February 15, 2016

Totally Psyched with Totally Entwined Group

I have had a wonderful journey getting Jewel of Ramstone ready for publication with Totally Entwined Group (Totally Bound)

Click here! Excerpt, Link, and so much more.

Pre-order: February 16th
Early download: March 1st
General release: March 29th

Here's a little teaser:

November 27, 2015

Doubt Dungeon

Jewel of Ramstone is with Totally Entwined Group . So what should I do while awaiting edits? Why, keep writing of course!

I'm currently working on the  second book in the Medieval Quest Series and decided to fetch a bit of feedback before moving on with the story. I attached a few chapters to an email addressed to my beta readers. Feeling great about accomplishing that task without wandering to facebook,  I grinned and I hit the send button.

 My fist finds my forehead every single time I hit send. 

  I wonder why?

What did I just do?

 I'm satisfied with the storytelling, setting and characters. I truly believe I fleshed out their quirks, weaknesses and strengths. The quest is a good one. Plot twists? Yep, they're there too.

Why then, do I fist my head after I hit the send button? I took a lot of time thinking about this instead of meeting my daily writing goal. Here's what I came up with:

I want every reader
To love and hate
As they travel through
The medieval gate

I want each character
To be real in their eyes
 And rejoice in lives spared
Or weep when one dies

I must transport readers
To  a new life which transcends
And settle them softly
When the story ends.

At the risk of completely overusing the word want...

 I want to accomplish everything in that off-rhythm-rhyme. However, doubt slithers into my mind and sends me to the worry dungeon. That is why my fist finds my forehead. I'm trying to pound the doubt out. Apparently, it's embedded pretty deep.

 But I'm a writer, dammit. And I will learn from feedback, edits and reviews. I will continue to polish my craft. And most important, I will give my reader an experience.. 

I think every writer spends  a little time in the dungeon. 

I need to jump over the hurdles of doubt and worry. Does everyone feel this way? Oh gosh, there I go wondering about stuff again. I better sign off before I write another poem.

Female Image by David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Dungeon Image by pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

November 19, 2015

Flat Tire Inflated!

Here's a little update from the weary author on the road to starting over.

I was happily traveling along the road of a published author...wind traveling through my hair...dreaming up plots for my next book. My characters rode in the backseat, encouraging my ideas. Sometimes a new character would hitch a ride, chattering in the passenger seat, convincing me why they'd enrich the story. 

Then I got a flat tire and hobbled on the rim until the road stopped. Yep. I hit a dead end, dark forests on each side. And my rim was as damaged as my spirit.

But I'm a stubborn soul. I climbed out of the vehicle, motioned for my characters to follow, and traipsed through the scary woods, manuscripts in hand.

 We didn't cross any wolves or gingerbread houses, despite my character, Ruby, insisting she wear a red cloak. We did come across a perfect home though.
 I am happy to announce my novel, Jewel of Ramstone, was accepted by Totally Bound Group. (Part of Totally Bound Publishing)

I'm eagerly awaiting edits.  Waiting is hard for me, so in the meantime, I'm continuing the Medieval Quest series. One of my favorite secondary characters from Jewel of Ramstone gets to tell his story in this book.

I've got a slew of work to keep me busy, as I tend to have more than one (or five) works in progress.

 My diverse characters need a place to exist after all:

A contemporary romance about a paralyzed woman rebuilding her life.

A fantasy romance about a human in love with an alien.

Another fantasy about a lost soul with a broken wing and spirit who crashes into a Christmas forest.

I'm revamping the three books in the Magic Stone Series.

I'm also co-authoring yet another project. Woman's fiction surrounding the hi-jinxs between twin sisters while they attempt to save a bed and breakfast from foreclosing.

In my spare time I write story ideas on paper towels while cooking dinner. 

November 17, 2015

My Way

Many times in life, things happen swiftly, without warning. There isn't a choice in the matter. Things spin out of our control. However, the outcome in these matters depends solely on the receiver.

Yeah, this is what I tell myself when life throws bricks at me. Do I believe my pep talk? Do I think I will survive the setback? Definitively.

I was born stubborn. (Ask anyone in my family.) As a  kid, a tenacious attitude was not a quality. Nor was it accepted. I spent most of my youth grounded. I didn't know how to curb the penchant to do things my way. I did not strive to be obstinate. It was simply the little person I was.

As an adult, I continued to embrace that stubborn spirit, but I learned where to apply it. In writing, I'm never stubborn when it comes to edits. I always learn from them. In relationships, I've tweaked stubborn into compromise. In many areas of life, it is unnecessary, or even detrimental to march the road of stubborn warfare.

However, in the aspect of life punching me in the gut,  I point down that road and shout a battle cry  I refuse to allow any hardship to beat me to the ground. Like anyone, life's punches hurt. They tend to knock wind out of hope. I'm affected like anyone else. I allow tears to travel down the road to self-pity land. (Or a waterfall to hard rocks when it comes to Autism affecting ones I love…but that's another story.)

A dollop of stubbornness and an army of courage sure come in handy in times of adversity. I wallow in the pity land for a bit, and then I move on. I persevere.

