It started out innocently enough —
“Let’s meet at my parents’ house! They’re out of town, have a killer backyard and good ceilings, and my little brother will be there, which equals free labor!”
I hired an amazing photographer, Lindee Robinson, a fabulous model, Jeanette, who is as smart and kind as she is stunning, and one of my best friends, Tori, to do makeup. On Saturday, November 21, we were set up to shoot the covers for Hunting Witch Hazel and Rosemary For Remembrance, books one and three in my Lynch Brothers Series.
Then the weather forecast came in. Michigan was due for its first major snowstorm this year. Weather apps, radio, and social media were spouting off figures like 3-6″ or 8-12″ of snow. Assuming they were overestimating as usual, we went ahead with the shoot. To quote Lindee and my conversation that morning, “if we start being afraid of winter now, it’s going to be a long year!”
Famous. Last. Words.
The shoot went fabulous! The benefit of working with a photographer and model who know each other well is, well, obvious. Jeanette anticipated what she needed to do. Nothing looks “posed” or “forced.” And the snow that was lightly falling? Absolutely beautiful.
Let me back up a bit to give you some history. I was part of an indie-published anthology called Falling Hard with some of my favorite writers. My story, Hunting Witch Hazel, is getting rebranded and rereleased in February, followed by books two and three in the series in March and April.
Books one and three deal with twins, so lucky me, I only had to use one model! I contacted Lindee Robinson photography a few months ago to set up the shoot, and we instantly connected. She’s worked with some amazing authors and I’m privileged to add my name to the list. We met a week before the shoot to talk covers and design and I absolutely love what we came up with! I can’t wait to share it with you.
Okay, back to shoot day. We were up and running by 12:30pm. The storm wasn’t supposed to get bad until after 5:00pm, so we had plenty of time! Or so we thought.
Make up went on, umbrellas went up, hot cocoa was made, and we got to work.
My little brother had a blast taking behind-the-scenes photos!
We wrapped at 5:00pm and hustled out the door. Tori left before us, having borrowed a truck for the trip, and sent a warning text that the roads were getting really bad. So like normal Michiganders during the first snow storm, we took the warning with a grain of salt.
Lindee and Jeanette drove together and were headed to my side of town. They left about ten minutes before I did. I quickly shuffled out after cleaning up and headed in the same direction that Lindee and Jeanette went.
Here’s the rub…my folks are surrounded by hills. To get to the main road, you have to go down a steep hill and back up a winding hill. You can see where this is going, can’t you?
As soon as I turned to go down the hill, a car coming up the hill started flashing their lights at me. It was only then that I realized that they weren’t moving. I hit the brakes and skidded to the side of the road, swinging sideways
A cold sweat broke over me.
I looked around me and it was a car wasteland. A dozen cars were stranded in between the hills, unable to beat out the snow and ice. And I was caught on the precipice. Somehow, my small Focus became The Little Focus That Could and made it back up the hill by doing the most stressful U-Turn of my life.
The cops came by right after and blocked the road, officially closing it and trying to figure out how to get the cars situated. In the midst of the chaos, Lindee and Jeanette called. They were one of the cars stranded in between the hills. They parked the car along the side of the road, grabbed their gear, and we helped them make it the half mile back to the house.
It was 6:30pm. With my parents gone, there wasn’t a lot of food in the house. Thankfully, we had a late lunch and snacks from the shoot. We sat around and munched on a vegetable and cheese tray for hours. I’m so thankful that my little brother, Matt, is awesome and that Jeanette, Lindee, and me get along famously. I had a copy of the anthology with me, so Jeanette got to read more about her character, which was really fun.
Tori (who had gotten home safely!) had left me a birthday present, makeup and skin care, because she loves me! This meant, I had face wash, makeup remover, and face serum. My little brother found extra toothbrushes, and we had fresh sheets for the guest rooms. (I got to sleep in a little race car bed that was exactly my height!)
At 7:00am, I woke to find Jeanette and Matt shoveling the heavy, wet snow. I even broke my “I don’t shovel” vow and went out to help them.
We let the sun rise and warm the pavement then packed up my car and Matt’s truck to go dig out Lindee. A foot of snow and ice had melted with the morning sun, leaving behind easily navigated roads and what felt like exaggerated stories of the night before.
It was sad to say goodbye, but holy cow I couldn’t wait to crawl into my own bed. I know that we are much closer now that we would have been otherwise. These women (and Matt) helped bring my books to life, and I can’t thank them enough.
I have the photoshoot for book 2 scheduled on December 12…so far, there’s no snow in the forecast.
That, my friends, is how my five hour photoshoot turned into a twenty-four hour photoshoot.
Be thankful today for all the things that keep you safe and warm during snow storms.
Hunting Witch Hazel: Now available