Thursday, December 29, 2011

Teen Topics #4

Do you cut?
Do you know someone who does?

I started a YA book on cutting a while ago and am thinking of finishing it in 2012. I would like to hear some personal experiences - whether they are your own, a friend's, or relatives. If you would like to tell me your story or feelings, please post here or email me at taliajager (at) att (dot) net

Thank you!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Retail Stores and Phone Numbers

We teach our children not to give out things like name, address, phone numbers to strangers. The other day, my 10-year-old daughter wanted to buy a present for her friend at Justice. She picked it out and went up to the counter to pay. The cashier asked for her phone number, my daughter told her no. The cashier then looks at me (I was standing a few feet behind her) and asks for the phone number.

I said, "She's a kid."

Cashier said, "Well, she's with you, right?"

I replied, "She's the one buying the item."

Cashier starts getting nasty. "Don't you have a home phone?"

I was getting irritated at this point. "She's a kid. She's buying this with her own money. She knows not to give out this kind of information to strangers. You should respect that."

We glare at each other for a minute and she finally loudly types something into the computer/register thing and rings up the purchase.

The funny part of this is I usually give my phone number to kids' places like Justice so I get the coupons. But, this lady had me so irritated, there was NO WAY I was going to give it to her at that point. My mother who was also shopping with us and waiting behind us to make her purchases NEVER gives out her number. She just tells them no. I always roll my eyes at her when she does this. If I'm with her and it's a place I like, I'll give them my number...but this...this was principle. The cashier never should have gotten nasty over the fact that a CHILD was protecting herself like she was taught.

So, when my mother went to pay, the cashier looked at her and said, "I suppose you don't have a home phone either."

My mother said, "No, I live out of state."

Cashier growled and punched something into the computer/register again.

So, WHY do they need it so bad? Do they get paid a commission for how many phone numbers they get? What if you don't have a home phone? Just a cell phone? Do they get an address for you from that to send coupons to? If they call your cell phone, they might use some of your minutes. I don't want random texts from some store. (Yes, I do have unlimited texting and I haven't ever gone over my minutes, but ya never know, it could happen.)

Shouldn't these stores teach their employees not to harass children for a number? And to respect anyone who doesn't want to give out their number?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Teen Topics #3

Question for parents and teens. Would love to hear opinions.

Scenario: Teenager goes to friend's house. Parents expect teen to stay there unless they are told otherwise. Parents find out teen is at the movies with friends and was driven there by teenage boy.

Does teen get in trouble?

I would expect some sort of permission to be asked. A text, phone call, even Facebook message. Something. I would be upset to find out my teen was somewhere other than where she said she'd be. But, then again, she is a teen.

Parents: What do you expect from your teen?

Teens: What do you think is reasonable and responsible?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Elf VS. Everyone Else's Elves

A few years ago, one of my daughters came home talking about an elf.

Who knew my life was about to change?

"What elf?" I asked.

"An elf on a shelf. He comes to your house and watches you and then reports to Santa."

Hmmmm. Could be blackmail... I could hear myself threatening, "Better be good. The elf is watching and will let Santa know how you're acting."

But, the price was a bit high. $30 for a measly looking elf and a book. Really? $30?? Grandma to the rescue!

And then, Krispie, the elf was at our house. The first year was fun.

The second year not so much.

This year...sigh. Is there anywhere the elf hasn't hidden?

First, why didn't they make this elf posable? He has to be the cheapest made thing I have ever seen. Imagine the possibilities if he was posable? Or had velcro on his hands and feet? But, no, he's very boring. And other than having a skirt for sale NOW, all elves are the same.

Then came the time last year where the elf didn't go back to the North Pole one night. He was in the same place the next morning. Kids were devastated. Did someone touch him? Was their behavior that bad? Was it that good? Why, oh why, didn't Krispie go back to the North Pole? (Mom really felt horrible that day! But, it had poured all night, so she told them that maybe Krispie didn't want to fly in the rain.)

Now, you have to understand that we have a variety of ages in our household. Our daughters range from 14 to 1. The 1 year old does not understand that you cannot touch Krispie, therefore he cannot be low enough for said 1 year old to reach. This limits things. There just aren't enough hiding places in the main rooms. Why doesn't the elf hide in the kids' rooms? Well, this would cause a fight. "Why is Krispie in HER room? Why isn't he in MINE?" Nope. Not happening. Not with 5 kids - although I doubt the oldest and youngest would complain. That still leaves 3 whining about it all day.

