Prologue: LOVE YOU THROUGH IT by Fabiola Francisco

While I was writing LOVIN’ ON YOU last year, the idea for this story popped into my mind and I quickly shoved it away harder than I’d push the biggest villain in any story. I was adamant to leave it alone and not venture into the emotions it would bring. Then, a friend brought it up to me after she finished Lovin’ on You, and I felt as if she had read my thoughts. I told her, NO. I’m pretty sure I used shouty caps. But, her words stuck with me because something inside me wanted to write this story. So, I did.

I began this manuscript, stopped and wrote another book, and picked it up later when I saw the perfect cover for it. It’s as if the universe was telling me, write the damn book. And I listened. I wrote the book and I cried more than I ever have writing any story. {Blubbering mess, y’all}

This is a topic that I fear in my personal life. Falling in love, having the fairy tale, and losing it all because of death. Grab tissues and read the prologue below.


Prologue

I knew the moment I heard the words slip from the man in uniform that my world would be turned upside down. Shattered. Everything ended that dreadful day, including my will to live.
***
I throw myself over the casket after the preacher spoke words of peace and light. I grip the hard wood, bawling, refusing to let them sink this box to the bottom of that hole. No one attempts to stop me. They all watch in sorrow as I yell, asking God why.
I finally feel my father and Josh’s father pull me away. They hand me the folded flag—the tainted reminder of all that is left of him.
I stand in shock as they lower his body and cover him in dirt. I stare numbly at the mound of earth that now separates us. I will never see him again. I will never hear him again. Everything is destroyed.
“We’ll take you home,” my mother says, but I shake my head. “Bri, it would be best if you left. Let’s eat something.”
Turning to her, eyes void of emotion, I say, “Take me home and leave me there. I want to be alone.”
In the silence of the car, they respect my wishes. I hold on to that flag as if it were Josh I was holding.
“I want to be alone,” I tell them as they pull into the driveway before they choose to come inside with me.
“But—”
“No, mom. Not today.” I get out of the car; the black of my dress feels heavy as I drag with me the darkness this day has brought. It’s real. As if I would somehow wake up and have dreamt the visit the officer and chaplain made not too long ago.
As the door closes behind me, I lean against it—white contrasting to my black— and stare at this home. I calmly put the flag down on the console table. I walk a few steps in, grab the lamp and strike it onto the floor. I sweep my arms across the small table in the living room, causing everything on it to fall and break. The metal dish clings against the tile.
“Ahhh!” My throat hurts from the exertion. I yell again and again until I’m sore. I shatter the vase with flowers my friends sent me. Water pours from the broken glass as the roses attempt to soak up the last bit. I walk to them and stomp them with my heel. They can’t live if he’s dead.
I can’t live if he’s dead. I can’t live. I can’t.
I fall onto my knees, the tears a common emotion for me, and look up at the heavens. “I only have one question, God; why’d you bring him to me to steal him away?”
With that, I curl into my side and lose myself.

Copyright 2017, Fabiola Francisco


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I thought I was done publishing, and then more words came

It’s hard to come from Twisted in You, which is a story I’ve waited years to tell (I think before I ever decided to write novels). I wasn’t sure what to write. I started on Bri’s story (Love You Through It), and it felt forced. Cash and Olivia were still too much in me to give Bri her own voice despite the VERY different tones in their books.

For me, Twisted in You was my ultimate goal. So I questioned if this was it. Is this where I close out my publishing life? Publishing this book was always my light at the end of the tunnel. That book is THE book for me. How can any other after it be justified?

I’ll be honest, it’s not the first time I question my publishing path. It’s hard out there, guys. I just want to share words. I want to create word art and express myself in a way that feels comfortable. Words are that for me. They always have been. Whatever shit I was dealing through, I’d write it. Death? Write a poem. Done. Anger? Write a letter to the person. Relief. Abuse? Put yourself in the perpetrator’s place. Compassion & understanding. Love? Write another poem. Acceptance that happy endings exist.

