Monday, December 31, 2012

Collaborations and Collusions

Remember the Three Word Challenge from way back when? (If not, you can read about it over here and here too ) Well, I'd been wanting to have author duo CL Raven do a guest blog for me and tell you all about their cool stories and webisode series, but I wanted to make it super fun and super special. I asked them if they would be willing to accept a Three Word Challenge of their own, and since they are brilliant, funny, and excellent eggs/team players, they graciously accepted!

CL Raven's work is full of dark humor and the kinds of flavor you might find in works of Alfred Hitchcock and Edgar Allan Poe. Here they are (aren't they gorgeous?! Uh, the girls, not the dead old man writers ;P)

You can join them on twitter and facebook  (I try to stalk them daily at both locations, I won't lie!)
So I gave them the words "blackjack", "cistern", and "braid" for their Three Word Challenge...

Without further ado, here is what they came up with for your entertainment...


He's coming for me.

I know him only as Blackjack. The press adopted this nickname because he kills women on their twenty first birthday. Mine's tomorrow. A week ago I received a birthday card.
 To Seren. Thinking of you. Blackjack x
Inside was an ace of spades playing card. As cards go, it wasn't the creepiest I've ever had - that accolade belongs to one my ex gave me. 'To my girlfriend. You is well hot'. I'd tolerated his smelly feet, love of football and his insistence of dyeing himself to the colour of an Oopma-Loompa for the summer, but that card was the last straw. He's lucky he didn't join it shredded in a bin bag.

I should've phoned the police, but they'd have just put a squad car outside my house. They did that for his last victim - I was in that car, watching the street while he gave her the key to death's door.

If Blackjack wants my life, he'll have to fight me for it.


I wake, surprised I haven't been butchered; my organs dangling from some "21st!" balloons, my fingers used as substitute birthday candles. That would really spoil my cake. It's sunny outside - not the weather you'd associate with a serial killer's imminent arrival like the worst birthday entertainer ever. At least he's not a clown.

I dress and head downstairs, strangling my braid with a band topped by a black bow and a skull. A card sits on the hall floor, looking as innocent as a politician caught in a brothel raid.

I open the envelope. The card has an adorable puppy on it wearing a party hat.
To my favourite girl. Have a great day. It will be your last. Blackjack x

Paper falls out and I pick it up. It's a page from a diary - today's date. Seren's 21st birthday is scrawled on it with a balloon. I suppose I should be grateful he remembered. My ex rarely did. I turn the page over. A week after my birthday he's written Seren's funeral. My gratitude vanishes faster than a snowman in a heat wave. I'll boycott my funeral. I don't have anything to wear.

Every time the door knocks, my heart dies. It's hard enjoying presents when you're convinced each gift will contain methods of execution. It's almost anti-climactic to receive gift vouchers.

Night falls as swiftly and silently as a guillotine blade. The phone rings. I answer it to hear a musical card playing 'Happy Birthday'. I slam the phone down. Those cards are always out of tune.

The door knocks three times. I pull the knife from my waistband and creep forwards. Death knocks three times. I look through the spy hole, my heart racing.

An eye stares back.

I leap backwards, swearing. I know he can't see me, but it feels like he stared straight at me. I risk another look.

He's gone.

I hurry to the kitchen window and switch on the lights outside. Shadows emerge to dance in the spotlight of the garden stage. He's not there. I lean over the sink to check the blind spot. He appears at the window, hands pressed against it as he peers in. I drop to the floor, squeezing myself as close to the cupboard as possible without climbing in and hiding amongst the fabric conditioner. By switching on the lights, I've told him I'm home.

I crawl out of the kitchen, my heart pounding out my own funeral track as I huddle against the wall. His footsteps clump as he searches for an entrance. My shaking hands grip the knife and my pepper spray. I've seen what he did to those other girls. I won't let him do that to me. I will not be one of his victims, my name known only for the brutal way I was murdered. That will not be my legacy.

The front door clicks. I scream in silence, my mind voicing what my mouth can't. I curse leaving the spare key behind the drainpipe. I try calming the tempest in my brain. His shadow slinks along the wall then he appears. And smiles.

"Happy birthday Seren. You're going to get the best present - to stay twenty one forever."

I squirt my pepper spray into his eyes. He yells and rubs them.

"You'll suffer for that." He lifts the hand holding a parcel. "I got you a present."

"I hope you kept the receipt."

It's the same present he bought the other girls - a traditional 21 key that was stamped so hard onto their backs it had to be prised off, the wound unhealed as they died. That was before the twenty one different wounds he inflicted on them.

"The only key I want is the one to your funeral home."

I thrust the knife into his chest and twist it. He gasps and glances down, stunned by the sight of his own blood. He grabs me, flinging me against the wall. I bang my head, blue lights dancing in my vision. He unwraps the present as I crawl towards the kitchen. He grabs my leg. I kick, struggling and screaming. He drags me towards him so I press my toes against his stab wound until he lets go. I scramble up and run for the downstairs toilet. I wrench the cistern lid off and rescue the sharpened 21 key hidden inside. The only thing this will open is his jugular.

He stands in the kitchen holding his key and a bag.

"It's very ungrateful to refuse a present."

"I'm giving myself a present." I raise the key. "My life."

I swing the key at him, anticipating his duck. I stab it into his neck. I wrench it free as blood spurts over my kitchen. He clutches the wound, gurgling as he drops to his knees. Once he's on the floor, I hack his shirt off, grab my knife and carve my parting gift into his back.