So, Krispie is stuck showing up in the game room, living room, kitchen, dining room, and study. And well, I'm not a very fancy person, so we don't have lots of great places for him to hide. And again, he's not posable, so that limits things too.

I decided that Krispie should come a little later this year. Maybe not Thanksgiving weekend, but a week or two later. That way, he didn't have to think of as many places to be.

You would have thought the world ended!

EVERYBODY else's elf came that weekend!!! And by everybody, I do mean everybody. It seems that every household with children under the age of 10 has at least 1 elf, maybe even 2. (One for each kid, I was told. Could you imagine if 5 elves were in this house?)

So, Krispie showed up a few days later. And the kids' were relieved! We read the book. We watched the new TV show.

But, now, I have to hear about everyone else's elf getting creative, or getting into mischief (where in the book did it talk about elves having bad behavior??? Maybe they should be reported to Santa?? Isn't the whole point of having an elf so that the child's behavior gets reported to Santa? Wouldn't a naughty elf encourage naughty behavior? It must be okay to make a mess, the elf does!). One floats on a raft in the pool. One bakes. One does this, one does that. I admit I'm boring. I can write books, but figure out what do do with an elf? Nah. Then I see pictures or read about what to do with your elf...flour? feathers? MESSES? Um...no. I have FIVE kids, a husband, 2 dogs, a house, and I'm pregnant and you want me to make a mess just to have to clean it up? No.

But, so and so's elf does.

One day, I caught them leaving notes for Krispie asking him to color a picture or write a letter. I put a stop to that. Krispie doesn't have time to draw pictures or write letters. He has to FLY to the North Pole and back every night! Sheesh!!!

But, so and so's elf writes them notes.

UGH!!!!!!! The elf on the shelf used to be fun. I can only hope it'll be fun again, because right now, I'm so not feeling it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Indie Chicks - Katherine Owen - One Fictionista's Literary Bliss



One Fictionista’s Literary Bliss
By: Katherine Owen
I was anointed a female fictionista by an overzealous Georgia Bulldog fan on Twitter. I immediately took it for my job description.  So, here’s what you should know. I write. I write a lot. And, when I'm not writing, I think about writing a lot. You may think we're having a conversation, but invariably I'm stealing your name, asking how to spell it, and secretly describing the look on your face in five words or less in my mind. My writing tends to be dark, moody, and sometimes funny. Sometimes, it can be a bit lyrical or even literary. It’s often edgy, so be forewarned. My readers complain they can't put my books down. Or, just when they think they've figured the story out, it changes and becomes something else. My stories tend to be dark and comprised of broken heroines; even the heroes in my books have a few flaws that cause trouble. It’s true; my characters may disappoint you or surprise you or piss you off, but I think you’ll understand why they do what they do because of the way I write them. I strive to reveal the deepest underpinnings about life, about love, and about human nature, but it’s not for the faint of heart. I’ll take you through a proverbial emotional ringer before reaching resolution and it’s never as predictable as you might think. Do I sound like your kind of fictionista? Come along, darling. This way.

Something else you should know about me is that I’m a huge George Clooney fan. Maybe, Up In The Air wasn’t one of his usual gigs, but I loved that movie. And, let’s be frank, I watched ER without him for years, but it was never the same. Never. Anyway, I digress. There’s a scene in Up In The Air where he’s telling this guy to follow his dream after George has told him he’s been laid off.  When I saw that scene, it was as if George was practically speaking to me because I was there, two years ago, when I was laid off from a high tech sales job, had always harbored a dream to write full-time, and went for it after that. Is it a coincidence that Up In The Air came out about the same time? I think not. 

So now, this is what I do. Write. Write all the time. I’ll admit it was hard at first. It still is—hard, harrowing, humbling. Believe me, it would be easier to go out and get another high paying sales job than write for a living because writing causes me to question my mental toughness so much of the time. Can I do this? Am I good enough?

Yet, here’s what I’ve learned: you just have to turn off that voice in your head off or ignore what is being said.  Sometimes, all you need to do is stand up for yourself, stop depending upon the opinions of others, and just go after what you really want.

