I’ve changed my perspective on surprises.

I used to be one of those surprises-scare-the-living-daylights-out-of-me type of girls. They made me nervous, anxious, hesitant, sweaty. All of those uncomfortable emotions that people generally wished to avoid.

I don’t always react like that anymore.

Instead, I dance, shout at the top of my lungs, and possibly make such a ruckus that the neighbors might begin to question my sanity (though I’m sure I’ve given them other reasons before).

I’ve changed my perspective because one of the best surprises of my life just happened.

When I began writing, I never knew where this journey would take me. All I knew was that I had an obligation to the characters in my head. The louder those voices got, the less it felt like an obligation to get them out, and it became more of a necessity. I just had to write. I needed to create them. There were these lives that only I could birth, and to ignore them felt wrong on such a deep level.

Some characters are louder than others. Some stick with me longer than others. And then there are some that I just know will always be a part of me—characters that actually taught me something in the process of molding and shaping them into being.

Torin is one of those characters. For those of you who have read The Rules of Regret, hopefully you know just what I’m talking about. His knack for quoting ancient philosophers and famous writers sets him apart from all of my other male leads. Life doesn’t just happen to him, but he truly creates his own story. It’s that outlook that pushes me to do the same. To chase my dreams and see what happens.

Well, what happened is still beyond anything I could have imagined.

I’ve been a self-published author from the start. I’ve loved the freedom and the ease of it all. But that might not be entirely honest. It’s not easy. Far from it, in fact. As a self-published writer, all of the responsibility to get your book out into the world rests squarely upon your shoulders. The shoulders that are also trying to balance the storyline, the new ideas that spring into your head at 2:00 am, the blogs tours posts, the blurbs, the promos, the edits, the edits, the edits. You catch my drift.

I don’t know about every self-published author, but my shoulders just aren’t that big, and to be completely transparent, I was starting to feel a bit hunched over by the weight of it all.

It has always been a dream of mine to work with a traditional publisher, but as I said, I loved the freedom I had with self-publishing. I knew that for me personally, to ever sign a book deal would mean partnering with a team that shared my same perspectives on my writing and my work. I would never be willing to hand over something that was such a huge piece of me without knowing it was in the best, most nurturing hands possible.

Well, I found out that those hands actually do exist.

We were up at a cabin in Tahoe a few weeks back when I woke up to an email from one of the amazing editors at Skyscape, Amazon Publishing’s Teen and Young Adult imprint. They’d discovered and read The Rules of Regret. They loved Torin and Darby. And they wanted to join in their story. I can’t explain what it feels like to read an email like that. I know that words should be my forte, but here I’m lacking. It’s just this big, huge, swelling emotion that overtakes you. And it’s similar to how Sally Field best articulated it, “You like me! You REALLY like me!” That feels pretty darn good.

These past few weeks have been exciting to say the least. Hearing about Skyscape’s future for The Rules of Regret makes me all giddy. They’ve got great plans for this book and I have the utmost faith in this team and know they will take it to great heights. I get to be a part of the process, and it’s one that I greatly look forward to. It truly is a partnership, and I feel that the self-published spirit in me still gets to exist within this new venture. We all know what an incredible company amazon is—they exceed in all they do. To be able to work with their publishing team is more than this girl could ever dream. I’ve learned I need to start dreaming bigger.

So surprises don’t scare me so much anymore. In fact, this book has already surprised me on so many levels, and I’m hopeful it will only continue to do so.

I can’t wait to see what future surprises it has in store. I’m ready for them!