Saturday, October 22, 2016

Things to Know

A Haunting Love is one of my favorite spooky stories, and just as soon as things settle down in my little world I'm going to add a bonus to both the print and e-book versions of the story--my microstory, Ghost Bride. Once I do that, I'll be removing Ghost Bride as a stand alone purchase. It will only be available as a bonus feature at the end of A Haunting Love.

You can purchase it HERE (for your other formats) and also on AMAZON

As far as writing news, I'm afraid that's all the updates I have for you. It's been an incredibly rocky 2016. I just posted the most recent update on my PERSONAL BLOG for anyone who'd care to read the gritty details of my near-death experiences. (yes, unfortunately, that's plural)

While I'm recuperating, and until I can get back to stringing together words and sewing aprons to sell, I hope you can have some patience with me. It's been pretty grueling, and to be honest I'm still processing most of it. Everything happened so fast. I mean, 5 weeks ago all I was worried about healthwise was my stupid concussion migraines.

In the meantime, though, you can content yourselves with my fun child and adult aprons on my ETSY STORE. I'm not up to taking custom orders right now, but hopefully soon.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Turn the Page

That's how you begin a new chapter.

This coming Friday marks 11 months since my "traumatic brain injury." I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate that phrase. It's just stupid. It doesn't mean anything, because it encompasses so much it's impossible to define in real earth terms.

Tomorrow we go to court and sign paperwork that means the workers compensation insurance gets to wash their hands of me. It's actually a win for us, our lawyer calls it a gold mine. Due to the laws governing my type of situation in Oklahoma, our settlement is generous.

It isn't a drop in the bucket if you factor in my lost wages for the last 11 months, the long road ahead of medication, doctor visits, or however long I will be out of work--because nobody can tell me how long that will be. Because nobody knows. You've heard it. I've heard it. Everyone's brain is different. I could be perfectly normal in a week. I could be dealing with this for years.

We just don't know.

Back to that chapter. I'm a writer who can't write, at least not with any regularity. But what kind of person can just sit around feeling sorry for themselves? Right? I'm so OVER this crap. Right now I feel like a membrane stretched across the top of a bowl. About to rip. About to burst.

I can't do anything about the pain. It's just there. It'll be there until it's not. Summer heat makes it worse, and I can't be cool enough. So I push it to the back of my mind and try to deal with it later. In the mean time, I create. I'm slow, but it gives me something to do. What am I creating?

 Aprons. Yes, that's the Tardis. :)
 This is one I did for a friend of mine, to thank her for all her help with my kids this school year--but mostly because she's an amazing human being. I have a lot of this fabric now because I love it.
 God bless America! This one came out so dang cute. I have it trimmed with red, but I like it trimmed with navy best.
Ship in a bottle, trimmed with brown. This one is so great. I'm also doing this same print trimmed with blue. It's my favorite so far, so I'm saving it to finish up after court tomorrow as a special treat.

There are also kid aprons. Prepare yourself for something incredibly cute.

 This was the first one I did, and it went to my sis's grandbaby
 This one was a custom job. I loved the holly hobby look of the fabric, just perfect for a little girl. And the little hat buttons! Ideal for the fabric!
 Minnie Mouse, trimmed with black polka dots and pink ribbon.
 I did this one up one day because I had just enough of this red print to do one apron for a 5/6 size girl, and loved it so much I found the print in several other colors!
This one is also a custom job, done in a 2/3 for a little girl for a friend's niece. Again I'm revisiting that wonderful yellow flower print because it's just great for aprons.

If you're wondering, yes, I'm selling. Right now I'm working on building some inventory. I'm posting pics on Facebook and also taking some custom orders. At one point it got a little crazy because I had 10 custom orders in one week, but that's a good kind of crazy. That's kind of why I'm working with aprons and not something urgent like brain surgery.

Because of my current condition, I don't move quickly. I can cut and sew aprons only at my own pace, which fluctuates based on my pain levels--which change at any given week. Last week I cut ten aprons out on Wednesday, but I only sewed 4 on Saturday, and I'm only getting 3 sewn today. You get the idea. I'm honestly going as fast as I can. The kid-sized aprons are obviously faster to cut and sew because they are smaller, and they're more fun because I can see my results faster too.