For me, that’s writing. For you, it might be anything else, but just pursue your passion whatever it is.
With this anthology, my debut novel, Seeing Julia is featured. Seeing Julia is a labor of love and represents a lot of hard work. Truly, this book has caused me as much grief as it has joy. After I first wrote this novel, I entered it into a literary contest and promptly forgot about it. I was busy. I was taking classes at The Writer’s Studio, becoming literary savvy, and writing another novel called Not To Us.
I remember it was a Monday morning in early June of 2010 when I received a call from the president of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association telling me I was a finalist in the romance category with my entry of Seeing Julia. “What?” She asked me if I planned on attending the conference. “Well, I guess so.” Lucky for me, I attended the summer conference, bought a new outfit, and won the Zola Award and first place with Seeing Julia the night of the awards dinner. It was a surreal moment, when I had to go up to the front of the room with those seven hundred people watching and accept my award. But, truly? I was more concerned about navigating all those tables and chairs on my way up to the podium than actually seizing the moment. As word spread about my writing award win, self-doubt had already set in. It was a fluke. It was dumb luck. As high as my emotions soared about winning; they fell just as fast when literary agents still rejected my work. Yes, the win opened a number of literary agent doors for me, but I wrote several different versions of that novel when a number of them took greater interest, but then wanted to change everything about the story. One agent called me up and lectured me for forty-five minutes about the book and then promised to take a look if I made more changes. I sent her the revised manuscript, but she never called again.

This was a year ago. I was at a crossroads with my writing and myself. I kept thinking if I did what they said and changed it, yet again, I would get to the next step—literary bliss. But I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Discouraged, but still determined, I reviewed what the critiques and feedback about Seeing Julia had been. Based on those, I sifted through what I thought would need to be changed and began rewriting the story, working day and night through most of November. With just getting a few hours of sleep each night, I kept up the intense pace and by the time the novel was finished; I knew it was. I’m extremely proud of Seeing Julia. During the process of rewriting it for the last time, I reached an important pinnacle with my writing: I trusted myself. Confidence entered into the realm. And, along with it, swift understanding: I had to make my own literary bliss. 

Two additional things became clear. First, it was essential for me to have complete control over the publishing of my work; and second, the publishing industry was in the midst of a perfect storm because of e-books and I needed to take full advantage. And, so I did.

In late April and early May of this year, I released two novels: Seeing Julia and Not To Us. These books are available as e-books as well as print trade paperbacks.

Many wonderful readers have responded to my work. They often reach out to me and let me know how they love my novels. I love and cherish their enthusiasm for my work.

This is literary bliss.

Of course, my family’s number one complaint is that I write too much and all the time. Now, add to that the twittering and the facebooking and the wordpressing and now google plus-ing, and checking Amazon, and taking writing classes; it's a full-time gig. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The good news is that with the encouragement of my readers and confidence in my writing, I’m working on my third novel, When I See You, and hope to release this book before the end of this year.  And, I already have drafts for two other novels, Saving Valentines and Finding Amy.

Oh yes, there are occasions, rare ones, when I'm not writing. That’s when I like to drink a fine wine, check in with my family, and look at my awesome view which I can see when I look up long enough from my computer screen in my writing refuge.

And so, welcome. Welcome to my little piece of the universe.

I’ll leave you with this—a philosophy I now live by, borrowed from one of the greatest women tennis players of all time: “You’ve got to take the initiative and play your game. In a decisive set, confidence is the difference.”  Chris Evert

Oh, Chrissy, you are so right!
***
This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today. All proceeds go to the breast cancer reseach. 

Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels! My novel, Seeing Julia, is one of the novel excerpts featured. It is available at most online retailers in trade paperback as well as e-book formats.


Seeing Julia
Smashwords (various e-book formats for Sony e-book, Kobo, Apple iBooks and Diesel)

For more information about Katherine Owen, visit these links:
I'm on Tumblr, here: http://katherineowen.tumblr.com/


Other books by Katherine Owen:




Coming Soon!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mom Posts

So, I have some mom and life posts I'd love to blog about here. But, I'm not sure I should mix them with my author blog.

What do y'all do? Mix author stuff, life, motherhood, etc together or keep different blogs?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teen Topics #2

My 14 year old just asked me for a bunch of songs. Since I don't know these songs, I look up the lyrics. At least half of them have swearing or inappropriate phrases. My daughter says she'll just hear them on the radio if I don't give them to her.

Do they really play this stuff on the radio?

Moms - what do you let your teens listen to?

