only just begun

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Holy meatball sandwiches, you guys. The past (nearly) two weeks have been a nonstop whirlwind of excitement, ambition, surprise, and more gratitude than my heart can contain. I've said before that writing with the goal of being published (but not yet being published) can feel very isolating at times and it's so true. If you're lucky, you have a small, but dedicated group of loved ones and beta readers cheering you on, but at the end of the day, it's a lot of work with very limited feedback. You can feel like you're on the right track, but when you're faced with rejection after rejection, it starts to wear you down. You start to wonder if the track ever actually leads anywhere.

The decision to self-publish IT FALLS APART wasn't an easy one for me to make, and I still find myself wondering if I've taken a huge misstep, but I'm starting to worry less about that because apparently, people are reading it, and as far as I can tell, they're liking it. And with over 3.5k views and hundreds of subscribers (people who WANT to be notified when a new chapter comes out so they can keep reading), this is the first time since I signed with my extremely awesome agent years ago that I've felt like I've accomplished a little more of what I set out to do. Obviously, this isn't it as in goal accomplished. I still want an editor to fall in love with my writing, my books, to take a chance on me the way I've decided to take a chance on myself. But...people are reading one of my books. And based on the numbers, it's no longer just friends and family. It's strangers. It's people who aren't only reading because they know me. It's people who seem to be enjoying my characters, my voice, this story I hope both touches and entertains. It's an incredible thing. And it's far from over.

If you've been reading IT FALLS APART, even if you just checked it out and haven't continued, THANK YOU. From the very bottom of my heart. Your support means so much, I can't possibly express it. Working in publishing, I know writing novels is far from a get-rich-quick scheme. Most writers don't make enough to quit their day job. Many never will. That's not why they write. That's not why *I* write. I write because there are stories in my heart. It's full of characters, jokes, arguments, heartache, confusion, passion, and beauty. I write because I want to put that out in the world. I write because I want to share it with people who might read it and say, "Yes, this. I can relate to this." That's why reviews often mean more to authors than sales. Writers don't seek fame and fortune. They seek voices who've read us and feel compelled to say, "Yes. Yes to all of this." 

I'm hoping to have more concrete details to share with you all soon regarding the e-book release of IT FALLS APART. As we get closer to that date (it will be in late June), I can promise an exciting new cover reveal, more fun teasers and excerpts (for those who haven't had a chance to read on Radish--or just need a little reminder of why they probably want to own the e-book too), more behind-the-scenes tidbits about my process in writing the book (storyboards and inspiration), and maybe even a giveaway or two :) Self-publishing this book has been a very big deal for me, and I want to find ways to share that with you guys. 

For now, I'll leave you with a little tidbit about where the title, IT FALLS APART, comes from:

It's a phrase that felt right the first time it popped into my head, very early on in the writing process. Not "She Falls Apart" or "Falling Apart", but "It Falls Apart". It had to be "it" because it's more than just this girl navigating this messy, forbidden romance. It's Harper's entire young adult life. Her future plans, her home life with Nan, her understanding of the past, her friendship with Chloe. These are all things she's carefully crafted and cared for--until an unexpected and earthshattering attraction to a boy sweeps everything out from under her feet. But there's more to the phrase than that. There's a reason it popped into my head in the first place. There's a Canadian rock band called Odds who released a song back in 1993 called--you guessed it--IT FALLS APART. It's a catchy tune, a bit of an earworm, and it came out at a time when my own young adult heart was beating to a profoundly memorable soundtrack. Long story short, it's one of many songs that made an impression and the lyrics are kinda perfect, even if the video is so 1993 it hurts ;) 

how to radish on release day

Hello, my lovelies! As I announced yesterday, my YA contemporary romance, IT FALLS APART, is making its pre-release debut on an app called Radish THIS EVENING at 7PM. So, what is Radish and how can you find my book on there?

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Simply put, Radish is a free-to-download fiction reading app that launched a few years back which enables users to read books in little bite-sized "episodes". It's great for when you’re looking to kill a little time on your commute (assuming you’re not driving) or when you’re waiting around and find yourself staring at your phone with nothing specific to read. Think Netflix for books. You can enjoy one chapter at a time or you can binge, binge, binge, and (dons best Michael Jackson impression) don’t stop till you get enough. But similar to how some shows are set up on Netflix, there is a bit of a catch—episodes (chapters) are released in a serial format, which means you can only binge so much at once before you have to wait patiently for more. Thankfully, you don't have to wait more than a couple days. Radish has a nice little promo video that demonstrates the basic concept here:

Radish is available for download on your handheld device in both Apple’s App Store and Google Play:

 
 

If you’re interested in reading more about the app, Medium did an article on it last year, which you can find here.

So, that’s Radish 101 for you. Now let’s talk about IT FALLS APART on Radish specifically. I’ve been using the app myself for a while now and it’s fairly intuitive. You can search for my book by author name (Kate Pawson Studer) or by title (It Falls Apart). Once the book comes up, you can add it to your personal reading library by tapping on the + in the upper right-hand corner. Beside the + there are also some options for sharing the story on social media, which I would appreciate immensely.

When you scroll down, you can check out individual chapters by clicking on them. IT FALLS APART will appear on Radish as a Freemium, Frontlist Pre-release. "Freemium" means that initially, you’ll be able to read the first few "episodes" of IT FALLS APART for free (the free in freemiumand then the remainder of the book will be released episode-by-episode, three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 7PM). When a new chapter comes out, the app will notify you (assuming you've got my book added to your library) and readers then have the option to pay to unlock it right away or wait a week until it's released for free. It’s very flexible that way, and should you choose to pay, the end cost is on par with most e-books, so each chapter is reasonably priced.

After you’ve finished a chapter, whether you paid to access it early or waited to read it for free, you’ll notice a big heart at the bottom of the text. If you enjoyed what you read (and I hope you do!) you can click on this heart to let the Radish community know you think it’s a book worth reading.

Those are the basics. If enough people check out IT FALLS APART on Radish, we might even able to get it trending on the app’s home screen, which would bring more visibility to the story and make me a very happy author.

As I mentioned in my previous post, IT FALLS APART will also be coming to Amazon/Kindle in June as a full, pay-one-price upfront e-book that you can read easily on your Kindle, computer, or other handheld devices via the Kindle app. That’s why the release on Radish is called a Frontlist (it’s new) Pre-release (it’s exclusive to Radish before it comes out on Kindle). More details about that release are coming and if you want to make sure you don’t miss out, please take a moment to pop your name and email into the subscriber box in the sidebar of this site to sign up for my (I promise it won’t be too frequent or spammy) email news updates and/or follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

If you have any questions about Radish or how you can read IT FALLS APART, please feel free to comment on this post or send me a message on social media or via the contact form on this site.

Thank you again for all your love, encouragement, and support. This is an exciting day! The first seven episodes of IT FALLS APART will be hitting Radish this evening at 7PM! I believe the app adjusts for time zones so that should be local time for you, wherever you are. Please check it out! 

IT FALLS APART release dates and excerpt!

