Sunday, December 14, 2014

INTRODUCING: Blurb For Book 2!

**SPOILER ALERT**


Kinda.

Have you read HEMLOCK VEILS and are aching to know what direction the next book will take? Well, if you haven't read and finished HEMLOCK VEILS, this post might ruin the end for you, so I'd stop reading this, and go start reading my book, available on Amazon! Next, spread the word about how much you loved it, to all you know, rate it and review it, and then come back here and read this blurb!

Got it?

Okay, for those who have read it, I need a little help. VEIL OF THE ROSE, Book 2, will be released this coming April! (Don't you love when you don't have to wait long?) That baby is already with my editor and everything. Yet I realized, when my publicist emailed me this week, I've never written a pitch, teaser, blurb, or ANYTHING for this story.

So yesterday, while a newborn migraine was screaming its way into the world, I sat down and jotted some stuff down for the blurb. I know all you writers know just how awful the process of writing blurbs and pitches is. At least I didn't have to write a full synopsis, right? Oh, wait. I actually do need to do that, for my half-written book 3, since the book proposal is due at the end of the month. *saves stressing over that for later*

ANYWAY, I decided to post my VEIL OF THE ROSE blurb here before I send the finished one to my publicist, and I would love all the feedback on it I can get. No, I don't have to pitch it in a query letter. And yes, my publisher will tweak it to their liking anyway if it's not up to par. But I still want to get it the best I can.

I went from hating it to liking it, and then to not even knowing what I was reading, which might be a side effect of the now-adult migraine. Regardless, I think it's at the point where my own eyes have edited all they can. Now I need the eyes of others. So tell me what it lacks, what you don't like, if there is anything that doesn't make sense, any grammar mistakes, or even if it just doesn't grab you enough. Heaven knows there is a lot more to the plot I can try to infuse in there (I left it general for the sake of length). If you love it, tell me that, too! (And can you guess which fairy tale I loosely based it on this time?)

Okay, here it is. *deep breath while trying to keep my stomach down because it scares me to death when people read my first-draft stuff*

Henry Clayton and Elizabeth Ashton witnessed a miracle the night she broke his curse. But what they viewed as the happiest of endings, they soon realize was an event that has set a lifetime of magical adversity in motion. When a man from Elizabeth’s past pays them a visit, turning her reality upside-down, she learns just how much a part of the Magical Realm she has always been, and that this man she once thought of as mortal is quite the opposite. He blessed her as an infant once, but now he comes with a dire warning—a warning both he and Henry beg her to heed. Elizabeth, however, isn’t easily persuaded.

It’s not long before an ancient and powerful Warden decides to take matters into his own hands. Threatened by Elizabeth’s strong will and what she can create, he places a curse of forgetting upon her.


Now it’s up to Henry to wake her from this oblivion. The problem is that beyond forgetting him and Hemlock Veils, she is utterly repulsed by them. On her path to remembrance, she will discover there is great reason for her aversion to the things she once adored most; this time, following the true desires of her heart may mean the obliteration of not just the Magical Realm, but the destruction of Hemlock Veils and all the people she loves—including her only love. Henry might be able to wake his Beauty, but doing so may drive her from his life for good.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Handshake

I know, it's been a while! In fact, it's almost been two weeks since HEMLOCK VEILS went live on Amazon (get the ebook or paperback now)! I couldn't have asked for the book release to go any better, and its success so far has astounded me. It still shocks me when I get a picture of someone with the paperback. PEOPLE OUT THERE HAVE MY BOOK IN THEIR HANDS! Mine--the girl who doesn't really know how she got here. It's crazy and surreal and the best thing ever. It's been such a light in my recently darkened life lately, and I want to thank all those, again, who have contributed to its success.

Most of the light has come from the awesome reviews. I have taken them all in, and I can honestly say that so far, I have loved every single review I've seen, even those with negative criticism. I appreciate them all like you wouldn't believe. Again, the way people love it ASTOUNDS me. I dreamed of this day for so long, and deep inside of me, though I couldn't ever admit it to anyone, I knew this day would arrive. I knew the world would know Elizabeth Ashton and Henry Clayton.

All I can do at this point is hope the success continues to grow, and that those who read it and love it pass the word and recommend it to others, as well as review it. Authors need reviews!

Currently, while trying to juggle the stresses of a sudden move to the Denver area (I have missed Denver so much!), as well as other life things, I've finally been able to get back to writing Book 3 in the Hemlock Veils series. And let me tell you: it has felt so super fantastic to write again. It's been too long, and I'm just grateful I still have the ability to, though I am a little rusty. With VEIL OF THE ROSE (Book 2) releasing in April, and the chance for a Book 3 option coming up, I have been trying to get busy at work with the final installment of the story.

Thanks again to all who have supported me in this amazing endeavor. All of you. It wouldn't be possible without you. From my family to all those involved in the publishing process, to the random passerby who is taken by the premise and adds it to their Kindle.

And now I leave you with a little, tiny excerpt. Keep checking out my blog though, because every so often I will be posting more. And usually longer ones than this.

“Then do we have a deal?” 
She eyed him warily, studied the way his eyes smoldered. They held a depth, one that was ever so familiar. “Yes,” she hardly managed, dying a little inside. She pulled her brow together in response to the way such a restriction shackled her. “I won’t go out at night by myself.” 
He reached his large hand toward her, and hesitantly, she took it. His shake was firm and his palm warm. Her hand appeared lost within his. “If there’s one thing I know about you,” he said, “it’s that you’ll stay true to your word, Ms. Ashton. I trust you’ll take this handshake as a binding contract.” 
She nodded, and still he held her hand. For the briefest instant, her chest heated in the exhilarating way she’d rarely felt, but he pulled his hand away quickly and stood, making her forget about it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Swag Contest Winners!

The HEMLOCK VEILS book review went beautifully yesterday, and I can't thank everyone enough for all the support in buying the book, getting the word out there, or simply just cheering me on. The response has been fantastic so far, and it's still surreal to me that my dreams are being realized.

Okay, winners of the swag for yesterday's contests! I made a list of everyone who posted pictures of their book/receipt, everyone who tweeted/posted the amazon link, and everyone who even just retweeted or shared the promo posts I was putting up. For details and "rules" of the contest, visit my last post here. I put those lists of names into a random sequence generator on Random.org for the drawing, and BOOM--it gave me winners. (But let's face it; you're all winners!)

First swag prize was a signed Hemlock Veils/Jean's mug. The winners of that signed mug, and a postcard, are (from both Facebook and Twitter):

Rena Olsen 
Michael Lee
Tamra Brice
Kele Lampe

Facebook and Twitter winners of a signed paperback book and postcard are:

Katie Bailey
Merriday Forrester (KarenBridget)
Brooke Monk
Sonya Craig

I then selected a few more names, from both Twitter and Facebook, to receive a signed postcard alone. This is the postcard with the HEMLOCK VEILS cover and info on the front, and the beautiful painting of Jean's on the back. Those winners are:

Donna Goddu 
Niko Staten
Jenny Five
Bekki Decker
Deborah Smith

Finally, every single name of every person who entered the contest yesterday by helping me out was entered into a drawing for the grand prize--which is a signed mug, a postcard, AND a signed book!

