Monthly Archives: December 2013

Preview: Chapter 1 of Reflected in the Rain

Below is an special preview of Reflected in the Rain.  In Chapter One we pick up where Jake and Eve left off in The Storm Inside.  The end of the chapter has been left off since it is too sexy for my unrated website but trust me, like The Storm Inside, it is super steamy!  You’ll have to click on the Wattpad link if you want to read it in all its glory!

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Reflected in the Rain: Chapter One

Chapter 1

~Eve~

 

 

“You are not wearing that.” I stated flatly, shaking my head and putting my fists on my naked hips.

Jake’s eyebrows shot up in surprise as he stepped out of our closet.  “And what exactly do you suggest I wear instead?”

I thought about it for a moment before blurting out the only thing that came to mind.  “An orange prison jumpsuit.”

He burst out laughing and snuck his arm around my waist, kissing my neck up and down while he ground his hips against mine.  He wasn’t wearing anything special—just my favorite dark wash blue jeans and my favorite tight black t-shirt that showed off his tan skin, green eyes, and that fantastic body of his.  He looked hot and I knew every single woman who saw him all night long was going to see the same thing.  When he added in that casual nonchalance he had about life, Jake was irresistible.

For some reason, I could just picture Greg taking him to a strip club and getting a private room.  I could see Jake all casually sitting in a booth with one leg propped up on his knee and his long arm resting along the back of the booth.  I could see that bored, uninterested stare.

“Darlin’, you have nothing to worry about.”  His lips kissed the spot behind my ear that made my knees weak and I gasped as I was suddenly, completely, turned on.

“Want a quick present before you leave?” I gasped as his hand palmed my ass and jerked my body against his.

He pulled back just enough to look down into my eyes.  “Maybe.  But only if it’s because you’re horny and desperate, not because you think it will somehow keep me faithful.”

I squirmed under his intense gaze.  I felt stupid, but the jealousy was not going away no matter how hard I tried to push it down.  “Couldn’t it be both?”

Jake took a step back and put his hands on my arms.  “Eve.  How could you possibly…?” his mouth fell open.

I knew it was stupid and irrational.  I mean seriously, the man came back for me after ten years of waiting.  Of course he was mine, every bit as much as I was his.  I knew Jake had eyes only for me—it was actually one of the few things I believed in without question.  But that didn’t stop me from feeling jealous when he looked like that.

“It’s not you, Jake.  I promise.  It’s this ritual.  It just seems so silly…”

He laughed and pulled me onto the corner of the bed beside him.  “Babe.”  His green eyes searched all of mine.  He didn’t need to say anything else but I appreciated the way his hands wove up into my hair and the intense way his eyes were making love to me.  It almost pushed away the feelings of jealousy.

Almost.

“Have fun.  Just not too much fun,” I grumbled.

He kissed the tip of my nose and then my mouth—we made out like teenagers for a minute before he pulled away gasping.  “F*ck, Eve.  Only you…”  I knew exactly what he meant.  How could just kissing be so much fun?  “Go get dressed, woman.”

I hopped up and curtsied.  “Yes, sir.”

My hair and makeup were already done.  I even had on my jewelry.  I just needed to slip into my dress.  But it wasn’t until I looked into the mirror that I realized how sexy the dress was.  It didn’t seem that way on the rack yesterday, it almost looked classy.  Black and shiny, but skin tight.  With our crazy schedules I didn’t have time to try it on until now… turns out “black, shiny, and skin tight” was also very low cut and hit all my curves in just the right ways that my breasts looked bigger and hips looked sexier than normal.

My hair was down in long, loose waves and my makeup was dark and seductive.  I looked good.  I just wished it was Jake and I going out together like this so we could actually enjoy being dressed up.

As I stepped out of the bathroom, Jake’s eyes widened and his jaw flexed.  “Nope.  Not happening.”  He pointed at the closet.  “Pick out something else.”

I popped out my hip and tossed my hair over my shoulder.  “And what exactly do you suggest I wear instead?”

He glared at me and his nostrils flared.  “Do not go there.  I do not look like you!”

I laughed.  “You’re kidding right?  This,” I waved my hands from my head to my knees, “is exactly like that.” I did the same thing to his outfit.  “A sexy black dress is the male equivalent of what you are wearing, Jake.”

