Blog Business: A Self-Assessment

When I started this blog, it was an author platform, because I needed to establish my pen name, my brand, and all that hullaballoo. Which, three books later, I’d say I have. I’m not a big name (not even close) but I’d say I have a brand: romance author who’s a giant book nerd with a million hobbies, crossed with I’d Like to Be Your Cool Aunt Who Gives You Good Advice.

Which honestly means my blog is a giant mess. I stick to my weekly book review posts like glue–they’re only postponed for vacations–but everything else? Up in the air. Over the nearly four years I’ve been at this, I’ve tested so many ideas for article series, and some are great, others so-so, others abandoned.

I’m doing this more for myself, to have it all in one place I can refer back to when I’m moving forward with new content, than to make you, my lovely readers, dig through my archives to find stuff you missed. If you want to, great! But some of it’s not going to be that good, necessarily, especially in the early year(s).

So let’s take a look, shall we?

Art

Most recent post: August 2018

Almost entirely posts about my art journaling, which for a time was a monthly series I did. Except I haven’t been journaling much at all since then, so I’ve got no content for it.

Plan: Recategorize as “Art Journaling;” move the few unrelated posts to more appropriate categories; hopefully make it a monthly post topic again.

Book Memes

Most recent post: last week

Mostly my “Down the TBR Hole” posts, which are consistently monthly with brief interruptions. Plus a few random book-related tag games I’ve done for fun. This category is in better shape than most.

Plan: Keep chuggin’ along with it. Maybe try to do more community memes like Top Ten Tuesday and thus be more involved with other bloggers.

Bookish DIY

Most recent post: last month

This was supposed to be a monthly topic as well, when I first came up with it, but a) while I may be super crafty, this isn’t a craft blog; b) it’s a big time sink to generate content for; and c) I just don’t have that many ideas. How many bookmarks do I really need, anyway?

Plan: It’s not going away, but it’s going to be a special feature when I have something cool to post, rather than a regular one where I churn out mediocre crap.

Crafting

Most recent post: December 2017

A holdover from my early days, most of this stuff belongs elsewhere (or already is) and I simply don’t need the overlap with this broad, nonessential category.

Plan: Eliminate it.

Currently Reading

Most recent post: June 2017

Not useful. “Currently Reading” was going to be an article series, but it never got off the ground, mostly due to my weekly book review posts coming along–if you’re going to read my review on Friday, why talk about the book on Monday or Wednesday too?

The few other posts in this category are about temporary/unplanned reading challenges I joined that didn’t fall under the yearly Reading Challenges categories–ie, #readwomen and so on. And I found a book meme from before I had a tag for that!

Plan: Eliminate it after recategorizing its content.

Editing

Most recent post: February 2019

Everything (I hope) that I’ve ever posted relating to my editing process, self-editing practice, various apps to help with editing. I tend to talk more about writing when I’m writing, and more about editing when I’m rewriting/revising/proofreading, so this is never going to be a series, but rather a useful catch-all for all sorts of posts related to the topic.

Plan: Keep it, though I’ll double-check to make sure both that it’s not holding any dead weight, and that it’s not missing anything.

Favorites

Most recent post: January 2018

What the hell even is this category? It makes no sense.

Plan: Recategorize and eliminate.

Guest Posts

Most recent post: December 2015

This would be more useful if I’d ever done any others past the first set. It’s a category I feel like I should have, but don’t actually need.

Plan: Recategorize and eliminate.

Inspiration

Most recent post: February 2019

I know what I was thinking when I created this, and it was pretty straightforward. Either things that inspire me to write, or resources to help find inspiration. But it’s become weird and bloated and not helpful as a distinction. Especially because so much of it overlaps with Motivation (or it should, anyway.)

Plan: Keep it but clean it up.

Journals

Most recent post: February 2018 (though it’s missing a lot of later art journal posts)

This was supposed to be me talking about all my journaling, not just the art stuff, but it’s sadly thin in that department.

Plan: Find a home for the stuff that isn’t art, then eliminate it as overlap.

