And yes, it’s somewhat related to my books. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about mental health and how therapy has helped me and I just posted my random thoughts on Twitter.
So I thought, I’d share them here too. Because…why not?
Deep breath, here we go.
I ‘m not sure who needs to hear this, but I’ve been thinking about mental health and that I should share my own experience. I was in therapy for 2 years in Germany. I have high-functioning anxiety and needed to deal with a few things on top of that anxiety and/or resulting from that anxiety. I was working full-time, and was gaining more and more responsibility at work. I loved my high-stress job (for the most part), and I was good at it (at least I want to believe so).
One of the reasons I was able to do that much was thanks to therapy. My therapist used Cognitive behavioral techniques.
She gave me the tools I needed. And it wasn’t immediate. And it was a lot of hours. I used to go once a week during my lunch break. Then once every 2 weeks, then once a month. I started because The Chemical Engineer very rightly told me that he couldn’t be my therapist.
I had tried it in the US too while finishing my first Master’s but it didn’t click. And I didn’t look for someone else. I probably should have tried to find a professional then, but I waited a few more years to really invest the time in myself.
Fast-forward four years and I’m back in therapy to deal with all those emotions and fears that come with cancer. I didn’t get therapy in my first cancer center and it’s a pity they didn’t offer it, because I was retreating and didn’t know how to deal with it.
When I started seeing my therapist in January 2018, I was a mess. And she has helped me so so so much. She listens to me and gives me the tools I need to deal with all of that.
The Chemical Engineer even went to a few sessions and it has made such a difference in the way we communicate through this. Therapy has made a big difference in my life. And yet, there still seems to be a stigma attached to it.
Maybe that’s why a lot of the characters in my books go through therapy. It’s not magic. It doesn’t happen overnight. And it can take time to find the right person. But I believe it does help. And if you need it, I really hope you’re able to receive it and seek that help ❤
And here’s a picture of Plato The Dog because that picture always manages to me smile.
Sometimes, you just need to enjoy a piece of cake (or whatever is your equivalent of a piece of cake).
Yesterday when I had that piece of cake it made me smile. Granted the company was also pretty good. Yesterday I cried (I didn’t take a picture of my crying face so cake picture it is not 😋). Yesterday, I was full of hope and my hope kind of got crushed a little. But hope is pretty resilient.
Yesterday I had a PET scan which was kind of mixed. On one side, it showed that the mediastinal lymph node I had before reduced in size & in SUV (activity level), which is wonderful news. On the other side, there are new areas of concern. I haven’t seen the full report yet but based on the discussion with my oncologist, it could actually be inflammation due to the immunotherapy.
I’m currently slated to have two more treatments & then undergo an autologous stem cell transplant (with my own stem cells). This has proven curative in Hodgkin’s. It’s better to have a so-called negative PET scan before undergoing said stem-cell, so I want to get another PET before the actual transplant. I might have to fight my insurance for it (again). I’m grateful cancer is no longer a pre-existing condition, because it would have the potential to make everything harder & honestly, I don’t need that.
Immunotherapy is pretty novel before transplant. It has shown to enhance chemo-sensitivity so crossing my fingers that this sequence helps me. I have to talk to my oncologist (again). I’m very thankful to feel like an integral part of the team. My oncologist listens & listens & listens.
I feel well. I’ve recorded several audiobooks. I work out. I got used to the neuropathy in my feet. I’m writing again and my goal is to ensure my next novel TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT comes out as planned beginning of September (up for pre-order https://amzn.to/2SICKrf 😊)
Yesterday was a whirlwind of emotions. Today I feel better & calmer & happier.
Right now, I’m concentrating on this one step, making sure I’m in the best shape I can & in the best position possible. Right now, I’m thinking of the fun things ahead. Right now, I’m also enjoying the little things & the little moments.
