It’s midnight-thirty and I have a passel of kids home for spring break, but I’m going to write this because it’s exactly what Stevie Nicks would do. I know this because she told me so.
She’s on tour with her solo songs, things she wrote outside of the Fleetwood Mac sets, so the stories behind the lyrics were a prominent part of her concert.
She’s an inspiration without even having to try. She’s 68, still touring (in heels!) and her voice is as distinctive and true as anything you’ve heard in a recording from any of the last five decades.
You could be inspired by her stories of unabashedly calling up Tom Petty or Prince to collaborate or play a song she just wrote (or, in the case of “Stand Back,” rewrote based on “Little Red Corvette.”)
Or you could take her “Follow your dreams” speeches — and there were several mixed into her concert material — at face value.
But here’s the story I found to say it best.
Stevie is a struggling young artist working two jobs, as a waitress and a house cleaner. She writes songs as she can, and finally gets enough attention in the industry to record her first album.
The album comes out and is released to the world, the culmination of her dreams, hard work and distinctive voice.
And she remains a waitress and a house cleaner.
Nothing really happens. The album goes nowhere. Her label drops her.
But here’s the thing. Artists make art. So she kept right on going, kept writing, kept singing. From looking at snow covered hills from a rich person’s house to inspire her to write “Landslide,” to trying to honor the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in “New Orleans,” she held tight to the things that spoke to her, and retold them in song.
Then one day, Fleetwood Mac called.
It’s possible (and, in fact, quite probable) that your first efforts at your passion will move invisibly through time, impacting only you.
But you are the most important person. Without you, that art never existed in the first place.
The only opportunity that is lost is the art you never make at all.
Based on all the things I felt moved to create after tonight, I’m going to be doing some collaborating after the release of my next series (15 days until Forbidden Dance, y’all.) And also telling a few more stories about the inspiration for the stories. And asking other authors to do the same. It’s important.
Sometimes the best way to inspire people to follow their dreams is simply to follow yours.
When I first started writing Elektra Chaos, things hadn’t gotten bad yet. My daughter Elizabeth, who is on the cover, had been diagnosed with epilepsy for four years at that point, and we had the seizures under control.
She was still going through a lot, as the medicine made her gain a lot of weight, and her previous friends had dumped her. But some of the other girls with a little more weight to them had picked her up and dusted her off, so we were getting through fifth grade.
I was about halfway through this book, which features a girl with epilepsy — the story Elizabeth wanted me to tell — when everything fell apart. The seizures returned. She couldn’t go through a week without one. Her life was regularly in danger as she tried to do normal things like climb playscapes or go swimming.
Then the medicine quit working completely. We tried another, and this one made her sick and listless. She lost an incredible amount of body weight in a dramatic few months. She couldn’t eat. Her skin got wounds that wouldn’t heal. I began to think she wasn’t going to come out of this. I began to wonder if my future was one without my little girl.
So I quit writing the book.
I still cry just thinking about those days.
With the help of our pediatrician and neurologist, we did get it turned around. We had three good years in middle school before everything started to fall apart again last summer. We’re still in that hard place, and to have the finished book come out while I’m back in darker days hasn’t been easy. Those who follow our story over on Facebook know she was discovered at Disneyland in a puddle, unconscious, having a seizure. They are a constant right now, anytime things get too loud or she feels off. We’re struggling to find a new way to control them.
But the book is here, and it’s important to us.
Elizabeth wanted to see an adventure story where the girl has seizures, and saves the world anyway.Kindle iBooks Kobo Books a Million Nook
In this magic adventure novel, Elektra’s epilepsy is important, but not everything. It’s a story about a girl who thinks she’s meant to be the bully, the bad guy, and that makes it easier for her to handle the weirdness that comes with having such a difficult, embarrassing problem like seizures.
But suddenly, her magic power is asking more of her. To change. To be the hero she’s never thought she could be. At least she aims to try.
The book is written for 9-12 year olds, a lot like the original Harry Potter or early Rick Riordan books. I’m pleased to be done with it, but even MORE glad when my little Elektra at home finds a stable place again.