Let Me Tell You a Story

Most recent post: February 2019

A long-running series that I leaned on heavily in the beginning, then neglected for ages. I’m not entirely sure why–too much other content? Not in the mood to get personal? But it was the backbone of my blog for the first year, and there’s a lot of good stuff there.

Plan: Revive it!

Masterposts

Most recent post: June 2017

Another what-the-hell category that I created with good intentions, the last time I tried to get organized here on the blog, but never did anything with. (Also, why did I make it one word? That’s just dumb.)

Plan: Recategorize and eliminate.

Motivation

Most recent post: this month

Like Inspiration, it’s big, it’s messy, it’s bloated. The two overlap far more than they should.

Plan: Clean it up, be more selective about posting to it in the future.

movies

Most recent post: October 2017 (though I can think of at least two more recent posts it’s missing; also why-t-F didn’t I capitalize it)

Yeah, I’m primarily talking about writing books, but I have quite a few articles about drawing inspiration and advice from other sources, including movies. This is a category I need to have, but it needs work.

Plan: Rename to TV + Movies (probably.) Find the missing content. Make sure I don’t misplace content in the future, but it doesn’t need to be a regular feature.

Music

Most recent post: August 2017

Pretty much the same deal as “movies.” It’s missing stuff, but I need it. And I could do more to develop it.

Plan: Find the missing posts, spruce it up, talk more about it in the future because music is a huge part of my life?

Out and About

Most recent post: July 2017

Supposed to be about travel, or otherwise getting out of the house. The first two posts are me writing what sounds like mini fics, only they’re not fictional, because I did actually go those places. Weird, and under-utilized, because while I do travel some, I don’t actually talk about it much? Privacy concerns, and all.

Plan: Eliminate it.

Photos

Most recent post: February 2018

I see what I wanted to do with this: have one place to find any posts that used primarily my own photography, or were about photography. But it’s just not that useful a category.

Plan: Eliminate it.

Prompts

Most recent post: February 2019

A catch-all for posts about or containing writing prompts–I have several series that do this, including Writing Homework, which has its own category, but many of them do belong both places.

Plan: Keep it. Check for missing content. Probably rename it to “Writing Prompts.”

Quoll Writer

Most recent post: October 2015

So, yeah, I made an entire parent-level category for a writing app I don’t really use anymore. (My most recent project saved in that format is NaNo ’17.) My bad.

Plan: Rename it to “Writing and Editing Apps.” Find other content that would fit there (TTS Reader, Hemingway, etc.) Give each app a subcategory.

Serial

Most recent post: August 2015

Once upon a time, I wrote serialized fiction for my blog. I had planned to do more after I completed the first story, and never did. Since I have a separate page for it in the header, I don’t really need this anymore.

Plan: Eliminate it.

Social Media

Most recent post: September 2018

I have written articles specifically about social media before, and I probably will again. But I’ve been scattershot about applying this label so far.

Plan: Set myself some guidelines on how much social-media content a post needs to qualify, and check to see if anything needs to go in this category that isn’t.

Spooky Romance Novel

Most recent post: January 2019

I did the smart thing, in theory, and made a category for my “current” WIP. (As of now, it still is, though I’ve picked up one old project as well.)

This is where things get tricky. I want a category for each WIP, so interested parties can find everything at once. But some WIPs, if I make a category for each (or subcategory under a parent “WIP” category) will overlap with my yearly NaNoWriMo categories (which should also be subcategories of a parent) and some will eventually become finished books and not WIPs anymore. (Like all my What We Need books, which have their own categories.)

So collectively all of those need a total overhaul.

Plan: Shuffle it around until it makes sense, but have a plan for relocating posts when WIPs are no longer active, be they finished books, or abandoned for other projects.

Things I’ve Read

Most recent post: last week

So, this had a purpose, once. In 2015, any type of post that talked about a book I’d read when into this category, since I didn’t do formal book reviews (yet.)

Since the beginning of 2016, that is all I’ve done. I don’t do posts comparing two recent reads, a formal I tried out early on. I don’t write up an entire post about a nostalgic childhood book I reread.