But, please, don't give up on my writing. I am still plugging away, just much more slowly. Writing is something that requires a great deal of brain power, and is very draining and causes my headaches to worsen quickly. So I have to pace myself. I don't expect to publish anything soon, but I haven't given up.

In the mean time, you, your friends, sisters, daughters, nieces, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc--can cook, garden, clean and whatever else you do where you want to protect your clothes in serious style! Just hit me up for an apron from "Fanciful by Design!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Transparency

Obviously I haven't been here in a while. I haven't been doing much writing at all, so I guess most of my writing-related activities (blogging, Twitter, etc) have suffered for it.

But I'm here, so I guess it's time.

Yesterday, I had one of those conversations with my kids. You know--that type of impromptu conversation that you aren't really expecting to ever have. The kind you sort of hope you'll never have to have.

The kind where you tell them about the time when you were their age and wrote your first--or perhaps, only--suicide note.

Yeah, that kind.

We were talking about how differently the adolescent brain functions as opposed to the adult brain. How hard it is for a teen or preteen to see that there is a future 2 or 3 or 10 years down the road, and how empty the words "it gets better" can be--no matter how well-intentioned they are OR how much experienced the person offering them has. When I wrote my note, I was at my lowest. I couldn't see any other way out. I didn't see how my situation possibly *could* improve.

Yet it did. And within a year. Which, looking back, isn't really that long. At the time, though, it would have been an eternity.

My kids asked me, rightly so, what stopped me. In that moment. In my darkness. And I had to be honest.

Writing. When I wrote my suicide note, in the maybe 4 or 5 minutes it took me to pen the note, I was alone. But I was at a friend's house. And for the previous several months I had been writing every single day and sharing every page I wrote with my friends. It had become habit--so much so that when my friend returned to the sanctuary of her bedroom I just handed my suicide note to her without a word. Automatically. Utterly without thought on my part. She read it. We talked.

Yes. You can argue I wasn't that serious about killing myself if I was that easily talked out of it. I will simply state that I'd thought about the many, many ways I could end my life countless times. The possibilities were constantly on my mind. I didn't have access to guns, and I didn't want anything "showy"--I wasn't out to make a statement--so drowning in the bathtub with the aid of pills or possibly hanging myself was my most likely method. I wanted something absolute. My mom had a fear of my older brother dying by drowning in the nearby canal that ran through the city, but I wasn't sure that would actually kill me, so I didn't want to chance it. Wandering off on one of the many desert hiking trails wasn't an option because there were too many well meaning hikers/joggers etc ready to help me, or some psycho wanting to make my situation worse--again, too many variables.

Let's just say I thought about it a lot. And I had to do it right the first time, because a messed up attempt would only put people on guard and make it harder to succeed a second time. Those were dark days. I was severely clinically depressed at the time, but had yet to be diagnosed. It was just something I was struggling with day to day, in addition to all the normal crap a teenager struggles with everyday.

And writing my first novel. That became my escape. And yes, like a friend of mine at the time suggested, I probably became too involved in the story. But, at the time, I needed it. I needed the outlet. I could have turned to drugs, or sex, or alcohol, but I didn't. I turned to fiction. It could have been worse.

It's never been a secret to my kids that I struggled growing up, but yesterday was the first discussion about the actual note. I'm sure it won't be the last. At least I won't be able to pull it out and show them. Even I think that would be kind of creepy.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Giveaway Results

Okay, I have to admit my Goodreads giveaways were serious fun.

Here's my fun pre-Post Office trip picture. I had ELEVEN winners, four of whom are in Canada. It's been a while since I've staged a giveaway (or a cluster of giveaways) of this magnitude. I just love packaging up books and carting them to the post office and sending them off. (paying postage, not so much, but we do what we have to, right?)

Then, I have to admit, I kind of did something stupid. In my excitement to notify the winners that their packages were on the way, I let Goodreads know that I had mailed the prizes--on April Fools Day.

That's pretty much why I'm posting this today. I want everyone to know that yes, I did honestly and truly mail these books to the winners of my Goodreads giveaways for City of Light, Tea for Two, and The Lost Princess on Friday, April 1, 2016. I even have tracking numbers for the seven domestic packages.

