Why I’m offering Editing Services

 

You guys, you’re probably wondering why I’ve recently decided to take on a few editing projects.   I mean, I’m an author, right?  Why would I want to edit someone else’s work?

Well, the answer is pretty easy.

I’m the kind of person who HAS to stay busy.  If I’m not doing something I feel that is productive, I get all down in the mouth.  <<– farm phrase.

I’m bound up in traditional contracts for the next two-ish years, which means that I can’t release anything as an indie during that time.   That = a sad Courtney.   My creativity needs a release.

So, I’m offering my services as a developmental/content editor for other authors.

You can find out more about it here.   

Don’t worry– I have two books coming out in 2018– one from Gallery (Simon and Schuster) and one from Mira (Harper Collins).   I’m an author first and foremost.

XO,

Courtney

Update on my son, Gunner

One Year Clean!

It’s been a year since one of the worst nights of my life.  That was the night my son Gunner called me at 2am, and overdosed while talking to me.

A lot happened after that.  He went to the hospital, he survived, he was arrested for drug possession.  He spent time in jail, then he went to rehab.  He finished rehab, and went to a halfway house.  Then he moved to a long-term halfway house.

This was all great news for us, because on the roller coaster of addiction, many of these milestones get skipped, or interrupted, or failed.  Gunner himself has done all of those things in the past… walked out of rehab, refused to go, quit then relapsed, etc etc.  But not this time.  This time, Gunner completed all of it.  

Let me tell you, recovering with a drug felony on your record makes it an uphill climb.  It’s hard to get a job.  It’s hard to do many things that we all just take for granted.  But he’s doing it, because he’s determined.

He lost his car when was in the midst of his drug-use.  So now, he doesn’t have one.  You know what he does?  He rides a bike or walks anywhere he needs to go— even if it’s miles.

He started out with a job at KFC, which wasn’t glamorous, but it was a job.   Then, he moved on to a full-time job in a machine shop, learning the machinist trade.  He has been there for eight months now, riding his bike through the heat or the rain–  and has only missed one day of work.  It’s hard, it’s hot, it’s dirty, but he’s doing it.  He makes an honest paycheck every week with his own two hands.

I am beyond ecstatic to announce that Gunner has been clean for an entire year!

This is an amazing accomplishment for him, and he has put in the hard work.   He went to two NA meetings a day. He hasn’t missed a single meeting with his Corrections Officer.  He’s never late to work.  He has put on weight— going from a 6’6″ 160 pound skeleton, to a 6’6″ 220 pound healthy man.

A month ago, his son celebrated his first birthday party, and Gunner was there, clean and sober and proud.

 

Gunner doesn’t crow about this one-year-clean milestone.  In fact, he doesn’t want to focus on it. He says he doesn’t want to become distracted from the fact that he has to focus every day, every minute, on being sober.  He can’t afford to slide backwards at all by becoming cocky.  Living with it is a way of life now, it’s with him every minute.

Last month, I saw an absolutely repugnant video on social media, slamming drug addiction, and declaring that it wasn’t a disease, that addicts were just lazy, that they didn’t want to get better, that they just say they have a ‘disease’ so that they have an excuse to use.

I almost threw up.

Addicts don’t want to be in the spiral that they are in.  They don’t want to be in the clutches of such a horrible thing.  They don’t want their families to be torn apart.    They made a mistake– by using drugs in the first place.  But then… then… addiction takes over, and turns them into people that they aren’t.   People who will lie and steal to feed their addiction.  These people do have a disease, because addiction literally changes the chemicals in the brain.

To climb his way out of the hole addiction put him in, Gunner has had to live in a crappy motel (because apartment complexes won’t accept him with a drug charge), and he rides a bike to work– even in the snow.   That is NOT someone who makes excuses.  The idea that all addicts or recovering addicts are lazy is just… an UGLY LIE.

Opioid addiction has become a pandemic in America, and it’s one that will have to be addressed, because we’re losing more and more people to it every week… every day.  Often times, it begins by someone using painkillers.  Then, when the scripts stop coming from the doctor, the user starts buying illegal drugs to replace the painkillers… and so it begins.

I’m thankful (SO thankful!) that I haven’t lost Gunner. That he’s still fighting, that in fact, he’s THRIVING.  It’s been a long road, and it will be longer still as he fights his way back to where he was before.   His teeth were ruined during his drug use– so they all have to be pulled and replaced.  But!  He’s doing it.  He’s living clean.

On Friday, he gets to check one more thing off his list. He’s moving into his own place.  He’ll still go to NA meetings, and check in with his Corrections Officer, but he’ll do it with his very own address.  

Thank you, to every single one of you who pray or have prayed for my son.  I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

God is good.

 

PS.  This is Gunner today– on his break at his job.  🙂

What is Love?

Love is strength. 

Love is unfaltering. 

Love is sometimes doing the hard thing. 

 

Since I write a lot of romance in my novels, it might be easy to be swept into the mindset that everything is happily-ever-after, and it is easy, and it is effortless.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I was thinking about it this morning, after having to have a difficult talk with a family member.

Love is sometimes doing the hard thing.  Sometimes, it’s saying something difficult.

Sometimes, it’s doing something difficult– like when I had to stand my ground with my son who was struggling with addiction.  When he was in the active throes of addiction, I had to do the hard thing and not give him money– because I knew he’d use it to buy drugs.  It was hard.  SO hard.  Because I was afraid he was hungry or cold– and he’d tell me he was, and my mother’s heart would break.

But I had to do the hard thing.

I had to be firm.  I had to be unfaltering.  I had to be strong when he couldn’t be.

Love is being there for someone, even when it’s a truth they don’t want to hear.

Love, in it’s truest form, is the greatest gift we can give someone.  It is pure.  It is strong.  It isn’t all shininess and light.  It is rugged and tough, because it has to be.  Sometimes, it looks ugly, but in reality, it is the most beautiful thing in the world.

Love someone today.  Love them with your whole heart.  Life is too short not to.

 

What my other son has taught me

Happy 19th birthday, Tristan.

A few months ago, I announced to the world that my oldest son, my 22-year old son, Gunner, is a drug addict.  I expressed my heart-ache and the rocky journey.

Today, I want to talk about my other son, my middle child, Tristan.

 

^^ This is him mid-sentence, because he is always always talking.^^

Tristan is funny.  He’s determined.  When he wants something, he focuses on it with laser precision.  He’s my 6’4″ man-boy.  At times, he’s as fierce as a warrior, at other times, he’s sneaking around corners like a ninja to scare me.  He puts terrifying pictures onto my phone’s wallpaper to startle me, then laughs ridiculously when I scream.  He throws a blanket from the couch onto his back like a cape and tackles the dog.

He target-shoots, he makes detailed leatherwork, he’s an archer.  He works on a farm, hefting 50-pound sacks of fertilizer around on each shoulder.  He loves DisneyWorld with the rest of us- his favorite ride is Peter Pan.  He loves Harry Potter, and he’s a Gryffindor, of course. He’s a surfer, a swimmer, an outdoorsman.

He decided a few months ago, that he will serve in our nation’s military.  He wants to be a Marine, and not only that, but his goal is to be on a special forces team.  He wants to be elite.  He wants to be the most badass of the badass.  Because if he does something, he does it all the way.

Since he made that decision, he’s been getting up at 4am to go to the gym before school.  He wants to prepare himself for the early mornings and tough regime of Marine basic training.  He’s done all the research he can do, to prepare himself to become a warrior.  He leaves in September for boot camp.

Even still, he’s still my boy.  He still has a boyish spirit that alternates with his very adult goals.  This picture was of him from awhile back– he’d come downstairs with his shirt tied up like a bikini top and flexing like Mr. Universe.

tristan-weird

I voted for Hillary.  I won’t bore you with the details of why, because everyone has an opinion, and I respect those opinions.  My son voted for Hillary too.  It was his first year to vote. Knowing that he was going to join the Marines, he felt that Trump has too much of a temper to handle being the Commander in Chief with responsibility.

Yet, Hillary lost.  Trump is now  Commander-in-Chief.

I asked Tristan, with my mother’s heart, if he would reconsider joining the marines right now.  I said, “T, I’m afraid.  I’m proud of you, but I’m afraid.”

I didn’t voice my complete worry:   That I might lose my oldest son to drug addition, and I’m absolutely TERRIFIED of losing my middle son, my Tristie, to a war.

Tristan looked at me, with a very mature look on his young face, and said, “Mom, it doesn’t matter who is president, our country needs protection.  It always will.  And some of us have to step up and do it, no matter if we agree on who is president or not. Someone has to protect everyone else, and it might as well be me.”

I don’t hesitate to tell you, that my gut clenched up and a knot formed in my throat, and I’ve never been more proud.    I’m still scared, as any mom would be, but I’m SO SO SO  proud.

He will be an amazing Marine.

And he will protect YOU with his life.

I can honestly tell you that you couldn’t be in better hands.

 

Happy 19th birthday, T.  I’m proud of you.

An update on my son Gunner

 

My readers are the best of the best.  Not only because you have great taste in fiction (hehe), but because you are so caring and compassionate.

After I announced that my son Gunner is an addict, a few months back, I’ve regularly gotten messages from readers asking about him.  Praying about him.  Checking on him.  I can’t tell you how touched that makes me.  To know that you take a minute out of your day to pray about my boy- someone you haven’t even met.  It melts my heart.

I’d like to give you an update on him today.

He’s doing amazingly well.  He came through Rehab like a champion, and he’s been in a halfway house for a few months now without relapsing.   When he was first out of rehab, he had a job at a KFC, not fancy, but it was an honest job.

Now, he has a job at a machinist shop, and he’s learning the skill of being a machinist.  He’s been there for a couple of months now, and his boss is impressed by how hard of a worker he is.

Recovery is hard.  It’s hard for the addict, every damn day, every damn minute. It’s hard for the family– because we’re constantly holding our breath, hoping that it sticks.

I’m so hopeful this time.  SO SO hopeful.  Gunner has been strong and unwavering, and seems so intent on truly starting a new clean life.

I truly think that all of your prayers have helped him stay on this path.  I believe that the more voices that utter that same prayer, the more God can hear them.  And I believe that’s the case here.  You heard a mother’s desperate pleas for help, and you answered that call by praying for a struggling son.

And here he is now, so much better, so much on the road to a permanent recovery.

I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for praying for my boy. He appreciates you, I appreciate you.  I’ll never be able to express how much.

Thank you, thank you, thank you… from the bottom of this mother’s heart.