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Dedicated to Fangirls.

Writing dedications can be a daunting task, because, let’s face it, there are so many people who pushed your precious BB along the line to publication. SO many. BUT what’s easy to forget is this: Dedications are where authors get to be themselves.

Writing is like acting. We step into the world and live there a while. We take on the roles of the characters and we play them with 100% of our souls. We are heroic, evil, ardent…whatever is true to the character and organic to the scene – we are that. Then we finish and the novel and talk directly to the reader. As ourselves. <– gasp. *Clutches chest* Imagine! I love this part.

When I write a dedication, I write as if I’m speaking to the reader across a table covered in half-eaten food and empty cups, with probably a stack of books and definitely a board game.  “Who do I want to thank for this one?” Here it goes…. and I pour it out. Every dedication is unique to the story, the process, the life that evolved as the manuscript transformed from fuzzy concept to polished novel. This is my latest.

My YA paranormal/fantasy, Prophecy, releases October 6th. So who did I thank? Well, I started with Fangirls, but I didn’t forget Stan Lee. Here it is!

DEDICATION

To Caffeine & awkward, my constant companions <– you know it’s true. you guys. you know.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I owe enormous unspeakable thanks to fangirls. To the ones who say it’s okay to be excited and geek out about things; the
ones who pull me into fandoms and onto ships with their crazy enthusiasm. Thank you. You made this novel happen.
Thank you, cyber friends, who entertain my endless, “what ifs,” read my fanfiction and endure my obsessive pinning. Thank you, dear friend
and literary agent, Dawn Dowdle, for believing in me and talking me off recurring ledge situations. Thank you, Jennifer Anderson for reading
all the pages. So very many pages. You make them better. Thank you, Stan Lee for your interpretation of Thor, and Marvel moviemakers for
your execution of this captivating character. Thank you, Twitter friends, who listened to my mythology-based ramblings and questions and for
your amazing, enthusiastic, and energizing responses to: “What if all the mythology stories were true? What if they collided? What if I did that?”
Thank you, Paige Christian and Renee Rocco for taking a chance on Callie, Liam, and I, and for making our story something worth reading.
Finally, deep curtsy to my husband, Bryan, my best friend and partner in excessive tomfoolery. Without your continued support and enabling,
I wouldn’t be a novelist. I’d have given up long ago and settled for a regular-person hobby like collecting toothpicks or painting pinecones.
To anyone still reading this acknowledgements page: Thank you, too. I appreciate you.

Prophecy, Calypso book #1

Prophecy CoverOn the other side of death, is destiny.

Callie Ingram is spending her senior year focused on one thing:
swimming. Her skill as a competitive swimmer is going to secure a
scholarship and her future, or so she hopes. She has big plans, and Liam
Hale, her gorgeous new neighbor, isn’t going to affect them. But when
Callie sees Liam beheading someone, she learns his family has a secret
that will change everything. The Hales are Vikings, demi-gods who’ve
been charged by The Fates to find their new destined leader.

Callie’s caught in the middle of a budding Norse apocalypse, in love
with Liam Hale and desperate to protect her best friend…who the Hales
believe is marked for transformation. Putting the clues together as fast
as she can, she discovers she has the power to rewrite destiny, for herself
and all humankind.

Blogger Friends! Join me for my release day book launch party?? Tasty Book Tours is putting together a great send off for Callie, Liam and the guys :) You can sign up to be part of the party here: Prophecy: Tasty Book Blast

Prophecy is available for pre-order where digital books are sold. 

Confession: Binge-Watcher

I’m a binge watcher. Apparently this is a problem? It’s on the news lately. I don’t know. The first time I saw a segment on “binge watching (ers) I was excited. They gave it a name. “Hey! That’s ME.” Imagine my shock to learn this isn’t a healthy behavior. *sarc* Whatever. I love television and I really really really love technology for making any show I want available RIGHT-FLIPPING-NOW and in bulk. *beams* *rejoices* I can try a new pilot, love it and immediately settle in for 72 hours of non-stop, back-2-back awesome. I never have to wait a week or worse – all summer for more. It’s *magical*. As a result, I have a real attitude when watching television like normal people. I’m spoiled. I want it ALL and I want it NOW. I once watched ten seasons of Lost in two months. I should point out the scary nerd rage I exhibited after the finale. It still makes me mad, but whatever…my therapist says I have to let it go.

