December 2, 2014

Nightmares and Dreams

This post is about a reoccurring nightmare that started when I was quite young. I would wake in a sweat, too terrified to scream. It happened so often, I actually expected it to return each time I closed my  eyes. As I grew , I sometimes knew I was dreaming and try to change the outcome. Lucid dream or not, I couldn't change it. Not one detail. 
However, I discovered a nightmare can become a dream--one to follow. Doesn't make sense? Read on.

The smell of lavender is strong while I flee through the castle gardens. Frustration mounts as the blue silk dress I'm wearing hinders my stride. I gather the skirts, kick off my shoes and run barefoot across the pebbled path. A low-hanging tree branch catches my braided hair, yanking me to a halt. Adrenaline swooshes through my veins, and fear drives me forward. Though I try to cover the distance between the gardens and the main doors of the castle, it’s as if I am running through water. My breath stutters with exertion, but I must make it inside to save a little child. I do not know if he’s my own, or why I must save him.
As I pass through the doors, my garb changes from the beautiful gown to tunic and breeches. Not only that, but quiver filled with arrows is slung across my shoulder and I clutch a bow in my fist.
 I find ruin in my path. The sweet lavender aroma turns to acrid smoke, choking me. My burning eyes fill with tears. The castle--my home--is in flames. I  search for the child. A suction of doom catches my heartbeat as I skid to a stop in a corridor. The child is in the arms of an enemy knight, my own father dead at his feet.
 I arm my bow with surety and watch the arrow meet its mark—through the man’s chest. He drops the child and I rush to the man, surprised I knock him down. Slipping a dagger from my boot, I trace a line across the man’s throat, assuring he is dead. Weeping, I damn the enemy to hell for killing my father.  
I hear the child whimper, It is a little boy. Deed done, I grab the child and flee to the lower level of the castle, recalling an escape through a door into the backfields. The lad is crying and I beg him to be quiet. I cannot pry the door open and someone...I just know it is the clomping down the stone steps.  Vast rows of casks line the walls and I ditch in a space where one is missing. I clamp my hand across the child’s mouth and try to control my heavy breathing.
The footsteps draw near. Once again, I am clad in the silk blue gown.  The child is no longer in my arms, as if he never existed.  The hand against my lips, covered with the blood of my enemy, is my own. Now it's me the knight is after. I press my back hard against the cask when I glimpse the end of his lance.
 Dark and dank, the room smells like earth, tinged with oak. My heart pounds so hard, I am sure he can hear it, but he stalks by, his head void of a helmet. I hold my breath, waiting for him to give up his allow me time to wake from this nightmare.
 The knight takes a step back, then another and slowly turns his head. We lock gazes, his squints, mine widen. I shake my head, unable to speak, to pray. 
The thud of his lance into the cask behind me takes my breath. I'm impaled. With my life slipping away, I grasp the lance in my chest, my blood mixing with ale, my breath whispering my last plea.

Who is the child? I never knew. 
What a weird dream , huh?  I mean, I was a grown woman in the dream, yet a young child when I awoke--with a silent scream, clutching sweaty sheets, tremors of fear undulating from the inside out.  Certain of admonishment if I woke anyone with “that silly dream” for the countless time, I couldn't even call out for comfort after awhile. Cuddling deep in my covers,  I'd whisper it's just a dream into my pillow, but deep inside I knew it was real.
 I know that doesn't make sense, and even as a child I knew it was a contradiction, but somehow everything in that dream really happened. The familiarity of it all made me question myself and ...well, everything. 
I shared this dream with my family, but stopped doing so when I'd receive a slow smile, a shared look which closed me out. "You're being silly." A litte hug and "Now go play." I kept silent after that.
 I played imaginary games involving kings, queens, princesses and and knights that protected the people within the walls of the castle. I built some kick ass castles out of dominos, by the way. All along, I hoped my imaginings would calm the night to come. It didn't.
Somewhere along the way from childhood to adolescence, the nightmare stopped. One morning, halfway through a bowl of cereal, the realization hit.
 I didn't have "The dream" the night before.
 Odd as it seems, I simply knew I wouldn't have it again. No more knight, no more child, no more lance sliding effortlessly through my chest.
And I was right; I never did. However, the sound of the lance echoed in the recess of my mind as I drifted to sleep. That stayed with me long after the odor of smoke, blood, lavender, earth, and oak dispersed. The urgency to find the child, the fear, and death slowly drifted into a distant memory. The lance--the horrid sound of it hitting the cask behind me--was the last to leave.
 Many years later, the nightmare returned in a way. No, it didn't creep into my bedroom,intent on haunting my night. The fearful remnants which resided deep in my mind transformed into something pure and good. I suppose my subconscious was the culprit..or savior. 
I didn't plan on it, but the dreadful nightmare is a scene in my novel,  Jewel of Ramstone. This medieval romance was born from a long ago nightmare. 
So, as I stated earlier: A nightmare can become a dream--one to follow. A horrid experience made my dream come true.
 I'm a storyteller and I penned the life of Ruby in Jewel of Ramstone. A dream come true. 

