Saturday, December 21, 2013

From the Mouths of Babes

Tonight the girls and I made pizza and ate it in front of the TV while we watched Home Alone.

Right before the movie, I fiddled with my computer, as it had been giving me problems all day.

Right after the movie, I checked my computer to see if all was fixed.  It worked again, except I couldn't find any of my documents anywhere.  Anywhere.  They were just...gone.  I stood in front of the screen, my vision swimming, and barked at the girls to brush their teeth.

I helped the kids into bed, first tucking in Emma, then Elodie, but every moment away from the computer made me feel like I was suffocating -- every moment made my lungs grow tighter with panic.  I had to get back to it.  I had to recover my work.

I quickly kissed Elodie and said, "I'm sorry, Sweetie, no story tonight.  Mommy's freaking out about losing all her writing on the computer.  I need to find it.  You understand?"

She burrowed further under the duvet until it was up to her ears, then rolled onto her side.  "I understand that it's not a good job to be a writer."

I brushed the hair back from her forehead and moved to turn off the light. "You've got that right, kiddo. As a writer, you're reliant upon your computer, there's no money in it, not much appreciation --"

"Yeah," she cut me off, her voice low.  "And you don't get to spend much time with your kids."

My fingers froze near the light switch.  A cold and heavy glacier filled my chest. "What?"

Her blue eyes met mine, her gaze way too serious for a seven-year-old.  "Every time I call you and want you to come, you're too busy at the computer."

The glacier shifted and ice trickled into my blood.  The back of my throat prickled with mounting tears.  I thought about this past month.  I'd been writing and rewriting and when I wasn't writing I was staring at the screen wondering why I couldn't write. I thought of all the times I'd told Elodie, "Just a minute" but ended up taking an hour.

I read somewhere that men -- family men -- take "selfish time" for themselves to write and pursue their creative endeavours in ways that most women can't or don't.  I'd been trying to take that kind of time for myself this past month to finish off a couple of projects.  I'd decided it was of utmost importance to get that writing done. That it was the most important thing in my life.

But I was wrong.  The most important things in my life were tucked into their beds, and one of them was watching me, expecting me to turn out the light and rush back to my computer.

I turned away from the light switch and pulled a book off of Elodie's shelf.  "You know what? I think I'll read that story after all."

If my documents were lost for good, they'd be lost for good whether I took the time to read a story or not.  And if they could be found, I'd find them just as easily twenty minutes later.

But if I threw this moment away, I knew I'd never get it back.  So I took Elodie's soft hand in mine and held on tight as I read out Puss in Boots.

I let the computer screen go black.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

COYER Update: Until the End of the World

Yikes!  I left you all hanging after my last post.  This will be short and sweet.  Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming is now up there with my ultimate indie faves like Angelfall by Susan Ee.

That means it get six stars out of five.

All I have to say is read it.  I don't care if you don't like zombies.  You'll like this book.  It's that good.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Have a Little Cheese with that Whine and An Overdue #COYER Review to Come

“I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.”
Jane Wagner, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe 

Yesterday I went on a rant and whined about the state of publishing. My state of publishing. Others' state of publishing. And the unfairness of the world.  It wasn't pretty.  And it may have involved a few after-dinner snifters of CalvadosBut, the point is, I was thinking I had no more 4 or 5 star reviews to add to the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge.

I was wrong.  COYER may be officially over with, but I'll be adding one more book to the list.  I started it last night and already know it will be a favorite.  It's just freaking awesome so far.  A zombie book that's really well written.  And funny.  And touching.  And...well, you get the idea.

I'm reading Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming.  I'll let you know when I'm finished.  But I'm kind of savoring this one.  Reading it in bits and pieces to reward myself for jobs done.

It's so good.  I wish I'd written it. :)
But don't worry.  I'll be reading it with popcorn and Diet Coke.  The Calvados is back in the liquor cabinet.

I won't be taking the Calvados out again until we have cheese fondue.   Because it's always good to have a little cheese with my whine...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Kissing Clarisse

Get on the stick and peel your ears!  Want a fun, quick read with a bit of 50's slang and the possibility of a kiss?  Kissing Clarisse, my young adult short story, is now available on Amazon.  Don't be a nosebleed, baby, buy it! 

