The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Monday, August 29, 2016

Leaving the Rat Race

I've been thinking lately that our lifestyle must really make some people scratch their heads. At our age, we're supposed to be chasing the next big thing--a bigger house, flashier cars, more stuff, all the "things" people are "supposed" to want. But Deek and I have gone in the opposite direction. We've gotten out of the rat race. And I'm sure people wonder, "Can they really be happy?"

Well, here's the honest to goodness truth: yes.

Deek and me exploring our town

What a complete and total relief to not reach for the next thing. What a joy to just BE present in this moment, to be thankful for what we have and enjoy the freedom our life provides.

I honestly wasn't sure how I'd feel about living in an apartment. We went from owning a home to renting a home to renting a town home to now renting an apartment. (Side note: We LOVE renting. I know it doesn't have tax benefits, yada yada, but there's freedom. If there's a problem, someone else fixes it and pays for it. We just have to arrange the time for the workmen to come.) But I've found I really like apartment life. I'm an extrovert, so I don't mind the noises from upstairs or the throngs of other people who live here. Our neighbors are super great in that they're quiet, polite, and respectful.

I also adore the amenities we have here: a saltwater pool, free Starbucks 24/7, a state-of-the-art gym, free breakfast on Tuesday mornings, walking trails all over the place, and we're within walking distance of Trader Joe's (which may or may not be a good thing for the wallet--LOL). Also, the complex is super cool about letting you personalize. We're allowed to paint the apartment and screen in the porch. Deek screened in our porch last weekend, and I've literally been out there every day to sit, drink coffee, and enjoy the sounds of summer.

Coffee and reading poolside!

Views from the screened in porch

Oh look, I'm there...again!

Deek and I still have one car and don't have plans to get another one anytime soon. I get up early and take him to work and then pick him up in the evenings. It affords us extra time together (not that the commute is long--we picked this apartment specifically because it's super close to his work), and he's close enough that we can go for a walk or have lunch together most days.

Look what we saw on our latest walk around the lake at his work!

When we moved, we could only take what we could fit in a small 6x12 UHaul trailer. It sounds big, but when you put stuff in it, it's not. So, we sold or gave away a whole lot of our possessions. And you know what? We don't miss those items. Instead, it's freeing. When we got the apartment, we only bought a few items, but overall, we have a very small amount of "things." And I love it. The apartment looks spacious, it's a cinch to clean, and we aren't inundated with junk.

Of course, we had to keep our favorite works of literature! ;) 

My dad is a realtor, and he said the trend of late is to scale back. Renting is becoming as popular (and in some areas, more popular) than buying. More and more people are getting out of the rat race. They're seeing the benefit in stepping back and living a simpler life. 

If Deek and I elect to buy a house, it will only be as an investment for our future vagabond lifestyle plans. But we both dread the thought. If we get a house, we'll actually have to start making our own coffee again (the horror)! LOL! But seriously, it's amazing to be able to spend our time and money on things we want to instead of things we have to. 

This weekend, we had a lazy weekend (I think we're still exhausted from the move/living in a hotel/job hunting because we STILL haven't felt like adventuring). Deek said, "If we had a house, we might be doing yard work right now, but instead, we're writing and taking selfies with our unamused cat. I love this life!"

Bless Trinna's heart. She puts up with all her humans' antics!

Lazy day hair

I love this life too. I mean, I epically love it. 

And best of all, I get to spend all this free time with my best friend/husband/love/soulmate, Deek! I always have the best time with him! We talk about nothing and everything and laugh... a lot. I'm happier than I ever dreamed I could be. It's all about people, not stuff. That's where the real life is. 


They have pedestrian bridges in the South. How very Portland!

Found some interesting art on one of our walks

Trinna baby loves the relaxed lifestyle too! ;)

So, today, stop what you're frantically doing and take a look at the people in your life. Kiss your significant other and ask him/her how the day went. Spend time reading to your children. Call your mom and/or dad. Be sure to take time every day to show the people in your life just how much they mean to you. The rat race can wait. Relationships can't. 