WOW. I am absolutely blown away by the amount of excitement and encouragement my big news was met with over social media last week. I said it then and I'll say it again, THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am being completely and utterly sincere when I say I would not be where I am today on this long, winding publishing journey without the amazing support of friends and family. When you're writing with the goal of being published, but haven't yet been published, you so often feel like you're working inside a bubble, but last week, I felt like that bubble burst, and this week, I'm excited to finally get to invite you all inside the bubble with me :)

Speaking of my bubble (okay, admittedly this analogy is getting a little weird), I've just launched a new module here on the site that will enable you to sign up for news and updates about me and my books, delivered right to your inbox! That's right, just enter your name and email address right over here-ish in the sidebar (unless you're reading this on mobile) and you’ll never miss an update. ------>
I promise I won’t spam you. Just a few updates a year when something truly exciting is happening and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Now for today's big news: IT FALLS APART will officially be published in e-book format in JUNE of this year (specific date still TBD), just in time to help with your summer reading needs. But I know you guys probably don't want to wait that long so I'm super excited to announce you will be able to start reading it as early as TOMORROW, Wednesday, March 28th, when it makes its pre-release debut in serial format on the fiction reading app, Radish. Odds are, you've never heard of Radish before, but that's okay. I'll be posting everything you need to know about the app and how it works and most importantly, how you can find my book on there before the book is officially launched tomorrow evening. So, stay tuned! MORE TO COME ON THAT.

In the meantime, I want to leave you guys with a flirty little excerpt from IT FALLS APART, to say thank you again for all the love and support:

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“Dancing is so overrated,” I panted, sliding my hands up to cup his face and bring his lips down on mine. He pulled away just long enough to huff the word, “agreed,” then continued the kiss, his fingers skimming beneath the bodice of my dress.

This had gone so far off the rails I had no idea how to get things back on track. But honestly, I didn’t care. The prom that was happening out there, beyond the stairwell we’d secluded ourselves to, had been fun and all, but this was So. Much. Better.

“As much as I appreciate the urgency,” I said when his lips slid down to my collarbone. “This isn’t exactly the most covert locale. What if another couple gets the same idea?”

He stopped kissing me and straightened, breathing heavily. “What do you have in mind?”

I quirked an eyebrow. “Wanna get out of here?”

He kissed me again, then we headed back into the main hall, so I could grab my purse and say a quick goodbye to Meera. I found her and Yuvin at our table, drinking the punch he’d gotten earlier.

“Oh hey,” Meera said. “I was looking for you. Where did you—why do you look so flushed?” Her eyes went wide, then briefly flickered to Luke standing behind me. “What were you just doing?”

“Nothing,” I said. “Please don’t ask. I think we’re gonna get out of here.”

Meera smiled knowingly. “I see. Okay, that’s cool. Anything you need from me? An alibi maybe?”

“We’re not burying a body,” I deadpanned.

“And what exactly will you be burying?” she teased, a mischievous glint in her eye. “The hatchet?” Again, her eyes shot to Luke. “Something else?”

“Hey, it’s not my fault your parents never had the talk with you.” I leaned over to give her a hug. “I’ll see you at Eden’s party later, yeah?”

Meera shrugged. “Assuming Yuv and I don’t skip off to Vegas, sure.”

“Please don’t get married without me.” I turned my attention to Yuvin. “Please don’t let her marry you without me.”

Yuvin clearly hadn’t been paying attention. “Huh?”

“Nothing,” I said. “Don’t worry about it.” I glanced over my shoulder at Luke. “You ready?”

The look in his eyes was hungry. “Definitely.”


If you'd like to read more about IT FALLS APART, you can find the cover blurb along with a link to another excerpt here. And don’t forget to use that little box over in the side bar to sign up for news and updates. I’ll be back here on the blog tomorrow with all the details you’ll need to find IT FALLS APART on the Radish App!

the time comes

When people find out I’m a writer, one of the first questions they usually ask is, “Where can I read one of your books?” and my answer has always been, “I’m not published yet, but I have a kick-ass agent and we’re working on it. Really, really hard.”

Publishing is a land of talent and timing—and a little luck doesn’t hurt. I’ve been told, by editor after editor, that I have the talent, but the timing has never worked out. It’s frustrating. I’ve written seven novels. I WANT people to be able to read them. Self-publishing one of my books while we pursue traditional publication for the others is something I’ve thought about many times before. But self-publishing is scary. It’s a lot of hard work with very little return. But I’ve been chasing the dream for so long that I’ve reached a point where I need to put something out there. So, I’m both terrified and excited to announce that yes, you will soon be able to read one of my books. I’m going to be self-publishing my contemporary YA romance, IT FALLS APART. Details on where, when, and how you can check it out (and I really hope you do) will be coming in the next few days. For now, I just want to thank you all for supporting and encouraging me over the years.

Thank you.

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let's talk

When I was twenty-five, my now-husband-then-boyfriend and I moved into our first apartment together. I'd moved before, of course, but only ever as a single person moving some of her own stuff (while the rest stayed at her parents' house), usually with the help of friends and family. This was different. This was two people combining all their stuff--pretty much everything we owned--into a 5th-floor apartment in a new city without any help. 

I had no idea what we were in for.

It's in my nature to push myself. I often tackle things head on and do what I must to get the job done. Load boxes, unload boxes, stack them, move furniture, keep going. All day, I pushed and pushed and pushed. It had to get done. The plan was to return the U-haul truck that same night. But as the day wore on, and the sky got dark, my power-through-it attitude started to falter and my body started to fail. I felt weak and light-headed. We hadn't stopped to eat dinner. Unloading the truck was taking too long for us to take a break. But I wasn't moving quickly anymore; in fact, I really needed to sit down. I tried to convince myself it was mind over matter. I just needed to keep pushing. But I was wrong. What I needed was help.

We finally reached the last item in the truck--a massive, recliner couch full of heavy, metal parts. It was a beast I was in no condition to slay. 

"I don't think I can do this," I said. But I knew it had to be done. So I tried to do it anyway.

I started crying. My end of the couch in hand, I had to stop every few feet, every muscle in my body on fire as tears streamed down my face. I was physically and mentally exhausted. But still, I had it in my head that I needed to carry on. We were moving into a large building in a busy area of the city. We could've flagged somebody down, offered them $20 to help. Hell, offered them $100. We could've left the couch in the truck and paid the extra money to keep it overnight. Try moving it in the morning. We could've even left the couch in the loading dock and chanced it. Honestly, if it was gone when we went to retrieve it the next day, I would've been fine with that. I didn't even like the damn thing in the first place.  

We didn't do any of those things, though. It took a long time, but we got it from the truck, through the loading dock, down the hall to the elevator where we carefully maneuvered it inside, rode up, and then lugged it down the long hallway to our apartment. My head pounding, my knees shaking, I felt like I was going to die. After we got it inside, I headed straight to our new bathroom, used the last, remaining shreds of energy I had left to hang up the shower curtain, and took a long, hot shower, continuing to involuntarily weep, sitting in the tub with my back against the tile I'd ideally have cleaned first. I sat like that for a long time. My first night in our new apartment.

