Thursday, March 20, 2014

After - Part Three Cover Reveal!

Happy first day of spring! Ya'll know what that means, right? As promised, the cover reveal for After - Part
Three is coming right up!

Happy Spring! 
Before I get to that, I just really quick want to say thank you to my fans out there. I love reading your kind words that come across Facebook and Twitter. They mean so much to me and really do brighten my day. I'm back to working on the book at least a little every day, and I'm so happy that you're on this journey with me!

So here it is. The brand new, shiny cover art for After - Part Three!

Doesn't it look so cute, fluffy and.... creepy??




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Kind Word

I like to talk about trivial things. There's just something I love about fluff... a sweet, guilty pleasure. Today, however, I'm leaving the fluff behind, and touching on a serious subject.

I don't talk about my personal life, my past life, much. It's a topic I intentionally steer clear of for a reason, and I have no plans to divulge my ancient history other than within my writing... and before I go any further, you must understand that it is just that. Ancient history.

I sit here tonight in a brand new house, have a loving husband, wonderful kids, a good job, and I've been able to turn my dream of becoming a published author into reality. I'm blessed, and I know it, but I walked a very dark path to get here. Yeah, I caught a few breaks that lead me out of a very bad situation, but ultimately it was me that made the decision to be strong and walk away.

Maybe, at some point in my life, I thought of myself as a victim. Not only did I live through, I survived years of domestic abuse, and I believe I came out the other side a stronger person. It's no small debt that I owe my husband for helping me grow into the person I am today, and he probably doesn't even realize how much he helped me by simply being the kind soul that he is. I've grown so much over the past decade, and even though there are still some lingering issues, some scars that refuse to completely fade away, I am happy with the person I am today. I will never think of myself as a victim again.

But that's not the story I want to write about tonight. I will leave the darkest part of my life in the shadows, only to break free in bits and pieces in my books. What I want to talk about is the road I walked that lead me there.

We were all born a clean, pristine slate, to be shaped partly by nature and probably a lot more by nurture. The house I grew up in was rife with bitterness and negativity. Two things that really don't come close to what I suffered in my early adulthood, but they paved the way nevertheless. The passive aggressive comments and outright degrading statements getting thrown at me at a very young age shattered my self-esteem. Remember, as a child, you have no basis of comparison. This was the norm. This was how I thought the world was supposed to work.

I very keenly remember sharing my dreams with the adults around me - those that I trusted, loved, and respected unconditional because that's simple what children do - and I was laughed at. By adults. I didn't even get humored or patronized, my thoughts were simply shot down.

I sang a song and was told "You'll never sound like Pasty Cline."

When I told another member of my family, "I want to write a story," I can still remember her laughing at me and saying "You don't have anything to write about."

But the worst thing was that I believed it.

I'll never forget how hard I tried to achieve their standards, how I strove for a complement, and yet I could never satisfy. It left me feeling completely unwanted and that anything I would accomplish would be worthless and a waste of time. I'm sure there are thousands upon thousands of people that have suffered through similar situations, I can't imagine that it's really all that uncommon, and that's a sad thought indeed.

Years later, as an adult, I finally understand that the problem was never with me, but more a reflection of the insecurities and doubts of my caregivers projected at me. Now, as a mother, I can't even fathom saying these things, or the like, to my children. Even though I witnessed it, lived through it, and bore the brunt of many hurtful statements, I still do not understand the thought process behind 'knocking' a child's self-esteem.

And really, this is what I want to talk about.

Watch what you say around and to the young-ins. What you think is an offhand remark that doesn't mean anything to you might linger in their thoughts for years. It could hit them at a critical time and shape who they are, affecting their decisions and reasonings for decades.

And even though I was nearly crushed under the weight of the overwhelming negativity, I do remember the good things too. Not that it came from my immediate family, but the applause from an unlikely source stands out like a bright pillar in my memories. It was the encouragement I was starved for, and it was enough to keep the spark burning.

I remember that vividly as well, Mrs Duke. Thank you.

So never withhold a kind word from a child. If you have young children around you, keep in mind that you are their everything. Everything you say, everything you do is being inscribed into their memories. It doesn't even have to be your own child, especially if it's not your own child, because you never know, can't know what they live with. The kind word you say to them could just be the only one that they'll hear that day, that week, that month, that year.