My television obsession is pointed down the road to Out-of-Control, but I don’t mind. I like it. I embrace it. Television gives my brain things to do. My grandparents called television bad names back in the nineteen hundreds, like “boob tube” and “idiot box.” I can’t even. I mean, what? My shows, plots and characters are stimulating, intriguing, inspiring and wildly entertaining. And I’m not a boob or an idiot… I don’t think. But, I love my shows. They’re real to me. They are my people. Like books, but that’s another post all together. Ahhhhhh. Books.

Because summer messed up my regularly scheduled programs,  I’m rewatching things I love, plus meeting new series. I’ve hit it off with a few. I’m not sure what YOU watch, but here’s a random selection of television things I love:

  • The Walking Dead
  • ARROW <– zomg this all day. this. this. this
  • Teen Wolf
  • Orphan Black
  • Justified
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The 100
  • The Originals
  • Awkward
  • Haven
  • Castle
  • The Flash <– hasn’t even started and I already love it
  • Supernatural

See what I mean? And you don’t want to see what happens if I’m channel surfing and find a Veronica Mars or Gilmore Girls or Buffy marathon. Goodbye Julie.

And when things don’t go my way during my shows, I write fanfiction. Is that taking it too far? Have I crossed a line to obsession? Is binge-watching the gateway to a personality disorder? If so, I have that. And, I don’t immediately write the fanfiction. I *try* giving the screenwriters a chance to do fix it, but if they don’t, I have no choice. Then, I yell and throw popcorn at the screen, wailing “NoooooO! You’re doing it WRONG!” Then I write fanfiction.

I sometimes draw pictures of my shows’ characters, too. I’m a terrible artist, but it’s still true. I buy fangirl shirts and go on twitter rants. Apparently, I also blog about it. What can I say? I’m an obsessive fanner. Binge-watcher. Happy lady.

How about you?

 

I Buy All the T-Shirts

i_make_stuff_up_womens_dark_tshirtI’m doing some late spring cleaning. The kids are gearing up for back-2-school and we’re cleaning closets, pitching outgrown things and sizing up the tally of how-broke-I’ll-be-when-I-replace-all-the-out-grown-things. Then, my brain goes, “If I’m cleaning their  closets, might as well tackle mine, too.” Dumb. Dumb. Terrible idea. I have a million times more clothes than them and I am an idiot. My OCD makes me do these things. How could I LIVE in a home where three of the closets are clean and mine aren’t? (We have 2 walk-ins in our master bedroom, but Hubsy’s is Stepford Husband Perfect). Mine is not. Mine is zomg.

Ten million dresses and one hundred zillion pairs of heels, plus double that in handbags aside….there are T-shirts. So. Many. T-shirts.

It seems I have a T-shirt buying problem. It went undiagnosed until now, but it’s official. I’ve bought them all, folks. And **bonus horror** thanks to the Authoring-Makes-My-A$$-Enorm job hazard, I have some shirts in *multiple* sizes. Are you dying? Because I’m dying.

downloadI’ve always said if I was rich I’d open a T-shirt shop. Heck, in my Patience Price Mysteries series, the heroine’s parents DO have a T-shirt shop. I mostly made that their business so I could come up with silly things to put on their shirts. <– Sad. Sad sign of the troubles. You’d think all this would’ve connected by now but caffeine and sleep deprivation have apparently damaged my brain because I’m staring at the *piles* and *piles* of shirts and thinking… “Where did you all come from? You glorious beasts!” And then I imagine rolling in them and wearing them all at once, stripping off a layer at a time, like maybe on the hour, like a human cuckoo clock all day long — and then it hits me. This isn’t normal. I mean, sure, normal doesn’t fit me most days anyway, but this. This is. Not. Like not at all. Normal.

41bmI9e6qEL._SX342_And what’s worse is I don’t care. I’m a mess. A happy-happy mess with awesome T-shirts.

Maybe one day I’ll open that shop and sell slightly used, heavily loved T-shirts to get new ones.

