• “Breadcrumbs in my Woods”

    Passion has finally been unleashed and is out there in the universe. I figured now would be a good time to say a little somethin-somethin’ about this book and the series.

    Where these stories are headed is going to be some mind-bending, phenomenal territory. Hard-core warrior action will be had by all, I have no doubt. Not everyone will survive what I’ve got up my writer sleeves, so I want to arm them all with the best chance they can get.

    Everyone’s got a place. A destiny. A beginning or an end. It’s in the tough times that we either crush to dust and blow away, or morph into beautiful, sharp-edged diamonds. It’s raw, no matter what, and that’s how I see our man of the hour, Ruark.

    That man is raw with a capital R.A.W.

    PASSION was in the making from day one of this series and I always knew it would be the third book. Ruark is complicated, stubborn, and always afraid of what he might do to those around him.

    Can you blame him?

    But this story was mission critical in order to move forward with the series – and it needed to be crafted carefully.

    To make it more challenging, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Deadly really hated having his story written at first. He wouldn’t talk to me. He put wards on his door and wouldn’t let me in. He detested that I was insistent on writing about his life. Don’t get me wrong, I understood his reservations about this whole thing – his past isn’t pretty and recovery was going to be a bitch for him. But it had to be done. I knew it… and so did Ruark.

    I didn’t push, though; or at least I didn’t push him the way I do some of the others. I had to be careful with this guy, so I did what I was told to do: I listened and kept my eyes open and mouth clamped shut. I waited patiently, like a good little writer, and made sure to give the man a lot of space and all the time he needed. Ruark appreciated it, although it took him a while to say so.

    Since the big guy didn’t like company, venturing out of his room, or basically anything social, the story setting is mainly in Adam’s house and focuses on those living there. Don’t underestimate what can happen inside four walls, though. If you haven’t learned that lesson already in my other books, consider yourself warned now. I am nothing if not a trouble maker.

    Thankfully, I was locked in and braced for this ride.

    I push some of these characters whenever I can. Push them to the brink of madness just to see what they’re capable of. It’s my job. It’s my reason for holding the pen and paper. And when I get someone to their absolute breaking point, I throw chaos around like f*cking confetti and watch what they do in response.

    As I sat there, in my tiny writing corner of Adam’s big house, with everyone too busy to guide me, all I could do was watch it all unfold.

    Oh, what a beautiful thing it was, too.

    I cried, I screamed, I laughed… I stopped breathing entirely.

    Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, someone grabbed me by the shoulder and told me to take a seat and not move. I still don’t know for sure who it was… but I have my suspicions and I’ll not be saying the name out loud just yet. Some sh*t should be forbidden.

    So I sat my a$$ back down and I continued to watch Ruark. I controlled my urges to run up to him. I swallowed down my screams of frustration with some of the others. It was the hardest damn thing I’ve done in a while. But I remained silent and did exactly what I was meant to do: Write it all down.

    If you haven’t read the previous books (Shatter and Shine) may I suggest you go download and enjoy. Ask your library if they have it or can get it – you certainly don’t have to spend money on my works if someone else has it to lend.

    But keep this in mind while you read: Everything has a point… a purpose… a place. Take nothing for granted – not in real life and definitely not in my books. It’s all meant to happen, just as it happens… the pain, the joy, the glory, the loss. All of it.

    My world is deep, its history burned and dusted long ago; and as every character chooses to rise or fall, the realms will do likewise. No pressure, right?

    So get a cup of tea, snuggle up, and find a cozy spot for a few hours. It’s time to get lost in my world, folks. Don’t worry, I’ve left you the breadcrumbs… since the beginning of Shatter and well after Passion is over; there are clues, answers, hints and nudges. Are you ready for what I’ve got hidden in here? Are you prepared for what’s going to happen next?

    In the words of the Death Bringer, Gremtock, “Enjoy the hunt.”

  • Passion Playlist

    Ruark in his room – It Will Come Back, Hozier
    Ashlyn – No Rain, Blind Melon
    Rowan in the woods – Arsonist’s Lullaby, Hozier
    I am MacCullum, I will not fall  – Time of Dying, Three Days Grace
    Cinnamon and Sugar – To Be Alone, Hozier
    An Invitation – Shakin’, Willy Moon
    Tequila Talkin’ – I Feel a Sin Coming On, Pistol Annies
    Queen Aralia – Wicked Ones, Dorothy
    The Devil’s Pulpit – Scotland, The Lumineers
    “Give me your mouth” – Get Back Temptation, Ollabelle
    The Turkey – Country Song, Seether
    Pie a la rum – Bottom of the River, Delta Rae
    Ignite Studios – I’m So Sorry, Imagine Dragons
    I’m not heartless– Broken, Seether with Amy Lee
    Things turn “Faetal” – Can’t Play Dead, The Heavy
    Dancing with Temptation – Screws Come Loose, Brett Eldredge
    Some things are worth fighting for – Hey Brother, Avicii

  • “Mommy, I want to be impaled. Can you help me, please?”