So it really doesn’t make sense to have this category anymore.

Plan: Replace it with “Book Reviews” for the actual reviews, and either find other homes for the remaining posts, or create a “Random Book Stuff” catch-all. We’ll see which works better.

vocabulary

Most recent post: January 2019

I’ve gotten lazy about keeping up with my self-imposed vocabulary expansion program, though to some extent it depends on what I’m reading, of course. But I could be doing more.

Plan: Fix the label (again with the lack of a capital? What was I doing?) and be more diligent about posting when possible.

Worldbuilding

Most recent post: June 2016

Under-developed, under-utilized. Also, pretty sure it should be hyphenated.

Plan: If I can find other homes for the existing content, eliminate it. If not, fix it up, do it better, work on adding more relevant stuff in the future.

Writing Homework

Most recent post: February 2019

My most “successful” monthly topic, though of course some months I miss it because I can never quite get a consistent schedule going. Does it need its own parent category, though? Probably not.

Plan: Roll it into “Writing Resources” below as a subcategory.

Writing Prompt Responses

Most recent post: October 2018

I used to do drabbles and flash fic a lot in the early days of the blog, when I hadn’t yet developed my various advice columns, didn’t do book reviews, etc. And I don’t want all that to disappear–in fact, I wish I could make more time to write flash fiction, but I tend to feel guilty these days if I’m not working on my main project.

Plan: Keep it, hopefully write more.

Writing Resources

Most recent post: this month

The catch-all for everything related to writing, be it an article I wrote, links I’ve gathered, YouTube videos I think are helpful, etc. And I need all that. But it also needs to one be one giant bin I throw everything into.

Plan: Organize the hell out of it into as many subcategories as necessary, staring with the aforementioned “Writing Homework” and going from there.


If you actually read through all that, I’m impressed, and you’re too loyal and dedicated for words. And I hoped you learned something about blog organization from all my mistakes. Expect the changes I’m making to roll out over the next few weeks, because it’s going to take some serious doing to fix all this!

The Book Robin Hoods: Going Strong!

calling allauthors

Are you an indie author looking for a wider audience for your works, or a community of fellow indies to share advice and support? You can find both at #thebookrobinhoods!

Sign up here to become a featured author and put your name and novels out there to a strong and dedicated base of book bloggers who want to support authors like you!

BRH personal request fixed

On the other side of the coin, are you one of those book bloggers who want something to read from outside the box? From independent authors who aren’t afraid to take chances, mash together genres, or tell stories beyond the usual scope of mainstream publishing? Do you want to support independent authors and promote them to your friends and followers?

Sign up here to become a featured blogger and declare your willingness to read and review indie books. You’ll be able to request the ones you’re interested in (including mine!) and authors will be able to find you to request reviews. You’ll never run out of things to read again!

The Book Robin Hoods

bookrobinhoods

“Welcome to The Book Robin Hoods, where authors are matched with readers with the goal to promote writers and help book bloggers find awesome new reads to review.”

I’ve joined a new community of readers and writers, created and hosted by M.C. Frank, which has the goal of making it easier for independent authors to find reviewers for their works, and giving readers access to authors they might never have found otherwise.

As of last week, I’m now a featured author, and I’ve already gotten a few requests for What We Need to Survive!

I encourage everyone to check out the site. I’ve already gotten a few direct requests for review copies, and pretty soon I’ll be making requests of my own, to see if any of the featured book bloggers are interested in my works!

Looking for Reviewers!

What We Need Covers

Do you like romance? Post-apocalyptic fiction? Curious about what you get when you cross the two?

I’m looking for interested readers to review my novels. What We Need is a series romance, following the same couple through three books and looking at the challenges of falling in love, and staying in love, when the world has fallen apart.