You can also see the other books in the series.
You can read more about Elizabeth in these blog posts.
It’s been a crazy two years. Taking adoption classes. Getting licensed to be a foster home. Getting children. Struggling to help them. Really getting towed under with the stress of it all. My mom dying right in the middle of our crisis. Mom, come on! I need ya!
It was a lot.
But we’re getting close to adoption day, things are going pretty well, and other than a few bumps here and there, our lives are a lot like the lives of any parents raising any family.
And so, I have for you all, five new books coming.
Today’s the reveal of the covers, beautifully made by Sarah at Okay Creations (two years ago! She’s probably forgotten me!)
I’m here to show you these fantastic covers and to give away prizes and to CELEBRATE that we’ve gotten through this amazing, terrible, wonderful, stressful, painful, super-human period of our lives.
Thank you for being fans through all this. I mean it.
There were times when a nice comment from a reader was the only good thing to happen to me in a week (man, now I’m crying. I’m supposed to be the ones making YOU guys cry!)
So here it all is. Do the Rafflecopter. Share. Jump up and down. Because I’m BACK. (Did anything big happen in the world while I was gone? LOL.)
Coming March 28, 2017 * Preorder Available
She was hidden from the world. Then he arrived.
An emotional new novel from six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy
For four years, I’ve lived in almost total seclusion. Homeschooled, forbidden from social media, seeing no one other than the dancers at Dreamcatcher Academy, where I teach ballet to little girls in wheelchairs.
Then Blitz arrives.
He’s the disgraced host of Dance Blitz, a bawdy reality show where Blitz sleeps with as many dancers as possible while looking for his perfect partner.
At least he was. A few weeks ago, he got kicked off his own show.
He’s at my academy for a publicity stunt, and my wheelchair ballerinas are his ticket back into the public’s good graces.
I intend to hate him and stay as far away as possible. But when he looks at me, I can’t resist. Before I realize what’s happened, we’re sneaking into back rooms, dancing, kissing, planning dates away from the cameras and the wrath of my family.
But I’m afraid. I have a secret at the academy, a small, wonderful, terrible secret, and if I stay with Blitz, the world will find out.
Five Full Length Standalones
I’m still sitting here in shock looking at this.
We’re ThisClose to getting to 1 million views for my series video on Facebook. That’s so stinking crazy! I keep falling out of my chair!
So I’ve got a BUNCH O’ GIVEAWAYS!
Giveaway ONE is for the BIG READERS to buy whatever books they want.
- Kindle Fire!
- Amazon Gift Cards!
- iTunes gift Cards!
Giveaway TWO is for DEANNA FANS.
- Rare swag set with a one-of-a-kind bracelet with a miniature Forever Innocent book and a sterling silver butterfly.
- Complete signed set of the entire Forever series.
- Signed set of the first book of FOUR Deanna series under all her pen names!
Feel free to enter both — I separated them so that the big fans would get a better shot at the swag and book one! Can’t wait to see that bracelet on somebody! <3
GIVEAWAY ONE: Kindle Fire and Gift Cards
a Rafflecopter giveaway
GIVEAWAY TWO: Bracelet, rare swag, signed books!
Did you miss the VIDEO?
HERE IT IS! 🙂
Book 1 of the USA Today bestselling series
Have you ever heard a really sad song and know it describes your life exactly?
But it’s not just one. It’s every sad song. The one where you plan a lifetime with your absolute soulmate, then he leaves you.
The one where you’re making your way in the world, then everything shatters.
And the one where you love a tiny little person with all your heart.
And he dies.
I wish I could say I don’t blame Gavin for leaving when things got hard, but I do. He took off during our baby’s funeral and I didn’t see him again for four years.
But when fate throws us back together, despite everything — his mistakes, my secrets, our failure — one thing is perfectly clear.
Our love song still has one more verse.
Five full-length novels
“A remarkable story about love, loss, and moving forward.”
— Burning Impossibly Bright Blog
“An everlasting hope that love can conquer all.”