Kissing Clarisse: a young adult short story

Friday, November 15, 2013

#COYER Clean Out Your E-Reader Review #3 : True of Blood by Bonnie Lamer

First things first. I have to say I'm so happy that I decided to participate in the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge hosted by Fantasy is More Fun and Because Reading is Better than Real Life . True of Blood is book three of a stack of e-books that I probably would not have read for a while otherwise -- which would have been a shame.

Xandra lives with her, uh, ghost parents, her aunt and her little brother in a secluded place in the mountains.  She rarely sees other people and rarely goes down to the city.  But then a walk in the woods shows footprints in the snow and her parents freak.  Apparently, her mom had been keeping a rather large secret from Xandra.  Namely, that she's half-fairy half-witch and that some major people want her dead.

The premise was pretty awesome, but I found it took a while for the book to gain speed.  This is not unique in the first novel of a series where there is a lot of set up for the following books.  But Lamer manages to get the story going when the relationship between Xandra and the fairy Kallen takes over.  It's a love/hate thing that keeps the reader on her toes.

FYI: Young adult novels where the main love interest is insulting and manipulative are often on my black list.  And the prevalence in which this sort of relationship occurs in these books (and how popular they are) turns my stomach.  I feel girls have enough self-esteem issues nowadays, that they don't need that kind of relationship to seem like something good.  And Kallen was insulting and manipulative.  There's even an undercurrent of violence in some of his attempts to kiss Xandra that grates on me (see my post is what we're reading hurting women)...

And yet...

And yet Lamer kept me reading.  She ramped up the romantic tension to such a high, she got me to like Kallen enough that I was sitting there going, "Come on! Kiss her!" despite my regular standpoints and beliefs.  In short, she got me turning pages, wanting more.

There are some things I question -- the mother's motivation for many things, Xandra's attitude at times.  But overall, I found this book a fun read.  It's FREE on Amazon so I suggest you grab it and decide for yourself.  If you do like it, it's the first in a series, so you'll have more to look forward to.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bad-Ass Book Blogger Interview #3: Toni of My Book Addiction

Let me say it right off: I have a total girl-crush on Toni.  She was the first book blogger to give Untethered five stars along with a review that was more entertaining than the book.  She had me at the very first word.  But that's not the sole reason I like her. Toni is not only a bad ass book blogger she's also a cupcake making, zombie loving, coffee slurping, speed-reading mega mom with a generous heart and a hearty sense of humor.    Now here's your chance to fall in love with her, too!  Be sure to stop by her blog at My Book Addiction.

1.       What made you decide to get into book blogging and how long have you been doing it?

-         I’ve been blogging about all sorts of things -- from mommy blogging about breast feeding and cloth diapering to being a kitchen savvy mom -- for about twelve years, but last year I decided to give book blogging a go. I figured it would be the best thing for me since I love to read and write, and I’m extremely opinionated.

2.      One thing I’ve noticed about your reviews is that they are not just reviews.   A lot of times they are mini works-of-art themselves! What is your process for writing them?  Do you plan it out, take notes as you are reading? Or do you just let it all loose once you are done?
     That is so awesome of you to say! Thank you so much, Katie. I do occasionally take notes or highlight sections that I don’t want to overlook in my reviews, but mostly I let it all flow soon after I finish the book. When I first started writing reviews they were very stiff and boring, but after a while I found my voice. I’ve been having a blast with it ever since. I think reading a lot and writing reviews is great research and practice for writing a novel.

3.       What else do you write? 
       I used to write a lot of poetry in my teen years. I also wrote a paranormal graphic novel in my twenties, which I’ve never had the cajones to publish. I’m currently working on a novel, zombie fiction, which I hope to muster the courage to publish sooner than later.

4.       What is your favorite category or genre to read?  What won’t you touch?
      I don’t know that I have one favorite category or genre.  My top three are zombie fiction, paranormal, and contemporary. I love YA, but also enjoy NA. I will not touch erotic/erotica. It’s just not my thing. No, I’m not a prude. I just prefer my “hot and steamy” in person. Ha! I did read FSoG, but ended up skimming through those parts to read the actual story.

5.      You not only review books yourself, but you sometime get your girls involved in reviewing children’s books.  Whose idea was that?  How is it going?

-         Yes, I do a Kids Corner Storytime Vlog with my girls. We love to read together and I wanted them to be a part of something that is important to me and that keeps them interested in reading. It’s going pretty well so far. We don’t do it as often as I would like, but you know how life is… sometimes it’s just too busy to get all dolled up for the camera. :)  We have actually landed a standing relationship with Five Star Publications/Little Five Star. We love the books we’ve gotten from them and they seem to like our reviews, so it’s working out really well.

