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.