I won’t say writing was always a channel of expression for me, because it wasn’t. It took thirteen years to become aware of this gift. As a child I rejected reading and writing. (Joke’s on me, huh?) But damn, if it didn’t save my life multiple times. You all know how the story goes. 

Part of my life purpose is to help others heal. I’m aware of this, and it’s a path I’ve been working towards, finding my balanced footing on it. Writing is my way of doing that, whether it be fiction, blogging, or submitting articles to other sites. Because of this, I don’t know that I’ll ever fully be able to stop publishing. But, after Twisted in You was out in the world, I struggled with what to work on. What part of me was I ready to share next?

So I went back to where it all began—my teen years. One beta reader (who is a friend and knows me pretty well) sent me a text message the other day that said, “You are soooo Luna.” Yes, she sent that many O’s. And she was right. I am a Luna, because I am every character I write. I am the teen poet, using her words to express what she does not yet understand, or what she is not quite ready to share with the world verbally.

I went back to the girl who was shy, felt like an outcast with peers, and was so dead-set that there is more out there than the crap we deal with at times. I went back to my teen years because those were hard. And while I didn’t have a Carter, I had a brother like Becket and sometimes I took him for granted (He also slept with his basketball. AND I already dedicated a book to him, so we’re even, right?).

There was born Beneath the Stars. I’ve wanted to write a young adult for some time, and the story blossomed. There’s romance, mistakes (lots of them), confusion (even more so than mistakes), and hope. We have a girl who is trying to find her place in a space that she may not fit in. We have a boy whom she secretly crushes over finally pay her attention. We have a connection that bonds them and mistakes that tear them apart. We have a story of the confusion teen years bring, the struggles and monotony of them. So when I felt like I was done, I went back. I went to the beginning of my writing life and wrote who I was then. To a certain extent, obviously. I wish a cute basketball player was fighting for my attention back then (or now, because basketball players are cute!). 😉

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I am excited to share this story and the person Luna is. I include poetry in this book, so I was able to have my own creative expression, as well as novel writing. Poetry was my first love and helped heal so much of my past. I’m glad to be able to incorporate it into a story.

Read the synopsis here:

Quiet poet, observer, emotional teen. That’s me, Luna Gardner. When my lifelong crush, Carter, finally makes a move, it seems like I’m living out one of my poems. But like my writing, emotions are high and endings can be brutal.

One decision makes a mess out of everything. Being a teen isn’t supposed to be this complicated. No amount of poetry will fix the damage I’ve done. So, beneath the stars I get lost in the words and hope I can write a better outcome to my reality.

And add to Goodreads shelf!And add to Goodreads shelf!

Join Fabiola’s Fab Reads for EXCLUSIVE teasers and be the first to get all the 411.

I am so grateful for this gift, and never do I take it for granted. When one person sends  a message thanking me for a story that resonated with them, or for sharing something that is barely spoken about, my heart is full. My job is done. I want words to give people hope, heal the past, and know that HEA exists in all aspects of the word
because ultimately, when we are in love with ourselves, we are able to be in love with others and allow others to be in love with us. Romance has always been a part of history, and what a way to celebrate and share it. Words are healing, whether we are reading or writing them. SO again, thank you for allowing me to do this. ❤

XOXO

Fab

 

Reflection: Three years in this business~THANK YOU!

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Three years ago I published my first novel. In 2009, I wrote one of those Facebook Notes that were the craze back then—25 Random Facts About Me. The fifth fact was: I want to publish a book sometime in my life. I’ve told the story before—bucket list item I wanted to check off. However, it always seems unreachable. Two reasons why: 1. Up until that point, I had only written poetry and a few shorter stories. Dialogue and elaborating a plot were, in my mind, not my thing. 2. How was I going to get a publisher? All I wanted was to write a book to share and move on. It seemed impossible.

I was living in Spain during this time and shoved the idea to the back of my mind’s bookshelf, focusing on my work there and my college degree when I was back home.

Fast forward a few years, and I still had a story idea I began in 2009 running through my mind. Needless to say, I opened that file and began what is now PERFECTLY IMPERFECT with no idea how to publish.