Teens - what do you do when your parents say no to buying a song or album because of the lyrics?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Indie Chicks - Donna Fasano - Stepping Into the Light



Donna Fasano wrote for Harlequin Books for 20 years before becoming a proud Independent Author. She's the written over 30 romance and women's fiction novels that have sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide. Her books have won awards and made best-seller lists. Below is the story she contributed to the anthology Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women, 25 Inspiring Stories.

Stepping Into The Light

I sit in the back row, shoulders rounded, knees jumping, my left thumb rubbing a raw spot in the center of my right palm. The sad and lonely sufferings being expressed in the dank, dimly-lit basement are all too real and much too close for comfort. I glance at the door and contemplate escape, but it's too late. All eyes are upon me. I hesitate only a moment before standing on quaking legs, clearing my throat softly and confessing, "My name is Donna. I'm a writer. And I need to come out of the closet because it's dark in here."

Twenty years ago, had there been a group called Writers Anonymous, I would have attended faithfully, pouring out my heart at the weekly meetings. You see, for the couple of years that I spent writing my first novel, I told almost no one what I was doing. My husband knew; in fact, he's the reason I even attempted what felt like the insurmountable task of plotting out and finishing that first book. He's also the reason I ended up in this glorious, chaotic, roller-coaster life I've lived as an author; however, that's a story for another day. But when I first started scratching words on a yellow legal pad with a no. 2 pencil (there's nothing else that stirs my creativity more than the feel of graphite gliding against paper), I didn't tell a single family member or friend.

Why would I keep my dreams and aspirations such a tightly guarded secret?

I would hazard to guess the answer is the same reason anyone else hides things that could have life-altering potential: fear.

What if I failed? What if I had no talent? What if I didn't possess the perseverance to finish that first manuscript?

The mere thought of the snide remarks, tittering laughter and looks of skepticism and ridicule I might receive were enough to keep me silent. My imagination has always been strong, and I easily saw the scenes play out in my head.

So you think you're going to write a book, huh?

But you didn't go to college.

A romance novel? Really?

If you're going to try to write, why not write a real book? You know, like a mystery or a thriller; something someone is going to want to read.

My ability to conjure fantasy has always been a blessing and a bane. When reading a book or listening to someone tell a story or imagining repercussions of actions, visions will take shape in my head. Situations feel real, characters become corporal, while my stirred emotions brim and often overflow. Needless to say, Hallmark commercials make me cry. While powerful creativity is a great and necessary trait for a writer who is intent on concocting a compelling tale, it can become crippling if that writer is too focused on the opinions of others.

However, I also have to confess that keeping that first novel-writing dream all to myself charged me with a vibrant energy. I was excited to get my story down on paper. Seeing my plot unfold was absolutely thrilling! Creating my characters was fun. And the fact that no one knew about my clandestine efforts gave me a huge amount of freedom. No one told me I was doing it all wrong; no one suggested I could never reach my goal.

In defense of all the people I kept in the dark all those years ago, I have to admit that most of them were delighted and supportive when I finally divulged that my first manuscript had been purchased by a bona fide publisher. Oh, there was a scoffer or two, and I continue to meet them; you know the type, people who can't be happy for others or who feel another's success somehow diminishes his or her own self-worth, but I've learned to deal with those people (working with New York City editors forces a writer to grow a thick skin pretty quickly). I merely smile and think about the slew of books I've sold and the fan mail I've received from all over the world.

Those scoffers seem to have come out of the woodwork now that I've reinvented myself as an Indie Author. But venturing into this new arena couldn't have happened at a better point in my life. I'm confident in my ability to tell a good story. I'm more than satisfied with the career I've had, and have no trouble imagining even more success in the future. I saw tangible proof when two of my books made it onto Kindle's Top 100 List. I'm happy with who I've become as a writer and as a person. If my work receives less-than-flattering feedback from a reader, I might not like it, but I also realize it's not the end of the world; I've learned that I can't please all readers all the time. I love the creative freedom I have as an independent author. I can allow my muse to take me wherever it will. I'm terrifically grateful that there are readers out there who are willing to buy my novels. Every time I read a good review of one of my books I want to (and do!) kiss my husband for suggesting I take a stab at this profession (it's a habit that's been very good for my marriage).