I felt a bit better after my shower and the pizza we ordered and devoured, but some part of me still felt broken. I'd pushed myself way too hard. I should've acknowledged I'd reached my limit. I should have asked for help. 

The above story is mostly about physical pain, though my mental state was definitely also affected. When our bodies start to fail us, be it through illness or injury, it's never wise to push through the pain. That only makes it worse. Most people know this. Most people go to the hospital when something isn't working the way it should. And yet, we treat our mental health the way I treated my body that day, like it's some mind-over-matter thing we can overcome if we just keep pushing. But our brains are part of our bodies too. And like every other part of us, they need help sometimes. They need maintenance. They need time to heal. It's perfectly normal and human and we need to stop seeing it as anything otherwise. We need to stop seeing it as a weakness. Someone who's carrying a heavy box, then has more heavy boxes loaded on top should be able to say, "This is too much. I can't carry this alone." And the same is true for our brains. Sometimes it's too much. Sometimes we can't carry it alone. And when that happens, please don't be afraid to ask for help. It's the only way you can feel better. And you deserve to feel better. 

I'm here. Let's talk.

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dear oliver

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Hey buddy,

I'm sorry this took me so long. Most of this has been sitting in a note file on my phone for over a month. Some of it was written on that last day I held you. Some a week later. Some a week after that. It's been a process, a helpful one. It's lessened the fear I'll one day begin to forget you. But it's never really felt finished, or ready to be shared. Still doesn’t. But I owe you a tribute. I owe you more than that. So here goes. 

I have all these thoughts, these memories, these feelings, and I don’t know what to do with them but write. You know this. You sat by me on many a day as I sat at my desk and wrote. You were my constant companion. My shadow. Your sister has taken on that role since you left us. I feared she'd withdraw with your loss, but instead, she's done the opposite. Sitting in all your old favourite spots, hanging out with me while I work (she's on my lap as I type this). I know people who don't live with pets won't fully grasp a pet-owner's grief when they lose one. That doesn't really bother me, though. They can't understand what we do. That the love you receive from a pet is like no other, though it comes at a very steep price. Or that losing a pet is more similar to losing a close family member than losing a plant you've kept alive for years. That's unfortunate; this is heart-wrenching.

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I take comfort in the fact that you didn't suffer. That you didn't have some long, drawn-out illness. That we didn't have to make the difficult decision to end your life. But the unexpected manner in which we lost you was so abrupt. So unfair. Like somebody flicking off a light before I was ready for the darkness. I kept thinking, this can’t be real. This can’t be happening. Of all the many things I know about you, one of the biggest is that you’re supposed to be alive. 

You're not the first animal I've had to say goodbye to. I lost family dogs growing up. I cried. I missed them. I wished I could have them back. But you--you were my baby. You and your sister were only eight weeks old when we brought you home, and after a decade together, you fully owned a piece of my heart. Still do. They say a cat will never love you like a dog does. But you did. You were my boy. 

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The pain of your loss lessens every day, though not for lack of missing you. I'll forever feel lucky for the time that we had, and the pure, unconditional love that we shared. I don't think we'll ever stop wishing we'd had more weeks, months, and years. But I'm learning to live with my grief. Learning to miss you without feeling broken. The process feels familiar, reminding me less of extended family I've lost, and more of the first time I had my heart broken. Of how impossible it feels--the devastation of having something tremendous torn from your life. Of how powerless I was to stop it.

But this isn't just about sadness and loss. It's about you. About what a huge personality and an awesome buddy you were. The house feels so much quieter without you. You were tirelessly aggressive in your affection, purring and snuggling, combing your paws through my hair while I napped, always sitting on me, or beside me, or in your favourite evening spot, behind me on the couch. Your constant purr sometimes drowned out whatever show we were watching, but it was such a comfort, knowing you were with me and you were happy. 

From the day you curiously popped your fuzzy little head out of the crate we brought you home in, you always wanted to be involved in everything, from laundry to odd jobs around the house. I think you inserted yourself into the construction of every piece of furniture I've ever built. Every room I've painted. I have no doubt that some of your fur is even painted into the walls. And oh, how you'd play. You loved that green caterpillar toy so much. The way you'd pull it back and launch it across the room instead of just letting it dangle. You were so clever and so cute.

Even when our family began to grow, always a wild card with pets, you embraced the baby stuff as it appeared. You were interested in the babies when they appeared too, often keeping watch over them, recognizing they were an important part of our family. And as they grew, you were endlessly patient with them, always lingering as long as you could stand to indulge their desires to pet and squeeze you. It feels like fate that I showed them your namesake, Oliver and Company, that morning, mere hours before you left us. I'm glad we got to sit all together on the couch one last time, snuggling with our Oliver.

Explaining your loss to the kids has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I think Henry still doesn't get it. Emmeline had trouble falling asleep those first few nights. She drew pictures of you and asked questions I either didn't know how to answer or didn't want to have to. Why did he have to leave? Will anyone ever be able to fix him? Should I still put food in his bowl in the morning?

No, he doesn't need food anymore. I'd have to remove the matching blue food dish from beside Huntley's pink one, which now sits alone. She still makes room for you though. When she eats, she positions her body to the one side of the placemat, leaving a space. It's what she's always done, though I think she's come to realize  you're not coming back.  I can't imagine what it's like for her, to have had you by her side every day of her life, her brother and constant companion, and then suddenly, you're gone. I wish I could explain it to her. What I can do is cuddle her and comfort her. We're taking good care of her, as you always did.

Cooper has been taking good care of her too. He'll never replace you as her best animal pal, but he's been keeping an eye on her, sitting with her when she'll let him. Two days before you died, it seemed you were becoming friends with Cooper too, going so far as to rub up against him and let him lick you. Oh good, I'd thought at the time. They're starting to like each other. And then you were gone. I'm sorry you didn't have more time to get to know him. I'm sorrier he didn't have more time to get to know you. 

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There was a moment, maybe a month before you left us, when I went to feed all three of you, and you knew it was coming, as you always did, leading the charge with the other two in tow. I remember thinking, wow, there's three of them now. It felt like you were a herd, moving through the house with such excitement. It made my heart feel full. For years, it was just you and Huntley running along, and now it's only Huntley and Cooper. But even with Cooper's jangling collar, the two of them feel quieter than the two of you ever did. You were such a presence in our lives. 

I think one of my favourite things about you was that you apparently adored Bill Paxton. Never one to watch TV, it was pretty unusual when you'd suddenly sit up and stare at the screen every time we watched Big Love. At first, we thought it might be a coincidence, but then it kept happening, even when he guested on Agents of Shield years later. You knew Bill's voice when you heard it, and you always came running.

It occurred to me, about a week after you passed--hey, didn't Bill Paxton pass away this year too? He did, back in February. Problems with his heart. Just like you. Kindred spirits, I suppose. I don’t know where you are, Oliver. I know in my heart that you’re still with me because I can feel the weight of carrying you. It’s one I’m happy to bear. But I hope you’re somehow also somewhere kickin’ it with your hero, Bill. 