It’s my fifth publishing anniversary or The One With All The Thoughts…First: “The One…” is a reference to Friends’ episodes, I’m not trying to say I’m The One with all the thoughts. That would be a looooot of thoughts 😉 It was either going to be that or It’s my fifth publishing anniversary and I’ll write a blog post if I want to (imagine me singing…or not…you probably shouldn’t, I have a speaking voice :-))
It’s been five years since this picture was taken.
Wow. Five. Years. The Chemical Engineer and I were living in Mainz, in Germany with Peter The Cat. I was working at the European Central Bank as Press Officer. We now live in Maryland with Plato The Dog and Bobbie Voltaire the Cat, where after going back into teaching, I am now writing and narrating. A lot has happened in five years, both publishing and non-publishing wise.
But first, a little or rather big shout-out to my parents who are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary today (June 26th,2019). Forty-five years! And let me just say, it makes my heart full of ❤
Now, when it comes to publishing. In those five years, there has been tears and laughter, total failures and resounding successes.
Some days, I feel like I still have no clue what I’m doing. Others, it feels like I have somewhat of an idea. Publishing has been a roller coaster of emotions. And let me make one thing clear, I am able to do it this way thanks to the Chemical Engineer. I definitely don’t make enough for us to live off my writing. And I’m very grateful he still believes in me after five years.
Five years ago, I published ONE, TWO, THREE…
When I published One, Two, Three, I thought it was going to be an instant bestseller.
You know the kind…even though I since realized that many (maybe most; I’m not sure since I don’t have any hard data) of the overnight successes had actually been in the making for decades.
Anyways, I believed I would wake up the morning of the launch and thousands of copies would have sold. I would be hitting all bestseller lists. Producers would be calling me, begging me to adapt the story for TV. Bookstores would ask me to stock it because people would be asking for it.
On the first day, it sold less than the number of my Facebook friends. Way less. Way way less. And nobody contacted me to adapt it for TV.
But I am still writing and I am still publishing and I am still selling copies of One, Two, Three today. And someone made fan art from the story!
Plus. the French translation got picked up as my option book with a French publisher.
It was retitled VIVRE, AIMER, DANSER… I love that cover!
And I still receive emails from readers who tell me how Natalya’s story has moved them, and how it has helped them somehow, and how much they loved getting to know her and Antonio, and Becca, and James.
Since I published One, Two, Three, I published one novelette (One Dream Only – Natalya’s story 0.5), one novella (A Summer Like No Other – Em & Nick #1) and four novels (Always Second Best, Em & Nick #2, Love in B Minor, Fear Me Fear Me Not and See Me See Me Not).
I went to writer’s retreats with talented writers and amazing human beings ❤
I participated in several authors’ events, and shared the stage with NYT bestseller authors and so many talented authors.
I signed a guitar!
I was featured in the Baltimore Sun.
Recently, I got my first BookBub promotion for FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT. I’ve been trying for 5 years to get a BookBub 🙂 and I loved what they did for the promotion and how well it worked!
Some of my books are even available in audiobook! Like LOVE IN B MINOR which has been gathering wonderful reviews!
I started producing my own audiobooks, like LA PEUR DANS LE SANG (and soon UN SEUL REVE).
I started narrating other people’s books, like this Learning French audiobook.
As well as other audiobooks for which I use a pen name…;-)
During that time, I also got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (in October 2017). After finding out that I needed to change treatments, I also organized an auction to benefit non-profits who help young adults with cancer. I was blown away by the amount of support I received from the publishing community for the Let’s Do Something Good auction! I mean I even got a signed book from Jenna Fischer! And she retweeted me and tweeted me directly!
I am back in treatment now and it’s not necessarily easy (for many reasons) yet easier (in other ways), but let me tell you: the book I currently have on pre-order, TRUST ME TRUST ME NOT, means a lot to me.
I can’t tell if I love one of my books more than the other, but I can tell you that writing Lacey and Hunter has been cathartic in a lot of ways. Being able to write has been emotional and hard and easy at the same time. Writing always is, but having Lacey trying to move forward, not knowing if she really can has been hitting a spot.
