Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Letter of Apology to My Readers

Asking people to spend their hard earned money on a book comes with it a certain responsibility, a promise between the author and the reader. One that requires the writer to not let readers down. Delivering books as soon as they and their publishers can. Consistently, if you please.

It is with a very heavy heart that I must announce -- that sounds pompous, but it's the only word that comes to mind tonight. I will not be at GRL this year. I have never missed a year, not even when the first time when it was just a group of strangers to whom Carol opened her city and heart to. GRL is, for me, like going home. It's family and friends and a revitalizing energy that can't be found anywhere else. I looked forward to it for the better part of a year.

The last few months have been decidedly different. Difficult. It's been hard to get into the spirit of GRL. Honestly, it's been hard to get into the spirit of a lot of things. Like a lot of other people, I'm dealing with depression and PTSD. The PTSD, I'm learning to cope with and manage. The depression, is different.  It's made worse by a series of decisions I made. The biggest and probably worse is what should have been a wonderful event. I bought a house. Technically it's a trailer. But I can live in it. The bad part is two-fold = I chose it -- not because it felt like home, or had the right energy, was in the right neighborhood, or had the right details. I chose it simply because it was the only available and I had to be out of my apartment in 24 hours. No joke. I didn't wait to the last minute, but it came down to the last minute and the place I did want the company holding the title wasn't making a decision or at least letting anyone else know what was going on. That's their prerogative. I ran out of time. Me being homeless is one thing, and one I'd accept. My daughter being homeless is a different story. That I couldn't. So, I bought a house. It needed work. A lot of it. But, I was fairly certain I could do it. There were no appliances, but I knew I could find those second hand. Pretty wasn't important right away, just working. I didn't know until it was too late that not only was the water heater completely dead, none of the water pipes were connected and over the last winter they froze and cracked. The seller didn't disclose anything and because it's a trailer and not a house, there is no recourse. Because I was desperate, I paid more than I should have and bit off more than I could chew. And the worse it seems to be getting.

I have a day job, it should help. It does. Mostly. But the real life worries I'm facing mean I can't focus on my writing like I need to. Like I promised I would. I have wonderful Publishers and Editors, and even better Readers - I know, because I've met some of you. I promised to give you the best stories I could, and I haven't been able to. I'm trying. Now. There are more times that I sit at my computer and play games than I write. But I'm trying something new. Something my friend Brynn Paulin recommended years ago. I did it off and on before, and I find that now especially, when I read a daily prompt then journal I can focus on my writing more. I've also found that accepting all of who I am helps, even if I still keep most of it to myself. It's one less thing to worry about.

I'm sorry to let you down, not only have I not written the books I've promised, but now I can't make GRL.  Maybe next year.  I don't dare promise, because I can't see more than a couple days a head right now.

Blessings to All,


Friday, April 25, 2014

Changing Tides is Out!!

My newest book, Changing Tides, is now available from Resplendence Publishing!

Blurb -

Brett DeMarco is a First Lieutenant in Aelland’s Security Forces and hopes to become the head of intelligence someday. After the death of his fiancée, Brett threw himself into his work, dodging his father’s attempts to get him to marry the right woman, never doubting the career path he’d chosen.

Orion Hellman is the base commander’s personal assistant, has never spoken a word to anyone, and follows orders exactly, helping to ensure the base runs smoothly by any means the general deems necessary. Classified as a manual laborer with marriage out of the question, Orion has no intention of getting involved with anyone.

A chance meeting ignites Brett’s long dead desire and changes everything he knew and gives Orion everything he never thought he wanted.


Tension eased in Lieutenant Brett DeMarco’s shoulders as he neared his base, Fort Tottenham. The lights from the city and surrounding businesses had faded away miles ago. Unlike his father’s base, Fort Landry, a Strategic Military Command base, the government required a ten-mile business and city free zone with a limited number of people allowed to live in all directions from any Tactical Command base or installation. Farmers were given permission to reside there so long as their property measured between five and two hundred and fifty acres. In exchange for inexpensive land and lower taxes, the owners agreed to abide by a curfew and lights out whenever the order came down from the base.

Light from the car’s headlights caught movement on the side of the narrow, two-lane road. Brett tapped the brakes, slowing the vehicle as a trio of deer stared at him. The way his week was going, hitting a deer would be the perfect way to end the one vacation he took each year.

His one full week of leave coincided with the anniversary of General Vanessa Landry’s accidence to the Presidency and the day celebrated as the date of rebirth of the country. He’d been spent it with his parents. The visit had started off with another fight with his father about who Brett should marry. He’d been reminded that the time to make his choices was coming up and they needed to be submitted in writing with his signature as approval. Brett had countered by stating he needed a sponsor but it didn’t have to be a parent. He could ask his boss or the base commander to sign off if he needed to. His father had threatened him and Brett had started to walk away until his mother had interceded.

