Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

So I'm working hard on revising Genesis (releasing 10/28) and getting it ready for you lovely peeps and thought I'd share a little tease with you today. Please keep in mind that I'm still revising, so this could change in the future. But here you go:

Cassandra followed the light of the full moon that still hung high in the sky back to the battlefield, skirting the woods this time. The darkness within them frightened her. She knew animals would be out hunting and from the sounds, not all were small creatures. The cracks of larger branches breaking made her believe something inside was bigger than her and she didn’t want to be its prey. But she didn’t stop and turn back. Her concern for Niko outweighed her fear.
When she approached the tree she’d left him under, though, her heart sank. He was nowhere around. She took a few timid steps into the woods, peering into the darker areas where he might have found better shelter, but no sign of him existed at all. Not even her water skins were left behind. There was no blood, though, no sign of a struggle.
She blew out a sigh of exasperation. After hours of nightmares and little sleep, she’d worried for nothing. His comrades must have found him and taken him back to their camp. Relief that he was safe finally washed through her, followed by a twinge of disappointment in her heart. She’d been hoping, more than she’d realized, that she’d see him again.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Post That Never Was

Well, I hope that you are all having a marvelous Monday. That is all I have to say today.

**Note: I did have a post all written out but my cranky, old laptop knows it's about to be replaced by a shiny new Mac and apparently developed short-timers disease. You know - that illness that sets in when you know you're leaving your job (for whatever reason) and you don't want to do it anymore, although you still have two weeks to put in. Also known as Senioritis to high school seniors. Or perhaps the lappy's feelings are hurt because I'm replacing it with a young, savvier specimen. I don't know. Whatever its problem is, it crashed and ate my post. And I don't have time to rewrite it. Don't worry. It wasn't all that special anyway.

**Note 2: I do have something interesting to share, for those have asked and been patiently waiting. Signed print editions of the new Promise and Purpose are now available! Order here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Going Home

Promise began a hundred different ways. And I really don't think I'm exaggerating. In some of the false starts, it opened with Alexis already at college. In some, she was at the bookstore with Sophia, helping her paint and clean. It always began with her starting college in Florida, far away from where she'd graduated high school, but the actual location of the opening scene changed many times. As did the place from where she came.

In some drafts, she'd moved from Denver or Chicago. For a long time, she'd come from Minnesota. I've never been to Minnesota, but it didn't matter because there wasn't actually a scene in the Land of Lakes. I didn't need to know many specifics.

When I decided there needed to be an opening scene that brought in the bad guys sooner, though, I realized I needed a location I was familiar with. It was a no-brainer as soon as the whole scene played out in my mind. I imagined it on the street where my best friend in high school had lived. I "saw" Alexis walk by her house before all hell broke loose. That scene belonged in Arlington, Virginia. The place I call "home."

You probably already know, but in case you don't, I moved around a lot as a kid. From 12 years old until 20, however, I lived in Arlington. That's where I did most of my growing up. I loved living there - not quite in the city but not exactly suburbs either, right across the river from D.C., where we spent much of our free time. I'm sure I complained of being bored, but I look back now and realize just how much there is to do there.

I miss it. I didn't leave because I wanted "get out" as many young people do when they leave home. I left out of necessity. I've only been back a couple times since leaving in the early 90s, with the last time in 2004. Even then, though, we just did a quick drive-by, getting a glimpse of my old stomping grounds as we headed downtown to eat crabs and watch fireworks.

In a week, I will be headed home. And I am so freakin' excited. I'll get to see some people I haven't seen since...well, some since high school graduation. Including that friend whose house showed up in the opening scene of Promise.

I'll also be doing a signing! So if you happen to be in the D.C./Northern Virginia area, I'd love to meet you. The signing will be Tuesday, 9/6, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Eclectic Threads, 2647 N Pershing Drive, Arlington. I'll have the new edition versions of Promise and Purpose available for purchase, too.

