Sunday, August 31, 2014

Future of Love

She knew she hadn't been the best person in the past. She had her selfish moments and there were things she would look back about and think wow I can't believe I did that. She would never think she had been deliberately cruel though there were many times that she had the option to change and she hadn't.

What she hadn't realized was that she had been so wrapped up in her own concerns that she drove away anyone that thought they may want to help her. She was broken, damaged but so far gone that she wasn't even aware of it. Then after her most recent relationship had fallen apart as they all did she relocated to get a true fresh start.

It was terrifying for her to be away from friends and family but she knew she had to find a way to stand on her own and get to know herself and learn to rely on herself in order to eventually find someone that could be a true partner in life and that would love the real her without her sabotaging it.

It was nearly a year before she met someone that struck her interest and true to form, she fell hard. He on the other hand was extremely distant. He would show interest but then pull back constantly. This simply fed her insecurities that she had worked so hard to overcome. Even with the struggle though she continued to fall and in time he became more open with her revealing that he had suffered relationship struggles in his past as well.

But later, years into the relationship, she still would tell him she loved him and try to show affection like cuddling up or holding hands but he was once again pulling away. She was lost, heartbroken and had no idea how to proceed. What was pulling him away and would he ever come back to her? She had worked so hard to create a life and a future and now she couldn't help but wonder what the future held and if she was even a part of his.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Many sides of me

There are so many sides to my personality and I have often felt that that is why I became a writer. I have a happy fun loving side and I honestly believe that is what drives my charity book series Rescue Me. Animals make me and so many others happy and I want to find a way to give back to them and organizations that support them.

My love of performance, especially dance, was the birthplace for my novel Never Give Up. I, like Kaylie, suffered an injury that was dramatic and was given news that many things I had planned for my life would be off the table going forward. It became in a large sense a psychological autobiography.

There is most definitely a dark side to me that comes from several years of relationships that emotionally wore me down and in a few instances nearly killed me in every sense. Sharing Strength is a direct result of those experiences but they also push me to provide insight into the evil side of human nature. I believe that many of my characters either have a dark side or unhappy past and so much of that is based on the things I have survived in my own life.

The most important part of me though is my love and passion for life. I am a true romantic and emotional to a fault. I try to make my books have an ending that helps the main character find closure. They are not always happy go lucky but they serve a sense of justice. Annora's Story is an extreme example of justice while my new romance series is a far lighter look at love and romance and is based on those that have inspired my heart to skip a beat in my life. I am fortunate enough to have a man I love very much that loves me back and every time I see him smile I swear a new love story comes to mind.

I have branched out recently as well tapping into my love of family to continue work on a children's series that is greatly driven by my father and I plan to dedicate the majority of the books in the series to him. We never had the greatest of things in common but in my heart I was daddy's little girl and I miss him each and every day.

Another branch that has grown recently is the more whimsical one that is pushing me to try my hand at a more fantasy inspired series. I have never gone beyond reality as I find the real world fascinating all on its own but I have found magic intriguing and will be attempting to put elements of magic and witchcraft into the new books.

I cannot wait for my readers to get a sneak peek into the many sides of me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Excerpt from new romance novel - first in a series

He had seen her around for the past several months. He couldn't figure out what it was but there was just something about her. She would smile but there was a sorrow still hiding in her eyes. She would talk to those around her yet she always seemed to have preplanned her words.

She was guarded and that made him want to protect her but he wasn't even sure what he would be protecting her from. All he knew was that her smile lit up his world and melted his heart. He had kept his own heart locked away behind a metaphorical barrier for years. He believed if he never let anyone in then he would never suffer rejection or loss.

He steeled himself from the world putting on a friendly face but never letting anyone get within arm's length. No one that is until Jessica. She would ask questions and he would search the far reaches of his brain to be the one with the answer. She would wave and he would wave back even if it wasn't meant for him. And, he knew he kept coming back to it, there was that smile.

Her teeth weren't perfect but in a strange way that is what made them perfect. She was a healthy weight but she definitely ate dessert. She wasn't a supermodel figure but still undeniably athletic. She had long brown hair that she almost seemed to hide in sometimes but the twinkle of her green eyes could catch the light from any angle and on the rare occasions she genuinely laughed, those eyes would dance like a kid on prom night.