21 or BUST.
Were you nibbling your nails or chewing your lip while reading that?!! Cause that's what I find myself doing all the TIME when I read works by these lovely ladies! If you want more CL Raven (and I kind of can't help myself, honestly...I'm not usually a fan of horror, but there is something more than a little addicting about their work...) check out "Gunning Down Romance" (a collection of short stories about love gone terribly, horribly wrong) "Disenchanted", (a collection of fairy tales retold in the cleverest ways possible) and their full length novel, "Soul Asylum." (Mystery and Death live side by side in an ancient mental asylum! Who will survive? Who won't?)
Disenchanted for Amazon                      Disenchanted for Smashwords
Soul Asylum for Amazon                       Soul Asylum for Smashwords
In addition to their written works, the duo is two thirds of the hilarious web series Calamityville Horror. The girls and their handsome and goofy sidekick Ryan wend their way through historical and haunted properties located in Wales. Check them out over here!
For all updates on works in progress, Gimpic Game Adventures, Animal Army foibles, and other awesomeness, please check out CL Raven's Blog
Big thanks, cwtches, and high-fives to Cat and Lynx Raven for being on my blog today!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Liebster Award (otherwise known as...Do it because you love me!)

I'm very honored that CL Raven has nominated me for the Liebster Award! (I don't know what it is, but I want it!)

Liebster blog award The fine print:

  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs and let them know they’ve been nominated
  • You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your blog!
  • Paste the award picture into your blog. I stole mine from wherever CL Raven got theirs ;)

And here are my questions from CL Raven :

1. What is your superhero name, power and costume? Mind Control, of course! If I had unlimited control over people's minds...I wouldn't have to be super strong, fast, wealthy, breathe underwater, etc. I could make other people do it FOR me, or THINK I was doing it, which amounts to the same thing. Also, I guess I'd leave my name the same. This is one of those superpowers that might be best not to go around advertising, lest some chump figure out a way around it that I haven't thought of first. Costumes...I'd have unlimited access to whatever clothes I wanted to wear, or wanted people to think I was wearing. The possibilities are endless. Now, please give me those pretty, pretty shoes in that window...

2. Who would you go gay with to save the world? Waaaaait a does this save the world, exactly? I guess it WOULD be a good excuse to make out with Kate Beckinsale, Kate Winslet, or Milla Jovovich.

3. Who would play you in a film of your life? Hmm. I'm not sure. I'd like to see how Zooey Deschanel would do, but I'm not sure she could pull off my brooding, dark side. She'd have to try out. Open casting opportunities will be announced when it's time. Ginnifer Goodwin might be good too.

4. Name 5 albums on your death row disc list. Number #1 is Eric Clapton's 24 Nights album...technically it's a double disc album, but it still counts as one. The other four would be....U2's Achtung Baby, the special foreign edition recorded in Berlin and Dublin. The Killers, either Hot Fuss or Sam's Town-I like them equally and they are such great albums, but very different. The same goes for The Black Keys and both the Brother and El Camino albums. If I was able to bribe the Death Row guards, I'd get some Led Zeppelin, Metallica Load and Black, Adele (21), David Garrett's rock symphonies, and maybe some Jewel and old school rap like 2-Pac and Mase, just for good measure.

5. What’s your karaoke song? I've never done karaoke. I desperately want to, but they don't really have any place that does it near me, and I also need some friends who will set aside their pride and do it with me. Although, I should admit, I have performed live with a friend and we did Bad Reputation by Freedy Johnston. That was AWESOMELY fun and I would love to be able to do more performing.

6. If you had to have a hilarious, cartoon-style death, what would it be? Piano falling from a high window and crushing me flat on the sidewalk. No contest. Then I'd get up and walk around all flattened and stretched like the cartoon characters do!

7. What book/film/song do you wish you’d written? I'm not really sure. I do wish I could have stolen the title “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” by Dave Eggers. I mean, come on...who really doesn't want to call their book THAT?!! The fact that he actually got to is very, very admirable. It was, by the way, a very good book.

8. If you could be made into a wax work couple, who would your other half be? Jensen Ackles. But I also have a thing for Ioan Gruffudd and Cillian Murphy, so really, either of them would be acceptable if Jensen were unavailable for some ridiculous reason.

9. What would be your Kryptonite? Pretty, witty men with dark hair, freckles, and light eyes. Wait. That's already my kryptonite. Also, sweets. And chips. And pizza, chinese food, and dyeing my hair way too much.

10. If you ruled the world, what is the first law you’d make? I might outlaw politicians. And make animal abuse punishable by death. I don't believe in the death penalty, but if I did, animal abusers would be the first to get the chair. I'd also make some law that allows less money to public figures, like sports players and entertainers, and channels that money to schools for arts programs and allowing teachers more resources. Also, I'd make all employers treat their employees like humans, not pack mules. Happy people make good employees. I'd make lots and lots and lots of laws. I'd probably get overthrown quite quickly and violently.

11. And who would be the first person you’d execute? The first person to cut into traffic in front of me and then go 10 mph below the speed limit. Those people deserve execution, for sure.

11 random facts about myself-

1. I'm right handed but I play most sports like a lefty would.

2. I'm a trained auricular acupuncturist, and during my training, I discovered my left ear would push out most of the needles placed, while the right ear accepted the needles in a composed and well behaved fashion. My trainer stated this meant my chi was “F-ed up.” HA! He was a great guy.

3. I like figuring out how to recreate really yummy dishes at home I've discovered while eating at restaurants

4. German Shepherds scare me and I wish they would stop being bred and the whole breed allowed to die off.

5. I started drinking coffee at the age of 7. I had to detox from all caffeine at the age of 27, and I allow myself one large mug of half-caf per day now. (I get heart palpitations, major sleep disturbances, and anxiety if I overdo it. Lame, I know.)

6. I've worn high heels since I was like 7 or 8. No, I was not a child beauty pageant queen. I grew up in a church that all the girls wore big poofy hair, fancy dresses, stockings, and heels. So....kind of a pageant, actually, now that I think about it, yes...I rarely wear dresses now, or hairspray.

7. My mother made me take piano lessons every Friday for like five years. I told her I didn't want to, but she insisted I have opportunities she never did. So I simply refused to learn a damn thing. She finally realized $10 a pop to prove her will was stronger than mine was really quite wasteful. I do feel sorry for the teachers I had, though. They must have thought I was truly feeble minded for the extreme lack of progress.