Unfortunately, the trip won't be all fun and laughter. The main reason for going is to lay my grandmother to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. My aunt and I are calling the road trip up there "The Farewell Tour." We'll be visiting some of Grandma's favorite stops between here and there - the ones she always was sure to stop at when she used to make the semi-annual drive as a snowbird. So I'm sure there will be some tough moments along the way.

Overall, though, I think it will be a good trip. We'll relive old memories and create new ones. We'll say hello to old friends and good-bye to a special lady. And knowing my grandmother, she'll be pleased to have such a tour in her honor.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Today I am honored to be a stop on the lovely and fantabulous Heather McCorkle's Tour of Secrets, celebrating her debut release, THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL. I am so excited for this book. It's next on the TBR pile.

About THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL (from Goodreads):
It’s hard enough being a teenager under normal circumstances; imagine being orphaned, sent to live with an unfamiliar aunt—and learning that there really is magic in the world. Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with her aunt. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.

Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they—and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. Now, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, his charm convinces her that being a channeler may not be all bad.

As Eren and Aiden’s relationship blooms, so too does a mystery in Spruce Knoll. The town holds many secrets—and many enemies. It soon becomes apparent that the untimely death of Eren’s parents-and Aidens-was no accident and that her life might be in danger, too. Only time will tell if Eren has the power to protect the people she has come to love.

On each stop of her tour, Heather is revealing a secret about herself, her book and her writing. So what's my secret question? Before you read it, you might want to check this out so you get a good visual of Aiden (*swoon*). But don't forget to come back to see the secret here and find out how to win some fabulous prizes.

My secret question:
What is a secret thought Aiden has about Eren?

Directly from Aiden:
There's this light inside Eren that has nothing to do with her power. It's all about her kind, giving nature and the way she puts others before herself. Sure she's wicked hot but that's just icing on an amazing package. 

Heather's offering frawesome (freakin' awesome) prize packs for her tour. You get an extra entry for being my follower and commenting here. There are lots of other ways to enter, too, so go do it. You want this book. Trust me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five for Friday - Giveaways

I'm off to take my son to college, but just wanted to give a quick reminder of giveaways going on Right. Now.

1. Soul Savers Swag Pack - Confessions of a Bookaholic - ends Monday, 8/22

2. Soul Savers Swag Pack - A Life Bound by Books - ends Monday, 8/22

3. Signed paperbacks of Promise and Purpose (1.0 and 2.0) and Soul Savers Swag Pack - Lori's Reading Corner as part of the Romancing Your Dark Side Tour - ends Thursday, 9/1

4. Lots of books and swag and even a Kindle in the Romancing Your Dark Side Tour - through October 31.

I currently have the above four, but it's Friday and I haven't done Five for Friday in so long. It's killing me to leave it at four. So here's a hint at Monday's post because the giveaways have already started:

5. Heather McCorkle's fantabulous The Tour of Secrets giveaway

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday - Blogging Like Cooking

I love to cook. I hate making dinner. At least, I hate trying to figure out what's for dinner. I can stare at the contents of the fridge, freezer and pantry forever, only to get frustrated because nothing good comes to mind.

Annoyed, I eventually pull out the ingredients and throw together something from the standard rotation. Nothing new or exciting but at least The Man and The Herd get fed. Fortunately, I have a long list of standard dishes in the rotation and they all love my cooking, so they don't mind. But for me, cooking like this is not satisfying.

When I plan ahead, however, I get excited about making dinner. I create menus before I go grocery shopping, ensuring that at least one new-to-us recipe is included for the week. When it comes time to make dinner, I can skip the decision-making process and get right to the fun stuff - actual cooking.

For the last couple of years, though, I haven't been very good about this planning ahead. Juggling two businesses, kids, household and writing, I forget these peeps in this house need food until one of them says, "Mom, what's for dinner?" And I say, "You want dinner??? But you just had dinner last night."

see more dog and puppy pictures
Since they insist on eating every day, I draw on whatever energy I have left to ensure they do. Grocery shopping and cooking become last-minute, just-get-it-done tasks. I buy the same stuff every week because it's easy, making shopping almost automatic. Automatic but so uninspiring.

I've realized recently that all of this applies to blogging for me. I love to blog. I hate deciding what to blog about. Just like I can stare at the refrigerator until the milk jug forms little beads of sweat, I can stare at the blank Blogger box, wondering what to do with it. When I haven't thought ahead, nothing sounds enticing, so I end up either not blogging at all or boring the crap out of me and my readers.

But like cooking, when I know what my next post is going to be about, it comes fairly easily. I've had time for the idea to stew in my mind so when it comes time to write, many of the sentences are already fully formed. And I have so many ideas I really want to execute on this blog, but haven't yet. Because, again, I've been in survival mode.

As part of the nesting phase I'm in right now, I'm organizing my blog schedule. I'm actually creating a calendar just for the blog and will schedule in those fun features I've been wanting to do for months. I'm already getting excited about blogging again. I can't wait to share these new features.

Then, maybe I can spend less time staring at a blank Blogger screen and more time planning next week's meals.
Do you like to cook? How do you keep it exciting? And how do you keep your blogging fresh and inspiring?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blog Tour Stop & Teaser Tuesday - EVERBLUE by Brenda Pandos

Last December 14th, I held a Twitter party to celebrate the release of my second book, Purpose, the following day. It was kind of chaotic and I don't remember everyone who joined me, but there were many people I "knew" from the interwebz and some I didn't. One I didn't know was Brenda Pandos, although the name rang somewhat familiar. I was just too busy managing tweets to realize then that I'd seen her books on all the book blogs.

Then someone mentioned her own Twittter party the next day. To celebrate the release of her second book. On December 15th. I attended her party, even won a copy of the book, The Sapphire Talisman, and we laughed about our second books being "twins" since they shared the same birthday. And from there, history was made. Or...it's in the process of being made, anyway.

Brenda and I have hit it off ever since. Our writing paths and publication journeys are very similar. Together, we've celebrated the extreme highs of #1 sales ranks and commiserated the lows of indie publishing. A talented graphic designer, she redesigned my book covers for me. I read her next release and provided feedback.

And now, finally, I get to share it with you!

Brenda's new release, EVERBLUE, immerses you in a sweet love story and a beautiful underwater world that makes you wish you could grow a tail and fin so you could go visit it yourself. With this first book in The Mer Tales, we meet Ashlyn, Fin and Tatiana, Ash's best friend and Fin's twin sister. Ash has had a crush on Fin for years, but not even Tatiana knows. Neither does anyone know that the feelings are mutual.

Fin also has a thing for Ash, but, unfortunately, he doesn't see how he can make it work, being that he's mer-folk and all. So he tries to keep her protected from his fantastical world, which means fighting his feelings for her. I won't tell you how that works out...

You root for these two to get together throughout the book, but life has other plans for them. Or does it?

I love this book. It's a sweet escape with lovable characters, especially the adorable Fin. We get the story from both Ash and Fin's viewpoints and Brenda did a fantastic job in portraying Fin as a real guy. Many female authors try to write from a teen boy's point-of-view, but not many can pull it off convincingly. They often come across as too feminine. But not Fin. He has just the right amount of boy to make him real, but not too much of the parts that make us girls want to hit him.

If you enjoy YA paranormal with a little romance or a YA romance with some paranormal, I recommend EVERBLUE to you. To wet your appetites (I know, it's supposed to be whet, but we're talking about mermaids here) and because it's Teaser Tuesday, Brenda has been sweet enough to let me tease you a bit with an excerpt from EVERBLUE (from Fin's POV):

Ashlyn stood awkwardly as I approached. Her curvy hips and wavy red hair took my breath away. For a moment, I caught her scent and hummed—honeysuckle with just a hint of chlorine from her morning swim. Briefly, I imagined us playing in the water. She’d give me a run for my money in a race.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
Her green eyes darted away. “Not much.”
“Sorry I interrupted—” I pointed towards the imprint of my sister’s towel in the sand.
“Oh,” she said with a gulp and a smile. “It’s okay.”
She pressed her lips together and suddenly all I wanted to do was kiss her right then and there. I took a deep breath and glanced at my feet.
“Is school going good?” I asked, kicking a rock.
“Yeah.” She shrugged and then shot me that look—one with a hint of yearning behind it. I couldn’t help myself. I stepped forward and cupped her cheek. Her skin was soft as a rose petal, but within her startled eyes I caught my reflection—my very selfish expression.
Her whole life flashed before me. This kiss I desired to give her would change everything—her dreams, her life with her family, her future. Innocent and trusting, she closed her eyes and tilted her chin upward in anticipation anyway. My soul protested, but I did the only thing I could—the responsible thing.
“You’ve got something on your cheek,” I said, wiping my thumb over her skin.
She opened her eyes and pulled away, her cheeks reddening. “I do?”
I stepped back and grimaced at myself. I was being one of those guys, the jerk who led girls on and toyed with their emotions.
“I’m going to go,” she said, rubbing her hand where I’d touched, and faked a smile. “See ya later.”
She quickly stumbled up the path towards her Grandmother’s house before I could comment, but I heard what she said under her breath. “I’m so stupid.”
I sulked back to the Jeep and slammed the door, hating myself for being such an ass. The only reason I’d come in the first place was to tell Tatch about the meeting we had to attend, not get distracted by Ashlyn’s captivating beauty. And I’d made a complete mess of things.
I spun out of the spot, and drove the small distance back to our house.

Brenda's celebrating the release of EVERBLUE with lots of giveaways along the tour. Find the full schedule, and more about Brenda and her books, here.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Over the last few years, I've realized that whenever I come to the close of a big writing project, I go into nesting mode. I'm sure this has something to do with the fact that while I'm involved in such a project, everything else - housecleaning, cooking, entertaining, etc. - fall to the wayside. Even my writing space becomes more and more cramped as my desk becomes a catch-all for everything. And I mean everything. I'd show you a picture of what it looks like now, but it's just way too embarrassing.

It's not just that things get back-burnered because I'm working on deadline. That's my excuse, but I have to be honest here. See, I'm one of those people who dons blinders when I'm passionate about something. And there's not a lot I'm more passionate about than my writing. I easily ignore all that I possibly can. If there's not a copious amount of blood or money involved - my definition of "emergency" - I don't see it. I am totally focused on what's in front of me. Especially when a deadline is involved.

With the print formats of Promise and Purpose thiiiis close *holds thumb and forefinger a hair's breadth away from each other* to being done, this project of re-releasing the books is almost complete. And it's like my eyes have finally opened again to the mess around me. Ugh.

So nesting mode is kicking in. I'll be spending the rest of this week cleaning off my desk (I'm sure there's wood under here somewhere!), doing some major housecleaning and organizing my time better with an improved schedule and routine (which will last about a week or until I find myself elbow deep in Genesis again).

Friday, we take my oldest up to college and get him moved into his new apartment and then we'll be working on converting his room into an office for me (with space for him when he comes home). Which means lots of cleaning, painting and organizing. Feathering my nest. :)

So that's the plan. Of course, my deadline for Genesis is rapidly approaching, so we'll see how well I stick to this plan before I become single-minded and obsessive again.

Do you lose yourself to your passions too? Or are you one of those annoying clean freaks who always keeps everything perfect who can keep everything in beautiful balance? What kicks you into nesting mode?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What's Going On?

There's plenty going on here! A couple of my favorite authors with fantabulous new releases are stopping by for their blog tours and I've joined five other amazing authors on the Romancing Your Darkside tour, now through October. All the deets are below.

But, first...the new releases of Promise and Purpose are now available in ebook format. Promise is still only 99 cents, but only through this month. So if you want it, or know someone who does, get it now!

Also, when Promise makes it into the Top 100 of all Kindle paid, I'll donate $500 to First Book, an organization that gets books into the hands of needy children. When Purpose gets into the Top 100 of all Kindle paid, I'll donate another $500. So help me out, peeps! It's only a buck for Promise and with Amazon's new cloud service, you don't even have to own a Kindle.





The rest will be coming soon - the others take longer to get the books loaded and pages built. I'll be keeping an eye out, though, and will let you know. In the meantime, Smashwords has formats for all the ereaders. Print books will also be available in a week or two.

Upcoming Guests!


Third, I'm participating in a humongous tour myself - "Romancing Your Darkside" - with five other authors. It runs from now through October, with lots of giveaways, including a Grand Prize of a free Kindle! Check out the full schedule here. Here's mine:

August 5 - Kick Off Party & Giveaway at www.vbtcafe.com
August 14 - I'm interviewing A. Jacob Sweeny at http://authorsbyauthors.blogspot.com VGB Giveaway Week

August 18 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at www.lorisreadingcorner.com
August 20 - Interview at http://authorsbyauthors.blogspot.com VGB Giveaway Week

August 24 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at http://riftwatcher.blogspot.com
August 28 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway with author Stacey Kennedy at http://writingcrazyme.blogspot.com
August 30 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at http://immortylrevolution.blogspot.com
September 1 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at http://ashleysbookshelf.blogspot.com
September 6 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at http://dawn-hagen.blogspot.com
September 7 -  Review & Giveaway at http://takingtimeformommy.com  

September 10 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com
September 11 - Interview at http://lisahaseltonsinterviewsandreviews.blogspot.com VGB Giveaway Week

September 13 - Review & Giveaway at http://thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com
September 14 - Interview & Giveaway at http://bibrary.blogspot.com
September 14 - Author Live Chat Location TBA Time 7pm EST

September 15 - Review & Giveaway at http://whisperedthoughtsbookreviews.blogspot.com
September 16 - Interview/Review/Giveaway at http://carrieannryan.blogspot.com
September 19 - Review & Giveaway at http://mykingdomforabook.blogspot.com
September 21 - Interview at http://catemasters.blogspot.com/p/author-spotlights.html VGB Giveaway Week

September 23 - Interview/Review/Giveaway at http://moonlightbeautybooks.blogspot.com
September 25 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at http://speedyreader-allthingsbooks.blogspot.com
September 26 - Review & Giveaway at http://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com
September 28 - Review & Giveaway at http://thewolfslibrary.blogspot.com
September 30 - Review & Giveaway at http://writingcrazyme.blogspot.com
October 4 - Interview www.blogtalkradio.com/bkwalker Time 7pm EST

October 4 - Review & Giveaway at http://giveawayblogdom.blogspot.com
October 5 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at http://margaret-paranormalromanceauthor.blogspot.com
October 6 - Review & Giveaway at http://louisabacio.blogspot.com
October 13 - Review & Giveaway at http://myhomeawayfromhome-fb.blogspot.com
October 15 - Live Book Signing www.virtualbooktourcafe.com/virtual-barrista.html Time TBA

October 17 - Review & Giveaway at http://pageflipperz.blogspot.com
October 18 - Author Live Chat www.blogtalkradio.com/bkwalker Time 7pm EST

October 19 - Guest Blogging/Review/Giveaway at http://mamaknowsbooks.blogspot.com
October 24 - Interview/Review/Giveaway at http://takingitonebookatatime.blogspot.com
October 26 - Guest Blogging & Giveaway at http://azpublishingservices.blogspot.com
October 28 - Review & Giveaway at http://norachipleybarteau.blogspot.com
October 31 - Review & Giveaway at http://www.Ashley--Suzanne.blogspot.com