In the end: My closet isn’t any cleaner, but T-Shirts! so #WINNINGtimthumb

YA Review: How To Fall by Jane Casey

downloadHow To Fall by Jane Casey

Sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant has never met any of her relatives, until her mom suddenly drags her out of London to spend the summer in the tiny English town where her family’s from. Her mom’s decision is surprising, but even more surprising is the town’s reaction to Jess. Everywhere she goes, people look at her like they’ve seen a ghost. In a way, they have—she looks just like her cousin Freya, who died shortly before Jess came to town.

Jess immediately feels a strange connection to Freya, whom she never got to meet alive. But the more Jess learns about the secrets Freya was keeping while she was alive, the more suspicious Freya’s death starts to look. One thing is for sure: this will be anything but the safe, boring summer in the country Jess was expecting.

Beloved author Jane Casey breaks new ground with How to Fall, a thrilling and insightfully written mystery.

Review:

I received this novel from NetGalley and read it in a day. I stopped to sleep, but not for long. As a mega fan of both YA and mystery, I felt the concept was too good to pass up and I wasn’t disappointed. I was immediately caught up in the language and description of the small English town where Jess and her mother arrive for the summer. Casey makes it clear from page one that something is amiss in this town and she kept me looking for answers to the very end. Jess was a lovable, strong willed character I easily connected with and rooted for.  Her curiosity and determination to unearth the truth of what happened to Freya (a cousin she’d never met) was admirable. The pace Casey unravels the story is exciting. The foreshadowing is amazing. The touch of romance is wonderful. I’d gladly follow Jess on another adventure and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

Thank you to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Griffin for  the opportunity to discover another fun YA series and author.

I Have a Shipping Problem

DontGiveUpShipI’m figuring out something about myself that probably I am the last to know. I have a shipping problem. I get totally hung up in the lives of fictional characters- especially ones I can build a ship for. The only thing I obsess over that has no ship (for me) is Supernatural and if you’ve seen the cast on this show, you can see how it floats without one. I mean. I just can’t. Oh, and The Walking Dead because Daryl.  **flail**

Mostly all the books, movies, shows that I fan out on are the one where I see a potential romance. Don’t get me wrong, relationships in general are my second favorite, which brings us back to Supernatural with the best-most-complicated character dynamics Ever. And TWD. But those are a different emotional experience. They’re a whole different set of feels. Potential romance is my drug. Chemistry between characters keeps me up at night. Especially when they have no idea what they’re doing to one another and the audience anytime the share a scene. I love it. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love it.

This is why I love fanfic. I get to explore all the scenarios of my ships with others in need. It’s fabulous. It’s my Disneyland. My personal Firefly voyage. *swoons* So, almost a year ago, I wrote my first fanfic – I’m a shameless lurker over there. The writing is different that the industry and I didn’t want to look like a poser by jumping in and doing everything wrong, but my Olicity was nearly killing me to death, so I gave it a try. In lieu of NaNoWriMo, I wrote an Arrow/Olicity fanfic and it was a total blast. Plus, a wonderful break from deadlines and rejection because, as you know, fanfic readers are lovely, encouraging people who remind me why I bother writing anything-ever in this hatey world of meaners. So, it was really good for me. I plan to do it again this November because when I read there was an Olicity KISS and the producers/directors- whoever CUT it? I died inside. So, my head is swimming in Olicity. Again. Still. Always. I should also address my Bellarke needs (The 100) and possibly some Haven problems and my love for Boyd and Ava. IDK. I guess November will be a busy month.

I don’t get to write off-deadline often, so I will make the most of it. Meanwhile, I thought I’d post the link to that old Olicity fanfic and share the opening chapter here. I’d like to rewrite this…but it was my first fanfic, so there’s something sentimental about that first time. I’m going to leave it alone.

A Green Tie Between Friends <– link to the story

Chapter one

Oliver trailed his fingertips over the tie, knotted at his collar and partially concealed by his sleek black jacket. He fastened the final button and left his office on a thank you mission.

Oliver smiled at the secretary outside his door. “Hold my calls, please.”

“Yes, Mr. Queen.”

Shiny elevator doors opened as he approached the hall’s end. Perfect timing. Since opening the poorly wrapped box on his desk, the idea of waiting on anything had seemed impossible. He crossed the threshold and examined the reflection before him, though Oliver normally averted his eyes where mirrors were concerned. The small white scars on his chin, neck and forehead went unnoticed by most, but to him they glowed above the crisp white collar of his dress shirt, reminding him of the days he spent on the island. He found the soft material at his throat and adjusted his new tie with calloused fingers and admiration. A simple gift. No reason, really, for the impact to be so great, especially since it wasn’t his birthday. A knot of emotion lodged in his throat. He wasn’t someone in need of gifts.