So… what's my point? Well, don't let the negative opinions of others keep you from dreaming, for one thing. Most of the scary thoughts that run through your head will never happen, and the few that do materialize can be dealt with. You're stronger than you think. Don't allow fear to paralyze you. Aspire to be and do whatever it is you want to be and do. Be kind to yourself; you deserve the same compassion and concern that you offer others. And most importantly, know that your dreams matter. Indulge them. Reach for the stars! I did, and I'm still astounded that I snagged a few. 
~  ~  ~

Donna loves to hear from readers! Ways to connect with Donna:
On Facebook, Donna Fasano
On Twitter, DonnaFaz

A few of Donna's available titles:
The Merry-Go-Round in paperback or for your Kindle.
His Wife for a While for your Kindle.
An Accidental Family for your Kindle, for your Nook, or on Smashwords.
Look for other available titles on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.





This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.

Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Indie Chicks - Linda Welch - Never Too Late



When I published the first two Whisperings paranormal mystery novels, I created an icon to use on Facebook and Twitter. The picture is of Whisperings lead character, Tiff Banks. It seemed a good way to advertise my product at the time. But no matter how often I say she is not me, I am not a tall, slim, blond young woman, many obviously don’t believe me. Response to the avatar has amused me over the years. You wouldn’t believe the comments, compliments, and odd comments I think were meant as compliments. Many of them were a hoot. I knew I’d eventually have to come out of the identity closet and say, hey, look here, this is me, not the long-haired cutie.

Then Cheryl Shireman asked me to contribute to the Indie Chicks anthology and also asked for a photo. This is the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. If you want to know who Linda Welch really is, read on. . . .

NEVER TOO LATE

I’m going to tell you something I don’t think you know.

I haven’t been a “chick” for many a year. I’m a couple of months shy of 61. I have been married to the same man for 39 years. We have two sons and four grandchildren. And you thought I was a tall, slim young thing, didn’t you. I am what is called a late bloomer and I’m writing this for other old biddies who had a dream and let it pass them by, or think they are too busy, or it’s too late to fulfill their dream. I don’t mean just writing, but any dreamed-of achievement you hide in your heart.

I was born in a country cottage in England. My father was a restless man, so we often moved and never had much money. I remember days when only Dad had meat on his plate at dinner, but we never went hungry. We had vegetables and fruit from the garden, eggs from the chickens. Times were hard, but we children never knew that. We were loved. When Mum and Dad met during World War II, Mum was a privately educated “well-bred” lady. I doubt I will ever meet anyone as smart as my mother. At 88 years, she is still as sharp as a tack. Dad was a countryman to the bone. He had many artistic talents he didn’t pursue until later in life. When he did, he excelled at them. I like to think some of their intelligence and talent rubbed off on me.

So much has changed, in my life, in the world. I hold memories of my childhood close. I won’t let them fade. One day, I will write about them.

I had a good basic education, first at a village school, then an all-girls school, but I left at 15 (at that time the legal age in England) and worked first as a telephone operator before I went into office occupations. I did not see authorship in my future.

But I have always daydreamed. Often, I recreated the same daydream multiple times, constantly elaborating.  I did not realize I wrote books in my head.

I began writing words on paper in my mid-forties, but it was a hobby. Somewhere along the way, I thought, Could I publish this? and then I’d like to publish. But I talked myself out of it. Authors were young men and women who decided they wanted to write at a young age and worked to improve their skill their entire life. They went to college and university, they had degrees in writing, creative writing or journalism. I was inexperienced; I didn’t have their dedication or education. Anyway, I had a husband to support, children to raise and part-time jobs to supplement the family income. I didn’t have time to write and send queries, synopsis or sample chapters to agents.

In 2008 I discovered the Lulu publishing platform and took the plunge. I published the space opera Mindbender and science fiction Galen’s Gate. I subsequently unpublished them, with every intention of revising and republishing. Some copies are still floating around out there somewhere. However, Tiff Banks, who had been swimming around in this murky thing I call a brain for several years, chose to come out and play. She took over my life. She became my second skin.

When I think back to why I did not publish until in my fifties, I realize it had nothing to do with inexperience or lack of education. I was not ready. I had to marry a dashing young American airman, leave my homeland, raise two sons, spoil four grandchildren, live and work with Americans and become entrenched in the way of life. I was not ready to write Along Came a Demon until I came to the mountains of Utah, stood looking over my mountain valley, and knew, “this is it. This is where Tiff lives. She knows the bitter cold and snow of winter, the harsh heat of summer. She knows her city and the people inside-out. This is Tiff’s world, and now, I know who she is.”