    You’d have to know my daughter to really appreciate the wild child she is. That girl doesn’t dance to the beat of her own drum. Oh no, she demands a full on parade, spotlights, surround sound and a stage the size of Yankee Stadium.

    When she was three, she became intrigued with makeup and special effects. By four, she was youtubing “how to make a cat eye” and “zombie skin.” Now, at the age of seven, her ever-expanding makeup, tubs of fake blood, spirit gum, and liquid latex has taken over her room.

    She’s awesome, I know.

    For as long as I can think back, my girl has always stood out in the crowd. She’s got an amazing personality – always upbeat, eager to help, thinks on the positive side no matter what, and will tell you where to “shove it” if you try to be a meany to her.

    She’s all guts with a bit of glitter… and gore.

    Makeup is her creative outlet and she’s got mad skillz. This is no twiddling with a blush brush, my friends. It is time focused, with a goal in mind.

    Some kids build Lego sets, others like to play video games, and mine… paints her face.

    The best part is seeing her pride in what she’s done. Once, she came downstairs all excited with how well her “scaled mermaid face” turned out (for which she used fish netting as her eye shadow template to get the scales sized just right across the bridge of her nose and on her temples). Her ingenuity had us flabbergasted.

    She’s also impaled a pencil through her nose and even went so far as to add an incredibly believable-looking black eye to add an extra “wow” factor. It was all fake, of course, but holy hell, you wouldn’t know it at first glance.

    Another time she surprised us by turning into a creepy doll with her face stitched up and her eyes highlighted with white makeup and powder to look “more creepy doll-like” with fake eyelashes. She dressed in black and white striped pants, a plaid skirt on top, a frilly white shirt, put ribbons in her pig-tails, grabbed her purse and said, “Let’s go shopping!”

    Annddddd that’s her. She’s loud, proud, and oozes confidence with everything she does. Her outfit choices reflect the same flare as the liner on her eyes do, too. In one week, dressing for school may look like this:

    Monday: A hoodie and fleece pants with gray suede boots (so what if it’s supposed to reach 83 degrees today, these pants are comfy).
    Tuesday: Prom dress.  Yeah, and someone best send a limo to take her to school in so she can arrive in style. They are studying worms in science class and this silk and sequence dress is the best for digging in dirt and holding wiggly worms.
    Wednesday: Skinny jeans and a Harley Davidson tank top… with snow boots. And temporary tattoos.
    Thursday: Did someone say VAMPIRE???  (“Mommy, I need the blood to drip down more realistically. Can you help me redo this side of my mouth? I can’t wait to show my teacher.”)
    Friday: She’s in her brother’s clothes and looks like a mini Justin Bieber.
    Saturday: She’s a mermaid.  This ensemble is complete with a swimmable, iridescent mermaid tail that she can’t walk in (because, uh hello, her feet are now trapped in scaly fins) so she scoots, on her butt, all around the house – flipping her big tail, of course.
    Sunday: Pajama Day.  Not her pjs, though. Yours.

    Her fashion statements have made her quite popular in our small town. No one would dare ask her something foolish like “Why are you wearing that?” because her answer would be “Because I like it!” and it would be followed up with a stink-eye and your name on her shit-list for second guessing her outfit choices. She likes herself, however she is – and if you don’t, you can turn around and walk the other way. She doesn’t need your negativity to dim down her sparkle.

    She’s mastered the art of being herself. And when trying out a new makeup idea, she doesn’t give up until it’s just PERFECT according to her specifications – not anyone else’s.

    She’s no type A. She’s type A-Mazing.

    At seven years old, my daughter has claimed her self worth. She owns that shit, people. She refuses to take crap from anyone – kid, adult, or even herself. She is sparkly, sassy, and artistic to the bone.

    If you ask me, we need more people like her in this world – People who aren’t afraid to shine their lights in a world that is way too dark lately. I once saw a quote that said, “Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful and magical person that you are.” I thought it was fantastic.

    So I leave you with this last bit of conversation for the day…

    I once asked my little sweetie, “If you could wake up and wear anything in the world, what would it be?”

    Her answer? “A smile.”

  • Swimming Towards Success

    Being an Indie Author is a lot like being stranded in the Pacific Ocean most days. You’re just out there… in the big blue… bobbing up and down. The tide works with or against you, depending on the time of day. Sharks are circling you, going unseen down below. The sun lights your way– or blinds you most of the time. And you’ve got just yourself out there. There’s no team of professionals to help keep you afloat with a handy blowup raft, or at least throw you a damn life preserver, or piece of wood, when you need one.

    It’s the adrenaline that keeps you swimming. The drive to “make it” that keeps you going. The madness within that’s pushing you to keeping kicking, keep swimming, don’t give up!

    William Faulkner once said, “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”

    When I began writing, it was for fun. I said goodbye to the shore, dived in, and started paddling. Writing was something that I wanted… no NEEDED to do, so I just did it. It was scary, exciting, and incredibly addictive.

    It came with a cost, though. As all addictions do.

    I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. I wrote the book and when it was complete, I told a few of my closest friends what I did. I was proud of myself. And I kinda scared myself, too. What was hidden away in me came bursting out in glorious chaos. I couldn’t stop it… papers with odd notes, quotes, and names were everywhere. Creativity pumped like white fire in my veins. I literally shook in my seat.
    Besides getting completely lost down the rabbit hole, I had to find a new balance in my life – one should not sit in front of a computer for sixteen hours a day, every day.

    I know, bummer, right?

    I literally lost weight writing that book because I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t get up to go to the bathroom or answer the phone or make dinner or do anything but type, type, type, type. I was consumed. And blissfully so.

    Shatter was my brain baby, my holy-sh^t-look-what-I-just-did accomplishment. But it was also my first book, so yeah… *sigh* it had typos. Yup. Can you believe it? Me either.

    Is there any excuse for mistakes like that? Nope. But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t find them. I knew my words too well. Full paragraphs were memorized. But I gave it my best shot. I read that sucker backwards, forwards, and upside down – literally. Can you imagine reading a 400 page book upside down and backwards? Not. Fun. But I didn’t have money for a professional editor – still don’t, actually – and so that’s what I did. I tried my very best.

    I honestly thought I’d gotten them all and had done a great job. I published my book. I gave it away for free. I was proud of myself. I felt amazing because I’d actually gone and done it. I did what I said I’d do, no matter how crazy of an idea it was when I started.
    Oh, I had no idea that the unknown, unseen, unforgivable typos would start flashing themselves brightly to the readers who picked up my book… or that some readers would be so brutal about it.

    My first reader email was a stinging slap. First one, folks! On day two of 3-day Get-Shatter-for-Free promo, I got bitch slapped with someone’s opinion. My book hadn’t even been out in the universe for a full 24 hours yet and SMACK! The woman called me an idiot. She said the story was a joy to read, but my typos were “horrible” and people will just think I’m “stupid.” Yup, she said stupid. She also said that my mistakes were “quite at odds with the high quality of the actual work,” then said it was a “grand read.” It was a kick in the hey-nay-nays, I’ll tell you that. Well, figuratively speaking, of course.

    I apologized to the reader, cried, and moved on – vowing to try even harder.

    It was then I understood why so many authors say: DO NOT READ YOUR REVIEWS! Too bad I didn’t listen; it would have saved me some grey hair and a case of tissues. But there’s no keeping me down, ladies and gentlemen. I use everything to fuel my fire. Good and bad. And for every nasty comment, there were five very positive ones, so that, my friends, was the kerosene for me.

    I have a good thing here. My series is going to twist and turn and take you to places you can only scarcely imagine. This editing mess was a temporary setback. A shark fin popping up in front of me.

    No way would I give up this dream. I’m committed now. I knew I needed to find the hidden errors before more people got their hands on my book. So, I called upon friends and family to help me track those misspelled bastards down. Unfortunately, the select few people I had read the book couldn’t find the typos either. It was the same all the way around: “We just got sucked into the story, and, typos be damned, we blew right over them.” *headdesk*

    I had nightmares. True, screaming in terror, nightmares that I would be stoned for my errors. I pulled that book up with fury rolling in my veins and once again, I was on the hunt …

    Freaking typos.

    Could I find them? Nope. Those sneaky stinkers slipped through the cracks again. *headdesk, headdesk, headdesk* (I’m gonna need an icepack for my head soon.)

    That’s when I called on the big dogs: two particular women who would tear my book to shreds if they had to. One, who I like to call “The Divine Red Pen,” (no explanation needed there) and the other was the “Tortoise Reader” dubbed so because she reads every. Single. Word. Super. Slow.

    I asked them to help. They did. I asked them to be ruthless. They were. Leave no comma unplaced, leave no word misspelled. It was a lot to ask, they’re busy peoples. They had, in essence, thrown me a slab of good ol’ wood to float on, so that I could have a fighting chance at this Indie thing.

    I will be forever grateful for it, too.

    With their help, I’ve been able to fix the majority of the issues that were in Shatter. I pray I’ve been redeemed. Every day I keep my fingers crossed, hoping that someone who reads my books will smile at the funny things, scream at the angry parts, and fall in love with the mushy moments – and not bash me too much because I might have forgotten a comma or something.

    Here’s hoping, right?

    After I wrote the second book, Shine, I felt unstoppable. I think it’s a helluva story, personally; but then again, I’m biased. Adam was always the first Fae in my head. He’s been there a long, damn time, waiting patiently for me to get with the program. His story was a blast to write. I love all my characters and some of them really shined in this second book (yeah, yeah, pun intended).

    “We all have a purpose, my dear, and yours is to tell our stories,” he’d say to me.

    With that, the voices in my head multiplied and were practically hounding me to write, write, write. The rabbit hole expanded into a multi-layered labyrinth. And, yeah, I know my way around. I’ll give you a tour if you’d like.

    The point of this silly blog is: I didn’t stop after I got pushed down; I picked myself up and kept moving forward. It was a start to finding my own worth.

    A couple months after I released Shine, another reader wrote to me saying, “Holy crap, you blew the doors off of this one. I couldn’t put it down and am dying to see where this goes. Job well done.”  Another reader wrote me saying that she read the books, read my blogs, and was “screaming my name from the roof tops” – telling her friends to read, read, read the Sins of the Sidhe series.

    I smiled. I cried. I vowed to push myself to the next level – so yup, I wrote the third book. Patience, my friends, it’s in ruthless edit mode now. And you know what they say: gorgeous, slightly dangerous, delicious, amazingly blissful things come to those who wait.

    That being said, this is my oh-so-long-winded way of saying thanks. Thanks to those who helped me swim in this big, scary ocean. Thanks to those who saw past my errors. Thanks for understanding I’m only human. Thanks for giving me a chance. I’m in this for the long haul, folks. There’s no stopping me now. I have every intention of setting the world on fire.

    This is also my way of saying: be what and who you want to be.

    I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to bring the world a story that would be so full of emotions you’d bust apart in all the ways I could possibly shatter you. And when you’ve picked yourself up and put your Humpty Dumpty back together again, I’ll make you fly apart with the next book in a whole new way.

    As I will it, so mote it be.

    So I ask you, readers and lovers of all things romantic, risky, fun and fantastic: What do you want to BE? What do you want to DO?
    We’re all busy. I get it. It sucks being an adult. But carve out a piece of time, once a day, once a week, once a year… whatever. Dive in folks. DO it. BE it. MAKE. IT. HAPPEN.

    And come what may, don’t shy away from what’s inside you – even if you think you’ll suck at it. Believe me, you won’t. And don’t worry about the possibility of someone making fun of you or saying something mean. They might, but that negativity is on them, not you.
    That’s just life. It’s cool and cruel. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can make yourself happy. So… Go do. Go be. Go get. Go make. Just… GO.

    I. Wanted. To. Be. A. Writer. There is no end to my story.

    What goal are you gonna swim towards?

  • The Ranting of a Mad Writer – someone put the kettle on for this

    Balanced, like a canary on a wire, I am perched on my chair. My knees ache from being bent so long, holding my weight. Sweat is making my skin feel sticky, my hands are slightly shaking, I forget the basic function of breathing, my eyes burn, my stomach is in knots, and my brain is about to explode as I play the scenes in my head. Conjuring them. Living them. Typing them.

    On my best day, this is me writing.

    On my worst day, this is me writing.

    When this book stuff got started, I had just six folks in my head and a few fledglings. Now, I’m at 47 solid characters and counting.

    They are all screaming for release. I want to give it to them. I really do. But how the hell do I do them justice? Their pasts? Their presents? Their futures? I cringe… some may not even have a future.

    But that’s not the worst of it. Oh hell no. That’s the fun part.

    There are the “others” that come to me too. Every day, like clockwork, the demons of pessimism and ridicule rear their ugly heads and spout nasty words. Those pesky f^ckers sit on my shoulders, whispering my worst nightmares as if they were truths: I’m not good enough at this, writing is a waste of time, they’ll laugh at you, you’re insane, you’re a joke.

    Insecurity and Doubt, those are their names. Sometimes Failure joins in the party too. It becomes a ménage-a-trio of dark thoughts looming over me. Damn, they love a good party.

    Who can blame them?

    I pluck those downers away like beetles on my shirt and focus on my writing, but they flutter around my head in circles. Waiting, watching, taunting. I should probably spray their buzzing asses with Raid, but I don’t have any within reach.

    Bastards.

    With gusto, I go back to typing. The friendly folks in my world swing their swords and scream battle cries of encouragement my way. Even the nicer demons smile at my attempt to move ahead – those bad boys are kept on a leash though. No worries. No worries.

    Glancing at the clock, I note the hour and sigh. I have to join reality soon… just not yet.

    More drama ensues – lovers are made, enemies connive, wars rage. I blink and another person enters my world. Oh hell yeah, I already know their destiny. I hold the key to create and to destroy. Let the almighty power trip continue. Huzzah!

    I create insane problems and then smack my head when I don’t know how to get out of them properly… and preferably with mind-blowing cliffhangers. Seriously, this is when I actually feel like puking. Panic sets in and I contemplate not making the problem be a problem.

    Screw it. The problem stays. I’ll solve it somehow.

    Laundry. I break from my world and put a load of whites in the machine and I make a cup of tea while I’m up too. But, that’s all the reality I need for now.

    Back down the rabbit hole I go…

    Now it’s time to read over what I’ve typed so far. My eyes and brain can’t keep pace – one is always faster than the other. They take turns being in the lead.

    Wait! Is the word shudder or shutter? Too caught up in the emotions on the page, I end up quivering.

    Holy crap, spell check is a bitch. The English language is maddening. I curse it. No, not the hex, the cuss – hey I’m crafty, but not that talented.

    Or am I? <insert evil laugh>

    Alas, I digress.

    Great, now it’s the other pain in the ass. Grammar check and I are about to have words. No pun intended. Seriously, grammar check is an asshole. Well, I’d like to think that, but really it’s just doing its best… same as me.

    Then I actually sit back and look at all the mistakes the damn computer caught. Oh good grief, Charlie Brown.

    That’s when the moment of opportunity is noticed: The demons, Doubt and Insecurity, circle over my head again, cheering on the grammar check, causing me to second guess myself. I can’t let them win. I can’t. Spelling mistakes are one thing, but I can win an argument about grammar… well, sometimes I can.

    “Instincts, lass. Go with your gut,” the Druid’s voice rumbles in my ears.

    I stick to my guns. How I wrote it, is how it needs to be said. Period. Y’all can appreciate that, right? It ain’t fittin’ to have my words changed around when they need to be said a certain way.

    Next, the premonitions come. The Fates lay down small glimpses of future stories. I scream with excitement, bat away the demons with my hands, and continue writing – balanced on my perch, nose inches from the screen, fingers pounding away on the keyboard.

    Cheers to the power of creative pursuits! Woop! Woop!

    The sun rises and I hiss like a vampire at the rays shining in my eyes. No, not really, but I have been known to groan about it. The coffee pot turns on (damn you automatic timer), birds chirp to tell me it’s time for a break, and I now know my time is up.

    I hit the save button and I back up my document on a thumb drive. Hey, I’m not paranoid, I’m cautious.

    And now, (drum roll please) it’s time to start the adventure of another kind of glory with endless amounts of drama, love, and ridiculous scheming.

    My kids just woke up.

  • Shine – Playlist

    The Unofficial Shine Playlist:
    Go on now – get the tunes, crank it up and feel the vibes!

    Princess Claire – Taylor Swift, Blank Space

    Xander’s night out in Paris – Hugo, Bread and Butter

    Second door down – Rob Zombie, Foxy, Foxy

    The Warrior and the flower – Christina Perri, Distance

    Brinley’s wonderful, awful, deliciously bad idea – Hozier, From Eden

    The Bone Daddy- Bush, Mouth

    No Going BackMumford and Sons, White Blank Page

    Shrimp and Grits – Sons of Jezebel, Whoo Boy

    Claire and the Green Man – The Black Keys, Psychotic Girl

    The Rumor Spreads – Coldplay, Princess of China

    Chocolate Fondue – Marvin Gaye, Got to Give it Up

    Audi Ride – Kid Rock, American Badass

    The Seelie Court – Marilyn Manson, The Beautiful People

    King Nathair – Glass Animals, Black Mambo

    Heavy Chains – Godsmack, I Stand Alone

    He Came from Upstairs  – Three Days Grace, Animal I Have Become

    Oh Well – Within Temptation, Lost

    Willow and Xander – Glass Animals, Love Lockdown

    The Chosen One – Imagine Dragons, On Top of the World