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Taking out the Christmas stockings was hard, removing Huntley's from the tote and leaving yours behind. I didn't know I'd have to do that this year. Of course, nobody knows these things. They just happen. I still think I can hear you sometimes, moving through the house the way you did. Sometimes I get the sensation of your fur brushing up against me. I can still remember what it felt like to pick you up and hold you.

Whenever we'd return from a trip, you'd march into your crate and demand to go home, punishing us for all of five minutes before snuggling me, purring incessantly, begging me to never leave again. I wish I could've begged you to stay.

I feel like this hurts even more because I know how much you loved me. In a way, I feel like I let you down. But I take comfort in knowing you probably only loved me that much because you knew how much I loved you. 

We are so lucky to have had you in our family, Oliver. Thank you for loving us.

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firefly5

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In honour of Firefly's 15th anniversary, I was planning on doing a special Firefly edition of the Friday5 last week, featuring five of my favourite moments from the show's all-too-brief run. But then I ran into two problems: 1) a bunch of freelance contracts came in and I had no time, and 2) it's basically impossible to choose only five favourite moments from Firefly. That show owns a piece of my heart, and choosing favourite moments is like choosing between children. My love belongs to all of it. That said, I wanted to do something to mark the occasion. So here are five of my favourite moments from Firefly, in no particular order, and not necessarily my top five (I was somewhat limited by what I could find online), because as much as I'd like to say I've done the impossible (and that makes us mighty), I have too much love for this show to make a favourite moments list that isn't hundreds of points long. I also left Serenity out of it because then the list would be even longer and I had a draw the line somewhere! 

So, without further ado, you can't take the sky from me...

1. Mal's alright, SHINDIG

So many good Mal moments. Far, far too many to have to choose from. This one makes me smile every time.

2. The Hero of Canton, JAYNESTOWN

Jayne is the perfect anti-hero. So bad, and yet, so damn good. This clip captures his essence pretty well.

3. Zoe chooses Wash, WAR STORIES

I love Zoe. I love Zoe and Wash. I love Zoe and Mal. I love the dynamic between the three of them. I had a really hard time finding a clip of this, one of my favourite Zoe scenes in the series, so here it is in the full episode of War Stories, marked to start at the scene in question.

4. Big damn heroes, SAFE

Not my favourite episode overall, but it featured some iconic scenes, including this one.

5. The crew and their ship, OUT OF GAS

My favourite episode of Firfely--also not an easy thing to say, but I think I'm confident enough to say it's true. There are so many awesome moments in this episode (the flashbacks!), but a lot of them are hard to find online, so I'll leave you with the warm and fuzzy reunion, and the first time Mal sees Serenity.

BONUS: Simon and Kaylee, SERENITY

Okay, I couldn't not include a clip from Serenity, so I'll keep it simple and leave you with this lovely moment of fanservice that finally happened on the big screen.


Tracey: When you can't run, you crawl, and when you can't crawl - when you can't do that...
Zoe: You find someone to carry you.

Thank you for everything, Firefly.

waiting is the hardest part

I don't know anybody who likes waiting. I mean, anticipation is one thing--anticipation can be lovely, especially in a steamy, deliciously slow-burning romance. But in general, waiting kinda sucks. Especially when you don't know how long you're gonna be waiting for.

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I'm currently in a big old state of waiting and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself, which is why I'm blogging. The server I need for work is down, and I don't know when it will be up again, so I'm trying to figure out that balance between finding something productive to do while I wait, and not getting myself so involved in something that I can't tear myself away when the server is back online.

I had my work for the week all planned out, taking deadlines, timelines, peak usage times for our rural internet, and my own typical energy levels into account. Suddenly having to wait on one thing kinda throws everything else into chaos, and it puts me in a position where I have to slow down long enough that I start thinking about something else I'm waiting on--my latest novel. The entire time I'm actively working away on new projects and freelance work, I'm also perpetually in a state of waiting because I've got a book on submission right now, and any author who's been on submission will tell you that's some of the hardest waiting in the world. Hopes and dreams are resting on that wait. Big ones. And it doesn't get any easier. Not with your 2nd book, and not with your 5th, 6th, or 7th. But there's also nothing you can do about it BUT wait. And distract yourself. And keep writing. And that's what I do. I work. I write. I distract. Until something else forces me to wait and the cumulative sensation of waiting starts to feel heavy. Maybe too heavy. But again, there's nothing I can do but wait.

And wait.

And wait...

we need to talk about joss

I didn't want to write this. Not because I don't have anything to say, nor because I think it would be wise to stay silent. Quite the opposite in fact. I think, given my history of public adoration of Joss Whedon, staying silent now would feel somewhat disingenuous, even if the argument can be made that this is none of our business. Our business or not, he is a public figure with a large following, and so we're allowed to have thoughts. And we should have thoughts. We've looked up to this man. We've followed him. We've trusted him. But I still feel weird about writing this. I don't feel equipped with the context I'd need to form a strong and fair opinion. But I do have some thoughts, and like I said, as a Joss fan, I think it would be weird not to say something, especially when so many other Joss fans are trying to figure out their own thoughts and feelings. So here goes.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, Joss Whedon's ex-wife, Kai Cole, recently dropped a bombshell of an open letter over on The Wrap. I'm not going to spend any time analyzing the details of what Kai said. It's her letter. It was her decision to share it with the world. I don't think it's inaccurate to say Kai is going through some stuff right now, and I sincerely hope publishing this open letter has helped her on her journey to good mental health. If this has truly helped her to feel free, then I say, good for her. I'm glad she was able to lift this burden from her shoulders. I wish her nothing but the best. And in case you're wondering--I believe her. If she says Joss cheated on her, I believe he did.  

But here's the thing: I don't think that necessarily makes Joss a bad feminist. Nor does this revelation cause me to see Joss's work under a different light. Let me explain. 

We're raised on fairytales. Perfect love, perfect family, perfect career. But as we get older, it hits us like a ton of bricks: real life isn't a fairytale. The American dream is a sham. I'm not saying happiness isn't possible--I don't doubt for a moment that many people find happiness or at least enough happiness that they lead "happy lives", but a true fairytale life is an impossible pursuit. Life is too messy for that. Too complicated. The baggage we all carry only gets heavier. The decisions we face only carry more weight. It's not straightforward and it's never perfect. Marriage is hard. Family is hard. Career is hard. And as I understand it, fame and success are brutal on relationships. There are people who survive it, but let's be real; celebrities, even ones we look up to, aren't built stronger than the rest of us. They aren't wiser by default, or more honorable. If anything, they have less time and fewer resources to help them sort their shit out. So why are we still surprised when their flaws are revealed? People cheat. It happens. A LOT. And for a lot of different reasons. And you know what? It's not the end of the world. Teenager-me probably would have told you different. Her privilege kept her from understanding shades of gray. But adult-me kinda gets it. I don't have any personal experience with cheating, but the older I get, the more I observe of the world, the more I can see how it happens. Yes, some people cheat because they're douchebags, but sometimes, people are just going through something personal and cheating unfortunately ends up being part of it. It makes them shitty partners, and yeah, sometimes people who cheat actually are bad people, but it's not always so straightforward. And in this case, I don't have enough context to judge Joss with any certainty. So without more information, I'm not going to.

