Simpler Times

Who else is excited for warmer days, brilliant sunshine, and spring weather?  After a little tease of spring back in March, the past few chilly weeks have had me wishing for warmer weather.  When the weather gets warmer, I always start thinking about which books I’m going to toss in my beach bag or load on my Kindle for late spring and eventually summer days on the beach.  As I’ve mentioned before, The Other Side of Later is set in a small town at the Jersey Shore, where the beach is a part of life.  I hope you enjoy this sneak peek!


Some of my favorite childhood memories are from summer days at the beach.  Squawking seagulls, rolling waves, ice cream men ringing their bells from the bulkhead, and lifeguard whistles comprised the soundtrack of my summers growing up.  It may sound rather cliché, but through the craziness of my early 20s, I always found comfort in living – and raising my son – in the same place that held so many good memories for me.  Each time I wiggled my toes in the sand, it took me back to a simpler time.

When my brother, Luke, and I were really young, weekends were family days at the beach.  Our parents, grandparents, neighbors – Mr. and Mrs. Johnson – and their children all congregated at the 17th Street beach by noon and we didn’t dream of rinsing off and packing up until well past 5.  We ate my mom’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, learned to body surf in the ocean with my dad, sat on our grandmother’s lap to get some much needed shade under her umbrella, and somehow, without fail, persuaded my grandfather to dig us a big hole to play in.

As we got older, summer jobs and social lives changed the routine.  Our work schedules didn’t always allow us to be at the beach on the weekends.  We didn’t dig holes and I certainly didn’t body surf once I graduated from one piece suits to bikinis.  Instead of my mom’s peanut butter sandwiches, my friends and I would walk to Loretta’s, the neighborhood diner, for lunch, and breaks from the sun were few and far between as we took turns paddling away from shore in the Johnsons’ ocean kayaks.

The activities changed, but seagulls still squawked, waves still crashed against the sand, ice cream men still ran their bells, and the lifeguards still blew their whistles.  The sounds were exactly the same each time I climbed the steps over the bulkhead and onto the beach.

The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon for only 99¢!


Happy Saturday!  I can’t believe close to three months have passed since I last wrote a blog post!  Between preparing for the holidays, Christmas, and squeezing in time to write book #2, time completely got away from me.  But I’m happy to say that in that time, I was able to hire a talented designer to give The Other Side of Later a makeover!  I’m in love with the new cover!


The Other Side of Later still available for only 99¢ on Amazon!

I promise to be back sooner rather than later! 🙂

Sneak Peek: Halloween in Sea Grass

Throughout middle school and high school, my friends and I would always gather at my best friend’s house after trick-or-treating to swap candy and watch the ridiculously cheesy Halloween specials on TV while our parents and neighbors would gather upstairs around the dining room table. While trick-or-treating was never my favorite thing to do (side note – other than plain chocolate, I’m not a big fan of candy…I know, I know, I’m weird), I always loved Halloween night. It was a tradition that lasted for years, and I always considered it the unofficial end of the early part of fall and the beginning of colder nights and cozier holiday gatherings. Like so many parts of The Other Side of Later, the scene from Halloween night is based, in part, on my own memories. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek of Halloween in Sea Grass!


“A few of the neighborhood kids were in the family room swapping candy and Carson was out like a light in my dad’s recliner… I took a sip of the warm apple cider my mom had made. Since Luke’s freshman year of high school, my parents started having a post trick-or-treating gathering on Halloween night. My parents’ house was decorated to the hilt, but not in the modern commercialized way. It was homey and welcoming for one of mid-fall’s traditions. Jack-o-lanterns glowed on the front porch steps, pumpkin flavored snacks from cheesecake to cookies lined the dining room table, and chocolate wrapped in orange foil filled candy dishes throughout the house, but my favorite was my mom’s homemade warm apple cider simmering in the kitchen.”

The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon for only 99¢!

Let’s Get Real…

For the past several weeks, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out new ways to promote my book, understand why I’m not getting many sales, and accept that the self-publishing venture is not for the faint of heart. While I still may not have all the answers or reasons why, it’s forced me to take a step back and take a look at not only how I’m presenting my work but also how I’m presenting myself. I’ve realized that I’ve only put out little blurbs about The Other Side of Later on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and here on my blog without really trying to open up and connect with my potential readers.

So let’s get real. I’m a very private person. While I’m very sociable among family and close friends, I’m also very reserved and probably perceived as slightly introverted to someone who doesn’t know me. Many times, I keep important things to myself. Day in and day out, I’m a logical and rational person. However, big changes – even good things – can throw me for a loop, and good reason can sometimes be thrown out the window until can wrap my head around it.

Why am I sharing all of this now? First and for most, the characteristics I described in the paragraph above are the reasons why I chose to publish under a pen name. Yes, there was a small part of me that chose to use a pen name because I’m an engineer by day, and the fields of engineering and romance/chick-lit writing are worlds apart, but at the end of the day, I was extremely nervous to put my name on my work. I poured months and months of my heart and soul into it. What if it was bad? What if I shocked everyone I knew? What if people thought of me differently? Those questions scared me. So I decided to publish under a pen name. I’ve never been sorry about my decision. The name has a special connection to my family and childhood, and I know it was the right choice.

It’s really not important whether or not my real name is attached to my work, but I’ve realized that it is important to be more open about myself in order to be successful as a writer. During a long run about 6 years ago, I passed by an old classmate on the bike path, and the premise of The Other Side of Later was born. Julia, the main character, is a lot like me – her childhood, her parents, her hometown. She’s independent, loyal, tenacious, but stubborn. So many of Julia’s reactions and decisions stemmed from answers to the question I kept asking myself “what would I do if I were Julia?” Was I ever in her position? No. But as I created and immersed myself in the fictional but familiar town of Sea Grass, NJ, I put myself in her shoes. The result is my debut novel. It’s truly a piece of me. Now, 6 plus months after I took the plunge and self-published on Amazon, I’m ready to admit it. Hopefully, this is the beginning of me sharing a bit more about myself and connecting with you. If you’re still reading, thanks and I hope to connect with you soon!

Chilly nights & good books…

Fall is one of my favorite times of year.  The crisp air, leaves changing color, football, sweater weather, apple & pumpkin flavored treats, and of course my all time favorite, curling up with a good book on a chilly night!  I love nothing more than cracking the windows, letting the cool breeze in the house, curling up under a blanket, and diving into a new book and meeting new characters.

So to celebrate the beginning of fall, the price of The Other Side of Later has dropped to 99¢.  I hope you add it to your fall reading list and enjoy it at this special price!

The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon.

Labor Day at the Jersey Shore

I know.  I know.  Another post or tweet about the beach or Jersey Shore?  I promise there’s more to me and The Other Side of Later than the little southeastern corner of the Garden State that I love so much.  But it’s Labor Day weekend so you’ll have to let me indulge just one last time for the summer.

Labor Day has always marked the unofficial end of summer at the Jersey Shore.  As a kid, my grandfather would always tell me we were “locking up the beach” for the year when we left on Labor Day.  You’ll find that phrase in The Other Side of Later as well as a scene of Julia and her family and friends celebrating the unofficial end of the summer season on the beach.  It’s very much like the one my family, friends, and I create each and every Labor Day.

I’ve included a little sneak peek of Julia’s Labor Day.  I hope you enjoy it, and more importantly, I hope you enjoy your Labor Day weekend with family and friends as well!

Labor Day on the beach at the Jersey Shore was a little bit of a production. It was the unofficial last day of summer. For years, the regular beach crew would have a little party. Over time, the little party grew into a bit of an extravaganza with close to 25 people. There were plenty of snacks, a cooler of soda, and we ordered subs. When the weather cooperated, it was the perfect time to be on the beach. Early September when all of the shoebies had departed for the summer; only the locals were left to enjoy it.

The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon.

The Meet Cute of Julia & Drew

It’s that time of year when I inevitably don’t want to wish the summer away but the heat and humidity have me dreaming about cooler fall temperatures. It’s also the time of year that birthed the idea for The Other Side of Later. I guess it’s not too hard to fathom considering this is my favorite time of year – late summer beach days and the anticipation of fall and all it has to bring – cooler mornings, crisp air, and colorful leaves.