*uses best announcer voice* And the grand prize goes to... Ken Curtis!

Congrats, everyone, and thanks again for your help during my release day yesterday! You all rock--and not just those of you who won! I will be contacting the winners privately, if I haven't already, for their addresses, and will be getting these shipped after this holiday weekend!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to HEMLOCK VEILS! (giveaways!)

The hour has finally arrived! I can now say that my modern-day Beauty and the Beast retelling, HEMLOCK VEILS, is officially AVAILABLE! You can get it on Amazon, in either paperback or ebook--just click here! There were times I thought this day would never come, and now, when people tell me they've ordered it, I can hardly believe it. It is incredibly surreal, and will become even more surreal when I actually get to hold the paperback in my hand! *Waits impatiently outside the post office doors*

I can't say thank you enough to those of you who've shown your amazing support! It's been overwhelming in the best way. I have the greatest family/friends/fans/followers ever.

Onto the good stuff! YA Bound Book Tours has put together an awesome blog tour and blitz that will take place starting this morning (November 25) and last through December 5. It's too late to sign up, but that doesn't mean you can't still blog some reviews and stuff of your own! *nudge nudge*

Also, as the blog posts are made available, those at YA Bound, Swoon Romance, and myself will be tweeting and facebooking (it should be a word) them. To all who signed up for the tour, THANK YOU! There will be book reviews posted on the blogs, as well as excerpts from the book; and along with those, right there on the blog posts will be some Amazon gift card giveaways!

I will be running some little giveaways of my own, too, throughout the day, on Twitter and Facebook. The first items I'm giving away are mugs with the Jean's logo on them (Jean's is Elizabeth Ashton's coffee shop in HEMLOCK VEILS), the book title on the other side, and the signature of Yours Truly beneath that. I don't think there's anyone out there who doesn't love a trusty mug. And I don't think there's a better thing to have as a companion when reading this book. You'll see why, if you haven't already read it.
 


Second giveaway will be...you guessed it, a signed paperback copy of HEMLOCK VEILS! The prizes are limited, so stay tuned on my social media accounts throughout the day to make sure you're entered into the drawing!

Along with the prizes, I'll send a signed postcard with the book and information on the back, and the beautiful painting my best friend created of Jean's on the front. I will also send a handful of them separately, to select participants (see below). About the painting, Elizabeth's Coffee Shop: Chloe Crawford isn't just my best friend, but she's such a talented artist, and I am thrilled she was so willing to be a part of this. She's always been one of my biggest fans. If you love it, check out more of her work here.
The freakishly small hand pictured is my son's.


Contest/Giveaway Details


Option #1: Between the hours of 12am and midnight today (any time on the 25th), tweet, or post on Facebook, a screen shot or picture of your receipt from Amazon that says you've ordered the book (make sure to tag me in it, and if you can fit it, include the hashtag #HemlockVeils), and you will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a signed mug! Even if you pre-ordered the book last week, and you have a screen shot, you can still post it and be entered in the drawing; as long as it is posted on HEMLOCK VEILS's birthday, it doesn't matter when you ordered. I will do separate drawings, one for Facebook and one for Twitter. And the drawing will be done at random.

Option #2: Between the hours of 12am and midnight today (any time on the 25th), tweet, or post on Facebook, the Amazon link to HEMLOCK VEILS, which is http://amzn.com/B00O2J2NSM. Make sure, again, to tag me in it, and include the hashtag #HemlockVeils if you can, so they can be tracked. Tweet/Facebook the link during the hours of the 25th, and you will get entered into a drawing to win a signed paperback copy! Again, the drawing will be random, and I will do a separate one for Facebook and Twitter.

Option #3: Between the hours of 12am and midnight today (any time on the 25th), tweet, or post on Facebook, one of the twenty teaser pictures I've been tweeting/facebooking (the pretty ones with book quotes and blurbs on them), and you will be automatically entered into a drawing for either a mug or a signed book! Post one on Facebook and the giveaway will be for a mug; tweet one and the giveaway will be for a signed book. Same rules apply as with the others: make sure to tag me in it, and use the proper hashtag so I can track them!

Grand Prize: I will take all the entries from all three of those contests, from both Facebook and Twitter together, and one winner will get a signed mug AND a signed book!

Signed Postcards: RT (retweet) any of my tweets re. HEMLOCK VEILS throughout today (25th), and you'll be entered into a random drawing. I will send a signed postcard to three separate winners. Re-share any of my book tweets on Facebook today, and I will do a separate drawing, where three more winners will be chosen.

Something to be aware of: You can enter as much as you like. Every time you participate in one of the above options, even if it's more than once, I enter your name; meaning you could have your name multiple times in one drawing. However, you can win a mug or book only once (that's kind of a given). If the name that comes up in the random selection is someone who's already won, I will draw again.

In case you need it, here is how to find me on Twitter and Facebook (click links).

I will announce the winners the following day, via both forms of social media, and send a private message to the winners to acquire their mailing addresses.

Again, thank you, everyone, for all the support and participation! Hopefully with your help, Henry and Elizabeth's story will touch many! Stay tuned, where I will be posting excerpts on this blog as well! And spread the word!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Latest HEMLOCK VEILS News

It's getting close! HEMLOCK VEILS is almost available for the masses to read in paperback and ebook form (November 25)! *ALL THE SQUEES*

If you are interested in the ebook form and for some reason didn't already know this because you're mean and don't follow me on social media, it is actually available for pre-order on Amazon! Check it out HERE!

Also, I decided to get on top of things and create my Author Central page on Amazon, which I didn't even know I could do until last night. Check that out HERE! Maybe I'll actually get used to this author thing someday and learn all there is to learn. Maybe.

In other HEMLOCK VEILS news, those book reviewers/bloggers who agreed to review my book have been sent all the ARCs, which is SO very exciting. And nerve-wracking. I might never eat again. But mostly, it's just exciting! I've actually already received one review so far on Goodreads--my FIRST EVER review! My gut sank when I saw it, because it was a reviewer I didn't know personally, but I could not have been more thrilled to see that she gave it FIVE stars! Want to see my first review ever? Go HERE! Some of her more specific words were: "This is one book that everyone should read and once you start you will not be able to put down."

Also, one of the editors at Swoon Romance typed a little review, though she didn't rate it, and I squealed at her comment: "Two words: Henry Clayton!! <3"

I'm so glad others find him as irresistible as I did. Oh, and speaking of Henry, check out this post I did a couple weeks or so ago to introduce his complex character, HERE. (I have a lot of "HERE"s in here.)

Another bit of important info: If you are interested, YA Bound Book Tours is still taking sign-ups for the Release Day Blitz! If you are interested in being a part of that with your blog, please visit HERE!

I will also be running some contests of my own. I haven't pinned down the ones I'm going to do before or on release day yet, but stay tuned! I have some awesome prizes, including replica mugs from Jean's (Elizabeth's coffee shop in HEMLOCK VEILS), which also have the book title on the back and are signed by yours truly.