During these past five years, I didn’t reach a point where both The Chemical Engineer and I and our four-legged friends (see pictures below because how cute are they :-)) could live from my income. I loss some (especially at the beginning), I gained some (I actually make profits from my writing now, whoop whoop!).
I still dream of getting contacted by a producer. So if you’re a producer reading this, don’t hesitate 😉
But most importantly, I am grateful I get to write those stories in my head. Writing helps keeping me balanced even when it’s hard and frustrating, I find that it helps me.
I am grateful to my family and friends and everyone who helps me and cheers me on along the way (my talented and generous writer friends, photographer, cover designers, translators, editors and more).
And I’m especially grateful to my wonderful husband (who did get a Best Husband Of The Year Award last year or was it two years ago? :-)). Sometimes I have the feeling that I should do more, try more ways to sell more books (and I do), but even when The Chemical Engineer asks me for Excel sheets for the business side (and full disclosure: we bicker ;-)), I know he believes in me. And that means the world.
And I’m grateful to YOU, dear reader, for taking a chance on my books…and for loving the characters as much as I do ❤
This is my first pre-order campaign. Ever. And I’d like to thank Erin Bowman for her amazing insight on how to organize a pre-order campaign.
I can’t believe I’m almost ready to release SEE ME, SEE ME NOT. It’s another of those books that has been simmering for awhile and all the flavors have finally taken 🙂
I’m so excited to share this book with you all, and I want to give a little something to everyone who pre-orders an e-copy. INTERNATIONAL READERS are welcome to join this campaign and will not only receive the swag but also be entered to win the
And yes, I mean EVERYONE. (Well, at least while supplies last.)
If you preorder SEE ME, SEE ME NOT by August 28th, I’ll send you a swag pack including:
» 1 SEE ME, SEE ME NOT bookmark
» 1 SEE ME, SEE ME NOT stickers (selection made at random, image may vary)
Here’s a peek at the front and back of the bookmark, and the stickers…
PLEASE NOTE: I have different quantities of bookmarks and stickers, and they will only be available while supplies last. This means the sooner you preorder and fill out the form, the better chance you have of getting all three! (I’ll probably run out of stickers long before I run out of bookmarks.)
Once the contest closes, I’ll randomly draw runner-up and grand-prize winners!
In addition to the swag pack, FIVE runner-up winners will receive:
» a limited edition signed print of the SEE ME, SEE ME NOT cover (roughly 6” x 11”)
And in addition to the swag pack, ONE grand-prize winners will receive the following bundle:
» a limited edition signed print of SEE ME, SEE ME NOT’s cover (roughly 6” x 11”)
» a signed paperback copy of SEE ME, SEE ME NOT
» a signed copy of Katy Upperman’s debut: KISSING MAX HOLDEN
» a signed copy of FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT
» A flying pig charm! 🙂 Winged Pig pendant charm with hand stamped initial letter charm on high quality key ring or bangles or bracelet or stainless steel chain (Etsy)
» $10 gift card (to Amazon or B&N, winner’s choice)
Preorder SEE ME, SEE ME NOT by 11:59 PM ET on August 28th and fill out the form below. No really, that’s it! Simply fill out the form letting me know you’ve ordered your copy, and you’re guaranteed a swag pack while supplies last, as well as a chance to win the runner-up or grand-prize. I’m not requiring a proof of purchase for swag packs, but I will ask to see your receipt if your name is drawn as a runner-up or grand prize winner, so hold on to it! Again, this is open internationally
Here’s the form to enter. If it doesn’t load for some reason, click here.
Try as they might…
SEE ME NOT,
Tessa and Luke can’t escape their past
OH MY…You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to show you this cover…they’re the perfect Luke & Tessa.
Luke and Tessa.