— Hesperia Loves Books
“Put this on your TBR list and bump it to the top.”
— Eat Sleep Read Blog
eBook downloadsKindle iBooks Kobo Google Play Nook
PaperbacksAmazon Barnes & Noble Powell’s Books A Million
Because, I am.
Because I just got my head above water again.
I’ve been on a journey. An important one. A super big one. But it got harder than we ever thought it would. And then, a few months ago, it became impossible.
We are still adopting our little boy. Things are on a different track than they were, but we’re sorting through what will be the best for all the members of our family.
And during all this, my mom died unexpectedly in her sleep. This crisis on top of the ongoing one put us underwater. There was so little keeping us going.
But I’m here now. Back. Hopefully able to talk to fans, and write books without dying from the pressure of even getting a few paragraphs down. And so, looking at all I missed talking about, to catch up the blog, here is what happened:
My trilogy for kids is being released by Spellbound River Press! Jinnie Wishmaker has already been re-released. Marcus Mender will come out in the fall. And (now that I can finish it!) Elektra Chaos will be out next spring!
I wrote another book this spring, a standalone romance called The Billionaire’s Ballet. It’s a fun story, inspired by Sabrina, and a light summer read. Learn more about it at www.deannaroy.com/ballet
My Forever series hit a ridiculous number of books sold. It’s just awe-inspiring to me to see these books go. You guys write me every day about how the story impacted you, and your notes truly kept me going. The response to the video on the series was also just tremendous, and we’re at something crazy like 800,000 views on Facebook. Thank you.
Here’s to being back in the world again, not just head down and slogging through immeasurable struggle.
In the summer of 2013, I had a problem. Kurt and I had just given up on getting pregnant and I had two surgeries in a row sealing the deal. No babies for us. Not biologically ours, anyway.
We started looking into adoption. We knew it was expensive. We were solid financially, but finding another $30k was gonna be tough.
I was still doing photography and had published a few books — Baby Dust was out, and did all right, but nothing that would pull in that kind of money. I wrote two romances but they flopped totally and went in the red.
I was fortunate at that time to make a couple really important friends. One was Mimi Strong, who I’d met on Kboards. Another was HM Ward, who had a similar background as me, photographer turned writer, and also lived in Texas.
Mimi had some big success with a billionaire series she had written and took me under her wing. We looked at my current fan base, all baby-loss moms, and where to go to expand. She told me new adult romances, set at college age, were the big thing.
Well, I had tried new adult already, twice, and those were flops. But she insisted I had done it wrong. So she coached me. Mimi made me sit down and come up with a college romance that hadn’t already been done but would have a very strong hook. Something only I could write.
Well, of course I knew what it had to be.
The character of Corabelle came first. Her baby had died. To make the story happen in college, she had to be a teen mother. Then Gavin, her boyfriend. He had to have something in his past that made him take off when the going got tough, even though he had loved Corabelle.
And I had to find a way to get them back together that wasn’t too hokey. And I had to keep them apart enough to make a book.
Into the fall we worked on the book, Mimi reading my work and telling me what I was doing wrong. When it came time for covers, Mimi was insistent I have the right look. We pored over images, trying to find something that wasn’t overused but still affordable since I had such a low budget (although the moment mine came out, the same image popped up everywhere.)
Here are the couples who didn’t make the cut (and I know what you’re thinking — no way any of those were Corabelle and Gavin!)
We did everything we could think of for the book release. Blog tours. Goodreads giveaways. NetGalley. A book trailer. Mimi was pushing it out to her fans.
And it was doing much better than my other books. Way better. But after a week, it just started to dive. If it was over now, that was it. It would earn out its costs, which were a lot more than my other books had been, but that was about it. Kurt and I talked about me going ahead and going back to work, even though I’d have to quit when we got the children. But at least to earn the fees.
Then I took a wild chance. I knew HM Ward just a little bit. We’d messaged some. She was huge at the time. Just huge. Her Arrangement series was topping every chart. And I boldly asked if she would share my book with her fans.