Next exciting thing: My best friend, Chloe Crawford, is a brilliant artist (I have one of her large oil paintings hanging in my home), and she has painted one of my favorite settings from the book, in order to go along with the mugs (both have the Jean's logo). It is SO beautiful, and she depicted the shop better than I even imagined while writing it. So what am I doing? I'm showing it to you here, in this very blog post (below)! Yay! If you love it, and I know you will, and you are interested in checking out Chloe's other masterpieces, visit her MyFolio page HERE.

The postcards I have ordered with this artwork on it (and HEMLOCK VEILS's cover on the other side, along with a description, information, and a few excerpts) are currently being made, and I can't wait to have those on hand so that when someone asks what my book is about I can hand them one and I don't have to actually speak. Along with the prizes in my contest, I will be throwing in signed copies of those, too!

Lastly, I am in the process of creating some teaser quotes from my favorite characters, and favorite excerpts from the book (in jpeg form). So keep an eye our for those on my social media sites, because I will be sprinkling the pictures around from now until release date (Did I mention that was on November 25?)!

Okay, ready for the painting titled Elizabeth's Coffee Shop? Here it is:


Monday, October 20, 2014

Meet Beast

Last week for #MondayBlogs, I introduced you all to Elizabeth Ashton, the heroine in my upcoming novel, HEMLOCK VEILS. I thought since these characters will be released to the public soon, I would do another post, this time introducing the hero. So everyone, meet Henry Clayton:
Henry Clayton's inspiration: Joe Manganiello

1. Is he a fictional or historical person?

Like Elizabeth, Henry is fictional. Though I feel that doesn't really need to be pointed out.

2. When and where is the story set?

As explained in Elizabeth's character post, the story is set in our current time, in a small forest town, Hemlock Veils (a fictional place), located in Mt. Hood National Forest about an hour southeast of Portland, Oregon.

3. What should we know about him?

There are lots of layers to Henry. And the discovery of some of those layers is part of the surprise of the story. But what you should know about Henry is that he isn't what he presents himself to be. He has about three alter-egos. And for most his life--which has been a long one--he has been hiding who he really is. Though he hides it well, he is selfless and full of heart. But he has lost hope in himself and accepted that he will always be cursed. And worse, that he will always deserve it. Which is where Elizabeth comes in.

Henry owns most the town of Hemlock Veils, as did his father before him.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

For Henry, Elizabeth is his main conflict. At least in the beginning. He doesn't want her in his town, throwing things off. But when that changes, his main conflict is himself. Learning to accept himself, love himself (and allow himself to be loved by Elizabeth), and most of all, forgive himself.

Also, it wouldn't be paranormal without the conflict of an evil enchantress (that's not really true). After all, she is what ultimately messed up his life. Now he and Elizabeth have to find a way to defeat her.

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

Henry's personal goal is to protect the things and people he loves--even from himself--while still keeping his cold-hearted reputation. Eventually, his main goal becomes protecting Elizabeth. First from himself, then from the same evil that hunts him.

6. Is there a working title for this novel and can we read more about it?

As I mentioned in Elizabeth's post, this doesn't really need to be answered! But here is HEMLOCK VEIL's Goodreads page.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

Again, you all know this, but it will be released from Swoon Romance on NOVEMBER 25! 



Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet Beauty

I was tagged last Monday in the Meet My Main Character blog tour by the lovely and sometimes hilariously inappropriate Sonya Craig, and of course jumped at the opportunity. Sonya is the author of the Outbound sci-fi series, and you can check out more about her and her kickass protagonist here. If any of you are regulars here (hello, crickets!), you probably know that Sonya is one of my dearest Twitter BFFs, and one of the most real, down-to-earth, amazing, beautiful, caring, and funny people I know.

My main character? As most of you know, my paranormal romance coming next month from Swoon Romance (HEMLOCK VEILS) is a modern-day Beauty and the Beast retelling for adult audiences. In this adaption, the Beauty of this story is twenty-nine-year-old Elizabeth Ashton.

My inspiration for Elizabeth: Kate Beckinsale (image from Everybody's Fine). And she is drinking coffee, of course. Because...Elizabeth.


1. Is she a fictional or historical person? 

As much as I'd love to believe that Elizabeth is a real person, she is in fact a product of my imagination.

2. When and where is the story set?

The story is set in our current time, in a small forest town, Hemlock Veils, located in Mt. Hood National Forest about an hour southeast of Portland, Oregon. Though the surrounding areas are very real, down to roads and landmarks, the town itself is also a product of my imagination. And existing within this world is a Magical Realm, one not known to most the human population. The book opens to Elizabeth discovering those forests and that town for the first time, after she has left her life-long home of Los Angeles, California.

3. What should we know about her?

Elizabeth is tough. She is selfless. She has had an extremely trying life and has experienced loss beyond what most people have (the reasons for that will be explored more in Book 2, VEIL OF THE ROSE, which releases in April of next year). She would do absolutely anything for the people she loves. Also, she has a keen ability to see people and things for what they truly are.

In this story, it isn't just the Beast who has secrets and demons. Elizabeth holds the weight of her own secrets as well, and in some ways thinks of herself as a monster.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

That's a hard question to answer, especially because the thing(s) to "mess up her life" aren't explored until VEIL OF THE ROSE. But what messes it up in HEMLOCK VEILS? Her life is an utter mess when the story opens. Her brother, who was her only remaining family, had just been murdered, and Elizabeth's dark secrets tie her to it. But that is just what brings her to our setting. What messes things up for her when starting her new life in Hemlock Veils is that the terrifying monster who has cursed the town intrigues her rather than frightens her. She befriends this beast, and discovers his secret and who he really is, which at first puts her at odds with him, and later with the town. Both her and the beast struggle to accept their inner monsters and she helps him find the beauty in himself, while learning that the one who cursed him is a source of evil that desires to take lives in order to prevent his curse from being broken.

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

First, Elizabeth's personal goal is to make Hemlock Veils her new home, since it's the first place she feels she truly belongs. Then her goal is getting down to the bottom of the Beast's secrets. Eventually, her goal is to help him see his own beauty and forgive himself for his past, and in turn she learns to do the same thing for herself.

6. Is there a working title for this novel and can we read more about it?

I'm pretty sure I don't need to answer this one, because...see above. And everywhere else on this blog.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

Not that I need to answer this either, but...NOVEMBER 25!!!


Next up, I'm tagging the infamous (because that means MORE than famous--just ask the Three Amigos) Matt King. Matt is a superhero. I think. Or maybe he just writes about them. I'm not even sure he's real, actually. He might be a robot. Anyway, Matt is one of the best writers I know (and I'm not even being biased), and one of my greatest friends. If you're on Twitter, you should definitely follow him. You will laugh, a LOT. Plus, he has a creepy stalker at his local Starbucks, hates cloth napkins, and always knows the latest on any Marvel news. He's just awesome, okay? And so is his main character, whom he will be introducing.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Flash Fiction: Thirteen

For #MondayBlogs today, I decided to post an old flash fiction, from around the same time I wrote the Red Wheelbarrow stories. It's old and rough in spots, and I'm not happy with it...but it still means something to me. My younger sister went through chemotherapy at age thirteen, which is what inspired this character and this story. So really, it's dedicated to her and all she went through at that crucial age. Anyway, here. *hides*

Thirteen

I let my mind drift, let the sound of beeping monitors and bustling nurses fade into the background. I’ve always been good at escaping. Mentally, anyway.

