Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dear Moby...


Dear Moby,

I miss you more than you can imagine.
What makes this so impossibly hard is that I didn’t get to say goodbye.
Grandpop told me I had been saying goodbye for a long time. Maybe he’s right. But it’s not the same as being there with you, eyes to eyes, holding your paws, as you took your last breath. That’s how it was supposed to be. That was our plan.
Grandma reminded me that everything happens for a reason. She said I have to let go of my guilt. Maybe she’s right. But it feels so impossible right now. I keep wishing and begging to go back in time so I could be there with you.
John told me because you died at home, my essence was everywhere, so you felt my love. Maybe he’s right. But it’s not the same as physically being there with you. Not even close.  
I didn’t get to say goodbye. Not how I wanted. Not how you and I planned.
There was one moment, as tears dripped down my cheeks and onto your cold nose, that I thought I felt you breathe again. For one brief, hopeful moment I thought I saw your beautiful soul staring back at me from your cloudy eyes. Maybe it was wishful thinking, or maybe it was you trying to give me the final goodbye you knew I so desperately wanted and needed. One last moment of you sending me love. But it’s not the same. Not enough to give me closure or ease my guilt.  
I’m so, so, incredibly and infinitely sorry that I wasn’t there for you in the end.
When you were a puppy, I named you Moby after the incredible musical artist. Our first few nights together, you’d cry because you didn’t want to sleep alone in your crate. I’d play Moby’s Porcelain CD on repeat. The music would calm you, but you’d still whine and whimper because you didn’t want to be alone. Those nights of separation didn’t last long, because I let you sleep with me. I couldn’t stand to hear you cry. I couldn’t stand the thought of you feeling lonely, even if I was only in the other room.
Over fifteen years later, I’m sitting in my living room, staring at your picture and the candle glowing beside the place on the floor where you took your last breath. I have Moby’s music playing in your honor. But now I’m the one who can’t stop crying. Because I hate that I wasn’t there for you in your final moments. I hate that your final sleep wasn’t with me.
I keep asking Squishy to tell me what happened. I ask him if you cried out in pain, or if you went quickly. But he can’t tell me what happened. I’ll never know. And I can’t stop imagining you whining and whimpering, looking for me to comfort you in your final moments, but never finding me. I should have been there. You deserved that and more.
With all my heart and soul, I’m so, so incredibly and infinitely sorry that I wasn’t there with you. You will always be with me. Always. You were by my side for over fifteen years, but you will be part of me forever.
Please forgive me. Please know how much I love you. Please know that I miss you more than I thought would ever be possible.
I hope you’re with Rooney and all the other animal friends you’ve loved and lost throughout your life. I hope your legs are strong and free from pain, so you can run and play and eat anything and everything you desire. I hope your vision is perfect again and it allows you to see unimaginable beauty in Heaven. I hope your hearing returned and its working so well that you hear me every single time I tell you how much I love you and miss you.
Rest in peace, love, and happiness, sweet girl Moby. Thank you for being the best dog in the world. 

I love you and miss you times infinity. 
Your Mom


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Without Utopia Blog Hop

I'm so honored to be part of the Utopia blog hop. Thanks for stopping by! 

As we approach the FIFTH year of the amazing UtopiaCon, we want to give back to the organizers who have given so much inspiration and support to us. A conference of this magnitude--of this level of MAGIC--is not cheap.

Over the past few months, we’ve learned that organizers, friends, and even family have come forward and given from their own personal funds in order to help move Utopia forward another year and we want to pay them back. We want to FIGHT FOR OUR WRITE and do our part to help.

This year especially, we'd like to make sure they  go into planning sessions with an extra boost to it's bottom line.

So if you've ever been touched by Utopia, or if you love any of the authors, bloggers, or readers who have, please take a moment to give a few dollars. This will insure the inspiration continues.

We hope you'll be led to give from the heart, but to sweeten the deal we have some MAJORLY EPIC incentives! In addition to what you’ll get from the Go Fund Me organizers (see the donation page to read about those), you’ll also get entered to win any one of these amazing raffle prizes listed in the rafflecopter below!

Prizes like this one:
 

And in order to help convey the magical sense of community Utopia has instilled in its attendees, I want everyone to know that...

WITHOUT UTOPIA I NEVER WOULD HAVE...

