The Heroes of Burnheart – The men from my upcoming novel “The Burnheart Redemption”

ADAM GARROW

Adam Garrow is determined, steadfast, and known to make a show of things. Raised as the son of Lord, he is a gentleman and honest worker. But after discovering the truth of his lineage, Adam embarks on a six-year journey to redefine his life’s purpose. And on the day of his return, fate allows him to cross paths with the lovely and kind Solana Rosenlund.

But when tragedy strikes, Solana is caught in the crossfire of an unseen force threatening to destroy the Garrow family legacy. With the help of his brother, Phillip, and loyal friend, Ian, they fight to keep each other alive and ultimately regain everything they lost.

All Adam has to his name is the Burnheart estate his father left him before he died. Though the house is condemned to ruins, he chooses to find redemption by rebuilding the foundation, as well as his relationships. One of which, he hopes to rebuild with Solana.

PHILLIP GARROW

Phillip Garrow is honorable, strong, and known to take action when leadership is needed. As the sole inheritor of his father’s business and estate of Fairbrooke, he steps into his shoes to continue the Garrow legacy. Along the way, he quite literally runs into the enchanting Iris Westmont; the youngest daughter of a well-known horse breeder. They soon fall completely in love with plans to marry.

But when a mysterious villain attempts to off Phillip entirely, he requires the help of his brother, Adam, and loyal friend, Ian, to bring him back from danger.

With only Burnheart to return to, Phillip is determined to keep his claim of Fairbrooke, discover who this villain is once and for all, and find his way back to the love of his life.

 

IAN O’CONNOR

Ian O’Connor is a charming Irishman, resilient, and stubborn enough to see every plan through. As Cedric Westmont’s top horse trainer, he has a respectable job, and is close friends with his eldest daughter, Abigail. Though she’s above his station, Ian is enamored by her beauty and kindness; and the two have an unspoken flirtation that must be kept hidden from everyone.

But Ian is no longer welcome when he is blindfolded and attacked by men who question his honorable intentions, and despise his Irish heritage.

Relying on the help of Adam and Phillip Garrow, he returns the favor by risking his own life on their behalf, and seeking justice where it is needed. In the end, he is resigned to let go of Abigail entirely, but fate usually has a way of bringing hearts back together.

Coming soon…The Burnheart Redemption

This story is very near and dear to my heart because it’s the first full manuscript I’ve ever written! At nineteen I did nothing but daydream as I dove into the world of pure romance. Before then I wasn’t much of a reader, but my college roommates introduced to me to so many wonderful novels, I was inspired to write my own.

During the course of six years, this story has been reshaped numerous times. I thought I was genius back then, and after the year it took to finish, I sent countless query letters to publishers. Of course I received an equal amount of rejection letters, and it was enough for me to put on the shelf for a while. At nineteen I wasn’t very experienced in the romance department. Never had a boyfriend, hadn’t been kissed yet, or even been on a real date! Everything I wrote was either guess work, or inspired by other author’s words. Like a patchwork of fabric that clashed in the weirdest way. Imagine a quilt made of orange taffeta and denim. I mean…you can see the effort, but it just didn’t work too well.

But as time went on, I grew up, lived my own romantic experiences and suddenly…I had a real voice. I had perspective. I had a philosophy. And I became inspired to write other stories that made it to Cedar Fort Publishing. My first book “Unseen Road to Love” was published last year. And after many writer’s conventions and advice from editors, I decided to dust off the novel that started it all.

I had kept the concept of this story and reworked it into something a million times better in my eyes, again, thinking myself a genius, and sent it out. Within two weeks, I received a call that it would come to life in April 2018! I was ecstatic, and going through the motion of designing this cover was an emotional process. I had a lot of say in the design, and by the time it was ready, I did my happy dance! But by the time I reached the subedit…I was in a for a new challenge.

First rule of writing…never believe you are a genius. There will always be other perspectives that will catch the things you miss. And boy did my editor catch about five mistakes on every page. Plot holes, oddly structured sentences, too much telling, contradicting information, no character development, too much intensity, and bombshells that left me in a fetal position. I cut out thirty pages of content, and added a whole new ending that left my nineteen-year-old self a little solemn. I stayed up a full twenty-four hours to make the deadline and when I submitted my revised work at 5:18 AM, I realized just what it means to be a writer. I learned a lot from this experience to understand how to create a beautiful and believable story. One would think after publishing a romance already, I know everything there is to know about writing, but it’s fun to discover new ways of sharing something I believe to be wonderful. And I hope you do as well.

I can’t wait for you to read this story, and I’d love to publish a sequel!