Stubborn can be a good thing, and I'm glad I was born with that quality. 

photo by Stuart Miles@freedigitalphotos.com

September 29, 2015

Late Night With a Caffeine Infused Writer.

 Persevere I said. It will be okay, I said.

But it doesn't feel okay. Not all the time anyway.

Have you ever started over? It not easy, is it?

(cuss word deleted)

I try to persevere in this journey back into publication. Usually I do well, but sometimes....ugh.

Well, it's done. Or it's just started. I suppose it's all in how I view it.

I've gathered my manuscript, synopses, and even updated my author bio. After researching many publishers, I sent submissions to a few. Jewel of Ramstone, needs the perfect home. Of course, all my books need a home, but I must admit Jewel of Ramstone is my favorite.

Then I waited.

  Usually I write while I wait, but I found myself coloring. Even though it was an "adult" coloring book, I put all my creativity in that, instead of working on the second book of the Medieval Quest Series. I mean, a secondary character refused to rest when Jewel of Ramstone ended. Who am I to argue with a handsome knight? Well, I was doing well with book two, and said knight was very pleased.

Before the bridge on my road to publication exploded.

I didn't know what was wrong with me. I always want to write. But damn, I sure could color pretty pictures, right?

Then the rejections began. But as many writer friends said, it is just a rejection. Keep at it. And I did/
I know it isn't my writing they are rejecting. There are a myriad of reasons publishers reject a manuscript. I'm not going to go into them, because…well, I'm supposed to be writing about perseverance.

As usual, I go around the long way to get to it.

I hope you aren't skimming

Okay this is random, but damn.

Back to the inspiration of this post.

You know what helps me persevere? Fellow authors.
They know the hours spent tapping away at the keyboard while the night turns to day.
They feel what I feel. Totally understand the ups and downs of the journey to publication...and beyond. 
They know the heartbreak of watching numerous works simply vanish when a publisher closes their doors.
Though authors may be going through all this, we are connected--like a single soul. 

I know, dramatic right?
Well, hell, I'm a writer. I love drama. 

And so, I'd like to dedicate this late-night-coffee-infuse-blathering post to my fellow writers:


Writer or not, words cannot convey the depth of my gratitude.

I am there for you as well.
Our community of writers, misfits, artists---whatever name society wants to put on us--we are strong.

WE will get there again. And we will celebrate with each success.

May 19, 2015

Poking My Feet Out of the Window

My publisher closed their doors, and I decided to open a window and climb out instead of waiting for another door to open. Was I upset? Yes. However, after my emotions face-planted me onto the couch and I used up my box of tissues and a roll of paper towels, I jutted my chin. Yep. Nothing, including all my books flying off of the shelves--and not in a good way--will not slay my determination.

When I started blogging, I shared my road to publication. It looks like it's time to do that again, huh?
Six books published, and now six looking for a home...yeah, another journey.

Recently, I submitted Jewel of Ramstone to a publisher. I gathered everything I needed.

My author bio was dated, the query and the synopsis in need of an update. 

Wow, I forgot how hard it was to write a query and synopsis! Not to mention talking about myself in a bio. I decided to embrace who I am, convey my love of writing and let my heart lead the query. The synopsis? Yeah, those give me hives, but I did it! Author bios come a bit easier, and I hope I got "me" across to the publisher. 

I'm keeping my nails on the keyboard, instead of of chewing them to a nub. My next book is in progress. Meanwhile, I'll check my email for  a contract...or (gulp) rejection.

Either way, I will continue on my quest--back into publication.

April 20, 2015

Left Me Breathless...

 "Breathless Press has decided to close its doors after a long year of declining sales...."

That is about all I could read before my eyes filled. Before my heart broke. Before I was left breathless.

This saddens me, and leaves me without a publisher. I had six books with Breathless Press. My first one in was published in 2009 and the last one just a few months ago.

However, unlike many troubled small publishing houses, Breathless Press did not leave authors high and dry. They closed their doors softly...slowly...and with a heads up. My publisher--well, former publisher--kept everyone updated. Then, when options were exhausted, they closed before they went broke.  This means every author, editor, cover artist and marketer gets paid.

 Too many times I've read about independent publishers closing with no notice, leaving the authors wondering how to get their right backs and collect owed royalties. Not my publisher. Breathless Press was a company full of honest, hardworking and amazing people. People who were shoved out of the publishing world by economic downfalls. Ouch.

Today I filled out the form to revert rights to me.  Damn. Yes, there were tears, and they fell hard and fast. Then, with my sister's words echoing in my mind, I swiped a tissue over my eyes and took a shaky breath. I decided to look for that door she stated would open when Breathless Press closed theirs.
 I'm still looking.
I think I need glasses. Preferably rose colored ones...

Okay time to buck up. It's a new venture. It's only been a few hours since I heard the final click of the door closing, but  though I am left out in the cold, dark world without those rose colored glasses, I refuse to give up.

I'm going to make my own path, fulfill my dreams and bring my characters to life again.

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 enemy...is 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 pass...to give up his search...to 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 scream...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.