Updates and Announcements

So I have a few things to share with all of you. Upcoming events, news and all sorts of fun things. I am involved with an upcoming charity event called Books for Babies. It will be celebrated in tandem with Independent Bookstore Day with our friends at Gathering Volumes. You can check out the event info on the flyer below and on this Facebook event.

We have so many exciting things planned for a really great cause. I’m excited and overwhelmed at once. I will be on hand with books to sign and sell. I’ve also put together a print copy of my novella, The Guardian’s Fall, just for this event. It will be sold at $5.00 a copy and all proceeds will go to Austin’s Book Club. I can’t wait. If you see this and you’re local, come on by. It will be a blast. We’ll have kids activities, storytime and two children’s board games you can learn to play. The game were donated by our friends at Old School Gaming (If you’re a gamer, get your board game and tabletop needs met here. They’re fantastic.)

We’ll also have Lyle’s Crepes on hand if you have an itch for lunch. I’m excited. I haven’t had crepes in -years-. So that will be fun too. I hope to see you there! Lastly, thank you to all the authors who are attending for their time and energy. Thank you to anyone that’s pulled together donations. You all have been amazing.

In other news, first round revisions for Fate’s Divide are nearly complete. I have one scene to add I think, maybe two. I’m excited at how this book is fleshing out. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much I have enjoyed writing it. You will see a few new faces to the realm. Projected release is late October with a signing in mid november at Gathering Volumes. If you enjoyed last year’s virtual release party, we’ll be doing one again. Feedback would be awesome if you have any, my dear party goers. I know there will be games of some sort and that someone WILL win a free signed copy of Fate’s Divide. Beyond that, we’ll see. Hope to see you there in October.

Clearly me.

Current Reading: In Between right now.

Current Listening:  “Ashes of Eden” – Breaking Benjamin

I received a writing prompt as part of my attic journal challenge last month that I had yet to touch but has been on my mind since I first read it. (Thanks Mia!)  It was a bonus challenge but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. So here I sit, at six a.m. on a Sunday morning trying to put words to my thoughts.  The word is simple. So simple in fact that it evokes a myriad of emotion. The word is warrior.

Check out what Miriam-Webster has to say about it:

So that’s the textbook, right? Pretty straightforward and direct. Yet, let’s dig a little deeper. What does it mean to be “engaged in some struggle or conflict”? Or, better yet, what does it mean to you? I could have taken the easy way and dove into fiction for this one. I could have gone a million different ways with at least five different characters but I felt it would do what I wanted to say a disservice.

I think the word, for me, means a fighter. Not just a fighter but someone who is relentless, who fights to keep their corner of the world with a fervor that few can match. I am in relentless pursuit of my happy. I do not stop. I do not give up. I pause. I take a breath but I keep moving. I don’t believe I know any other way to exist.

My happy is the words on this page, the ones found between the covers of my creations. My happy is the man that sleeps beside me every night and the young woman I’ll be sending off to college in the fall. My happy is the compassion and laughter of my closest friends, even when the shit is hitting the fan and the world is crashing down around our ears.

Finding that happy was not easy. My best friend put up a quote that sticks with me in this vein. “Your new life is going to cost you your old one.” It did twelve years ago. I realized I needed more out of life than what I was being given. I needed to be happy and unafraid to chase down what that meant to me. I had a partner to move forward with, rather than a millstone around my neck that drug me down. I realized I needed to set a better example to my child about what it meant to fight for what you wanted–even when the odds weren’t in your favor.

I cried. A lot. I raged. I got pissed about all the time I wasted trying to fulfill the expectations of others. I learned. Holy hell did I learn. I have learned I’m faster to laugh than most. I have learned that I can share my heart with people–if they’ve earned it–and that I am completely within my rights to step back from situations that are not good for me. I have learned that a quote Maya Angelou rings truer the longer I live. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I have learned to trust my instincts becuase typically they’re not wrong.

I have learned it’s okay to take time for you to just be. I have learned that there are times that the world can wait. But there are also times when the world comes knocking that you need to answer the door and just go. Chase opportunity. If you fall, get back up and keep moving. This too, to me, is the essence of what it means to be a warrior. You go. You fall. You get back up. You keep going.

So that’s all I have from my quarter. What does the word warrior mean to you?

Steampunk Sleeping Beauty

Current Reading: Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, 1917 – A World on Edge by Helen Rappaport

Current Listening: One More Light – Linkin Park

I have fiction fun for all of you. Tomorrow, there will be updates. Promise. Last month, I participated in something called attic journaling. Let me tell you, dear readers, it has been an experience. I have been trying to creatively find my footing in the next series. This process has helped me do that. What you see next will be a glimpse into the next Maeselorian universe. Enjoy! The prompt, in case you were wondering, is the title of this blog post.

