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I’m not a sappy person, but….

I have something to say. It’s kind of long and a little sappy, so bear with me.

When I had my melt down over Balance a few months ago (it was a full on melt down), I really thought that was it. That I was over the book and that I was never going to publish it because I couldn’t get it the way I wanted. I’d reach my breaking point. I didn’t have to worry about all the people voicing their opinions on how, or what, should happen, or their blatant dislike for the age gap. While that did start to grate on me a little, it was the stress I was creating on myself that truly did me in.

I’m 31 years old. The last time I walked across a balance beam I was 13. I’d been a gymnast for years but eventually quit after straddling the beam one too many times. During that time, there was a cheerleading team starting up in my gym. I loved the floor so I tried out and became a power tumbler for the team. It was pretty much all I did for the three minute routine and I was okay with it because I loved it. LOVED IT. I competed until I was 18 and while my tumbling improved, I stopped training as a gymnast, but I never forgot my time spent in the gym.

That being said, A LOT has changed in the gymnastics world since I was actually in it. I’m a stickler for research and details. It’s a must in writing for me. While I know most who read Balance really won’t care about the gymnastics terminology, I will. The amount of time I was spending on research was insane. I read page after page of all these new skills that were not around when I did it, I read up on the new scoring (which is so dumb), I tried connecting skills and prayed they worked for the appropriate level. Gymnastics will always be close to my heart so I was determined to get those elements right. But the research became overwhelming, and I drowning in this new world of gymnastics that I suddenly knew nothing of. The day I decided to pack it in and call it off on Balance was the day Lori, a reader, messaged me.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I didn’t think I could write this forbidden gymnastics story, I know I can. I have a great group of girls (you know who you are) and husband supporting me and encouraging me all the time. It was the gym parts that I didn’t think I could do anymore. That’s what was holding me back. I didn’t want elements of gymnastics or things just to be mentioned here and there. I really despise reading a sports themed romance novel when there really isn’t any sports happening. I wanted gymnastics described like you’re actually experiencing it, not a chapter here and there that it takes a back seat in the story.

When Lori messaged me and told me about her daughter, and how long they’d both been in the gymnastics world, I felt a glimmer of hope. She offered to help with the gymnastics and read the parts I was panicking about and if for some reason she got stuck, she’d ask her daughter. Her daughter is a collegiate gymnast and extremely good. (I admit, I YouTube stalked her.) I couldn’t believe my luck. I was so down and out at that point and then out of nowhere I had someone willing to double check everything I wrote and not give me shit on the age gap. This was huge. I’ll be honest, when she first messaged me, I thought for sure she was going to chew me out for this story like others had, but she didn’t. Thing is, Lori’s been around this lifestyle for so long that it’s not completely out of the ordinary for this sort of affair to happen. She was cool with it and eager for me to write the story.

Anyway, I waited two months, took a chance and sent Lori a message. She gladly wanted my messy draft, so I sent her the first 50 pages and impatiently waited. Last night when I went over her feedback, I FINALLY felt confident I could publish Balance the correct way, the way I always envisioned it. I won’t lie, she corrected A LOT and she also gave great suggestions that I took. I was so happy, I was beaming with joy, and for the first time I felt like I finally had a grasp on things, and I owe it to Lori. It was as if she knew what I was going for, zoomed in on those parts, and picked them out to tweak.

I’ve always been a firm believer on that things happen for a reason. And I feel like she stepped in at the perfect time. I’ve wanted to write this book for so long, and along with my close knit group of betas, Lori’s helpful insight on the sport is going to make it complete. I wanted the gymnastics to be in your face. I wanted chapters of it spent in the gym, I wanted to show what their bodies go through but how rewarding the sport can be even though they hate it the majority of the time.

Anyway… I’m so incredibly thankful for the people I’ve met in the book world. It’s crazy how some people can just click and they became friends forever. Guess what I’m trying to say is, even though I wanted to give up, I didn’t. I took a chance and messaged Lori even though I told myself I was set on never writing Balance again. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Though it may not be bright, it’s there. You just have to keep digging. I saw it last night and now I’m clawing faster than ever to see its full brightness.

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