What is it about New Year’s Eve?

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Pass the tissue. Again.

I’m always sick on New Year’s. I can count on one hand the number of New Year’s Eves in the past fifteen years that I’ve been well.

It’s strange because I actually have a pretty good immune system. I don’t get sick much during the rest of the year, but the holidays always get me. I don’t remember this being the case before I had kids. My first New Year’s of motherhood was 2000– the big Y2K. I remember staying up until midnight, determined to see the new millennium come. I was sick on the couch with a sinus infection.

Two years later I was sick again. I delivered my son on January 3, and I had no voice. In fact, the antibiotics they gave me for the delivery made me well. I left the hospital feeling great (with my new baby boy).

Year after year, it’s been a consistent pattern. I’ve missed more church choir Christmas performances than I’ve participated in–usually because I have some kind of bronchial gunk that zaps my voice.

This year was no different. My kids have all had one bug or other since September. I stayed healthy. I went in and got a flu shot because I recently took a fulltime job, and I knew I’d have a higher chance of being exposed.

I’d rejoiced in the fact that I made it through Christmas without getting sick, but I left work on December 31st feeling lousy. Two days later I sounded terrible. I began to worry that I’d end up in the walk-in clinic begging for antibiotics.

Saturday, January 3rd, was my son’s birthday. He turned thirteen. He said, “Mom, are you ever well on my birthday?”

I started wondering. Sure, there have been years when I wasn’t sick on his birthday, but some of those were years when I got sick at Christmas and was on the mend when the new year rolled around. As I’ve gotten older, the holidays seem less fun. Maybe this is why. Someone is always sick. If it’s not me or my kids, it’s the cousins, who inevitably share their colds with us.

Maybe my body knows that at Christmas, I’m guaranteed a little down time, so it takes advantage of the window of opportunity.

I don’t know, but it’s becoming annoyingly predictable.

 

My FAVORITE Harvest

Love, love, love August in Eastern Washington. It’s harvest time. I am so lucky to have a husband who planted a nectarine tree for me and tends it all year long, just because he knows I love them. That, my friends, is true love. He is THE BEST!

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Swpid-20140802-052850.jpgo, my NILA friends, are you hungry for some farm-fresh nectarines courtesy of Mr. Hansen?

Mmmmm. So good.

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The Unpublished Epilogue

I like happy endings. I don’t try to hide it. I figure there is enough tragedy and suffering in the world, and while we do often read fiction to learn about life, we also read as an escape from the things that bring us down. I write what I want to read, and I want to read something that ends with happiness, hope and the promise of a brighter future.

Hope is a common theme in YA, while “happily ever after” is frowned upon. A lot of people don’t believe in “happily ever after,” but I’m still a believer.

When I was work-shopping Before They Find Us with my MFA program, I knew how it would end. I wrote the ending Beck told me to write, even though I knew it would be unpopular with my professor and probably most of my writing peers. Still, I felt like I owed it to Beck to write the end of her story.

My professor came back to me and said, “It’s not that I don’t like it. I think it’s unnecessary. The book should end with the last chapter.”

Knowing that the Epilogue would probably get trashed when I sent the book out on review and with this insight from my professor, I decided to leave the Epilogue out of the final draft, much to the dismay of some of my beta readers.

I’m not ashamed of the ending. I know these characters. I know how they wanted their story to end, so in a way, I felt like I was protecting them by keeping the Epilogue out. But, I figure anyone who connects with the book well enough to head over here to my website deserves to have those final few pages.

So, I’m going to send the unpublished Epilogue to everyone who subscribes to my email newsletter. To subscribe, enter your email into the “Subscribe” box in the widget on the right. Subscribe before March 31, 2014, and you will receive the file, too.  (I’ll be perfectly honest here. To date I have only sent one newsletter. You don’t have to worry about his clogging your inbox—I’m just not that persistent.)

When you read it, I hope you’ll come back and tell me what you thought. Should it stay out? Or does it deserve to be put back in? Leave a comment and let me know!

Gearing up for Blog Tour

I am excited to announce that next week, BEFORE THEY FIND US will be blog touring with Xpresso Reads Blog Tours. Giselle has done such an amazing job of organizing and promoting the tour. I am really excited to see how it turns out.

Reviews, Guest Posts, Interviews, and of course, PRIZES!

Up for grabs during the tour: a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of BEFORE THEY FIND US, a BTFU charm necklace and swag, ebooks of BTFU and Painted Blind.

Check back here for the daily schedule.