If I rewind 6 years, there was a hot and humid, August evening when I decided to squeeze in a quick run before thunderstorms swept through. I knew I’d be cutting it close with the dark storm clouds off to the West, but I was certain I had at least 25 minutes for a quick run. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on my side that day. I was about a mile away from my house when the sky opened up and I had to make a very quick dash to find cover.

I’ll be honest. That night I didn’t think too fondly of the run. My sneakers were completely water logged, and I had had to peel off my soaking wet clothes as soon as I came in the front door as my husband tossed me a towel from upstairs. However, the next day, as I thought about how convenient it would have been to have a structure of any kind along the bike path, the premise of Julia and Drew’s meet cute came to me. What if two runners – more specifically, two former classmates – found the same place to take cover during a storm?

From there, the idea for The Other Side of Later took off in my head. I felt like I caught lightning in a bottle. My mind was in overdrive. I couldn’t type fast enough. Idea after idea flowed onto the screen. That being said, there were rewrites on top of rewrites. Some ideas from the early drafts never panned out. But the timing of the book’s opening setting? That never changed. I knew mid-August at the Jersey Shore when heat and humidity is at its worst was the perfect time of year to start the story of Julia and Drew.

So if you’re like me and like to read books that are season appropriate, I think you’ll enjoy The Other Side of Later right now! But don’t worry. It’s not entirely a summer book. There is plenty of fall and holiday fun in the later chapters!

Check out The Other Side of Later on Amazon!

Giveaway…Take 2!

Let’s try this again!  With Memorial Day weekend just a week away, I’m lining up books for my summer reading list.  I’d love for The Other Side of Later to be on yours!  To win an ebook copy, just subscribe to my blog by entering your email on the sidebar of this page, follow me, @DK_Hamilton, on Twitter, and retweet one of my tweets that promotes this giveaway.

The contest ends at 11:59 pm Tuesday, May 19th, and I’ll announce the winner here and on Twitter the evening of Wednesday, May 20th.

Good luck!

Chick Lit Rocks

As I started on this writing journey, I found I could often hear certain songs playing as I wrote particular scenes. To be honest, I didn’t know if it was a common thing for writers or if I was just a little crazy!  However, as I’ve begun to connect with fellow authors, I found, much to my delight, I’m not alone.  Book playlists are a real thing!

I’m so excited to share my playlist for The Other Side of Later.  While a couple of the songs are geared towards a particular scene, most of them just inspired me and really added to the development of the plot.  The Other Side of Later is the story of Julia Merina, who learns just shy of 25, she learns the hard way that life rarely goes according to plan. After the turbulent years of her early 20s, Julia resolved to never trust a man again. That is until Drew Parkington, an old classmate, suddenly comes back into her life. Julia is forced to examine her life and decide if she can let go of the past and learn to trust again.

Fearless – Taylor Swift

Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

Didn’t I – James Wesley

19 You + Me – Dan + Shay

Run – Matt Nathanson (featuring Sugarland)

Fall – Clay Walker

The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Like I’ve mentioned before, so much of me and my life growing up is a part of The Other Side of Later. The appreciation Julia has for her mom, Nancy, is no different than what I have for my own. This short excerpt from Chapter 3 is the truth of how lucky I was (and still am) to have the most selfless and loving mom. I couldn’t think of a better day than today to share it.

“Growing up, my mom was always around. Field hockey games, Sunday School, after school pick-up, help with homework, dropping my friends and I off at the movies – it didn’t matter the occasion; there was never a question of whether or not she would be there. She always was. And not that I ever doubted it would change, but with each day that passed, I appreciated it more and more…I understood how much she had to juggle and balance to do it. At 28, I didn’t need her to drive me around town or teach me long division, but there were days I needed her in ways I never would have imagined, and like always, she was there without me even having to ask.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, grandmoms, godmothers, aunts, and friends. While your work is never done and you’re always on call, I hope you get to enjoy a few moments today with the ones you love most!

The Other Side of Later is available on Amazon.