What I’m Offering:

  • Free digital copies of one or more of the books to those willing to read and review them

What I Expect in Return:

  • An honest review posted to both Amazon and Goodreads (minimum) within 3 weeks of receiving the book
  • If you have a book blog, posting a review there would be appreciated as well
  • Sharing your review through any of your other social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) would also be fabulous

Please Do Not:

  • Ask to participate if you have no intention of reviewing within the time frame asked
  • Ask to participate if you already doubt you’ll enjoy the books based on the premise/genre
  • Ask for physical copies instead of digital; I simply do not have the budget for this on a large scale
  • Distribute the copies you receive to others

How It Works:

  1. Send me an email [elenajohansenwriting@gmail.com] with your preferred ebook format, and which book you need (for most that will be What We Need to Survive but if anyone who has already started the series needs the later books, that’s cool too.)
  2. I will add you to the reviewers list and send you the book.
  3. Once you’ve posted your review, if you’d like to continue with the series, email me with a link to your review so that I know you’ve completed it; then I’ll send the next book along. If you’re not interested in continuing, then you’re all done!

The Fine Print:

As this is post-apocalyptic fiction, the setting isn’t pretty. There is violence, there is injury and illness and death.

As this is a romance, and not a “clean” one, there is also sex.

If anyone has concerns about triggers, or wants content warnings before they commit to reading, I’m happy to discuss them with you first. I don’t want to post them all here because [spoilers]; also because I can tag a lot of the obvious potential issues, but I can’t know everything any given reader might be worried about encountering.

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need to–I want my books to be enjoyable, not harmful, and I will not be offended if anyone decides not to read after talking with me.

WHAT WE NEED TO REBUILD Is Here!

eBook cover

What We Need to Rebuild is now available!


When Nina wakes in an unfamiliar room with a doctor watching over her, she realizes Paul’s desperate plan worked. She’s alive. Weak and still injured, but alive.

Only Paul isn’t there with her.

Surrounded by strangers she doesn’t trust. Her precious pack with all her possessions, gone. If she wants to find Paul, Nina must gather her strength and find a way to resupply herself.

Or she could stay. She could rest and heal. She could forge new friendships and settle into a way of life that promised structure. A life that seemed far less dangerous than the one she’d be giving up.

But can any place truly be home without Paul?


We’ve reached the conclusion of the story, and the series, my lovely readers. Rest assured that there is a happy ending for Paul and Nina, despite everything I’ve put them through!

When I started this journey almost three years ago, I didn’t know I’d make it this far. I couldn’t have known my first book would be even the modest success it has been, and that I could finish and publish an entire trilogy. I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement I’ve received from my friends, readers, and fans. Thank you!

For new readers, I’ve also put together a digital complete-series edition, all three books together for a discounted price!

With the business end of things out of the way, it’s time to share the first chapter!


Chapter One – Consciousness

December 7th, 8:17 am – Open Hearts Methodist Church, Louisville, KY

The first thing Nina had to do was get her hands on her backpack.

My hands. My hand. She sighed, closing her eyes and clenching her fist. Dammit.

She wanted to wear her own clothes, not an itchy cloth hospital gown or the two layers of borrowed sweaters which smelled of cedar chips and dust. She forced her eyes open to study herself, her thin body under the thick blanket, her arms laid out on top.

But her eyes skittered away from the empty space on her left side, flicking over the makeshift infirmary instead, darting from one object to another. Stacks of mismatched cardboard boxes balanced precariously atop each other. Each bore swipes of black marker: Christmas ornaments and hymnals and Easter decorations and the vague catch-all donations.

Nina had already spent half an hour distracting herself from the throbbing in her arm by trying to count how many different people had labeled the boxes, according to their handwriting. Everything in the first stack on the left seemed to be from the same time period, marked with bold, blocky capital letters. The neighboring stack began with two boxes at the bottom with the same script, while the rest were written on by different hands. One was childish, with circles instead of dots over the i‘s, and the other flowing and elegant, even in the unforgiving medium of black Sharpie.

Most of the boxes in the third stack had been packed by a fourth person, judging by the nearly illegible scrawl, worthy of a doctor’s prescription pad. The only label Nina could make out was baby clothes. Maybe.