Encourage them, listen, spare that moment to really focus on what they've brought before you. It will mean the absolute world to them. Those kind little words may be the ones they remember, the ones they cling to during the tough times, the ones that will give them that extra, little push when they want to give up, and the ones they smile back on after they accomplish something amazing.

You may never know what you've done for a child with your kind words, but they'll know, and that's what matters most of all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesdays!

I love Tuesdays, aside from the part of it being the 2nd day of the work week. I love them because for years now they have heralded the release of a new movie to DVD/Blu-Ray, or a new console or PC game, or a new book. Tuesdays are awesome because of the fresh and new things that are released to the public for our consumption. Tuesdays are exciting.

Yesterday, R.A. Salvatore's Night of the Hunter: Companions Codex, I released. I had it downloaded before I even got out of bed. In fact, this blog post was supposed to be up yesterday, but my spare time got lost within the book. The saga of Drizzt Do'Urden is my biggest and most loved fandom, and I'm so happy that Salvatore can get out two of these books a year.

Also, I'm thrilled my daughter has fallen in love with these books as well, and I now have all of them on Audible up to The Servant of the Shard. I expect I'll have every last one of them here within a couple months, because she's devouring them. Victor Bevine does an excellent job narrating, and they're well worth the price, especially the ones that have the whispersync deal.

For the indie scene, Monica La Porta's The Priest is now free on Smashwords, and Amazon will price match. You'll remember her from our collaboration on Off the Beaten Path. I highly recommend giving this book a read if your looking for a good romance.

But if you need a little more horror, then be sure to grab this one, and it's for a wonderful cause! I've read the works of more than one of the authors in this collaboration, and I love their stories. Let's Scare Cancer To Death is now available on Amazon, and all proceeds will be donated to the V Foundation for Cancer Research. How can you NOT buy this book? I love me some short stories, so I'm excited to get started on this!

You can read more about the collaboration on T.W. Brown's blog here.

Everyone have a wonderful week, and I'll be back on Friday! (I think.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Odium (The Dead Saga) - By Claire C. Riley

Happy Friday! North Texas finally recovered from the cold and it's a beautiful day! To bad the rain is coming in tomorrow, so gotta enjoy it while it lasts.

  
Today, I'd like to talk about Odium (The Dead Saga). This was written by a fellow indie, Claire C. Riley, and it's a good read, specially if you have a craving for the more main stream zombies. It's written in first person, present tense, with Nina as our voice and main character. This is actually not my favorite style to read, but the book still drew me in once I got into the rhythm. I didn't catch many grammatical or formatting errors, so Claire and her editor are doing a great job there, AND the cover art is beautiful.

Overall the story was good and the relationships between the characters developed nicely. I don't know why, but I'm always a sucker for the stories of what happened to each individual during the crisis or the turn, and I really enjoyed those sections.

I only gave the book 4 stars because I was sometimes confused by who Nina was supposed to be. The character seemed to waiver a little bit from when the book first started out until she finally found her flow about half-way through. Even though that development part was a little shaky, it shouldn't stop anyone from picking this book up, especially those that love some good old-fashioned zombie fic.

Claire C. Riley is definitely on my watch list now!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

90mph

Can I be done yet? I mean.. can I just collapse and sleep for a week?

I hate moving! And to do it twice within 3 months has been a huge strain, physically and mentally. Calling all the utility companies -sometimes multiple times- fighting with the ones that screw things up (I'm looking at you, Time Warner) and all the boxes... Dear Lord, all the effing boxes!! I never want to see a brown moving box again!

Thank goodness it is OVER! We don't plan on moving again for a long, long time. Now it's time to settle back into the routine and get some relaxation in. Now if only this crazy Texas weather will cooperate. Saturday was all, 'Hello sweet spring day!' with the wonderful 80 degree temps, and then they sank to 19 on Sunday with sleet and ice all over the place. Really?

And on top of buying a house and the move, the day job just went through a major realignment and I had to learn a bunch of new lines. There's a little bit of work jargon for ya. No need to go into details on it though. It was stressful at work, stressful at home, and the blog and the edits have been pretty much ignored for the past month. I'm so ashamed.

On the bright side, I am over halfway through reading Odium ( The Dead Saga).  It's nice to actually read a book again, although I've grown really fond of listening to them too if you have a good voice reader. I should be done with it soon and be able to get a review up.