It has been a unique journey these last three years, meeting new people (many I call friends now), learning the ever-changing ropes in this business (I am less business person, more creative), finding my voice in a world where many times we are encouraged to stay silent as to not stir society’s pot. My books are not liked by everyone, and I am perfectly okay with that. Writing is a part of my personal journey, a skill I use to express myself.

I never thought I would be okay with sharing my writing with anyone, let alone an entire audience. I’ll tell you one thing, publishing my first book is one of the most empowering things I’ve done. I went against my self-preservation tactic, against my comfort zone, ripped off my security blanket and shared pieces of myself to a world willing to know me. If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is. I am a quiet observer in this community, in this world really, and turning the role of the observed on myself has been an interesting experience.

It has made me vulnerable, open, and accepting of myself. Writing novels, publishing them, has made me look at my reflection and learn more about who I am. When I write, I get into a sort of zone. Many times I don’t remember what I write. When I go back to re-read and prepare for edits, it’s as if I’m seeing myself for the first time. Every book is different; the mood is set according to my experiences and emotions at that moment in my life. I’ve always said writing is my form of therapy. It’s why I began in the first place—a safe way to express my emotions without the world judging me for feeling certain things.

So as I approach my third year of being a published author, I reflect on my experiences. I confess, more than once I have considered no longer publishing my work. I have two amazing friends to thank for staying in the game. It’s not always easy, especially for an introvert who bleeds onto pages to then be judged. I get it, it’s part of the package deal. The irony does not go unnoticed.

I’ve learned to not take things personally (read #15 in that FB note), and understand that people’s judgment of my work is their perception. Perception is everything in life. How we live and what we experience will influence our thoughts and emotions. If I can provoke emotion (positive or negative) through my writing, my job as a writer is complete. Reading is about feeling things, stirring things we have long buried within us, and travel to different places and be someone we may not dare explore in real life. I know when I read I want a book that stirs me. A book that leaves me feeling stagnant does nothing for my growth.

So although quitting this business has crossed my mind more times than I care to admit, you, my readers, keep me going. It’s your notes, messages, words of encouragement that remind me why I decided to share my words in the first place. This is a way for me to allow the world to know me, and for the opportunity and hope that you read my words and soak them up. I hope that you resonate with my writing in one way or another (for the good and bad), and can take a piece of it with you wherever you go.

Thank you for three of the best years of my life. For the opportunity to follow my passion and share it with you. Thank you for allowing me to be myself and share my voice when it can be so scary to do so. What turned into a fun challenge became so much more, and without any of you to share it with, this experience would have less meaning.

You can read two BONUS scenes for Perfectly Imperfect here: https://authorfabiolafrancisco.com/perfectly-imperfect/

Connect with me and join Fabiola’s Fab Reads to stay up-to-date with my writing, chat book and life stuff, and hang out with the best group of people: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FabReads/

XOXO,

Fab

 

 

A Glimpse into the Future~ Restoring Us

I am surprised how quickly time has gone by. It will be two years that I published Restoring Us, my second novel, on January 11th. This was the first idea I had for a book back in 2009, and I feel blessed that I got the opportunity to write it and publish it a few years later.

Thank you to all who have supported me along the way. I am so happy to have met so many amazing people, and I am looking forward to meeting more and more of you.

Enjoy this bonus scene! XO

**This scene includes some spoilers for those who have not read Restoring Us.**


A Glimpse into the Future

Ava

“I resent that!” Dan yells. “I’m a fucking good father.”

“Facking,” Brooke, Dan and Jess’ youngest daughter, says. Yes, youngest. That means Dan’s a father to more than one child.

“Case in point,” Ethan points to her, and we all laugh.

“You’re just jealous.” Dan shrugs.

“My daughter doesn’t curse.” Ethan raises his eyebrows.

“You know, before fatherhood, you used to be cool. Now, you’re all serious and shit.”

“PMS?” Ethan mocks.

“Fuck off.” Dan stands and walks to the cooler housing the beers and bottles of wine.

I look around our patio and smile as I see our friends still united after so many years. We have been through ups and downs together, and these last two years have been interesting to say the least.