Doctor Ryan was keeping a log of Nina’s treatment. She’d seen the woman making notes, but she hadn’t seen the notes themselves. Maybe the doctor was the one who’d labeled that stack, but maybe not. Nina hadn’t been able to find out if Doctor Ryan was one of the surviving members of the church, or not. Jasmine said the doctor was already here when she and Connor decided to stay, but they weren’t churchgoers themselves. They wouldn’t have known whether she was or not.

Nina couldn’t make another attempt to glean that information, or anything else about the church, because for once, Doctor Ryan wasn’t with her. She’d been hovering since the moment Nina had woken up the day before—or at least, had woken up aware of herself.

The doctor hadn’t enjoyed Nina’s screaming, but she hadn’t been surprised by it, either. It must not have been the first time, just the first time Nina could remember.

She didn’t remember much of anything for the last two weeks. That much, she’d been able to ask straight out—how long she’d been at the church. That, the doctor couldn’t be vague about.

Nina had woken up again to morning sunlight streaming in through two small windows set high in the wall. She’d woken alone, and she hadn’t screamed when she remembered her missing arm.

She was oddly proud of that.

But she couldn’t bring herself to look at where it should have been, where her brain still believed it would be.

Instead, she studied the dusty globe perched on a rickety bookcase, its finial at the North Pole nearly touching the room’s low ceiling. The African continent stared down at her, a patchwork of brightly colored countries. She was too far from it to tell how out-of-date the borders were.

Even if it were brand-new, it would still probably be useless. Did the plague end up spreading everywhere? Is the whole world as devastated as we are?

She had no way of knowing, but she suspected the worst.

Voices from outside distracted her from her contemplation of global disaster. The words were muddled, indistinct through the solid brick wall. A group of feet walked by the windows, a mix of newer boots and tattered ones, dirty and practical. One person—hard to tell if those narrow, pegged jeans belonged to a man or a woman–wore a pair of classic Converse sneakers, royal blue canvas with startlingly white laces.

Nina didn’t see Paul’s familiar camel suede hiking boots.

Where were her boots, her clothes, her pack? None of her things were in the room with her, unless someone stowed them under the bed, where she couldn’t see. Leaning over the side of the bed had made her too dizzy to get a good look.

Paul must have her gear. Why hadn’t he come to see her yet?

If she’d been ill for two weeks, the church probably put Paul to work instead of letting him idle by her side all day, getting in the doctor’s way and doing nothing useful. That’s what people did before, sat with their loved ones at the hospital, but Nina didn’t imagine Paul could get away with it. He’d hate to be away from her while she was ill, but he was both kindhearted and thoroughly practical. He’d work gladly for the church in exchange for the time and supplies they were investing in Nina’s care.

So Paul hadn’t been with her the day before when she’d finally come to her senses. Doctor Ryan hadn’t sent for him, either, presumably because she’d been in such a fragile state.

Why isn’t he here now, then?

Footsteps sounded from beyond the door, which opened with a faint creak. Doctor Ryan poked her graying head in and blinked like a barn owl when she saw Nina awake and frowning.

The bewildered expression became a broad smile as she entered the room. “How are you feeling today?”

The genuine warmth in her tone reminded Nina of Sarah, as did her plump build and pale coloring. Doctor Ryan’s hair was longer, twisted into a neat bun at the nape of her neck, and more silver than blonde, but she had the same maternal, caring air.

“Hungry,” Nina answered. “Cranky. Bored.”

“The hungry part, I can do something about.” She tipped her head toward Nina’s IV stand. “That kept you from dehydration, but we could only feed you when you were awake long enough.”

Memories of Paul’s black eye swam up to cloud Nina’s vision as the doctor unhooked her from the drip. The firm pressure on her skin after the needle was withdrawn provided a welcome distraction from wondering what she had done or said in the time she couldn’t remember, and from the pulsing agony in her other arm.

“How’s the pain?” the doctor asked, as if she knew the direction of Nina’s thoughts.

“About the same as yesterday. And it . . .”

