"Let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave"
I sat down to write my acknowledgements, and what started flowing from my fingertips weren't actually thank you notes. It was an honest letter from me to you, instead. Honestly, that's what Heartfall was from start to finish. The words gushed from me from the moment I started writing it. It was never what I intended it to be. It's something special and unique. This is the preface to Heartfall, and I wanted to share it with you prior to the release.
When I was five years old I wanted to be a ballerina, so my mom signed me up for dance. Over the next ten years, I explored all three styles: tap, jazz, and ballet. Tap ended up being my favorite, and I studied it for ten years, ballet for four, and jazz for one.
The years I took ballet, I was told to grow my bangs out, to wear my hair in a bun because that’s what ballerinas do. When I ate my snacks from the convenience store because that’s what my single mom bought me after school on her way to drop me off at the studio, I was ridiculed and told if I lost just a few pounds, I’d be the perfect size for a ballerina. I was in elementary school. Looking back at those pictures, I wasn’t fat. Not even close. After my entire class was promoted to pointe and I wasn’t, I quit ballet.
While this story is fiction, there is a lot of me in Claire, but it only takes a few minutes to read the trending headlines to see that this happens to a widespread audience every day. I think there is a lot of every girl in Claire.
Do you like every part of yourself when you look in the mirror? Or did someone, society, make you feel if you lost just a little bit more weight or changed a small part of who you were, you’d be better in their eyes? And then after so long you found you didn’t like the person you saw through your own eyes, didn’t even recognize her?
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so.
When I started this book, that’s not the message I’d hoped to spread or share, but that’s what it ended up being. Like all of my other books, Claire’s story was cathartic for me because it helped me release a part of my past I didn’t realize I’d been hanging onto so tightly. As much as I loved dance, those years in the studio damaged me. But on the contrary, each day in the studio, each mean girl, each hurtful comment, they took an oyster and produced a pearl. A one-of-a-kind, oddly shaped, uniquely colored, and beautiful pearl.
Every day since writing Heartfall I’ve tried so hard to look in the mirror and find something I like about myself or to ignore something I’d ordinarily criticize, and I challenge you to do the same.
We’re all beautiful and strong women. This is Claire’s story on finding her beauty and strength. Along the way, she’s blessed to find incredible love too. I hope you enjoy it.
Skipping Stones contains the prologue and first four chapters of Heartfall at the conclusion of that story if you'd like to preview Heartfall before one-clicking. If you have not read Skipping Stones, it is not to be missed. Grab your wine and tissues and cuddle up.
Heartfall will be available on all platforms for the first several weeks, then it will be enrolled in Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program. There is a pre-order now available below. I only have links for Amazon. As the others become available, I'll update them below.
If you are a blogger, and you're interested in reviewing and/or promoting Heartfall, it's not too late. Simply message me, and I'm happy to send you an ARC and a link to the press packet.
Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word. I was worried that being absent for two years would equal career suicide. The welcome you have given me back into this community has been nothing but heartwarming. I've cried so much over the past couple of weeks. I can't thank you enough. Thank you for investing in me so I can chase my dreams.