I know I’m not supposed to have favorites but their connection is so strong and their chemistry is pretty off the charts too. They have their issues (pretty big ones…like a sister who disappeared and a past that doesn’t want to let go) but the way they grow closer and trust one another is…<3 ❤ ❤
Six years ago, Tessa Gardner’s sister, Mellie, disappeared. Despite lingering guilt and the never ending desire to find her, seventeen-year-old Tessa works hard to keep it together. But when her childhood crush, seventeen-year-old Luke Simon, rolls back into her small Texan town, he threatens to topple the delicate balance she created. She’s drawn to him—and the way he makes her smile. He’s the only one who seems to understand her, but he’s got a dark past of his own. Even the fake psychics who swear Mellie is still alive tell Tessa that Luke will cause her pain.
Luke Simon knows a thing or two about guilt. He moved in with his uncle to escape his past, but memories threaten to eat him alive. He does what he can to keep his anger in check—quieting his thoughts by making out with one meaningless girl after the next. Tessa, and her long legs and her hard-earned smiles and her kindness is the only girl who’s ever mattered. She’s the one untainted memory he has from his childhood and he could talk to her for hours. He could do anything with her for hours. But the truth about his past might send her running. Or worse.
While Tessa and Luke try their hardest to live in the present, their pasts lurk in the shadows, more intertwined than they could imagine. When the bodies of the fake psychics are found, Tessa realizes that the truth about what happened to Mellie is right around the corner—and it may be too late to save her sister—and herself.
On Wednesday, the French translation of my novel A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER comes out again in paperback. But this time, it is published by Dreamland (City Editions). They publish Jessica Sorensen too (I’m still pinching myself over this fact :))
That makes me a so-called hybrid author: self-published and traditionally published. I don’t regret my decision to self-publish one bit. However, I don’t deny that knowing two of my books are going to be available in bookstores is giving me a happy fluttery feeling.
Look –> it’s my book on the site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France 🙂
A bit less than a year ago, I received an email from City Editions asking me if I’d like to have the French versions of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER and ALWAYS SECOND BEST in bookstores in France.
I didn’t believe it was real at first. I thought it might be a service someone was offering but nope, they were a serious publishing house and they wanted my books. I signed a contract. I got an advance. Everything was real.
You have no idea what it did to me when I read in the contract a clause about possibly being picked up by France Loisirs in the future. France Loisirs is my youth. It’s a subscription service with so many amazing books and just a lot of memories of going to their stores too sometimes to choose the book I would get. Someone else might pick up my book one day after perusing the store or their catalog for hours. And that makes me happy.
But even if that doesn’t happen, my book, my words…are going to be available in bookstores. Fnac, Cultura, Decitre, local bookstores…even Leclerc. Who knows maybe I’ll also see it at Cora, the store I used to work at as cashier during part of my studies?
And I’m grateful.
To City Editions for reaching out to me. To the translator of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER & ALWAYS SECOND BEST, Edith Girval who is simply oh so talented. To everyone who’s read the books already which probably gave me the exposure needed to be seen. To my family and friends for their unwavering support. To my husband, who is every bit as excited about this as I am and who’s so proud of me.
Tomorrow is the day I become a hybrid author. And trust me, when we go to France in a few weeks, I’ll be walking into a bookstore and might shed a tear holding my book in my hands.
Tomorrow is also the day I’m going to reveal the cover of my next book, SEE ME, SEE ME NOT (with a bunch of fun things and giveaways planned). Stay tuned…
I cannot believe this! FEAR ME, FEAR ME NOT is out in the world.
I love love love Dimitri and Erin. I love their story. I cried and I laughed while writing it. And I hope you enjoy their story too. You can get it in e-book and paperback here.
Oh and there’s a book trailer 🙂 It’s the first time I use a book trailer 🙂
Let me know what you think!
Releasing a story in the world is still this incredible mix of exciting and anxiety. On Tuesday, I woke up at 2 a.m. to finalize a few things…and it seemed surreal knowing that Dimi and Erin would soon be in your hands. 🙂 Surreal and amazing.
Thank for your reading! I’m very grateful for all of you!