He opened his mouth to argue, then stopped.  “Really?”

I nodded and drank in the sight of him again.  He’d added a shiny silver watch to his wrist and black shoes.  Hot didn’t even begin to describe him.

“Well, f*ck!  What do we do now?  Because you are not going out like that.  Not without me on your arm.  Or wrapped around you.  F*ck.”

I sauntered across the room, wiggling my hips and breasts as I walked.  “I have a proposition for you.”

He raised an eyebrow and followed me with his eyes.  He was trying to look angry and skeptical, but it wasn’t working.  I could see he was both intrigued and turned on.

“We have,” I grabbed his wrist and held up his watch so I could read it, “thirty minutes until our rides arrive.  I will let you strip me out of this dress if you let me peel you out of your clothes and wrap my mouth around your cock.”

He was breathing harder now as his eyes wandered over my breasts.  “And we both pick out new outfits?”

I nodded, sliding my fingers under his shirt and against his warm skin.  “Deal?”

He didn’t answer me right away.  Instead he kept staring at me with a faraway look.  I was starting to wonder if he was going to answer me when his eyes darted up to mine.  “Tonight doesn’t mean anything.  And our wedding is only a formality, you know that right?”  His hand tightened on my hip and his gaze sharpened.  “There is no one else for me but you.  There’s never been anyone but you.  I’m already married to you in my mind.”

“I know,” I whispered, taking his face in my hands.  He had a little bit of stubble and it was rough against my palm.  I wanted to feel the bite of that stubble between my thighs.  “You know I feel the same way, right?”  Sometimes, in the midst of my own happiness, I forgot that inside Jake there was still some past insecurity that occasionally bubbled to the surface.

He nodded slowly, but I felt like my words somehow fell short.  “I could get ‘Property of Jake’ tattooed somewhere,” I offered with a smile.

He rolled his eyes and licked his lips, his eyes zeroing in on mine for a kiss.  “Don’t be ridiculous,” he murmured before kissing me so softly it took my breath away.  He kissed me again and again, taking more of my breath with him each time.  “Let’s have some fun before the cavalry arrives and pulls us apart.”

“Deal,” I whispered as I tugged at the hem of his shirt and he let me slide it over his head.

Read the rest of steamy Chapter One on Wattpad!  And stay tuned for more teasers!

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Cover Reveal: Reflected in the Rain (Book 2 of The Storm Inside)

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Book Two of The Storm Inside Series

We’d already passed the point I felt I could survive.  Losing Jake—for any reason—from this day forward, would devastate me.  That was a heavy realization.     ~Eve

In The Storm Inside, Jake and Eve fell in love all over again.  In Reflected in the Rain, they take on a much bigger task—building a life together.

With marriage, a sexy honeymoon, and happily ever after on the horizon, they seem to have it all.  Until a woman from Jake’s past shows up with a surprise business proposal that drags Jake back toward a world he’s left behind.

All Jake wants is his life with Eve, and all Eve wants is to prove to Jake he can have it all.  How far will Eve have to go to keep Jake’s dream alive and will they be able to live with the consequences?

In a lot of ways I felt like I only got to truly see myself for who I was inside when things were at their worst.  It was like the rainstorm took everything I thought or believed, washed away the lies and the crap, and showed me what was left—for better or worse.  Sometimes it was nearly impossible to accept what I saw in that reflection.     -Jake

 ****Recommended for ages 17+ due to explicit language and sexual situations****

Stay tuned for Chapter One.  It will be posted here tomorrow!

Don’t miss an EXCLUSIVE (read: super special) offer for my newsletter subscribers only.  It is my gift to all of you for your amazing support!   The secret email will be sent out once Reflected in the Rain goes live so make sure you are signed up!

If you haven’t read The Storm Inside yet, what are you waiting for?  Buy links are in The Storm Inside tab above!  If you are interested in receiving an Advanced Reader Copy of Reflected in the Rain, please email me directly.  I have several advanced copies available!

