The Light Over London by Julia Kelly

January 8, 2019, the day we’ve been waiting for...and not just because it’s Elvis’s birthday. Today, author Julia Kelly, with The Light Over London, makes her hardcover debut. 

Yeah, that’s right. Hardcover historical fiction. aka a really big freaking deal.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram (and you totally should be: in my stories today I’m giving away a hardcover of Julia’s book!) you’ll know that Julia is one of my dearest writing besties and this book has been a long time in the making. 

I waked in a bookstore and picked this beauty up! In my hands. It has shimmery dustwrap paper!!! And her beautiful face on the back flap. And between those gorgeous navy blue covers is an incredible story of women and friendship and finding truth. 

There are going to be thousands of reviews that will tell you all about the book. Go read those, if you like. My official review is simply this: each time I read The Light Over London, I didn’t want to put it down. It is elegant, engrossing, a fascinating picture of the lives of women in conflict (both past and present), and a dang good yarn.   

My unofficial review is this (and I know you want this because it’s the gossipy good stuff only authors know about other authors): I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to see your friends succeed—and know that it’s not just a whim of the publishing machine or a lucky break. It’s because Julia is (first and foremost) a dang good writer committed to her craft and is one of the most focused, driven, incredible HBICs out there. 

IMAGE.JPG

There’s nobody else I want on my team more than the women in this picture—and Mary Chris, who hadn’t made it to our summer house when this photo was snapped. (Can’t be HBIC Nation without all six of us.)  

FullSizeRender.jpg

Julia is our trailblazer. And even though I’m a thousand years older than her and will never achieve her glorious hair curtain, it’s safe to say I want to be Julia when I grow up.

Anyway. Go buy this book before I start really weeping about how much I’ve loved and learned from Julia snce our One Week in Love days (and before!). Go read this book. Go tell your friends about this book. It’s got enough drama and historical precision to delight the women’s/fiction reader and just enough swoon to make a romance reader happy sigh. 

Hardback. eBook. Audio. Paperback this fall—but don’t wait that long to read it. All your favorites will stock this book. Go forth and click.

A forgotten diary, a forbidden love affair, a desperate fight to save her country

2017 When Cara Hargreaves discovers a diary from the 1940s, its contents will change her life forever...

1941 When Louise Keene meets dashing RAF pilot, Paul Bolton, she is swept off her feet. Then Paul is sent to war and Louise, defying her mother's wishes, ends up a gunner girl in London.

Watching the pitch-black skies for bombers, Louise finds comfort recording her dreams in her diary. And as Cara reads her words, decades later, she learns that hope can be found even in the darkest of times, she just needs to take a chance...

A Year of Possibilities

#2017bestnine from my Instagram @WriterAHaughton

 

There’s a lot of rose gold in this #2017bestnine. Y’all seem to like it when I #roséallday and #satelliteoffice. 😉

My best nine looks a little something like...

  • Dreaming up HBIC Nation under a giant tree on a farm in Virginia
  • Climbing a mountain in Sedona at midnight to call down the stars
  • Playing at the park with my Dallas bestie’s kiddos on a gorgeous spring day
  • Criss-crossing the country on road trips
  • Making my brother's kids laugh
  • Chilling at the beach with my mom and our distinguished poodle
  • Crying during Ms. Bev’s speech at RWA with all my best girls
  • Dancing and shedding glitter at the RITA afterparty
  • Launching #mistletoekey into the world
  • Having a cozy Thanksgiving and Christmas with my fam

For these, and a million other moments, I give thanks. 🙏

2018 Planning: Word of the Year

On Wanting More

The week between Christmas and New Year, when I don’t really know what day it is—and don’t really care—is kind of my favorite. It’s one of the least stressful weeks of the year. Projects have been put to bed. The stress of Christmassing is over. And the only thing in front of me is the prospect of a new start. 

Okay, resolution doubters, I know that you can make a new start at any time you choose. April fifth, super. October twenty-ninth, even better. But I personally love the sparkling season. When the air fairly shimmers with all our collective hopes and dreams. When the liminal space between old and new gets all the focus. It’s in this week anything can happen. 

Magic, right? 

The past few weeks I’ve been going over 2017–business gains and losses, personal successes and failures—and this morning I really sat down to do some major, strategic work to prep for the new year. It was hard! Frustrating, scary, and a little overwhelming. So I do what I always do when I’m stuck on a plot point: I take a magic shower. (Plus, now that I chopped it all off, I really needed to wash my hair.) 

I went in to my shower really excited about the word I’d picked for 2018: soar. I’d been noodling around with a bunch of ideas, and finally went back to the first world I’d written down. I liked the feel of the word. And I could totally get behind the meaning—that I wouldn’t just be rising higher and higher or merely flying.

It gets windy out in west Texas. Real windy. And every year as the Canadian geese make their pilgrimage down here, I watch them. And it looks exhausting, flying. Fighting against all that wind. Trying to keep up with the flock. Constantly flapping wings and making sure you’re holding your spot. 

Flying is the pits. 

But soaring suggests exhilaration. That you’re feeling the wind as you ride it up and up and up. That you’re not fighting the wind, you’re mastering it, rising above it! (And in fact, that’s exactly what the etymology of the word would have us feel. Soar comes from exaurure in the Latin. ex- meaning out of and aura, the air.)

To soar is a beautiful thing. 

Hopes soar. Your heart soars when your crush smiles at you in homeroom. To soar means you’re riding on infinite possibility. Who wouldn’t want to soar? 

But as I played around with the word—the sound of it—my brain soon changed it to...more.

Oh. Yes. There it is. That’s what I want. More

But that’s a terrifying statement to make, even alone in the shower. We are taught to not want more. That it’s rude. Unseemly. Not feminine. Greedy. Ungrateful. And the list goes on and on.

As someone firmly in “The Little Mermaid” generation, I know that wanting more isn’t all fun and games. Wanting more tests you. Makes you choose between impossible choices. Requires you to have courage, ingenuity, spirit, and drive. Wanting more sometimes means you end up in a land of strangers with no idea how to behave. Wanting more sometimes means you end up in the middle of a massive storm with creepy ghost ships swirling all around you. 

And wanting more sometimes means you find true love. 

In 2018, I want more. 

I want to give more. Live more. Do more. Be more. 

But I also want to say no more. 

I want to believe in myself more. I want to push myself outside of my comfort zone more. And, yeah, I want to make more money. 

I want to write more, read more, travel more, and do more of what makes me happy. 

Why soar when you can have more? 

2018-word-of-the-year