8. I am petrified of being sung “Happy Birthday” to in public. Or, anywhere, really, but especially in public.

9. I had imaginary friends named Chester and Garbo as a child. At a certain point, it became apparent my father liked them more than I did, and when he kept asking about them, I finally told him they weren't around anymore. When he pressed the issue about where they'd gone, I told him I killed them off so he would be quiet about them already. I'm continually reminded by how accommodating my parents really were of my lunacies.

10. I won't eat tuna fish or egg salad prepared by someone else.

11. I once had a (short, but it still counts!) conversation with President Bill Clinton. I wish I had asked him what cologne he was wearing.

Here are my nominees for this award -Jamie Demente, London Cole, Allison Brew, Judith Sweet, Xander Buchan, Miranda Stork, Nisha Moodley, and Elise Stephens (if you've already been tagged, please feel free to ignore. ) I know I'm not supposed to tag the blog that tagged me, BUT I really want CL Raven to answer my made up questions!! Pretty please?

New questions for the nominees are -

1. If you were a Superhero, what would your Nemesis' power be?

2. Take three sentences from three of your favorite songs and make a paragraph that may or may not make sense.

3. What do you wished you had been named?

4. What is a book/song/movie you wish you've never read/heard/watched and why?

5. Let's pretend the Zombie Apocalypse is actually going to happen. How are you going to survive it?

6. Would you rather be raised by wolves or penguins?

7. If your life was a song, what would the title be?

8. Do you wake up, or open your eyes first?

9. Magic wand or Lightsaber?

10. What is the speed of dark? What is the square root of purple?

11. If YOU had to have a hilarious, cartoon-style death, what would it be?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Mountain Trail Adventures

I discovered a trailhead near my house a few years ago. Once, I started climbing it, only to turn back after 10 minutes. It went up, and up, and up...and that was before I had any interest in getting some good cardio time in. Anyways, about a month ago, I remembered the trail and decided to go exploring. I've still never reached the end of the trail, because once you reach the top of the mountain, the trail continues through a grassy meadow...and is clearly marked with about a dozen "Posted" signs. Jerks! I may never know what lies beyond! If you see a public arrest record for me with a trespassing charge, you'll all know why. Here are some photos of the coolness the trail has to offer.

Fairy size overhead view

 Stone Walls randomly line the trail, but not in a discernable pattern...I followed one, and found...
What era is this from? It was lying in the middle of a clearing, right across from this...
And I have no idea what                      ^^^^^"this" ^^^^^                    actually first I thought a foundation, but there are only three sides, and the size of the trees growing up through the middle of it while no other trees grow in the clearing around it seem to indicate it's NOT a foundation. I then thought maybe a hunting blind, but a friend familiar with these things said, no, it's not likely a hunting blind. So I have no idea what it is. I do know...the area had a creepy feel to it. The longer I stayed, the more I felt like someone, or something was watching me. Herschel kept tracking a ground scent and acting we got out of there quickly. I want to go back with company and see if they feel anything peculiar about the area or if I was working myself into a tizzy for nothing.
This is a drainage culvert, or as I like to call it, the remains of a Roman aqueduct, transported through space and time to a random trail in upstate New York. My explanation makes more sense, obviously.
A squadron of fungi, attacking a fallen foe.
Tree Barnacles...The Musical
This is a larger than life sized photo of a teeeeeeeny little mushroom atop a bed of moss growing off a tree trunk.
We had a few days of heavy rain. Not only did the handful of streams that cross the trail become raging rivers, a winding swath down the entire face of the trail, still muddy, was evidence the entire trail was flooded, likely the day before.
Herschel playing in a waterfall
Last Red Eft of the's so much fun to hold a miniature orange dinosaur. Seriously. Unless they pee on you. Thankfully, this one minded his manners.
Last time I went up, the mountain was behaving rather rudely. I had to leap across one of the swollen streams, and when I landed on what appeared to be a solid and stable rock, it began wobbling to and fro, trying to send me flying. I just barely managed to keep a toe hold and leap off before it killed me. Or sprained my ankle, which, on a mountain alone, is tantamount to the same thing. THEN, a tree literally threw a branch at Herschel. It clattered a few inches from his poor fuzzy noggin, and he jumped about a foot off the ground. Being the opportunistic type, he grabbed the branch and began merrily whacking me across the back of my knees several times before I decided that was enough of that and made him drop it. He pouted for a minute or two, then trotted off to find deer poop. Yum.
That's pretty much what I've been doing besides school, homework, and sleeping. Ciao!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

You Know, Since Sliced Bread...

I am actually very honored to have been tagged to do this blog post by Cat and Lynx Raven, two of my favorite people I've met via the twittersphere. You can meet them too, on twitter @CLRaven and follow their blog Raven's Retreat (where they make me very jealous with all their foibles and exploits across Wales, through castles, dungeons, battlefields, sand dunes and other exciting British things. They have a webisode series, and they ALSO invented the Gimpic Olympics, which in and of itself, should make you hoot. ALSO I want their clothes.) They are writers, AWESOME writers, too. I love them!

So anyways, enough studded boot kissing from me.

Now I get to talk about MY book! I have to answer questions about my work in progress, then tag five other writers to answer the same questions. Let's get started...

What is the working title of your book?

Technically, my WIP is a trilogy called The Neverearth Prophecies. I completed the third draft of the first book a couple weeks ago, and it's called Running on Faith. Book 2 is entitled Edge of Darkness, and the conclusion is Change the World. The individual book titles may sound familiar to some of you...if so, we can probably be friends, because yes, they are all the titles to Eric Clapton songs, who is my favorite musician of all time. The titles were not just picked out of a hat though, don't worry. They are actually very significant to each plot line within the novels...however, I must admit, I'm not in LOVE with the title for Book 3, so that one may change.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Nowhere. Everywhere. A dream, a voice, a movie, an argument, a yummy lunch, a boring dinner....I don't know if there was ever ONE idea. I'm sure there was an initial spark that started it all rolling, but I can't remember what it was.