Then the hard work began. My education was strictly “King’s English.” I wrote formal letters, contracts and legal documents at work. I had to take the starch out of my writing. Research didn’t help. It seemed that each time I read an article or blog about word usage, in particular overuse and what to avoid, the next book I read was a best-selling novel by a best-selling author who broke those rules. And having decided to barge into my life, Tiff was very positive about how she talks. She’s a born and bred American, a slightly snarky, slang-wielding gal who speaks to the reader on a personal level, individual to individual. I had to use a style that practically screamed “you can’t do that!” in my ear every other sentence.

I published the first Whisperings novel for another reason: Nobody seemed to believe in my writing. Not friends, relatives, friendly acquaintances. I think they supposed a 58-year-old with no education in the literary field, who suddenly came out of the woodwork and decided to publish, must be a “vanity publisher” who wanted to force poorly-written books on readers. When I said I wrote fiction, I got blank looks, followed by, “that’s nice. Now, as I was saying. . .”  Nobody wanted to read my work, not even my sweet husband. But he enjoyed urban fantasy and I thought he’d like Tiff Banks. So in a way, I also published for him.

I published Along Came a Demon in November 2008. It was supposed to be a stand-alone novella, but readers wanted more and Tiff obliged. Along Came a Demon became book one of the Whisperings series of paranormal mysteries. I published the sequel, The Demon Hunters, in November 2009. In 2010 I added material to Along Came a Demon to make it a full-length book and at the same time made small changes to The Demon Hunters to reflect those in Along Came a Demon. I published book three, Dead Demon Walking, in March 2011. Being a wordsmith, I should be able to express my joy each time a reader tells me they love my books, but it truly is beyond my powers of description. Now, when someone asks me what I do for a living, instead of telling them I am a part-time administrative assistant and adding (hesitantly) “I also write fiction,” I say I am an author. When I fill out a form that asks for my occupation, I proudly write “author” in the little box.

Mary Wesley published Jumping the Queue at age 70 and went on to write ten best sellers until she died twenty years later.

Harriett Doerr was 74 when she published The Stones of Ibarra.

Laura Ingalls Wilder published her Little House on the Prairie series when she was in her 50s.

Mary Lawson was 55 when Crow Lake was published.

Flora Thompson is famous for her semi-autobiography Lark Rise to Candleford, published when she was 63.

Age is irrelevant. You are never too old. For anything.

This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.
Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!
All proceeds go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Whispering books are also available in e-book formats from Apple, Diesel, Kobo and Sony.
Coming Soon

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Release!


An author friend of mine and I wrote a book together. It just went live and has already sold 10 copies! It is a YA book, but it's for older teens due to sexual content. We hope you'll check it out!



Seventeen-year-old succubus Lily Anderson can’t have a normal life: She isn't allowed a boyfriend, she has no friends, and school is just one mess-up after another.

Lily’s parents send her away to the prestigious Emerson Academy. It doesn’t appear to be any different from the others. That is, until she meets her roommate, Hannah, and a blue-eyed boy named Jake.

Lily makes an almost deadly mistake, and Jake has a mysterious past that has come back to haunt him. Together, they must go on the run from things neither of them understand in order to save the people they love—and each other. But, Jake’s foe is more dangerous than they realized, and it will take the help of friends and family to save the man Lily loves.

She must learn to use her powers for good before it’s too late.

WARNING: This is a mature YA. Due to sexual content and some language it is not recommended for younger teens.

Approximately 44,000 words

Buy it for $2.99 on Amazon, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Indie Chicks - Lizzy Ford - The Phoenix and the Darkness



The Phoenix and the Darkness

I've been running from The Darkness since I left home at the age of 17.  I escaped a broken family to the military, found it unwelcoming to creative non-conformists but fulfilled my commitment.  The first man I dated was a drunkard who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder; the second raped me.  The rest of my time in the military was a blur of men, the different places I lived and The Darkness stalking me.  At the end of my tour, I set my world on fire to keep the Darkness away, abandoned everything and everyone, and emerged from the flames like the mythical Phoenix.  I ran home to Ohio.  I didn’t stay long and continued onward to New York, where I reinvented myself for a very brief period of contentedness.