She had moved to Ridgedale less than a year ago. While she had been noticed immediately in the sleepy town, very little was known about her past. She had just settled in and set up shop. In that sense it was actually quite literal, she was the owner and sole operator of the cake and candy shop in town and while she had been selling her sweets from her house recently she was in the process of opening the storefront and the entire town was eager to come and check it out.

Charlie couldn't wait to see what all she had to sell and he was hoping someday she would give him the chance to show what he had to offer has well. He could see through her eyes and into her soul and deep in that hidden heart of hers was a woman sweeter than the chocolates he was sure would make her famous.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rough excerpt from Annora's Story

She had no idea how long she had been held captive. After years kept in rooms with no windows she rarely had any idea if it was even day or night. There were times she would take a moment to ponder how old she was now or if anyone she had known in her former life remembered her.

He called her girl. This one had never used her name. The only reason she remembered it was because she told it to herself every day. Each of her "owners" had referred to her as something different. Only the first had called her by her given name but it was brief and never out of love.

She tried to escape as often as possible back in those days but after being beaten repeatedly and then sold for being too difficult she had attempted it significantly less. She had had a few masters that allowed her out of the basement or tiny room she was normally left shackled in. Those had given her brief moments of affection and one had even given her a book though she had never learned to read.

She was reported as missing when she was just barely nine years old and hadn't been seen since, at least by the authorities or anyone that actually cared about her. They searched for weeks without finding any trace of her but her stepfather never gave up hope. Even now, though she didn't know it, he continued to follow any potential lead in hopes of finding her.

She was intelligent though not traditionally book smart. She remembered nearly everything she had ever heard and was extremely talented at eavesdropping. She learned as much as possible from the basic reading she could do and when someone occasionally spoke to her other than to bark orders she would take the opportunity to explore any topic they would willingly discuss.

She still would attempt escape whenever possible but she rarely made it far and would of course receive severe punishment. There was one single time she made it out of her owner's house but only to find herself in the middle of the forest. She started running anyway. Given only the mere moonlight  to guide her, she made her way to a river and waded across as quickly as possible. Once she was through the water however she her the sound of dogs behind her.

Chancing a momentary glance over her shoulder she saw him, her master, standing just a few yards back from the water's edge. He was holding a shotgun and casually smiling. He had known she escaped immediately and was obviously certain she would never make it very far. She ducked behind a small grove of trees and crawled to the opposite side of the trail staying completely in the shadows. Catching her breath for a moment she listened and heard the splashing of man and dog crossing the river.

She looked in ever direction, searching desperately for a safe route. Finding nothing but more trees she decided running was her only option. Just twenty feet into her journey though she heard the blast of the shotgun. It rang out loud and clear although she was positive that it had been fired into the air above her head. She ran faster bursting through bushes and jumping over rocks clearing obstacles like an olympic hurdler.

She pushed her was through a large group of shrubs and fell forward down a hill landing hard on the side of a road. She landed on her back hard, knocking the wind out of her. She struggled to catch her breath when she saw a car stopping up the road. She couldn't speak but there was a woman coming toward her. She was saved. Or at least she though she was.

Before she could say anything HE came through the trees and picked her up, hugging her tight. He held her in a way that pushed her face into his chest so she still couldn't breathe. He told the women, her savior, that she was his daughter and had gotten lost. Said he had been out looking for her for hours. She mentioned she had heard a gunshot, clearly uncomfortable with the situation.

With tears in his eyes he explained that he had heard it too and was terrified that some hunters were out poaching in the woods and would shoot her by mistake. That seemed to satisfy the woman and he thanked her for being so caring then said he had to get his princess home so she could rest. He leaved down and whispered that she was going to wish that she had been hit by the car when he got through with her.

The woman got back in her car and once she was driving away he let her down to watch as salvation drove quietly away. As the car drove around a curve and the brake lights disappeared she sank to her knees and cried. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her all the way back to the house. She cried the entire time. He threw her into the basement taking pleasure as she bounced off the bottom stair. He told her to sleep tight, she would need her all her strength to make it through what he had planned.

