Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rest in Peace, sweet Rooney.

I lost one of my best friends today. Rooney had to be put to sleep this morning. He couldn’t breathe on his own.  Even with strong meds, IV fluids, and days on oxygen, he wasn't getting better. I couldn’t let him suffer anymore.
He passed  in a bed of comfy blankets, stretched up against my leg, with his head in my lap. I hugged him, caressed his soft head and wrinkled face and told him how much I loved him. How honored I was to be his mom. How proud I was of him for always being such a trooper. What an incredibly good boy he was. I told him how much he would be missed. How he would be in my heart--and in so many hearts--forever. And ever.

He drifted to sleep peacefully. I don’t know how long it will take before I can sleep peacefully again. For the past two nights I’ve tossed and turned, staring at his empty chair beside my bed, praying he’d get better. Begging any and all gods, and the universe, to bring him home so I could roll over and see his cute face pressed against the pillows of his chair again. My prayers weren’t answered.
He’s gone. My heart feels as empty as the big comfy chair where he used to sleep.

The house is too quiet. I keep waiting to hear his paws on the hardwood floors, or his tail thumping against the couch and walls, or him barking for no good reason.

Our shoes are right where we left them. I cry every time I see them. 
I don’t want to wash my hands, or my shirt, or his blankets, or his stuffed toys, because I’m scared I’ll wash away his scent and never be able to smell him again.

I walk into the kitchen and start to cry because he’s not following me. He’s not staring up at me waiting for food. He’s not sitting on the rug in front of the sink. I can’t get used to him not being under my feet. It never bothered or annoyed me. I loved him being there.

I can’t bring myself to touch his bowls. He wasn’t supposed to get any extra treats because of his sensitive stomach, but now I wish more than anything I had given him some eggnog on Christmas because he loved eggnog so much. I had no idea it would be our last Christmas together.

I didn’t take enough pictures and videos. I look at the hundreds I have but they aren’t enough. I should have taken more. None of them captured how sweet, loving, and precious he truly is was.
My lap is so cold as I sit here typing these words. For years, I haven’t typed without some part of his body pressed against me. I had to start typing just to make sure I still could without him by my side. He was there for every book I’ve written. Right beside me. Always.
It’s so quiet, and cold, and lonely. I feel sick, and lost, and empty. My snuggle buddy is gone.
I know he’s free from pain, in a better place, in a beautiful heaven where he has more treats, toys, shoes, and eggnog than he could ever ask for. I know all of that, but it doesn’t dull the pain. I know time heals all wounds, but could someone please press the fast forward button?
I miss him more than these inadequate words can express.

Rest in peace, Rooney. I love you times infinity. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Friday, December 20, 2013

I Write What I Love

I see at least one tweet, FB post, or blog post a day discussing what the next big thing is in books and/or how to be a successful author. YA, NA, Contemporary, Edgy, Erotica, Horror! Write serials, write a trilogy, write a stand alone. Get an agent, self-publish, go hybrid. Write fast and produce at least 4 books a year, slow down and focus on quality over quantity.

If I followed all of the advice I'd be dizzy, frustrated, and totally confused.

Honestly, I don't give a squat about any of it.

I don't care what the next big trend is. I mean, maybe I care out of sheer curiosity, but even if Jane Austen's ghost visited me and said, "I've been to book heaven and the next big trend is space westerns with leprechauns who time travel! Be the first to write one!" I would laugh at her, decline, offer her some coffee, and then discuss Mr. Darcy.

Because here's the thing: I don't love westerns. I could probably come up with a fun leprechaun story, and I do have a cool time travel idea bouncing around my head, but I certainly don't want to write a space western featuring time traveling leprechauns. I wouldn't love it.

Short stories? I'm bad at them. And I don't enjoy writing them. Heck, it was hard for me to cut down the word count on ALL four of my 85-95k word count novels, so I'm not a candidate for the novella/serial trend. And I'm okay with that.

If, some day, an agent loves me and one (or more) of my stories, and believes strongly enough in me and a potential partnership together, then hooray. But I'm not going to shelve every manuscript that gets rejected by agents. I'm also not going to stress myself out by trying to crank out 6 books a year when I know my maximum is currently 2 books a year. I'd end up slacking on the quality and not being proud of what I produced.

Life is too short to write stories you don't love. At least for me that's true. I will keep writing my magical romances because that's what makes me feel good. Those are the kind of stories I want to read, and I write books that I would love to read.

Recently, I read this PW article where agents discuss the new trends in YA. Many said contemporary is probably going to be the next "it" thing, and that dystopian and paranormal are dying off. I still love paranormal (probably always will) and I just read a fabulous Dystopian last week--Article 5 by Kristen Simmons, so neither of those genres are dead for me.

Then there was this...
Stories about creatures of all kinds—“werewolves, shapeshifters, selkies, mermaids, or anything with a tail or wings,” is how Jaffa puts it—are simply not selling.
The irony, says Bourret, is that a lot of already published paranormal is still selling well. “But there are just too many books in the category, and because it’s overpublished, it’s a lot harder to have a hit.”
As an author who hasn't hit it big with her paranormal/supernatural/fantasy books, I have to agree that the market feels over-saturated. Many days I feel like an invisible fish in an endless ocean, but it doesn't make me give up. I love being an author way too much to stop writing just because I don't make a lot of money. Every book I release has pieces of my heart and soul in it. I wrote every book because I wanted needed to. I loved the characters and the story and I couldn't NOT write them.

That's how I will always operate--with love. I owe it to my readers to love the stories I share with them. In my opinion, that's my only hope of them genuinely loving them too.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Free Fantasy Book! INITIATE by Tara Maya

The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again.

She hadn't appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater.

"Join our circle, Dindi!" the fae voices gurgled under the water. "Dance with us forever!"

"No!" She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, "Dispel!" but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn't be coming up again.

"Dispel!" It was a man's voice.

Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently.

She coughed out some water while he supported her back.

"Better?" he asked.

She nodded. He was young--only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi.

"Good." He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head.

Dindi's hand touched skin--he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed.

"It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that," he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. "What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?"

Tara’s blog
Tara’s Twitter
The Unfinished Song on Facebook
Barnes and Noble


Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I know most of you are excited for Catching Fire tomorrow (I am too! Team Gale 4-Evah!)
but today it's time for Celebrating Water! 
DANGEROUS DEPTHS, book 2 of The Sea Monster Memoirs 
by Karen Amanda Hooper, has washed ashore. 
The sequel to TANGLED TIDES is now available, and the underwater cast of merfolk, selkies, sirens, gorgons, and even water sprites are in for some very turbulent waters.
Check out the book info then enter to win a prize pack including signed books, yummy treats, and sparkling beach-worthy nail polish!
Hell hath no fury like a selkie separated from his true love.

The gate to the sea creature realm is finally open. Yara wants to bask in the glow of her budding relationship with Treygan and explore Medusa’s world, but as the new leader of Rathe her powers are needed to save a sea creature she’s never met.

Rownan assumes the worst is behind him when he returns home to be reunited with his wife, Vienna, only to discover she’s gone. She traveled to the evil realm of Harte to find another gateway to Earth and was never heard from again. Rownan claimed he would go through hell to be with her, and now he must prove it.

Rownan, Yara, and Treygan will put their lives and souls at risk by traveling to the most dangerous realm of all. Love is supposed to conquer all, but no one has ever conquered Harte.

(eBook or paperback)

Buy on Barnes & Noble
(eBook or paperback)

are hosting my blog tour and hosting my giveaway of a SWEET (literally) prize pack to one lucky winner. 
 Prize pack includes:

~ Signed paperback of Tangled Tides & Dangerous Depths 

~ Two Beautifully Disney nail polishes 
(Ocean Mist--sparkly green, and Diva of the Deep--sparkly purple.)

~ A box of assorted yummy "sprite" treats from Fairy Tale Brownies 
(in honor of the new sprite characters who star in Dangerous Depths.) 
Enter here:

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I like (aka love) books about soul mates, mythology, underwater worlds, supernatural powers, magic, etc. It's why I write stories containing those elements. I'm always looking for new similar books to read, so I figured other readers might be too. And that leads me to my newest book giveaway contest...
(I'm sort of showing my age by quoting a Sally Fields speech from...very long ago, but I don't care, it's a great line!)

To enter, you just have to go on a liking spree. The more fabulous authors you "like" on Facebook, the more entries you accumulate. All of these authors have written a book, or multiple books, containing one or more of the awesome topics I listed above. If you like my books, you'll probably like theirs too. Or vice versa. It's all about sharing the book love.

To do my part in sharing the book love, I'm choosing one winner who will receive one of my books signed (winner's choice) PLUS, one book from any of the authors featured shipped directly to you. (MAYBE I can get it signed, depending on the author, but I can't promise.) (Also, you can choose any book of any author. It doesn't have to be the one featured in the photo.)

Win TWO magical books. Fun, huh? Enter below and help spread the love of good books!
Open internationally! Ends Nov 22nd!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Win Dangerous Depths before it releases!

Want to read DANGEROUS DEPTHS, the sequel to TANGLED TIDES, before it releases on November 20th?
I'm giving away an ebook (maybe two, or three!) a month before it releases. 
Want to win? Enter below. 
Open Internationally!
Contest ends October 21st!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dangerous Depths Blog Tour Sign Up

The release of Dangerous Depths is almost here! On November 20th the gang from Tangled Tides will embark on another ocean journey, but you can read the story early if you want to help spread the word about its release.

The fabulous Jennifer and Ena at Enticing Journey Book Promotions are hosting the Dangerous Depths release blitz and blog tour.
If you're interested in receiving a free eARC next week in exchange for helping with promotion and/or reviews, then click here to sign up. 
Enticing Journey Book Promotions

It's getting closer! *insert nervous but excited smile here*

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Ready to see the cover of DANGEROUS DEPTHS? Here it is...
Isn't it fintastic? 
It was created by the same fabulous designer who created the TANGLED TIDES cover, Melissa Williams.

Book 2 of The Sea Monster Memoirs will be releasing a little bit earlier than originally announced. The new release date is November 20th, 2013. Only a couple months away!

Some of you may have read my post about Rhemalda Publishing going out of business, and while I'm very sad about losing them as the publishers of my sea creature books, the series will continue. However, I'll be making some minor changes to TANGLED TIDES and releasing the "second edition" this winter, so that means the Rhemalda first edition will be a collector's item. (You'll probably never sell it for much on Ebay, but at least it will have sentimental value.)

To celebrate the beautiful DANGEROUS DEPTHS cover, I'm giving a way a signed paperback of the first edition. The winner will also receive an ebook of DANGEROUS DEPTHS the day it releases. 
Enter here: 
Some readers were surprised to hear there's a sequel to TANGLED TIDES. Some believed I wrapped up the story nice and neatly, so what could book 2 be about? Well, things didn't end as happily as Yara and Treygan thought. Check it out:

Hell hath no fury like a selkie separated from his true love.

The gate to the sea creature realm is finally open. Rownan assumes the worst is behind him when he returns home after years of waiting to be reunited with his wife, Vienna. Only to find out that Vienna didn’t wait for him. She traveled to the evil realm of Harte years ago, hoping the legend of another gateway to Earth’s realm was real, but she was never heard from again. Rownan claimed he’d go through hell to be with Vienna, and now he must prove it.

Yara wanted to bask in the glow of her happily ever after in the magical realm of Rathe. She planned to explore Medusa and Poseidon’s world and dive deeper into her relationship with Treygan, but as the new leader of Rathe, her powers are needed to save more than one member of her own kind. Treygan vowed to always be Yara’s guardian, but long ago he also swore to go any lengths to protect his brother Rownan. Now, he must fulfill his promise to both of them.

Rownan, Yara, and Treygan are about to put their lives and souls at risk by traveling to the most dangerous realm of the worlds. Love should conquer all, but no one has ever conquered Harte. 

Huge thank you to Melissa Williams on her magical and fabulous work
And many thanks to all the readers and supporters of my books. 
My gratitude is deeper than the oceans.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


"Good bye may seem forever. Farewell is like the end, but in my heart is the memory and there you will always be." ~Walt Disney
Rhemalda Publishing gave me my start in this wild and amazing world of books. They loved and believed in my story, Tangled Tides, when no other agent or publisher did. They even looked past its hideous original title, A Motley Mermaid. *hangs head in shame*

I still remember being at the RWA conference in NYC and receiving the call from Emmaline at Rhemalda. She said they loved my mermaid story and wanted to discuss whether we'd be a good fit for each other. Turns out we were a great fit.

They were a new publisher. I was a debut author. We took a chance on each other. And I'm so grateful that we did. I have had a wonderful ride with Rhemalda. Yes, there was a bump or two here and there, but that's the way the publishing business works. (If there are no bumps along the way, you're not working hard enough.)

As some of you know, I chose to self-publish my Kindrily series. What you might not know is that I respected Rhemalda so much that I discussed my plans with them beforehand. I explained I wasn't self-publishing my other series because I was unhappy with them--I was very happy with them. I simply wanted Grasping at Eternity published yesterday, instead of waiting a year or more for the traditional publishing process. (Patience has never been my strongest virtue.) I basically asked Rhemalda for their blessing. Being the wonderful people they are, they wholeheartedly gave their approval and support. And have continued to do so ever since.

Me and my sea creatures planned on swimming along with Rhemalda for the long haul. The Sea Monster Memoirs series was their baby as much as it was mine, and I planned to submit every sea peep book to them and only them. Dangerous Depths, the sequel to Tangled Tides, was accepted and scheduled for release on December 1, 2013.

Cover design started. I've been working on edits and revisions. And then...

And then, an email arrived. A phone call occurred. A couple tears were shed (at least on my part). Wine and too much chocolate was consumed. Rhemalda is closing their doors for business.

I'm breaking up with someone(s) I love, and I don't want to break up. Worse, those someones are going through a challenging time personally with family health concerns.*sad sigh*

The publishing business is difficult nowadays. The big 6 has become the big 5. Small presses are going out of business left and right. Why? Because the system is broken. I could write a whole blog post about how messed up the book return system is and how publishers lose money left and right. How impossible it is to make a profit based on more than a dozen constantly changing factors. But plenty of people have posted about that stuff.

I'm here to tell you that I'm sad to be losing Rhemalda as the publisher of my sea creature stories. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish I had won Powerball so I could give them a million dollars and tell them to keep doing what they love--publishing books--and not worry about profits.

But I have never won Powerball, so like all the Rhemalda authors, I have to say goodbye. This scene from Fox and The Hound pretty much reflects how I feel. I'm Todd. Rhemalda is Widow Tweed.

Yes, I'm going to be fine. Yes, I've been set free. But we had so many great memories together. What happens now?

Thankfully, and respectfully, as always, Rhemalda is doing all they can to look out for their authors. They are NOT filing bankruptcy, so all rights will revert back to authors without being held up by legal proceedings. Royalties will still be paid. They are answering any and all questions by phone, Skype, or email, and doing everything possible to guide authors to the best next step for them and their career.

In today's world of increasingly popular "every man for himself" business practices, Rhemalda is demonstrating a lot of class, dignity, and love for what they do, even as they have to close their doors. That's respectable and admirable. I'm honored to have been part of such a stand-up organization, and associated with such talented and kind-hearted people.

I consider myself lucky. I have fond memories. I have a beautiful debut novel that I'm proud of. I learned so much about this business from Rhemalda and my experiences with them. And, the best part, I've met some amazing people along the way. Rhemalda the publishing company is dissolving, but the people are not. Those people will remain in my heart forever.

Now, what's this news mean for my books? Dangerous Depths is still on track to release this winter. Possibly mid-November instead of the original Dec 1st date. Tangled Tides (the first edition) is still available and will continue to be until I release the "second edition" under my Starry Sky Publishing name. To those who have a copy of the Rhemalda version, hang onto them. They will soon be a collector's item. ;)

Dangerous Depths has the same fabulous cover designer who created the Tangled Tides cover, and the same incredible editor. Rhemalda made sure they left me and my sequel in good hands. Again, I'm grateful to them for that and everything else they've done for me.

I would have loved for Rhemalda to thrive and continue publishing my books (and so many others) forever, but as Big Mama from Fox and The Hound says:
"Darlin, forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things."
She's right. We authors have to roll with the changes of this ever-morphing book business. I'm rolling with this big change with a heavy but hopeful heart.

To my beloved readers, I hope you'll keep rolling along with me.
And to Rhemalda, thank you. For everything and then some. I will never forget where I came from.

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