There was a time I tried escaping physically, too, when mental escape wasn’t enough. It was a night not so long ago, the night before I could officially call myself a teen, and I told myself that thirteen was young.

Thirteen was strong.

And maybe, I thought, if I could make it home, Jess wouldn’t have to spend our birthday at the hospital.

By the time I ripped the tubes from my nose and the I.V. from the back of my hand, the nurses had me surrounded, reminding me that age meant nothing. Not to my fatigued muscles and not to my fragile bones, strong and vibrant only eight months before.

Jess stayed by my side the entire day following, celebrating my newfound teenage-hood with the very nurses who kept me prisoner. I hate her guilt. I hate the way it makes her decisions. For as long as I can remember, Jess and I have celebrated our birthdays together, since I was born on her third. But I begged her not to that time. It was her sixteenth, and I begged her to spend it the way a teenage girl should.

But as usual, Jess never left my side. Instead of boys, music, and dancing were tears, infection, and a catheter.

Instead of trendy clothes were hats, and even a mildly attractive wig.

I stare out the blackened hospital window now, unable to sleep. I take my thoughts elsewhere, somewhere far away and safe.  Somewhere where I am healthy and strong. In that place, I’m not poor, brave Haley, but beautiful, powerful Haley.

I draw my finger along the scar that stretches from the middle of my ribcage to just above my belly button, where it splits and continues down both sides of my abdomen—branding my stomach with the most horrific, twelve-inch upside-down Y. The raised skin is still sensitive, even raw in places, but I imagine it smooth, imagine that I wasn’t just opened like a lily six months ago.

I feel my hand over my silky head and imagine hair, too, imagine braids and ponytails and the annoyance I would feel when the wind blows it in my eyes. I would give anything to feel that annoyance again.

I feel a draft against my uneven skull instead.

It used to be red, my hair. Fiery and full of light, as Mom used to say. And once upon a time, my freckles, that seem so out of place now, matched.

My eyes burn and I set my jaw against the quivering.

I’m supposed to be strong. The strong, young cancer patient, smiling to give her mother the same hope she faked herself.

But Mom is gone and the nurses cackle outside my cracked door as though life isn’t slipping away in the rooms around them. For the first time in months, I’m alone—really and truly alone. And my solitude frees me.

I leave my bravery on the rolling tray table, along with the pudding I never touch, and let the tears spill. Tonight, I just want to be pretty again.

I want to dance like I used to, like gravity isn’t my worst enemy.

I want my first kiss, and though I know it’ll never happen, I imagine the way it would feel to have a boy’s lips against mine. Maybe Mark’s, the boy whose name decorates last year’s hot pink binder.

My solitude is interrupted when Mom enters the room, catching me in the middle of a breathless, teary gulp. She sees the tears drenching my cheeks and drops her purse at the door, rushing to me. For the briefest instant, I regret everything, because Mom could always cry at the drop of a hat, and usually I can soothe her.

But I’m still weak from leaving my strength on the tray table, and all I can do is cry the way Mom usually does.

Something strange happens when her arms encircle me. I feel something I don’t understand, coming from deep within and swelling in my chest. Almost like…strength. Then a warmth, the very warmth I’ve been fighting against. It too enters my soul, and my weeps drain me.

I don’t want to be alone, I realize, never again. But I’m not, because for the first time since the diagnosis, I absorb comfort from the same arms that rocked me as a young child, the arms I used to run to and the arms I’ve only recently rejected. These arms, warm and soft and smelling like childhood, give me something I can no longer give everyone else. They give me what I lacked all along and what I realize I’ve always wanted.

Thoughts of dancing again, maybe with her; thoughts of running and thoughts of hair, so long it tangles; thoughts of laughter and a body that knows no bounds.

The arms of my mother give me hope.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Deadly Seven

Okay, so not deadly, unless you're talking Death By Boredom. I was tagged by a twitter friend, Paige Randall, to do a blog post called "7 Lovely Things About You." Technically, I do still have a little over an hour of Monday remaining, according to PST, so this will also count as that Monday Blogs post I felt like I should write. Because, of course, this is vital stuff.

That being said, these things aren't "lovely." They're just...me. But I will try to make them as beautiful-sounding as I can. Sometimes I can write good well.

*Update: I did not make them as beautiful-sounding as I could.


  1. I hate being scared. You might wonder why I would list something so obvious, because--duh--who likes being scared? Well, apparently most people do. Because they spend tons of money every year on scary movies, and haunted houses at Halloween. When I say I hate being scared, I really mean it. I mean Get that shit away from me. Being frightened is NOT my idea of a good time.
  2. When I was fifteen, and at the peek of my awkwardness--and when I had just moved to a new school and was trying to make friends (not easy for an introvert and once-upon-a-time shy teen)--I dyed my hair after one-too-many trips to the pool that summer, and it turned my hair blue. BLUE. My mom took me to a salon and they were dumbfounded. There was nothing even professionals could do to get it back to normal. It was too damaged from too many dye jobs and too much chlorine. If this had happened now, I probably would have just left it and went with it; after all, that hair color is kind of in right now. But back then, 16 years ago? No way. I was MORTIFIED, and wouldn't go to school. So what did I do? I went back to that salon and had them chop of the damaged blue/green hair, leaving just the natural-colored, healthy roots. So, when I was fifteen and trying to make new friends at a new school, I had my hair cut like a boy. And I knew NOTHING about style back then. Nothing. I didn't know how to wear it, and let me tell you: my face shape and short hair like that do NOT mix. *shivers* Anyway, it totally wrecked my social standing that I had slowly been building. Unfortunately, that's how high school was/is. I even heard a year later how one of the boys was going to ask me out...until I cut my hair. He never talked to me after that.
  3. Oh, and to make matters in number two worse, I didn't get boobs until I was sixteen. Up until then, I was the flat-chested, lanky, elf-eared, boy-girl. Not much else to say about that.
  4. Sometimes I daydream of wandering into a charming mill, with brick interior walls, and surprising the lonely janitor while he works single-handedly in the bathroom.
  5. I love inside jokes.
  6. I also love analyzing my real dreams. I have a dream analyzing website marked on my browser because of how frequently I use it. Tornadoes? Going back to high school? Unable to find a bathroom stall? Trapped in a maze of a locker room? You're not alone.
  7. Back when I used to write poetry and verses as a teen and in my young twenties, I could write only dark things. The dark things are all that inspired me. But I'm pretty sure if I started writing poetry again, now, it would be the complete opposite. If you ask me, the light is winning.
There you have it, folks. And no, I'm not going to tag anyone. I don't like to inflict pain on others. But feel free to tag yourself!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Work In Progress Blog Tour

My rather glamorous WIP process

I know it's not Monday Blogs, but I like to go against the grain. Plus, I was nominated by Sonya Craig in the WIP Blog Tour. Sonya is basically the life to our twitter party. And probably to any party she attends. Or any room she walks into, actually. One of my only extroverted writer friends, Sonya writes kick-ass sci-fi and makes me laugh on a daily basis, and then some. On top of all that though, and even on top of the fact that she is a kick-ass artist, she is one of the most amazing and strong women I know. One of my dearest friends and soul sisters, who comes in a cute, petite package of crazy, and who uses her cat, Fat Cat, as a weapon. Check out her blog, and if you're on twitter, follow her. You'll never have a dull day again.