What genre does your book fall under?

Well, it's definitely Young Adult Fiction. However, I don't want to categorize it beyond that, yet...there is adventure. There is a definite supernatural element. There is maybe some romance. There is absolutely lots of fantasy, some of which might be considered pretty "old-school" but it's set in modern day. There is a quest, and twists and turns and back alleys. There are lots of fight scenes, and some really funny parts, and some really emotional parts. What would you call it?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I've actually thought a lot about this. Right from the beginning, I've thought of this story as something I very much want to see made into a movie some day. Every scene has been written with the thought on the forefront of my mind...How will this translate onto the big screen? Movies and books are tied as my true loves, so it would be weird for me NOT to dream about this. The main character is named Alexa, and I could totally see Chloe Grace Moretz playing her. She is pretty, and has that youthful innocence about her, but she also has a very dark, edgy, dangerous glint in her eye. I think she could bring Alexa to life wonderfully. I've also strongly considered Robert Ri'chard as Carson, one of the other very important characters, but I'm not sure if he has the acting depth to pull it off. (Robert, if you ever read this, please don't take offense...I know your career is just starting...)

There are other VERY key characters, but I don't want to give too much away...I will say that filling the roles of Albin and Adrian would probably be the most challenging...there is a LOT going on with those two!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

This is the hardest question of all. I don't want to answer it. Mainly because I don't know how to answer it. Every author, at some point, is asked to give their book a "tagline."
How do you condense 75,000 words into one sentence? (That is a rhetorical question....I know there are like 87 gajillion blogs, 14 books, and endless seminars about how to do just that.) Every time I've tried, the taglines sounds so frigging cheesy, even I wouldn't want to read my own book. I probably shouldn't admit to that, but it's true. I might have to make my friends who have read it help me come up with a line one of these days.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My plan is to seek representation from an agent and try the traditional route first. Not because I think it's better, but because I won't really have the time needed to commit to making Indie pubbing a reality for this story for at least 2 years while I'm in school. My tentative plan at this moment is if I don't get an agent within a specific time frame, I will begin pursuing less traditional options. But I will throw out there that one of the reasons I chose the area of study I did (Graphic Design and Media Arts) is so that I will have the technical know how to get VERY involved with Indie publishing in the future- cover design, blog/web site creation, etc. So who knows how it will all turn out? 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

You know, I didn't really keep track. I THINK I wrote the first sentence about 2 years ago. It has had major plot overhauls along the way, lots of time-outs, etc. But it's probably fair to say, yes, it took me 2 years to write this story. I don't plan on the next one taking that long!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Since I refuse to give it a specific genre, this question is hard ;) I will say my style and thought process is influenced by writers I've been reading since I was a child...some of these include traditional fantasy writers like Terry Brooks, or Robin McKinley, but there is a lot of influence by other sources like video games and movies, such as the Resident Evil empire, Sucker Punch, Underworld, etc. (There are no zombies, vampires, werewolves, or science lab creations in my story. But the overall "feel" of those creations was definitely a factor.)

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Um....Ok, I'm going to answer this honestly, but pretty much everyone is going to scratch their heads and go...Huh?

The Bible.

No, I'm not joking. And nope, I'm not going to elaborate'll have to read it and seeeeeeeeee........ :D

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I'll go ahead and copy and paste a sample or two for you from Book 1, Running On Faith, shall I? (Proviso...These are samples prior to editing. Have mercy!) There are some other earlier samples Here and Here. You can see the title was different initially, and the excerpts needed a lot of clean up!

“Protector! Come down.” Kavi calls up to me. I know he doesn't mean to, but his use of my title feels mocking. I don't know what exactly he was trying to prove with this test, but I've obviously failed miserably. I slowly get to my feet. Albin is standing with arms folded, scowling, looking up at me. Great. He's disappointed in me too. His scowl changes to a look of surprise.

No, not disappointed. Worried. You can take these guys. Get Adrian out of your head and under your feet, where he belongs.

My lips turn up at the corners at his words echoing through my mind, then I slam my shield up. In my panic at being restrained, I'd let it slip. But I'm less perturbed by Albin's intrusion than normal. It didn't even feel like much of an intrusion, actually. It felt comfortable. Now I'm the one scowling. There is nothing enjoyable about Albin being in my head. What a stupid thought.


Hopping the fence is easy. The driveway is circular, with the remains of an old hitching post on the far end, now fitted with a brass commemorative plate. The house is only fifty years younger than I am. I can imagine what it must have looked like in its heyday. It's enormous, and glorious. There is a white pillared, circular patio overlooking the sloping lawn that leads directly into a large pond, located in what is now a public park.
A huge window of leaded glass overlooks the patio. I can picture ladies in flowing dresses and fancy hats stepping down from gilded carriages, accompanied by handsome, mustachioed men of wealth and circumstance.

I climb the patio steps and peep in through the window. It's old glass, the kind that ripples ever so slightly, distorting the view. Fine wallpaper hangs in shreds from the high walls. A crystal chandelier  a full five feet in length hangs from the sculpted, decorated ceiling. When I close my eyes I can see the ladies and their dresses twirling to and fro to the tune of a waltz, played by the orchestra that would have been placed on the raised dais at the far end of the room.

I'd never been to a ball. I'd never worn one of those full skirted, swirling dresses with the stiff petticoats and corseted tops. I'd never worn my hair up in jeweled combs. There were lots of things I might do differently if given the chance to do them over, but the fact is, I was always meant to be a warrior, not a debutante.

I step away from the glass and leave the past trapped inside it.
So there you have it...some peeks into what I am currently working on! Now to tag some other unsuspecting victims I'd like to hear from...(no one will hide in your closet if you decide not to participate. Not anytime soon, anyways...mwah ha ha!)
London Cole London's Blog
Miranda Stork Miranda's Blog
Rebecca Hamilton The Forever Girl
Xander Buchan Dracula Returns
Elise Stephens Moonlight and Oranges

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cover Reveal of Whisper's Edge, the Sequel to Whisper Walker!

