I'm thrilled to have my wonderful and brilliant friend, Carrie Butler over today for a very poignant guest post. I hope you'll read on because it's a good one . . .and stay tuned to hear more about the Strength Giveaway.
And if you haven't read the book yet, you really, really, really, really, really should cause it is beyond awesome!
And now to Carrie:
From My Lowest Point (to My Highest)
Thank you for having me over, Lisa. I'm going to share something personal today, because, well... March 19th is always difficult for me. The story is a little long, but maybe it will help someone who's found themselves in a similar position. :)
I completed my college courses a quarter early. There were still a few months left until the official graduation ceremony—which I would later skip to participate in Relay for Life—so I decided to spend that time getting a jump on job applications. My last day was March 19th.
It was a cold, windy Thursday morning, and I was scheduled to work my last shift at the campus bookstore. Naturally, I had mixed feelings about this. I loved my co-workers and the fun environment we'd created, but I couldn't wait for my "real" life to begin. So, I locked up my car and hurried through the parking lot.
That's when my phone rang.
My mom's voice was strained, and I froze dead in my tracks on the sidewalk—something was wrong. She said my uncle had a sudden heart attack, but that was all she knew. She would call me back as soon as she heard something. We hung up, and I stood there, letting people edge around me.
Our family was close, very close. In fact, I had just talked to my uncle a week or so before that, confiding that I was worried about finding work. "You'll find something," he assured me, in that ever-patient tone of his. "You will."
And I believed him.
So, with our last conversation echoing in my ears, I made my way into the bookstore. Everyone was all smiles for my last day, but I vaguely remember stumbling past them to talk to my supervisor. I asked if I could leave my phone on, and then I wandered into the back room in a fog...
Only to find myself the guest of honor at a surprise going away party.
My coworkers had outdone themselves. Cake, balloons, cards, etc. The whole nine yards. I tried to smile, I tried to thank them, but my mind was miles away. Thankfully, we had to do this "party" in shifts. Someone had to be out on the floor, after all, so I took my turn at the register.
I'm not sure how much time passed before my mom called again. I barely remember getting someone to cover the front so I could run outside. My mom was crying, I was crying, and I didn't even know what happened—though, there was no mistaking the feeling of dread that had settled into the pit of my stomach.
My uncle had died.
I went back to the bookstore a mess, stammering that I had to leave. While my coworkers packed up the cake, I mumbled apologies and struggled to find my keys. Finally, a friend passed them off with an apologetic look in her eyes, and I made my way to the car.
That was when it hit me. Tradition. The look she gave me. We always trashed the person's car who was graduating.
My sad little Plymouth—which most of you know had already been on fire, home to unwanted snakes, and knocked down a hill—was covered in toilet paper. And shrink wrap. Balloons. Glass paint all over the windows. I opened the door and colorful, star-shaped confetti flew everywhere.
I left my things on the driver's seat and returned to the bookstore. My friends were full of apologies, but I didn't blame them. They couldn't have known what was going to happen. So, I grabbed my favorite box-cutter, a wad of paper towels, and some Windex, and then made my way back to the parking lot.
Of course, that was when everything hit me—my uncle's death, graduation, my sudden unemployment. The next thing I knew, there were tears streaming down my face, and I was laughing like a maniac. A few people approached me, but kept their distance. I didn't blame them, either. If I came across a similar scene, I would've done the same thing.
It took a good twenty minutes before I was able to clear a spot on the windshield. I ran the supplies back inside, said quick goodbyes, and then made the long drive home. Broken.
The next week was a blur. Family camped out in my aunt's living room and passed around stories. Neighbors stopped by with food. Calling hours. Pain. Funeral services. Emptiness.
And it didn't get better. Weeks turned into months, and I threw myself into the job hunt, desperately seeking a distraction. Unfortunately, you all know this part of the story. Depression and unsettling thoughts followed. The point is, I'm here now, years later, and my uncle was right.
I did find something—this.
Writing became my passion, and now I'm doing everything in my power to make it my career. Things are in motion. My book is out, people are reading it, and I'm already hard at work on the next one. I like to think my uncle is proud of me.
Because I'm finally starting to feel proud of myself.
Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.
About the amazing book, Strength:
When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.