Thursday, May 29, 2014


I have always loved to write. From the poetry and very short stories I put together in grade school and on through junior high through the longer stories and anthologies I created in high school I felt the need to share what I felt, thought and saw with the world. Now as I have gone further down the path I have written and published my first full length novel.

Never Give Up is a personal story I debated writing as well as abandoning for nearly a decade. I was so worried about the creation aspect that I never considered the part that came next would actually be the more difficult part. When the process began Myspace was just beginning and technology was nowhere near the level it is today.

I have a degree in marketing and felt that the channels I was familiar with combined with my education would make the promotion section of writing and selling a book the part I was actually good at. As it turns out though I have had to jump into this whole new world and learn to run without going through the stages of crawling and walking. I have learned how to create a specialty page on Facebook as well as a Twitter account, looked into website design and went through the editing and cover creation process all on email.

I am young enough that I am familiar with today's technology and have evolved with it yet I am still what most would consider "old school". I like making deals face to face and shaking on an agreement. I prefer that my communications be spelled out and not in clipped text designed for limited character allotment. I am having to jump directly in the deep end and it has been a huge learning experience so far.

I have luckily had some wonderful people help me but I am also realizing that it isn't just about if you can get likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter but you have to be able to blend that with a broader reaching perspective. Readers need to see you as a literary force and need to be reminded that you are there over and over. You have to be able to put yourself and your work in front of as many people as often as possible and that is something I will continue to focus on now that I am swimming with the rest of the writer fish hoping I can be one of those that break through and get remembered.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day

I have been giving profiles of the characters for my upcoming novel Sharing Strength. The book follows a five member support group for sufferers and survivors of PTSD. While there are several reasons people develop the disorder one of the best known group that gets diagnosed is the military.

I  honor of all of those serving, that have served and that will serve I wanted to take a moment and share some of my experiences with military and those that are living with PTSD. I have a family history of Army service and if not for an injury I suffered when I was twenty I would have been a soldier myself. I have been friends with those that serve for many years including a few that went through ROTC and Junior ROTC programs when we were teenagers.

I have been dating a wonderful Marine Veteran for the last 4 years and have learned so much about his service and felt his pride everyday. I am so proud to be a supporter of our service men and women and hope that I will eventually be able to continue with my charity books and be able to partner with an armed forces organization.

I have Rescue Me - Animal Anthology that is donating the proceeds to War Dogs Making It Home, an organization that helps Veterans that are disabled and / or suffer from PTSD with therapy dogs. I love animals and when I found a charity that combined animals with PTSD I couldn't even consider looking any further.

These brave souls have seen and experienced things beyond most of our imaginations. What they have been through will stay with them forever and it will be a coping system for life. It is not just the brave men and women that have gone through the combat and come home different but also the family and friends that will have to spend the rest of their lives with the adapted changes in order to help those that survived.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone that defends our great country as well as the families that serve right alongside them. However I ask that you thank our military and veterans not just this Memorial Day Weekend or even just during this Military Appreciation Month but every chance you get. They are the reason we have the freedom to live the lives we love and they deserve our love, understanding, appreciation, compassion and above all respect.

Monday, May 19, 2014


I was recently asked about whether or not I would create a character based on a friend. I know there are many writers that do like to create their characters and may base them on people they know. I have based some of my characters on myself but it is because things in my own life are the inspiration for the story.

For me my characters are very real. They exist in an alternate dimension and I simply channel them and become the medium through which the stories are told. In Never Give Up the main character Akaylia is loosely based on me and some of the things I experienced both while dancing as well as when I got injured. The emotional toll it took on me and that Kaylie deals with is a huge driving force for the book.

Then in Breathe I attempted to go in a different direction. It started as a short suspense story but when I decided to expand it into a full length novel it quickly took on an entirely different path. The romantic side of me came through and as much as I tried to keep the main character following her initial evil side she ended up taking on more of a good natured role. She told me her story and by the end of the book I was rooting for this troubled but heartfelt underdog.

Sharing Strength is an exceptionally personal book for me in that there are two characters that each have my experiences running through their storylines. Jasmine and Rachel both deal with difficult situations that I myself survived. I have written scenes for both with smiles and tears and it is a story that I hope can help others that may be suffering through similar experiences.

I have poured my heart into everything I have ever written. While I may eventually have characters that have elements of my family and friends within them it is my hope that the characters are developed and relatable enough that even people I have never met may be able to see themselves within the pages.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Character Profile Craig Stilwell

In Sharing Strength there is a group of people all suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. I have already introduced Brian Nickerson a soldier struggling with how to deal with what he saw in combat in conjunction with being brought up to believe feelings and emotions are simply a sign of weakness.

We met Jasmine, a photography lover that survived years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the boyfriend she was brainwashed into believing loved her. He tortured her psychologically making her believe everything good in her life would disappear without him and everything bad in either of their lives was her fault. The break up came after a fight where he nearly killed her.

Dr. James Kurtsman is the man that leads the support group. He is a cancer survivor and widow after losing his wife to cancer as well. He is also the former business partner of Dr. Thomas June who was the psychiatrist seeing most of the group as patients before the group formed. He does his best to bond with each member and help them find their own ways to cope with their situations.

Craig is a very broken man. He survived a car accident that claimed the life of his four year old son Jeremy. He was the driver and though he was not drinking himself, alcohol was partially to blame. His wife, after a bottle of wine and several drinks on top of it, fought with him during the drive even resorting to physical attacks.

He went off the road trying to defend himself. when he attempted to correct the steering it spun the car slamming the passenger side of the car into a large oak tree. He and his wife survived but the impact killed his son. His wife blamed him for the accident as for the death of Jeremy. She divorced him sending him deep into depression.

He suffers from survivor's guilt as well as manic depression but truly wants to find a way to move on. He has suffered flashbacks and saw Dr. June by court order but he begins through the book to feel that the group may just be the thing that saves him, at least he hopes.

I have written about car accidents before. I have even written the death of a character but in this case writing the description of the death of an innocent four year old boy was extremely difficult for me. I hope I have done it justice and once I have it edited perhaps I will post it as an excerpt. Please understand that this book is entirely symbolic and his son dying was a needed element in order for Craig to represent his part. I do not enjoy the idea of creating a situation that kills a child.