6.       What is the most fantastic part of being a book blogger?

      There are a lot of fantastic parts of being a book blogger, but the most fantastic part is all the people I’ve met, from authors to other book bloggers and readers. It’s wonderful to have an online community of people who are just as addicted to reading and books as I am.

7.       What is the most difficult?

     The most difficult part is writing a review for a book I didn’t enjoy. I hate to say anything negative, even if it’s just constructive criticism, about anyone’s work of art. Who am I to judge another persons hard work?  It’s easy to gush over the books I love, but not so easy to write a review for the books I don’t.

8.       Has anything about book blogging surprised you?
      Yes! How much time actually goes into it. It’s like a full time job that I don’t get paid for, but I do love it. I love promoting Indie authors and I am happy to share that adoration with my fellow readers via my blog and social media.
9.       Do you have any advice for authors?
      Advice? No. I don’t think I’m qualified to do that. Just keep writing! Follow your heart, put it on paper, and then send your books to me, of course. Hehe.

10.   Do you take review requests?  If so, how can an author get in touch with you?                               
I do take review requests. My review policy can be found on my website here:

Thank you so much for having me, Katie! This has been a blast.  J

Thanks for stopping by, Toni!   

Friday, November 8, 2013

#COYER Clean Out Your E-Reder Review 2: Deer in Headlights by Staci Hart

What can I say about this book?  When I think about it.... Um. Yeah.  Let me just...

*goes away, come back*

Okay, had to get a cold shower in there before I could discuss anything.   Because this book is steamy.

I didn't read any of the reviews and I barely glanced at the blurb before picking this up.  I liked the cover and it was free.  No-brainer.

Thing is, had I read what it was like I probably wouldn't have gotten it. I don't usually read hot romance.  Books that refer to a certain part of male anatomy as a "man rod" or "pulsing shaft"are not my thing.  (Hey, I was brought up Catholic, you know.  Better to pretend that particular part of the body doesn't exist. Ahem.)  And this novel, minus the sex scenes would have been half as long.

However, I have to say, I really enjoyed this book.  It was a romp (and not only that kind!). Yes, there was a lot of sex.  But there was also some kick-ass creative use of the Greek gods.  Hart used the Greek mythology as a starting point to build up backstory for all of these characters, and then she ran with it. Hart's take on Aphrodite, Apollo, Persephone and others borders on genius. And the basis of the plot?  Nothing like a friendly competition between gods to create some fantastic tension and fun.

Hart managed to make me -- someone who doesn't like sexy romance -- read with gusto to the end.  If you like romance but are looking for something unusual, you'll devour this.

My call?  Four solid stars.  Get it on Amazon HERE.

(Part of the COYER challenge with Fantasy is More Fun and Because Reading is Better than Real Life.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

#COYER Clean Out Your E-Reader Review: Someone Different

I'm not a reviewer.  Reviewing is an art form I haven't mastered.  But I'm taking part in the Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge and wanted to share my experience here.  So, this is my opinion of the first book I read for the challenge. 

Someone Different by Kate Hanney is a book I just downloaded for free a week or so ago.  I heard about it from Wendy Storer, who is a fantastic writer herself (Get Wendy's books here.  Do it. You won't be sorry). Huge thanks to Wendy for this find.

Kate Hanney is a writer of young adult realistic, gritty fiction.  I go more for the paranormal, but I'm finding more and more writers of realistic fiction I admire.  Kate Hanney is one of those writers.

There is nothing earth-shattering going on in this book: it's about two kids from opposite sides of the track who fall in love and all the difficulties they face trying to stay together.  So, yeah, the Romeo and Juliet storyline.  But Hanney makes it feel earth-shattering.  She got me right in there.  Anna is the little rich girl who can do nothing right and Jay is a pot-smoking petty criminal from a violent home.  After committing a crime, instead of prison, sixteen-year-old Jay and a friend are sentenced to a work program.  Jay is sent to help out in the stables on Anna's parents' estate.  Anna is young, extremely lonely and rather lost.  While her parents give her everything she could physically want, their emotional support borders on neglect. She falls for Jay practically from the minute she meets him because he is one person who seems to notice and care that she exists. And Jay, for once in his life, is told he is worth something.  Anna makes him feel it.