Okay, the rules for this blog tour are simple. 1. Link back to the person who nominated you. (I'm already acing this.) 2. Share a little about your WIP. 3. Share the first sentence from the first three chapters. (I'm a rule-breaker and rebel generous person, so I will probably share a bit more than the first line.) 4. Nominate four one writers to do the same. (This is my blog, so I can change the rules.)

Anyone who knows me knows that my WIP is currently in editorial/publication phase. HEMLOCK VEILS will be available on ebook and paperback on November 25, courtesy Swoon Romance! This process has been so very exciting, and watching my baby (my novel) go through these publication stages has been a dream come true. When I first began writing Henry and Elizabeth's story, which is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I had no intention of going public with it. This one was special to me, and I wrote it with no industry standards in mind. This was mine, and I wrote my heart. I didn't think anyone else would find it lovable.

Then I finished it and decided I wanted a couple of people to read it. Long story short, I found out that others loved it, too. And after many months of grueling rejections and alterations, here we are!



HEMLOCK VEILS is the first in a paranormal romance series (the next book, VEIL OF THE ROSE, will be released from Swoon Romance next April). It begins the story of Elizabeth Ashton, who ends up in the small Oregon town of Hemlock Veils. She is immediately introduced to the magic of that place, and the monster that the town is cursed with. It roams the forest every night, and because she is the only one who isn't afraid, she discovers his secrets. But the beast isn't the only one who has secrets. Elizabeth has her own demons she is running from. Fears are faced, real demons are fought, and the true power of love--even sacrifice--is realized.

Chapter 1

Every trace of Willem’s blood had been scrubbed away days before, but Elizabeth Ashton’s hands would never be clean. It caked the space beneath her otherwise spotless fingernails, embedded there for life.

Chapter 2

Elizabeth couldn’t swallow. Did she stand in one of the places her father used to speak of—a place where magic existed?

Chapter 3

Regina Washington—with a narrowed, cautious stare—poured Brian Dane another cup of steaming coffee, then returned her hand to her ample hip.

Up next, I'm nominating one of my favorite authors, Matt King. Matt is another writer and friend in our twitter clan--and when it comes down to it, one of my kindred spirits. He's the best kind of nerd there is and will talk Marvel Cinematic Universe with you for hours if you let him, which is just one of the reasons he is super awesome. All that, and even his gut-busting sense of humor, aside, he is honestly one of the best writers out there. It blows my mind that he isn't published yet, but when it does happen, his name will one everyone knows. In the meantime, I'd like to get it out there that I'm the first fangirl of his CIRCLE WAR series (which is about--you guessed it--superheroes). I just hope he remembers us little people when he's famous. I'm currently reading GODSEND, the first book in the series, and I can't put it down (metaphorically speaking). Check out his blog, where you can see little glimpses of that amazing talent, or follow him on twitter and he might add you to his People Who Do Not Suck list. But don't ask him to get large insects out of your car. DON'T!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

HEMLOCK VEILS Cover Reveal!

Hello, everyone! The time has finally come when I can share this beauty with the rest of the world! I'm so very excited to reveal my beautiful cover for HEMLOCK VEILS today! Feel free to spread the word and share, share, share! Thank you to Swoon Romance for this AMAZING and eye-catching design, and thank you, YA Bound, for hosting this blog tour cover reveal! 

Now, feast your eyes...

Hemlock Veils
Release Date: 11/25/14
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:
When Elizabeth Ashton escapes her damaging city life and finds herself in the remote town of Hemlock Veils, Oregon, she is smitten by its quaint mystery; but the surrounding forest holds an enchantment she didn’t think existed, and worse, a most terrifying monster. The town claims it vicious and evil, but Elizabeth suspects something is amiss. Even with its enormous, hairy frame, gruesome claws, and knifelike teeth, the monster’s eyes speak to her: wolf-like and ringed with gold, yet holding an awareness that can only be human. That’s when Elizabeth knows she is the only one who can see the struggling soul trapped inside, the soul to which she is moved.

Secretly, Elizabeth befriends the beast at night, discovering there’s more to his story and that the rising of the sun transforms him into a human more complex than his beastly self. Elizabeth eventually learns that his curse is unlike any other and that a single murderous act is all that stands between him and his freedom. Though love is not enough to break his curse, it may be the only means by which the unimaginable can be done: sacrifice a beauty for the beast.


About the Author (Me!)

Though Jennie Davenport was raised throughout the Midwest, she now lives in the little desert mining town of Bagdad, Arizona, where seven guys beg for her constant attention: a husband, three young, blonde sons, a German shepherd with a name much mightier than his disposition (Zeus), and two cats named Mouse and Tigger. When she isn’t trying to run her home with as little casualties as possible, Jennie loves snuggling with her family, laughing with her friends, delving into brilliant entertainment of any vein, and playing outside. Despite the way being a writer is in her blood, and the wheels of her writerly mind are constantly turning, Jennie likes to think that in another life, she would have been a Broadway star. Or an American Idol finalist.

Jennie lives for the fall, and not just because of her adoration for the NFL (Go Broncos!). In her perfect world, she would have the springs, summers, and falls of Colorado, and the winters of Arizona—someplace where the climate and weather would allow her to go on a trail run all year round. But even though she prefers the pines and mountains, she is a devoted fan of all nature, from sandy beaches to woodsy cabins, and all are her greatest inspiration. She believes nature is one of the best healing remedies, with a magic all its own.

Jennie’s passion for writing is the way she survives, and is as vital to her sanity as oxygen, caffeine, food, and music. Even before she began writing it, well-told, original, and character-driven romance was always her weak spot. Add the paranormal or magical realism element and she may never make it back to reality. 

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

Cover Reveal Organized by:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Flash Fiction #4 (final): Dialogue Only

For #MondayBlogs, here is the last flash fiction installment of the Red Wheelbarrow stories. This one is a little...weird, so bear with me. The writing prompt was that we had to use just dialog to get the story across. No dialogue tags, no narrative--NOTHING BUT DIALOGUE. Writing a story with just dialogue is a little rough, because you have to show the characters movements, actions, the setting, and exposition all in their words.

Background: this installment takes place a few years after the others--after Charlene and her family found the meadow in the mountains and have built a camp there. In the meantime, their small camp has grown to more than just their intimate family. This is Charlene's first meeting with a new character, John. The rest, I hope, comes together in the dialogue. Though I never wrote anymore after this, I have plotted and outlined. I got really attached to these characters and this story, and especially to what, in my mind, they will go through. Maybe one day I'll have time to write them into the novel they deserve.

If you haven't read the first three installments, read them here:
Red Wheelbarrow
Sea of Yellow
Already Home

And here is the last, in dialogue only:


“You go any further and the tip of my blade emerging from your gut will be the last thing you see.”

