Miracle Beach.

Almost two-and-a-half years ago, to the date, my friend Erin welcomed me into her home with her husband and two wonderful dogs, and made me feel like family during my first six months in Madison. It was a quick move, I needed a place to stay in a pinch, and I was fresh from a disgusting breakup. Erin didn't hesitate.

"You will stay with us," she told me over the phone.

A day later, I had my car packed and I found myself unloading my belongings -- and two naughty cats -- into their finished attic, which became my refuge during the quick and strange transition into a new city and new job. Maybe Erin will never realize how great those six months were for me -- how therapeutic and rejuvenating -- but they were. And I'll be gracious for her hospitality for, probably, ever.

One hot, summer day I sat at the kitchen counter eating breakfast, perusing the transcript of a novel Erin had been working on. I read the first few pages in awe. This is a novel. Erin is writing an actual novel. I couldn't imagine what that must be like. Putting in so much effort and time and self. But she was doing it. I also couldn't imagine what that book would be like sitting on a bookshelf at a book store. A novel by Erin Celello. It gave me goosebumps to think of it. Just like right now.

But today -- August 2, 2011 -- Erin's debut novel, Miracle Beach, is on bookshelves. It blows my mind. I will have it in my hands by the end of the day, and I'll be in as much awe as I was two years ago. I'm so proud of you, Erin. This is your year for so many reasons. You deserve everything great that's coming your way.

About Miracle Beach:

Macy Allen is an accomplished equestrienne with a tumultuous upbringing who has relied on her horses and her husband, Nash, to pull her through. But after Nash dies in a tragic accident, Macy learns devastating secrets about his life that shake her faith in their marriage and herself.

Nash's mother, Magda, blames Macy for her only son's death. When her husband, Jack, moves to Vancouver Island in a desperate attempt to feel closer to the son he's lost and never really knew, Magda's bitterness threatens to alienate the people she needs most.

As this unlikely family struggles with loneliness and loss, and confronts Nash's hidden past, they must question how well they knew him and what love really means. And still another surprise lies in store for them--an irrepressible child who will overturn all their expectations.

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