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The Homestretch (at Christmas Time)

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My husband sent me the following message today and asked if I could post it on my blog.  It was oddly coincidental considering the blog post I’d already written wasn’t much different.  It’s the end of the year and it’s hard for many.  Here is our perspective in two parts:

My husband’s post:  “The Homestretch”

People say “You’re in the homestretch!” as if it is a time to rejoice, be filled with merriment, and watch the stress of life melt away magically.  Well it doesn’t work that way.  I’ve heard the stories of marathon runners that run 25.95 miles and then crash 400 yards from the finish line.  I always wondered how you could get within sight of the finish line and not be able to find the strength to get there.  I don’t have to wonder anymore.  I get it.  And it’s the worst feeling.  What I failed to consider before was that maybe, just maybe, you run out of energy 800 yards from the finish.  And we pick ourselves up, and use more than we have to give to keep moving…and that may not be enough.  The lowest point is being so close, but knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you don’t have anything left to give.  I can honestly say that I will never use the phrase “We are in the homestretch” as an indication that things are getting easier ever again.  It will instead remind me that the hardest part is about to hit me head on.  I can see the finish line right now…and there isn’t a damned thing I can do to get there.  So buckle your belt a little tighter, take a deep breath, and prepare to face “The Homestretch”.

Thank you Nate for sending me your words ❤

Here is the post I’d originally written:

It’s Christmas and I want everyone to smile.  Here’s why: a smile changes everything and it costs nothing.  

It’s almost Christmas and there is no money in the bank.  It is ten days from pay day and the credit cards are maxed out.  We aren’t the only ones and we have great things happening that will erase this problem (well, a lot of it anyway) from our lives in the new year.

We aren’t the only ones and something usually comes along to tide us over.  But we’re tired.  It’s been a long road.  A very long road and to see your bank account at zero so close to Christmas is a real morale problem.  Some people would say we did this to ourselves and they might be right.  Yes, we chose to go through the struggle of sending my husband back to school with two little ones at home.  But to us, it didn’t feel like much of a choice.  He was in an industry (news) that was changing by the second and we couldn’t see him having a job (or at least a stable job) much longer.  If we’d waited to figure out the next step we might be in a much worse predicament.  He’s almost done with school now and just started a real full-time job in his new career… we just have to make it to that first paycheck.

Of course I beat myself up for my own career choices.  It is damn near impossible to figure out what to do with the way America has structured the job force for families.  It doesn’t make sense.  I worked hard for my masters degree only to be told in a bad economy my skills weren’t useful.  Seriously?  Yes, I found work and made due, but with kids at home it doesn’t make sense to work simply to pay for child care.  So I made the decision a lot of other women feel forced to make–I stay home with the kids rather than sending all my money to a daycare facility.

I felt really bad about myself for a long time.  I didn’t know what to do, I felt trapped between lives.  So I started a business.  It was hard work, but I felt useful.  I was contributing to society while still staying flexible enough to be Super Mom.  It is a journey that I won’t soon forget because it taught me things about myself I really needed to learn.

But kids get older and the husband got into the heart of his school work.  I couldn’t balance it all–not by a long shot.  So I got out of the small business world and started writing.  I was always a writer.  I wrote fiction growing up and into college before being swept away into academia.  I wrote for years as an anthropologist.  If I was home with the kids and I had stories in my head… why not write?  It has been the best journey of my life as far as personal growth and experience go.  I’ve met the most amazing people and found friends I have been searching for all my life.  But at this point in my budding career, it barely buys the gas to put in my car.

But that is also changing quickly (and I hope my new career will continue to grow).  Things are going to be good next year, there is no doubt about that.  All this hard work, all the stressing over bills and money and jobs will finally ease up.  But for the moment, it’s cold and it’s Christmas and the new year seems like a really long last mile to run.

There are a lot of people out there struggling this Christmas, many much worse off than we are, many without hope within reach.  So this holiday season, please remember to smile.  Please remember to be happy.  Please remember that simple things like love and happiness can change everyone around you.  Don’t be a Grinch and spread frustration and anger–there is enough of it in the world.  A simple smile is what the world needs and it just may help someone get through a rough day.

 

Thank you guys for stopping by (especially if you made it to the end of this incredibly looooong post!)  Nate and I both wish you all the very best this Christmas and hope you find wonderful gifts waiting for you in the new year! xoxo

Book Review: Holiday Hoopla by Dana Volney

‘Tis the season to read romantic holiday novella’s!