Stop laughing. Anyone could have made the same mistake. I just got excited. :)

And don't forget, my giveaway for Birthright is still active through April 22, 2016. There are five copies up for grabs.

You don't want to miss out. Just click HERE and enter.

Birthright is the story of post-apocalyptic America, partially rebuilt to mirror a feudal system reminiscent of Europe from hundreds of years before. Verity, the oldest daughter of a king who must have sons, rebels against her father and goes on the run, risking danger and death from the wild zombie-like creatures who roam the countryside.

Verity is one of my favorite heroines, and I know my readers will love her too.

You don't want to miss out on your chance to win a copy of Birthright for yourself.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Final Post: Giveaways!

Most of my Goodreads Giveaways are drawing to a close at the end of this month, so I wanted to do one last post to remind you to enter the drawings if you haven't already done so--and tell a friend. I'm giving away 3 to 5 PRINT copies of each book!

Tea for Two is the charming love story between Viscount Brendan Wyndham and Shannah, a house maid in his employ. Surely Brendan is too wise to be caught by Shannah's soulful eyes or lovely face, but his heart tells him there is far more to this young woman than meets the eye.

Tea for Two is the first in a series of short stories and novellas that take place in the same fantasy world where I set my Peasant Queen series--the world of Eeryan. This story takes place far away from Fayterra and all of the established characters from the series, but it's nice to set it in a world that is already somewhat familiar.

Look for more Eeryan world tales in the coming years--tales of pirates, princesses, servants, runaways, and all manner of exciting people!

Along that same line, The Lost Princess is the final installment in my Peasant Queen series, and ties up the remaining details of the people of the kingdom of Fayterra. It picks up mere weeks after The Tyrant King ends, and introduces Jessenia--King Gregory's long lost sister.

How does Jessenia fit into the family? That's a great question, one that she is eager to answer.

If you read the companion novel to the series, The Wild Queen, you'll be happy to know that The Lost Princess brings resolution to several of your favorite characters from that story as well.

The giveaway is for 5 print copies of The Lost Princess, so your chances are good!


Departing from my series work altogether, this is City of Light, my latest fantasy. The giveaway is for 5 print copies, and it's been my most popular giveaway this month.

The Demon wants Aisilyn for his bride, and he’s sending his Dark Warrior to get her. Her sister, Gennavieve, isn’t about to let that happen. Five families wait with dread, uncertain if their Aisilyn is the one the Dark Warrior will take. Only Gennavieve remains convinced the Warrior will come for her sister. To protect Aisilyn, and her upcoming marriage, Gennavieve puts herself in her sister’s place—allowing the Dark Warrior to claim her as the Demon’s chosen bride. What Gennavieve never considered is what she would do if she fell in love with the servant of darkness. In a world driven by faith, no one knows which prophecy will be fulfilled—or whether Gennavieve’s choice will lead to the Demon’s destruction or her own.

 Birthright is the last of my giveaways, and the only one that extends beyond the end of March (so it's the only one you will hear about after the month ends).

You've never seen zombies quite like this before.



The unwanted daughter of a king who must have sons, Verity fights against her father’s betrayal the only way she can—by fleeing the relative safety of her past and taking her chances in the unknown, untamed wilderness. Verity must learn who she can trust—and who wants her dead.

Good luck!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Enter to Win a Copy of Birthright!

The final Goodreads Giveaway is here: Birthright!

I can hear you wondering why start a giveaway on the Thursday? This giveaway runs from March 17 to April 22. That may sound a bit odd, but both days have a deep significance to me, and I wanted to commemorate them. March 17 is my brother's birthday, and April 22 is my dad's (he passed away in 1983). Keeping it in the family.

Enter to win one of 5 copies HERE!

You may remember that Birthright was up for the Kindle Scout program last year. Here's your shot to see what the fuss was all about.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Enter to Win a Print Copy of City of Light!

Here's the third of 4 Goodread's giveaways: City of Light! Contest runs from March 1-March 31.

It's probably me, but this is one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen.

Not only can you enter for a chance at 5 print copies, but City of Light is also up for a Swoony Award this year! The Swoony's are great, because they highlight clean romantic fiction, and you can vote for up to 100 of your favorite titles (you know, if you're an avid reader like I am).

