a whole new world to me. The depth of feeling, the authenticity, of It Had to Be You was like nothing I’d ever experienced before and had me laughing, crying, and bubbling with excitement for more!

 

 

In keeping with my love of Historical Fiction, the second novel (or I should say series) I picked up from a general market publisher, was Elizabeth Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers seriesI have since read her Princes Trilogy, Maiden Lane series, and am looking forward to her Greycourt series! Her variety of characters, unique style, and her ability to draw you into a story has been a source of inspiration for me for the past four years and I am thrilled to call myself a fan of hers!

Another favorite who inspires me to mix humor and spice, Tessa Dare! My reading journey with Tessa began with the first novel of her Castles Ever After series Romancing TD Booksthe Duke. Tessa has had me in stitches on more than one occasion and every time I hear of a new release, I am right there pressing the pre-order button! These Regency era romances are true gems, mixing humor and passion in the most brilliant of ways. Without a doubt, Tessa will remain one of my top favorites in the Romance genre!

 

 

Now, on to two new-to-me authors!

I am a new fan of Sarah MacLean. After reading the first book in her Scandal & Scoundrel trilogy, I was hooked. I ate up the other two and immediately went online to purchase a whole bunch more! Let me just say, of the three books of her Scandal & Scoundrel series, book 3, The Day of the Duchess, was my favorite! That book was like a T&S Books 2punch to the gut (which is one of the marks of a great author, by the way!). I had a lump in my throat for most of it and I absolutely LOVED the ending!

Another new-to-me author is the amazing Talia Hibbert! I am still reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown and I am absolutely enchanted. This author’s ability to create characters you instantly love from the very first page is phenomenal. I have never read anything like this before in Contemporary Romance and I am racing through GALCB so I can move on to book 2, Take a Hint, Dani Brown!

 

Unlocking the chains I put around my own wrists, I have opened a whole new world to myself in the writing world. I am no longer afraid to write my stories the way I see them–no longer looking for ways to cut or edit around things I think people might judge me for. How people react–love or hate or disapproval–is up to them!

I came to realize that nothing I do will ever be considered perfect. While my crazy, OCD brain sometimes freaks out over the possibility that I will appear less than perfect–that I will receive a lack of understanding and judgment for human mistakes I make–I have to write what makes me happy. I have to write what makes my heart soar and makes the butterflies in my stomach run wild!

These authors went a long way to helping me discover this freedom.

 

Next Up: Ready for Romance? A Peek into My New WIP …

Coming August 8th!