Monday, September 24, 2018

Happy Birthday Blood Purple!

6 years ago today I became an officially published author. It was a huge deal for me to accomplish this, as it would be for anyone. My parents joined me for dinner that night to celebrate along with my hubby & two of my best friends. The writing community had welcomed me and it was the beginning. The beginning of my dreams coming true. It was by far one of the most memorable moments in my life, right up there with my wedding day, my children's adoption day, my graduation days, and the day I received my black belt in martial arts.

When moments happen in life that change you forever, you tend to remember those. Writing had always been an outlet for me, that wasn't anything new. The new part was letting the world read my writings, letting my work become judged, putting myself out there, exposed.

It's kind of like having that nightmare where you show up to school naked, everyone points and laughs. That's sort of what I was afraid of, when releasing BLOOD PURPLE. I was petrified I would be shunned.

I didn't understand why I had such trouble in English growing up. Grammar, spelling, conjugating sentences, you name it, I sucked. But what I could do was write a hell of a good story. I was very creative. In my debate class I wrote original oratory and the best part, no grammar involved as it was a speech. I loved it and I really enjoyed the whole process. I look at my writing sort of like that. The main difference is people DO see the written words this time around.

But, I took the risk. I sent my manuscript off. The first company I sent it to was an England based publisher who liked it, but didn't publish books in the genre I wrote so they suggested I find a small press who did. I next sent it to a small publishing house in Canada. I ended up contracting 3 books with them before it was over.

If I knew then what I knew now, I would still choose to not go into indie publishing straight away. I learned a lot signing with two publisher's. I ended up actually having 4 books total with small press before I went completely indie. Both publishers taught me something different and I am glad that I had that opportunity to learn.

The Faces Of Blood Purple

My debut novel has had a couple face lifts. I remember when I was emailed the original cover, I cried. I had thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread! haha. Oh what did I know back then, I sold a lot that first month so hey, guess it had something right!

I have always had an affinity for swords and in my mind this book was represented best by my weapon of choice. I was once asked if I had any sword training in my martial arts and I hate that the answer is no. I would love to someday acquire sword training, if nothing, just to say I could do it.

Don't get me started on the idea of making my own sword, oh boy! One day my hubby will have his own forge shop for stuff like this, once we can retire on my novel revenue, LOL. Then I will make the KADIN sword.

I can picture it perfectly in my mind ...

When I separated with XOXO Publishing I had asked a friend who did graphic art to help make a cover. As you can see, once again, the sword is present.

"I'm not just a princess, I am a warrior." I love that quote. It gave me shivers when I wrote it the first time and every time I read it since then I still feel the goosebumps. Nikole in so many ways was me. Is me.

She's flawed, she's doubtful, she's scared. But she is also strong, loyal and willing to do what it takes to survive.

She's a warrior.

I love her, and everything about this character.

Many times in a books life cycle there comes a time when the author needs to re-brand. My sales had sort of died off and I wanted to change all of my covers. This time the sword came back to the focal point, and the blood, I love the blood.

The cover is similar yet different and I think it catches the eye.

This has been the cover I've used longest and yep, you've guest it, it's time for a new cover to come out.

That probably won't happen for a while as life is pretty hectic right now and I don't exactly know what all I want in it. I toss ideas back and forth in my head but I am sure you know the one thing that will for sure be present.

The sword.

When it's all said and done BLOOD PURPLE is at the core of my writing. I cut my teeth on the Algula world and there is nothing I would change about the characters or the stories. I think they are perfect as is.

I would however change some of the editing jobs that transpired back in 2012 but at some point you have to just accept, this was a first novel, there are mistakes. That's one thing as an indie author, I control the editing. With the publisher the editing went kind of haywire and I know that there are still issues left over from that first job.

But that's okay. I feel like the story can still stand on it's own, especially compiled with the other three books in the series. So I just have let it go.

Happy Birthday BLOOD PURPLE! You launched my writing career, you gave me something to be proud of as an adult, and you continue to give me courage to write, as often as I can.