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Holiday Hoopla is a Christmas novella that takes place in the great state of Wyoming.  I point this out because for me, a slightly unusual setting is always a plus!  It gave the story an extra special atmosphere.  Our main characters Halle and Blake find themselves in an odd situation where, despite never having met before, they can actually help each other out.

Halle needs Blake’s connections; Blake needs Halle’s distracting charisma.  Boom, you’ve got the fun!  Volney does a great job of making the set-up believable and blending together surprise connections between the characters that deepen their romance.  It is a fun, quick read full of sweet, traditional romantic moments you expect and hope for in a story.  Blake is sexy by sweet.  Despite the unusual circumstances he cares a great deal about Halle—feelings that only grow the more he gets to know her.

Halle is a firecracker.  She has spunk that jumps off the page right from the beginning.  She is a go-getter who knows what she wants (and doesn’t mind using the sexy Blake to get there).  She is both confident and sweet—a perfect foil to the slightly grumpy and disenchanted Blake.

Throughout the story the moments between Blake and Halle are engaging and entertaining.  I loved their interaction and was sad at the end of each scene because I wanted more!  They felt like real people to me and I enjoyed being sucked into their world.

I enjoyed Volney’s writing style and I look forward to reading all her upcoming work (I think this is only the beginning of a very bright writing career).  If you are looking for a fun and romantic holiday read, pick up Holiday Hoopla, grab a glass of wine, and cuddle up with a blanket!

Let me end with the customary disclaimer: I received this book as an arc in exchange for an honest review!   And I honestly loved it!  

Where to find Holiday Hoopla:

Amazon   Nook   Crimson Romance   Goodreads

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Did you miss my chat with Julia Kelly and Mary Chris Escobar about holiday romances?  Check it out now here!

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The Writer’s Life: Balance is for Sissies

I originally wrote the following post for another blog over the summer.  I’m not sure it ever ran and in light of my current kitchen predicament and a conversation with my writer friends, I felt it was time to post it here.  See the video for my current state of sad affairs and the article below for my thoughts on balance 🙂

Nudists.

We were going to have no choice but to be nudists… when we ran out of clothes because no one had done the laundry in a month.  You may be asking, why had no one done the laundry?  The simple answer was because things were crazy in our house.  My kids were on summer vacation from school, so they were happily existing in little else than basketball shorts and swim trunks.  My husband was taking three classes and working two jobs.  While I, the writer of the family, was locked in a death grip with my laptop finishing the first draft of my new book.

No one bothered to do the laundry.

When I came out of that first-draft fog and realized the direness of our situation, I also found I had a request from a blogger to do a guest blog post on the balancing act of writer, wife, mother, and all-around fabulous human being.

The timing was beyond perfect.  I pretty much looked around at the chaos that was my life and giggled.  Most of the time we do a pretty good job balancing everything, but sometimes (like the beginning of this summer) we fail miserably.

And that’s the first thing to keep in mind.  You will never, ever, keep everything in balance.  Ever.  Accept this fact first and you’ll take a lot of pressure off yourself.

A writer’s life is very different from most.  We wear a few different hats: artist, philosopher, dreamer, marketing genius, public relations, and editor.  Many times all on the same day.  And all of that is taking place smack dab in the middle of our houses. 

Being the one working from home is difficult.  I could easily let writing take a back seat to everything else.  No matter how loving or supportive your family is, when things get crazy it’s easy to rely on the person ‘working from home’ to pick up the slack.

You can NOT let this happen.

The biggest thing I have found helpful in keeping the balancing act balanced is boundaries.  Just because I’m at home, just because I make my own hours, doesn’t mean I have nothing to do or that my job isn’t just as important as any other member of my family.

It is my responsibility to set my working hours, set my boundaries, and demand that my family respect those boundaries.  They know my working hours.  We follow the Nora Roberts ‘Blood and Fire Rule’: don’t bother me unless it’s blood or fire.  They are all perfectly capable human beings who do not need mom/wife during working hours unless it is dire.  Phone calls and text messages get answered at the end of my ‘day’.  If I haven’t hit my word count or answered emails, I do that at night before bed.