Oliver stuffed his hands casually into his pants’ pockets, seeking the little note. He ran his fingertips over the folded piece of Queen Consolidated memo paper, remembering the words “Happy Birthday” were scratched across the stationary lines and a tiny scripted F stood beneath. Surely, Felicity knew it wasn’t his birthday. Felicity knew everything. What she didn’t know, she could uncover with a few strategic keystrokes. She was brilliant. Beautiful. And surprisingly unpredictable.

A short intake of breath froze his limbs and stunted his thoughts. The reflection before him smiled. Oliver relaxed his shoulders. He was smiling.

“Have a good day, Mr. Queen.” Several passengers behind him slid past as the elevator doors opened on a new floor.

Oliver lifted a palm in acknowledgement, not needing to force the congenial smile he wore to work every day. Instead, he worked to control the silly look on his face. He clasped his hands behind his back and waited. Two more floors. His gaze found the tie’s reflection once more in the mirrored doors. Green. Of course. An inside joke. A perfect gift. He worked his lips back to an appropriate expression before people wondered if he suffered brain damage while he was away.

As the doors parted again, Oliver stifled the urge to jump out. Instead, he waited a beat before entering the hallway marked IT Services. The door he sought was open. Felicity’s chair was empty. His smile fell.

“You looking for Felicity?” A voice behind him asked.

Oliver whirled around. “Yes. Is she in today?”

The fair skinned kid stopped short, paling further. “Mr. Queen. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know that was you.” He balanced a tray of coffees on a pizza box. “It’s lunchtime, so I thought, you know, she gets asked to lunch a lot, so….”

Oliver stretched his arm before him, revealing the time on his oversized, overpriced watch. “Lunch time.” He shook his head, unsure if the confoundment came from the fact it was already lunchtime, or that Felicity had numerous lunch suitors. His jaw twitched. The idea Felicity had a social life surprised him, though it shouldn’t. She had to do something when she left Queen Consolidated and wasn’t manning the lair under Verdant. He turned back for the elevator. Something tightened the muscles in his shoulders. Did he care that she had lunch dates? No. What about date-dates? He pressed the button for the elevator and glared at his reflection. No. Of course not. Oliver rubbed his forehead as the doors opened, and he stepped onboard.

Alone in the elevator, he scrutinized his reflection. Why did she give him a birthday gift two months after his birthday? Who were all these lunch dates? Why didn’t he know she had lunch dates? Where did they eat lunch? In the company cafeteria or at local restaurants?

The doors opened, startling Oliver.

Diggle stepped onboard. “Hey, I was on my way up to see if you want to get some lunch. Where’re you headed?”

Oliver glanced overhead at the floor number. He’d stepped on board at the IT floor and failed to press a button, riding the elevator to the ground level instead of to his office as he’d planned. What was wrong with him today? He shook his head as if to dislodge the confusion.

“Well?” Diggle pressed.

“Sure.” Oliver smiled. “Lunch sounds nice.”

Diggle held the door for Oliver to exit. “Nice tie.” He chuckled, clearly amused at the reference to Oliver’s nighttime escapades.

“Thanks, it was a birthday gift.”

The men crossed the busy lobby of Queen Consolidated. A brilliant autumn day waited for them. Sunlight shone off the rain dampened streets. Fallen leaves speckled the sidewalks in every conceivable shade and hue of fall.

Diggle stopped at the corner. “Should I get the car or do you want to walk somewhere?”

A familiar laugh floated on the breeze to Oliver’s ears. “Did you hear that? I think I heard Felicity.”

Diggle turned, scanning the open plaza. “There. Looks like she’s already eaten. Maybe we can invite her tomorrow.”

By the time Diggle had spoken, Oliver had already noted the close proximity of her lunch companion and several ways to remove him physically. The pair sat on a low wall near the building, drinking gourmet coffees and sharing fries from a paper basket. Their bodies angled in on one another as they spoke. Their knees nearly touched.

