Thursday, May 24, 2018

How I Came to Write Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell + Giveaway (US only)

Saving Each Other
Stacy Mitchell
PR by the Book

Two hearts, two souls. Devastated by loss, united through destiny.

The rules: Communicate only through text messages and never reveal our real names or other personal details.

My name is Ean Montgomery. After the drunk driving accident that killed my wife, son, and unborn daughter, I was forced to see a grief counselor. In an unconventional move, she gave me a private cell phone and the first initial of the name of a woman who had been widowed by the same accident. I had no intention of ever texting her but with all hope and the will to live gone, I found myself quickly slipping down the rabbit hole. Desperate, lonely, and unbelievably sad, I reached out to her and she became my everything.

My name is Dani Adams. I was married to my college sweetheart, the love of my life. Together we were raising our four-year-old daughter and running a successful business. Then the accident happened and life as I knew it ended in the blink of an eye. I didn’t want to answer his text but I was barely hanging on by a thread and he was in tremendous pain, so I replied. And once again, my world was forever changed.

Over the course of a year, through texting alone, we bond. Friendship blossoms into something deeper. We were never supposed to meet, but fate had other plans, and in this world of loss and despair, something amazing began to grow… But can the passion we’ve found sustain itself with the deep, soul-twisting pain that never seems to fade?

The Journey to Writing Saving Each Other

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.

— Louis L’Amour
Have you ever wandered the aisles of Barnes & Noble, or read a book and wondered, “Could I write one too?”

Have you ever known someone who wrote a book and thought, “Could I do the same?”

If you are like me, then, yes, you absolutely have.

Until three years ago, I only read when I was required to do so. I had subscriptions to several magazines, but never read any of the articles. And… I binged watched TV shows on one of the eight televisions I have in my house. Yes, I have one in every room.

At one point, when I was in my thirties, I joined a book club. Yes, I know. You’re probably wondering, “Why would someone who views reading as a chore rather than a pleasure, someone who would rather escape inside a reality show or sitcom instead of losing themselves in a good book, join a book club?”

The answer is pure and simple. I wanted to fit in—it was the “thing” to do, because, yes, in Manhattan Beach, at that time, book clubs were all the rage.

In a way, I got lucky. The book everyone was “required” to read was the first Stephanie Plum book, One For The Money.

I never made it to the second book with my chosen book club but I became hooked on Janet Evanovich’s books.

Looking back, that could have been the seed that created my, now flourishing garden.

So here’s a little backstory about me, and what got me to where I am today.

Eleven years ago, my youngest son Brian, was away at summer camp. My husband and I decided to take advantage of our time off, hopped in my car and took a road trip up the West coast, from California to Washington. We were in Oregon, nine hours away from him, when the call came in that he had had a seizure. It was the hardest drive of my life. Thankfully, we got in touch with my mother, so I knew he wasn’t alone. When I finally got to him, I was a basket case, and that’s where the double-edged sword of having my mother there came in to play. She handed me a little blue pill, to calm me. She then gave me a few more—“for later.” She also gave me the name of a “dirty” doctor and told me what to say, in order to get more pills.

That little blue pill was Xanax.

By the time I ended my addiction, which was eight years later, I was not only taking twelve to fourteen milligrams of Xanax a day, I was also hooked on over a dozen other prescription drugs, and all in very high dosages.

In 2014, I traveled to Ireland with my husband, and while I was there, I ran out of most of them. The withdrawal was so bad, I spent the entire vacation holed up in my hotel room. Being that I was in a different country, my television choices were limited. In dire need of a distraction, any distraction, I went online. Long story short, I ended up on Amazon. At that time, both John Green and Gayle Forman had movies out. I couldn’t get the movies, so I bought the books. And, since electronically was the fastest way to get them, that’s what I did.

When I got home, I was in my doctor’s office bright and early the very next day. I got the refills, took a double dosage of each one, and turned the television back on.

Six months later, I was back in the same boat. The only difference was, this time I was still in California. So easy to get those needed refills. But, that’s when I said, “Enough is enough,” and flushed every pill I had down the toilet in one fell swoop. In hindsight, it was the completely wrong way to quit. Three years later, and I’m still feeling the effects of my withdrawal... especially when I’m stressed.