The week had ended with his father trying to set him up with younger men he personally deemed appropriate. Brett did not. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. After years of yelling at him to marry a woman instead of a man, his father had conceded too easily. It made him suspicious, even as his father began suggesting younger men to him. Those his father found acceptable were all good-looking men with the manners and intellect found in the children of officers and high-level public administrators. They’d all seemed stiff and emotionless next to Brett’s memories of Orion Hellman, and none had the golden-brown eyes and uncommonly long brown hair.

A figure stumbled out into the middle of the road pulling him from his thoughts. Brett slammed on his brakes, yanked the wheel and prayed he’d miss the person. The car skidded to a halt several feet beyond where the man stood. Brett looked in his rearview mirror and saw him fall. Throwing the car into park, Brett jumped out and ran over to them.

“Are you okay?” Brett asked, kneeling. The red from his taillights cast an eerie glow over the scene. The man wasn’t someone he recognized. While they were closer to the medical clinic on the base than to other facilities, it was reserved for military personnel only. The civilian medical center was about fifteen miles away, close to the center of town. Blood coated the man’s face and hair, and bruises were starting to form. “I’m going to call for help. I’ll be right back.” Brett started to stand.

The man grabbed his arm and pulled, shaking his head.

“You need help,” Brett replied.

The man shook his head again.

Brett stared down at the man. If he did nothing, the man would die. He wasn’t even sure if the civilian medical center would send a response team this far out. The military emergency personnel travelled off base only for military personnel or their dependents. The man’s shirt was bloodied and torn, exposing more of his battered body.

Brett squeezed his eyes shut, trying to prevent the familiar images of his deceased fiancée from pressing forward. The similarities were too close to be discounted, but left him no closer to knowing who was responsible. “I-I need to take you to the base.”

The man tried to push himself up.

“Stop, you’re going to make everything worse. You don’t want me to take you to the base, right?”

“No base,” the man said, his voice soft and cracking.

“I suppose I can take you to the clinic instead. You’re a civilian?”


“All right, let’s get you into the car.” Brett helped the man up, trying not to dwell on the fact that he was probably breaking another rule or wonder why the man was so far from the residential areas. But the man needed help, and as a military officer, he was duty bound to help. More than that, he knew, was Taren’s influence. No one should suffer as his lover had.

The ride into the city’s center was quiet. Brett’s passenger refused to answer questions or talk until Brett tried to turn down the road leading to the medical center. The man adamantly refused to go to the large clinic, instead giving Brett directions to a different place, in an area of the city Brett had never been to. Nerves taut, he made his way through the winding streets until he came to an area of abandoned and crumbling buildings, most of which looked as if they might have been warehouses at one point. He stopped at the edge of an alley.

“Here?” Brett asked hesitantly, unable to hide his dismay.

The man nodded. “Thanks for the ride, but you should’ve left me where you found me.”

Brett turned and stared at the man, astounded at the first full sentence he’d said. “You need medical help, I can—”

“You’ve done enough. I don’t like medical centers.” It was eerily similar to what Orion had basically “told” him.


“End of the road. Turn left. Two miles turn left again. First working light, turn right. You can find your way from there.”

Brett nodded and watched the man pull himself out of the car then disappear into the shadows. Had he helped an enemy of the state get away? Noise from the other side of the street caught his attention, reminding him why he didn’t want to wait around. He carefully followed the other man’s directions until he was familiar with the area then made his way back to base. Parking in his assigned spot in front of his building, he turned off the car and grabbed his bags. His heart was heavy with another secret he couldn’t tell.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Who Am I To---

The phrase/question "Who am I to---" is usually followed by words like "judge" or "criticize", and depending on the circumstances, are probably appropriate, but this isn't one of those times. At least, not where I'm concerned.

I have a co-worker that is also a writer, he's been working on his book for about a decade, piece meal as inspiration strikes, stuck on grammar and syntax. He's reworking sentences and paragraphs until he thinks they're perfect, neglecting the flow that wants to happen naturally. So, I've offered him a challenge, one that's meant to help me as well. Write so many words a week/day. The idea is for him to turn off his internal editor and me to get my butt in gear. He mentioned asking me to read a few pages of what he's worked on. I'm looking forward to. But it's been a month and a half. So, I brought in pages of my work in progress to share with him and to get his feedback.

He said "who am I to critique this? You're doing it and I'm not."

Um, I don't know. A reader. A writer. Another pair of eyes. He could have been the leader of a special forces team involved with highly covert operations before joining the current manual labor staff. I don't know. I do know that I know my story inside out and that I will automatically add whatever information I need to make the story make sense. Someone who doesn't have complete access to the story and world before reading, won't add that information. Therefore, logic dictates that if all of the information isn't present it won't make any sense. Words and grammar may not make any sense either because, not only does the writer make mistakes, computers can't catch everything. They aren't programmed to do that.

