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New and Improved!!!!

OMG!!!!  Choosing Hope’s official book release is less than 2 weeks away. Halloween, October 31. (In honor of my dad’s birthday. He is with me in spirit cheering me on.)

So you’d think with 13 days left to go before Choosing Hope makes its grand debut, I’d be already to go. NOPE!!!

I didn’t like the way the book cover was looking in pictures. As pretty as was, it didn’t POP. It wasn’t catching my eye.

So at the very last moment, I asked my cover designer to take it up a notch… and he did. KAPOW.

Here is the New and Improved cover:

 

 

And if all that gorgeous color wasn’t enough, I thought I’d update my back cover blurb as well. I took a poll on social media and you all gave me wonderful feedback that led to an attention grabbing new blurb.

Thank you for all of your help my friends!!!  You make my books better 🙂

 

“A perfectly beautiful love affair gone terribly wrong. Choosing Hope is a love story, a nightmare, and a lesson to the world all in one.” – Mandy Urena, author of Touchy, Feely, Squeezy: Musings of a Masseuse

A broken marriage.

A love affair.

A lie that changes it all…

Hope Sullivan has been with the same man since her freshman year of college. She knows her marriage has its cracks, but she doesn’t realize how much resentment she has buried, or chosen to blame on herself, that is until a family tragedy forces her to reevaluate her long held beliefs.

When her husband isn’t there for her, Hope’s first love steps in and offers her a way out. Adrian, appears to be everything her husband isn’t.

He’s sexy, strong, and fit. He listens to her, sympathizes with her, and makes her feel valued.  Best of all, Adrian lives for spending time with his kids.

Hope’s affair is just the beginning. Her journey inward will require untangling her complicated past and surviving an astonishing revelation.

Her lover is not who he pretends to be.

She’s searching for her happily-ever-after, and no matter how painful the journey, she’ll find what she’s been looking for all along—the chance to choose Hope.

 

A spin-off from the best-selling novel, Kingston Court.

Love is Winning

Those sturdy walls I mentioned in my last blog, the ones I erected to protect my delicate heart… they have totally crumbled. One hundred percent.

I’ve been uber-mommying my boys all around town rocking out to sappy love songs. I think about my guy, and a smile shimmies across the entire bottom half of my face. The phone bleeps an incoming text message. I lose my breath for a quick second.

Adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, all those intoxicating bonding chemicals, are in bloom.

Still, our relationship is far from simple. I don’t do simple.

For one thing, Julian doesn’t live in same state. In the beginning, I preferred the distance. Miles gave me boundaries. Two and half months later, I’d much rather see him every day.

Then there’s the timing of our connection. It’s not a meet-cute kind of story.

I am a divorcé who made some disastrous choices not so long ago. As a result of my not-so-brilliant actions, my two boys have been suspicious of any new man in my life, tiptoeing along the line of paranoia.

Then there’s my guy’s history. Julian is a recent widower.

There are rules for wayward divorcés and for men who have lost beautiful young wives. Julian’s former in-laws are upset, they think he is moving on too quickly. Finding someone he cares for is dishonoring their daughter. As for many in my wide circle of friends, they question my judgement of men in general. More than one suggested that before I let my guard down, I hire a private investigator to make sure my guy isn’t dangerous.

Julian didn’t wait the prescribed year of mourning. I didn’t perform any background checks. Neither of us followed directions.

That doesn’t mean I don’t share the concerns others have voiced. They were my own fears before anyone else spoke them out loud. Just writing about it, I can feel myself getting defensive, a sure sign I have doubts. I tell myself, I was in therapy for a year and I know how to spot a bad guy. I have the tools now to make wiser decisions. As for Julian, he took care of his wife who he loved for the two years she was dying. She wanted him to find someone else when she was gone. He deserves to have happiness. We both do.

Despite my doubts, my retorts are valid. Rules that don’t serve the greater good, are often best broken.

Julian has driven 700 plus miles round trip nearly every weekend and washed my dishes after I cooked. He’s helped fix broken stuff around my  house, and cared for me when I got sick with the flu. I’ve taken him clothes shopping and helped him organize his new home.

He has spent time with my boys, and given me the opportunity to hang out with his sons. I have met his family. He’s met mine.

My cautious mother thinks he is a sweetheart. My leery bestie approves. Most importantly, both of my sons enjoy his company, and so far, his boys like me.