Actually, the last seven have been.

I watch Jess tell Stella, her oldest, to be careful with Arabella. I smile as Stella holds Arabella’s hand, and they walk towards the swing set.

Turns out that Jess was pregnant during our wedding, and both her and Dan kept it a secret until Dan got too drunk one day and spilled. Jess would have killed him, but we were ecstatic for them. Therefore, Dan has been a father for seven years. They were the first in our circle to have children. Now, they have two girls. I’m pretty sure it’s karma’s way of getting even with him.

I catch Ethan’s eye as I stare off at our daughter’s backside, and he winks. I give him a crooked smile and sip my wine.

It has been two years since Arabella entered our lives. Two years since we became parents and figured out how to balance life and a child. We’re still trying to figure it out. But no matter how insane the process of adoption could be, it was worth it to have my baby girl in my arms.

As difficult as our road to get here was, I don’t resent it. It’s perfect in how it was supposed to be. It took me some time to understand that, but I finally did. Ethan and I have grown together, and our love has matured.

“Ava.” I look up and smile at Stacy. “Where did you buy Arabella’s bow?”

“A small boutique not far from the gallery. It’s adorable, right?”

“Yes! I want one!”

“Umm… Relax. We don’t know yet if it’s a boy or girl,” Aiden tells Stacy. I chuckle as Stacy rubs her small bump. Aiden and Stacy got married two years after Ethan and I in a gorgeous, chic wedding in the gardens at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

“I think it’s a girl.” She raises an eyebrow, and I have never seen my brother back down from a comment so easily.

“They’re moody when they’re pregnant, right?” Ethan tells him.

“Fuck. Oh shit! Damnit.” Aiden rolls his eyes. “How the hell am I supposed to not curse around children? Or have sex,” he adds the last part quietly. Stacy smacks him in the stomach.

“Hit me all you want, I’m not sorry.” Aiden leans forward, his elbows on his thighs. “Tell me a newborn doesn’t fuck with your sex schedule.”

“Schedule?” Ethan asks with raised eyebrows.

“Yeah, like when you can have sex.”

“Aiden, sex isn’t some therapist’s office you schedule into your week,” says Ethan.

“But the crying and feeding and wake-up calls in the middle of the night.” I try not to laugh at my brother’s panic.

“Sex while they sleep. You’ll be exhausted but satisfied.”

“Ah, I knew I could count on you, Katie,” Aiden states.

Katie laughs as she rocks Caleb in her arms.

“She knows what she’s talking about,” Tristan says next to her, smiling smugly.

“This kid wasn’t going to mess up with my sex life.”

“Ah, so glad you love that child,” I joke.

“I do. Seriously. This kid is my world, but a girl has needs.” We all laugh as she shrugs.

“Yes, she does,” Tristan says next to her, kissing her temple.

I was so excited when those two finally admitted they wanted more out of their relationship. Katie had Caleb a few months ago (unplanned). And no one hates a surprise pregnancy more than she does.

After a few years of dating, Katie got pregnant with Caleb. I’m pretty sure he will be her only child. Mostly because she said she’d get her tubes tied after that delivery. Twenty hours of labor will do that to a girl. He really is the most adorable baby, and the only boy in our circle of friends. At least until we know what Stacy is having.

“Just keep that boy away from my babies,” Dan tells Katie. She laughs loudly.

“Aw, are you scared he’ll try to make a move on them? Karma.” She raises an eyebrow.

“My girls. Not for your kid to take advantage of.”

“Dan, he’s like five months old,” Katie widens her eyes.

“Yeah, but he’ll grow up.”

I try not to laugh at Dan’s overprotection. Ever since he had a girl, he has been a mess. From not knowing how to comb their hair to mismatching tops with bottoms. It has been so much fun to watch.

“You need to stop freaking out,” Ethan tells him.

“Look at them.” Dan points to his girls. “They’re so small and innocent.”

“They all are,” I nod, smiling. “They have each other though. They’ll be okay.”

You don’t realize how precious—and fragile— a child is until it is your own. You want to protect them from the bad in the world, but you know you can’t, so you give them tools that will help them. When I see our children, I see a mirror of all of us. Innocent and naïve, yet I know life can throw curveballs. If we teach them anything, it will be how to swing without striking out.

I sigh in contentment as I lean back in my chair. I love when we all get together like this and hang out. Our friendships  strengthen through the years.

After a few more hours, everyone leaves our home with grumpy kids and slightly buzzed husbands. Ethan walks down into the kitchen after putting Arabella down for bed as I finish cleaning up the patio and bringing the glassware inside.

“Do you need help?” He hugs me from behind and kisses the back of my neck.

I close my eyes, and my skin prickles with goosebumps.

“I’ll finish up tomorrow.” I dry my hands with the dishtowel.

“Did you have fun tonight?”

I turn in Ethan’s arms and smile up at him. “Yes. I love that we continue to get together and that our kids are growing up with our example of friendship.”

“Me too.” Ethan lowers his head and kisses below my ear. Then, his lips touch mine. “I’m glad they’re gone though.”

I lean back and smile up at him. “Oh, yeah?”

“Yup. I’ve been wanting to do this all night.” He pulls me tighter, his arm around my waist as the other hand cups my face, and he kisses me deeply.

I welcome the kiss, sighing into it.

“So no seven year itch?” I ask, teasing him, when we pull away from each other.

“Never. Infinity, remember?” He gently runs a finger over my infinity necklace.

My arms tighten around his neck, and I tug at the loose ends of his hair. “I remember. So… You’re going to show me how much you still love me?”

Wordlessly, he picks me up over his shoulder and rushes up the stairs. I laugh loudly.

“All night long, baby,” he says. “I’ll never get enough.” He stares into my eyes after lowering me back down his body.

“I love you,” I whisper, cupping his face.

“Love you, too.”


Read Part one for FREE on Amazon and iTunes

Read the Complete Series here

 

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Happy Summer!

I love summer break almost as much as I love Thanksgiving (pumpkin pie wins, though). I hope you are all enjoying some warmer weather. It is hot here in South Florida—perfect for beach days.

As many of you know, this summer I am also releasing my sixth book. (When did that happen?!) I still get giddy when I finish a new book. It really never gets old, and part of that is thanks to all of you lovely readers. I get to share my stories with all of you. Red Lights, Black Hearts is different than my other books. It’s honest and raw. I’ve mentioned that before. I hope it makes you reflect and look at situations differently like it did for me. Mostly, I hope you connect with Sam and her story. She is a character that grows so much from beginning to end.

Red Lights, Black Hearts is set to release on July 18th. Keep an eye out for the cover reveal on June 27th. Kari from Cover to Cover Designs hit it out of the park with this one. I am also sharing an exclusive excerpt on my newsletter once my edits are back in. Don’t miss it! You can sign-up here: http://eepurl.com/bm9D0b.

Add Red Lights, Black Hearts to your TBR and check in for the cover reveal here or on any of my social media pages. I hope your summer is off to a great start, and you’re getting some great reading time in!

Join my closed reader group, Fabiola’s Fab Reads, to stay in touch and get the 411 on my books. We don’t bite.

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What I have been up to

I’ve been a bit MIA around here. You may be asking what I have been up to, so here I am to share with you all.

I have been busy writing Sweet on Wilde, my upcoming book releasing on June 7th. It is a sweet, southern romance. I have been writing, editing, making teasers, all the fun stuff.

Sweet on Wilde

While Sweet on Wilde has been in editing, I have caught up on some reading. Here are my recs for this week:

Thoughtful by SC Stephens

Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

Frenched by Melanie Harlow

Yanked by Melanie Harlow

The Girl of Tokens and Tears by Susan Ward

The Girl of Diamonds and Rust by Susan Ward

There is nothing I love more than getting lost in a good book. Okay, maybe writing is up there with reading. I cannot wait to share Sweet on Wilde with you all, but these books have been great to get lost in the world of literature. A few book boyfriends have been added to my list and a few favorites have made a comeback.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the Sweet on Wilde release and check out these amazing reads for the month of May!