Several months ago, I was lucky enough to be able to read and review Whisper Walker, a dystopian paranormal fiction adventure by author London Cole. You can check out my thoughts and an interview with the author in a previous blog entry here :

 Review of Whisper Walker

I now am able to share with you not only the AMAZING newly designed cover for Whisper Walker, Second Edition, but the INSANELY HOT cover and story description for Whisper's Edge, the awesome sequel that will be available Fall 2012!

So, firstly, the newly designed cover for Whisper Walker....

Isn't it mysterious?! It makes me want to read it again!!

And the UPCOMING Whisper's Edge....

It gives me chills! (No pun intended, seriously.) It's stunning! Look at those eyes...

Want to know more about the book?

"Drake and Kelsie quickly discover life won't be quite the same after getting their new abilities, but they hope everything will settle into a sort of normalcy. It doesn't take long for them to realize it's not the kind of normal they were hoping for.

When Kelsie joins Drake for a routine Hunt, they end up stumbling upon an underground bunker that hasn't been opened in nearly a century. When they meet a far-too-friendly ghost, it should be their first indicator to leave things alone and get out of there. Never ones to resist the opportunity for excitement or mystery, they end up in a situation that could cost them dearly–threatening not only everything they've worked for, but their very lives!

Drake's world is turned upside down. A mysterious new girl seems intent on capturing his heart, but that's not all she's after.

Kelsie faces betrayal by the one she holds most dear, only to meet someone new who could change her entire existence; past, present, and future. If only she can stay alive long enough to find out the truth..."
Meet the author...

London Cole is a YA Paranormal author living in East Texas, US. When he's not writing or outlining he can be found doing laps in his pool, playing a rock concert, or any of a variety of outdoor extreme sports.

London's debut WHISPER WALKER is a Dystopian Paranormal based on the island he was raised on, Whidbey Island. Only, it's the island eighty years after the Third World War, and everything is a lot different...and a lot meaner.
You can find London's blog and all release and ordering information here:

The followup to WHISPER WALKER is WHISPER'S EDGE and will be available in early fall 2012.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Dirty "C" Word

I once read that physically, chemically, emotionally, and mentally, more change occurs in humans from age 8 to age 18 than any other aggregate time in their whole life. Think about the significance of that for a moment. Over the span of one decade, you will change more than the whole rest of your 75-90 years of life.

No wonder teenagers appear so unstable; they literally are just that!

The truth of the matter is, I FEEL like more change has happened in the last 5 years of my life than any of the other 27 years (I'm 32. Just so you know. Some of you will think this makes me a baby, others will think this makes me an old lady. It's cool either way).

When I was 20 years old, I got my first real job. I say “real” because it was a very grown-uppy job and was something I thought I might do for a very long time, if not forever. I was dating a man I thought I would spend my life with. I had a PLAN, by golly! Years went by. I began to realize I was very unhappy. Unhappy with the grown-uppy job. Unhappy with the guy. Don't get me wrong, it was a fine job, and the guy was very nice, but....they weren't what I wanted.

Here is the problem. I didn't like where I was, but the idea of changing where I was scared the (insert bad word here) out of me more than being miserable did. So I stayed in the job, and I stayed with the guy, and I got more and more unhappy. Then my unhappy became something much scarier. It got clinical. It had to be medicated, just so I could get up and go to the job and deal with the guy.

Please don't misunderstand...the job and the guy did NOT cause me to be unhappy, depressed, anxious, and all the other scary stuff. The fact that I was living a life I was not supposed to be living and settling for things that I didn't really want DID. It dawned on me one day, as I took my medication- or maybe it was as I laid down to sleep, or on my way to work...irrelevant when it occurred, relevant that it did- the fact that I needed to be medicated in order to survive the situation I was in was probably a huge clue I needed to do something differently.

And then I took a pill really darn quickly, because the thought of making a CHANGE was scary as (insert another bad word here) and gave me another panic attack.

But one day, it just felt okay to make a change. I felt strong enough. I ended my relationship, and though there were tears, the bigger feeling was of relief. I didn't know how I was going to pay the bills without our shared income, but I just felt it would be okay, somehow. I didn't need the medication anymore (which was ironic, now that my life was ACTUALLY getting stressful!). My finances got worse, my job became rockier, and I was scared to death, but there was a little voice in my head telling me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, because it would be okay.

I filed bankruptcy. My position was cut at my job, and therefore I was laid off. Filing for unemployment was embarrassing. I decided to go back to school, because what else do unemployed 30 year olds do? At the literal last second, school fell through. I was back to looking for work, and took a job I really did not want, and which I despised every second for the four months I was there. I left that job with no other prospects lined up and no money in the bank, because the job was going to kill me (quite possibly literally- I fell asleep at the wheel on my way home for the first time in my life, and there were patient brawls, of epic proportions that included weapons, at least once a month for the four months I was there).

And yet, still...I had a feeling that everything was going to be okay. I was wandering around blindfolded and banging my shins on everything, but I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other...

When I left that position, a side gig very quickly bloomed into a full blown money maker. It was miraculous. I was working 30 hours a week making more than I had been making full time. It was fun, too. I met some amazing people, and gained a ton of experience. I learned that I was really good at some things I had always been scared by at my first job. I learned that bankruptcy really doesn't ruin your life like they say it does (on the contrary....) I bought a new car (nothing fancy, but it sure is nice to have something reliable!). I started writing for the first time in over 2 years.

This lasted for exactly one year. Around the 9 month mark, I started realizing that I am not the type of person who can write a book and work a day job, at least not then. I know many, many of you reading this do, and I salute you with both hands, and both my feet, AND give you hugs and cookies and a million pounds of coffee beans- you are my heroes!