UPDATE; Many readers fell in love with a secondary character, Sir Jac, in Jewel of Ramstone, So...yeah this will be a series. (I kind of have a crush on Jac too.) I've decided to call it Medieval Quest Series. Why you ask? (Okay, so you didn't, but pretend.) Because the obvious era, but mostly because the common vein is a quest to find truth, honor, memory, love...ya know, a quest for what is right. 

November 25, 2014

Twenty-fifth Day

Weird things pop in my mind. I'm serious. Today is November 25th, so like any weird person, I decided I must do something twenty-fivish.
So, here's 25 things that make my heart smile.

1. My very own knight, who mended my battle-weary heart
2. Every moment my children smile
3. Family--even the ones who make me grit my teeth
4. Memories of my Ma-maw
5. Phone calls from my sisters
6. Hot cocoa jokes 
7. Giggles at inappropriate times--which makes me laugh harder
8. Adventures in a different country 
9. A vivid imagination
10. The gift of storytelling
11. Editors (I swear, a good one makes the difference between celebration and dread.)
12. People who believe in me
13. Second chances
14. Hope
15. Unconditional love
16. First words
17. Last words
18. A whisper when I'm mad. (especially when his breath tickles my neck.)
19. Jumping jacks (only my sister will understand this.)
20. When someone reads my books--and loves them
21. Critiques
22. When a character appears out of nowhere
23. When a character takes over a story
24. When people  talk about  characters in my books like they're real
25. The day Jewel of Ramstone was finished. (Though I felt a bit lost without the characters filtering through every thought.)

Tah-dah, there's twenty-five thankful things!  *Wink* I'm thankful for alliteration too. 

November 22, 2014

Something for Saturday: Spotlight

Author Carolyn LaRoche's New Release!
Someone wants Angelina dead...again. Will following her heart put her in danger or in the arms of the man she's meant to be with? 

As far as the world knows, NYPD detective Angelina Ferrara died in a violent firefight on Chelsea Piers over a year ago. Living in the witness protection program as history teacher Lucy Taylor was supposed to save her life, but being alive and living were two very different things. Until she meets detective Logan James when he goes undercover in the same private school where she works. Something about the handsome man with the gorgeous blue eyes piques her interest. There’s no doubt he has secrets… but then so does she.  When the Ricci crime family discovers she’s still alive, she finds herself on the run with Logan. Her heart led her astray before. Can she trust it to let Logan help her survive?