Until next time, love and laugh out loud! <3

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

She Runs Away Cover Reveal -- Jessica Calla

Today is the cover reveal for She Runs Away by Jessica Calla! It's Book 2 in the Sheridan Hall Series and a follow up story about Ben, whom you may remember from She Laughs In Pink. And stay tuned for a giveaway!!

Let me just say, Jessica is a SUPERB write, and Anita at Racepoint is an SUPERB cover artist. So, when you put the two together...mind blown! Enjoy!

The Cover

TitleShe Runs Away (Sheridan Hall Series, Book 2)
Author: Jessica Calla
Genre: New Adult
Release date: November 15, 2016
PublisherBookFish Books
Cover Artist: Anita Carroll at Race-Point

After tragedy strikes New Jersey University's Sheridan Hall, freshman quarterback Ben Riley’s stable, normal life is turned upside down. Sidelined from playing the game he loves and on the verge of losing his scholarship, Ben wants nothing more than to escape the chaos of college and return home to rural Pennsylvania and his family.

Yet, there’s something that keeps him from running. Or someone. A cute blonde he had a chance with but blew off for all the wrong reasons.

Megan Smith has secrets. Secrets that have burned her in the past. Secrets she’s unwilling to share with anyone at Sheridan Hall—especially Ben, her sexy, rough-around-the-edges floormate who broke her heart in a matter of days after moving into Sheridan. Meg decided early on that it’s easier to live life on her own than to share her secrets and let people in.

Meg runs, and Ben follows. But sooner or later, the clock on their chance at love will expire. With inner demons dragging them both down, they must find a way to stop running and trust one another or risk losing their perfectly matched love forever.
Preorder She Runs Away!

About the Author
Jessica Calla is a contemporary romance and women's fiction author who moonlights during the day as an attorney. If she's not writing, lawyering, or parenting, you'll most likely find her at the movies, scrolling through her Twitter feed, or gulping down various forms of caffeine (sometimes all three at once).

Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America, involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters, and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She recently became the oldest marketing intern ever at BookFish Books, and was named a Young Adult mentor for the FicFest writing contest. A Jersey girl through and through, she resides in the central part of the state with her husband, two sons, and dog.

Find Jessica on Twitter (@jess_calla) or at her website ( She loves to make reader and writer friends.
Author Pic She Laughs in Pink Jessica Calla
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of She Runs Away. One person will win a $25 Amazon gift card!
Here is the link to the rafflecopter giveaway:
Now that we've shared this awesome cover, we can't wait to share the book! See you in November (just in time for Christmas--YAY)!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Guest Post -- Approaching Publication by J.P. Dailing

Today we're taking a break from my constant chatter (LOL!) because I have the pleasure of hosting J.P. Dailing! He is married to author Jennifer Acres, so they're a married writing duo like me and Deek. #Represent!

His novella, Urban Legend, releases soon! Join him as he hosts an awesome Facebook party to celebrate (deets in the post!)!

Approaching Publication
Three 'C's For Managing the Beast

Self-publishing is a voracious, bloodthirsty beast, and don't let anyone tell you different. I love the beasts though. I want to feed them, cuddle with them, and spend my life raising many, many beast-babies. It'll be a fulfilling life, but not an easy one. The beasts will never be domesticated, are near impossible to tame, are vaguely conceivable to house-train, and even simple survival of each one is a victory.

I'm surviving my first beast right now. Urban Legend is a YA urban fantasy novella series where a young teen orphan, Rylee, begins to manifest illegal magic that captures the attention of the heir to one of the ruling houses within the Vampirum and a government agent for the US Department of Mysticism and Metaphysics. The idea for this series has been coalescing for several years, and now it is finally finding life as my debut book. I'm so excited for Urban Legend's release on August 23rd that I am throwing a Facebook Launch Party with giveaways and live streams and a lot of fun in one place.

During the course grappling with the beast, I discovered the three main pillars of my process which can either act as stepping stones if respected or roadblocks if not: Creativity, Consistency, and Community.