At the one year mark, the work dried up, and it did so in a way that left me eligible for unemployment once again. Now, I'm sure a lot of you are going to think less of me when I tell you this, but I don't care...I jumped on the UI wagon with glee in my heart and a song on my lips, because NOW was the right time to write a book, and go back to school, and I was not going to let the opportunity pass me by again.

As I write this post, I have approximately 10K left to write on my first novel. School is starting in a few weeks. I've been making a lot of physical and emotional changes, some on purpose, some not so much. I don't know what else is coming around the corner. Every night a million and seven things race through my head as I place it upon my pillow. Every morning I wake up and am reminded of how scared of all this stuff I really am. What is going to happen next in my life? Where am I going to be in one week? A month? A year?

Earlier this evening, something reminded me to think back to how scared I was 5 years ago to let go of a job and relationship I thought brought me security. I think about ALL the things that scared me then, and how much change has happened in such a relatively short time. I think about how glad I am I lost ALL those things I thought I needed. It makes me smile, and hug myself a little.

We are always changing. It's necessary, and healthy not to stagnate. Sometimes change happens slow, and sometimes change happens fast, but even when change is good, it can be super scary. Sometimes we choose to change, and sometimes we are dragged through it, kicking and screaming and crying, with great gobs of snot hanging from our quivering upper lip.

I had to write this post to remind myself...5 years from NOW, I'll still be changing, and Future Me will maybe read this post, and smile, and give Now Me a hug, because she'll know that everything really does turn out okay, if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other...

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." -- André Gide

Friday, August 3, 2012

Please...Have A Seat While I Take A Stand

I've decided to make my opinion known on yet another touchy subject. Mostly, this is because for the past week, a lot of people I care about have been getting up in arms about their beliefs, to the point where other people I care about are dangerously close to being treated very wrongly. Aren't you excited? Here we go...

I don't know if homosexuality is right or wrong (because at the root of the Same Sex Marriage debate, is your belief on this issue, make no mistake.) I also don't care much whether it is or it isn't. Why? Because here are a few things I DO know. I'm not God. Neither are you. I believe He is the one who will judge every individual, which means neither me nor you get to do so in the meantime. I sin. So do you. I've been charged to love my neighbor, and have compassion for my fellow man. So have you. This directive was not quantified as “Only love those whose behavior you like, or those who believe or do things you do, or people who look like you, dress like you, love like you, listen to the same music you do, worship at the same church or eat at the same restaurants you do.”

I feel there are an awful lot of people who call themselves Christians who have become Bullies and use God to tear down everyone or anything that doesn't mesh with their personal beliefs. I grew up in a religion that told me I would go to Hell if I cut my hair or wore pants. This was a lie. How do I know what other lies have been taught? I feel there are a lot of non-Christians who take every opportunity to attack everyone and anything associated with God because they are determined to prove something, or have been abused by individuals claiming to be doing the work of God. Both sides are guilty of hate-mongering and prejudice and I am CERTAIN both sides behave this way out of Fear.

None of this makes me “Holier Than Thou.” It just means I refuse to participate in the emotional, verbal, or physical abuse of another human being. I don't care who you are...if I see someone abusing you, I will stand at your side and defend you. If I see you hurting, I will try to comfort and support you. If you invite me to your wedding and you are marrying your same sex partner, I will attend and feel joy for you (also, probably get teary-eyed and overly emotional). If you are the one perpetrating an abuse, I will stop you in so far as it is within my means to do so.

It's really not an issue of sexuality, or religion, it's an matter of decency. This is what being Human means to me. Perhaps it means something different to you. That's fine, because you don't answer to me, and it works both ways.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Art of Waiting

Different people wait on things in different ways. Some do it by pacing and panting and nibbling their cuticles. They are the ones you sometimes would like to tell to sit down and be still, because they are making you anxious. Some rant, and rave, and demand an answer immediately, because don't you know who they are? These are the people you sometimes wish you could slap. Then there are those who do it patiently and with grace. They sit quietly, and smile, perhaps with their hands folded neatly on their lap. They seem willing to wait forever, if necessary, with good humor and even better posture. They don't fidget, or tap, or even seem to notice they have been waiting for twice as long as you have.

These are the people you may also want to slap, if you fall into categories One or Two. I have been known to do all three, although usually Option Three is when I'm surrounded by Ones and Twos and wish to annoy them. I don't know what that says about me.

There is an art to waiting, you see. Waiting gracefully requires a certain amount of faith. Faith that regardless of the outcome, an end will arrive, and you will receive what you need.

Right now, there are two things in my life I am waiting on. The first is possibly the biggest and most important thing of my life, but that's not the one I'm going to tell you about. I know, I'm sorry. I wouldn't be a very good writer if I didn't leave you hanging every once in a while, right? But what you do need to know is that at the moment, behaving with the decorum of Option Three is very, very, VERY challenging for me. I am the person who Makes Things Happen. I Get Things Done. I Problem Solve. I attack a challenge from all sides and make a conclusion occur. But these two current hands are tied. Both of them are completely out of my control.

The thing I am going to tell you about is the short story I submitted to an anthology contest. Actually, I'm not going to tell you about the story itself so much as I'm going to use it as an analogy. The deadline for the short story is June 30th. (Tomorrow, as I write this post.) I turned my entry in a few days ago. I felt relief as I pressed the "submit" button, but also, a fair amount of anxiety. I worked hard on the story. In fact, it was not the story I originally intended to submit at all. I had a large chunk of a different story already prepared, and was planning on expanding it and entering that one. A month into it, I realized it just wasn't good enough. It was really good at 2K, but making it into an 8K short was not what it was meant to do. I flailed and flopped around for a while, trying to figure out how to make it work, but couldn't seem to make it happen. One day, I was talking to a friend and describing a weird idea I've always had, how if I could do any science-fictiony or fantasy super skill, it would be to do..."X". (Never mind what X is, it's beside the point!)

And voila...the idea for a new short story unfolded like...well, a little like magic.

Fast forward a month, and I am hitting the submit button.