As he closed the door he laughingly told her that she better pray tonight girl. She curled up on the floor and she did pray. She prayed for death. She prayed for forgiveness and she prayed that when she was found someone would remember her. Just before she passed out for the night she reminded herself as she did every day, my name is Annora.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Miracle, an excerpt from Rescue Me - Animal Anthology

                  I will always remember the day I saw him. I lived in an apartment and as long as I had lived there I had seen a beautiful feral cat that roamed the grounds of the complex. I wanted to adopt her but my current four cats weren’t open to a new family member and she seemed very unhappy being held captive inside. I fed her whenever I could along with occasionally petting her when she would come near. She had lovely markings but the way her short fur and tight skin was pulled across her face she looked like a pretty version of Smigel from Lord of the Rings.
            A few months after I moved in she came to my door with a kitten in tow. I leaned down to pet her but she backed away defending her baby fiercely. I put out a dish of food and milk for them then stepped aside letting them eat in peace. They were very close for the next year. You would rarely see one without the other watching from a nearby balcony or set of stairs. I named the baby Smidge to keep like her mother. I attempted to adopt them a few more times but while Smigel came close to settling down inside twice Smidge was barely willing to come through the door so staying wasn’t an option. Either way I was in love with them so I happily fed them and sat outside on the porch to pet Smigel when she decided to let me.
            I had been living there approximately a year and a half when I noticed I hadn’t seen Smigel or Smidge around for a couple weeks. I was worried that something had happened to them. I was also holding out hope that perhaps someone without additional animals might have been able to coax them into a permanent home. Every time I would come home from the store or return from work I would look for them but they had vanished. It was odd that even though they weren’t mine I cared about them so much.
            Just as I had given up seeing them again I came home one day from work and there they were. Sitting in front of the patio of the apartment below mine Smigel sat proudly watching me as I walked by. There lying next to her in the grass was Smidge surrounded by four itty bitty kittens. They were just the most adorable little balls of fluff and fuzz. I knew they were bound to be just as skittish as Smidge had always been but I tried to approach them anyway. As I suspected they scattered immediately.
            I started to head up the stairs to my apartment when I happened to glance back where the family had been gathered. There lying in the dirt was a kitten that wasn’t moving. I hadn’t even noticed him in the beginning because he was half the size of the others. My heart broke instantly because I know that feral animals will abandon their offspring if they believe they are too weak to survive. I was looking at the lifeless body of this sad abandoned kitten feeling the tears rush down my cheeks.
            All of a sudden I saw its head turn the slightest bit. He was alive. I jumped back down the stairs and lightly touched his side with my finger. I could make out a faint heart beat and he was breathing but not well. I ran to my kitchen grabbing a paper plate so I could lift him but keep him steady. I took him into the apartment but I was presented with a problem as I looked around. I had four full grown territorial cats. They were already taking interest in the smell of this poor soul and I knew he was going to struggle regardless; I couldn’t make him face them as well.
            The bathroom seemed like the safest spot so I placed some towels in the tub and placed him on one of them hoping he would stay warm. I got a regular dish and put some milk in it hoping he might be able to go get it sometime during the night. I also knew there was a very strong chance he wouldn’t make it through the night at all. Still I knew I had to try. I stayed with him for almost an hour before I finally went to bed hoping to get some rest.
            I tossed and turned all night long. I couldn’t help but fear the worst and by the time the sun came up I was convinced I would find him gone already. I turned the handle slowly keeping the older cats at bay as I inched my way into the bathroom. As I peered over the edge of the tub I was shocked. He was still alive. He was weak, curled up on the towel but he was definitely breathing. He also felt warmer then when I had brought him in.
            I picked him up and dipped my pinky into the milk holding it near him mouth and he opened his tiny mouth and took it. He couldn’t take a second drop but he had had some nourishment. That was more than enough for me. I put him down and ran to tell my boyfriend that he had survived the night. I was bouncing giddily by the time I came back. Rubbing sleep from his eyes he confirmed that the kitten was in fact alive and agreed with me that we should name him Miracle.
            I was scheduled to work that day and so was he. The thought of leaving poor little Miracle alone was something I just couldn’t do. He had no choice but to go in so I called into work. I felt I had to stay home so that I could try to feed him some more milk and keep him company. I made myself some breakfast and fed the crazy kitties now pacing around the living room. Once he left and I was able to grab some snacks and a few bottles of water I went into the bedroom and set up everything on the bed. I set the dish of milk on my nightstand and lay back against the pillows holding Miracle.
            He seemed to be struggling again and I decided to try a trick I had learned for human babies. I took my shirt off in order to hold him on my chest close to my heart. He could feel the heat from my skin and the way my heart was beating. Just as I had hoped he started to recover again. He snuggled down against me and for a few brief minutes I could feel his weak little body vibrate from purring. I felt the tears coming back as I lightly stroked his head.
            Every hour or so I would dip my finger into the milk and attempt to feed him. Most of the time he would take it but the last time he just lowered his head.  I knew what was coming. He started to purr again but it only lasted for a moment. He turned his head to the side closing his eyes. I petted his head holding him as close as I could. There on my chest knowing at least twenty four hours of love my tiny Miracle died.
            I held him and cried for a while losing track of time. I called my boyfriend to let him know and he promised he would come straight home after work to be with me. I wrapped Miracle up before heading out into the living room. I kept the door closed but my other cats no longer were interested in Miracle, they could sense I needed comforting. I sat in my recliner and cuddled up with them telling myself I had done all I could and he had been loved before he passed away.