Ryan sat down in the chair beside the bed and began to unpin the folded sweater sleeves at the end of Nina’s shortened arm. “It what?”

“It itches.” The itching was more maddening than the pain.

“Taking care of that won’t be as easy as getting you fed, because it’s part of the healing process. But it will fade. In the meantime, you’ll have to learn to ignore it. You can’t go tearin’ at your bandages to scratch the itch.” She unwound the white knob of gauze where Nina’s elbow should have been. The innermost bandages came away stained, watery pink and yellow. “Good. Less seepage than yesterday, and the swelling’s down. Pretty soon we can switch you to a compression bandage, after I take your sutures out. Tomorrow, or the day after.”

The line of stitches curved in a half-circle around the inner edge of her arm. They were neat and small and even, a far cry from her own clumsy needlework on Paul’s skin.

It was easier for Nina to believe her hand and forearm were gone, to forbid her brain from tricking her into still feeling them, when she stared at those tiny black stitches.

They disappeared, though, when the doctor placed the end of a new length of gauze against Nina’s skin. A few silent minutes later, her arm was bandaged neatly, her sweaters refolded and pinned in place.

Ryan stood. “Do you need the bed pan?”

Nina cringed, but she nodded. She’d already tried to get out of bed once and barely managed to sit up without the room spinning. There was no way she could make it to a bathroom—there’s no way there’s a working bathroom anyway, I bet they go outside—so she submitted to the necessary embarrassment. The bed pan didn’t bother her as much as knowing she’d been wearing adult diapers during her illness, when she couldn’t communicate her needs, and knowing the doctor had changed her and cleaned her.

Once that unpleasantness was over and Doctor Ryan returned with the empty, rinsed pan, she returned it to its place on the small table of tools before sitting beside the bed. “Now that you’re awake and aware, we should fill in your medical history, so I can treat you better.”

Nina shifted on the bed, trying to push herself higher on the mountain of pillows propping her up. Sharp pain flared in her arm when she pressed the bandages against the mattress, but she fought through it. “What do you need to know?”

“Any drug allergies? I had to risk the antibiotics to keep you with us, but I haven’t been giving you anything for the pain. Not that we have much, but a few things might help.”

Nina shook her head. “Nothing I’ve run into. But . . . but I don’t want anything that might be addictive. I can’t risk that. If this is as bad as the pain’s going to get, I can tough it out.”

Ryan nodded. “We’ll try you out on something mild, just to help you sleep, if you need it.” She made a note, then rattled off a long list of medical conditions, asking if she or her parents had suffered from any of them. Nina answered as best she could remember until the doctor made one last check mark. Then the doctor cocked her head to the side. “When was your last period?”

“Um . . .” Nina struggled to fix a time frame around the missing days. “It ended right before my arm got broken, about a week before I got here.” She’d been sick three days, or maybe four, before Paul had gone looking for medicine for her. And he’d told her he’d driven three days to get her to the church. “So, three weeks ago?”

“I see. Has your cycle been regular, since the plague? A lot of the women have had issues, going off their birth control unexpectedly.”

A mild way to describe the total collapse of normal health care. “I wasn’t on any, and my period’s always been clockwork, every twenty-nine days.” Nina swallowed past a lump in her throat. “Are you trying to ask me if I could be pregnant?”

Doctor Ryan straightened her shoulders. “You’re not. I couldn’t do the full blood work I’d normally order for a patient before surgery, but every drug store in the city still has pregnancy tests on the shelves. I couldn’t put you under without checking first, not in good conscience.”

“Right, of course. I’m sorry.”

“Did you think you might have been?” Her tone was somewhere between sympathetic and speculative.

“No.” It had been weeks since Paul had touched her, and even after he’d known he didn’t have to be careful, he still had been. “No, I didn’t.”

“I can’t say I didn’t wonder, with how you and that man showed up in desperate straits.”

Nina’s skin rose in goosebumps under her hospital gown. “That man”? Why wouldn’t she know his name? “He’s not . . .”

Before she could decide how to finish the question, the doctor broke in. “Nobody got the story out of him before he was gone. We didn’t know what happened to you.”