Hanney writes in the first-person point of view and leaves little out. I felt gut-wrenchingly close to these two.  Any plot coincidences or "contrivances" didn't matter to me because I just desperately wanted Jay and Anna to be together!  I cried at parts and stayed up late to finish it.

It gets five stars from me.  Buy it on Amazon.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

November: Write it. Read it. Clean it. #COYER

Clean out your E-reader Challenge Sign-up You probably already know that November is NanoWrimo -- where you write a novel in a month.  Or 50,000 words worth, anyways.  I intend to beef up my word count this month.  But November is also Clean Out Your E-Reader Month!  Those free or nearly free books you have piling up on your Kindle?  Time to read them! 

Fantasy is More Fun and Because Reading is Better than Real Life are hosting this blog hop/challenge, so be sure to check out their blogs as well as the others participating. 

I'm not a book blogger so why did I decide to participate?  Well,  because :
1. My buddy Lexxie at (un)Conventional Bookviews told me I should, and when she talks I listen.
2. I just put Untethered out there for free.  I know how it feels to realize that your book is languishing on some one's Kindle.  So...
3. I wanted to help out other authors by reading and reviewing those books on my e-reader!

Here are five of the freebies I intend to read:

Someone Different by Kate Hanney
One Ghost Per Serving by Nina Post
Girl Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie by C.A. Verstaete
Deer In Headlights by Staci Hart
True of Blood by Bonnie Lamer

November here I come!  50,000 words to write!  300,000 words to read! (Way too much to clean.)
I will keep you posted on my progress.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

50 Pounds of Popcorn: Flash (Non)Fiction

A fifty-pound bag of popcorn squats on my living room floor.  The children sit on it, use it as a bean bag chair.  They squash it and pound its surface.  They lay their heads upon it when they watch TV.

I'm almost afraid to open it.  My husband gave it to me when his heart was full and near to bursting, so like that bag.  But, already, the packaging is pierced.  Kernels are coming out.

What happens when it is empty?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gimme Gimme Giveaway!

Untethered is FREE on Amazon from October 19th-October 23, 2013!

To celebrate, I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate!

Download Untethered HERE and enter the Rafflecopter to WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bad-Ass Book Blogger Series: Interview #2

Lexxie of (un)Conventional BookViews is our Bad-Ass Book Blogger today.  A few months ago on Google + she wrote me and said, "You live in Switzerland?  Me, too!"  We met for coffee and I was totally blown away by her utter awesomeness.  She's intelligent, extremely well-read (duh! book blogger!) as well as straightforward, candid and just plain fun.

Here's her interview: 

Why did you get into book blogging?
I first met some like-minded (and more or less same age) readers after I read Twilight and was depressed because the story ended. They told me about Goodreads, and I joined in 2010. From there, I discovered many of the users had blogs, and those blogs were beautiful, personal, with their own backgrounds, and with a lot more freedom. It still took a couple of years before I started my own blog in June 2012, but I felt that I wanted my very own book-home where I could share my love of all things bookish with other like minded people.

I know you have a family, are going to school, and regularly review books on your blog.  What’s your secret to juggling it all?
I don't think I have a recipe, really! I read when I'm not in class, for one thing, and I don't read when I can spend time with my kids. But I don't watch much TV, so if everyone else wants to do that, I'll pick up a book and curl up on the couch. When the semester is busy, I tend to read a little less, but I try to schedule three reviews per week in advance, so that I have something to share on the blog even if I'm busy in real life. And my family is pretty supportive of everything I do- I think they love my blog because I don't bug them as much about what I'm reading anymore.

As a book blogger, have you made any discoveries that surprised you?
I am amazed at the sense of community I get from bloggers. I have 'met' some people who are wonderful, and it started with books, but now we can chat about anything. I even found this one author on Twitter and Google+, and lo and behold, she lives in the same city as me, and we've had coffee a couple of times. I think blogging has made the world even smaller in some ways.

Best blogging day:
When I'm able to write a review I'm happy with shortly after finishing a book.

Worst blogging day:
When I have this feeling I should really write a review, because I have finished seven books, and written zero reviews.