Cheers to you, XO

~Chelsea

My Many Faces

It’s no secret that I love to play dress up. Putting on makeup, a wig, a costume, fancy clothes, or assuming a  new identity altogether is fun for me. Of course it isn’t easy when I have a tight budget. I mean straight up dollar store makeup budget. But I get by with a few special purchases every now and then. Here’s some of my favorite looks during the past few years.

Ariel – “The Little Mermaid”

(Wig bought online, bow I made out of ribbon, clothes bought from a secondhand store – sewn together myself, and makeup bought from walmart)

Harley Quinn – “Suicide Squad”

(White foundation bought online, hair colored by crayola markers, tattoo I painted on, shirt bought from hot topic and makeup from Walmart)

Jessica Rabbit – “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

(Wig and gloves bought online, and makeup from walmart)

Me – Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)

(White foundation I already owned, dollar store eyeliner, acrylic paint, and Walmart makeup)

Me – Unicorn Awesomeness

(Walmart makeup, dollar store sparkly eye shadow, and crayola markers for my hair)

Me – Just me really liking my makeup that day

(Dollar store sparkly eye shadow, and black lipstick from Kat Von D makeup collection)

How I See You ~ Part 3

My sister, Aleigha, has a insanely active imagination and colorful personality. After seeing Courtney’s transformation i my first “How I See You” post, she willingly sat on a stool for an hour while I painted her face until we got these incredible photos above.

The way I see her now isn’t the same as I’ve seen her as a little girl. Then, she was everybody’s girly girl, a petite little princess who enjoyed the spotlight.

But like may teenagers do, she’d begun to redefine herself as she slowly developed her skill as an artist. While I paint and sketch portraits, she’s dived into the world of animation, cartoons, comics, and anime; growing int our favorite nerdy tomboy.

I could tell her desire to look and feel beautiful never went away. We both struggle with our self image in a similar way, but she would have kicked and screamed if I’d put her in a dress. Her style didn’t go with the flow of modern trends, so I decided to try something a bit out of the ordinary. The art she creates is a pure reflection of herself. BOLD, FUN, DRAMATIC, and EXPRESSIVE. A true character one would find in a classic Archie Comic. Because classic is probably the best way to describe her.

How I See You Project ~ Part 2

It only takes one photo to tell a story. The man you see here is someone I had the pleasure of meeting last September. He just returned home after being stationed in New York. After his active term in the Army was over, he started a life that was much different than the chaos he was used to, even since childhood.

While respecting his privacy, all I can say his how much I admire him for following his desires to find peace and truth. In Palmyra, New York, he learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For a year he read the Book of Mormon, taking his time to read, ponder and pray until he chose to learn more.

When he moved back to Arizona, I won’t lie, I was immediately fascinated after spotting him at church. And thankfully he was more amused then creeped out, but eventually our friendship solidified and I learned just how awesome he truly is. At first glance, one could easily assume him to be a nonmember or convert. His tattoos are the first to give that impression, but to me they’re proof of his artistic talent considering he did a few himself.

What’s cooler is his heritage. Just recently I learned that not only is he Mexican descent, but part Native American as well. Lately he’s been diving into family history, which brings us to this photo here. We took a very long road trip to St. George, Utah to hike Zion’s National Park, and walk the grounds of the oldest running LDS temple in history. We stood on decades worth of history and he asked me to take a picture of him.

Originally I had the intention of taking different posed photos with him. I wanted this project to highlight some of his best features, which includes his smile. Instead, I found the best angle and pose to take one photo that spoke volumes to me.

On the way there, someone was very quick to profile us. I didn’t blame that person for jumping to conclusions. But what they saw in my friend was only the surface. But what I’ve seen since the beginning is a man who has always turned his back on the past to face God’s light. Not that he forgets it entirely, but embraces where his past has lead him so he can learn and continue to move forward.

If he’s reading this right now, he’s for sure laughing at how much of poetic cheeseball I am. He’s not one for being in the spotlight. But how I see you, is how God sees you. And I hope this picture will remind everyone to do the same for all people. I think I speak for everyone when I also say, thank you for your service.

New Photography Project! “How I See You”

As an artist, I love trying new mediums and expanding my creativity beyond the paintbrush. Recently I decided to do a new project where I capture the closest people in my life in the way I see them. My first subject is my youngest sister, Courtney.
Courtney was born under severe circumstances that left her in the NICU for 8 days, three weeks sooner than doctors expected. She grew into a brilliant girl with an active imagination, known to be our tough as nails Tom Boy. But as her big sister, watching her blossom into a young woman, a trait I always saw was how delicate and graceful she is with timeless features.  To me, angelic and fairylike. Her response to that…a sarcastic, “Okay, Chelsea. Whatever you say…” She never really liked getting her picture taken, but with endless pleading…she agreed.

