Where I’ve Been & Where I’m Going

Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been absent online lately. The last few years of my life have been pretty intense, in both good and bad ways, and I found myself wanting to “live in the moment” as much as possible.

So I made a choice to deliberately pull away from social media—for a short while—so I could really focus on what matters most to me. Specifically, my spiritual life and my loved ones. And that’s exactly what I did.

And it’s been incredible.

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I’m not going to lie; stepping away from social media wasn’t easy. It was very uncomfortable and, at times, made me feel left out or irrelevant… but that’s a topic for a whole other blog post. Because overall, temporarily pulling away from social media was one of the healthiest things I’ve ever done.

It allowed me to press a kind of RESET button on my heart. I know that sounds dramatic—and it is—but that’s really the best way to explain how I feel. To better understand, here’s a very brief recap of my last few years:

  • 2014: I fell into a deep depression and tried everything I could think of to bring myself out of it, to no avail. It was really scary and debilitating.
  • 2015: Feeling hopeless and fearing I’d never be happy again, I decided to go on a spiritual journey with a powerful plant medicine, called Iboga, and swiftly came out of my depression with a newfound joy and appreciation for life.
  • 2016: I fell in love with life again, and spent almost all my time listening to and learning from loved ones (a growth experience that was long overdue). I traveled. I danced. I laughed. I cried. I prayed… It was a beautiful year. (see more below)
  • 2017: My brother Matt was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a few months later. My heart broke. I waited in terror for my depression to come back and steal away all the beautiful things I’d just reclaimed. But it never came. I dared to hope…
  • 2018: I was quiet. I was still. Then I smiled and started making new plans…

And now I’m here! Happy and grateful and still completely in love with life. And so excited to be back on social media, connecting with all of you, and sharing all the exciting things to come!

So what’s next for me? LOTS!

I’m working on 3 books right now, one is part of an epic fantasy series I’m hoping to release soon (fingers crossed), one is a non-fiction comedy about being a girl in a guy’s world, and the other is the sequel to Sophie & Carter. (Yep, it’s happening, eeep!) I’m also planning to roll out two new non-book “projects” in the next six months, but they’re kind of a secret right now so I can’t tell you—yet. (But ohmygoodness they’re going to be so much fun!) And lastly, I’m trying my hand at screenwriting. That’s right, my good friend, Amanda, and I have been working on a TV show that I am ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH and cannot wait to share with you guys so stay tuned!

So that’s where I’m at. Hopeful and happy to be here with you guys, and so excited to continue creating new things! I really want to thank you all for your constant support and encouragement these last few years. You’ve been a rock for me–even when I wasn’t online–sending me messages of love and hope and sharing your hearts and dreams with me. You guys are like medicine for the soul and I appreciate you so much.

Here’s a quick list of all the wonderful things I’ve experienced since coming out of my depression. There’s always hope, guys. Always.

  • I bought a ukulele.
  • I laid in my backyard grass for hours, looking up at the clouds.
  • I danced around a roaring fire with a group of girlfriends while singing along to our favorite song.
  • I stood barefoot on a Mayan Temple overlooking the rainforest.
  • I meditated at the bottom of the ocean with waves rolling over my head.
  • I had the honor of officiating the wedding of two of my very good friends. (I’m ordained. Crazy, right?)
  • I traveled the west coast in a pop-up camper with my family. It was amazing.
  • I cut my hair. It’s a pretty big deal.
  • I painted. A lot.
  • I built a teepee in my backyard.
  • I sang. Everyday.
  • I cried with strangers. I laughed with strangers.
  • I mourned the loss of my brother with my family members and learned how to be grateful for certain painful things.
  • I created. I listened.
  • I forgave. I healed.
  • I fell in love with myself, my children, my family. I fell in love, all the way.
  • I started saying “I love you” out loud, all the time, whenever it was true.
  • I prayed. I chanted. I knelt in temples and worshipped in gardens.
  • I climbed a desert mountain and roared at the top of my lungs when I reached the top.
  • I slept on the beach and under the moon.
  • And I dreamed. Then I woke and started dreaming all over again…

Life is beautiful, is it not?  🙂

I love you guys. I love your guts. Here’s to all the beautiful things to come!

California Book Signing & Charity Event – This Saturday!

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Hello beautiful readers!

I know I’ve been pretty quiet this year (busy writing and dreaming and all that good stuff) but I’ll be stepping out of my writing cave this weekend for a charity book signing event unlike any other…and YOU are invited!

