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YA Indie Carnival: An excerpt from my current WIP

4 May

Happy Friday!!  Wooohoooo!!

Today on the YA Indie Carnival, we’re sharing the first paragraph or so from our current Work-in-Progress.

My current WIP is a brand-new book called Dante’s Girl (unless I choose to change the title along the way, which I have been known to do) and it has brand new characters.  It’s contemporary YA and I’m really excited about it.  It’s in a very rough first draft stage, so it could change before I am finished with it.

But anyway.  Here is the beginning:

It is impossible to look hot in the dingy fluorescent light of an airport bathroom. Or as my best friend Becca would say, hawt.

At this particular moment, I’m not hot or hawt.  I make this revelation as I vigorously scrub at my arms and face and then use a wet paper towel under my pits.  And what is it about peeing in an airport toilet ten times in a day that makes you feel so completely scummy?  I glance around at the crumpled tissues strewn about on the scuffed floor and the dirty toilets peeking from behind half-closed doors.  That answer is clearly ‘because of the germs’. Ack.

Trying not to think about it, I clean up the best I can.  After running a brush through my hair, I stick a piece of gum in my mouth, apply a thin layer of lip gloss and call it good.  I glance into the mirror and cringe.  It isn’t good enough, but it will have to do.  Very soon, I’ll put this dreadful four hour layover in Amsterdam behind me and before I even know it, I’ll be in London.

With my father.

For the summer.

It would be torture.

Just shoot me now.

* * *

So, there you have it.  The opening lines of Dante’s Girl.   It’s super-fun to write so far.  Since my work is usually darker or paranormal, I just wanted to try my hand at something light, airy and romance-y.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.  I’m just now recovering from a nasty flu bug that put me down for a few days.  Sidenote:  For winners of my contest from last week, I have not yet packed up prizes and gone to the post office because of that stupid flu bug.  But, rest assured- I will get them mailed out very soon.
Have a great weekend, everyone!  Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do- and don’t accept any wooden nickels.  <<—–  That’s just something my grandpa used to tell me.  To this day, I’m not sure of the relevance…..
Also, check out the first paragraph from some of my colleagues on the YA Indie Carnival here.  I know I’m going to.  🙂

Friday the 13th: The Twisted Nature of Princess

13 Apr


Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!!

Today on the YA Indie Carnival, we’re supposed to talk about villains from our books.

My most horrendous villain, I think, comes from my book Princess (book one in the American Princess series).

The problem is… I can’t tell you WHO the villain is because that would reveal too much!  The villain is cold-hearted and vicious though… and I wish I could tell you….

But I have a great alternative.  Princess is free on Kindle today!  In fact, it is free through the weekend.  You can download it for FREE here.    I really hope you like it.  It’s not paranormal at all, unlike most of my other books.  It’s contemporary YA, but it’s dark and edgy.

If you download it and like it, I’d realllllly appreciate it if you’d leave a review on Amazon.   Readers often don’t realize how important their opinions actually are.   So often, other readers base their decisions solely on 1. the cover and 2. previous reviews.   To be honest, I do the same thing a lot of the time.  So, if you like it, I’d really appreciate a quick review.

And if you’d like to tweet me and tell me what you thought, I’d appreciate that too.   I always enjoy hearing from you!

Anyway… Have an amazing Friday the 13th!  Don’t walk under any ladders… and steer clear of broken mirrors.   I used to have a great-aunt who refused to get out of bed on Friday the 13th.  I’m not nearly as superstitious as that.   I just spend the day avoiding black cats.  Is that weird?  🙂

You should totally check out my other colleagues today– see what they are superstitious about and who their baddest bad guys are!  You can find a list of their blogs here.  Happy weekend!

YA Indie Carnival: Luck O’ the Irish!

16 Mar

Happy Friday, folks!!

Today’s topic for the YA Indie Carnival is the Luck of the Irish.  And… since I happen to live in the city that is home to Notre Dame (Go Irish!!), I know a little bit about that.   People in my city are religious about our Irish and pre-game traditions.

Before big football games, thousands of people cram into the parking lots of Notre Dame for tailgating… coolers, barbeques, hanging out… and craziness abounds.  Then the game starts and the craziness continues.

It’s all about tradition.  And honestly, that’s part of what I think LUCK is.  I don’t think there is such a thing as LUCK, per se.  There is well timed planning, there is foresight, there is tradition, there is focus.  But as far as things randomly happening, I’m not a big believer in that.