My original plan was to create a fashion forward look using products I found at the 99 cent store, which I did! I purchased her makeup and made the flower crown myself the night before. The dress was once owned by an old roommate who gave it me, and I passed onto Courtney. The whole look cost under 20 dollars.

Courtney was skeptical at first, especially when I started using the liquid liner and dusting eye shadow on her cheek bones.

But after 3o minutes of hair, makeup and finding the perfect angles, I began to edit…and as soon as I got what I was looking for, I showed her the final product. Her face lit up. “They turned out better than I expected,” she said with the biggest smile on her face. No matter what time of day, in whatever state she’s in, Courtney has always been a beautiful girl. And like many, it takes a new perspective for us to see ourselves as others see us. And it wasn’t just the hair and makeup…it was the persona she stepped into. These pictures reminded me how much she loved dressing up as Cinderella when she was little. The funny thing is, no matter how old we get, we never stop playing dress up. And this was a lovely reminder that once Cinderella, always Cinderella!

Here are the final favorites!

Pick up a paintbrush and hope for the best

On top of my writing, I’m an artist too! These are my latest projects, commissioned by friends and family members.

The process for this one took me about 6 hours. My cousin had sent me a beautiful photo of his wife and infant daughter to sketch for Mother’s Day. I started with a grid and drew basic outlines. I filled in clothing details first, since that’s the most tedious part, and then the faces after. Since it’s easier to erase mistakes when the shading is lighter, I darken the shadows for the final touches, and there you have it! This piece took a few days, but a year to create the concept. A good friend of mine had discussed me doing a large piece for his living room the day we met. Since then, we through dozens of ideas to make sure what I created really matched his personality and made a statement. If someone were to walk inside, what’s the first thing I want them to notice? And my friends, this one was NOT easy. Despite how random the colors look, it took bottles and bottles of acrylic paint, a large brush, a pallet knife, and a redo to get it just right. When my special friend hung on it his wall, sending messages of praise and gratitude, I slumped on the couch with the feeling of a job well done.

This last piece wasn’t a commission, but a photo posted by a professional photographer that truly inspired me. Quite often I’ll see photos published on Facebook or Instagram, and right I see a hundred different story lines with dozens of possible feelings. Right then I’m prompted to paint at least one of them.

Because in the end it’s not about the commission, it’s about the reaction. It’s something I do because it’s how I focus all the chaotic energy inside me. It’s how I forget about myself and the world so I  can think about someone else. It’s how I connect to the artist’s in my family who have passed on. It’s how I brings another’s person’s feelings to life.

It’s how I feel the most alive.

 

Behind the Scenes of Unseen Road to Love

It’s official! “Unseen Road to Love” is now here! And to celebrate I want to share with you the unpublished author’s note about the events in the book inspired by real people and events.

SPOILER ALERT!

#1 – Logan’s accident was inspired by my real life accident. It occurred December 7, 2012. I was walking across the street that evening (literally a block from my apartment) when two people turning right at the intersection didn’t stop at the stop sign. My left knee and face was lacerated, my nose crushed-in, and I received a severe concussion. In that moment I wasn’t unconscious. I remember laying in the road, feeling blood on my face, seeing how scared the men were, and the courage and kindness it took for them to make sure I got to the hospital safely. I was in the hospital 3 days, and took my college finals the following week. To this day I have no long term injuries. A real miracle in my life.

#2 – Logan’s height. Throughout the years I’ve had several guy friends close to 6’4. They always gave the best hugs, but holy Hannah, I’ve been knocked off balance a few times by them not knowing their own strength. Worth it 🙂

#3 – Annie is based on my real life friend! In the book she is described as “fun sized” just an inch below 5 feet. Featured in the phot above on the left. We were college roommates, and is best known for her cute style and memorable laugh. She married her high school sweetheart and is still one of my most influential friends today.

#4 – Savannah “Savvy” is real too! Though her love story with James is my own creation, he sparkly personality, nursing skills and boss cookies…all her! Featured in the above photo on the right. In fact both Annie and Savannah were both my college roommates at Dixie State University. On the About the Author page, these are the very friends who introduced me to all things happiness in books, and pumpkin cookies!