To say Joss and his work have influenced the person I am today would be an understatement. He's perhaps one of the biggest creative influences in my life. He's one of the reasons I do what I do. One of the reasons I write the way I write. Does him cheating on his wife erase that? Does him projecting one message while (some would argue) living another make me question myself or the values I personally hold dear for even a moment? No, it doesn't. Because regardless of what was happening in his personal life, the art and messages he's put out into the world still are what they are. The influence they've had over me is real. And I don't think Buffy, or Angel, or Firefly, or Dollhouse, or Dr. Horrible have made me a bad person. I think their various influences have made me a stronger, smarter, funnier, more thoughtful person. If he'd been outright abusing his wife, or sexually assaulting women, we would be having a different conversation. And at this point in time, I don't see any evidence of that. But cheating? Struggling in his relationship? Struggling with his identity and perhaps mental health? I personally don't think that erases all the good he's done. I don't think it even taints it. I think it's natural and normal to feel at least a little betrayed when you find out someone you look up to isn't who you thought they were, but I also don't think fidelity is a requirement of feminism. And even if you can argue that it is, I don't think you have to be a perfect feminist to call yourself a feminist or promote feminist views. I don't think it necessarily makes him a hypocrite. I think he tries and fails like all of us. I think he's weak. I think he's flawed. I think he's human. And yeah, I still think he's more feminist than not.

Regardless of who he is behind the scenes, his work is still powerful. It's not perfect--it's never been perfect. But what's wrong with us that we keep expecting perfection? That we blame others for not achieving it when we damn-well know we can't manage it ourselves? That doesn't make any sense to me. And neither does shunning Joss's work. I can lose some respect for the man and still hold his creations in high regard.

My feelings about this aren't finite. New info might change them. New perspectives might too. Please feel free to share yours. 

 

celebrating IT FALLS APART

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Hello, blog friends! I hope you are all enjoying your summer. Mine (so far) seems to have flown by in a blink. Thankfully, I have enough mom-ninja in me to sleep with one eye open so I figure that balances things out. Maybe. Kinda. Whatever. The point is, we're already halfway through August and how did that happen?!

I recently received my final score for RWA's Golden Heart contest, in which I entered my YA romance, IT FALLS APART. Though the book didn't final, I was pleased and proud of my 8.9 score. When you're an aspiring author, you have to take every small victory for what it's worth, and in a sea of rejection, it's worth A LOT. So let's celebrate, shall we? I had hoped to get this up right after I received my final score, but then we went away on vacation and, well, you know... 

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from prom night in IT FALLS APART as much as I enjoyed writing it:

I watched as my friends joined the already crowded dance floor, then was surprised to look up and see Luke standing beside me.

“Hey pretty girl, wanna dance?” He punctuated the question with a mischievous grin. “I know we’re not really supposed to, but I can’t look at you all night and not ask.”

“Believe me, the feeling is mutual.” I stood and slipped my arm through his. “In fact, I was just about to ask you.”

He led me to the center of the room, a small clearing in a forest of swaying couples. I expected him to put his hands on my hips, like most guys do when they’re dancing with someone for the first time, but he let them slide a bit further, toward my back, bringing me that much closer as I wrapped my hands around his neck.

“This is cozy,” I said as we too began to sway.

He leaned in and whispered in my ear, “And yet not cozy enough.”

A shiver ran up my spine, and I had to keep myself from pulling him even closer. Instead, I made small talk. “Are you having a good time?”

“For the most part.” He shrugged, briefly taking in the room around us. “The chicken was a little rubbery.”

I laughed. “It always is.”

“Are you having a good time?” he asked, his eyes back on me, causing my skin to warm.

I smiled. “I am now.”

He stared at me for a moment, the hint of a grin crossing his face, but then it wavered, his expression becoming more intense as his eyes roamed over my features carefully, eventually landing on my mouth. His fingers shifted on my back, settling a little lower, curling eagerly at the tips, struggling for restraint. Responsively, I let my thumbs brush against the nape of his neck, where soft hair met smooth skin. It was too subtle for anyone nearby to notice—they were probably too wrapped up in each other anyway—but it didn’t help with keeping things friendly. It felt like there was some unseen force pulling us together.

I breathed deeply, then glanced around the dance floor, looking for Meera. I spotted her at the edge, her head against Yuvin’s shoulder as they oscillated slowly.

“I don’t think I want to dance anymore,” Luke said, drawing my attention back to him.

Confused, I studied his face for a moment. Was he upset? Angry? No, his expression was fraught and hazy. I recognized it from every time he’d ever grabbed me and kissed the hell out of me.

“Okay,” I breathed. And without another word, he clutched the tips of my fingers in his and hastily led me from the dance floor.


pretty little reaction: the finAl reveAl

Photo credit: Freeform

Photo credit: Freeform

7.20 'TIL DEATH DO US PART

All is revealed as the ultimate endgame comes to light.

Photo credit: Freeform

Photo credit: Freeform

It occurred to me as I set out to write this that I can use my PLR template for this post instead of making a copy since THIS IS THE LAST EPISODE OF PLL EVER and there will be no more Pretty Little Recaps. Or at least, for now there won't be. Who knows with revivals these days. Anyway, it's been a week since the curtains closed on our dear liars, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around everything we learned in this final installment. Needless to say, I have thoughts--a lot of thoughts. Let's share and discuss our ladies of Rosewood one last time, shall we? 

1. The dream at the beginning of this episode was weird. It felt fan-servicey, but not in an all-that-entertaining way.

2. It took me forever to realize Mona in presumably Radley is flashback and not her locked up somewhere currently. I mean, come on, I've come to love Mona, but she girl should be locked up.  

3. Why do the Emison twins look nothing like Emily? I know Ali is the one who birthed them, but it wasn't her genes. The dad had better have fair looks, assuming we meet him in this episode. 

4. Pam! Melissa! A backpacking Toby who thankfully lost the beard, but still has wtf hair! The gang's not exactly all here, but they're definitely packing them in.

5. I don't know much about Ezra and Aria's book, but I do know it probably shouldn't be taught to high schoolers. Just sayin.

6. Ali, remember, no threatening the students.

7. Jenna, remember, no threatening the students. 

8.  Rosewood High probably has a pretty low school ranking.

9. Haleb seem sad. This is not a good way to start the finale. I can see them housing Mona for a few nights, but is this supposed to be an indefinite arrangement? Cause, yeah, love ya Hans, but Team Hot Caleb on that one. 

10. This pre-wedding dinner party feels awkward. Like, I know the lairs are all grown up now, and would probably hang out like this, as twenty-somethings (though, usually older twenty-somethings) do), but they've always behaved so immaturely that it feels wrong. Oh well. 

