The Best Birthday Gift Ever–HARROWED!!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–Jolene Haley is amazing. And this past week, she gave me the best birthday present ever–a print proof of our book Harrowed.

If you follow Jolene or I at all, then you know we’re hard at work on getting Haunted (the second book in the Woodsview Murders series) ready for release. But Harrowed will always be our first love, and we still have big plans for our first book, and one of those plans is a print edition. Jolene and I had talked about the print version, and had done some preliminary work (or so I thought) on formatting.

So when I came home from work the other day to find a box waiting for me, I initially assumed it was some books I’d ordered and forgot about (which happens more than you might imagine).

And then I opened the box, and things got emotional. Because I was looking at a print proof of our book.

It was pretty emotional, as this book really means the world to me. Not only do I consider it some of my best writing, but it’s a symbol of the friendship and partnership that Jolene and I have built over the past few years. And what better example of that friendship than Jolene working her butt off to get a print proof made for my birthday.

I almost booked a plane ticket right then and there so I could fly to California and tackle hug her. Instead I called her at work and probably got her in trouble with her boss, as I was excitedly raving and thanking her for twenty minutes.

But that’s only half the story.

See, I’ve mentioned in the past that Harrowed is full of Easter eggs for ’80s horror and music fans, but many of the people and places in Harrowed are based on some of our favorite people and places in real life. The music store where Avery works in Harrowed is called Deep Cuts, and it’s based on the music store I’ve frequented in my hometown for almost thirty years called Music Outlet. The owner of that store is a guy by the name of Gary, and we wrote Gary into Harrowed as the owner of Deep Cuts.

I found out recently that after almost thirty-five years, Gary is retiring and closing Music Outlet in August. Not only am I sad about losing my favorite music store, but I had hoped to be able to one day give Gary a copy of Harrowed to show him how much he and the store meant to me. With the announcement of his retirement, I figured I wouldn’t ever get that chance.

Then along came Jolene Haley.

Thanks to my amazing partner–who sent me two print proofs, I will be heading to Music Outlet this week to give Gary a copy of our book.

And that makes Jolene’s gift to me the best birthday gift ever.

Thanks again, partner!!

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