The giveaway can be entered HERE.

If you want to check out the Swoony contenders and cast a few votes, you can do that HERE.

Best of luck in the contest.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Win a Print Copy of The Lost Princess

My second Goodreads Giveaway is for The Lost Princess, which is the final installment in The Peasant Queen series. It was awesome to be able to revisit these beloved characters to tie up the dangling plot elements.

You can enter the giveaway HERE. Again, the contest is for your chance at one of 3 print copies.

If you haven't yet read what happened after the end of The Tyrant King, now's your chance to find out.

Best of luck!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Win a Print Copy of Tea for Two!

As promised, the first of FOUR Goodreads Giveaways: Tea for Two.


It's super easy, especially if you already have a Goodreads account. Just click HERE to enter!

I'm giving away 3 print copies, so your chances are good. The giveaway runs through the end of March.

I wish you all the best of luck!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

'Til We Meet Again

I had an "aha" moment today. I was explaining to my Dr how nice it was to have a sinus infection, because my brain focused on that rather than the concussion headaches.

Let's pick that apart a little. Ever had a sinus infection, where your cheekbones and brow bones hurt so much when touched or tapped that you want to hit back? HARD?

This is a relief from my headaches. I can't even.

I know I posted last week about going dark, but after talking it over with my family and my doctor I'm expanding the timeline.

So this is goodbye. Hopefully for just a few months. Hopefully just till summer.

I can't even tell you how hard this is. I've spent over 5 years developing an online presence, networking, getting to know other writers and readers. It's like admitting defeat. I feel like nobody is even going to remember me in 3 months if I'm not steadily chirping away from my nest.

In an effort to make peace with this decision, which has become a necessity to try and heal physically, I've had to step back and reevaluate where I am. In truth, I'm not in a bad spot.

I have SIX published novels, including my very first completed series. I have a handful of published short stories, at varying lengths. Those are still all going to be out there for general consumption.

I have my VERY FIRST AWARD NOMINATION! City of Light is up for a Swoony this year. If you're not familiar with the Swoony's, you can check out the page on Goodreads. In short: The Swoony Awards are a reader’s choice award recognizing excellence in clean romance fiction. We wanted a way to show our appreciation to these awesome authors who write the kind of books that we love. It’s also a great way to find new books and a good go-to when looking for something fun to read.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out. Seriously, this is one of those moments where you're just happy to be nominated. Recognized. Sure, I'd love votes--I'm not gonna lie--but just being on the list is enough. The coolest thing is, as a reader, you can vote for up to 100 books on the list, so if you're an avid book devourer (as most of us are) you can vote for ALL of your favorites. :)

Also, if you're in the market for some free books, I've got some Goodreads Giveaways scheduled for the next couple of months. Stay tuned, the links will be up once each giveaway goes live.

I've already stated that I have no plans to publish this year, so there's no pressure for me to write. I can just step back, concentrate on my family, and let myself heal. I'm not going to say that will be easy. Last night I was bitten by the urge to write so hard that I almost got out of bed to do it.

I may even have to resort to handwriting, although I don't think that would give my brain a rest any more than an hour or so on the computer. It would just be a different sort of exercise. That being said, I'm not going to push it.

So, farewell. Though I can't say when I'll be back I want to say it'll be soon. It all depends on my brain.

Now that's a terrifying thought.




 

Monday, February 15, 2016

As it Pertains to Writing

This is a health update. Normally I'd keep this on my personal blog, but it does pertain to my writing so I wanted to be sure everyone interested was informed (which is why I'm putting it here).

First of all, City of Light is now available in print. I'm so pleased with how beautiful this book turned out. Here is the AMAZON link. I'm not sure why it hasn't connected this version with the ebook, but I'm sure we'll get that straightened out this week. Jjust a side note, I had some fun looking at the other sellers who've picked it up already--and want to charge you more to purchase it from them. It's kind of funny when you consider the book has only been available since the 12th!)

Secondly, I started kind of a craze on Facebook last week when I told my friends and readers that one of my projects for 2016 is a book where the main character is somewhat vertically challenged (read: short). Okay, she's 4'10". And the bad guy is tall (for the race). The tallest person my MC knows is her mom, at 5'5". It's actually a story that I started last summer, but since my accident I haven't worked on it much. I'm just really in love with the idea and want to get it written.