#5 – Addie and Logan’s musical talent. I’m not a gifted song writer, but I did write a custom love song titled “Heaven on Earth” for my dear friend, Alisa’s, wedding. She couldn’t find one with the right voice, lyrics, and meaning that fit the way she felt for her now husband. Secretly, I wrote one for them as a wedding present. Grant Matheson, who is a current member of the band Advent Horizon, generously recorded the melody on his guitar, and the famous and talented, Joy Frost, beautifully sang the lyrics. Music has always been a big part of my life, but this event inspired me to add more music in the story. The experience gave me lasting inspiration until the very end.

#6 – Dixie State University is my alma mater. I lived in St. George for three years, teaching preschool. Like Logan, I didn’t have a car and often road the Sun Tran everywhere I went.

#7 – “Farkle”. During the holidays, occasionally my extended family and I play the infamous dice game. One year I was reigning champion, and I never let anyone forget it. 😛

#8 – Andy Grammer. He really did perform at Dixie, and it was coolest experience! His music inspired pretty much the whole story. You can read more about it in my previous tribute post to him.

#9 – Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy: It’s a very brief snippet, but Logan mentions using one after his accident. It’s a chamber one sits in as pure oxygen is pumped into the body to aid in tissue repair. I used one twice, before and after my own accident. And the man who introduced me to hyperbaric chambers inspired a lot of Logan’s personality towards the end.

#8 – Mark and Logan’s brotherly bond. While living in Salt Lake, I befriended a set of brothers, and they were 6’4 studs who often referred themselves as “the Weasley Twins”. Grant, who was previously mentioned above, and Jon who has the sweet motorcycle skills, and will no doubt be featured in a future novel 🙂

#10 – Zucchini brownies: Alisa, who was mentioned in the fact above, is notorious for her zucchini brownies, which are healthy in a sense…before she adds the chocolate chips and frosting.

#11 – “Scum”: A game my singles ward friends often gathered to play, and dominate at. One of my favorite card games.

#12 – Addie’s profession: Like her, I taught preschool in St. George, Utah and moved back home to teach at an elementary school. The most rewarding and hectic times of my life.

#13 – Tommy: Though my dad is still on this earth, he was in the military when I was younger. His voice is exactly who I heard as I wrote Tommy’s letter. Another snippet: Just like Addie’s dad, mine would let me stay up late and watch Star Wars with him until I fell asleep.

#14 – Pizza: The first dates Logan takes on are based on a perfect day when a really great friend treated me to an amazing pizza place that changed my life. This was the beginning inspiration for Logan’s character. It made for a lasting memory I needed to share. Shout out to Rusted Sun Pizzeria in SLC, Utah! And to Adam MacKay, for being awesome in every sense of the word.

#15 – Flirt running: A boy I went on a date with did just that! I found it very cute and clever.

#16 – Addie’s song: I’ve always wanted to learn the ukulele, because I loved it when friends brought them out to jam. At my friend’s wedding reception, she had brought one out to sing to her new husband one of the happiest love songs ever. If you read the book, you know what part I’m talking about!

#17 – Peggy: Is based on the amazing Peggy Matheson! And she the real mother of the mustache brothers featured above. Having spent time in her home as I wrote this novel, and watching their whole family interact, I was inspired to no end. Not just a fantastic for who she is in general, but also a talented actress you may know from the 2014 film “The Saratov Approach”.

Words On The Rocks

As a Mormon millennial, and a young single adult, the singles ward can be an intimidating place. With the talented Rockford Lines, we give you the survival guide to the world of DATING.

 

Does everyone remember my first post, “Do The Creep”? Well it was actually direct response to this guy! He had posted a video sharing his opinion, and we banded together to talk about the creepers in the world from both male and female perspectives.

 

FUN FACTS:

  • We came up with the idea of the show on a group hiking trip.
  • During the long drive to the trail, we figured out we had a lot to talk about and both wanted to start a web series.
  • It took us an hour to figure out our background, camera placement, lighting, and to come up with what we were going to say.
  • The title is based on Rockford’s name if you haven’t guessed already.
  • The intro was my idea, and Rockford geniusly recorded the music for it.
  • I roped in Rockford’s brother to hold the Sprite bottle in intro.
  • Everything we say isn’t scripted, nor do we know what the other person is going to say next. We pretty much lay out a topic and start talking.
  • Rockford and I met a year ago and we still attend the same singles ward.
  • No, we are not dating.
  • Rockford did all the cutting and editing himself.
  • His full name is Ruskin Rockford Lines IV. But he strongly prefers Rockford.
  • Only because some have asked…yes, this is my natural hair color. I’ve never dyed it.

 

Cheers to you, XO

~ Chelsea