“Gone?” Nina whispered. No, no, no . . .

Something in Doctor Ryan’s expression softened. “Oh, no, dear, he’s alive. Or at least, he was two weeks ago. Once I shooed him off so I could take care of you, Derek put him in one of the empty rooms over at the motel. The next morning, he was gone. Disappeared without a word. Nobody saw him leave, but the car you came in was gone, too, so he must have packed up before dawn and hit the road.”

Nina opened her mouth, but no words came out. Tears pooled in her eyes, but she didn’t cry. She wouldn’t, not in front of the doctor.

Not in front of anyone, ever again.

She couldn’t hide her shaking, though. “He meant something to you?” Ryan asked.

“A friend.” Nina forced the words out through numb lips. “He was my friend. Or I thought he was.”

Ryan patted Nina’s shoulder. “Some people aren’t made for sitting still. But he got you to us in time, and you’re welcome to stay, even if he didn’t.”

“Thank you.”

“I’ll go get some breakfast for you, then.”

Being a doctor must have put her in the middle of all sorts of difficult emotional situations—she knew the value of a tactful retreat. But Nina still didn’t allow herself to cry when she was alone. She turned her face to the windows and stared at the sunlight.

Paul had promised he would never leave her without telling her first. Doctor Ryan hadn’t mentioned a note or a letter or even a verbal message for her. If Paul had meant to leave one, the doctor would be the obvious choice.

Nina had made a promise, too.

How on earth am I going to find him?

Her gear was gone, apparently. Her spare clothing, her food, her small stash of medicine, the flashlight she’d barely had long enough to think of as hers.

Half of her left arm was gone, too. She made herself study what remained, raising it off the bed. Movement of any kind made the throbbing worse, bringing tears back to her eyes, but she lifted her arm and focused on it. The rounded swell of bandages beneath the intricately cabled sweater occupied the space where her elbow used to be. Even after endless minutes of staring straight at it, Nina still thought, if she tried hard enough, she could tell her arm to bend, and it would.

It didn’t.

She could raise it or lower it or wave it in little circles. Those caused a pulling tightness in her shoulder muscles, but the ache was pleasant compared to the throbbing pain.

I’ll do this as much as I can stand, whenever I’m alone. And the doctor will probably have exercises for me to do, even if she wasn’t specialized in physical therapy. That seems like something she’d have to know anyway. I need to get my strength back.

She’d already started over once, and it was the last thing she wanted to do again.

The first thing she’d need to find was a new backpack.

COVER REVEAL: What We Need to Rebuild!

eBook cover

The third and final installment of the What We Need series will be released on August 14th! Just one week from today!

When Nina wakes in an unfamiliar room with a doctor watching over her, she realizes Paul’s desperate plan worked. She’s alive. Weak and still injured, but alive.

Only Paul isn’t there with her.

Surrounded by strangers she doesn’t trust. Her precious pack with all her possessions, gone. If she wants to find Paul, Nina must gather her strength and find a way to resupply herself.

Or she could stay. She could rest and heal. She could forge new friendships and settle into a way of life that promised structure. A life that seemed far less dangerous than the one she’d be giving up.

But can any place truly be home without Paul?

As with the previous books, paperbacks will be available through Amazon, and digital editions available through all major retailers.

In addition, a digital boxed set will be available for newcomers to the series, all three books together at a discounted price!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with the book’s music playlist, a tradition I wouldn’t dare give up now…

Semi-Unplanned Hiatus

I don’t like to do this, but I’ve just got too much going on to keep up on the blog right now. Holidays, am I right?

The weekly book review posts will still be happening–I’m so close to a whole year of them!–and I’ve got some end-of-the-year type stuff planned, but other posts will just have to wait for the new year, when hopefully I will have more time.

What little free time I do have at the moment needs to be reserved for novel-writing, because ideally I would like to finish my NaNo novel draft by the end of the year, so I can let it stew while I tackle the pre-publishing work for What We Need to Rebuild.

Y’all understand, right?