Recently Goodreads changed their policy on reviews, taking away and not allowing reviews that focus on the author of a book rather than the book itself.  There has been an uproar in the blogging community.  What is your take on this issue?
Actually, that policy was already in place. If a Goodreads user had a review about author behavior, it was hidden so that only friends could see it and not all Goodreads users. I think what has bloggers in an uproar is that Goodreads has always allowed users to personalize their bookshelves. I have shelves for different things, one is called 'school-stuff' another is called 'Swiss-authors', etc. Some bloggers have been very unfortunate when writing a negative review, and have been attacked by author(s). Some have even had their personal information, like their real name, the place they live, a photo, restaurants they go to etc publicly outed on a website. After this first happened, some bloggers made Goodreads shelves called 'badly behaving author' and other things meaning more or less the same thing. Some authors were upset to see their books shelved in a certain way, and one author misconstrued some of those shelves and said that reviewers were threatening her. Things snowballed pretty fast, and there were some web-articles about all of this that did not tell the whole story. The author in question later came back and apologized, saying she knew those shelves had nothing to do with her personally, and that the shelves she had mentioned didn't exist for real. Of course, none of those web articles told that story, and I'm sure Goodreads felt the pressure. Then, instead of directly contacting reviewers, Goodreads deleted shelves, and if those shelves were exclusive, the reviews disappeared as well.  One shelf that was deleted was called 'due to author'. And most of the reviewers who had their shelves deleted were among those who had been targeted and had their personal information spread on the internet. I was very sad to see Goodreads go back on everything they have been telling readers for the three years I have been a member there. And I am no longer posting my full reviews there, even if I have never had a shelf called 'badly behaving authors' or anything like that. The shelves I have that has something about authors in their name is 'fave-author' and things like that. Needless to say, none of my shelves have been deleted…

How do you feel about Indie authors and self-publishing?
I think it's great that it's possible to self-publish, and I have met some awesome indie authors since I discovered their existence. I do think it's very important that indie or self-pub authors use an editor, though, because if I pay for a book, even if it's only $0.99, I want to read correct grammar, and no plot-holes etc. I think it must be very hard to get your book out there for self-pub and indie authors, though, because there are a lot of new books released each year, and the authors who have a big publishing house behind them get more publicity in mainstream media.

Do you take review requests?  If so, where can authors contact you?
I do take review requests, but for the time being I'm quite backed up. There is all the proper information on by blog, and I ask that authors who send me an e-mail read my review and rating policy as well. Because if I read a book I got to review, I will post my honest review, even if I don't particularly like what I'm reading. That's really important to me, I will not pretend I loved a book if I didn't, but I try to not be too harsh.
Thanks so much for having me over today, Katie! This was fun. I hope I didn't get too long-winded.

Thank you, Lexxie for taking the time to answer.  I'm happy to have you on my blog.  See you for coffee? :)  

And the rest of you, please pop over and say "hi" on Lexxie's blog: (un)Conventional BookViews

And if you want to see Lexxie's review of Untethered, it's HERE.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Simple Joy

Oreo and Noodles
Any of you who have either followed me on this blog or on Facebook know two things about my life:

1. My husband suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm a year ago and the entire family is still trying to find their footing after that.

2. We got new kittens a couple weeks ago.

The cat my husband had when we were married died just this summer.  She was old and sick.  It was her time.  We loved her, but after all the vomiting on carpets and scratching up furniture and night time meowing, we decided No More Pets.

Um. Yeah. That lasted two months.
The house was clean. Finally.
But it felt empty.

And now we have these two crazy, crazy kittens tearing around the apartment, ruining the curtains and chewing through the cords on all our headphones.  These crazy, crazy kittens who attack the drawstring on my pajama pants and the shoestrings on my husband's work shoes.  Crazy kittens who make my daughters laugh out loud and put away the iPad to dangle string in front of these furry guys. Kittens who, through being nothing but themselves, have managed to make us all feel like a family again.

Simple joy has been returned to this household.  We all have something to look forward to when we come back from being away.  We all have something to talk about at the dinner table.  We all have the same thing to complain about at 1 a.m. when our felines fancy an all-out-knockdown brawl.

Life's not perfect. (Is it ever?)  And yeah, I'm not too thrilled about the curtains.  But I find myself smiling twice as often as I did before.  That alone makes it all worth it.  I like myself a lot more when I'm smiling.

My family likes me more, too.

The kittens? I think they'd be smiling if they could.  They purr, anyways.
And we love to hear it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

On Brain Aneurysms, Control, and Self-Publishing: Part 2

My husband and I are fighting in the kitchen.  The kids are in the next room, playing Monster High. We're trying to keep it quiet. 