Her front porch was wet when Rhys Larkin came to her door to tell her of her husband’s murder. At best, Kaylen thought, I’m surviving. Her eyes, sea shaded and typically full of laughter, could find nothing to laugh about these days. The woman, a tiny five foot five pixie on a good day, a witch on the worst was just trying to survive. Her short, cropped black hair was skewed and in disarray. Kaylen’s appearance was the last thing on her mind right now.

Her gaze shifted to the mantle with a sad smile. Brad always was a gearhead.  On their first anniversary, Brad created the metal rose sculpture from gears and bits of metal.  He may have been a boring stock broker by day but he loved his metal work on his off time. Her inheritance had helped fund his passion. Is this all that is left of our life together? A scattered apartment sprawled around her. History books and her notes littered tabletops. Across the coffee table, his art magazines were scattered.

In fact, he was on his way home from the little studio he kept uptown the night he was murdered. His projects, she thought on absent tones. I will have to decide what to do with them. Detective Larkin, a kind but suspicious man, had just departed. She agreed to come down to the morgue in the morning to identify the body.  He said listing Brad’s personal effects were not enough in this case. She drew in a shuddering breath.

Anger boiled within her veins. She wanted to destroy something, anything to ease the suffering within. No, Kayebird, that is not how we deal with pain.  Of all the times for her mother’s words to come back to her.  Still, the advice was sound even now. It was raining again. Torrents battered her windows. “Fate damn it.”  As she stepped away from the mantle, her mother’s words came again. You cannot sleep forever, little love. As much as we both would want you to. You are more than this moment.

When she asked after his cause of death, the detective was reluctant to answer her. Slumbering intuition stirred.  Larkin was with-holding information from her. Did they even know what killed her husband? The idea puzzled her. The morning, and the more heartbreaking task, would come in time.  For tonight, Kaylen curled up on the couch and tugged a heavy quilt around her. She could not stand to sleep in their bed or find the energy to weep over her loss. The ideas were too intimate for her to contemplate and would add a reality to the current state of affairs she was not ready to contemplate. Perhaps she would sleep tonight or, perhaps, she would greet the dawn. Fate only knew.

So many updates.

Dear readers, it’s been a long, long time since my last update. Life has kept matters pretty busy here. So let me start by saying, new year, new face on the website. Feel free to take a look around. It is currently a work in progress. Later this year, I intend to add a portion for you amazing readers called “Explore Maeseloria.” It should be a fun venture full of character profiles and excerpts from the series. Maybe also a few behind the scenes snippets. We’ll see what the year brings.

With that being said, most of you that follow this blog know I am knee deep in revisions for Fate’s Divide. I am ahead of schedule on revisions. This does not mean an early release date but this story is coming together nicely. Also, in tandem with these revisions, I am working on a project called “attic journaling”. A writer friend of mine introduced me to it and I, in turn, introduced it to the ladies at Illuminate writing. This is a writer’s group I’m involved with. This month has been interesting. The attic journaling has been a fun way to open creative doors and put together ideas for content down the road. These ideas range from future novellas after the current Maeseloria series winds down to stuff for the next series after. I’m enjoying a fun, fifteen minute brain break from the daily humdrum to get it done. If you’re interested in attic journalling, let me know. I’ll fill you in on it. A shout out to my friend Jamie for introducing me to the idea. 🙂

Next on the to-do of announcements. I am planning a major charity event in late April. This event is being hosted in tandem with Independent Book Store Day. The event is to help raise funds for a charity I’ve only recently discovered existed. The charity is called Austin’s Book Club. You can read more about their mission and message here. The charity is local but the work they do is amazing. If you can donate, please do. To help raise money for this charity, a group of local authors and I will be at Gathering Volumes raffling off books, baskets of goodies and other assorted prizes. The event date is April 27, 2018, 10-4. If you’re local to the Ohio/Michigan area, drop by. It’s a great event for a good cause. Here’s some more info for those interested:

So, that’s life in a nutshell as of late. Look for a late fall release of Fate’s Divide. More details will be coming about online release parties, signings and other goodies. Drop me a comment, an email, I’d love to hear from you.

End of year updates

So, I know this year has been quiet on the blog front. I had a number of personal issues to manage this year. I have come to the conclusion that 2018 can more or less suck it. I appreciate each and every one of you that have stuck with the long haul and the longer silences. The quiet was not entirely my choice. With that being said, 2019 is around the corner. New year, new goals and new horizons to pursue. Onward and upward, right?

