Hope When We Least Expect It

Beaufort NC, Beaufort, Crystal Coast, Hope, Fear, Grief, Southern Fiction, Women's Fiction

My novel, Chasing Hope, is about . . . hope, light, and healing after fighting your way through grief. It’s about loss and renewal. It’s about finding a family where and when you least expect it.

I’m hoping to return back to my Sample Sunday tradition to end 2018 & head into a new & BIG year for my little family. So in keeping with that, here are some of the first words I wrote for this novel that holds a special place in my heart.

Chasing Dreams – Book Anniversary

Chasing Hope, Elaina M. Avalos, novel, indie author, fiction, novel, Beaufort NC

One year ago today, my novel was published. It was a long time coming. I started writing this book so long ago. Like all of us, as we grow and change over the years, it changed too.

But it was always about family, adoption, and love. To celebrate the anniversary of finally chasing my dreams . . . the book will be on sale, starting June 12th!

You can read an excerpt, here & here. You can find it on Goodreads, here. You can find the Amazon reviews, here.

What dreams have you been chasing lately, friend?

Beaufort’s Beautiful Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Beaufort Waterfront Homes, Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC real estate, Front Street Beaufort NC

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d share more Beaufort, NC inspiration. I’m back today to share a handful of homes from Front Street. Beaufort’s beautiful homes can be found throughout the old town area.

But I do have to admit that I’m partial to the homes that face Taylor’s Creek and Carrot Island. Chasing Hope is set in Beaufort {as I’ve mentioned approximately 435,000 times}. Ava Cooper, the protagonist in Chasing Hopelives on Front Street in what she calls a “southern slice of heaven.”

Grayden Paul Park Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC waterfront, Front Street Beaufort NC
Grayden Paul Park on Front Street

When I first started writing this novel, I pictured several different homes along Front Street, for Ava. If you read the book you know that Ava’s family is wealthy – as is her interesting ex-husband. As the story took shape over the years, so did my vision for her home. The moving to a small town to escape/heal/grow, thing is not new in fiction. Heck, I did it in real life. 😉

What I didn’t want was for Ava’s life to take a complete departure from the life she once had. So . . . I kept her in a big, old rambling house. Not only was that what she had always known, but deep in her heart, she longed to have her stepchildren with her. Her dream to have a house full of kids and life was the real reason she purchased that particular Beaufort house.

Before I share a few more photos, I thought I’d show you a satellite view of Beaufort itself.

Beaufort Satellite View, Shackleford Banks Satellite View, Carrot Island Satellite View

This first photo gives you a view of Beaufort in the background from the Atlantic. Shackleford Banks is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore {includes the Cape Lookout lighthouse} and is home to 100 of the areas wild poniesCarrot Island, which can be seen from Front Street, is also home to wild ponies.

Taylor's Creek Beaufort NC, Taylor's Creek, Carrot Island NC,

This is a view from one of the docks that looks out at Taylor’s Creek and Carrot Island. Most of the docks on this side of Front Street are private, belonging to the homes across the street.

Beaufort Satellite View, Beaufort NC, Carrot Island NC

Beaufort Satellite View, Front Street Beaufort NC

This third view shows you not only the docks in relation to Front Street, but gives you a good sense of the size of the homes. My favorite is next to the Beaufort Town Hall. Interestingly enough, that home was built by a doctor around 1905 {Dr. Charles Duncan House}.

Here are a few more of Beaufort’s beautiful homes:

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beaufort NC Homes, Front Street Beaufort NC, Front Street Homes Beaufort NC, Beaufort NC Waterfront Homes

Beautiful, right? If you enjoy info on architecture in towns like Beaufort, this blog has some interesting info about the mix of styles you can find in town.

All of them share the gorgeous view Ava spends a lot of time looking out at, as she fights her way through her grief to healing and hope. It’s a good town to sit for a while and do just that.

Beaufort Docks, Beaufort NC, Carrot Island,Beaufort Docks, Beaufort NC, Carrot Island,

I’ll be back next Sunday to share one of my all-time favorite Beaufort experiences!

P.S. I took all of these photos during some of my many walks around Beaufort.

Books, Babies, & Change

stylefinest.co

A couple weeks ago, on June 10th, I released my first novel on Amazon {and CreateSpace}. It’s technically not the first book I’ve written, but it is the one I most needed to publish first.

Earlier this spring, some things happened in my life that put everything in perspective for me. I won’t rehash all of that but, I needed to face my own mortality. In other words, I ain’t gettin’ any younger, ya’ll.

The push to take a few leaps of faith catapulted me headlong into this new determination to adopt an infant and to publish my books. What do I want to do with my life? What have I always wanted for my life? I want to write novels and raise kids. It’s all pretty simple.

And yet, my life has been lived in such a way that I have literally had nothing left to give to the two things I most wanted. Why dude? Why do we do this to ourselves? I know I’m not the only one.

We aren’t all meant to write books or screenplays or open small businesses. But some of us? We are actually meant to do those things! We live in fear of taking the next step. Or we become distracted by others’ expectations. Sometimes we’re distracted by our own expectations.

I have loved my job with as much of my heart as I have to give. But I also know it has come at a cost. I personally have paid a heavy, heavy price. This is not unique to me. There are many others in my profession who feel the same way. But this spring was my crossroads. This reality has been driven home in more specific ways, as spring has turned into summer.

actual cover chasing hope

And now here I am. I have been overwhelmed, in the best way possible, by the feedback people have given me so far about my book. I have reviews/ratings on Amazon and GoodReads. But I also have had messages and e-mails, too. They have touched me in a way I just wasn’t expecting.

The biggest compliment any fiction writer can receive {maybe I should just speak for myself, here?} is to have readers fall in love with your characters and to feel they’re right there in midst of it all as it’s happening in the book. For those who have shared your thoughts with me, thank you. It has encouraged me to take some additional leaps of faith.

inside chasing hope
Seeing your words in print is awesome, dudes!

Sometimes people make jokes about “following dreams.” I actually do get it – it sounds kind of silly. But sometimes our dreams are set deep – way down deep in our hearts because they are our calling. They’re what we were meant to do with our lives. It may look very different for you than it does for me. Nonetheless, the dream that’s written in our soul, is where we need to start living.

I am starting a new journey down another road. What does this mean exactly? It means that nothing can get in the way of this dream and hope on my heart – to write full time and to be a mom. Nothing. I have poured my life into a job I have loved.

But now it’s time to pour my life into this dream.

“The things that excite you are not random, they are connected to your purpose. Follow them.” – Unknown

Changes are always hard. Transition isn’t easy. In fact, times of change and transition often open the door to great stress. However, when we reach the point when we know that without change and transition, our greatest dreams aren’t possible, nothing in all the world matters.

It’s time to pour my life in this dream.