All of this works because of respect.  We practice this as a family.  We each have goals and needs and we work together to meet these expectations.  We band together when one of us is behind… and that includes in the laundry department. 

It took a week and all of us working together, but the laundry got back on track.  My first draft got through revisions, the kids had fun on vacation, and my husband survived his classes.  The backed-up laundry didn’t hurt anyone and it certainly wasn’t worth worrying over.

Being a writer is most definitely a delicate balancing act.  But with a lot of boundaries and respect, we seem to be making it work.  Sometimes that means our house looks… interesting (I think that is the kind way to say our house looks like the cast of the Rugrats and the Muppets had a party and didn’t clean it up).  Sometimes that means we are in danger of becoming nudists.  But as long as we work together, I think my kids are growing up in a house of love and creativity, and I’m living my lifelong dream of being a full-time writer, which is really, really cool.

Gifts for the Booklover: Idea #2

I read a lot.  And as a result I usually have a book on me– scratch that! I always have a book on me.  You know why?  Because I always have my phone, and on my phone is one of my Kindle apps.  So, my books are always with me.  If someone had told ten year old little Alexis (who was getting in trouble for reading instead of eating dinner and was physically attached to her set of encyclopedias) that when she grew up the world would literally be in the palm of her hand, I bet she would have weeped with joy.

Ok, I am crying.  But seriously, the world we live in right now is kind of my dream come true.  I can Google anything at any time and find an answer (instead of waiting for my mom to take me to the library or over to my grandparents who had a better encyclopedia set).  I can read anything at any time, all it takes is a swipe of my finger to find and download the book.

It is soooo coool!!!!

And with the holidays right around the corner I thought I might take a moment to bring everyone up to speed on the reading options out there and what I think about each of them.

  1. The good, old-fashioned paperback.  You simply can’t beat the original.  It is something tangible you can hold in your hands.  You can get it signed when the author is in town (or you road trip to the nearest reader-con).  BUT it can also kill you when the book is humongous and you fall asleep reading it in bed.  It is hard to carry around and it’s not easy to read in the dark.
  2. Kindle (original) – my personal all-time favorite way to read.  Why?  Simple.  It looks exactly (and I do mean exactly) like a real paperback.  Except it is a slim, magical device that downloads your favorite books from the air and stores hundreds of them inside its little case.  To me, it is the closest thing to magic in real life.  It doesn’t hurt your eyes like an iPad or Kindle Fire because there is no light.  It isn’t backlit (you can read it outside without glare!).  You will need a reading light for night reading just like a real paperback, because it is just like a real paperback.  (In case you were wondering, I kind of love mine….) Plus, they really aren’t all that expensive at $69 (or used for even cheaper).  It is incredibly light-weight, easy to hold, and can store your entire reading library.
  3. Kindle Fire – we love ours.  Not only can I read all of the same books from my original Kindle (all our devices share the same library) but I also get the power of the internet and fun apps.  The kids and I share the Fire, it is a great in-between device.  (Plus, the games and educational apps the kids love are usually a few dollars cheaper than the iPad).  I often do proofreading on my Fire and it is incredibly easy to get copies of books from other sources (other than Amazon) such as Smashwords, or importing .pdf’s.  Basically, I can read just about anything on the Fire, which is pretty darn cool.
  4. Kindle App – you can put the Kindle app on anything.  On your phone (droid, apple, windows, etc).  Because all your devices sync to the cloud, you can put down your Kindle at home and pick up right where you left off while you are stuck at the doctors office by reading on your phone.  When you get home, just sync your Kindle and it will take you to the last page you read on your phone.  Easy peasy.  You can also put the app on your iPad or other tablet devices.
  5. Nook – it is a great ereader device, but the future of Nook is uncertain.  Authors have been having difficulties with the services for a while, but I’m increasingly hearing of readers also having difficulties with the Nook store.  Since Nook hasn’t made any statements about plans for the future, I’m not sure what to say about them.  I’d like to say Nook had some great plans in the pipe that may be fantastic for both readers and writers… but at this exact moment I can’t.  My best guess and hope is that Nook will still be around for the foreseeable future, but it may be morphing away from the alimighty Amazon model and into something of its own.
  6. iPad’s and tablets – Apple has its own store, the iBookstore.  Like Amazon you can buy your books through it and read them on your iPad or iPhone, which is awesome!  Another great thing about iPads are the ability to put the Nook or Kindle app onto your device, so with an iPad you have the ability to read any book through any platform.  Nook and iTunes both sell books in the .epub format, so if you download a book from a distributor (such as Smashwords) you can still read the book on your iPad through either app.  When authors send me their books to review I often ask for them as an .epub specifically for this purpose.  The downside to reading on a tablet?  The brightness.  It can be tiring for you eyes to read 100,000 words on a backlit display.  Also, you will always have glare from the sun when you are outside, making it darn near impossible to read at the park or ball field.  (This is where my love of the original Kindle comes back–no glare!)