The hardest kind of creativity for me isn't coming up with a fresh new story or unique take on a well-loved trope, but getting the stupid manuscript finished. The first draft is hard enough; once the mess is on the page, it is a nightmare that can only be vanquished by the nimblest of wits. "How can I get this character more accessible?" "What can I do to fill this plot hole?" "How can I make these chapters work without tossing two week's worth of work?" "Is there anything I can do make this not horrible?" These kinds of questions raced through my brain every time I sat down do to write and it was ticklish to find ways to hammer down the right answers. Plus if the work isn't hard enough, there are plenty of adulting issues that can crash the party. House-sitting, getting wisdom teeth pulled, and dealing with being rear-ended are a few examples (and all happened to me within the last couple of months). It's like playing 3D sudoku where the result will never come out perfect and is actively trying to murder you with a personal grudge. But the trick is to keep one step ahead and (leading into the next part) keep hacking away.


Consistency in writing is key. The words are not going to be good all the time, sometimes the muse isn't talkative and what results resembles a half-digested owl pellet. That's gross and disturbing, but par for the course. Losing a week here and there of writing due to personal crises, day-to-day adulting, or just needing to take a break to avoid burn out can stall productive momentum. (This isn't to say we writers shouldn't have breaks. Breaks are absolutely essential. No one can pour from an empty cup). We are creatures of habit. What we do over and over again, we excel at. For writing to be more than a hobby, it must be a routine, part of my day. My best work has always come through maintaining my schedule. No one wants to drive a car that works really well sometimes, then dies just as often. We'll choose the reliable vehicle that we can trust, even if it looks like it went full speed through Godzilla's digestive tract.


Nothing can be created inside a vacuum. We need to live to express life on the page and we need to have connection to connect with readers. I'm primarily an introvert and, aside from rare exceptions, people tend to tire me out. Not in a negative way; using a phone uses the battery and I need a place to recharge. Yet humanity isn't a collection of lone wolves. We are a pack. I've never felt more excited or alive or more confident with my writing than when I started building my community. Not a network of authors and readers that could help me further my career mind you, but a collection of awesome people I interact with who make me feel happy by exchanging silly gifs or Hamilton references on twitter. I've been spoiled by my beta readers who gave me honest opinions about my work and allowed me to become better. And my wife is the absolute best. She encourages me when I'm down and tells it like it is when my story isn't working. She is my partner in every sense of the term (yes, even in crime). It's too easy to homogenize ideas within yourself. Go out and mix it up a little. You'd be amazed what the results end up being.

Is there a beast you've been wrestling with, or wanting to set free from its cage, or is it still an egg and you fear what might hatch? Go for it. It'll be a monumental effort, possibly violent, always dangerous, and in the end one of the most precious elements of your life. Art shapes the artist who creates. Go forth and show the world what you can do.

J. P. Dailing

YA Fantasy Author

Friday, August 12, 2016

Getting Into The Swing of Things Again

So, we moved, and we're working on establishing our "new normal." But I've struggled to find my creative inspiration. See, it's funny because I'm a total pantser when it comes to writing but a planner when it comes to life. Hence, I've been organizing our budget and our house, scheduling visits with friends and family, etc. All that spinning on non-creative things pushed my creativity back into a little box where it sat patiently waiting.

But...over the last week, I've been having snippets of storyline push through the scheduling. My characters--Molly and Ryder, whose story I've written and re-written a few times now--have become insistent that their story be told. There were always kinks in the tale that didn't quite work for me (hence the writing and re-writing), so Deek and I went on a long walk to discuss it. And, of course, we had queso, the mind-blowing cheese dip we could never get in the Pacific Northwest. Lo and behold, as the cheese imbibed our tastebuds, our minds came alive, and we create solutions to the plot holes. So my creativity has gone from Alice in the pic above to this...

With a little bit of coffee...

I'm ready to rock and roll. Prepare to see Molly and Ryder and join them in their epic futuristic thriller adventure soon! My critique partners are doing a happy dance, I think, because most of them have a little crush on Ryder. LOL!

Ok, let's talk Olympics. Man, have those been amazing or what? And PS, the commercials during it are better than the ones for the Superbowl. How did that happen? 

I love sitting on the couch with Deek every night and cheering on Team USA in the competitions. I may get a little...

when exciting things happen, like Simone Manuel and Penny Oleksiak tying for the gold medal. I love the passion, excitement, dedication, and determination of the Olympic athletes!

