Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE-EVE!!

I hope this finds you taking a moment to kick your feet up and rest before the craziness of the next few days. Though 3/5 of us in our house have recently battled Strep, I’m still in awe of this time of year. Getting to see the magic of Christmas through the eyes of my boys makes me ridiculously happy.

I wanted to take all of December off, but was finishing up writing Blakely’s book, so I get a whole eight days. I’m going to do my best to unplug, rest up, charge up, and think about my goals for next year. So you get one huge blog instead of two smaller ones because I’m taking this break, dang it! Fill up your coffee/tea. I’ve got lots to say. (Shocker!)

If you remember from last year’s blog, I’m a goal slayer. Once I set a goal, it’s as good as done. But what I want to accomplish next year, writing four books, is a steeeeep goal for a momma. Broken down into monthly, weekly, daily chunks, that’s about 2,000 words a day, six days a week. And yes, I’d like at least one of those four books to come out next year. *wink, wink*

My 2020 goals are borderline insane. So ambitious I didn’t want to admit them. Of course lots of grace is required for climbing a mountain such as this one.

I have tears in my eyes thinking about my 2019. I worked so damn hard. I loved so damn hard. I held my new baby boy after he made it into this world safely. I moved closer to my people, my family. I published TWO books. I wrote "THE END" for the fifth time.

2019 had a plethora of storms but also took my breath away. I’m so grateful for this past year. And also grateful it’s over!!

So when I think on to 2020, I have simple goals. Write four books. And spoiler alert, they are ALL the spinoff series. I originally thought it’d be three books, but the characters want what the characters want. I am just their permanently exhausted vessel. But I don’t mind. :)

In 2020, I want to attack all my goals just like I did in 2019. I also want to hug my babies even more. They won’t always ask for me to lie with them, but they do for now. The baby won’t always be such a momma’s boy, but he is for now.

2019 was a different sort of exhaustion. So I am incorporating more little breaks into my schedule for 2020. And then you best believe I’m going to slay those goals. As a mom of three littles, I have every excuse at my disposal. There are days and weeks that I may not *feel* like writing.

But the end goal is so much more beautiful than my temporary excuses. And I'm craving the escape writing provides me. Yeah, it's work, but it also forces me to sit down. Something I don't do a lot of. It truly rejuvenates me, so I can't wait to dive back into Culling world!

What are you up to in 2020, my peeps? What mountain will you climb?

I’m looking up at my mountain right now with a Lyncoln-y smirk on my face. If I made it through 2019 with a speck of joy left, 2020 has nothing on me.

Let’s do this. *Belts Into the Unknown at the top of my lungs*

And a very merry Christmas, everyone. Now for what you truly came here for today. I’ll try to do better at sharing little tidbits while I’m in my writing cave these next few months. But no promises. Because 2,000 words.

Without further ado.

Your snippets...

LOCKED IN

Blakely Harper went to college for seven years for this. SEVEN YEARS. Somehow, she thought at the end of the seven years there’d be some climatic event. She was finally certified and ready to take on the world. You know, save lives, that kind of thing. Okay, maybe not actual lives because this was physical therapy and not the ER. But as it turns out, those seven years and her doctorate degree didn’t guarantee immediate greatness in the work-a-day world. If anything, it just delayed the bad part, the part where you have to work your butt off for what you want.

Adulthood was just riding out a permanent sort of exhaustion. On a unicycle. That you’ve never driven before. Why didn’t anyone warn her about this?!

She moved her neck from side to side and took a deep breath. She had the job she wanted. She finished school. She’d moved back to Picketts and opened her own practice. This was the life she’d been working for the last seven years... right?

“And then sometimes when the weather takes a turn like this...”

She held her breath. She was doing what she called a “joint-joint session” with three of the five elderly women who called themselves Pink Ladies, yes just like the movie Grease, and took it upon themselves to insert themselves into wherever the gossip was up and running hot.

“My hip gets all out of whack,” Beth explained.

She let out the breath and tucked her blonde, long bobbed hair behind her ear. Considering the ladies spent almost their whole session talking about constipation and the foods they just couldn’t eat anymore, all while doing the stretches and moves she led them through, it could’ve been way worse.

“And then Harold and I just can’t have any sort of marital fun, if you know what I mean.”

Annnnnd there it was. She tried not to react. The old married couple had to be pushing 70 and that was an image she’d just rather not ever have. Ever. Then Glenda waggled her eyebrows at her.

Blakey felt her cheeks go hot.

Letty piped in, “At least ya still got a husband for such activities. It’s been a coon’s age since my biscuits have been buttered, if ya know what I mean.”

“Oookay ladies, you can put your bands down now and let’s move to our cool down stretches,” Blakey interrupted, stopping them before it went any further because, please no, she did not need to know those things about these ladies.

As their session wound down and she finally got the Pink Ladies out the door, she took a moment for herself filling out paperwork before lunch. It wasn’t the Pink Ladies to blame for her funky mood. She loved old people. She didn’t even mind their blunt honesty about all bodily functions either. To be honest, though they were chatty, the elderly women that ran this town were kind of endearing. No one was going to admit that though. If they knew the town actually adored them, they’d rule with an iron fist.

Working with the elderly was a big part of physical therapy as a whole. It only made sense that as our bodies age and have wear and tear, they would need more attention and treatment. She knew when she opened up her own practice in a town the size of Picketts that 80% of her clients would be elderly, Pink Ladies or otherwise.

As she closed the file and handed it to her front desk receptionist, she couldn’t help but wonder... is this all there is to life? I gave seven years of my life to what ending? This?

THE LEGACY: JAMES

Prologue

5 years ago: Age 16

They wouldn't, would they?

He was their own flesh and blood. Even contemplating it, he felt the invisible dagger that'd been lodged into his back since hearing the rumor cut a little deeper.

They just wouldn't.

He had not trained this hard to get this chance wrenched out of his hands by his own parents. No way. The longer he stewed, the angrier he got. Had he not proved himself worthy enough? Would he ever be good enough? Granted he was only sixteen, but was he already this much of a failure to them?

He first took out his frustrations by his usual outlet, boxing. After forcefully wrapping his hands up, he pounded into his punching bag. With every hit to the bag, he thought of all the hard work, training, drills, and countless hours he put in since long before starting military training to prove that his last name wasn’t the reason why he was good. People doubted him. People constantly compared him to his dad. And yet he forged his own way, was giving it his all in an attempt to make his own name, all while knowing that when he came a certain age, a Culling would be called.

His parents never specifically said when they’d call one, but they all just knew it. He and Kennedy knew they’d have their shot in the next Culling. It was just how things were done. The sky was blue, the grass was green, and Cullings were called when the heirs were old enough to compete.

Maybe Cassie was wrong then.

They would tell us, wouldn't they?

If it came from anyone but her, he would think it false, yet another thing done to rile up the Presidential Family. It wouldn’t be the first or last time people had tried to tear apart his family, pit them against one another.

He practiced some kick and jab combos before giving a frustrated sigh and unwrapping his hands. This was just temporary relief. If he wanted to get to the bottom of this, he knew exactly who he needed to go to. And it was always best to control his temper when talking with his old man. Lyncoln Reed. A force to be reckoned with.

Or as the rest of the world called him… Mr. President.

Until next year! :)

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