It didn’t last.  Darkness, fire, rebirth, and a few years, men and states later, I ended up in the arms of yet another unworthy man.  I followed him to DC, bore the mental abuse, and tried to tell myself this was the best life would ever get. 

I took a job in a field I didn't care for and ended up running from job-to-job-to-job, unable to find a place where I was happy.  I was hit by a drunk driver at 26, leaving me with a long lifetime of constant pain.  I had a miscarriage, gave all my money to the unworthy man and couldn't pay my bills despite the good job.  I moved from Virginia to Maryland and back to Virginia, unable to shake the pursuing Darkness.  Finally, I put all my belongings in storage, ready to set my word afire and flee once again. 

I worked up the nerve to ditch the dysfunctional man, but before I could run far, I met the man who would become my first husband.  He wanted normal things:  stability, house, family.  I convinced myself if I had these things, the Darkness would be gone.  He needed a mother, not a wife, but I married him anyway and prayed it was enough.

It wasn't.  I set my world afire once more, and I fled him, too.  I put everything I valued in my truck, grabbed the dog, and left.  Away from DC, the east coast, everything I owned, my first husband.  I ran to Texas to a new job and divorced the first husband.  Yet again, I was reborn.  Soon after, I met my soul mate.  Some part of me knew I couldn’t keep running if I wanted to keep him.  I turned around to see if The Darkness still chased me.  After fifteen years of running, The Darkness was closer than ever.

I told the man who would become my second husband to stay away from me – I was dangerous.  He saw The Darkness, and he saw me.

You’re brilliant and beautiful.  I love you, Darkness and all, he said.  But if you don’t deal with it and accept the fate for which you were put on this earth, you’ll be consumed by it.

I couldn’t yet face the Darkness even with his support, but I could see how wrong my path was.  My path wasn't a career I loathed, and it wasn't ignoring my true gift: writing.  So I worked full time and wrote full time.  I found true joy for the first time in my life, but The Darkness got too close.  I ran away from that job - the only job I'd ever remotely enjoyed.  This time, I kept my only ally in life - my guardian angel and partner. 

I took a new job in a new state.  With my husband and my writing, I saw The Darkness recede, and I grew happy.  Instead of looking over my shoulder, I started looking into the future.  I vowed to run towards something instead of away from something.  I wasn’t just reborn – I was alive for the first time in my life.

And then, this past summer, I tripped.  The Darkness swallowed me.  As in one of my upcoming novels, The Darkness turned me inside out.  I couldn't go to work and could barely leave the house.  It pinned me beneath it, and the more I tried to run, the heavier it got.  Everything I'd run from in life was there: my near-poverty upbringing; the breaking apart of my family when I was a kid; my struggle with my weight and social anxiety issues; with finding acceptance at any job; with men and dysfunctional relationships; the pending financial disaster I'd been building; fear of failure and ending up as miserable as my parents.  I thought I'd suffocate, until the Darkness spoke to me.

You can run again and risk losing the man you love, or you can face me and be happy, it said.

I want to be happy, I replied.

Then do what you must.

It's not that easy.  I'm scared.

Sometimes life only gives us difficult choices, but you still must choose.  I am a part of you. You must accept me and deal with me before you can move on, it said.

I thought hard as I looked at all the things I'd accumulated that were bankrupting me financially and emotionally.  I looked at what made me happy in life: my husband and my writing.  I saw how I'd hurt my most precious treasures - and myself - by setting my world on fire whenever The Darkness got too close.

This is gonna hurt, I told The Darkness.

Not for long, it said.  You only have to do this once.

In that moment, I made my choice.  I would face The Darkness within me, no matter how hard it was.  I loved my husband too much to hurt him more, and I was sick of being a coward.  I took a leave of absence in early September to deal with my past as well as the depression and anxiety that have haunted me my whole life.  Writing has always been my solace and my passion. Through it, I'll heal the world I broke and my own soul, and become the partner my husband deserves. 

The Phoenix will be reborn once more, not of fire, but of Darkness, and will emerge stronger than ever.



The "War of Gods" series by Lizzy Ford is a paranormal romance series depicting the ongoing struggle between good and evil - and the immortals and their human mates who are caught in the middle.  The first book, "Damian's Oracle" (released October 2011) is the story of the White God and his Oracle, the cool beauty, Sofia.  The second book, "Damian's Assassin," (released November 2011) is about the White God's assassin and the woman who heals his heart and body.  The third book will be released 02 Dec and tells the tale of the White God's chief immortal and the mysterious, beautiful Magician he risks his life to protect.