Now, back to my health. I have to say the biggest problem I have with this ongoing issue is that SO MUCH ATTENTION IS ON ME. I have to prove at every Dr visit that I'm not exaggerating my symptoms. They keep sending me to specialists that may or may not take my insurance. It's such a hassle, and, I'll be honest after SIX months of this I'm more than done.

Lately, though, I've had a serious increase in daily pain and nobody really knows why. Isn't the brain fun?! (not) From our research, Bryan and I have figured that in my efforts to live as normally as possible with this disability--I'm probably doing more harm than good. That said, the hours I spend online, writing, socializing, doing puzzles, reading my Kindle, etc is not giving my brain the down time it needs to heal. Yes, in retrospect that makes perfect sense. Yeah, I feel kinda stupid for being so stubborn. (In my defense, since I can't work I've been trying to increase my exposure as a writer and, hopefully, increase revenue--which is why I'm spending so much time online every day)

But it's not working. And I'm in serious pain. And if I give in and take my pain meds I run the risk of rebound headaches--where the medication is what is causing the headache, and that just seems stupid so, ya.

So I'm going dark for a couple of weeks, with the possible exception of an hour a day writing. I'm going to try to minimize my reading, my TV watching, etc, as much as possible without going insane. That's the part that really scares me, I'll be honest. If you take an average of 10-12 hrs of awake time every day, and then plan to do nothing for most of it so your brain can rest, yeah. I'm not sure I can do it. But I have to try. The current situation is untenable. I can't take it anymore, and I have to try a new approach.

Wish me luck, and thanks for reading!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome to 2016!

It's a new year, and that means a whole new set of "resolutions." I say it like that because I make writing goals every year, so it doesn't fit the standard model of what you might think of when someone says resolutions.

Because of my head injury last August, and the resulting recovery, I thought I'd go easy on myself for 2016. The first thing I did, with the help of my youngest daughter, was take my favorite story ideas--that I hadn't started writing yet, that was key--put them up on the dart board and whatever the dart hit was the story I'd write.

The idea stemmed from a Facebook meme, of all things, that referred to today, the first day of a new year, as the first page of your book. I thought it would be fun to write a page a day of one story, not including Sundays--because I don't write on Sundays. Including the leap day, that's 314 pages--which is a pretty respectable size book!

But one page a day is hardly any effort, and even with my head injury I figure I can do more than that. I wrote down a list of all the stories that I've started but haven't finished, figuring that by working on those stories I could feel I've accomplished something each day--except it's a sizable list. There are currently TEN books/stories I've started but haven't finished. That's a workload that doesn't exactly fall in line with the idea of going easy on myself--on my brain, which is really what I'm trying to do. Work but not overtax myself. Remind my brain that writing is something we do.

I've written in some cushions for these goals--ways to keep from overdoing it this year--because, let's face it, brain health is important. I have to strike a balance between working too hard and not working enough. I also have to give myself some leeway for bad days, days that writing even one page is too much for me.

This is that balance: While I have a lot of lofty writing goals, I have NO (zero, none) publishing goals for 2016. I mean it. If I do get around to publishing something this year it will be because the story is absolutely ready, and my only other option with it is to shelve it until 2017. Remember that at the end of 2014 and throughout 2015 I had rather lofty publishing goals--and I met every single one of them, in spite of my head injury. (of course, most of them were met before I got hurt...)

So, I plan to publish nothing in 2016. I'm going to write--which is the fun part of my job as an author--and work on the existing stories I have. Sure, I hope to have stories ready to publish in 2017, but I'm not putting a number on that. I'm not putting a deadline on it. Part of my reasoning is, as I've mentioned, to give my brain time to heal properly, but the rest of it is to help rediscover the fun of writing. This year I'm going to swashbuckle with some pirates, write a tragedy, solve a mystery in Paris, go back to Fayterra, go underground with a princess, explore the angst of a vampire with a penchant for citrus fruit, and shoot across the stars with a changeling who thinks high school on Earth will be a cinch.

Now, doesn't that sound like fun? :)
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