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I recently celebrated the release of In the Dark, my debut romantic suspense novel, which was also my 2012 Golden Heart® finalist manuscript—the one that made me a Firebird!  So what better way to mark the occasion than by blogging here?  And to make it festive, I’ll be giving away a free e-copy of In […]

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Fresh Starts: My Debut Release, Moving 4,000 Miles, and a Giveaway!

Posted by on Feb 7 2014, 6:00 am Posted in ,

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In-The-Dark-Cover-FINAL-525x700I recently celebrated the release of In the Dark, my debut romantic suspense novel, which was also my 2012 Golden Heart® finalist manuscript—the one that made me a Firebird!  So what better way to mark the occasion than by blogging here?  And to make it festive, I’ll be giving away a free e-copy of In the Dark to one lucky commenter (selected at random) in her choice of Kindle, Nook, or iBook format!  Check the comment thread below on Saturday, February 8th to see if you’ve won!  Click here to read the blurb and find out more about In the Dark!

My husband and I recently made a big change in our life.  We packed ninety percent of our belongings into storage, put our house on the market, and moved to another country. It has made me think of Josie, the main character of In the Dark, many times because of her recurring impulse to pull up stakes and get out of town when things get messy in her life.  That’s an impulse I guess I could always relate to, but had never been sincerely tempted to act on.  And in fairness, that’s not exactly what we did or why we did it.  We accepted a temporary need to downsize our life for the sake of a wonderful new job for my husband, and a couple of years in a city we both love.  I suspect the 4,000-mile-international-move aspect of our decision would have appealed to Josie immensely, if she’d had that option, though it was a source of nerves and complications for us.  The process of sorting through our things involved some sad goodbyes, while Josie ditched everything she possibly could without a backward glance.

Josie and I are two very different people making very different decisions, but with one similar result—a fresh start.  For her, the fresh start was the goal; for me, it is the silver lining.  As much as I miss a lot of things we’ve given up, I don’t miss the home-improvement chores we’d been putting off, or the ruts I had gotten into in my old routine.  I miss the homing-pigeon-like sense of where my nest is, but not the tangle of highways that used to surround it.  I miss the extra space we used to have, but not the clutter we had allowed to usurp it.  I miss the first home my husband and I ever bought, but I don’t have to miss him.  He is the one thing I knew for sure would be with me every step of the way, which is the only reason I knew I could handle the rest of it.

What does Josie miss?  A lot of things she is determined not to think about.  She did her best to leave those feelings behind along with her abandoned possessions and her old life.  While we were running toward something new and exciting, she was running away from something old and sore, something painful and frightening.  She got her fresh start, even if it was mainly a life-wide pair of blinders she was putting on, but then along came Johnny to make her remember how it felt to want something more from her life, whether she was ready to or not.

So maybe the missing is inevitable.  Maybe it’s the price of every fresh start, whether it’s an unfortunate side-effect, or the nagging feeling in the back of your mind—or maybe in your heart—that will ultimately force you to face something you’ve been running from.

What do you think?  Have you ever craved a fresh start?  What would you miss the most?  Would it be worth it?

19 responses to “Fresh Starts: My Debut Release, Moving 4,000 Miles, and a Giveaway!”

  1. Congrats on the release, Sally!

    I grew up a military kid and had to say goodbye and hello to people and places 12 times in 1st thru 12th grade. I felt super fortunate to spend the last three years in high school in the same place. The one valuable thing that lifestyle taught me, and yes this is so corny, but home really is where your heart is.

    What a great opportunity for you and your husband to live in France! Enjoy your time there!

    Now off to order your book….

    • Sally Eggert says:

      Thank you so much, Tammy!!

      Wow, all those moves must have been difficult in a lot of ways. I can only imagine! But you are absolutely right about home–it’s not necessarily defined by a physical address.

      We are really loving France, and need to start planning some serious stay-cations here so we can do all the touristing we would be doing if we were only here short-term!

  2. robena grant says:

    I’m all for adventure, and have lived in many different homes in my life. To tell the truth, once a decision is made I seldom look back, so missing something isn’t high on my list. Green with envy over your new location. Hope you have an awesome adventure. Looking forward to reading In the Dark. Congratulations on the release!

    • Sally Eggert says:

      Thanks, Robena! I love a good adventure, in theory, but I can be kind of chicken when it comes to pursuing the real ones, I guess. I envy you your ability to make a decision and not look back! I really do love it here, and am enjoying the process of making it our home. I think I’ve worked through most of my wistful backward glances about what we’ve left behind, but I did burst into tears when I let myself take one last look at the real estate listing photos of our house after we closed on the sale. That was home for a lot of years, too. Now it’s mostly a blend of wistfulness and annoyance when I think of something I’d like to use or wear and remember that it’s in storage and I’m not going to see it again for at least another 18 months, but probably longer. 😛 Those are all pretty small things, though, and well worth the brief moments of inconvenient sentimentality to have had the chance to seize a real-life call to adventure. We’re having a blast, and probably wouldn’t change a single thing. 🙂

  3. Terri Osburn says:

    First off, I must say again how gorgeous that cover is. And that I totally envy your life in Paris. I love that you knew you could do it because hubby would be with you. That’s a romance novel right there. Sigh.

    I’m a walking contradiction in that I get the itch to move and start over every few years, but yet I’m a creature of habit and routine. The wanderlust has led me to live in five different states since turning 18, never living in the same abode for more than 2 or 3 years.