This holiday shopping season you can’t go wrong with a book or ereader device.  Picking which one is right for you and your family simply depends on your lifestyle and what you need out of  the reading experience! 

 

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Gifts for the Book Lover: Idea #1

Everyone loves getting books right? (If they don’t, please do not shatter my delusions!)  But what most people tend to overlook is how incredibly cheap and easy it is to gift ebooks!  All it takes is:

  1. Choosing a book
  2. Clicking ‘Send as Gift’
  3. Entering their email address and a message (Merry Christmas!  Love, The Anne’s <3)

And ebooks are cheap!  All of them are under $10 and most are under $5.  Plus it’s sales season and you may even be able to find great books for $0.99!  I don’t know anyone who would be sad to open an email with a Christmas greeting saying they’d been given a book!  Alternative ideas that are just as good:

  • Gift a $5 Amazon Gift Card and attach a message with ebook suggestions (Dear Little Sister, Enjoy a new book on me! Here are some I loved reading this year: Slammed by Colleen Hoover, On Dublin Street by Samantha Young, Neverending Beginnings by Mary Chris Escobar, Just a Little Series by Tracie Puckett, and Pierced by Danger by Lashell Collins.  Love, Your Big Sister)
  • When you see a book you love on sale, don’t keep scrolling because you’ve already bought it! Stop and gift it to someone you know who may love it, too.  99 cents out of your pocket just put a smile on a friend’s face and helped boost a struggling author in the process.  Win, win!

So, this Christmas season, as your budget tightens, don’t fret!  Give the gift that keeps on giving–give a book!

 

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The Storm Inside

VIDEO: Holidays Romances, Traditions, and Beer!

Brews, Holidays, and Romance: a chat

What happens when three friends get together with drinks and talk about romance during the holidays?

Ummmm…. good times, that’s what!  Check out our latest show with me, Julia Kelly, and Mary Chris Escobar (and maybe grab a drink of your own!)

In the future we will let you know when we are live on the air (and maybe take your questions?), so make sure you are following us! (Plus I really just like seeing your faces!)

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December Update

Holy cannoli it’s December! I feel like I’m stuck in the mud with both feet and twelve balls in the air!  There is a lot going on right now and I’m having trouble keeping track, so here is an update for all of us (including me!)

  • The Storm Inside is going on tour! Well, a blog tour anyway! December 9-13th it will be hopping around the internet visiting different romance blogs and getting reviewed (be nice to me people!) (Yes I’m a stupid wreck over this.)
  • TSI2 is getting whipped into shape.  After a LOT of head scratching I decided to break it into two books.  It is moving through final revisions, proofreading, cover art, etc and should be out by the end of the year.  January at the very latest.
  • TSI3 is accidentally coming to you this January! (Yes, I said THREE!)  I hadn’t planned on a third Jake and Eve book at this point, but since I shaved 30,000 words off of TSI2 it gave me half a book with no home.  I’m writing the rest of that story when I take breaks from editing TSI2.
  • Filters #1 is now free everywhere! Grab it if you haven’t read it yet! I had so much fun writing those short stories!
  • I’m working on some fun stuff with YouTube now that I’ve caught the vlog bug from my friends (I’m looking at you Julia Kelly!)  We’ll be chatting about holiday scenes in novels this Wednesday (with Mary Chris Escobar… and probably a brew or two), but I may have other fun projects coming down the pipe very soon!

The first winners of my newsletter giveaway were emailed on Sunday, be sure to sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win my December book of the month!

Drop by and see me sometime soon (I get lonely!)

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