Dear Diary: May 2015

two stacked Polaroid retro frames on wood texture

knew that April and May were going to be among the hardest months of my life, but still: living them has tested me.

I bought my house at the end of April; immediately, we started fixing it up, painting, cleaning, etc., preparing for new floors and new construction. The new carpet went in upstairs. The new wood floor went in on the main floor. The renovations began on the basement. Then I moved in.

It. is. a. mess.

The living room has all of the furniture and boxes crammed into half of the room so that the contractor has room to work on the walls on the other side. We can’t unpack, so we live mostly upstairs in our bedrooms (which, to be honest, my bedroom looks AMAZING). But it’s still tough. But it’s coming along. Slowly but surely. Monday the living room walls will be finished, and we can finally “move in.” I can’t wait.

My editor keeps apologizing to me that she hasn’t sent my editorial letter yet for Mill City Heroes, but I’m actually relieved and grateful for the rest and reprieve! If I had her revisions back right now, I think my stress would go through the roof. And my new house has such a nice, new roof. LOL.

I also taught a class this month on querying. It went SO WELL. I’m very pleased with the feedback!

So, I’m plodding away. Day by day. I love the new house and I can clearly see its potential, and that carries me. Also, I’m nervous about revisions to MCH, but not panicked. So far. I hope that holds. I hope I have learned a lot from the last year of therapy!

I miss blogging and am going to be re-entering that world in June. I can’t wait till this house is done so I can show you all pictures!

Everyone leave me an encouraging comment. I could sure use them.

Sorry this post was so scattered. That’s my life these days.

(More) Truest Around the Web!

Great review from Brooks Editorial here! “You guys, this book ripped me apart. (In good ways, like all the best books do.)” 

The view from Goodreads:

“Beautifully written and intriguing! Westlin’s story was one I couldn’t put down and didn’t want to end. And, Silas Hart just might be the most enigmatic and enchanting book boy since Augustus Waters.”

“Beyond her beautiful characters and amusing dialogue, Sommers’ story is relevant and raw in the best possible way. Sommers embraces some of life’s greatest and most difficult questions with untold grace and poise.”

“Truest is not your average teenage love story, it’s so much more. Both thought provoking and amusing, Silas and West will take you through a summer filled with crazy antics, friendship, love, sorrow, forgiveness, and growth. Don’t miss this wonderful trip to Green Lake.”

“If love and pain are two sides of the same coin, Truest is the mint. Sommers perfectly & precariously balances the two with masterful storytelling, rich symbolism, and gutwrenching honesty.”

“It was romantic, sad, moving, hopeful, and haunting all in one.”

“The characters are repeatable, dynamic, and make you want to move to Green Lake to discuss faith, love, and loss with your new friends.”

Truest 3d jpg

There’s No Good Time To Move, Is There?

Moving is always going to be a hassle, an interruption, an inconvenience. I’m trying to remind myself of that.

Of course, moving into a home that is still being renovated is a whole new level of hell.

But no. The truth is that I’ve been through hell, and this isn’t even close. Perspective, Jackie.

How are you, friends? I’ve missed you guys this month. Tell me what you’re looking forward to this summer!

Thoughts on Freedom of Various Kinds

I moved yesterday. All went quite well.

I first moved into my old apartment in 2008, right as I started to write Lights All Around, my first novel. Those walls have seen so much, including complete and utter breakdowns, my experience with ERP therapy, the writing of Truest, and the writing of first drafts of two other novels. (Whoa– I wrote four novels in seven years? Sheesh. Had not thought of it like that before.)

The new house is still undergoing renovations, and it’s all a big old mess, but it’s my mess that I own, and I love it. I can see its potential so clearly, and I’m so happy.

Moving means packing and unpacking, and that means finding a million lost things in the dark corners. I’ve found so many things– journals, stories, etc.– that show so clearly the pain of and enslavement to my OCD. Today I read a journal entry dated 2006 that said something to the effect of, “I am still the pot who asks the Potter, ‘Why did you make me this way?’ I wonder if I will ever know. I wonder if I will ever experience freedom.”

I want to tell that girl, Two more years. Hold on.

Of course, that’s my past. I know so much more now, nine years after that journal entry was written. I have joy and freedom and a book deal with HarperCollins. I did the hard work of ERP therapy and reaped all the benefits of it– a whole different life. So, I don’t need to say that to my past self; instead, I will say it to you, you who are enslaved to your own obsessive-compulsive thoughts, who are lost and in slavery to OCD, who wonder if there is a point to it all or if you will ever see the light again:

Hold on. There is freedom available. Hope. Joy. Light. You can learn about ERP therapy here. I pray it will be the key that unlocks your prison, just as it unlocked mine in 2008. Today I find purpose in my past of OCD; I find happiness in daily life; I find freedom– or freedom has found me. Thank you, God.

How fitting to be reminded of my freedom on Memorial Day weekend. I am grateful, so grateful, for every freedom. I remember.

Big Questions

red shoe truest

What’s your worldview? I know that’s a big question. In Truest, the characters think of life in terms of Story.

Pin it:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/404057397794922477/

Click to tweet: In @jackieleawrites’s novel #Truest, the characters think of life in terms of Story. #worldview #deepthoughts #YAlit 

Summer’s Last Hurrah

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Growing up, how did you mourn the end of summer? In Truest, the small town of Green Lake has a street dance the last Friday before Labor Day. In my hometown, we used to have a Labor Day pig roast– I hated having to go home early because we had school the next morning!

Pin it:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/404057397794922475/

Click to tweet: “Outside, it had started to rain—soft and almost musical, and still somehow warm.” #Truest

Silver Lining

I had a rough day.

The flooring of my choice threatened to fall through and I had to scramble over to a flooring warehouse to look at other options– which I hated– and then had to make an executive decision without any input.

Also, some rough feedback from my editor.

But here’s the thing: no panic.

My heart didn’t race. My stomach didn’t tie itself in excruciating knots. My world didn’t end.

I thought: I’ll deal with it. I’ll figure it out. It will turn out okay.

If this seems small to you, you haven’t been around this blog long. 🙂

I declare a victory.

Book Review: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Ahhh! Love this review!

Kaleigh Walter Revisions

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I don’t often read a book in day. I’m a slow reader by nature, so when I do devour a book in twenty-four hours, you can guarantee that I found the story absolutely magical. These addictive books pull me in and make me forget about reality. For their pages are filled with characters I can’t let go of and worlds I continue dreaming about for days, weeks, years (cough…Harry Potter). Truest was one of these books.

In fact, I was on a weekend writing retreat when I started to read Truest. And instead of working on my own novel, which was the entire purpose of the retreat, I kept wondering about Sommers’ characters and what would happen to them. I kept reading, kept going back to Sommers’ world.

Truest tells the story of teenager Westlin Beck, a pastor’s kid, whose life is turned around when a bright and…

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