Too Perfect?

Have you ever run away from something or someone because it felt too right?  Maybe too perfect?  If so, Julia can definitely relate!  In her 28 years, she had been dealt a poor hand when it comes to relationships so the possibility of any guy – let alone one who seems so right her – has her running in the opposite direction.

Today, I’m sharing another one of my favorite quotes from The Other Side of Later.  This one especially really gives the reader insight into Julia’s mind.


If you’d like to read more about Julia’s story, checkout The Other Side of Later on Amazon for only 99¢

High School Ideals

One of my favorite parts of the spring is seeing the local high school seniors prepare for graduation and their end of the year festivities.  I smile when I see a limo pull up across the street and a line of 17 and 18 year olds dressed in long gowns and tuxedos piling into the fancy car.  A pang of nostalgia hits me as I drive past my old high school and I see chairs lining the football field in preparation for commencement ceremonies.  I remember the excitement well.  The future held endless possibilities as my friends and I prepared to head off to college in fall.  We each had our vision of what our lives would hold.  Of course, as time goes on, everyone knows that life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned.  One of my favorite lines from The Other Side of Later is from a conversation between Julia and Drew.  I hope you enjoy this sneak peek!


“You know why I said yes when you called that first night?”  He looked at me.  “When we were in that gazebo, the conversation was so cathartic.  I feel like I have so much baggage from the past 10 years, but when we talked, it was like it didn’t matter that my life took a different route than I had planned.  I was curious of why I felt different it in that gazebo.”

“And then you realized who I was and reality struck?”  He asked.

It would have been easy to say yes to that question.  Drew may have been offended, but he would have left me alone.  However, I was on a roll with the truth.  “No, reality struck, but it wasn’t because I with you.  It was because all of a sudden I realized you understand how I feel every day.  The ideas and ideals that we have in our 18 year old heads when we graduate from high school are hardly realistic.  Julia Merina, single mom at 28?”  I let out a slight laugh and shook my head.  “It certainly wasn’t what I pictured 10 years ago.  But it’s a fact of my life.  Some people understand that life doesn’t work out the way you planned and some don’t.  You get it.”  I paused for a split second again and looked at Drew.  There was compassion in his eyes, but he said nothing so I continued.  “Anyway, it hit me all at one.  I realized I was dating again.  Before we had dinner at the Shellfish, I hadn’t been on a date since Carson was born.  Everything felt real.”

“And that’s bad?”

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

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¢!

Who are your favorite indie authors?

Good morning and Happy Valentine’s Day!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been researching and trying to find new ways to market and promote my book.  As always, I find that self-publishing isn’t for the faint of heart!  (Well, I already knew that!)  But I also found that the most successful indie authors were able to reach a lot of readers and built their success on reviews.  So I started thinking that while I’m still trying to find the best way to reach potential readers, I want to help fellow indie authors too.  I’m going to start reading at least one book by an indie author each month and post reviews here on my blog, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Now, here’s where I need help.  Who are your favorite indie authors?  What is your favorite book by an indie author?  I’d love to hear about your favorites as I create my list!

Have a great day!


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¢!

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!

Motivation Monday – A Dream and a Mouse

About a month ago, my family and close friends took a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. We’re all frequent Disney goers, but each trip, leaves me in a little bit of awe. No, I’m not a disillusioned adult that believes all troubles go away with a little pixie dust and a walk down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. But I am a fascinated observer of how one man’s dream transformed into everything that is synonymous with his last name today.

At Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream attraction tells his story.  Mr. Disney was truly an innovator with a vision far ahead of his time.  He saw Disneyland, which opened in Anaheim, CA in 1955 as a clean, family oriented amusement park, as his prototype.  He envisioned something better and bigger so he bought a tract of land in Central Florida. What is now known as Walt Disney World was originally labeled as the Florida Project. He imagined a more efficient city through better planning so he developed the concept of EPCOT – Environmental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. EPCOT was Mr. Disney’s focus of the Florida Project.

Sadly, Mr. Disney passed away before the Florida Project was created, and the EPCOT he envisioned was never developed.  However, Walt Disney World was built with the philosophies of Walt always in mind.  From its opening day in 1971 through today, visitors from around the world are welcomed into a world with clean streets and walkways, transportation with efficiency second to none, and innovations on the cutting edge of today’s technological advances.

So what am I getting at? Is this just a post about my fascination with Walt Disney? No, I have a point. There have been so many highs and lows on this writing and self-publishing adventure. Days when I have a few hours I can dedicate to writing and the words just flow onto paper, I get such a rush! I feel I’m doing what I’m meant to do. Or times when I read a positive review about The Other Side of Later, I beam from ear to ear for hours. But not all days can be that great. Like all things in life, I have to take the good with the bad. The rejections from review sites and the slow and somewhat frustrating self-publishing marketing process have been grueling some days.

It’s those days – the really frustrating ones – that I think about Mr. Disney.

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”      – Walt Disney

So as walked down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and had pixie dust in my hair, I looked straight ahead at Cinderella’s Castle and the statue of Walt Disney holding Mickey Mouse’s hand. I thought about a man from the Midwest, who had a sketch of a mouse and a dream. And then I looked at my surroundings and I realized I was standing in the middle of that man’s dream.


When days get frustrating, I think of that moment. I look at this picture. And I remember if I can dream it, I can do it.

What’s your motivation?

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.

A run down memory lane…

One of my favorite passages to write in The Other Side of Later was the running scene in Chapter 3. Julia runs through Sea Grass on a familiar route, and as she tries to ease the tension of her workday, she relishes in the memories she finds along the path. Like Julia, each time I lace up my sneakers and go for a run up and down the same streets I have since high school, I feel comfort. There’s a normalcy that keeps me grounded.

Change is a part of life. And in this crazy world, where change is constant, it’s nice to know some things stay the same.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 3 of The Other Side of Later.

My sneakers ran on automatic pilot down a familiar path on Oak Street towards Veterans Park. After college, Aaron and I settled in my small hometown, whose Jersey Shore charm is undeniable while its name — Sea Grass— is unoriginal at best. Years ago, before the town became a suburb of Atlantic City, a majority of the area along the bay was covered with sea grass. As the story goes, fishermen, who used the area for crabbing, would refer to the track of land as Sea Grass. Through the years, as more people settled in the vicinity, the name stuck. While the name may have seemed generic and like any other small shore town, there were memories down every street and around every corner. Oak, the main street through town, appropriately name for the tall oaks that lined both sides, hosted the annual Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades. Each summer the bay front properties line with shops and restaurants were invaded by tourists or shoebies as us permanent Jersey Shore residents called them. This was home to me.

The late August humidity was oppressive. The air felt heavy. It was like a snowsuit clung to my legs with every stride. As I reached the bike path surrounding the park, the sun disappeared behind clouds rolling in from the west. The shade was a welcome change and helped take my mind off of the heat so I could enjoy the peacefulness of the park.

I felt the built up tension from work gradually disappear as I hit my stride. I was about halfway around the loop when I felt a large drop of rain hit my forehead. I closed my eyes for a moment and hoped that I imagined it. As three more large drops hit my face and arms, I knew it wasn’t my imagination so I quickened my pace in an effort to beat the worst of the storm. I was over a mile away from my house so as the rumble of thunder got louder, I realized it would be a losing battle. Within seconds, I was in the middle of a complete downpour. Multiple lightning strikes illuminated the darkened sky so I sprinted towards the gazebo in the center of the park.

Please check out The Other Side of Later on Amazon!