I'm not sure who said it, or even it can be attributed to one person, but every author, regardless of their success can benefit from an editor and a beta reader. Because, seriously, there are no minor details in books.

And as for the rest of his comment, publication is completely and utterly out of the realm of possibility if the book isn't finished. Once you reach the end of the book, even if it's a world epic spanning 10 novels, reaching 'the end' of the story you need to tell in that first book and each subsequent book puts publication firmly with in the realm of possibility.

Friday, March 14, 2014

It's Friday!!

It's Friday!! Which is great, except I work on Sunday, so this is my Saturday. Which is also okay.  Monday is my birthday, it's supposed to be a mile-stone, but I don't feel that age, so it's not a big deal. I don't think it is.

So, in November I got a day job. And it's a good thing, because I can write without a lot of stress. I like where I work. I really like the fact that since I've started I've lost 35 pounds. I've dropped 4 sizes and I'm loving it. I feel so much better. My job is physical (I walk all day long 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and am constantly lifting something) which is good, but I also went to a 'real food' diet. Meaning - did it have a mama? Did it come from a garden? Then it's probably okay to eat. It does mean I don't eat at fast food or out of a box/bag if I don't have to. I also drink less pop. Which is really good.

This really feels like the winter that won't end. More than a few people are done with it. We've gotten something like 10 feet of snow. Which I can believe as it's still 3 foot deep in my front yard. You could lose a Hobbit in the back. This last snow fall after two days in the 40's F made driving to work interesting. Like driving in the mud four-wheeling interesting. Slip and slide all over the place. But it was beautiful. It took me an hour to get to work that morning. The next morning, it also took me an hour to get to work, but for a totally different reason.

I stopped, turned around found a place to park and walked back to the park/river area to take pictures. I was up to my butt in snow and completely not prepared for it, but this was gorgeous.

I stopped two more times and took over a 100 pictures. This is one of the other places I stopped. I want to repeat the shots in the spring, summer, and fall then compare them.

I still want spring to be here now, but I have to admit, the snow covered trees are gorgeous, even if I can't get out of my driveway.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goals for Week Ending 3/15/14

Okay, so keeping in mind what my April Goals are, my goals for this week are:

1. Write 500 words each day
2. Brainstorm the 2nd Smuggler's Cove Novel. My characters have declared anarchy and have decided that Capturing Desire is not supposed to be the second novel, but the third. Hopefully, I'll find out what this one is supposed to be soon, as I promised it to my editor by the beginning of June. Oi.
3. Blog Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week.
4. Complete the Series Bible for Smuggler's Cove
5. Exercise daily - sit ups/crunches, push ups, lunges, and leg exercises
6. Yoga
7. Catch up on block of the month quilt squares
8. Stitch 4 hours on one project.

Okay, so the last four aren't technically writing related, but I want to do them anyways and no one lives, truly lives by only doing one activity all the time.

My job has me walking about 5 miles a day - it feels like, since I haven't  broken down and bought one of those pedometer things, I'm just guessing. I know that I'm losing weight and inches. And that thrills me to no end.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

April Goals

Okay, so I'm part of a writer's group in a nearby city. We meet once a month to discuss business, craft and support one another. They were some of my biggest supporters before my family came around - which was only after they saw that was an income potential from writing. Which isn't why I write. I write because I have to. Because I have no choice. But, because of the depression and other issues I haven't been writing lately. Yet, this amazing group of men and women still support and encourage me. :) One of the things we do each month is to set goals. I also have yearly goals, which this will hopefully help me meet. :)

So for the next meeting in April I have several goals. Probably rather ambitious given the last few months, but might as well jump in with both feet.

So, here goes -

1. Brainstorm 2nd Smuggler's Cove novel, as my characters have committed anarchy are in disagreement with who goes next
2. Write at least 500 words a day
3. Blog regularly
4. Brainstorm new project for TB
5. Finish series bibles for all series

Friday, March 7, 2014

Clearing the Fog

There are times that I feel like that last year or so have been done in a fog. I'm struggling with depression and PTSD issues that I can't always accept. I barely wrote last year. I'm not on meds, but I have a new life plan and it helps. I have a new day job, that while leaving me tired, helps a lot. I'm not back to where I was. There are days I don't walk into my office, but those are getting fewer. I'm writing more. I have new ideas. Ideas that aren't work related. There are office politics to deal with, because that is part of working with other people, but for the most part it works okay. Some days are worse than others, and on those days, I find a quiet spot to hide. Because I have hard time accepting some things, it's hard for me to believe others will. It's something I'll continue to work at. In the mean time, while I prefer to write by the seat of my pants, I know goals and accountability help. So for now, the goal is one step at a time.

Goals for 3/7-3/14
- Write 500 words a day
- Update series bible for Bissari Confederation and Smuggler's Cove.
- Brainstorm 2nd Cove book
- Blog Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Exercise daily