I have a few housekeeping mentions before we move forward into the new year. The website will be getting a facelift soon. I will be adding some new functionality and you may see some new options when you drop in to visit. I am starting the revision phase of Fate’s Divide. I am excited by this particular book. Readers, the final draft may be a little longer than you’re used to. New characters will be featured. For those of you that met Layla last book, you will get to know her a little more. I hope you enjoy. Target release will be mid-October. Expect an online release party like we did with Guardian’s Redemption and signing at Gathering Volumes. That was a blast and I would love to see each of your smiling faces. I am hoping in 2019 to get myself into a few more events and adventures as the year progresses.

This year’s Nanowrimo was a different experience. I coached a few people new to the insanity of Nano. (Shout out to Mia, Eunice, Jordin, and the H&L Writes gang. I’m going to start dubbing y’all my NanoCrew ❤ This does not include the Toledo peeps I spent 2-3 days a week with. Jamie, Cass…I’m looking at you.) I was very proud of their successes and discoveries as the month went on. I hope they enjoyed the writing process as much as I did coaching them.

I think that’s it for housekeeping notes. I would love to hear from you guys about things you would like to see on the site, features, ideas. My inbox is open. I hope your holiday was wonderful. Mine was good. My husband is a ninja. 🙂 He has added to my gothic angel collection–a purchase which usually affiliated with our wedding anniversary. I had no idea. He’s a sneak.

Many of you have seen me mention the H&L Writes teams. Well, they have featured me in the month of January. You can check out that write up here. If you are a writer trying to find a direction or a community to work on and hone your craft, I could not ask for a more supportive group of ladies. It is the best ten dollars a month I’ve ever spent. You can learn more about membership and what you get by going to their site. I’ve made some valuable creative friends and it’s a great outlet–even if you’re in the “OMGIMSOFRUSTRATED” revision phase I am about to enter. Seriously. Go do it.

With that being said, I hope you all are faring well. Tell me about your holidays in the comments. Tell me what you’d love to see in the new year ahead. Until next time guys, take care.

Four days…and some discoveries.

Current listening:  Andra Day – Rise Up

So, the H&L writes theme has been rattling around my brain for most of the month.  Nothing I thought about could latch on to this idea of self-discovery.  I am four days from my only daughter’s eighteenth birthday.  I would love to say lightning struck but, in all honesty, the flow came when I was downloading baby pictures and just started bawling.  Mom’s know.  We all do.  We hope, we pray we’ve taught them enough and we just have to let them go and be their own people….and have faith in what we’ve done and in them.

18monthscatandme

I was 22 in that photo.  Yes, I was exhausted. She was 18 months old.  How mind-blowing is it to realize you’re responsible for every need of this tiny person that came out of you?  People always tell you to hang on to those little moments.  People always give you the ‘it goes by fast’.   They’re not wrong.  I wish I taken more pictures of us together when she was little. More for her than for me.   These 18 years have been as much my journey as they have been hers.   I grew into the woman I am as she grew up.  When other girls my age were going to bars, clubs, getting shit face wasted, I was having a baby.  Please don’t misunderstand, this is not a diatribe of regret.  I wouldn’t trade a single giggle or a single ‘good morning Mommy’ cuddle for that life.  It just forces you to look at yourself harder. It forces you to grow up because that little person is dependent on you. No one else. You. The sun rises and sets on you for them.  That’s the reality of motherhood when they’re little.

“You know nothing Jon Snow.”   To any fan of Mr. Martin’s work, you know that line.  It still makes me snicker. At 22 I knew nothing.  I didn’t know what I wanted.  I didn’t know what was right for me, for my life and yet, I kept plugging along for that little girl.   I have watched her grow, nurtured her. I taught her to read. I taught her to tie her shoes.  I taught her it was okay to cry when she needed to.  On the flip side, I taught her that not everything or everyone was worth crying over.  (I see all of you moms of little girls right now nodding your heads.  I promise, it gets better but don’t wish it away either.)

To anyone who thinks you run into motherhood prepared for anything? Let me take a minute to giggle then guffaw.  I had no idea. Most of us don’t.  Most of us Mama’s are just out here doing the best we can.  I think, for those of us who have our children in our early/mid-twenties, motherhood is as much a journey of self-discovery as growing up is for them.  You learn what you can handle.  You learn how to put yourself aside for them.    You learn what sacrifice means.  You learn what being an example means—that last one sticks rough with me.  It took me until she was six to realize that she needed a better example than what I was giving.  I hung in there through a lot of shit that I shouldn’t have.  At almost 40, I look at it now and just smile at that girl.   Without her, I wouldn’t be the woman I am.  Flaws, scars and all—to be blunt I think I’m pretty damned awesome.