I've already started the edits again on After - Part Three and I'm actually printing the first chapters of the manuscript now for beta reading! I meant to have the cover reveal done last month but life just got in the way, so now it's been rescheduled for the 20th. Why the 20th? Because that's the first day of spring! I'm still confident part three will be released before summer officially begins, but I do not have a release date for you yet. Hang in there with me!

So happy to get a Tuesday post up again. Feels like it's been forever since I've been knocked off my schedule. At least I'm able to say Happy Tuesday! Have a wonderful week and I'll be back soon!

Monday, February 17, 2014

They're here!

Ready for signage!!
Woohoo! My first wave of paperbacks is finally here, ready to be signed and shipped out. I should have them all in the mail by this weekend, so if your one of the few who have been waiting for a copy, the wait is finally over! ... well.. minus shipping time.

Also, my review for The Dark Tower has been started... and I'm not half done yet, so I figured I should just get this out of they way and continue to work on the review in other posts. Maybe two... I have a lot to say about these books.

In the mean time, I have started a read and review ... thingie... with T.W. Brown. Hopefully it'll turn into a real book of the month club, but we need a few more indie authors to join in! So speak up if you're interested!

The book for February is Odium, by Claire C. Riley.

The title alone is gripping for me. I've barely opened the book and I can't wait to read more. I can only catch snippets here or there, but hopefully I will find some time to sit down and blaze through this book.

The move into the new house has started. We spent the weekend painting my daughters room, and will be moving all the big stuff this upcoming Saturday. We're spending time moving some little things during the evenings after work, and I Am Beat!! 

Hate to say this, but editing has slowed on part three. I'll jump right back into it as soon as the move is done. I think I'll be dying for some time to just park my butt somewhere and rest once this is all over with!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What day is it?!?

My head is spinning, I can't keep track anymore!

So, a big update coming your way today. I think it's due since I've been neglecting my blogging duties lately.

First up, my reading status. I'm done with Wolves of the Calla and Song of Susannah. Wolves of the Calla is a big book, almost a stand alone story like Wizard and Glass, but it all ties into the main plot by the end. It took a while to get used to George Guidall's voice. There was a time or two I almost put audible down and reached for the kindle, but I hung with it and finally got used to it... for the most part. I still prefer Frank Muller over George, but I think Georgie can carry me through to the end at least.

Mordred Deschain is creepy! **
I haven't read reviews of what other people thought of Wolves of the Calla yet, (don't want to stumble across a spoiler!) but I enjoyed it. The battle at the end was satisfying, and I really enjoyed seeing Jake grow into a young gunslinger. The book flowed so easily into Song of Susannah that I escaped the hangover. I started listening to Song the same night I finished Wolves. Song of Susannah is a very short book by King's standards, and I got through it in a week... AAANNNDDDDD I'm already a few chapters into The Dark Tower, so it's going to be hard to separate the books in my mind once I'm all done. Guess the real review will come when I finish the last one. Since they've been out on the market for a whole decade, there will be spoilers. I've got to be the only left who hasn't finished the series!

Now, here's for the fun-fun news! The first big order of paperbacks of After - Part Two are on the way to my house, so for those of you who have been waiting patiently (thank you, thank you!) for a signed copy, you'll have it soon! The ETA to my doorstep is February 17th, and I will have them in the mail soon after.

A natural segue into an After - Part Three report should follow that, but unfortunately I do not have any breaking news. I'm still plodding away as time allows, and expect to reveal the cover at the end of the month, along with maybe a little extra somethin' somethin'. ;)

Time to wrap this up with some pretty big life news. Remember when my husband and I sold our house back in November, moved into a rent house, and said we'd take some time looking for THE house we'd spend the next 20 years in? Yeah, we found it. We expect to be closing in a WEEK and then will be moving in! I'm very excited! Might be hard to find editing time while we're moving, but I'm sure I'll get settled in soon enough. Then I'll be back at it, buckling down, keeping my nose to the grindstone, going that extra mile and whatnot... Oh, silly idioms, I'll never escape em', but I'll be working hard, dammit!

Until then... Long days and pleasant nights, sais.

**Not sure who to credit for this artwork, but I found it on the Dark Tower Wiki.