In Deek and Erin news: We're still in chill mode after so much time on the road and in hotels. We haven't been bitten by the adventure bug quite yet, but I'm sure it's coming. 

And can I just say...I really LOVE our new place. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about living in an apartment after so many years in homes and townhomes, but I truly love it! Whenever I walk through the door, I get all giddy and happy feeling on the inside.

I'm also very thankful to get to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I missed them all so much when we lived in the Pacific Northwest, and I think it's made me even that much more grateful to have the time with them now. 

My friend Kathie and I may have been goofing off at the mall...

And we're meeting new friends too. Last night, Deek and I hung out with some of his work buddies after work and had a great time! I really love hanging out with other people with my husband. He's so friendly, funny, and charming, and it makes me incredibly proud to be there with him. 

Deek and I -- being silly while watching the Olympics, after a fun night out with friends

All in all, things are really coming together--creativity, the house, friends, family, life. It was a long journey from the Pacific Northwest to the South, but we're really starting to settle in now. I am excited to see what the future holds for Deek and me, and I'm stoked to tell Molly and Ryder's story. 

I thank my lucky stars each and every day that I have such a wonderful partner to enjoy this ride with! I love you, my Deek! #Always 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The New Normal

Wow. So, we moved across the country, found a place, found a job, and now we're settling into life. It's kind of amazing how you get into a routine, but when you move, it's all upended. Now, Deek and I have to establish the "new normal."

Queen Trinity was ready for everything to be put away. ;)

Dinner of champions
Otherwise known as "moving in survial 101"

Examples of our "new normal," Deek used to work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but now he's in the office all week. I miss him terribly when he's away. But we've worked out a plan where I meet him for lunch every Tuesday and Thursday. It's not the same as having him here all day, but at least I get to see his handsome face in the middle of the day. :)

Here we are taking a walk during lunch. Deek works near a gorgeous lake, so we take a nice stroll around it sometimes.

Also, necessity requires that I wake up much earlier than I used to. It's a blessing and curse. It's a blessing because I'm like a super productive little tornado but a curse because I'm sleepy as I don't know what all the time. In fact, last night, Deek and I planned a nap date for today. LOL!

Sleepy all the time...

But I've FINALLY found time to read for pleasure instead of work (notice the coffee cup because...sleepy).

Since we traveled across the country and lived in a hotel for weeks, we haven't been as keen on doing adventures. We're enjoying the comforts of having our own place (in a complex that has a saltwater pool, state-of-the-art gym, 24/7 FREE Starbucks, and more--who would even WANT to leave??). But we have managed to visit a few local goodies.

We went to see Star Trek Beyond with my soul sister and her hubby. They even sprung for us to go to a recliners-and-food movie theater. It was my first time in a joint like that, and wowsa! 

Free posters!

Ginormous "Tower of Fries." Oh, so good!

Deek and I had a mini-date at the local stores.


Doesn't this hat look like the lady in 101 Dalmatians?

World Market's version of the Iron Throne!

We attended the local Harry Potter event when the Cursed Child released. 
These are our "nice wizard" pictures. We have some "crazy wizard" ones too, but we look a bit deranged in them. LOL!

And, of course, we worked on decorating our room some more. My soul sister took the photos above our headboard, and she and Deek conspired to frame them and create an amazing Christmas gift for me. But we needed a little something below them to fill the space. When we saw the Mr. and Mrs. stickers, we knew we'd found just the thing!

In other news, we live next to a used bookstore. I *may* be in trouble...

And Deek's work bought him a pair of headphones for the office. I think he likes them. LOL!

I adore this man!

Now that we're starting to settle in, we're thinking of adventures we can go on, but for now, we're enjoying the calm of home and our new normal.

In our years together, Deek and I have been through a lot of wild rides--some good, some bad, some just plain crazy--and we've not only survived but grown stronger and flourished. I am beyond fortunate to take this life journey with a man as wonderful as Deek. There aren't adequate words (and I'm an author!!) to describe just how great his is and how incredibly much I love him!

I wish this kind of mind-blowing love and happiness for all of you! 

Until next time, catch some extra zzzzzz's for me. ;)