It was also the day I turned off my television, and opened a book—electronically, that is. I started with YA, moved to Contemporary, New Adult/College, and Romantic Comedy, before landing on my favorite genre, Gay Romance—but that’s a story for another day.

I can read a full-length electronic novel in five-hours. Give me that exact same book in print form and it takes me five-days. My guess is that my brain associates “required” reading with an actual book, while it compares e-reading with pleasure. This year my goal with Goodreads is 200 books. I’m currently at 26%... easy peasy!

So this brings me to the question at hand: Could I write a book?

Throughout the first 50+ years of my life, the thought of writing a book did cross my mind, and I do know someone who wrote a book. I’m an incredibly creative person. I was an interior decorator before I decided to be a stay-at-home mom to raise my kids. (I have two sons, in case you’re wondering. Jason is 23 and Brian is 20.) I design jewelry, create gift baskets, scrapbook, and I made Jason a t-shirt quilt to take to college. Yes, I saw it on Twilight. And, no…I had never sewed a day in my life. Thankfully I got inspired when he was still a senior in high school. I tried to write a book, I really did. But, like my attempt at knitting, it was an epic fail.

Until... Dani and Ean.

Six months after I stopped the pills, I was in bed, in that space between consciousness and unconsciousness when Dani and Ean came to me. The best way I can it describe is…like watching a movie. I saw the accident happening before my very eyes, and I felt their pain with such intensity that it took my breath away. I got up, opened notes on my iPhone, since I didn’t own a laptop, and my thumbs got to work.

I wrote it in one month. Coincidently it was during National Novel Writing Month, and I did it through them. I then got in touch with my friend, the one I mentioned above, and she connected me with my editor. She probably read two pages before she said, “No, just... no.” and put me in touch with Francine LaSala. Best. Move. Ever! I’ll shamelessly tout her until my dying day! She’s an amazing author and an incredible editor. It took eighteen months to get it to where it could be published.

By that point, I had found everyone I needed to put my book together. This is my second piece of advice to all inspiring authors. Every time I read a book, I read the acknowledgements. I started writing down the names of people, those behind the scene, who showed up book after book. Judy Zweifel and Stacey Blake! Memorize those names! Judy is a proofreader who finds things you never knew existed. She’s that good! And Stacey with Champagne Book Design, knows how to make a book look beautiful!

The saying, “It takes a village,” is so true. After I published it (self-publishing is also a story for another day), I found Marika Flatt at PR by The Book, and she led me to Leslie, my amazing PR guru!

I know I said, “Self publishing is a story for another day,” but this can’t wait. Every review I got, I read them. But not only did I read them, I responded to them, and again... Best. Move. Ever! Have you ever noticed, ears are meant to stay open, whereas mouths are meant to closed? I not only got great advice, I made great friends, great virtual friends. And, no, the irony isn’t lost on me. Saving Each Other is a story about...

You’re just going to have to read it now, aren’t you?

My biggest piece of advice is: If you’re truly thinking of writing a book, READ. READ. READ! Learn how other authors write. Learn what grabs your attention. Learn what turns you off. See how they deal with certain topics, and how they phrase certain things. The wording is key, and a thesaurus is your best friend. If something pops in your head, write it down, any way you can. But most importantly, don’t muscle through like a bull in a china shop. Take a step back, close your eyes, and just listen.

I still have no idea why Dani and Ean chose me, but I’ll forever be grateful that they did. Because, not only did Dani and Ean save each other, they saved me too.

About the Author

Stacy Mitchell was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lived in the South Bay for 20 years before moving to the Conejo Valley. She lives with her husband of 29 years and is the mom of two grown sons.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking in the Santa Monica mountains or enjoying a glass of Cabernet.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Saving Each Other—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is the stupidest thing you have ever done? Funny stories welcome!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Stacy and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I've blocked out a lot of my stupid decisions from memory (lol), but in high school I got involved in lots of gossip and "scandals" (typical drama) that easily could have been avoided if I'd just had the integrity to keep my mouth shut and not get involved. Lesson learned!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at PR by the Book!
Giveaway ends June 7th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!