And so, I made a conscious choice to let my barricade tumble. Ours is a tangled path, with lots of tender debris. Just the same, love is winning.

Finding Mr. Right

After ending a long-term relationship, I chose to be alone for a stretch of time. I needed to learn myself, and to make sure I fully understood I didn’t need to be rescued in order to survive. With the support of my girlfriends, my boys, and my family, I could make it on my own.

Granted, that’s not really alone. But let’s face it, no woman is an island, and it was as close as I ever want to get.

During my “alone” time, without a husband, boyfriend, or lover to turn to, I pushed for growth. I transformed myself into a decent cook. I started to speak up on my own behalf when I felt wronged (not always, but a heck of a lot more often.)  Most important of all, I learned to draw boundaries around my non-negotiables (check out Brene Brown’s transformitive book, Rising Strong.) During the process, I became a better person.

That said, six months without a romantic partner was enough. This girl needs someone to kiss goodnight and cuddle into in her sleep. So, in the middle of a nerve-inducing book release, managing my boys and their schedules, and growing a small business, I dove into dating.

People say love comes along when you aren’t looking for it, and when you least expect it. That narrative didn’t work for me. I am INcapable of waiting patiently for shit to happen. Once I’ve made up my mind, I go after what I want.

Finding true love became a mission, and I dated a variety of different men: movie star handsome, granola, preppy. Shorter, taller, younger, older. American, foreign. Wealthy, struggling. Fit, unfit, educated, street smart. Funny, serious. Jewish, Catholic, Christian, Atheist.

A lifetime of experiences crushed into a matter of months.

I took advice. My brother-in-law said, never date anyone who drives a BMW. My therapist insisted an evolved woman should not settle for anyone who isn’t emotionally available. My mom said, find a giver. My bestie advised; don’t date a dickhead.

What did I look for? First off, I coveted all those universal wants you will find on any standard dating site: Searching for that elusive mix of chemistry and friendship, someone who likes me and my children, and in turn, I appreciate their inner circle.

Then there are the qualities unique to each individual’s personal history and desires. I grew up in a family that likes to break the rules and test the limits. I needed someone at least a little rebellious, and willing to take risks. While a kind, loyal guy who treated me and my boys well was a priority, the sweet, shy, perfectly behaved boy-next-door, wasn’t going to make the cut.

I got lucky! It seems as if I have found someone who meets all the checkboxes on my superbly researched and well thought-out checklist. I still have armored safety walls built high around my heart, and I am not ready to put a name on it. I will say, however, this new guy is awfully cute and he makes me smile. AND, our shoes…. are a perfect match.

So far, it’s good.

Choosing Hope – Cover Reveal

As many of you know, it has been a long journey to find the perfect book cover for Choosing Hope.

I rifled through about ten cover designs before I NEARLY decided to settle on one that was simply, good enough.  Thankfully I had you all to encourage me to keep going, and my heart wouldn’t let me accept anything but a design that I loved. THIS is that cover:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHOOSING HOPE by Holly Kammier

About Choosing Hope:

Choosing Hope is a harrowing story of passion and deceit, the things we do for love and the rabbit holes we tumble into chasing elusive fairy-tale endings. Dark around the edges with a shocking twist I didn’t see coming, this is the kind of book you’ll be passing around to your friends so you can talk about it. Holly Kammier delivers romance, suspense, and a strong, smart heroine who turns out to be nobody’s victim. Don’t miss this one! – Kat Ross, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea

A broken marriage.

A love affair.

A lie that changes it all…

Hope Rains Sullivan is living the dream—a successful husband, two beautiful young boys, and a charming home in Northern California. She should be happy.  She almost convinced herself she was, until Adrian came along.

Adrian, appears to be everything her husband isn’t. He works with his hands, and is even willing to use them in a fight. He’s sexy, strong and fit, with warm brown skin that alludes to his Spanish background. Best of all, he lives for spending time with his kids. Feeling alone in her marriage, Adrian offers her a way out.

Hope’s affair is just the beginning. Her journey inward will require untangling her complicated past and surviving an astonishing revelation. Her lover is not who he pretends to be.

She’s searching for her happily-ever-after, and no matter how painful the journey, she’ll find what she’s been looking for all along—the chance to choose Hope.

A spin-off from the best-selling novel,  Kingston Court.

I’d love to know what you think! Please leave a comment in the box below.