Then begins the WAITING. The judges will read it. They do not know me. They have never met me. They won't overlook weird writing quirks or a sloppy style because they think I'm cute or funny. There will be no chance to meet with the judges face to face to explain, or justify, or smile winningly. My story will be judged on the inherent quality of the writing and the idea. Also, perhaps, whether it will be a stand out piece that can play nicely with the existing selections in the anthology.

There will be no second chances. If my story is crap, the judges will not contact me and say, "Well, Rebecca, we like YOU, so maybe give this another go? We really want to use something you've written..."

Submitting a story is often like life. Sometimes we are judged solely on unknown qualities and merit. Sometimes we don't have the option of meeting someone face to face and convincing them of our value. Sometimes we don't get to do the one thing we are sure would provide a solution to a question. We may, in fact, not even know what question needs to be asked! We simply hope we are the answer. Sometimes it doesn't matter how many times we write, and re-write, and make our work as perfect as possible, because our story is just not the one they are looking for.

Sometimes, we have to wait, and have faith that everything will turn out exactly as it's supposed to. Sometimes, and more often than not, we don't even know the time frame in which we will be waiting. Several people have asked when will I know if my story has been selected or not? I don't. No announcement or deadline has been made, as of yet, when winners will be notified. It's been suggested to me that if my short doesn't get chosen for the anthology, I should expand it and submit it to a few different places as a novella. I actually like that idea, too. But...

I want to win. I like winning. Who doesn't? However, there are always those times when....well, when one door closes, another opens. Or a window, or a dumbwaiter appears. The point is, sometimes waiting means that something really, really amazing is percolating. When the amazing thing is ready, or maybe when YOU are ready, the waiting will be over.

And no...I don't know when that will be. Have a seat and practice your smile. I'll be over here trying to do the same!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Big Stuck

The day I moved into my apartment happened to be during a particularly rainy spring season. Unless you live somewhere that rain does something different than it does where I live, we all know what happens to the ground when it rains for several weeks.

I was staying at my mother's house until my apartment was ready, and sure enough, moving day greeted us with a steady drizzle. My mother has a long driveway, curvy and hilly, and mostly gravel. Or what is normally gravel, anyways. Moving Day arrived and the rain had turned the gravel into a mushy layer easily lost in about 4 feet of mud. My friends arrived with their van, and managed to get the van up the driveway to the door, no problem. We were golden. Ignoring the drizzle the best we could, we hauled all of my stuff into the van, loaded it to the brim in under 4 hours, and got ready to get underway.

My friend started the van, put it into drive, pressed down the accelorator, and....we lurched forward, then stopped.

Yes. As much as we all should have seen the inevitable happening at some point, given the situation, we somehow thought we could escape the Big Stuck. We didn't. I don't know how much a 14 passenger van filled with the belongings of a single gal, actual single gal, and 3 strapping lads weighs...but it was too much for the driveway to handle.

I won't bore you with the gory details, but we did manage to eventually get the van unstuck. It was filthy. It was maddening. There was an awful lot of swearing, tire kicking, and yelling...and I was barely even helping the poor lads! But, yes, the van got unstuck and my life was moved into my new apartment. We all lived happily ever after.

Except, now I'm writing a book, and I've encountered another...Big Stuck. A Really, Really, Big Stuck.

I'm 54k into the first book of what has always been, in my mind, a trilogy. Only...I'm stuck. I know what is supposed to happen for much of Book 2 and Book 3. But I'm not sure I can write 3 books with approximately 80k+ each. I'm not sure I have that much Story. I refuse to be one of those writers who just goes on and on and on with filler scenes to get a specific word count. I've read those books. We've all read those books. Those are the books that make you go, “Oh my God, just....DIE already, or something! Sheesh!”

SO what do I do? Do I keep waiting for new inspiration? I've gone a week without writing a single thing in my WIP. I've been working on other things, but it's not helping. I have deadlines. Granted, they are self-imposed, but very important for a number of reasons. I've also always wanted to go the route of traditional publishing, I mean, up until a short time ago, there really wasn't other options anyways, but now there is. There are lots of other options...and I keep getting these options presented to me in a way that is starting to sound very tempting. For those of you who may not know what I'm talking about, I'm talking about self-publishing, hybrid publishers, epublishers, etc. The interesting thing about all of these is the death of the stringent guidelines concerning the all-mighty Word Count.

When I get an idea in my head, I tend to grip it with pit bull tenacity and MAKE it happen. Can't be done, you say? Watch me...This is both one of my finest and one of my worst traits. Worst, in the sense that sometimes I really should let go. Some ideas are meant to morph into new ones, not be clung to in a maddeningly obtuse fashion. Am I harming my story because I so badly want to see it take place in three books, laid out in shiny hardcovers at my local Barnes and Noble? Maybe it's not supposed to happen that way. How do I tell the difference between “Giving Up A Dream” and “Achieving Something Equally As Good (If Not Better)”? Is all this talk directed at me about my publishing options a sign or just coincidence? Because right now, I'm really not sure...Maybe this story is meant to only be a book and its sequel. Or maybe, it's meant to be three novella length stories with an epublisher.

The fact of the matter is if I decide to do this story in 2 parts, instead of 3, I could sit down at my computer (which feels like it's overheating by the way....crap....) and pound out about 5k right now, no problemo. And tomorrow, the same thing. But instead....I'm Stuck...because I keep clinging to the idea of writing a 80-100k' do I stick to the original plan or come up with a new one? Am I wimping out by not sticking it out with a trilogy? What good is a "meh" trilogy if a sequel is "Woo Hoo!!" Quitter? Winner? Gahhhh...What would you do?
                                                     (Kind of what I'm doing right now!)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Memoirs Aren't Fairytales: A Story of Addiction", and Guest Author Marni Mann Interview

A couple weeks ago, I came upon a book on amazon that caught my eye. The cover is lovely, and the reviews were glowing, but that wasn't what peaked my interest.