You get lucky, if you want to call it that, by being prepared so that when a moment of opportunity arises, you are able to grasp it.  You make your own luck.  Just ask the Notre Dame football players.  If they win a game, they aren’t going to tell you that it’s because they jumped up and slapped the “Play Like A Champion Today” sign on their way out of the locker room (although they definitely do that)…. they will tell you it’s because they worked for it, they practiced, they were READY.

So, my message today is… don’t sit and wait for things to happen to you.  If you want something- work for it and you will achieve it.  Luck has nothing to do with it.

I hope everyone has an AWESOME weekend. The weather is supposed to be perfect here… Yay!!

You can check out my colleagues’ thoughts on luck. You can find a list of their posts here.  

Oh– and Play Like a Champion Today!  🙂

The Dreaded, Horrible “W-Word”

2 Mar

Hi everyone!  This week on the YA Indie Carnival, we’re talking about the most dreaded two words in the author’s vocabulary.  That’s right.  Writer’s Block.  More specifically, what we do when we encounter it.

I personally grab a club and beat the nasty thing into submission.  Kidding.  But I would totally do that if Writer’s Block was a tangible thing.   Since it’s not… this is what I do.  I pretend that it doesn’t exist.  If I acknowledge that it is happening, then it gives it more power… I would subconsciously place more and more emphasis on it inside my brain and it would snowball.

So, instead, when I feel… less than creative, I just keep writing.  That’s the trick. I just keep plugging along and even if what I write is experiencing some major SUCKAGE, I write anyway.  I figure that I can always revise it later. That’s what the delete key was invented for.

So, that’s my advice to any writers or aspiring writers.  JUST.  KEEP.  WRITING.  Just do it.  <<—  Someone should make that a slogan.  🙂

If you want to read what my very talented and bright colleagues have to say on this subject, you can find a list of their posts here.

Have a great weekend!!

Steamy Scenes: Em and Brennan

10 Feb

Sooooooo.  Happy Friday, folks!  This week on the YA Indie Carnival, we’re all featuring Steamy Scenes.

I battled with which one to use… Sydney and Stephen (from Princess) have an awesome steamy scene.  But I finally decided that it wasn’t quite PG enough to post.

So, I’m going to share a scene from Soul Kissed… with Em and Brennan.

Em is a siren/blood-sucking succubus.  She’s been cursed with that existence because of her father… and then she falls in love with her soul mate, Brennan.  She’s vulnerable and strong and I love her character.   Here they are in a scene from  Soul Kissed (which is told from Empusa’s point of view):

“The world is not going to end,” I insisted slowly, taking in the desperation on Brennan’s stricken face.  “Why would you think so?  I was wrong when I said it would, Brennan. We can prevent my visions.  We can do anything we set our minds to.”

Brennan turned to me, his expression slightly calmer than it had been a scant moment ago.  I reached out to grab his hand, but he backed away, causing my heart to race.  He stepped out of the tent and I trailed behind him quickly.

“What is it?” I whispered.  “What did you see, Brennan?”

His eyes were pain-filled and stark when he answered.  “I saw flames and floods and a lot of blood.  There was so much blood.  I saw the same things that you did, Empusa.  And if we both see it, I think it is likely to happen.”

“It won’t!” I cried, gritting my teeth and throwing myself at him.  Clutching at him, I gripped his shoulders, trying to make him touch me.  Yet he still shirked away from my fingers, like I had a sickness.  It was alarming.

“Why are you moving away from me?” I asked helplessly, trying to ignore the cold pit growing in my belly.  “I didn’t cause your visions, Brennan. I wish nothing more than to protect you from any ugliness in the world.”

“I know,” he admitted softly.  “But I also know that this isn’t going to work.”

His voice was like gravel, painfully scraping the surface of my heart with every husky syllable.  “I can’t be with you,” he repeated.

He was so casual, so perfunctory, as though we were simply talking about a Cubs game or the weather. I stared at him, at his flecked hazel eyes that gleamed in the sunlight and my chest literally constricted at the thought of even one day without him.

“Yes, you can.  You’re perfect for me,” I answered uncertainly, reaching for him, trying to pull him close. If he could just feel my heart pressed against his, I knew that he might bend, if only just enough to listen.  But he would have none of it and backed away, leaning against the rocks behind us.  He knew the danger within my touch.

“Brennan,” I tried again, stepping forward.  The way that the sun bathed him in backlit glory was breath-taking and I had to re-focus.  It was difficult not to concentrate on his handsome, rugged face and the way his mouth moved as he spoke.