Her little car had an engine about as powerful as a hamster wheel. There was no way she was going to outrun the truck that was accelerating with lightning speed. On one side of her was a deep ravine, the other the steep slope of a mountain towered high and tree covered. The steering wheel shook violently as she pushed her little car to its limits, sheer adrenaline keeping her focused on the winding road. As she rounded a sharp curve, the back tires spun and fishtailed out from behind her. The tiny car shook violently as Lucy struggled to maintain control. The SUV caught up with her then, ramming into her rear bumper. The car groaned but held on. Lucy spun the wheel to make the next sharp curve, all the while her eyes searched for a way off the dangerous mountain highway. Another crash from behind jolted her car forward with such force Lucy lost her grip on the steering wheel. The car veered right but she managed to straighten it out before hitting the tree line.
"What the hell do you want with me?" she screamed at the truck in her rearview mirror.
The driver responded by slamming into the back of her car again. Metal ground against metal, gravel flew everywhere, and the car careened toward a thick bank of trees to her left. Straightening the car once more, Lucy crushed the gas pedal to the floor and watched as the speedometer climbed quickly. Lucy felt the little rush of excitement she always got in a good pursuit despite the fact that she was the one being pursued.
She whipped around yet another curve, and the SUV caught up with her. Just as she managed to get her little car under control again, the SUV crashed into her back end again with such force Lucy thought her car might shatter there in the middle of the road. The little car veered to the right, aiming straight for the side of the road and the ravine beyond. Lucy tried to regain control but the effort was in vain. She braced herself as the car plowed through thick vegetation, hit something, and started to slide down the steep embankment.
She heard the growl of the SUV's engine roaring away over the revving of her own engine as the tiny car crashed through the underbrush. The car flew over a log and landed on the slick vegetation covering the incline. The car lost its hold on the ground and rolled its way down the slope, finally landing up against the trunk of a large pine tree where the engine died. Lucy's head smacked against the steering wheel knocking her near to senseless. Everything fell deathly silent as she fought to remain conscious.
A loud crack broke the silence. As she watched through the broken windshield, the tree in front of her began to wobble. Blood trailed from her forehead into her left eye blurring her already shaky vision. Rubbing at it with the back of her arm, she used her other hand to desperately claw at the seat belt release.
If she didn't get out of the car, the tree was going to fall right on top of her.
The giant pine swayed once and then began its descent toward Lucy and her crumpled car. Yanking hard at the jammed seat belt, her head swimming and her stomach churning, Lucy finally freed herself. Just as the tree crushed the roof of her car, like it were nothing more than a tin can, Lucy pulled her body through the opening that used to be the driver's side window.
Cracking wood and crunching metal stirred up a cacophony of birds and small animals protesting the intrusion in their habitat. Lucy lay on the damp moss and rotting leaves, her heart banging against her chest wall. The sound of her pulse racing in her ears muted the sound of the creaks and groans as the tree settled against what was left of her car. Every inch of her body hurt, but her head ached most of all.
Release Date : 11/28/2014     Pre-order Today!

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.  She is co-author of the book The Crazy Lives of Police Wives and hangs out online at both Carolyn La Roche - Author and

November 15, 2014

Something for Saturday~ What's better than a book?

  Seriously, what's better than a book? You open the cover and words take you to a place you've never been.

That's what I love about writing as well. I create characters, settings, and places for a reader to escape to--if for but a while. (I escape too. Just saying.)

My main genre is historical fiction. Especially medieval. I haven't a clue as to why I've always been fascinated with that time period. I even had a reoccurring dream that I was a medieval maiden running from an enemy knight--well, I guess that's more of a nightmare, but that's another story. (If I remember right, I posted about that nightmare a couple of years back. It actually inspired a scene in Jewel of Ramstone.) Maybe I'll re-post that later this week.

Anyway...where was I? Oh yeah, medieval times. I researched the era to assure the clothing, food, weaponry and such are accurate in my stories, be it The Medieval Quest series with book one JEWEL OF RAMSTONE. or my Magic Stone Series.

Fantasy is fantasy, but I used what I gleaned from medieval research in the Magic Stone Trilogy as well. Obviously I didn't research the time-travel element in that series. (I really wish I had a Tardis...or Dr. Who.) Luckily, someone or something blessed me with storytelling ability, and I wrote the first book, For All Time. Cade travels from medieval times to modern day where he meets Sage. And her dog, Tex. I didn't intend to have my very own dog in the story, but he nudged his way in, and nearly stole the story with his typical mischief. 

The second book, Timeless Valentine, is filled with the wonderment a medieval sorcerer can bring to a teller at a bank. Kerry, the teller, and Wren, work magic of their own. Enough said?

The third book, Stolen Time, was kind of a surprise to me. I didn't even know the first book would start a series. Though I am the author, my characters tend to take over my writing. There's a secondary character, Margery, from book one, For All Time. When I wrote the word END, I thought that was the end of her. However, Margery refused to give up her fight. She nagged me, and refused to quit until I gave her a chance to snag the man she loved. Little did Margery realize I was going to tear her away from everything familiar...