My career thus far has been as an Addictions Therapist. I've worked with children as young as 14, adults as old as 79, and every age or socio-economic status in between. One thing that remains a constant is the manner in which addiction can bring a person to the very depths of a living hell. Many don't make it through alive.

“I could feel my chin falling towards my chest, my back hunching forward. My body was acting on its own, and my mind was empty, like all my memories had been erased. There was scenery behind my lids. Aqua colored water and powdery sand that extended for miles. I was never going back to coke. I wanted more heroin. And I wanted it now.”
Leaving behind a nightmarish college experience, nineteen-year-old Nicole and her best friend Eric escape their home of Bangor, Maine to start a new life in Boston. Fragile and scared, Nicole desperately seeks a new beginning to help erase her past. But there is something besides freedom waiting for her in the shadows–a drug that will make every day a nightmare.
With one taste, the love that once flowed through Nicole’s veins turns into cravings. Tracks mark the passing of time, and heroin’s grip gets tighter. It holds her hand through deaths and prostitution, but her addiction keeps her in the darkness. When her family tries to strike a match to help light her way, Nicole must choose between a life she can hardly remember, or a love for heroin she’ll never forget.

I decided that I had to read this book, not only because the subject matter was of personal interest to me, but because I wanted to see if the author knew what she was talking about...

I started reading. I kept reading. I got sucked in, and couldn't put it down. The whole time I was reading, one part of my brain was engaged in how gruesomely entertaining Nicole's story was, and the other was how gruesomely accurate the depiction of addiction was. My first thought after finishing the very last sentence was, "Wow."

My second thought was that every single Addictions Therapist or Counselor who has not experienced an addiction of their own should be mandated to read Nicole's story. Here's the catch. This is a work of fiction, technically. "Nicole" doesn't exist. But the reality is that there are thousands and thousands of men and women like Nicole.

I engaged the author, Marni Mann, in a discussion, because I was fascinated by how she managed to write such a "true story". I asked if she would be willing to do an interview for this blog, and she very graciously agreed to discuss the creation of "Memoirs Aren't Fairytales: A Story of Addiction."

Me: What made you want to write about heroin addiction?

Marni Mann: I have several addicts in my life. I‘ve lost track of how many times I’ve been affected by their disease, and my pain turned into a novel. I chose heroin because it was a drug I didn’t know much about. I wanted this novel to be a challenge, meaning the descriptions of being high would require a lot of research. I chose a first person narrative for the same reason. It not only allowed the readers to get close to the main character, but it required me to become that character, feel her pain, exhale her breath, carry the weight of her past and future.

Me: Tell us about the research you conducted in order to write with such
accuracy and really explore the nitty, gritty details of where this lifestyle
brings people?

Marni Mann: I read books, watched documentaries, and spoke to professionals. Those really helped when writing the technical aspects of the novel. The personal touches came from listening to real voices of addiction. I met with addicts and recovering addicts, paying close attention to the lingo they used and the descriptions of being high after they shot up heroin. I wasn’t just surprised by their candor, but how they welcomed me into their world and trusted me with their stories.

Me: Was it emotionally challenging to write Nicole's story?

Marni Mann: Nicole kept me awake at night. Her story would swirl around my head like a talking bubble and her pain would tear through me. Like I said before, in order for me to write this story I had to become her; her addiction sat in my stomach, her experiences caused knots in my throat, her tears filled my eyes. Nicole’s baggage wasn’t the size of my purse. I carried an 18-wheeler on my shoulders for two and a half years because that’s how long it took me to write and edit this novel.

Me: Why do you think drug use is often glamorized in the media?

Marni Mann: Most of us live boring lives. We stay home on Saturday nights because we’re too tired to change out of our sweatpants. Our 9-5 jobs suck the life out of us, we care for our kids, animals, family, responsibilities, and it’s a lot to handle. We want excitement. We want what we can’t have. Celebrities provide that escape; they have fame and fortune and most of us will never experience that. In my opinion, the media is giving us exactly what we’re asking for. We want the thrill, a taste of something we’ll never have, and drinking and drug use is a part of that. With shows like Intervention, Celebrity Rehab, and Sober House, I hope people realize it’s not all private jets and trips to the Playboy mansion. It’s darkness, isolation, poverty, and death. We thought Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson had it all, didn’t we?

Me: Most stories about addiction mention self-help groups (such as AA/NA). Was there a reason why you chose not to include these resources as part of Nicole's journey?

Marni Mann: This is a hard question to answer because I don’t want to give away too much information. Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales is a story about addiction. Scars from a Memoir, the sequel, addresses the different aspects of recovery, including NA and rehab.

Me: What would be some advice you might give to someone who themself is struggling with an addiction, or who loves someone who is active in an addiction?

Marni Mann: To the friends and family of an addict: Remember, an addict has to want sobriety as much as you want it for them. I encourage you to attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings. You need support because you can’t do this alone. Both groups are extremely beneficial; they teach you how to stop enabling the addict, the effective ways to stage an intervention, and they’re the ears you need during this difficult time.
To anyone struggling with an addiction: You can do this. There’s a will inside you that’s stronger than your addiction. That will is to get clean. To live. To wake up each morning and the first voice you hear isn’t your addiction. It’s from the people who love and support you, and who are proud of your success and accomplishments. Find that will. Utilize the resources that are available such as 12-Step meetings, counseling, or rehab.

Some people will avoid this book because it will make them uncomfortable. That's ok. But if you want to know what addiction really is like, if you want to understand how someone smart, talented, and seeming to have it all ends up living on the streets, then you must read it. If you want to hear the story of thousands of young people in the U.S., read this book. If you want to know the faces of the hundreds of people I have worked with over the past 11+ years, read this book. If you know and love someone who has an addiction, read this book. Marni Mann has created a masterpiece, and I dedicate this blog to everyone whose life has ever been touched by addiction in some way. I'm grateful to her for her participation and for the lives that will be touched by her work!

                                                                          Marni Mann

If you are interested in purchasing this book, you can find it at the following links: