• Running Wild

    I’ll be honest, writing is a scary thing and it’s not always fun. Well, unless you’re a horror junky in which case this is probably the career for you. There are many words I could use to describe this way of life – because that’s what writing is, a way of life – but the best word I can come up with is WILD.

    We writers have a beast inside us. It frantically claws its way out, gnashing its teeth, howling, growling, desperate for freedom. And once unleashed, the beast runs, full-throttle, towards the light of day and never looks back. Worst part is, once it’s out, it’s OUT! You can’t capture and tame it. It yields to no one, not even you.

    Scary stuff right there, eh?

    The beast is the writer’s inner writer. Yeah, I said that. But a writer who WANTS to write and a writer who DOES write are very different people. One hasn’t started. The other is unstoppable. One has complete control. The other is chaos with a pen. One still has their beast in a cage all locked up tight while the other just said to themselves, “Oh shit.”

    Once you put pen to paper and free your beast, you have another frightening aspect to contend with: Addiction. Writing becomes necessary to live. To breathe. To function. Hemingway once said, “I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not. But it is a hell of a disease to be born with. I like to do it. Which is even worse. That makes it from a disease into a vice. Then I want to do it better than anybody has ever done it which makes it into an obsession. An obsession is terrible. Hope you haven’t gotten any. That’s the only one I’ve got left.”

    Dude, I get that. I’m write there with you. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

    Creativity is an addictive drug. It’s a self-created hallucinogen that pushes us down a rabbit hole with zero chance of sobering or escaping. I am down there now, and have been for three years. Seeing what’s in my mind is all I want to see. That beautiful world I’ve created is the only place I want to live in. I now spend the better part of my day with people no one but me can see.

    For those like me, who have no way out of their heads, I say, “Welcome to the jungle.”

    This place is wild and scary AF. I, for one, had no idea my head was so big or that my ideas would feel so… real. And so, I, too, feed off the drug of creativity. I cannot survive without it now. I am a writer, from the marrow in my bones to the depths of my soul. I. Am. A. Writer. Don’t try to save me – I don’t want to be saved.

    I want to be consumed.

    My beast is too wild and feral now – best just let it run free as it was always meant to.

    What’s scary about this way of life are alllllll the others things that come with it. While you’re battling with demons in Underworld wastelands, in the middle of a toe-curling kiss with the love of your life, or finding your next clue in the murder case you’re trying to solve, there are the landmines of self-doubt, lack of courage, potential failures, typos, opinions, and just the general feeling of loneliness that try to trip you up every step of the way.

    But you know what, my fellow writer? There’s a solution for these nagging little bastards that can slow you down.

    Feed your beast.

    Feed it your self-doubt. It will eat it – it’ll gobble that sticky, dark substance and swallow it whole only to smack its chops and grin afterwards.

    Feed it those bad reviews. They’re good with BBQ sauce.

    Feed it those opinions you “accidentally” stumble upon while surfing Facebook and blog sites. No one will know you googled that shit yourself just to torment your inner curiosity cat. FEED IT TO YOUR BEAST.

    That animal is always hungry.

    And when you’re done feeding it all the negative, reward it. Run with it. The beast wants your company and will show you how to grow claws and tougher skin. It will teach you how to be strong and find your bravery. It will teach you how to be free. Be WILD.

    And it will push you to write with zero regrets.

    Next, feed your beast the good reviews, the lovely messages, the swag you bought, the Amazon ratings, the sales chart, and the book club invitations. That’s reward beyond measure right there. It’s got more power than all the negative shit put together. Feed your beast those goodies until it’s stuffed and can’t take another bite.

    Nothing can stop you now. Write, plot, post, blog, submit, publish. Do it all. Do all the things a writer should.

    And while you’re at it, find your PRIDE. No, not your vanity side, but your TRIBE. Your CLAN. All writers have that beast in them. And guess what? They like playmates.

    It only takes one word. One word written down. It’s as simple as that. ONE. WORD. Once you’ve written it and your beast is set loose and you’ve run wild with that creature… find it a friendly face. Find it (and you) a pride to run with. Or a murder, if your beast flies.

    Writing is different for all of us, and yet is it also the same. It’s treacherous, hurtful, insightful, inspiring, filled with both bashing and uplifting commentary. You’re not alone – no matter how you feel, how closed off you are. You. Are. Not. Alone.
    I read somewhere that “it takes years to become an overnight success.”

    Thank God. If fame and fortune hit me this early in my writing career, how on earth would my beast and I ever have time to reach the next level?

    That’s not to say I don’t want to be as successful as possible, but right now, I’m still growing, learning, and fumbling all over the damn place. I suggest you all do the same. Take your time getting there. Enjoy the run. If you stumble, getcha ass back up. If you can’t get up, then crawl. Just keep moving forward or you’re never going to get to where you’re meant to be.

    Search inside yourself, fellow writer, and unlock that beast’s cage. Run your hands down its spiny back. Feel the thickness of its skin. Note the sharpness of its teeth. The intelligence in its eyes.

    It’s hungry for your words, so feed your beast.

    That creature wasn’t made to be trapped. It was made for you. It’s been raised on all the good, bad, and ugly the world has shoved at you in your life. It’s the imagination of you inner child that’s been suppressed for far too long. It’s the animal within. The freedom to write. The instincts of a writer.

    Writing is wild, my friends. Beware. Be ready.

    BE. FREE.

  • My Own Awaken-ing

    I’d never dreamed of becoming a writer. It was never some secret desire of mine that I’d only pounced on after gathering some courage to shoot for the stars. Nope. I just got it in my head one night that I wanted to write a book and so I did.

    Not really exciting, huh? But it’s the truth. The excitement came just afterwards, though. It was during that blinding moment when my head exploded and characters came to life and I realized that I’d discovered this extra piece of me that had been stowed away in darkness for forever. Something magical had awakened in me. (Like what I did there?) Writing, it turned out, was a new calling for me. Who’da thunk it?

    Apparently everyone but me had thunk it. Hell, when I’d told my BFF I’d written a book you know what she said? “Well of course you did.”

    Most days, I don’t plan a damn thing. I just go with the flow and say “oh shit” and “oops” and “wow that was awesome!” along the way and never get too upset over whether things turned out the way I thought they would or not. It is what it is, and I’m cool with it.

    Writing this series has been no exception. I had no plan. I just wrote the damn book. Then I wrote another with the intent of writing a bunch more. All the while I just tried to keep calm and not let my brain fritz out.

    In the beginning, I had a core group of friends I’d write to on a chat group and they’d try to keep me on track as best they could. This was no small feat, I assure you. On July 13, 2015 a friend posted on the discussion wall what would become the most important question ever asked: How many books do you plan on writing?

    My answer: As many as I can.

    I didn’t want this journey to end. Not then. Not now. Not ever. But how the hell could I possibly make an endless series without it going stale? What the hell was the point of my series? Falling in love? Well, yes. Making a difference? Sure, sure. Did I want war? Retribution? Peace? Yes, yes, and yes. But what else did I want? The answer was simple… I wanted it all.

    I like variety. I like never knowing what’s coming next. I also like getting attached as well as meeting new folks.

    What a clusterfuck, huh?

    So I stared at my long list of characters and knew who could help me: It was the Original called The Dreamer.

    He’s a helluva guy, folks, and I can’t wait for you to meet him.

    The Dreamer came to me only weeks before I’d finished writing SHINE (book 2 in the series) and I wrote his name and characteristics down with all the others who had introduced themselves. I knew he’d be the key to unlocking the rest of what was in my head. I, of course, blabbed on and on about this particular Sidhe to my friends and I’m pretty sure they rolled their eyes and let me prattle on because I gave them no choice but to listen to my imagination run wild. FYI: They are seriously awesome people for putting up with me, have I said that already?

    And now the time has come. After waiting another two and a half years to write his incredible story, The Dreamer has finally been brought to life. And let me just say, I was super proud of many characters in this book. I tossed some big hurdles their way, and the price – like in all my novels – was a hefty one.

    Now I’m sitting here, looking at the finished product and it feels like everything I’ve been waiting for is finally happening and now… Well, you’ll see.

    Happy reading, Sin Fans!

     

  • For the Love of Hozier

    Hi. My name is Briana. And I’m a tune junky.

    I listen to music from the minute I wake up until someone turns the stereo off just in time for the house to go to bed. I listen to everything from country to classical, Metallica to Enya, and Marc Broussard to Frank Sinatra to The Who. They’re all great. Some rev up my demons, others lull them. I’ve always been an eclectic person when it comes to music, books, and tea selections. I treat all equally. Love all equally. That was… until… I discovered Hozier.

    I find I no longer treat music equally on my playlists… I’ve got favorites now.

    It only took one song and that dude’s music set my soul free. Instantly I was addicted. Consumed. Changed forever. That was about a year and half ago. I’ve not been the same since.

    We all strive to put our mark on this world. Create something. Move someone. Alter the universe somehow. Hozier did that for me. His songs fit so perfect for the moods I get in or when I get stuck in my head with all the lovely voices. The Mad Writer finally has some music to sing to.

    I write in silence. I get too easily distracted with the beat if I play music while I write. But I blast that stuff till the windows shake when I’m contemplating plot lines, cleaning, cooking, playing with the kids, or reading. It’s only after I finish writing a book that I go back, pull out some scenes, and pair them with music I love. There’s quite a few of this man’s songs on my “Unofficial Playlists” and I encourage you to go to my website, look them up, and give a listen. He’s truly incredible.

    The first song I ever heard him sing was “From Eden” and wouldn’t you know it, in my mind’s eye was the scene in SHINE where Xander was sitting in the bar quietly watching Willow work and Brinley was sucking back those desert sunrises. So perfect. “Arsonist’s Lullaby” made Rowan drop to her knees the first time it came on my Pandora station. And don’t even get me going on “It Will Come Back” as the best song ever to describe PASSION. I still get chills when I listen to it and think of that first chapter, knowing how that particular book ends. Hozier’s oh-so-popular song “Take Me to Church” was a given for BARGAINS. There was no way that was NOT going on the playlist. ‘Nuff said.

    I love to pair music with my books. Hey, if movies can have soundtracks, why can’t books, right?

    No, Hozier and I have never met. I hope he doesn’t mind how much I sing praises about him though. Truly, even my children sing all his songs – that’s how often I play his music in my house.

    What can I say? He inspires me. Motivates me. His voice moves me in ways I seriously don’t think any other singer has ever done. Hell, I have characters coming your way that were born the second I heard the song “Like Real People Do.” It’s weird how something someone else does can spark another’s imagination. Fascinating, really, but there you have it, folks – I hear a song from him and I’m telling you people start popping into my head like mushrooms spring out of the ground.

    Sadly, Hozier will probably never read my books. I’m not popular enough to catch his attention and I suspect he’s wayyyy to busy making a new album to have time for Faetales written by the likes of me. That’s okay. I’m going to play his songs every day and my characters and I will jive to his music while he’s on the other side of the world doing whatever tickles his musical muse.

    It seems to me, when hearing his lyrics and watching his videos, that he’s trying his best to stand up and fight for things that more people need to pay attention to. He’s trying to better the world with his songs, his lyrics, and his hauntingly beautiful voice.

    I’m going to do the same with my stories.

    So I’ll end with saying that yes, I’m addicted. I have no hope of recovery here. No desire to be restored to my former self. May we all be so lucky to find that one song, that one artist, that one musician or author or painter or actor that moves us, shakes us, invigorates us.

    Artists all over the globe are doing their best to bring you into a brighter world. I hope you find the one that speaks to your soul.

    Oh, and Hozier? Keep writing your music, man. Sit in Ireland and let her stir your soul. Awaken the world one melody at a time. If I’m ever lucky enough to see you perform live, you’ll know me as the woman in the back who is drinking a pint and singing right along with you.

     

  • Don’t Piss Off the Fairies

    It’s Halloween… the veils between realms are tissue-paper thin, my children are dressed up like zombies, the cauldron is brewing mulled wine, candy is everywhere, I’ve eaten my weight in snickers and pumpkin pie, and if that’s not enough of a reason to celebrate the day…

    BARGAINS is out!

    I cannot tell you how complete this makes me feel.

    This is book 4 in the series and it’s a beautiful culmination of many things: The end of the first major story arc that answers many questions. It’s also a gateway for the next round of Holy Shits. And to make it double delicious, you’re introduced to a new crew who will ultimately get stories of their own.

    (BTW – If you haven’t read the first three books in the series, please do so before reading Bargains. I’d hate for you to miss out or get lost.)

    When the original crew of Adam, Ava, Rowan, Devlin, and Brinley came to me, I rejoiced. They were so remarkable and if that wasn’t fascinating enough, the Fates showed me their futures. Then in walked Ruark, Xander, Ashlyn and Willow I was breathless. It didn’t stop there. Oh no, because the Fates also showed me their futures as well… and in walked a whole different breed of… well… you’ll find out soon enough.

    Although “Bargains” is the end of the first major story arc of the series, it’s certainly not the last. And no, these characters will not fade into the background to be forgotten.

    Adam would never allow it.

    This story was tough for me to write. I tend to always know the beginning, middle, and end before I start a book; and never have I stuck to it. This time was no exception.

    I’ve learned the hard way that when it comes to my characters, I can’t control them. I can give them a voice, a means to speak and show me the way, but in the end… they just do any damn thing they please and I can’t do jack about it.

    Trust me, I’ve tried.

    This book is a blend of Ava and Willow. I wanted them separate (please read Author’s note in the book for the full story), but they insisted that it was together or not at all. To add to the frustration factor, I demanded many things of them and they delivered on none. When I yelled, they laughed, wagging their fingers in my face and told me to simmer down and watch, listen, and record.

    What could I do? Pitch a fit? I tried, it did nothing. Do I deny them my service? Not hardly. I wanted that story so bad I was willing to trade a piece of my soul to have it.

    Oh yes… did you catch that?

    In the end, I didn’t have to give up much other than all my patience and what was left of my sanity. Nothing out of the ordinary for this mad writer. Although, I will admit, there were a few times I tried to make this story go into a different direction. I’m stubborn, too, damnit. (*stomps foot*)

    Alas, when I tried to bark orders and move into a new direction I thought would be “better,” they all turned on me. The lights went out, the voices were silent, and I was in a dark cavern all by my little lonesome big mouth self.

    I’m no fool. I threw my hands up and surrendered instantly.

    With that, everything went back to perfectly running order and I had my book finished before the start of summer.

    What did I learn from this experience? Don’t piss off the fairies. Or the angels… or the witches… or anybody else who strolls around in my head.

    They own my ass.

    The bittersweet truths in this book hit me hard. It’s about being desperate. It’s about being insecure. It’s about being raw and living stripped to your bare bones. It’s about vanity, vengeance, betrayal, and how the hell do you ever deal with life when it’s so ugly sometimes. No one’s perfect, but, damnit, so many of us try to be.

    For Xander, the lover of women, this is the end of his big bang (no pun intended). His story makes me smile – and probably makes him cringe a little. Love was not easy for this male. Ironic, huh?

    “Love is like a mountain,” he once said to me, “a treacherous struggle to climb, but the view at the top is always worth the effort.”
    “Yeah,” I replied sardonically, “And what happens if you get to the top and someone pushes your big, sexy fairy ass off the side?”
    “Then I’ll enjoy the fall, Briana. It is love, after all. Falling is what you’re meant to do.”

    God, why does Xander always have the perfect answer? I rolled my eyes before tacking on, “I bet hitting bottom is going to be an ass buster.”

    I’ll let you decide who was right.

    As for Ava… Well, the mysterious Divine Intervention can only hide her secrets for so long. When I met her, I couldn’t tell if I could trust her or not. She was always disappearing to Danu knows where throughout my books. She answered to no one – not me. Not even Adam.

    She just always seemed “up to something” and even if it turned out to be okay in the end of her disappearance, the fact that I wasn’t even allowed to know where she’d go really pissed me off. I kept asking myself, “Is Ava trustworthy? Is Ava good? Is Ava bad?”

    I believe many readers have wondered the same thing about our dear Ava. Eventually, I got my answer. So will you.

    I will end in saying that this series is going to blow up into so many wonderful lessons learned and stories told. I’m excited to finally see things coming together; stories are entwining and proving my point that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.

    Take a seat, strap your ass down tight, and enjoy the ride my friends. We still have a long way to go.

    All my love,
    Briana

    PS.  OH!!!  I almost forgot! When you meet the Charmer, his name is Louis. Do not – and I mean DO NOT- call him Lewis.  His name is Louis, pronounced “Lu-wee” and if you say it wrong, he gets rather pissy. You don’t want that.  Trust me.

  • “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.”

  • “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.”