Well, heck. I guess I've rambled enough. 

Woman reading a book by stockphoto at   
The dog photo...TEX--is mine. 

October 15, 2014

What's for Wednesday?

Each Wednesday of this 30 day countdown will spotlight whatever tickles my fancy.

Today, I'm pretty damn tickled with the great staff at Breathless Press. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all.

Justyn Perry: Publisher. Thank you for giving my books a second life, and giving me hope when I thought I'd hit a dead end. Because of you, my creativity has a perfect outlet, and my future is brighter...all because you believed in me.

Victoria Miller: Cover Artist extraordinaire. She takes my ramblings and odd descriptions and somehow creates a perfect hug for my books. I just called a cover a hug, but that's how Victoria makes me feel. The art is a perfect compliment to the story inside. You know the old saying, don't judge a book by its cover? Pffft. Cover art is what draws me to a book. Thank you Victoria, for your amazing talent.

Allie Kincheloe: It takes a special someone to sift through a three hundred page manuscript, and know just what needs tweaking, a change of point of view, or a change in timeline...and more. Allie is that special someone. She's my editor, friend and go-to-girl for the gazillion questions that come up during round after round of edits. I love edits. I swear I do. I even share my chocolate with my editor now. Thank you, Allie for your gentle guidance. (And the crack of the whip at deadlines.).

My heart smiles at Breathless Press.

June 14, 2014

Kelly Ryan~ Author Extraordinaire

Hi blog followers! Allow me to introduce fellow author, Kelly Ryan. She's got fantastic new stuff in store for you!

Okay, blog is yours...

First of all I want to thank J. M./aka Jeannie, for letting me stop by her blog for a little chat today. Is she an awesome lady or what? Thanks again Jeannie!

I recently read a book entitled, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey, which contains the daily habits of many famous artists, authors and other creative types. It was a fascinating read and it really made me think about my own daily writing rituals. First I noticed that there tend to be two types of creative people, those who wake up early and have a very strict routine when it comes to their work, and those who don't. Haruki Murakami for instance gets up at 4 am when he is writing a novel. I certainly do not have that dedication, or I just physically require more sleep than that man does.

No, I definitely fall in the category of creative people who work at different times on different days, depending on their mood and their other responsibilities. I suppose I could write at 4 am every day, but I would be useless the rest of the time and I have a day job to be awake for. So I carve out writing time around my schedule, but I do work every day and I suppose I do have some rituals, don't we all have some if we stop and think about it.

When that grand time comes, be it morning or late at night, when I get some alone time with my computer I have to get the internet surfing out of the way. I check and answer email, working on my blog and webpage, see what is going on over on Facebook. I have to do this before I write or I will get distracted during.  Then I can get to my writing.

 Sometimes I have a half hour before work. Sometimes I have two hours at night. If I am really lucky I have both. It all depends on the day, but hey Jane Austen wrote her novels little snippets at a time and then at night as well. If it worked for her it can work for me too, right?
It most certainly can!

I guess all writers and creative types have different rituals and habits, but we all still put out work the best we can. Someday I hope to be lucky enough that writing is my only job and maybe then I will have a set schedule to write and maybe it will improve my output, but until then I have my own process and it is working for me, writing little snippets one at a time a la Ms. Austen! The important thing is that I have the ritual of writing each and every day and that is all that it takes to be a writer!

Here's my latest creation:


Blurb from Taking Pleasure Where You Can:

John never thought that he would be the same after Pearl Harbor, then he set eyes on Imee and everything changed.
Ever since Pearl Harbor John had become a shell of a man, not able to move on from the trauma. One night out with the guys and one woman were about to change everything.

Joe seemed to know everyone, and everyone seemed keen to be near him. It made it much easier for the quiet by nature and still healing John to slowly make some friends. Once the drinks started flowing, he even began to loosen up a bit. He missed hanging out with guys, telling stories, joking around, and laughing. His Captain had been right; this was what he needed and what his friends who had passed on would want. He was beginning to feel alive again, and it felt good. Then he caught sight of her.