Book Cover Madness

People ask me at least once a month if it’s hard to write a book. My answer.  It’s not the writing that makes me slide into late-night panic attacks.

Oh no. The MOST stressful part of creating a novel???  The Book Cover Design.

A  cover has a boatload of work to do. It needs to set the mood, draw a reader in, show a story.

When it doesn’t do that….when that picture ain’t  properly tellin’ your thousands of words…. the wrong cover feels like you are stomping all over your awesomeness. All those beautiful sentences you so carefully crafted suddenly seem meaningless.

And then, if you are a tiny bit anxious like me, you start to worry that one or two unusable cover design attempts means you will never get your book cover right. Your entire story is ruined. The whole endeavor has been a gigantic, horrific, waste-of-time catastrophe. CASTASTROPHE!!!!

But THEN, you call your writing bestie and she reminds you we’ve been down this gravely train track before. It will work out. She tells you to breathe into a brown paper bag  – USELESS. She switches tactics and gives you some guidance. You realize you got your vision all backwards  and you conceptualize a clearer, more brilliant cover design.

So you email your talented cover artist with all your magnificent new ideas.  And then you wait. And wait. And wait a little more. And try not to obsess.

But you do obsess. Because, really, how can you not obsess?

In the meantime…you know one thing is for sure –  these are the covers you will most definitely NOT be using.

 

Choosing Hope – Releasing on Halloween

So I’ve decided to do something a lot crazy. I’m releasing my next novel, Choosing Hope, on October 31st.

 

In about 4 months!!!! In-Sanity! The manuscript is written, so no big deal there.

NOW it’s a matter of formatting, designing a book cover, gathering testimonials, and sending out advanced reader copies for reviews as quick as I can. I am literally Choosing Hope in doing this on such a short timeline.

 

Here’s the official book blurb:

A broken marriage.
A love affair.
A lie that changes it all…

Hope Rains Sullivan is living the dream—a successful husband, two beautiful young boys, and a charming home in Northern California. She should be happy. She almost convinced herself she was, until Adrian came along.

Adrian, appears to be everything her husband isn’t. He works with his hands, and is even willing to use them in a fight. He’s sexy, strong and fit, with warm brown skin that alludes to his Spanish background. Best of all, he lives for spending time with his kids. Feeling alone in her marriage, Adrian offers her a way out.

Hope’s affair is just the beginning. Her journey inward will require untangling her complicated past and surviving an astonishing revelation. Her lover is not who he pretends to be.

She’s searching for her happily-ever-after, and no matter how painful the journey, she’ll find what she’s been looking for all along—the chance to choose Hope.

***

I was originally going to release Choosing Hope sometime next year but…. My boys are leaving for the summer and I will have some extra time on my hands, plus my dad’s birthday is on Halloween.

Dad’s not around to read this book, yet I am positive he would get a kick out of me releasing my latest novel on his big day. So this one’s for you Papa! I hope you’re watching over and smiling right now.

Here’s what one of my favorite writers has to say about Choosing Hope:

Choosing Hope is a harrowing story of passion and deceit, the things we do for love and the rabbit holes we tumble into chasing elusive fairy-tale endings. Dark around the edges with a shocking twist I didn’t see coming, this is the kind of book you’ll be passing around to your friends so you can talk about it. Holly Kammier delivers romance, suspense, and a strong, smart heroine who turns out to be nobody’s victim. Don’t miss this one! – Kat Ross, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea 

I am so very excited to share this story with you all!!!

Dating 101

Blogging is much trickier these days. There’s so many things in my private life, I feel the need to keep private.

I will say I have emerged from my self-imposed cave and officially put my heart back out into the dating world.

Opening yourself up to strangers is a vulnerable proposition. Practicing radical self-love while purposely choosing to trust “new friends” is both scary and exhilarating. It’s also incredibly educational. In a short period of time I have hurt others, been hurt, and learned a lot about my own wants, needs, dislikes, and desires.

Desperate pieces of me crave the known, the comfortable.  I’ve been working hard not to fall into old patterns. All too often I catch myself leaning towards men I want to fix and who I think will rescue me in return. I’m a sucker for the fairy tale knight-in-shining-armor with deep wounds that need nursing.

I have to remind myself on the daily, I can’t love away anyone else’s hurts and I don’t need a man to make me valuable. Seems kind of obvious, but believing it and living it, don’t come natural to me.