"What I need is your support," my husband says, his voice shaking.

"I do support you.  I am.  But I am so damn sick of it!"  I never was good at keeping my voice down.  "You have make an effort, too!"

Our therapist, the one who specializes in couples dealing with "the fallout from neurological trauma" says that I've reached my "compassion capacity". 

I say I've reached the end of my rope.

Earlier this year, I thought I'd figured it out.  I thought I'd understood that life is unpredictable and so, what one needs to do is to Take Control.  That's when I went forward with the agented self-publishing.  That's when I decided get Untethered out there and damn the traditional publishing world.  That's also when I concluded that if I could take control, so could my husband.  So he'd had a ruptured brain aneurysm.  Time to get over it.  Move on. Take control.

But he didn't receive thirty-five publisher rejections.  He received major surgery and some significant personality changes.

I keep forgetting that.  Well, no.  Not forgetting.  Denying.  Defying.  Refuting.  Resisting.  I keep waiting for him to wake up one day and say, "Well, that was a tough ride.  But I fought it.  And now I'm back."

Instead he looks at me with bloodshot eyes.  "I've changed," he says.

"I know," I respond. "But --"

"No.  I've changed."

And that's when it hits me:  The occupational therapist telling me that it's unlikely he'll ever go back to working full-time; the psychiatrist telling me that there are certain concepts he now has a hard time grasping, and that instead of getting frustrated to think of him like a ten-year-old who needs help with homework -- explain, repeat, remind.  And my husband himself telling me, "I'm scared."

He's changed.  And he's never coming back.

I pull a chair out from the table, the legs screeching on the tile floor.  My lips taste salty; I didn't even realize I was crying. We sit there, silent, for a long time, listening to the girls create some scenario that involves Frankie Stein and Draculaura going to the hair stylist's.  We sit there, the time for me to realize that all of this is about so much more than control.

It's about acceptance and understanding and fear.  It's about watching things dissolve right before your eyes and slip through your fingers like grains of sand.  It's about starting over.

No.  That's not it.

What it's about, I tell myself, is starting anew.

It's time to take a clean, white piece of paper and start a new story.  Same characters -- my husband, my children and me -- but a brand new story.  Not a sequel to the old story.  But a companion.  We need to stop looking at the past to figure out what's going on here.  Instead, we just need to move forward.

I look at my husband again.  "Did you hear me?" he asks.  "I said that I've changed."

"Yes." I put my hand on his.  "I know."

Read On Brain Aneurysms, Control, and Self-Publishing Part 1 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Untethered Cover Revamp!

Time to take it all off!

Want to see the gorgeous cover designed by Nathalia Suellen?

I bet you do.


So, what do you think?

And make sure you either sign-up for my newsletter or keep your eyes peeled because in the near future I will be having a mega giveaway with super-cool stuff like posters, charms and amazon gift cards!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Slow Striptease: Day 3

No pole dancing here. 

Just the classic taking it off, bit... 

by bit...

by bit.

No dollars in the panties, please. 

(But I will take five-star reviews on Goodreads instead.)

See you tomorrow for the FULL REVEAL!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Slow Striptease: Day 2

All hot and bothered after getting a teaser of the new cover yesterday?

Yesterday it went topless.

 Today, I'm dropping the bottom:

(Control yourself.)

See you tomorrow and we'll uncover more!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You Can Keep Your Hat On: Slow Striptease. Day 1

Yep, you read that right. A striptease.  Excited?

You should be.

What?  You thought I was going to take it all off?  Ha ha ha!  I do paranormal. Not horror.

No, today is day one of the slow striptease of my brand spanking new cover of Untethered!   I really liked the old cover and will keep that first edition close to my heart.  But I needed to make sure Untethered looked like the YA novel it is.  And so...

Here's today's sneak peek:

Come back tomorrow to see a bit more of this gorgeous cover by Nathalia Suellen.  You won't be disappointed.

Friday is the big reveal.  You'll get to see the Full Monty!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bad-Ass Book Blogger Series: Interview #1

It doesn't matter how good your book is.  Doesn't matter how much work you've done on it.  With over 350,000 titles being published a year, it's almost impossible for an indie author to even get people to know your book exists unless you either have money for ads or help.

A lot of help.

Authors can find that help in different ways: friends, family, colleagues, other writers, bloggers.  Book bloggers read, review, and showcase books that we may not hear of otherwise.  And they do it for nothing.  The do it for their love books.  Period.