Kelly Ryan, aka Sheri Velarde, lives in New Mexico with her fiancé and two dogs, and grew up with a fascination for all things that "go bump in the night", so it is no wonder that she turned to writing paranormal romance among other genres of romance. She is an avid exerciser and gets some of her best ideas while on runs. She also has a bit of a wild side, which only leads to inspiration for her writing.
Being an avid reader since an early age, she has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She has been writing all her life, but only recently started to actually try to pursue her dream of writing for a living.
She is constantly putting out new material, so it is best to keep up with her on her website.

June 1, 2014


Say awkward out loud. Doesn't that word sound awkward? Yesterday, I discovered if I said the word  awkward enough times, it didn't resemble a word at all! It just reminded me of a deranged crow. Giggling at the thought, I kept repeating it. Then...

my neighbor peeked over my privacy fence.

I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants. It was in those precarious moments of near-dampness that I realized I AM AWKWARD. Other than the fact I act like an idiot in public, here's proof of that deduction:

I am clumsy...
...and clumsy on top of clumsy.

I do weird stuff for no reason....
...and find joy in doing so.

I blurt stuff like: 

 Libraries remind me of explosions from a fairy's imagination.
Yeah, that sounded better in my head.

That's all I'm divulging...for now. People have a challenge understanding me as it is.

Can you relate? If so, what are some of your awkward traits?

Blog comments welcome...
...even awk-awk-awkward ones.

May 25, 2014

5 reasons an author has the right to throw a book

I know throwing a book at someone is wrong, but sometimes I'm tempted to do just that. There's things people should avoid saying to a writer.

 People have actually spouted these things to me:

"Oh! You write books? Can I have a free copy?" My mind pings through comebacks like a pinball machine.  Oh! You paint portraits,build homes, write music or dance for a living? Can I have whatever you create at no cost? However, I hand them a business card and smile. "You'll find the prices very reasonable.Thanks for your support!"

 "Must be nice to play on the computer all day writing books." Yes. Someone actually said this. I had no response. None. Sometimes I just have to walk away.
"I should write a book too. It's pretty easy, right?" Okay, writing is a frickin' craft. Like a fine piece of furniture, it must be polished on a regular basis. Can you pick up a paintbrush and miraculously create a masterpiece? Can you sit at the piano and instantly create a stellar hit? Can you put on skis and join the Olympic team? Please, don't tell a writer their craft is easy--unless you enjoy dodging flying objects.

"You're published? Then why are you working here?" Artists--most of them anyway--have a day job.
When my books hit the New York Times' best seller list, I'll quit my job. In the meantime, I need to eat.

"How much do you make writing?" My response: "Why do you ask?" This shuts them up every time. Besides, no matter what the royalties add up to, I first and foremost write because it fulfills me--unlike my day job.

That being said, let me add, I'd NEVER throw a book at someone... would ruin the binding.

Photos courtesy of freedigitalcom contributors:
Stuart Miles, Tungphoto, Photoknock

March 9, 2014

I think I can...I think I can.

I want to run away on a train. . 

I just received an acceptance letter from my publisher, Breathless Press. My novel (a.k.a. my baby) needs my undivided attention. So...I applied for a writer's residency on Amtrak. Why? Because it's hard to do edits while plugging my ears. 
lalalalala I can't hear you!

I have a noisy home; barking dog, autistic antics, and blaring game shows are just a few of the distractions I deal with on a daily basis. (Not to mention my three teenagers wrestling on the couch next to me as I write this post.)

 I've actually considered taking a sharpie pen and writing DO NOT DISTURB on my forehead when I'm in my writing mode.

So, you see, running away on a train is probably a better choice. Amtrak will keep me on track with my edits!  What a great idea. Run away from it all for a couple of days. I entered my information on the Amtrak site. Now comes the waiting part....

and waiting...and waiting....

You know what I just realized? I used the words 'run away' and 'train' in the same post.
Didn't quite think that one through.

Would you apply for a writer's residency on a train? Why or why not?

Images courtesy of the following artists at
 Ambro, imagerymajestic, photostock,and Teeratas