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Join me and fellow authors
Heather Lyons, Shelly Crane, and Stacey Marie Brown for

*** A Night of Magic ***

hosted at the incredible
Whimsic Alley in Los Angeles, California.
Saturday, August 13th

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For those of you who don’t know what Whimsic Alley is here are a few pictures. It’s pretty much the Hogwarts and Hogsmead all rolled into one. whimsic-alley

Pretty spectacular, right?

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!

Check out what all is included in the price of each ticket:

  • All attendees will receive limited-edition merchandise in a special swag bag that will ONLY be available at A Night of Magic.
  • Complimentary finger foods, desserts, wine–yes, wine!–and drinks.
  • Exclusive event merchandise available for purchase from specially selected craft vendors.
  • A Q&A session with the authors.
  • Special readings by the authors. <–I’ll be reading something from one of my current manuscripts. Woot-woot!
  • A photo booth with exclusive photo souvenirs.
  • A silent auction, where all proceeds will go the event charities (listed below). The silent auction will have a plethora of signed books by well known authors, as well as fantastic gift baskets with tons of geeky/fandom merchandise!
  • Special surprises . . . you never know what could happen (or who you might meet) at this magical event.
  • Tons of games, raffles, trivia…and more!

And the best part? IT’S ALL FOR CHARITY! *cue confetti cannon*

All door proceeds and money raised through silent auctions will be donated to the Race to Erase MS and Reading is Fundamental charities. So dust off your wand, grab your invisibility cloak, and come join the fun at A Night of Magic

  • WHEN: This Saturday, August 13th, from 6:00pm-10:00pm (PDT)
  • WHERE: Whimsic Alley – 5464 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
  • COST: $75.00  **ON SALE TODAY** for only $65.00 (order HERE)

Hope to see you there! 

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~ more about the other attending authors ~

Heather Lyons:  author of the award winning The Collectors’ Society series, The Deep End of the Sea, and other epic, heartfelt love stories with fantastical twists. Coming soon—The Lost Codex the exciting conclusion to The Collectors’ Society.

Shelly Crane: New York Times & USA TODAY bestselling author of the Significance series and The Other Side of Gravity, Crane doesn’t go anywhere without her notepad for fear of an idea creeping up and not being able to write it down immediately—even in the middle of the night, where her best ideas are born.

Stacey Marie Brown: award nominated author of the Collector and Darkness series. Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt.

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My TEDx Talk: What’s Wrong With Throwing Like A Girl?

TEDx Talk by Chelsea Fine-Throw Like A Girl

This past April, I had the enormous honor of speaking at a TEDx event in Glendale, Arizona. It was one of the most exhilarating (and intimidating) experiences of my life, and today I finally get to share it with you. #LikeAGirl #GirlsCAN #TEDx

Watch this TEDx Talk on YouTube: https://youtu.be/_5uxmvk53rE

TEDx Talk by Chelsea Fine-Throw Like A Girl

TEDx Youth Event – Glendale, AZ – 2015

Chelsea vs. The Doubt Monster

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Chelsea Fine shirt

I purposely wore this shirt to the panel discussion because it sums up my journey as a writer, as a mother, as an artist, and as a woman.

Every summer, I attend UtopYA Con and this year they had a panel called “Dealing With Doubts As A Writer.” Which. Was. INCREDIBLE.

And in my case, much needed.

I’m gonna be real with you here: I’ve had some serious writer’s block going on for a good while now and that’s never happened to me before.

This season of chronic writer’s block kind of crept up on me and, until just recently, was really starting to freak me out. Like, holy-cow-I-might-need-to-rethink-my-career-as-a-storyteller-and-go-back-to-being-a-bank-teller.

But WHY? Why haven’t I been able to tell any of the stories racing around inside my head?

The simple answer? DOUBT.

I think we can ALL (writers and otherwise) relate to doubting ourselves in what we do. It’s a crippling obstacle, and it can convince us to give up. But overcoming the dreaded monster of doubt and marching forward despite any insecurities is easier said than done.

Doubt sucks. No matter who you are or what you do, doubt can creep up on you and whisper sweet evils in your ear about giving up. It can talk you into surrender or drown you in a sense of failure. It’s a plague—especially for us artistic types.

Because DOUBT IS THE DEATH OF CREATION. doubtmonster

It’s pretty much impossible to follow-through with your imagination when you’re second-guessing yourself every two minutes (trust me, I know).

I’ve spent the last 9 months doubting myself as a writer. And that’s not a fun place to be. Like, at all. I’ve been wracked with fear and insecurity. Fear that I no longer have the ability to write awesome stories, and insecurity about myself as an artist, as a wife, and as a mother.