     “Em,” he continued, as if I’d never even spoken. “I’m not…I’m not strong enough for this yet.  I won’t be able to control my abilities.  I just saw it.  I can’t jeopardize the entire mortal world simply because I can’t master my power.  And Circes… she said that you would risk everything for me. I can’t allow that, Empusa.  I can’t be the one who extinguishes your light.  That won’t be me.”

     He pushed away from the rocks and strode down the ledge with his distinctive lope.  He paused just once on the edge, before he bounded, landing gracefully on his feet far below me.  He didn’t look back, he simply walked away from me.   I stood still, frozen by his words, astounded by their meaning.  Until I realized that if I didn’t do something right now I would never see him again.

I lunged from the ledge, landing roughly in the packed sand below before I raced along behind him.  Even employing supernatural speed, I didn’t catch up with him for a mile. He had mastered speed himself, it seemed.    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of black and I knew that my mother was close, watching us, but it didn’t sway me.

I pushed Brennan against a nearby red stone rock mound, shoving him hard and he stumbled, staring at me in shock as his back collided with the stone.  He had never seen me lose my temper.  No one had.  I always had to be so careful, so controlled.

“You think it’s only up to you?” I shouted.  The wind whipped my hair around my face and I ignored it as I stared directly into the mesmerizing eyes of the only man I had ever loved.

“I have a say in this, too,” I insisted.  “You think you can just throw everything away with a handful of cliches?  Newsflash:  The old it’s not you, it’s me line isn’t effective.  If you don’t want to be with me, just be man enough to tell me why.  Don’t tell me that it is because of the visions.  We can overcome them.  I know it.  If there is something else, tell me right now.”

My face was barely an inch from his.  I was close enough to feel his heart beat through his shirt, to feel the heat from his skin pulse through and bleed into my own skin.  I was close enough to inhale his very breath.  I knew what my nearness would do to him, but I didn’t care.  I closed my eyes and leaned into him… instantly absorbing what he felt; the jagged pain, the overwhelming uncertainty, but mostly, his unbridled need for me.  It filled him up and spilled into me.

“Tell me,” I murmured against his lips.

He groaned and pulled me against him, his large hands flattening against my back as he smashed me to his chest and ravaged my lips with his own.  He kissed me like the world was ending.  And I knew, with every breath in me, that if he left, my world would end.

His body was rock hard and he smelled like the sun.  I inhaled him as I grasped his hair and pulled him closer to me, as close as I could possibly get.  Even in the heat of this moment, though, I had to keep a corner of my consciousness carefully focused, making sure I didn’t absorb too much of his strength.  But I still allowed myself to taste it, to enjoy it.

He was delicious.  Everything about him.

His tongue rammed into my mouth, swirling with mine and he tasted like honey as his very life flowed into me, wispy and transparent, but pulsing hard.  He was so vital.

It made me wild and I couldn’t control myself.  I ripped at his shirt, breaking the buttons as I frantically pushed it off of his shoulders.  I knew it was expensive, but I didn’t care.  My only thought was consuming all of him, every bit and I needed him inside of me to do that.  It was the only way.  My focus faltered and then was obliterated.  Nothing else mattered now but my need for him.

I began seeing things in blurs of color, tasting the scents in the air and feeling the textures beneath my hands as everything else faded away. His breathing was ragged, his heart beat stuttering and racing as we fumbled with clothing.  Our skin was hot and sticky as we pressed together.  I felt his heart beat join with mine, synching perfectly, as the process began.  My fingers pulsed and my vision unfocused.  It was happening.  I would only need a moment longer.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the beautiful field of pink flowers explode into flame, too close to withstand my energy as it flared into an uncontrollable storm. They burned impotently against the sandy horizon as our very own fire burned within us.  A loud boom exploded somewhere nearby and I saw chunks of earth scatter, falling around us from the sky. I had no idea where it had come from and I didn’t care at this point.

Brennan yanked at the button on his pants and I reached to help him, desperate to continue, to finish, but somehow sanity returned to me as I thought of that very word.


If we completed this act, if I made love to this man- the man that I loved with every ounce of my being, it would finish him.  He could die because we hadn’t learned to master our power.

I froze.

He reached for me, but I held out my hand.

“Don’t,” I rasped uncomfortably.  “Give me a minute.”

And that’s Em and Brennan.  Whew.  Does anyone have a fan?  I need one now.   If you liked this excerpt, you can find Soul Kissed (Book One of the Moonstone Saga) on Amazon here.  And incidentally, it’s Free today in an Amazon promotion.  So,  you might as well snag it while it’s free.    Because free is good. And if you read it and enjoy it, I would soooo appreciate it if you could take a couple of minutes and review it on Amazon.  That would be awesome!  🙂

Now, if you’re in the mood for some more steam (and really, who isn’t?) then check out the rest of the Indie Carnival chicks.   I know I’m going to.  Right now, actually.  Have a good weekend, everyone!