And so, we learn, right?  She was learning letters and math.  I was learning what it was to build a life over again.  I was poking at old, sleeping creative giants.  I was poking at that 22-year-old who was still figuring things out and put herself on hold.  At 33 I figured it out.  I published my first book and the act satisfied something in me. I do not know if I can put words to that sense of fulfillment.  It’s like finding something you’ve waited all your life for and, when it happens, you sit just sit there.  You’re what I was missing all along.   And it’s not a person.  Hell, it’s not even anything tangible.  It’s like settling into your purpose and figuring out what that means to you.  If wishes were fishes I wouldn’t have waited that long. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that maybe it was supposed to be that way.  Did it suck at the time? Did it hurt? Oh, hells yes but sometimes I think you have to hurt to get where you’re supposed to go.  It’s the nature of life.  I think if you go through life and never hurt? You’re not really living.

So, to my little monster almost grown.  Thank you for your giggles.  Thank you for your cuddles. Thank you for the six-a.m. wake-ups because you were hungry.  Thank you for frustrating me beyond imagination.  (Yes, I know you imagine big…keep imagining pumpkin.)  Thank you for teaching me, through your own innocence, to curb my temper and impulsiveness.   Thank you for the unconditional love you’ve given me all your life.

Remember that life is a series of curveballs. Some are amazing and some are awful.  How you adapt is everything.  It will be hard.  It will be a challenge.  Keep fighting.  Never give up.  Keep laughing at the little shit.  Save your tears for the times that are worthy of them.  You come by your tenacity honestly.  Thank you for growing up with me.  Love you,  Mom.

Insecurities

Current listening:  “Never Enough”  Loren Allred

So today,  on H&L Writes, a challenge was given. I am not 100% comfortable with the topic but I am going to bite the bullet and give it a go.  Here’s the challenge:

WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE!
Describe your greatest insecurity and why you struggle with it.

I had to think about this and decide how deep I wanted to go.  Let’s be honest. We all have insecurities. We all have things that we’re uncomfortable sharing; uncomfortable being vulnerable. That’s human nature.  That’s normal.  Anyone brave enough to broadcast that insecurity deserves a gold star and all the cookies.

Let’s go for that today, shall we?  Challenge accepted.

I fight with being enough for people.  I fight with being satisfied with relationships, friendships,  and feeling like I’ve done enough to maintain that relationship.  The people closest to me get that and don’t hesitate when I get into that headspace to let me know “okay, we’re good.”  At times the insecurity terrifies me into hiding things.  Things like “they will love me less if they see all this…chaos.”  At times, it causes me to just shut down because I get into my head that people don’t need to see me or that they won’t love the mess.

And, it’s true, some people don’t or can’t stand that messiness, that gritty reality that is life.  It took me a good portion of my life to understand that those people were not worth the time or the effort I put into it.  The people that love me—the real me,  the vulnerable, the chaotic, the emotional me—are worth that effort. But, for the longest time, I thought those people bailing on me were my fault, my doing because I just did not do enough to keep them in my life.

My husband helped me realize that thought process was utter bullshit. I still fight with it from time to time when someone new comes into my life.  I attach to people far easier than I let others believe.  In the process of that attachment, I get blind spots and do not always see the red flags.   This has gotten me hurt and heartbroken more times than I can count.  I am better about that now than I used to be.  That same insecurity caused me to push people away because I was scared.  A couple of folks broke me of that habit.   They held on when I was at my worst. They know who they are and I love them for it. They taught me, in their way, to be more secure and willing to meet people where they are rather than fussing about my role in their lives; how to just let things be what they are rather than what I think they should be.

I have always warred with the idea of being pretty enough, smart enough,  loving enough…just enough. I know this stems from a lifetime of never being good enough.  I know this stems from being told I was, at best, average, and that just wasn’t good enough. I used to think that no one would read or enjoy anything I wrote so I quit for a long time.  Those are the image issues.   I spent my life overcompensating for that imagined shortcoming.  It is liberating as hell to move beyond that.

I’ve learned not to discount my own intelligence, my perceptiveness,  my strength of will when it comes to things that -have- to be done.  I have learned that I have a very loving heart and, in the right hands, that is a very beautiful thing.  I have learned that I can be brave.  I can be funny.  I can fight like the devil if I need to.  I am still learning to be comfortable in my own skin.  I am still learning what it means to be confident in my own abilities.  It is a type of insecurity that I am fighting like hell to prevent in my own daughter.  So far, so good, I think.

A quote comes to mind:

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

― Maya Angelou

And, the truth is, I do. I do better. I am working on viewing myself in a kinder light.  I am working up the confidence to step out rather than in.  Some days I do really well. Others I just royally suck.  But, like all things, this is a journey and all we can do is learn as we go.   What’s your journey like?  what does your struggle look like? Feel free to comment or share below.