This interview is the first of several I will do in order to shine some light onto this awesome community of readers and reviewers.

Today, I'm interviewing Melanie from Fang Freakin Tastic Book Reviews.  I met her when we teamed up with Little Read Riding Hood for the Indie-Credible 2013 Tour.  Every email from her brought a smile to my face, as she's got a great sense of humor.  Well, you'll see:

How long have you been book blogging?  Laura, at Little Read Riding Hood had me write my first review in March of this year I think it was. In April I was her first official “co-blogger”. I loved it so much, that at the beginning of July I started my own blog, Fang Freakin Tastic Book Reviews.
Why did you start? Laura made me do it. I’m mostly kidding. I’ve known Laura for a few years and we have similar taste in books. She had mentioned that she started her blog and for a few months dropped hints here and there that I should write reviews for her to post on her blog. I finally gave in and did it. The more I wrote and received feedback from others about my reviews, the more I wanted to write. I started my own blog because I’m a control freak. As much as I love Laura and working with her on her page, I wanted to also have control over something of my own.

What is the toughest part of being a book blogger? Getting the posts together! It takes me way too long to get my posts together!  I’m really not any good with computers. It took me over a month to build my site myself because I had to learn to do everything myself. I wanted to be sure if there was a problem, I would know how to fix it. I’ve had to learn how to use html code stuff, and with each post, I have to add code to pretty much everything to make it look the way I want it to, and even then, sometimes, it just has a mind of its own anyway. 

The most awesome part? Getting emails from my favorite authors telling me they appreciate that I told everyone about their book, and hearing back from readers telling me that they picked up a book because of my review.

How do you feel about Indie authors and self-publishing? I think its great that indie authors are able to get their books out there in a non-traditional way. I read a lot of indie authors. I think self publishing is great because you can find a lot of authors that you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to read just because a traditional publisher maybe didn’t care for it. There are so many great authors out there. I have a lot of respect for self published authors. They take a big chance, and I admire that. I also think of it as supporting a small business when I buy an indie book as compared to a traditional book, and I think that’s important.

How long does it take you to read a book? It depends on what else I have going on, how long the book is, and how into the book I am. I’ve got 2 kids and a husband who seem to need constant attention or apparently they will fall off the face of the earth or something. I can usually read a medium sized book in a day or two if it’s one I’m pretty interested in. I also tend to have several books going at once. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to read anything that has some great love story going on. Sometimes I would rather read about someone kicking butt or some kind of  crazy  supernatural thing. 

Do you take review requests, and if so, where can authors contact you? I do as of right now. I can’t make any promises as to when I can get the reviews finished, but I am accepting requests. Authors can email me at

Untethered is still a bottom-dweller as far as sales and visibility are concerned.  But were it not for book bloggers, it would be buried under the sand.  I am planning on interviewing bloggers once a month, but, unfortunately, I am not able to showcase everyone I really want to thank. So here's a big, huge THANK YOU to all of you bloggers who have featured or reviewed Untethered.  You all are awesome. And you all make a difference.

FYI:  Keep your eyes on my blog!  Untethered is getting a makeover and starting Tuesday, I'll be giving a slow-striptease of the new cover!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Full Disclosure

Okay.  I'll be honest.  I have no freaking clue what I'm doing when it comes to parenting. My goal is to try to keep my kids alive and pray my poor skills won't scar them for life. 

Have I scarred my kids?  I don't know. 
What do know, however, is that there are moments when talking with other parents where I smile and squirm.  Moments where I wonder, "Ooof. Was that a bad thing I did?"

Take the other day, for example:

"Unbelievable!  Do you know what Elodie told my daughter?" The other mom looked at me with such intensity in her eyes I actually took a step backward. I smiled and shook my head, but I had a feeling I knew exactly what was coming.

"That to make babies, the man puts his zizi inside the woman's zizi!" (For those of you unfamiliar with French slang, zizi is basically a nice term for one's private parts.)

The mom continued, "When I was a child, I was told babies came from a cabbage patch.  But now, because I didn't want to shame Elodie,  I had to tell my daughter -- who's only seven! -- that yes, Elodie was correct.  Where on Earth did she learn that?"

I thought that's the way to traumatise kids about eating cabbage and shook my head.  Out loud, I said, "She has an older sister."  The words burned my tongue.