11. Oh, Spencer and Toby playing Scrabble. 

12. Most dinner parties I've been to don't get cut off mid-meal for a sex-montage, which makes me wonder if I'm not getting invited to the right parties. Also, as much as I love Haleb and the idea of a baby Haleb, I don't buy that these two would go from snarky to sexy, even if it's followed by snarky again. How quickly after the sex did Hot Caleb throw his clothes on while his wife lies upsidedown trying to plant babies in her body?

13. Okay, I had a feeling Melissa wasn't just creepin around--Mona in a HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED MELISSA MASK! But like, why Melissa? Why not just, a mask? Is there some reason Mona wants to throw Melissa under the bus?

14. I still don't think Mona is AD or is working for AD. Mona plays her own games now.

15. This Aria can't have kids storyline feels SUPER thrown in here for extra drama. Like, Aria, you're young. Chill. You'll figure shit out.

16. Fake Spencer! Fake Spencer! Oh baby, we've definitely got a Fake Spencer thing going on. I'm more convinced than ever!

17. Aria's Dad is so clueless about life. His opinions basically don't matter. How does he not fall down more?

18. The PLL moms are getting drunk and all is well with the world!

19. Where is Mike? Isn't this like, Aria's rehearsal dinner or something? Why is her loser brother nowhere to be seen? 

20. Maya's niece? Okaaaay... doesn't make me care about these kids.

21. Forced Ezria drama. Cause of course. Neither of you belong on a high horse.

22. Emison are engaged! Which is exciting for them--well, less so because they're already bound by kids, but still happy news. But they're still mostly boring.

23. I'm so suspicious of Spencer now--is she real? Is she a robot?

24. Hot damn! Mona knows how to land a punch!

25. Twin Spencer AKA Twincer is confirmed! It's not exactly my fav resolution to this whole thing, but I'm willing to let this play out. 

26. What. The. Hell. Is. That. Accent.

27. I'm trying to listen to the infodump backstory, but that accent is SO. DISTRACTING.

28. Man, Wren just loves girls who look like Spencer, huh?

29. Twincer's motivations are kinda messed up. This girl wants family so she terrorizes her twin sister and her friends. Okay, sure.

30. Poor Ezra. Always a victim, never a bride.

31. Aria's wedding dress is...really something.

32. WREN IS THE FATHER?? WHY ARE THOSE BABIES SO BLONDE?

33. Something about Spencer and Ezra being held captive together is highly entertaining to me. I bet if this wasn't the final episode, they'd have them eventually hook up, cause they never think they'll see the light of day again or something and then DRAMA cause yet again, Ezra is off screwing someone else when he's supposed to be with Aria. Also, Hanna would give Aria a knowing look and be like, "Yeah, Spencer does that."

34. SO MUCH INFODUMPING. I mean, I realize there's a lot to cover, but this is why some of this needed to be revealed over the course of the last several episodes.

35. The horse knows! I so called that as soon as I saw her walking up to it. I was like, that horse knows one bitch from another, Alex. Don't mess. 

36. Why are the liars not just assuming someone kidnapped Ezra? It's like the most likely answer to every problem these girls encounter. Why would other conclusions even be drawn?

37. Jenna knows too! I didn't see that one coming until she was talking to her, but yeah, makes sense. Team Jenna + Horse! They figured it out before Toby, who  was actually INSIDE HER. This is so Riley sleeping with Faith all over again.

38. I love how quickly the liars just accept this twin thing. Like, yeah, that must be it! Of course! They don't even think it through well-enough to be convinced. They just are. I guess the show was running short on time.

39. Not nearly enough Haleb in this episode. I love them making up and getting all sexy, but I feel kinda robbed.

40. If I've asked this before, but I've asked it a hundred times--where does A (who we now know is a poor orphan who grew up without the support of a loving family) get all her money? How did she build this elaborate underground bunker complete with a fake house and yard?

41. The classic which twin is which scenario. Toby is finally useful in some way. Kinda. It's almost romantic, but not enough that I wouldn't have preferred for Spencer to go through and have each liar share a memory with her. 

42. I feel satisfied for the most part, but also a little disappointed that I wasn't right about Paige being AD. That said, I'm glad Paige is nowhere to be seen. Complicated feelings, you guys. 

43. Is Aria wearing a completely different wedding dress? Whatever. I can't even be bothered at this point.

44. HALEB BABY ALERT! Feels like a bit of a throwaway, though--I want to see the lost scene where Hanna pees on a stick and shares the happy news with Hot Caleb! 

45. This final Mona scene is perfect--her boyfriend is the cop from Alex's layer! Oh snap. 

46. I love that she has Alex and Mary. It's perfectly twisted--just the right ending for Mona.

47. I can't even with these younger kids. Know when to end your finale. This scene is unnecessary.

48. I guess...that's it? PLL is over and I declare the following:

  • Mona is the winner. Like, in life.
  • Haleb are going to be fun parents, even if they are young to be so focussed on having a baby. That baby is gonna be hella cute.
  • Spencer is going to have the biggest therapy bills.
  • Ali and Emily were in this episode? Jk. Well, sort of. Maybe there will be a spinoff about their twins one day. Baby Haleb can be their sidekick.
  • And Aria. Stay you, girl. Stay you.

A few extras I wanted to share since this is the end of PLL as we know it. If you haven't checked it out already as your PLL withdrawal sets in, Hypable has rounded up some interesting fan theories that didn't pan out, but are entertaining nevertheless (Hot Caleb as AD? Not sure how I'd feel about that...might be enough to put me on the A-team!).

And in case you missed it last fall, the day after they wrapped shooting on the finale, our dear little liars (Mona included!) got tattoos on their shhh! fingers. How appropriate and adorable.

~PLR~

pretty little reaction: time's almost up

Photo credit: Freeform

Photo credit: Freeform

I can't believe there's only one episode of PLL left. It's almost time to say goodbye to our little liars forever (?), but first we have a few reactions to get through! I had hoped to get the post for episode 18 up on Monday or Tuesday before this week's episode aired, but now it's Thursday and I'm combining the two into one :)

7.18 CHOOSE OR LOSE

Our rogue PLL is finally outed by Mona.

  • How did it take the cops this long to finally issue some search warrants on the liars?
  • Tanner is back and she's not happy, gunning for the liars more than ever.  But why wasn't their kidnapping enough to change her mind about them? It's not like the kidnapped themselves--clearly something is going on here!
  • Oh Aria. We all know what you're up to.  It's time to drop the shady charade.
  • Ashley is the best PLL mom. She's makes the other PLL moms look like incompetent garbage people. Okay, Aria's mom is also...fine. But just fine. Also, where is she? Or the rest of Aria's family for that matter?
  • Mona has this ALL figured out. Because of course she does. She's Mona.
  • What is happening to Toby's face? Did the wilderness "get" him? Like, did a bear shave of its fur and glue it to Toby's face?
  • Oh no. Aria's motives are even LESS noble than I'd hoped. I know I shouldn't have given her so much credit. 
  • Spencer, please. Aria isn't responsible for your parents' divorce. Also, I love how Spence tells her she can find her own ride as if Aria didn't arrive there solo and therefore probably has her own car she'd need to drive anyway.
  • Aria may be bad, but her hair is on point in this episode.
  • Thank goodness she's finally telling Ezra what's going on--not that he's all that helpful...
  • Haleb marriage is happening! This is not a drill people! HALEB IS OFFICIAL ALWAYS AND FOREVER! You knew this moment would require all caps, right? My shipper heart is happy. The rest of the liars could all die in a fire and I'd still be like, "Good ending tho!"
  • Spencer doesn't know how to let a man grieve, apparently. Spencer, it's called letting his dead wife's body get cold before you jump him. 
  • PLL sex montage!  We never would have seen this back in season one. Which is probably a good thing. Oh and of course, wedding scenes thrown in to show how superior Haleb are to the rest of them.  
  • Team Hot Caleb and Ezra! We need Toby in the loop so the PLL men can activate their powers.
  • STILL not buying Mona as A.D. I'm just not. 
  • Aria and the body in the trunk. I kinda hope she Weekend at Bernie'ses this whole situation.  "Him? Oh, he's just taking it easy."

7.19 FAREWELL, MY LOVELY

An A.D. suspect reveals info about Charlotte's death.

  • You can just shake trunks open now?!? What make and model of car is that? Is this something all cars can do? Between someone getting the body in there in the first place, and now the cop just jiggling the trunk open, Aria should probably invest in some kind of additional security latch or something. 
  • Ezra is the most likable he's ever been, telling the liars off for abandoning Aria when they've all done their fair share of dumb stuff.  
  • Oh no. Aria's finally losing it. I think I can get on board with Crazy Aria though. She's better than Bad Choices Aria
  • Hmmm. Now Mona's losing it too. 
  • Emily and Ali... I dunno. They do more couch-sitting. Is this really how this series is going to end for these two? Forever sitting on a couch? 
  • It's a little uncool that Hot Caleb won't let Hanna come on the underground mission, but will let Spencer.  Shouldn't he want everyone to stay safe? But I'll forgive him because he's Hot Caleb.
  • The flash forward was just a dream thing is hella lame.  Why do I have a feeling they just forgot to incorporate it when Archer was still alive and now they had to sandwich it in somewhere before the show ends?
  • To whom. Actually kind of a nice Spaleb moment. I like Spencer so much better when Hot Caleb is with Hanna.
  • Mona is REALLY losing it.  
  • I really hope she killed Charlotte. 
  • The liars' reasons for not turning Mona in are pretty weak. Just do what you always forget to do and FIND HER A LAWYER.
  • This is why you don't just bury bodies, kids.  You destroy them. But also, don't kill people.
  • Wow, Mary gets respect for taking the fall. I won't go so far as to say she's a good mom, but she's got the right instincts.  
  • Is Tanner really sending the girls home with a slap on the wrist? REALLY?
  • Poor Mona. I've really come to like her over the years. It's hard to see her crack like this, but I prefer her being involved this way over her begin neglected in the end.
  • So the game is done...but who's A.D.? Is next week's finale going to be a time jump? WE NEED TO KNOW WHO A.D. IS!
  • ...I mean, it has to be Paige, right? As we head into the finale, that's my final guess. I know it's not all that original, but she's been MIA just long enough to drop off people's radar. Plus, she fits. But I realize it's also very possible the brains behind PLL want me to think exactly this way and A.D. is actually going to be Spencer's dad, because let's face it, he's got a hand in everything these days.
  • Whew! A lot of new into to incorporate into our understanding of the PLL world. Now who can direct me toward a map of all the tangled connections in Rosewood so I can start making sense of the past seven seasons? 

Until next week... series finale time!

~PLR~

pretty little reaction: we're really in the homestretch now

So here's the deal: our internet is awful. It's super slow and unpredictable and we've been told it's going to get better, but right now, that's so not the case. Long story short, when you don't have cable or satellite, this can sometimes make watching TV in a timely manner a bit of a struggle. There are some shows I watch on Netflix and some I watch through iTunes, like PLL, which I fell behind on again because none of my downloads were actually downloading. Anyway, I won't bore you with the details. I'm once again all caught up, and I have it set up so that new episodes will always download during non-peak hours, which will hopefully result in them arriving quickly and I can stay on top of things. With only three episodes of PLL to go, I'd ideally like to recap each and every one. 

But that's moving forward. For now, we're stuck with another backlog to get through, and get through it, we shall--character breakdown style! Let's see what our little liars have been up to...

7.14 POWER PLAY
7.15 IN THE EYE ABIDES THE HEART
7.16 THE GLOVE THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE
7.17 DRIVING MISS CRAZY

Photo credit: Photo: Eric McCandless/Freeform

Photo credit: Photo: Eric McCandless/Freeform

ARIA

I almost can't even with this girl. Because I know she hasn't gone dark. I would actually LOVE it if she had. That would be the most thrilling thing Aria has done in ages, but alas, I'm pretty sure she's only being Dark!Aria long enough to get what she needs to keep Ezra out of prison (selfish) and to protect her friends, maybe (which doesn't make much sense since she's willing to terrorize her friends to protect them). I'd like to think the real motivation here is that Aria realizes if she doesn't play AD's game, AD will go after one of the other liars instead, and she prefers to be the one in control of the situation, or, and this seems unlikely considering Aria's skills, she has some super secret master plan to bring down AD and all that bad stuff she's been doing is just Aria's version of collateral damage. Honestly, I'm just glad we're not hearing the name Nicole as much these days, though I wish Aria'd pull Ezra into the mix. If only so he could stop stressing about dumb things like dance lessons. I'm fairly satisfied that at least Hot Caleb is involved with Liars' Lament now, but really, the liars are in peak form when they aren't lying to their SOs and are only lying to everyone else.

SPENCER

I considered doing Emily next, but no, I'm not ready to tackle that girl and her drama. So let's talk Spencer Hastings-Drake. Or Drake-Hastings. Whichever way you slice it, Spencer's dad is not a good person. But I don't want to focus on him. I've been loving Spencer's interactions with Hot Cop Marco, though anytime they stray from date to interrogation, I can't help but think, Spencer you're smarter than this. Don't reveal info to a cop without a lawyer present. I know there's a really good chance Spencer will somehow end up with Toby again before this season is over, but in my ideal world, she'll live to hook up with Hot Cop Marco another day, and then maybe if the finale features a time jump, it'll be all "Oh look, she's with Toby and she and Hot Cop Marco are co-parenting an adorable child together." It could happen. A few more notes about our dear Spencer: 1) As much as I didn't enjoy Spaleb, I'm glad they didn't just sweep it under the rug. I'm glad they're acknowledging it happened and that Spencer got the short end of Hot Caleb's stick. 2) This Mary Drake stuff. I dunno. I think it's supposed to be compelling, but I'm not really here for it. Is it wrong to wish she was so super crazy that she was causing mayhem all the time? Cause that I'd enjoy. If she's just a tragic figure, that's fine, but then I kinda hope she and Spencer manage to have some sort of relationship eventually. 3) I feel like Spencer is legit on the hook for quite a bit if stuff here, evidence or not. Is it possible the show might end with one of our liars behind bars, taking the fall for everyone?

