Time flies when you’re having fun or when you’re attempting to figure out an algorithm. Or in my case, both. On August 20, this blog turned one year old. The plan for August 20 was to introduce this shelfie feature to highlight my novel series, which admittedly languishes as I post fashion content. If you’re newer to the blog, you might be saying, ‘wow, what novel series?!’

Well, good question. I started this website primarily because I had decided to publish the Pedigree books. My toiles_to_the_wall Instagram account also got a makeover at that time. It had been my personal private account, which became a halfhearted home decor account, which finally became its current blogger/style/interiors self.

It was all going well from about August – December 2021, when I had to take a break for what I have to admit were some mental health struggles during the winter. Depression and anxiety have always been challenges for me in terms of staying connected consistently. I still posted a bit and kept at my email newsletter, but wasn’t able to devote any real time or energy to blogging. Plus, my first website crashed in early February and couldn’t be revived. I like this one much more, but talk about a stumbling block.

All this to say, I think it’s finally time to reintroduce the Pedigree books as regular content on here. As I prepare to write the final book, I’ve been re-reading the series from start to finish (my child made fun of me for reading a book with my own picture on the cover).

Of all the books, The Date has given me the most anxiety since its publication. It’s the first impression that has to make readers come back, after all. Ever since publishing it, I’ve done nothing but second guess and nitpick it in my own mind, but upon a re-read, I think I’ve been unfair to it. My bias is pretty strong since I am indeed on the cover, but it stands the test of time. I’m in general very unkind to my own work, so this is probably more valuable than a blurb from Jonathan Franzen or someone. Ten years ago, I made a series of vlogs trashing my own work.

So, what is the book about? Hollis, the main character, lives a rosy and perfect life with her husband Jeffrey (a managing partner in a small investment banking firm) and their three teen/tween kids. She and Jeffrey met during Senior Week (or Beach Week) in Ocean City, MD and their love has never wavered.

Twenty-two years after Senior Week, there’s an incompetent figure in the White House who keeps replacing his top officials. The Date never names names, but the figure doesn’t spell well on Twitter. Go, uh, figure. Maybe he’s not on Twitter anymore, who knows? At any rate, a high school acquaintance of Jeffrey’s is tapped to replace the Secretary of the Treasury until harassment allegations pour forth from all quarters. His name is Brent. It turns out one of Brent’s victims (of his most egregious misconduct no less) is Hollis’s high school friend, Honour. Honour reports Brent to Senator Marilyn Miles D-CT, who represents Honour and is a close friend/family member/fellow alumnae board member to many characters. We’ll see Senator Miles again throughout the series.

All hell breaks loose. I’m not going to spoil the book for you. It’s clearly drawn pretty heavily from a political event that made headlines several years ago. Because of some things in my past, I had a very visceral reaction to those headlines, and it was cathartic to explore that in fiction. My first and only ‘ripped from the headlines’ writing experience.

I wrote already about this book’s branding and title and why I’ve nitpicked the impression they make. The book is primarily about the importance of consent and standing up for one’s values and what bullying looks like in adulthood. I hope you check it out! If you’ve already read it, please leave a comment and let me know.