Emma never told Elodie anything like that.  Hell, I'm not even sure Emma knows where babies come from.  Last year I bought her a book about how our bodies change and why.  She promptly hid it somewhere in her room and refused to bring it out when I wanted to read it with her.  To this day, I have no idea where that book is. And anytime I bring it up, Emma sneaks off before I can even blink.

So, no.  It wasn't Emma.  It was me.

We'd been reading a bedtime story -- some banal fairy tale with a reworked happy ending -- when Elodie turned to me and asked, "How are babies made?  I mean, exactly?"

For a split second I considered wrapping the basic truth up in a fancy bow.  Talking about love and closeness and miracles.  But then it just came out.  In a straightforward, very technical, very exact way: "The man puts his zizi inside the woman's zizi."

She stared at me for a second, waiting for me to laugh at the joke.  When I didn't, she jumped out of bed and paced the room, shaking herself like she was trying to rid herself of the thought. "Yuk! Yuk, yuk, yuk!"  Then she stopped. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped in horror.  "That and Papa...did that!?!"

I'm a bad mommy.  Bad, bad mommy.  The poor girl is going to be haunted by that image the rest of her life.  It doesn't matter that I pulled out the fancy bow then.  That I waxed on about intimacy and delicacy and love and sharing.  It was too late.  The wrapping couldn't hide the box of instructions underneath.

For some insane reason, I thought she'd forget about it.  Or at least that she'd never bring it up to others. 

Shows you how deluded I can be. 

But as the school bell rang and I waved good-bye to the other mom, my initial shame changed to something else.  A strange satisfaction. I told my daughter the truth and the world didn't come to an end.  I know that when she's invited to eat sauerkraut, at least she won't be terrified she's eating shredded baby parts.

And I know she'll be on her guard.  Anytime a boy gets too close, her new rule is: "Keep your zizi away from me."

Now that's what I want to hear.  I just hope she's still saying it ten years from now.



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bed of (Un)Productivity

So at the beginning of this week, I'd finished a draft of my novel and was raring to do a rewrite the second the kids went back to school.  This was going to be my week of productivity: I'd planned on getting pretty far in a new draft, planned on writing several blog posts, planned on even hitting the gym!

Well. Yeah.  Three days in, my kids got sick.  Back to school bacteria.  And here we are, several days later, the illness going from one family member to another.  So my two daughters and I are doped up on pain-killers and fever reducers and that blank, dull high you get from too many Disney movies back to back.

But I don't want to give up all my time to this stupid sickness.  So I've rethought how to handle things and have come up with ways to be productive from my bed (or the couch), with half my brain already oozing out my ears.  I've come up with ways to squeeze the most out of bed-ridden days:

1. Beg your family members for help.  Looking pathetic and weak can get your spouse or children to do something they may not normally do.  My oldest daughter was feeling pretty darn good for about an hour this morning, so I asked her in a tiny voice to write my blog post for me.  She did!  It looked like this: Mommy is lazy.  I'm doing her work for her today. Buy her book so I can have enough money to buy more Monster High dolls.  I figure I'll save that post for a day when I'm really stuck.

2. Revel in the pain and the inability to get any relief.  Remember how it feels when you need a fresh way to describe love-sickness in your next novel.

3. For risk takers: forget the fever-reducers. High fever induces delirium.  Delirium creates some kick-ass stories.   Let your brain start on fire and, if you can, jot down any ideas that pass through that lava-laced brain of yours.  Some of the great thoughts that have come out of my head this way?    How about: not really a vampire on the stairs, or get the bad guys with the green jelly.  Hey, I'm sure there's a great story in there somewhere.

4. Use a dictaphone.  If writing is too much of an effort for you, just press a button and talk out all your plot ideas or new character traits .  While on playback, I got something like, "The grmmmph goes to the slmmlloth and guuuuuuuh," it was because my tongue was swollen from dehydration (see number 3). If you use a dictaphone I suggest you take your fever-reducers and drink a lot of water.

5. Creative writing exercise: Place a small mirror in front of you.  Make faces to recreate your emotions or suffering and try to describe what you see in words.

6. Have your daughter keep your social media pages active.  She'll upload that picture of the kitten reading.  That's the only post you'll get more that three 'likes' on, anyways.

7. And if you really, really want to be productive:  Take a freakin' break.  Then work like hell next week.  In the end, I think that's what I'm going to end up doing.