It’s hard to find that sweet balance between chasing my dreams and succeeding at the dreams I’ve already caught (dreams like, you know, like being married to an awesome guy and having two super rad kiddos). I’m not good at balancing work and home, and I might never be, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to doubt my ability as an artist—which is exactly what I’ve been doing.

I’ve been so afraid of FAILING that I’ve gotten into this horrible holding pattern of not trying.

Has that ever happened to you? You get so terrified of not living up to your own expectations that you just sort of…give up? (Or in my case, stare at a computer screen for hours on end without typing a single word, and instead of DOING something about it, you diagnose yourself with a severe case of writer’s block and call it a day—or a month?)

blockDon’t get me wrong, writer’s block is a real thing. I just don’t want it to be a crutch anymore. Because that’s precisely what I’ve been using it as: A crutch—a reason not to work past my fears and insecurities in order to create something awesome.

So I’m trying. I’m pushing onward and writing down anything and everything that comes to mind. Most of it is crap, but some of it is decent, and everyday is better than the day before.

I’m getting my writing mojo back and I have YOU—my incredible readers, my priceless support network, my loudest cheerleaders—to thank. You believing in me gives me every reason to believe in myself. And that’s just what the doctor ordered. 😉

Faith—in ourselves, in our work—is the only way we can truly fight off the relentless monster of doubt.

And I’m fighting. I really am.

I BELIEVE I CAN AND SO I WILL. This is my battle cry.
Chasing a dream is scary but it’s SO worth it.
So I’m going to fight until I win. How about you?
#DreamCatcher   #Believe   #BeFearless   #DoEpic
 

Shh!!! Secret Book Signing in L.A.

All the fun of a typical book signing…with an added dash of mystery.
But shh. It’s a secret!

 

Details/Ticket Info: https://secretsigningtour.eventbrite.com

This September, I get to join the incredible Amy A. Bartol on her Secret Signings Tour! The two of us, along with the amazing Heather Lyons, will be hosting a one-of-a-kind book event at a SECRET location in Los Angeles, California. Forget about hotels and bookstores—we’ll be hosting this signing at a whole NEW kind of venue.

And. It. Is. Awesome.

Only ticket holders will be told where the signing will be held—but even they won’t be given the venue location until the week of the event (hence, the “secret” aspect of the event). Hee-hee. Fun, right?

Here’s what you can expect from the SECRET SIGNING:

*Author readings
*Exclusive swag
*Free books
*Q&A session
*Complimentary snacks and drinks

It’s gonna be OFF THE HOOK. But tickets are limited so don’t delay!

Grab a friend, secure some tickets, and unlock the mystery.

*whispers* You’re gonna LOVE it.

Details and Ticket Info: https://secretsigningtour.eventbrite.com

And The Nominees Are…

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UtopyaCon2015_Badge_Nominee_LARGE

Such exciting news today! I’ve had the HONOR of being nominated in several categories for the 2015 UtopYA Awards! Squeal with me, guys! Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!

Best Contemporary Book of the Year – Right Kind Of Wrong
Best Contemporary Series – my Finding Fate series
Book of the Year – Right Kind Of Wrong

I am over the MOON about this! I can’t even tell you. And to make things even more thrilling?

I’VE ALSO BEEN NOMINATED FOR AUTHOR OF THE YEAR! *happy dance*

Ohmygoodness! Ohmygoodness! This is all just too much!

Voting starts THIS THURSDAY (May 7th) and it’s open to the public—-that means YOU! 🙂 But get your voting fingers ready because there are a TON of incredible books, authors, and bloggers up for the UtopYA Awards this year!

See all the nominees and categories here: 2015 AWARD NOMINEES

Ahhhhhhh!!! I’m still not over it. SO CRAZY!

 

Story Of A Girl

This is the story of a girl… who had a hobby…and no clue where she would end up.

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On a Wednesday in 2009, I dropped my kids off at school and drove to my local Barnes & Noble. I had the day off of work and wanted to get some writing done.

I wasn’t a writer, though.

At the time, I was a reader, a painter, and a loan officer at a credit union, but I wasn’t a writer. I wrote as a hobby. Nothing more.

On that particular Wednesday, my plan was to work on a story I’d started about superheroes (kind of like X-Men, but more romantic—it was really lame).

My local B&N bookstore is beautiful. It’s two stories tall, with windows everywhere, and it’s the perfect place to write.

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When I arrived, I headed upstairs to an area I called the “study lounge.” (I called it this because there were a ton of desks, chairs, and overstuffed couches everywhere.) I searched the B&N “study lounge” for a spot to write and found that every seat was taken except one: a chair at a small brown desk in between the romance and fantasy sections.

Romance and fantasy. My two great loves.

Coincidence? I think not.

Anyway…

The desk was next to a floor-to-ceiling window, which gave me perfect light and a wonderful view, so I sat with my computer and began to type.

Twenty minutes later, I was stuck.

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I’d written my superhero characters into a corner and couldn’t find a way out. *insert heavy sigh* So I did what I always do when I’m faced with writer’s block; I opened a new Word document and started to write something ridiculous.

My plan was to type a few paragraphs about a guy and girl in high school who really like each other, but bicker all the time, and I was going to make it hilarious. But a few passages in, my sweet and silly free-write exercise took a sharp turn and headed face-first into the land of heavy heartache and healing hope.

Before I knew it, I was bawling my eyes out at that little brown desk.

I was sobbing in public and didn’t care. Because the story falling out of me was real and powerful and rawand it was completely undoing me. So I let myself unravel all over the bookstore floor.

Employees stared at me helplessly. Book readers and other B&N patrons passed by with furrowed brows and looks of concern, but I kept kept typing. My eyes glued to the computer screen. My heart bleeding all over the keyboard.

I stayed that way, tearful and bloody, until the store closed.

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By the time the B&N employees politely kicked me out, I’d finished my story. And wow. What was supposed to be just a few paragraphs, had turned into a novella.

An accidental novella.

After wiping my face dry, I saved my document (which at the time had no title), and packed up my things. Then I left that little brown desk and headed home.

Life went on and I forgot all about that day at B&N. I forgot all about my novella, too—until I randomly came across it two years later. “Oh yeah…” I said to myself. “I should probably give it a title.”

I thought about naming it I Love Your Guts since that’s a repeated phrase throughout the story, but it didn’t feel right. I couldn’t think of anything else to title it, though, so I simply named it after the two main characters: Sophie and Carter.

So I had a story. With an ending. And a title. But what now?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FINISH WRITING A STORY?

I didn’t know. I’d never thought about my stories as anything other than private places for my imagination to play, but now… What if…

What if…?

WHAT. IF.

What if I dared myself to do something fearless? What if I dared my heart to want something—HOPE for something—completely crazy?

With a deep and shaky breath, I did just that and sent Sophie & Carter to a local publisher.

It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.

It was also the most life-changing.

Because, soon after, Sophie & Carter became my first very published book.

Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine

Dreams tumbled into my lap after that. I got an incredible literary agent. I signed amazing book deals. I published seven books in three years. Basically, my life became a real-life fairy tale.

Which brings me to last Friday, January 16th, 2015.

Six years after my sob-fest writing session at Barnes & Noble.

You see, last Friday was my very first book signing at a Barnes & Noble bookstore. After years of writing and publishing, one of my books, Best Kind Of Broken, was finally on a B&N bookshelf!

 BN bookshelf - Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine

SO SURREAL! I couldn’t even stand it. That was my book! Right there on the shelf! Where people could see it and everything! I couldn’t believe it!

But there it was. And to make things even more dream-like, my publisher asked me which Barnes & Noble I’d like to do a signing at and I, of course, requested “my” B&N—the one with two floors and windows everywhere—and they made it happen.

I was thrilled! I was actually going to be signing books, as a legit author and everything, at MY  Barnes & Noble.

I knew the signing would take place on the second floor so, when I arrived, I rode the escalator upstairs and, lo and behold, there was a table set up with copies of Best Kind Of Broken.

BN book signing-Chelsea Fine

And where was that table? Right smack dab in the middle of the “study lounge.” You know, in between the romance and fantasy sections.

Right where I belong.

The table wasn’t quite big enough for me to sign at, so my friends pulled over an additional table and helped me set up shop. Then the signing began.

AND IT WAS AMAZING!

Dozens of readers, friends, and family members came to support me, which blew my mind! I couldn’t have imagined a better group of people to spend my evening with. I signed books, and chatted, and laughed, and took pictures and it was ALL. SO. INCREDIBLE!

And to top it all off, I finally got to meet my agent, Suzie Townsend, in person for the first time! And she’s every bit as fantastic as I imagined. LOVE her!

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Yes, my shirt WAS that bright.

Chelsea Fine and Suzie Townsend

Suzie Townsend. Best agent and coolest person ever.

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And of course I wore some killer high heels.

BN book signing-Chelsea Fine shoes

They had neon pink soles!

Like I said, it was AMAZING.

And then that familiar announcement came over the loud speakers, informing everyone that B&N was about to close for the night so…yeah. Get your stuff and go home. Haha.

I was sad that the night was over but I was completely high on life and dreams come true.

As I started to leave, I glanced behind me to thank the B&N employees for all their help and hard work. They were taking the book table down and, in doing so, had moved the other table—the one my friends had added to give me more room—back to where it belonged.

My heart caught in my throat.

It wasn’t just a table.

It was the little brown desk.

My little brown desk. The one against the floor-to-ceiling windows, with perfect light and a beautiful view. The desk where I had, six earlier prior, poured my soul into an accidental story I never thought anyone would read.

I stared, stunned, at the little piece of my dream come true—a dream I hadn’t even known was mine when I’d sat there all those years ago. I almost started bawling all over again.

That little brown desk had supported my tears and furious fingers back then, and had supported my joyous smiles and leaping heart that night at the signing.

Chelsea Fine book signing at BN

See the desk covered with a white tablecloth? That’s my little brown desk!

It’s crazy how life set us up for places we don’t know we’re destined for. And crazier still, that destiny sometimes brings us back to where we started.

CRAZY AND PERFECT.

So yeah.

This is the story of a girl…who had a hobby…and a little brown desk…and a daring heart…

….and a dream that started coming true long before it even existed.

The story of me.

Thank you, my sweet readers and friends, for giving this wonderful story of little brown desks and big beautiful dreams to me. As I wrote all those years ago in Sophie & Carter, long before any of this was real… I love your guts.

Best Kind Of Broken – Now In Paperback!

Arizona Book Signing!

BKOB Cover - Bold FontThe paperback edition of Best Kind Of Broken comes out in bookstores next week and I. Am. So. Excited!!!

In honor of this release, I will be signing books at an Arizona Barnes & Noble next Friday, January 16th! COME SEE ME! (Click here for details.)

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I love your guts!

 

When Life Gives You Limes…

Happy New year!

I hope 2014 treated you well! My 2014 was…well, not what I’d imagined. Last year was a bit of a roller coaster for me, with some serious ups and downs. The ups?

Finding Fate Series

  • An incredible publishing contract brought my Finding Fate series (above) to life — books will be in stores later this month!
  • Foreign rights were sold for several of my titles (see HERE)
  • And Best Kind Of Broken was nominated for some spectacular awards (including Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Lead Character, & Best Couple)

I mean…wow! Seriously amazing things happened this year. Can I get a woot-woot for unexpected blessings? WOOT-WOOT! But 2014 also gave me a few limes.

Limes1Not lemons. Limes.

Lemons are the color of sunshine and the starring role in every adorable neighborhood lemonade stand. Limes, however, are green and no amount of sugar can make them yummy. So yeah.

Last year threw some fastball LIMES at me.

  • My house caught on fire (It was a freak electrical fire and thankfully no one was hurt, but still. It was traumatic.)
  • A few of my loved ones passed away (one being my grandmother, whom I miss dearly)
  • My family suffered some difficult health issues
  • And my little sister (and best friend) moved to the rainforests of Papua New Guinea to be a missionary—which is WAY cool—but saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

So yeah. 2014 didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. It felt like one struggle after the next kept smashing into me and, because of this, I sort of disappeared online. I had to, I think, in order to process all the neon-green curve balls coming my way.

But just because I wasn’t online very often doesn’t mean I wasn’t writing. BECAUSE I WAS.

I was writing my heart out. keep-calm-and-write-your-heart-out-5

Apparently, when life gives me limes, I retreat into fiction. Haha. Writing is an escape for me—a happy place waiting at my fingertips—and I visited that happy place a LOT last year. And if all goes well, I’m hoping to share some of my heart’s hard work with you guys THIS year.

BECAUSE THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE AMAZING.

IT IS.

Sophie & Carter Cover 750pxWhy???? Well…

I’m hoping to release 2-3 new titles this year, including the long-awaited sequel to Sophie & Carter. *giddy squeal* This one’s been in the works for a loooong time. Haha.

I’m also hoping to release a new young adult fantasy series…and possibly a horror novella… Mwah-ha-ha…

(For a complete list of my upcoming books, check out my COMING SOON page.)

I’m also thrilled beBKOB Cover - Bold Fontcause book one in my Finding Fate series, Best Kind Of Broken, comes out in bookstores in ELEVEN DAYS! I still can’t believe it. Like AT ALL. Haha. (You can pre-order the paperback now on Barnes & Noble or Amazon)

And in honor of this exciting paperback release, I’ll be signing books on Friday, January 16th at Barnes & Noble! COME SEE ME!

Click HERE for event details.

WHEW!

So many exciting things are happening this year! *happy sigh* Here’s to a lime-free 2015!