There is no purchase or donation necessary to enter to enter the drawing, but we encourage you to give even just $10 in order to help move us toward our big goal. And don’t forget, every donation of at least $10 earns you free books!

How to enter:

  1. Go visit #UtopiaLove’s Go Fund Me page and make a small donation (this isn’t necessary, but we would be so jazzed if you did this first! AND this earns you an automatic prize based on your donation level. Check your email to collect.)
  2. Click through any one of the rafflecopter entry methods. Complete the necessary item and get entered for all of the raffle prizes listed below.
  3. Click through to the list of other participating authors & bloggers to read how Utopia has changed them!

That’s it! Thanks!

Participating Blogs:

Kallie Ross           Kallieross.com
Susan Burdorf        www.facebook.com/susanburdorfauthor
Jo Michaels         http://jomichaels.blogspot.com
Carlyle Labuschagne     Www.worldsawaybookblog.blogspot.com
Shantella Benson    https://thewordsmithe.wordpress.com/
Shelley Custer        www.stalkingshelves.blogspot.com
S.M. Boyce         smboyce.com/boyce-blog
Komali da Silva    www.komalidasilva.com
PK Hrezo        Http://Pk-Hrezo.blogspot.com
Elisabeth Kauffman    http://writingrefinery.blogspot.com
Patti Larsen        www.pattilarsen.com
Michaela Mills        http://www.michaelamillswrites.com/blog
Ginny Gallagher    http://ginnygallagher.com/blog/
Liz Long        http://lizclong.com
Raine Thomas        http://rainethomas.com
Stacey Marie Brown    http://www.staceymariebrown.com/
Heather Hildenbrand    http://www.heatherhildenbrand.com
Amy Evans        http://amyevansbooks.com/

New cover for FIGHTING FOR INFINITY

Kindrily fans, the FIGHTING FOR INFINITY cover received a face lift. 
I had been trying to ignore the fact that I didn't love the FFI cover. Out of sight, out of mind. But recently, while attending Indie BookFest, I had copies of FFI in my hands several times. I kept glancing at the cover, cringing, and looking away. I decided it was time to give it some love. I adore the story inside of the cover. It deserved better representation.

Back when the original FFI cover was created, I wanted it to be unique. I actually took the photos used on the covers for Grasping at Eternity and Taking Back Forever. As in I'm the photographer. They are original covers and I wanted that same originality for the third book in the series.

However, my mediocre photography skills, combined with a much-too-busy vision of what I wanted on the cover, resulted in a final product that I didn't love. My designer did the best he could given the really bad photos I provided him. Three pictures. Three separate images with different lighting, odd cut-off places, and no cohesive way to blend them together. He did the best he could with my silly vision, but in hindsight he should have told me no. No to all of it. lol. We both learned a lot from that experience.
I love the people who posed for the pictures on the original FFI cover. They are dear friends. I'm sad those images couldn't miraculously be made good enough to use without looking so Photoshop-y, but they can't. I accepted that truth, apologized to the models, and promised to make it up to them in the future.

I asked the designer, Steve Graham of The Infinity Creative, to redo the FFI cover at the same time he was designing a new full cover spread for my other series, Virtual Arcana. He asked when I needed it ready. I said yesterday. Ha. (I'm not a patient person.) Due to his busy schedule, we both agreed that he wouldn't be able to finish it as quickly as I wanted, so with his blessing, my other fabulous designer agreed to help.

Michelle Argyle of Melissa Williams Design is the talent behind all of the covers in my Tangled Tides series. Thankfully, she was available to help and rush it for me. She collaborated with Steve, and in a week the new FFI cover was done.

It's beautiful. Now, I will be proud to hand a paperback to a reader. It's not an original photo taken by me, but that's okay. The final product is a better looking cover. I'd love to hear what you think.

And if you haven't read the series yet, the first book, Grasping at Eternity, is free on most ebook retailers.

The new paperback version should be available in the next week or so. (Which means the current version will be a collector's edition if I ever become famous!) ((Ha.))


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Forgot to post this yesterday, so...
My weekly vlog post in which I celebrate my future trip to London to attend the first ChapterCon. And, of course, I celebrate Snatch style.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Writing Update via Vlogging

Want to know what I'm working on?
Here you go...

Friday, July 24, 2015

INDIE BOOKFEST AND A GIVEAWAY!

You don't have to go to Indie BookFest to win this giveaway, but it would be awesome to see you there. I'm giving away a 6 month premium subscription to Grammarly. (More about that soon.)

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Indie BookFest 2015 is a three-day event celebrating indie/hybrid/traditional authors and artists and their freedom of expression. Join some of your favorite authors (including me!) for three days filled with a book signing, sessions, lunch, author meet and greets, an after party, and great fun!
You won’t want to miss the sessions throughout the day, where panelists (like me!) will be speaking on a variety of topics relevant to readers, book lovers, and writers. 
 
Indie BookFest 2015 will be held at Caribe Royale in Orlando, Fl., on July 31-August 2, 2015 
The Caribe Royale is located just 1.5 miles from the Walt Disney World® area!
Come hang out with me for a drink by the pool. :)
caribe-royale-all-suite
Over 70 authors representing indie, hybrid and traditional publishing will be featured at this premier author and reader event.

  Keynote speaker is multi-award winning author Jana Oliver.

This weekend is all about readers connecting and finding new authors to love. There are reader panels, a Fan Fare where readers can hang out with the authors, a Gothic Romance party, a gourmet luncheon, Author sponsored parties, and a book signing. 
Plus, I'll be giving away some yummy treats related to my books, and some pretty nifty swag.
ATTENDING AUTHORS...                                                
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Buy Tickets  General Admission Tickets are only $15!! HERE

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Book your HOTEL! We have special pricing for our event.

~~~~~~~~~

Stay up to date on news. Join our Facebook Group
And now about my giveaway. 
*throws confetti*
 https://grammarly.com/grammar-check
 One lucky winner will receive a 6 month premium subscription to Grammarly. 
This program is amazing and a must have for any writer. It catches so many errors, suggests improvements, teaches you as you go, and will make you loved and adored by your beta readers and editors. I absolutely love it. 
(Disclaimer: I do not work for Grammarly, and I'm not receiving compensation for this prize. My opinions are my own but the prize was graciously donated by them. )
You can enter multiple ways through this Rafflecopter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Future Is Now

This past Saturday, I was honored to be part of the first Writer's Festival at Blake High School in Tampa, Florida.

Students, teachers, and some other local writers attended to hear presenters (including me!) speak about topics including publishing, poetry, fantasy, and more. It was energizing and inspiring to be around so many talented and enthusiastic people.

I met students who were so passionate, smart, and eager to learn; it was truly heartwarming to look at them and see others who love writing as much as I do. And at such a young age! I can't wait to see what kind of greatness they put out into the world.

Huge thanks to author and teacher, Cassandra Curry, for inviting me to such a wonderful event. 

I wish I had taken more photos, but it was such a busy whirlwind of a day that I forgot about my camera. Here's what I do have to share...

Me with uber talented author Marie Jaskulka. Go check out her debut verse novel, The Lost Marble Notebook.

Marie presenting in her cool mix tape shirt.
Me talking about writing fantasy/sci-fi.

And I know some of you want the awesome shirt I'm wearing, so here, go order yourself one..
How was your weekend? 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Time For Me To Be Better

I haven't been blogging much lately. Or successfully working on the third and final book in my merfolk series, Sacred Seas, which was due to release June 20, 2015. (Ha. So not happening.)
  
Currently, the manuscript is crap, and I won't insult my editor or readers by making them read something so bleh. Sadly, the release date is being pushed back to fall of 2015. Heartfelt thanks to all my Yara and Treygan fans for their understanding and patience. So far everyone has been wonderful about the delay.

This morning, my encouraging editor replied to my "I failed" email and assured me I am not the epic failure I claimed to be. She reminded me that great authors like Harper Lee and George RR Martin have taken much longer than me when it comes to writing their next book. Not that I should consider my books anywhere near the level of greatness of To Kill a Mockingbird or Game of Thrones, but it was a nice reminder that quality stories shouldn't be rushed or forced.

I've concluded that my writing feels lazy and boring because I have become lazy and boring.
I used to take dance and yoga classes, travel a lot, blog, go to writer conferences, and do other lively/interactive activities. Lately, my greatest adventures are going to the grocery store and walking the dogs around the neighborhood.

So, it's time to kick my own butt into gear.
Step 1. Blog more. Hence this post. Yay. First step on my new path completed.

Step 2. Get back into regular exercise classes.  I just signed up for an aerial yoga class tomorrow. I've never done it, but it looks beautiful and fun, doesn't it?
If I love it, maybe I'll buy a hammock/trapeze kit so I can swing around my house and pretend I'm Pink or Charlize Theron.
http://amzn.to/1Kad6Ds
Step 3. Write more. No matter what. I need to be more strict with myself. I should be writing a MINIMUM of 800 words a day. No excuses. If I have time to be on Facebook or Twitter, I have time to write 800 words a day 5 days a week.

Step 4. More real life interaction with other writers.  I need to go to at least one writer's conference this year. I miss getting inspired by the creative energy of other writers. I always came home from a conference buzzed and excited to work. I miss that feeling. Great conference suggestions are welcome!

Also, last week, I started drinking a green smoothie every day. I put fresh fruits and veggies in it along with some health powders like moringa, spirulina, or raw cocoa. The smoothies are surprisingly tasty and I am feeling better. Which is probably why I feel daring enough to get back into yoga classes. High flying ones at that!

That's my plan so far for becoming a better me. I'm hoping all this stuff combined gets me out of my rut.
What do you do when your writing and/or life becomes stagnant?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Release Day! THE LOST MARBLE NOTEBOOK! Win it!

It has been a long time since I blogged, but today is a super special occasion, so pay attention. 

My beloved friend, whiz of an editor, and ultra talented writer, is releasing her debut YA novel today.
*throws confetti and pops champagne*
Ladies and gents, may I present to you...

THE LOST MARBLE NOTEBOOK OF FORGOTTEN GIRL & RANDOM BOY 
by the one and only Marie Jaskulka. 
http://amzn.to/1bY3tsL
As I said in my Goodreads review, words from every page--maybe every sentence--belong on a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or graffitied on a wall for the world to see. Seriously, tattoo shops should start a Lost Marble Notebook selection now to prepare for the rush of readers saying, "I need this stanza to be a permanent part of me."

Told in verse, this story is beautiful, gritty, and absolutely brilliant. 
It's a must read.

Huge congrats to Marie. 
May it be a worldwide bestseller!
  
“An original love story, arresting and beautiful. 
Heartbreakingly honest. At moments frightening, but ultimately hopeful.”



Now, want to win a copy? 
It's so good that I'll be ordering a hardback for one lucky winner and having it shipped directly. 
Open internationally thanks to Book Depository. 
Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Oh, hello 2015. When did you arrive?

I can't believe my last blog post was last year.
I also can't believe it's 2015 already.
Time is a tricky and mysterious little minx. ;)

But anywho...
I've deemed 2015 my year of giving.

Forget resolutions to lose weight or exercise more (the universe knows me all too well by now). I'm doing something way more fun. I'm connecting with my readers. Which, by the way, is the BEST part of being an author. I wouldn't have a career if it weren't for my readers, so I'm showing my gratitude and appreciation with a year of giving. Maybe I'll make this into an every year thing!

Every month I'm giving away stuff to my readers. However, I don't want to host contests for impersonal prizes where 100+ contest addicts, who have never heard of me or read my books, spam-enter to win.
Booo. Bleh. Where's the joy in that?

I want to give to my readers.

A crap load of books exist out there. I can't think of an adequate adjective to describe just how many books are available to read, but crap load sounds like a lot, so let's stick with that. Somehow, through kismet, or divine intervention, sheer luck, or because everything happens for a reason, I've connected with some amazing folks who read my not-widely-known books, and then, because those folks are so amazing, they connect with me as a person. (Again, my favorite part!)

I want to give back to those people.

So, every month I will be giving away a prize or two, or three. It could be a signed copy of one of my books, a signed copy of another author's book which I love, or some really cool item that means something to me and I'll be hoping it means something to the winner too.

BUT, many of these prizes will only be given away to my newsletter subscribers. 
My reasoning behind that is because I never know whether readers see my Facebook and Twitter posts. These days, it's too hit or miss on those sites, BUT if I send out a newsletter, it's in your inbox. Whether or not you choose to open and read it is up to you. Every month there will be an exclusive newsletter giveaway, and the announcement of who won the prior month. You have to read to win because you'll need to find out how to enter.

So, if you want to join my year of giving, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Then, be sure to check your spam folder, or your "Promotions" tab, and actually open and read it (or at least scan for the giveaway part.) You can subscribe here.

January's newsletter will be sent out on the 15th, so don't miss out!

Happy New Year! *throws star confetti*


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