Lizzy's info:

Damian’s Oracle (currently free on Amazon)



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This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.
Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!
All proceeds go to the breast cancer research.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Indie Chicks - Danielle Blanchard - Write or Die



“Write or Die”
2010 was the worst year of my life.
After a very successful career in the banking industry, I suddenly found myself unemployed, my marriage falling apart and to add insult to injury my father dying. I had a 10 month old daughter and suddenly, I was back living with my unmarried, child-free sister with two children. Life was bleak and the most terrifying part about the whole situation was I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do.
I was attending university for a degree in International Business but who was I kidding? I’d always hated business; I was good at banking but should I base my career on something I was simply good at or should I be doing something I love? This was my dilemma and I had no one to blame for my predicament but myself.
Plenty of women had overcome more tremendous obstacles so why was I feeling sorry for myself? I steeled my spine and decided to make some real decisions. In the middle of the detritus which was now my life, I found a wonderful and caring man I fell hopelessly in love with but the problem was he didn’t live in this country and he was a successful and driven attorney. What would he want with someone like me? Unemployed, two children, divorced and somewhat shaky ambitions at an age where most women had it made, were married and excelling towards middle age. My life was a mess and I needed a man like a fish needs a bicycle (thanks, U2!).
I took a long hard look at my life and realized I had failed to plan and therefore I had planned to fail.
When I stood at that podium and looked at the few family and friends who had bothered to show up at my dad’s funeral, my life became so clear. My father had had so many chances; so much lost opportunities and had blew all of them due to fear and inertia. I was my father’s daughter; I was falling into that same black hole of despondency with no way out.
It took another fourteen months before I had the actual courage to see out my dream and make it a reality. Isabelle Solal had written a book, In The Past Imperfect, and her good friend, Sion Dayson, had promoted it on her blog. She was tired of waiting for the agent who would never accept the publisher who could never take a chance and had decided to self-publish her fictional book on Amazon. Was this possible? Could I self-publish? Could I take my book which I had tried to find an agent for the past eight years or so and do it myself? Say it isn’t so!
I was so excited about the possibility of publishing, I dug it out of the place it’d warmed my different hard drives and laptops over the years, decided at over one thousand hard back pages, it was much too long to publish as a full length novel, chopped it up into eight parts and hit publish on the first part.
I was ecstatic as I had done my own cover (a beautiful statue which captivated me while I was on my European vacation) and it was just so perfect. Unfortunately, no one else knew I existed and that is when I realized publishing was more than just about hitting a button. I had to make sure my novel was edited, the right cover was used to attract attention and there was a whole list of indie writers I didn’t know about but they were there and ready to be at my service.
In the beginning, I only used Kindle’s Direct Publishing board because that was the only one I knew about. Another writer, Athanasios, who wrote a thrilling book titled Mad Gods, told everyone on the KDP boards about a new Facebook board group called Indie Writers’ Unite. I joined, Cheryl Bradshaw, the creator of IWU accepted me, and the rest is history.
I wish I could say I am selling thousands of copies and I got the guy but that isn’t life and nothing happens without time. I am selling and many people have discovered my work; I have met some of the bravest men and women on the planet at IWU and I feel like a million bucks even if my life still isn’t a bed of roses. The guy, like everything good in life, will take some time and I am willing to put it in and make the effort; nothing worth anything is easy to accomplish for the matter.
I love to write so that is what I’m doing. I enjoy writing whatever moves me, thus I have work in several different genres including Women’s Literature, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I also plan to do a novel I have had in the works for a while that is firmly Mystery with a Thriller twist.
For the first time, I stayed true to myself, my ambitions and what I want my life to be and represent. I know it will get better and all my dreams will come true—many of them already have. My life is still changing, still revolving but I have come out ahead, stronger and more positive than I ever thought possible. I learned the hard way either I write or I can simply subsist and die.
Life is like writing; it isn’t about perfection but it is about the possibilities we are given every day, the decisions we make and what we want to do with them. It is about forks in the road and deciding which direction to take and making the best with whatever is thrown at us once we make our decisions. It is the way it should be and that is simply imperfect.
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This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.
Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!
All proceeds go to breast cancer research.



Pick up Danielle's book Death Wish: Book One of The Vamp Saga in all eformats at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.