One day you will be a household name, like Anne Rice, Twilight & True Blood. But until then, just know, you will always be my favorite set of characters, deep in my heart.

To Nikole, Zayn, Leigh, Haydar, Derrik, Dominic, Alec, Adara, Nasir & Mehmet - Happy 6 Years of literary life. Here's to another 6 more! Maybe by then you will all be on the big screen and then who knows what will happen from there.

If you haven't already checked out the Blood Series you can click the link below, happy readings! BLOOD PURPLE ebook is ALWAYS Free ....

Pick Me Up Here!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

New Release Day: The Ones Who Lived

Order your Copy Here

Anthony and Amelia are regular teens with regular issues, that is, until one day after school they arrive home to find their lives are changing forever. No one knows what causes it, but all of the adults are dead. The only ones left are the young and teenagers. Together, with the help of their best friend Sam and his cousin Sunny, they have to learn to survive and make it through to the next day.

What will happen when their new community is under attack and they have to learn to trust complete strangers? The Ones Who Lived will either come out alive or die fighting.

Hey there! Once again it's release day and this new series, The Ones, is quite different! This is my 20th published completed story and my 23rd story. I cannot believe I have written so much in just 7 years!!

My daughter had asked me to create a story for her, and since she is a teen, I went with Young Adult. For the most part the only YA I read is dystopian and one thing I always wondered, what happens when the apocalypse actually starts? We all have read the stories where they take place years into the future of the dystopian culture, but I have never read that moment when it all happened.

Last year my family vacationed in Saint Pete's Florida to visit my cousin who was graduating high school. It was on this trip that my husband and I started tossing around ideas for the game plan on how a bunch of adults were going to become killed off.

Let me tell you, there was quite the debate going through our little clan on why the adults would die. I'm not going to spoil it for you as you gotta read the book to find out what the actual killing catalyst is, but I can tell you, my hubby was crazy with his ideas.

I will give you this much, my hubby wanted the cause of death to be sex. Mind you, this was meant to be a YA book, so how would I get a bunch of kids to read it if I was promoting 'sex kills'? Craziness. Anyway ....

Lucky for the reading audience I can safely say SEX is not the cause of death! Whew!

There is no secret that witch craft is among the topic in this world. You find out quickly that one of the main characters is a witch! What we don't know, including me the author, is how deep into the witch craft this series will take us. I haven't decided yet. I love bad guys, as many of you already know. Part of me really wants book 2 to be a 'bad guy' book which would then let us explore all about the coven's we see in the epilogue. Who knows what will happen, certainly not me!

You all know I am a pantser and any idea of 'planning' makes me uncomfortable! So the next in the series will just have to be a surprise for all of us.

What I really loved about writing this story was the challenges it gave me. I wanted to make sure it was 'easy' enough for teens to read without making the topics too far over their heads. I also needed to make it 'clean'. Which, if you know my writing, sex and cussing typically come up in  a lot of my fiction. The worst word I use is 'crap' and if I remember right only a handful of times. There are a couple, and I mean just a couple, of kissing scenes. My daughter says there needs to be more romance in book 2!

But this was very much geared towards the younger reading population, I would say 7th through 12th grade mostly. That doesn't mean adults won't enjoy it. Each of the Beta Readers who gave me feedback all were very pleased with the story and how everything fell into place. One reader told me she didn't think it was a YA novel because it could apply to anyone. So that was very good feedback, I wanted to make sure everyone could attach to the characters.

I am hoping to start book two by January or February that way it can release again in September. That's the only plan I have currently, we will see how it goes!

I can't wait for all of you to go out and read it, tell me your thoughts! It really is a lot of fun and I know you will enjoy it.

See you all soon!

P.S. If you want a signed print copy I have a few more left from the Pre-Orders, I'll be placing another order in the next week or so. You can email me at: Hardback Orders will be $18.99 plus $3 media mail shipping and Paperback orders will be $8.99 plus $3 media mail shipping (US & US Territories Only for $3).

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A History Lesson

Tuesday night I asked my daughter, “You know about 9/11 right” and her response broke my heart. She had no idea at all, 14 in 8th grade, and no clue about what thrust the U.S.A. into the war on terror. Last night I asked my son the same question and his reply, more accurate than hers, “That’s what started our war right” made me realize that I needed to do some serious history lessons at home.

Both kids sat down with me and I pulled up a Youtube video of one of the ABC news posts right after the first plane hit the tower. I watched them absorb the newscast. It was a seven minute long video that ended with the second plane attacking. We pulled up the next video, plane #2.

Next, we watched Alan Jacksons, “Where were you” video.

Sierra shed tears, she looked up at me and asked, “Mom, why would anyone do that?”

How do I even answer that when I don’t fully understand it myself? I told her, “Because the terrorist, they hate America and everything we stand for. Freedom, rights, and equality. Everything our flag stands for.”

Aaron reached his arm out and grabbed my left hand. He held onto it as the song kept playing. When the music ended no one said anything for two or three minutes.  Aaron quietly said, “Why would they kill themselves as a bomb?”

“I don’t know Aaron, they think it’s what God wants.”

Sierra’s hazel eyes looked up from the screen to look at me, tears coating her lashes, “God doesn’t want people to kill for him!”

“No Sierra, he doesn’t.”

Why hadn’t they learned about this before? Why wasn’t it discussed in schools? I did a Google search asking that exact question and apparently in Texas it’s left until High School to get into the deep topic of 9/11 and terrorism.

How is this not part of “American History” in 8th grade? We teach about WW1 & WW2 in 7th grade Texas History, why not 9/11 in American History?  Or why isn’t it discussed more when religion is taught? I remember my daughter learning about different religions around the world and how they all interact with one another in her 6th grade social studies class. Shouldn’t they teach about the downfalls to extreme religions (any religion) and what perceptions can cause? How religion at the base is a good thing but all good things can be used as a weapon if abused?

My kids asked what I was doing when 9/11 happened. I remember it like yesterday.

I was in my dorm room at Sam Houston State University asleep. My roommate was in our bathroom getting ready for her 1st period class, I think it was biology, and I was just starting to wake up. The news was on, the twin towers were on the screen and smoke was burning. Just as I cleared my eyes I saw the second plane hitting the tower, fire engulfing those floors.

I will never forget where I was, but I can’t believe children don’t really know about this event at all. Their entire lives have been framed in the 9/11 era.

Students are growing up in the world of Arab/Muslim hate, ‘Muslim Ban’s’ or however else you want to frame it. And they don’t even understand why the word “Muslim” is even a hot button or how Isis even came to be. Why are our soldiers in the Middle East? Why do young men and women come home injured or worse, gone from this life?

Because of 9/11. Because of decisions we made shortly after those attacks. Because of decisions we made before 9/11.

Because of hate.

My question is, if people are so scared of history repeating itself, why aren’t our students taught about it more? Taught on what hate, racism, sexual bias lead to?

This just makes me sad, makes my heart cry.

It has been a while since I composed a blog and I thought today I needed to. I needed my outlet to let my feelings flow.

It makes me sad my kids don’t know about the history of my country, a country I love. A country my grandfather’s proudly served in, a country I proudly call mine. I don’t want my children growing up thinking Muslim’s are bad. I have friends that are Muslim’s and every one of them are wonderful human beings, just like my friends who are Jewish or Wiccan and agnostic. If I don’t want my children growing up and potentially following someone’s footsteps of hate I need to make sure I am teaching them about the past.

9/11 wasn’t history for me, but I am starting to see how it has become history now.

Next on my list is December 7th. I’ll be teaching them about Pearl Harbor and how America stepped into WWII officially because of the bombs. And what that lead to, the destruction of so many lives.

We have to teach these kids history … we have to stop the hate. How do we keep our precious babies safe? When you have that answer please let me know.