36 Chapters Fought For

Before I published my debut, when I was writing novels and then abandoning them on some hard drive or another, people would ask me when I was going to do something with one of them. If you're a writer who hasn't published yet, you may have experienced such inquires; and if you're anything like me, your answer is easy. None of them are the one. None of them deserve the effort required for you to champion those stories. You'll know it when you feel  it. When I wrote my debut, I felt it - this was the story I would champion. The Promises We Keep was/is a manifestation of my bravery. It's the evidence of my ambition to chase a dream. It's not perfect - not by a long shot - but I wouldn't change it. The woman who wrote that, the story teller she was, the life she'd lived - she's preserved in those pages. To change it would be to rewrite history. I wouldn't dare.

Today, I am publishing my seventeenth book. Many would tell you this never gets old - that the excitement of it all is never tarnished; or the nerves they feel always creep up on them, as if they've never released a novel before; or even that the pride they harbor and the thrill of watching their book sell never loses its luster.

For me, that's not the case.

Honestly, today - I'll go to work and get carried away with my day and my responsibilities. The anticipation and the rush I used to feel when I released a book - it won't be there. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for people to read this story. I hope people enjoy it! And if anyone is gracious enough to tell me about their experience of reading Cruiz and Hanna's story, I will feel humbled and thankful for their commentary - 'cause that, the magic of my story alive in someone else's imagination, that never - ever - gets old. I can't imagine that it ever well. But for me, the thrill of release day - it doesn't exist. For me, the significance of today is weightier than the hype I used to put into occasions such as this. Today is not about the chase. It's not about reviews or sales or seeing my cover plastered all over social media. I'm not hunting for the spotlight. I'm not hungry for attention. I'm just grateful. So very, humbly grateful. This, my friends, is a dawning of a new era - and I will relish the significance of it all with a quiet toast  and a shout-out to the God who gave me this heart that's stronger than I can take credit for.

You see, while The Promises We Keep is a manifestation of my bravery - Severed is a manifestation of my perseverance. It is proof of my dedication to my passion for words and stories about love. Severed is the evidence of my hard work and my sticktoitiveness. It is hours - days - months of not giving up; of fighting through fatigue; of trudging through the ashes of my old self  in order to write what I wanted, the way I wanted to, without worrying about what everyone else was doing or how I'd measure up. The release of Severed is an accomplishment that means more to me than any fanfare could ever express. It's 36 chapters I fought for. The pages might not be covered in blood, but the mindsets I had to battle against in order to get this story out - I don't even think I can fully appreciate how hard it was, because I lived it; because I was too determined to make it to the end to worry about how difficult the whole process ended up being.

The woman who wrote this story, the story teller I am right now, the journey my writing has taken as I've traversed the path behind me - it is all preserved on these pages, in this book. It might not be perfect, but I sure as hell am proud of it. And while I might not be scouring the internet, wondering if anyone is even interested in it, I will celebrate this day.

I hope you #readsevered. I hope you get lost in the love story I've penned. I hope you feel some sort of connection with Hanna and Cruiz. I hope you fall in love right along with them. And I hope you'll tell me about it. It's as simple as that.