YA Indie Carnival: What Reading Teaches Me

20 Jan

Happy Friday!

Today’s YA Indie Carnival topic is… What Reading Teaches Me.

This one is easy.  Reading can teach you everything.

When I was a little girl, I lived on my grandparents’ farm.  When I was in grade school, the other kids teased me a lot- because I lived with my grandparents, because my grandparents dressed me like… well, like a grandparent would, and because kids are just mean.

What did I do?  I retreated into books.  And I learned about other kids through books.  I learned about the healthy relationships that friends can have though  Trixie Belden and her bestie, Honey Wheeler.  I learned that it’s okay to be who you are and not change simply because you don’t want kids to make fun of you.  What do mean little girls know, anyway?   Um, not really anything.   So, a bookworm I stayed.

Eventually, I grew up and went to junior high and high school.  My social life changed.  I was no longer an outsider, I had a healthy circle of friends.   But I always retained my love of reading.  And because I have read so much, I know what it takes to write a good book.  So, basically, you could say that reading has given me my livelihood.  Being a reader has made me a writer.  Continually reading even now makes me a better and better writer.  And being a writer is something that I am thankful for every day.

I’m thankful for good books for so many reasons.  I have cultivated that love of reading in my daughter- she’s a bookworm too and proud of it.   So, my message today is, READ.   It does a body good.   🙂

To read what some of my YA writerly friends have to say on this topic, visit here.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

My Snow Day, YA Indie Carnival and a free e-book!

13 Jan

Happy Friday, everyone!

So… this is what I woke up to today:

12-14 inches  of snow– at least that’s what my weatherman says.  We’re getting more throughout the day, so of course that means that schools are closed. Ack.  Somebody pray for me. The white stuff is everywhere and the temperature is in the single digits.  Have I mentioned that I hate the cold?

Anyway, today’s topic for the YA Indie Carnival is… Books I’m Grateful For.  And yikes- what a difficult topic!  There’s no way I can list all of the books I’m grateful for.  But I’ll try to make a shortened list.

Books that I’m grateful for because they inspired my love of reading:  The Little House on the Prairie books, followed by the Trixie Belden books. Seriously, I loved those books. Starting with the Little House books when I was just barely able to read… I read them over and over, dog-earing the copies and turning myself into a little bookworm.  (but that’s ok- bookworms totally rock!)

Books I’m grateful for because they showed me that books could be scary:  Carrie and Christine.  Wow, can Stephen King write horror!  I was in junior high when I got into his books.  I remember reading Christine when I was at summer camp- secluded on the side of a mountain in Colorado in a cabin… reading with a flashlight in the dark.   I was petrified that night but I made sure to read that book over and over.  Stephen King made me realize that it was entertaining to scare myself.

Books I’m grateful for because they showed me that books could be moving:  Where the Red Fern Grows and The Bridge to Terabithia.  I read both of those books when I was in grade school and cried my eyes out.  But they showed me that books… words… could move someone.  That’s something that I try to utilize in my own writing today.

Books I’m grateful for because they paved the way for YA authors:  The Harry Potter books ( I LOVE them) and the Twilight Series.  JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer showed the world that teenagers and young adults could and would read.

Book I’m grateful for simply because it’s my all time fave:  The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.   Everyone asks me what my favorite book is and my answer is always the same.  I don’t think I’ve ever explained why, though.   One of my dads (I was lucky enough to have two) was a pastor.  And he died very suddenly from a blood clot in his lung when he was only 52.  A couple of months before he died, he had handed me that book to read.  I took it home and set it down- and didn’t get around to reading it until right after he died.   It seemed like a message from him almost– that everyone has a purpose in life- and that life doesn’t end when we die.   For that reason (and also because everything Mitch Albom touches is magic), that book will always be my favorite.

So, those are the books I’m most grateful for.  Find out what books my colleagues are grateful for here.

Different topic…  My book Every Last Kiss, the book that began the Bloodstone Saga, is FREE for Kindle this weekend on Amazon.

So if you’ve been thinking of trying it out, now’s the time- because it’s free.  Did I mention FREE?  You can find it on Amazon here.   It’s Free.  (Free, free, free).

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy weekend!   If you have a snow day like me today, enjoy it.  Even if you don’t, enjoy your Friday… because it’s Friday.  Enough said. 🙂