I’m getting there, but no real-life story is one of overnight redemption. It is very much, two steps forward, one step crashing back. I’m getting up and trying again. Learning, growing, practicing resilience. A lot of days, standing on my own or trying with the wrong person, SUCKS. Some days are ridiculously awesome.  My ultimate goal, with or without a romantic partner, is inner peace and contentment. I’ll let you know when THAT happens .

In the meantime, the boys and I are moving. We are homeowners once again and it feels great to prepare to paint walls, hang pictures, and call a little slice of San Diego – our most favorite place on this earth – home. My company, Acorn Publishing, is flourishing. Jessica Therrien and I  signed a phenomenal new writer, hired two interns, and sold so many of our books, it’s hard to believe it’s all real.

Crazy what can happen when you take risks and believe in yourself.

Choosing Hope!!!

I stopped blogging last summer after I left Las Vegas and moved back to San Diego.

When life rocks your foundation, sometime it is best to go quiet, and allow yourself the empty vacuum of space to reflect and heal.

I have used these past eight months to rebuild. For me, that has meant the power of prayer to the universe, writing myself a note each day to celebrate something positive, yoga, walking, weight lifting, focusing on my business (Acorn Publishing) and my beautiful children, and writing my story.

Our intern posted this quote by P.D. James on twitter recently that I absolutely LOVE!

 

I have used the art of writing to OWN the lessons I’ve learned and transform them into something that makes sense to me.

The rough draft of my next novel is complete!!!

Choosing Hope is the story of a woman, Hope Rains Sullivan, who learns the hard way she needs to choose herself. It is my deepest,  most personal work to date, and I absolutely can not wait to share it with you when it’s fully polished and ready to shine.

In the meantime, a move is in the works. I bought a tiny townhouse in a magnificent location and my boys and I are preparing to make it GORGEOUS. I promise to check in with you a little more often from now on and keep you posted.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us in our journey!!! Sending you all love and light.

Where It All Began – Guest Post

Where It All Began

Guest Post by: Jessica Therrien

Over the weekend, Holly and I had the pleasure of attending the Southern California Writers Conference. We were excited and nervous, not knowing how our hybrid publishing company would be received by so many writers.

What happened was amazing. Not only were we welcomed with open arms and embraced as writers ourselves, but those who attended our workshop were blown away by the concept of our company. For so long, writers have been forced to choose between the long and difficult path of traditional publishing and the struggles of self-publishing. We offer the in between, and I’m happy to say, that idea excited and motivated everyone in the room.

I couldn’t have imagined a more successful conference, and we are so thrilled to be offering a solution to our fellow writers.

Bottom line, it was such a wonderful experience being around so many creative, inspiring, excited authors, and we had so much fun reliving our first conference…Holly and I have come so far since we met there in that exact hotel at the 2011 Southern California Writers Conference.

 

Happy Launch Day to El Awake!

El Awake coverEl Awake.

In the year 2115, Eleutherius (El) is struggling to find meaning in a city where most are strangely submissive and unquestioning towards the absolute rule of the merciless authorities. But after discovering the dark truth behind the white city, El ventures on a fast paced and thrilling journey to fight for the freedom of a people he once resented.  

Guided by his now-deceased grandfather’s poems, El’s body and mind must be broken and reassembled, in order that he become stronger and accomplish the work his Grandfather began, all the while struggling against questions of morality and discerning who is friend and who is foe.
On behalf of our growing company, Acorn Publishing, we are excited to welcome the supremely talented Jordan Sala Tenna’s debut novel.  This 23 year-old blew our socks off when we first edited his gripping manuscript. 
Jordan Sala Tenna Pic
Here’s what the man behind the story has to say about himself and his work:   
I grew up interested in fast, action packed thrills, and never would have imagined writing a full-length novel. I hated school and longed for the day to graduate and join the military, but life is unexpected.
The military thing never happened (probably for the best), but something else did. One strange day I opened a Bible, and for the next week I was in tears after reading it. Since then I have been far more interested in reading and writing than I ever was before.
I live with my family in a state below the mainland of Australia named Tasmania. It’s often cold, but even more often green and beautiful with rolling hills, snow capped mountains, overgrown forests, and relaxed people. I spend my days working around the house, writing, and caring for a young golden retriever.
Check out this awesome young adult fantasy book here!!
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