EMILY & ALI

I thought about separating these two out, but their stories are so linked they kinda have to be together. Besides, I feel like I barely have anything to say about Emily. It's not like she isn't drowning in drama, but she lost some of my sympathy when she basically told Ali she wants her to have the baby. I know it's Emily's egg all sunny-side-up in there, but she gave up her rights to that egg when she donated it. This decision needed to be Ali's. I'm cool with Emily saying, "Hey, I think we could do this. I think we could be parents.", though newsflash, Emily, you shouldn't be in a position to take care of another human being, but I digress. For me, she took things a bit too far with her tone, impatience, and what felt like insistence. I know time is of the essence when deciding whether or not to have a baby, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way--something other than the general violations that took place for this baby to exist. All that aside, I really enjoyed Emily and Ali finally making it official-ish. And I enjoyed Emily and Mona at the doctor's office, posing as a fake couple, even more. Those two actually work really well together. Sadly, with so few episodes left, I have a feeling that's the end of the Emily and Mona show. As for Paige? I still hate Paige.  

Photo credit: Eric McCandless/Freeform

Photo credit: Eric McCandless/Freeform

HANNA

Though I'm not much like Hanna, I always find I relate to her the most. I think it's the fact that she has herself convinced she's somewhat incapable, but when it comes down to it, she always does what needs to be done. And that's often my approach to problems too--I'm not sure if I can do this, but I'm not going to let that stop me from doing it. In that respect, Hanna is killing it. She's pissed at the Liars' Lament boardgame, super pissed at AD for hurting Hot Caleb, and she's not going to stand back and be a victim anymore. But she also doesn't know where to start. So she does what she can, and is loyal to her friends, another thing about her I can relate to and respect. She knows she owes Spencer and she does what she must to make it up to her. Plus, her scenes with Mona are always fun. Now, let's get to why we're really all here: HALEB IS ENGAGED! At least, I think. I mean, yeah, they are, but they did it in such an unconventional way that it's only 99% clear. But I kinda love that. And the whole scene in the tent, harkening back to their first night together, was perfect, paper cigar rings and all. It's easy to see Hanna as high-maintenance because of her love of fashion, etc, but deep down, exchanging paper rings in a tent in the woods IS Hanna. Hot Caleb has always brought out the best in her, and that's on full display in this scene. Her last engagement ring from what's-his-face was big and flashy (and so was he, really), but again, that's not really Hanna. Hot Caleb gets that. He gets her. Which is perfect. I'm super happy to see my OTP get engaged. They are #endgame for me, no matter what else happens on this show. HALEB always and foreva!

Also: “I would marry you right this second if we could find a bear that was licensed.”

Does it get more romantic than that? Probably, cause bears are scary, y'all. But still. Cute.

Lingering concerns:

  • Airport Spencer wasn't Spencer, you guys. I'm fully on team Spencer has a twin and that was totally her that Ezra ran into at the airport. Twencer is real and the Spencer Hanna encountered when she was kidnapped last season totally wasn't a dream--it was Twencer! Has it been Twencer at other times? Maybe, but I don't have time to rewatch everything...
  • Does anybody actually think Mona is AD? Cause no, she's not. I'll eat all of my hats if she is. Her secret liar lair is 100% about protecting the girls, cause Mona is a BAMF and they all need to recognize.
  • I used to find Lucas interesting. Now I'm just like, dude, move on with your life. This is sad times. You know Hanna is banging Hot Caleb in your condo, right? Find a Hanna replacement and move on.
  • Right now, my money is on Paige for AD. Reasons: I've never liked her, she's never liked Ali, and that disguised Aria face/vocie that has been directing Dark!Aria around town looks/sounds enough like Paige that I'm semi-convinced. On the other hand, that almost seems too easy. And I don't trust easy when it comes to PLL. So we'll see...
Photo credit: Eric McCandless/Freeform

Photo credit: Eric McCandless/Freeform

home for a rest excerpt II

To celebrate being in the revision stage (yes, revisions should be celebrated!), here's an excerpt from HOME FOR A REST, my adult contemporary romance.

"But Kate, you already shared an excerpt wth us here!!" 

First off, whoa, calm down, guys. The second exclamation mark really wasn't needed. And second, yes, I did already share an excerpt, but this book is new and exciting territory for me, so you get more! If you plan to read both excerpts in a row, read the one I've linked to above first, because the below selection is from later in that same chapter. Enjoy!

Jamie kicked off her boots and hung her coat on a hook by the door, the same one she’d been hanging it on since she first befriended Ryan back in high school. But a lot had changed since then. A lot had changed since earlier that evening.

Ryan flicked on a few lights as they moved through the house toward the kitchen.

“It’s been a while since I was last here,” Jamie commented. If she’d been nervous before, it was nothing compared to what she was feeling now.

Ryan glanced back at her as he flicked on the coffee maker. “Yeah, I suppose it has. BBQ?”

“Christmas party.”

Recognition washed over his face. “Ah yes, I remember. Josh brought that guy who openly complained about everything.”

Jamie nodded. “That was the one.” That guy had been a dick.

She suddenly found herself doubting all of it. Ryan's motivation for bringing her here, the possibility of what might happen, the fact that he’d said anything about kissing her in the first place. And even if she wasn’t misreading the situation, she wasn’t sure this was even something she wanted. Sure, there was a big part of her—a huge part of her—that really, really wanted it, had wanted it for years, but how did that fit in with the person she’d become over the past few months? Was this her moving on? Was she even ready for that? Because nothing about this felt like the casual fun her sister had insisted she needed. Besides, Ryan had said he was done with one night stands. And that was the last thing Jamie ever wanted to be to him anyway.

“You’ve got your pick of desserts.” Ryan turned around from the fridge, his strong arms loaded down with trays of squares, cookies, and entire pies.

“Holy crap,” Jamie said as he lay them out on the kitchen table. “You weren’t kidding about the food.”

He grabbed two plates and two forks. “I never kid about food.”

Her eyes roamed over the options, happy to focus on something other than their current situation for a moment. “Can I have a little bit of each?”

She hadn’t really meant it as a serious question, but Ryan smiled and nodded, his eyes locking with hers. “You’re welcome to have anything you want, James.”

And with that, it was game back on. God, the way he looked at her. So transfixed. He’d always managed to make her feel like she was the only girl in the room, even when she wasn’t. He excelled at focussing on people, addressing their needs. It was part of his undeniable charm—and probably why he was so good at his job. He’d probably made dozens and dozens of girls feel that way. But even knowing that, he still somehow made Jamie feel exceptional. Maybe it wasn’t real, but it still felt so damn good. And right now, that was what she wanted to focus on. Not what she should be feeling, but what she wanted to be feeling. And as Ryan stared at her from across the table with a wicked grin spread across his lips, she knew exactly what she wanted to be feeling.