    Until now. I bought my first home over three years ago and still working at making it fully mine. Kiddo has put her foot down and demanded she not change schools again. So I won’t be moving for at least three more years. 🙂

    But I make no promises after that!

    • Sally Eggert says:

      Thanks, Terri! I love the cover, too! And I can definitely relate to the impulse to kind of push the reset button every few years–I’ve just usually let inertia stop me from doing it until now. It’s the magic of a fresh start, I think; it’s a way of shedding things that have begun to feel like a rut and trying something new that puts you in touch with another aspect of yourself. I think that’s a lot of what I missed about college during the first few years out. Every few months, we got this fantastic sense of closure–an exam, a grade, then a vacation. 😛 Then a course catalog like some kind of awesome brain candy store, and a whole new set of ideas and challenges to dedicate ourselves to until the next molting stage. But there’s a perfect opportunity for that in the writing life, too–every new manuscript can open up a whole new set of windows in your head when you start it, and give you that sense of closure and accomplishment when you’re finished. Maybe you’ll find some of the renewal you’ve looked for from a change of location in the past in your writing this time, and maybe that will make staying in the same home a comforting constant in a creative life full of regularly scheduled fresh starts. Enjoy the process of making that house a home! Nesting can be fun, too. 🙂

  4. Jean Willett says:

    What a wonderful opportunity to live in Paris. The closest I came to seeing Paris was the Orly Airport on a delayed plane from Istanbul to NYC. Sigh…I’ve moved 18 times and I’m with Tammy in that I spent the last three years of high school in the same place. I get the itch to move every three years, like Terri, and I can’t settle in a new place until I’ve passed that 3yr mark. I can agree with Tammy, home is where your heart is. Look at the perspective you’ll have when you return stateside! Good luck with your new baby, its cover is beautiful.

    • Sally Eggert says:

      Thanks, Jean!! Yeah, I love the cover, too. I keep thinking I’ll get tired of looking at it, but I haven’t yet. 🙂 I’ve never been to Orly–we have only flown in and out of CDG. But wow, I’ve also never been to Istanbul–I bet that was amazing!! Sounds to me like the fates are working to get you to Paris. 😉 Delaying your plane didn’t quite get the job done, so they’ll have to try again with something more tempting. Call me when you get here–I’d love to show you around! 🙂

  5. AJ Larrieu says:

    I’m the world’s biggest scaredy-cat when it comes to taking risks, but I think I’d be willing to chance it for Paris. It’s such a beautiful city.

    It sounds like your heroine is dealing with some major conflict, and the book sounds awesome! Congrats on your release!

    • Sally Eggert says:

      Yup, that’s just about exactly how my thought process went. 🙂 We had been putting off moving ACROSS TOWN for years, asking ourselves “are we ready? Maybe it isn’t time yet…” LOL! But when this chance came up I knew that if I let nerves or basic fear of change stop us from doing this, I’d always regret it.

      Thanks so much, AJ!

  6. Kay Hudson says:

    What a wonderful adventure, Sally! I moved a couple of times as a kid (from Wisconsin to Florida), to Louisiana for grad school and a few years on the bayou, and then to Texas in 1976. Now I’ve lived in the same house for 37 years. I’ve forgotten how to move. I must say, though, that if there’s a theme running through my stories, it’s probably Starting Over–maybe we all harbor that itch deep down!

    • Sally Eggert says:

      Hi, Kay! I wonder if it’s about finding the right balance between continuity and renewal in our lives. It sounds like you’ve done that very well by trying both the moving and the staying put, and writing about fresh starts. I think I’m still swinging back and forth between periods of too much change and ones of too much staying the same. Sometimes the line between routine and rut is a fine one for me. But for now, it makes for a definite bright side to the feeling that I’m not completely settled in here yet. If nothing else, I’m hoping to really milk this honeymoon phase while I still love this city like a tourist, but don’t have to live out of a suitcase to be here. 😛 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. Jean Willett says:

    Can I hear a call for a Firebird retreat in Paris? I’d have to pass on RWA for a couple of years to do it, but what fun that would be.

    • Sally Eggert says:

      I love this plan, Jean! I don’t want anyone to have to skip RWA, though! We’ll have to brainstorm some alternate source of funding. We need a wealthy, faceless benefactor, like Charlie’s Angels, or something. With a chateau… Hmmm… This bears thinking about! 😀

  8. Congrats on the release, Sally! 🙂 I’ve lived in 4 countries, so your move to Paris sounds very exciting to me 🙂 Plus, being in the middle of Europe, you can travel to so many other countries! Fun!

    I highly recommend Prague for its quaintness and London for shopping 🙂 Have a great time. Can’t wait to see your future books set in the exotic places you’ll visit there 🙂

    • Sally Eggert says:

      Thanks, Catherine! 🙂 Yes, that’s exactly what we’ve been thinking–we have a long list of other places in Europe we’re hoping to visit while we’re so conveniently close. 🙂

      Thanks for the tip about Prague–I’ve heard great things, but have never been. And, London! I’m really looking forward to another chance to go there. We got to go briefly this past summer before we knew we would be moving, and I really loved it. The other place high on my travel wishlist is Spain, since I lived there for a bit when I was growing up, but my husband has never been.

      And yes, I’m definitely going to have to start changing up my story settings to go with my new location! 😀

  9. Sally Eggert says:

    And the random number generator has awarded the free copy of In the Dark to…(drumroll)…AJ Larrieu!! *throws confetti* AJ, I’ll be in touch to confirm which format you’d like, and what email address you’d like me to send it to. 🙂

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting!

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