            That night we took is little body out to Red Rock Canyon and buried him. I wanted him to be surrounded by beauty. I said I short prayer for him and kissed his head before placing in the ground. I believe he is running free now, healthy and happy. I hope he knows how much he was loved and knows that my short time with him has touched me forever. I love you Miracle. Someday I will see you again.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Never Give Up excerpt

                  Tossing and turning in her limited mobility, Kaylie drifted through a semi- conscious world, trying to get a firm footing and understand what was happening around and to her. In this parallel plane, she was up and walking, but only through still scenes of her nightmarish night. Every glaring detail was illuminated by the spotlight of her memory. Strolling past the shot of the man climbing into the back seat with her, she felt her skin crawl again.
                  She attempted to pause, but her dream itself kept moving forward. She passed the scene of him yelling at the driver and her pressed against the door. She wanted to go back, but the magnetism of the dream propelled her on. She could feel her sleeping body aching from the tossing and her mental state shake from the image coming into view.

                  There, she could see with horrifying clarity the moment the gun had gone off; the flash from the muzzle, the shattering window, and the driver being thrown into the steering wheel. She wanted desperately to turn away, to run away. It was incredible, but she needed to escape. It compared only to the actual moment now frozen in time before her.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Promise To Jasmine

I have been doing a lot of soul searching recently working on Sharing Strength. I wrote a letter recently to Rachel the young girl that will be moving the story along and showing everything that she has. The most difficult part is working up to her biggest moment. While she is based on me in many ways it is important to note that one of the largest things I survived in my life is abusive relationships.

I was involved with an extremely psychologically abusive boy while I was in high school. He made me believe I was nothing without him and that the only thing that made me worthwhile at all was the fact that he took time to care about me. We broke up finally after a series of fights that took the emotional torture to a new physical level.

I have scars that live on as a reminder that I survived but it was that relationship that was the original situation that led to my diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. Jasmine is the representative of that part of my life. She is a fighter and a survivor but she is also very protective of Rachel. She finds herself and gives her life a sort of purpose in the big sister role.

While dealing Rachel and her pain, struggling with her entire situation I have been dealing with my own concerns. What I did not consider is that it will be nearly unbearable for Jasmine. For those not familiar with writers and our character relationships, you may not know that they are simultaneously a representative of us on the paper as well as a real living breathing entity all on their own.

I am going to have to take some time with her. She is mad at me and I can feel it. She is stalling my ability to get through this terrible scene but I must press on. I know we can both handle it but I promise to give her the time she needs and won't push her any further than I have to.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dear Rachel

Dear Rachel,

It is because of you that I have avoided the project Sharing Strength for so long. I opened my mind up to other characters in an effort to distract me from the inevitable. I know what is coming and while of course you do too, that doesn't make it any easier.

You represent such an important aspect of the story and on top of that you are a glimpse inside my own story. We are not going to be saying good bye. We are saying thank you for showing the courage to exist and share your experience with us so that we may be able to recognize you in another.

I never had the courage to discuss what happened to me or the way it tore me apart but through you I am able to come clean and let those most important into a shadowy corner of my past I have kept hidden for so long. The fear, shame and self hatred that built inside of me and nearly took my life will be washed clean through you.

I am in tears as I write this letter to you because I know what I must do. I am finally cutting the ties to a previous part of my life and even though the scars will remain the bindings holding me back will be released forever and I will finally be free. I held you in for so long and I admire you for having the strength to stand up for me.

You may only exist on the pages of my book but in many ways you are me and I am a living tribute to you and all in the group. Have faith that you will bring comfort to many and your story will live on. Rest now sweet princess, you don't have to be afraid or in pain any longer.