“Farther.”

“What?”

“You said if I go any further. It’s farther.”

“You really wanna correct me with a knife to your back?”

“I just figured you’d want to know. You know, just so you don’t make a fool of yourself the next time you’re threatening someone’s life.”

“Son of a—”

“Be careful with that thing, sweetheart! If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you actually wanted to use it.”

“What makes you think you know better, Mr. English Professor?”

“Not an English professor. Just got an education is all. You know, from a real school. And I know better because your voice is trembling. You won’t do anything.”

“My voice is not trembling.”

“That was a little better.”

“Shut up. Don’t talk.”

“What, this isn’t going how you rehearsed?”

“I said Shut. Up.”

“You did rehearse it, didn’t you, sweetheart? You sound too young to be a pro. That’s also probably why you think someone who can speak properly is some brilliant professor.”

“You laugh one more time and I’ll actually use this knife. And I never said brilliant. You’re pretty stupid if you think sitting here in the bare bushes like this is discreet.”

“Oh, discreet. Good. Sounds like you know a little.”

“I know a lot for someone like me, idiot. Back when things were still normal, before she had me, my mother was a school teacher. She’s taught me everything.”

“Not everything, I’d say.”

“Who do you think you are? Why are you spying on us? Who sent you to look for us?”

“No one sent me. I’m alone. Just trying to find a safe place is all.”

“Liar. No one’s alone anymore.”

“I am.”

“You probably have some squad somewhere, waiting for your command.”

“I wouldn’t serve a minute for our shit government. Not now. Do I look like I belong in the military?”

“I’ve seen them use disguises.”

“So, how old are you, sweetheart? Twelve, thirteen?”

“Fifteen.”

“Whoa! I said be careful with that thing. You even know how to use it?”

“I could have you gutted in a matter of seconds.”

“So why haven’t you?”

“Stop talking and let me think…”

“Well, if you’re all this camp has for protection I’d say I’m coming out on top.”

“You know nothing. You don’t know what we’ve been through. Or what I’m capable of.”

“Sweetheart, I’m sure it’s the same things any soul still living has seen.”

“Don’t call me that anymore. Keep your mouth shut, put up your hands, and walk.”

“If you’re so hardcore, why not just gut me from behind, right here?”

“Stop tempting me.”

“I mean it. Why not?”

“We might need you. If you know where this meadow is, others might, too. We’ll need to know who.”

“I already told you, I’m alone.”

“Then I guess I can kill you…”

“Whoa, whoa. No need for that. My guts happen to be very precious to me, so why don’t you just lower that knife and we can talk?”

“Oh, now you think I’m serious?”

“Your voice isn’t so shaky anymore.”

“Turn around.”

“Why, so you can gut me the right way?”

“So I can look into your eyes.”

“Romantic. But you’re nearly ten years younger than me, sweet—”

“So I can read you. If you’re telling the truth, I might let you live. But no funny business.”

“Well, I’ll be. You’re kinda pretty for a little murderer.”

“What makes you think you can lower your hands? I said—“

“No funny business, I know. But really, sweetheart—you think you could take me?”

“Stop. Don’t come any closer.”

“Look at you. You’re just a little thing. What are you, maybe a buck-five? And you gotta be crazy, being out here by yourself like this.”

“I’m warning you…”

“John. Name’s John. And I’m the last person you need to worry about out here. Now give me the knife, sweetheart, and maybe we can make some arrangement.”

Monday, August 4, 2014

Flash Fiction #3: Already Home

It's that time again. #MondayBlogs is upon us. And regardless of how badly I want to write a poignant and powerful blog post, I just don't have time. Or the mind, really. So today I'm posting the third flash fiction piece to my Red Wheelbarrow series. (To catch up and see how they all piece together, read the first, Red Wheelbarrow, and the second, Sea of Yellow.)

I mentioned these pieces were all written because of flash fiction prompts. The first was the William Carlos William's verse, the second was a picture of a Sea of Yellow (a field of wild flowers). This prompt was just a simple line: And then we realized we were already home. Somehow, I had to work that into my piece, and because I wanted to stick with the Red Wheelbarrow story, I ended up writing a flashback for Charlene. I wasn't as happy about this one as I was with the others, but it's also special because it gives the background we've been desiring for the family. So, here it is. *hides*

Already Home


We had to leave immediately. I was five then, and Mama was pregnant with Rose. I didn’t want to go, even though it smelled awful. I was used to the smell, used to playmates and packed cots.

Now, years later, I realize the scent that permeated our “home” was burnt flesh. And body odor, too. And I’m ill from the thought that the smell had once been comfortable to me.

There were too many of us crammed inside, hiding from the soldiers. Most were sick or injured.

But then we got word that the virus was there, the one that had started on the East Coast, and Mama wouldn’t stay another day. She took me away in the night, when the only thing lighting our escape was the full moon and the smoke-lit sky to the east. Where a place called Denver used to be.

We hid from the soldiers for days, squeezing into small, tight places, until we found a dirt road—one Mama said was in the Middle of Nowhere. She said she wanted me and the unborn baby as far away from civilization as possible. Or at least what remained of it.

I didn’t understand then. I was only aware of my fear and Mama’s hand, and the fact that I hadn’t seen Daddy since the day the soldiers ripped him from Mama’s arms one month before.

Mama had cried for days when he’d left, and so had I, even though I hadn’t understood.

Now all I have of him is the sound of his jaunty laugh when he’d spin me until I was dizzy. I had liked feeling dizzy then, but after he’d left, and when Mama and I were on the run, feeling dizzy made me homesick for Daddy. And sometimes even for that old warehouse we and so many others called home my first five years of life.

Mama and I traveled for days. She had to stop a lot to rest, sometimes to throw up. And sometimes nothing would come out and she would gag until I felt sick, too. She said it was the baby, and I hated the baby.

But then Mama had her, and I didn’t know how to hate something so tiny. I loved her, especially because Mama let me name her. I named her Rose, because to this day, I’ve still never seen one. Mama used to talk about them all the time, about their beauty and their perfume smell.

A few days after Mama had Rose, she bundled her up in her jacket and we continued to travel. I whined a lot, but Mama told me there was nowhere safe.

Then we saw the abandoned house. It was the only one we’d seen without broken windows and doors. The only one that hadn’t been ransacked. The mountains on the evening we found it were majestic, and not so far from the house. And in that moment, I imagined I was a normal little girl, with a normal house in a normal world.

The cupboards weren’t bare, and there were clothes and supplies. There were even chickens and farming equipment outback, a shiny red wheelbarrow catching my eye. And it wasn’t until our second day there that Mama found the body. The man was white and covered in wrinkles, and Mama said he’d died from old age. She buried him out back, behind the chicken coup, and I helped cover him in dirt.

She shed tears. When I asked her why she was crying, she said it was because she wished I knew the value of a life, wished that seeing a dead body wasn’t something so normal for me. And again, I didn’t understand.

For the first few weeks at the house, I missed the company and stability of the warehouse. And so did Mama, I think, because she cried a lot, almost every time Rose did. When I asked her if she thought they were all still alive, she cried harder. And that told me she thought not.

Then eventually tears turned into smiles, and smiles into laughter. I wasn’t so homesick for Daddy anymore, or even the warehouse. We were happy, and Mama even swung me around until I was dizzy.

And then we realized we were already home.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Flash Fiction #2: Sea of Yellow

So, as I promised for #MondayBlogs (I never actually promised), here is the next installment of my older flash fiction series, Red Wheelbarrow. This next segment, Sea of Yellow, was created from a writing prompt of nothing more than a picture of a meadow of yellow flowers. Since I wanted to keep these characters going, I made it the next part of their journey. (To see the first segment, Red Wheelbarrow, and learn how it came about, read last week's post or click here.)

The sun is heavy, and so are my eyelids. But I walk anyway, stumbling really, since my feet are heavy, too. My boots absorb the heat like an iron skillet, and the dirt inside them turns moist between my toes. It's been three days since we left, three says since the strangers forced us from the only place we've ever called home. It was the first time I ever made eye contact with a gun, me and the double barrel in a stare down. Mama went hysterical.

In that moment I thought was the end, Mama fell to her knees, between me and the shotgun. She cried until the woman with ratty hair and crazy eyes shoved her aside. That was when they found our white chickens, and Mama says those white chickens saved my life. And because Mama wouldn't put up a fight, they let us go. Made us leave everything behind.

Just like that.

Mama was too passive to put up a fight. It sickens me. That house was the only place Hank and Rose ever knew, and the only place with walls that I ever knew. It was small and lacking, but it was ours. And so were the chickens.

It was those thoughts that made me lose it on the woman with the gun—thoughts that mama would let them win. I grasped the barrel of the shotgun with both hands when the woman-beast was distracted, but she kicked me in the stomach, knocking the wind from me. I fell into Mama, and Mama's arms imprisoned me as I screamed at the beasts.

The rabid woman just laughed, as though I was a joke. In two years, maybe one, I wouldn't be. Maybe I'll even be stronger than Mama by then.

Now we journeyed through the mountains, not a single possession with us. Mama and I took turns carrying Hank, and sometimes my arms tingled until I felt nothing at all. Rose cried a lot, and so did Mama. She tried hiding it, but I know the sound well.

I'm better at hiding it. I don't sniffle like her, or blubber like Rose.

"We're almost there," Mama says, and I almost jump, even though her voice is soft. Hank was asleep at her shoulder, but now he stirs. It's the first any of us have spoken in hours. She's talked about the Sea of Yellow ever since I was little, about the place she and Grandpa fled to many years before, when all Hell broke loose on the civilized world--a world I know nothing about.

I manage to harrumph between breaths, my feet still trudging over rocky terrain. The sun burns my neck and my moist shirt clings to my ribs and back.

"We're almost there?" Hank groggily asks, and I imagine him rubbing his eyes in the way he sometimes does. But I don't turn to look. I'm ahead of them, still giving Mama the silent treatment.

"It'll take your breath away, Char," she says, trying to soften me up. Nothing has ever taken my breath away. I've read stories, Mama's old books, where women's breath gets taken away all the time, mostly by men. But it doesn't make sense.

The brush gets thick then, and as I shove it aside and make a way for Rose, it scratches my forearms. I push through and my hair gets caught, but I ignore it. Rose grasps the back of my shirt in her fists, whimpering. Probably over the bugs. They were small and non-threatening, but they were everywhere.

Then I see it. A clearing ahead.

Is that...yellow?

I shove through faster, telling Rose to keep up, and once in the clear, I freeze. A meadow, hidden away. Just for us.

Mama's Sea of Yellow.

And something strange happens inside my chest. Almost like a thud, and my breath seems to catch deep in my throat. I understand now, about Mama's claim that it would take my breath away. The feeling elates me, in a way I’ve never experienced.

I close my eyes, and before I can help it, I'm smiling. At the breeze against my face, at the feeling inside me, at the image inside my closed lids. I open them again, just to make sure it wasn't my imagination.

I feel Mama behind me now. She's sniffling again, and Hank is cheering. There's a cabin at the other end of the clearing, probably the very one Grandpa built, but that's not what catches my eye. It's the openness, the freedom, the new start.

The Sea of Yellow.

My eyes follow the dancing wings of a butterfly. It seems drawn to Rose, for it lands right at her feet. She giggles, extending her finger to it, and I shake my head, my mouth still turned in a smile. One minute the insects are her adversary and the next, her kindred spirit.

The flowers are everywhere, coming to my knees. As I remove my boots, Hank jumps from Mama's arms, and my eyes burn. And when I run my swollen, sweaty feet over the grass, I sigh. Refreshing, green blades between my toes, promising reprieve.

I fall to the ground and let them envelop me, and so do Mama, Rose, and Hank. Together, we laugh.

We have nothing, except the cabin and each other.

And Mama's Sea of Yellow.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Flash Fiction #1: Red Wheelbarrow

I've been saying for a while that I should put some of my old short stories or flash fiction on my blog. Well, since it's the day for #MondayBlogs, I figured I'd do just that. I'm starting with the first flash fiction piece, which was the first in a series of four. I'll post the rest next week. Or never. We'll see.

A few years ago (maybe more?), I did a LOT more blogging than I did now. I did a lot of writing prompts, mostly. Some of the stuff I came up with was crap, but others weren't so bad. This particular prompt was to write a short piece including the William Carlos Williams verse, The Red Wheelbarrow (which is basically the opening line to this piece of mine). And...to be creative, or something like that.


Red Wheelbarrow


So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed in rainwater beside the white chickens. Everything does, since water’s worth more than gold these days. But Mama told me it wasn't always like that, that water used to flow at the flip of a switch.

Two inches of rain rest within the wheelbarrow's walls, and Hank takes the first handful to his mouth, his fingers trembling with excitement and fatigue. Hank’s always first, since he’s the smallest.

Rose rolls her eyes as she stands back, but I know she understands. He’s weak, even weaker than yesterday.

We haven’t seen rain in too many months, and my mouth is dry. Sometimes it bleeds, but Mama’s is worse.

She stands back and watches the three of us, and her tongue grazes over her cracked lips. But she’ll let us drink first, let us wet our dry tongues and fill our bellies, and I tell myself to save her some when my turn comes.

Hank is laughing now, and water dribbles down his dirty chin, leaving tracks. We can’t help our laughter, too, even Rose. Even the three chickens cluck.

And I imagine what they would taste like, though Mama refuses to kill them because the chickens give us eggs.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t imagine.

We have to hide them when stragglers come by. Most men, and even women, would kill for a live animal. Sometimes even a dead one.

After Rose gulps four handfuls, it’s my turn. Rust flakes float in the remains, but it doesn’t stop me, and after one handful, I back up so Mama can take her turn. My hands are still wet, so when she isn’t looking I’ll lick them.

But she scolds me with her eyes, narrow and fierce and loving. Charlene.

I ignore her at first, but her eyes continue to dig and her feet seem fastened to the ground. And as I bow my head and eagerly cup more, I know that even though everything depends on that red wheelbarrow glazed in rainwater for Hank, Rose, and I, it doesn’t for Mama. For Mama everything depends on the life of her children.


Stay tuned for more from Red Wheelbarrow!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ten Things You Don't Know About Me (But You Might)

Thank you, Adam Dreece, for tagging me in this "Ten Things You Don't Know About Me" blog tour (he totally made it up, but whatever). Yes, I was supposed to have this up yesterday for #MondayBlogs. But I'm a writer, which translates to Procrastinator. 

I try explaining to my "in real life" friends and family the reason I love twitter so much, but it's hard to put into words the feeling you get from a large community of like-minded people and writers. I consider my twitter community a second family, really--people who are "in real life." It's where I can be myself and these people understand me. And they're awesome. Adam is one of those people. One of those awesome-yet-quirky-and-oh-so-hilarious-and-witty pals. He's also the author of the YA steampunk series, The Yellow Hoods. Check him out on twitter, too. He's the one wearing a steampunk monocle. Can't miss it. Monocle.

So...Ten things you don't know about me? Okay, so you might already know these, but...

  1. I used to dislike kids. Like, a lot. When Dave and I got married and he told me how many kids he wanted, I panicked inside because I didn't want ANY. The thought scared the Hell out of me. Kids hated me and the feeling was mutual. It's why I was a crappy babysitter as a teen, and why I actually turned down most jobs until people just stopped asking all together. I did not like little people. Didn't know how to treat them or talk to them. But of course I hid that from my fiancé. It's kinda funny how three years later things turned around for me and it was me pressuring him. I'm still not a fan of watching other people's kids (But I will!), but I do love them. Children, all of them, are so very special, and hold a special place in my heart. My children have turned me into the person I am today and helped me discover the things that make me me. And my favorite position to hold in my church? A primary teacher, go figure (teacher for the little kids).
  2. Even at age ten I was a hopeless romantic, and a writer. In my box of old stuff at my mom and dad's house last year, I found a children's book I wrote and illustrated at age ten, about two fish that fell in love. Ever since I was young I had daydreams about love stories and romance. Cue the shameful admittance: While playing Mario Brothers, I would let my mind drift into romantic tales of the two brothers rescuing Princess Peach from danger and the love triangle that might ensue. But it wasn't until after my first child was born that I got brave enough to write down these stories. In my teenage years and young twenties, the only writing I did was poetry. Lots of it. Thus, my first novel wasn't created until 2007 (And no, it does not involve plumber brothers or lizard men).
  3. I have saved every single rejection letter from literary agents that I have ever accumulated during the past seven years, whether snail mail or email.
  4. I can see boundaries very clearly and logically for other people, but when it comes to myself, every line is blurred...
  5. And that is because I am an Empath (is that even a real word)? I absorb other people's problems, take them on as my own. Even if I haven't personally experienced what someone else is going through, I can feel it, feel what they're feeling. I take it all on and then feel responsible for them, for their problems. And because I'm this way, I have an excruciatingly difficult time saying no to people. Rejecting people, or hurting people's feelings--even if they've wronged or defiled me--is worse to me than almost anything. It's torture. So what do I usually do instead? I allow myself to get used and abused. I place myself in uncomfortable situations and then don't know how to get out of them. I feel that other people's feelings are more important than my own. This is wrong, I know. It's a strength turned into a weakness. It's been a struggle to break free of this, and I have recently been tried more times than in the past. I'm getting better, though. I am. But I will always struggle with it. And I suppose it's what makes me a good writer.
  6. On that note, regardless of throwing my own self-worth to the wayside sometimes, I do value myself (does that even compute?). I am proud of who I am and the heritage I've come from. I am extremely self-conscious about my exterior, but I'm content with my interior. I know I have talents and gifts, and though it may have taken my whole life to get to know myself, I'm happy with the result.
  7. Despite the way my own lines blur, I do see others' very clearly, as I mentioned. Meaning if a loved one of mine is getting treated unjustly or getting bullied, I have NO problem stepping in to protect. Funny, how I'll defend others to the core, but usually stay quiet when it's myself. 
  8. I'm not shy, though. I mean, I was. As a child, I was so shy that my teachers worried about me and counselled with my parents because I never said a single word. Not one. I didn't come out of my shell until after high school, until I started finding out who I was. Now when I don't talk it's not because I'm shy. It's because I don't have anything important to say. I'm quiet sometimes, introspective. I'm an introvert and process things internally. I need alone time to recharge my battery. But that does not mean I'm shy (any of my close friends will attest to this).
  9. I have an innate ability not just to read people but to read social situations. I can always sense when someone is feeling off, and especially when someone is feeling off about me, for any reason--even if it's someone on social media whom I've never met or talked to in person. I always know. Even if it's as simple as someone being annoyed with me, I pick up on it, and this allows me to back off. Which is why it's hard for me to grasp when other people lack those certain social skills (stay out of my bubble, for crying out loud! I'm giving you all the social cues!). Anyway, like I always tell my husband, there's no point in lying to me or hiding your feelings. Because I know. I always know. Muahahah!
  10. Last but not least, because of the shyness and introvertedness (I'm making that a word, so be quiet) I mentioned above, I had a ROUGH, extremely EXCRUCIATING time in middle and high school. If I died and went to Hell, it would be there. Right back there in those halls with tan lockers and wannabe gang members, and then later in those halls with blue carpeting and spoiled rich kids. Middle school is for kids to get through their awkward stage. Well, I was beyond awkward from age 11 to 18. And high school is a time for the extroverts, party-lovers, and optimistic, outgoing people. Not for the quiet teen who struggles with self-image, self-worth, and confidence, who has no sense of style and whose hair had to be chopped off like a boy's due to a bad dye job. Not for the depressed, imbalanced, and empathetic teen. To ones like those, high school is cruel and harsh. And people like me would laugh when people said high school is the time of your life. Even then I knew it wasn't. I could wait to get out of there and move into the real world. Where I could put the years of bullying (yes, hardcore physical and emotional bullying that even involved a restraining order) and mean, cruel, and hurtful boys behind me. Where I could come into my own and finally feel what it felt like to be loved, and later, even desired.

You're it!

Next, I tag Kele Lampe and Sonya Craig, challenging them to dig deep and tell us 10 things we don't know! Kele (Katherine) isn't just one of the most amazing writers I have ever read, but she is my soul sister. Immediately we clicked when meeting on twitter, an almost cosmic bond forming between us. She is one of my BFFs, a most trusted confidante whom I can divulge anything to, and the author of the Caitlin Ross paranormal series, which have two of the most real, lovable, and amazing main characters I've ever met. She's brilliant, guys. Brilliant. Sonya and I often joke that we are nothing more than Kele's minions. 

Sonya is another soul sister, who I have come to know and love on twitter. We get a little out of control sometimes, the three of us (and Adam), and even inappropriate. I honestly do feel sorry about that to all my other followers. But...SONYA STARTED IT! My favorite beautiful friend to tease, with a most beautiful and understanding soul, Sonya is always there to cheer me up or offer a shoulder. Either way, we're all either laughing or crying or cringing. Or all three. Sonya writes amazing sci-fi, is a MASTER artist, and blogs about all things wonderful, including her biggest fan, Fat Cat. Check out both these wonderful women on twitter: Kele, and Sonya.