She didn’t respond for two days. I thought, okay, I’ve overstepped. No way would she do a favor like that for someone she barely knew. I was a little embarrassed to have asked.
I remember going to a football game that night. My daughter was a freshman and marching at halftime. My parents were in town too, to see her. While we waited for them to come out, I pulled out my phone to see how much farther my book had fallen in rankings.
And almost fell out of my seat.
I had sold 1000 copies that day.
I frantically checked my messages, and sure enough, HM had sent a message. “Posted it. Think I sold a couple hundred. :)”
This visibility set off a chain reaction. The book didn’t fall. I hit #4 on iBooks. Top 50 BN. I came breathlessly close to the top 100 on Amazon.
Over 700 readers signed up for my mail list to find out about my next book. Everyone was asking — what’s it going to be?
And a big chorus was insisting — Corabelle and Gavin’s story isn’t over.
I sat down immediately to write Forever Loved. This book did just as well as Forever Innocent. Sell through was something crazy like 90%.
We had done it.
Now, two years later, we’ve come to the last book. The business changed a lot, and college romances fell out of favor. But I wrote a few more. A set of the first three books hit the USA Today bestseller list last January, a huge accomplishment. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it all went.
I’d love to show you a picture of the two little boys who live with us now, but it’s not time yet. Just know that they are here, and that all you fans were instrumental in getting them here. And that putting this series to bed is like tucking in your child for the last time before they leave home. It’s hard.
But what a journey it’s been.
I will be writing a little more slowly now but plan to have a book out in May and a new series starting in the fall. You can stay in touch with me on the email list.
Enjoy the trailer. I have loved being on this road with all of you.
I take very little for granted these days.
I have two new boys now. They arrived last September. The first three months were really tough. Of course they would be. They’ve had a hard journey making their way to us. We only just turned the corner as a family a few weeks ago, in mid January, into something manageable.
So my own life was set aside for a while. That didn’t mean big things didn’t happen. This for one:
Fight for Her hit the USA Today bestseller list in January at #116. This was my sixth time on the list — second time for my JJ Knight pen name.
I’m so grateful.
I didn’t get a chance to talk about it much, as we were in crisis at home. As so often happens when family comes first, even the big personal accomplishments get pushed aside.
But we’re getting there.
I’m not sure when I’ll introduce our new family to the world. Their safety will come first, even after they are adopted and I am legally free to let everyone see their adorable faces. But know they are here, and my life is far more multi-faceted than it ever was before. I’m not quite as available online or at book signing events as I once was.
If you do want me, the best place is my private Facebook group for book fans. I try to stop by every couple of days to say hello. Click to hop over to it.
Today my first boy would have been 17. I can’t even fathom what sort of life I’d be leading if the fork in my road hadn’t gone the way it did, if Casey had been ours to keep. No Emily, for sure, as she couldn’t have come along in time. And probably not where we are now, about to bring more children into our home.
No matter how my life changes, no matter how many years pass, I do not forget. You could make a case for, “It was meant to be” and “Count your blessings,” but sometimes those platitudes just don’t apply. And all that’s left are the “What should have been.”
He should have been…here.
We’ve come so far since that first tentative release of Forever Innocent in October 2013. My life is completely different because of these books!
In Forever Bound, Jenny gets her turn to tell her story. Her meeting with Chance, a singer-songwriter who is hitchhiking across the US, changes everything about her. She goes on a journey to find this mysterious man who was supposed to be just a one-night stand, but ends up being part of her forever.
The amazing Brad Whittington wrote the songs in the book and has even recorded the series Forever song. I hope you’ll go take a listen on his site!
If you missed the release, here are the links:
The Facebook fans have decided that the dedications they want to put into FOREVER BOUND will go to our moms and mother figures.
So make sure you fill out the form right away! It will only be open a couple days. (If the form is open, you’ll know. It will not allow entries after I close it.)
Forever Bound will arrive July 28, 2015! The dedications will be in both the digital and print versions, just like in Forever Innocent, Forever Loved, and Forever Sheltered.
Preorder information for Forever Bound: