This year, I took the indie plunge. The scariest part of doing independent work is that it’s 100% yours. There’s no publishing house making decisions about category or cover. Everything—from the concept to the execution, first line to jacket copy, is you.
Once you’ve opened the door to being a hybrid author, it also generally means you have no excuses for not tackling that project dangling out there. You know the one—that one you’ve ALWAYS wanted to explore but never have, because you know there’s no slot in the traditional marketplace for it.
That was the case with the sequel to my YA romance, PLAYING HURT. When PLAYING HURT released, readers immediately started asking me what happened during Chelsea and Clint’s second summer. But I knew, even then, that I really wanted to pick up with Chelsea four years later, rather than the very next summer…I wanted to explore the possibility of whether that youthful romance—you know the one…that hot short intense fling you had that’s never really left your mind completely—if THAT could ever become a lasting relationship.
But that was always problematic, for a hundred different reasons. PLAYING HURT featured an eighteen and nineteen-year-old. Four years later, they were twenty-two and twenty-three…and the house that released PLAYING HURT is a strictly YA-only house…and then HarperCollins (rather than Flux) started publishing my YAs, and…
You see where this is going. One excuse piled on top of another. Well—maybe not excuses. They’re all valid reasons not to tackle a book that’s never going to see the light of day in the traditional world. Once I opened the hybrid door, though, all these reasons really did become excuses. As a hybrid author, if I didn’t do the PLAYING HURT sequel, that was also 100% on me.
…Was picking up with a story I hadn’t touched for four years frightening, too? Absolutely.
Was it scary to release a sequel to a book that readers were emotionally attached to? Yes.
But fear, if viewed at the right angle, is fun, too. After all, that’s what Halloween is for.
Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
As a graduation present, Chelsea's dad springs for a three-week summer "boot camp" program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she's immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who's haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain—or finally heal their heartbreak?
PLAY IT AGAIN:
A Second Chance at First Love (A Playing Hurt Novel)Four years ago, Chelsea and Clint had both seen their share of tragedy. Will their second chance at love end in triumph…or will it be yet another heartbreak?
Chelsea was a teenage small town celebrity—a basketball star with the promise of a free ride to college…until an accident on the court shattered her hip and her dreams. Clint was a high school Minnesota hockey player whose first love died in a car accident on the way to one of his pond tournaments; head no longer in the game, Clint was forced to hang up his skates.
On a family vacation to Minnesota, Chelsea met Clint, a fishing guide and personal trainer at her resort. Through their overwhelming, inexplicable, and undeniable whirlwind romance, they began to heal each other—to discover their own strength and resilience. Their summer together was short, but it bubbled over in intensity: stolen kisses, passionate meetings under starlit skies, lovemaking to the beat of a cascading waterfall. And it ended with the promise of a second summer.
Life got in the way, thwarting their plans. Now, four years later, the compass of Chelsea’s heart is pointing her back to Minnesota—toward the strongest love of her life. But can that original heat be reignited, or will old wounds snuff out any chance at rekindling their original passion?
Play It Again picks up as Chelsea’s and Clint’s paths cross again to explore issues of forgiveness and second chances, and to ask whether true, lasting adult love can grow from the fires of youthful passion.