Oliver turned to Diggle. “Who’s that with her?” Whoever he was, Oliver didn’t like him. He was too old for her. Too plain. Too… Oliver looked at the couple again. No. Not a couple. Just two people having lunch. The man was probably harmless. In fact, it was nice Felicity had friends at the office. She kept his secrets at night. She should be happy during the day. Even if that meant having lunch, seated too closely, with this…guy. Felicity’s laughter drew his eyes back to her. Wide red lips smiled around the rim of her coffee cup. Tendrils of steam rose into the air above her nose. Strands of long blond hair blew across her forehead in the wind. She was happy. He should leave her to her lunch.

Diggle crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t know him. He looks harmless enough to me. Why? Do you think he’s up to something?”

Absolutely. Oliver pursed his lips. Not his business. Felicity was a big girl. She had an uncanny ability to see people for who and what they were, and he trusted her judgment. She wasn’t some gullible child. He didn’t need to worry about her. Except that he did. Strange. His protective instinct must’ve carried over from Thea and his mother to Felicity. Though he also worried about Laurel, but they’d dated. He and Felicity were definitely not dating. He ran a heavy hand through his hair and kneaded the back of his neck. Motivations, like emotions, were far too complex for explanation, which was why he did his best to avoid these kinds of thoughts. Yet, there he stood sifting through his illogical compulsions on a street corner.

“Oliver?” Diggle stepped into his view. “Do you want the car or are we walking?”

“Just a minute. Do you mind if we….Can I just…” Oliver cleared his throat and organized his thoughts. He swallowed once, rolled his shoulders back and did his best to clear his expression of the nonsense muddling his brain. “How about we get burgers? If you get the car, I’ll meet you back here.”

Oliver’s feet were moving before the final word left his lips.

“Felicity.” He stopped before her suitor and extended a hand. “Oliver Queen.”

The man dusted his palms together and stood, unshaken by Oliver’s name. “Frank Maloney.”

Oliver forced a tight smile. “Nice to meet you.” Not at all.

Frank smiled back without speaking. His eyes trailed over Oliver, unimpressed. Oliver returned the gesture.

Felicity popped onto her feet. Her hands flitted in the air, finding nowhere to land. “Hi. Uh, yes, hello, Mr. Queen. Is there something you need?” Thin sculpted eyebrows rose beneath her glasses.

A black pencil skirt hugged her slender figure as a fresh gust of wind began. The silk of her blouse clung to the curves of her chest. She adjusted her glasses. A nervous habit Oliver picked up on the first time they’d met.

He turned his shoulder to Frank, focusing his full attention on Felicity’s bright blue eyes. It took effort to pull his gaze from the effects of wind on her fair skin. The goose bumps forming over her exposed collarbone gave him ideas he wasn’t sure how to deal with. No doubt the same ideas on Frank’s mind. Oliver shot a look over his shoulder to check his theory. Frank watched Oliver through narrowed eyes. Interesting.

In the distance behind Felicity, Diggle slid the car against the curb. Oliver waved. His time was up. He touched the knot of his tie. “I wanted to stop by and thank you. I was pleasantly surprised when I returned to my desk today. Job well done, Miss Smoak.”

Felicity’s gaze darted from Oliver to Frank and back. She nodded quickly. Her eyes wide with what appeared to be a mix of panic and humor. Oliver’s heartbeat picked up at the thought he shared a secret with Felicity Smoak. She might have plenty of lunch dates, but he doubted they got very late birthday gifts from her without warning, though filled with meaning. His lips strained against a smile. He couldn’t afford the slip. Frank struck him as the kind of guy waiting for dirt on the boss, and while Oliver had plenty of dirt to dig up, he’d never let any of it settle on Felicity.

Oliver took a wide step backward, realizing he’d encroached on her personal space. She was magnetic, or perhaps like a fire, warm and bright when everything else lately was cold and unrelenting. His lips tipped on one side. That analogy made Oliver a moth. He’d thought of himself as many things, but never a moth.

A simple green tie had befuddled him. He’d better leave before his ridiculous thoughts manifested into embarrassing actions. Who knew what he’d do. Laugh? Flick Frank on the nose?

Oliver lowered his voice to the usual well-composed tenor and nodded a goodbye. “I’ll leave you to finish your lunch, Miss Smoak. Thank you again. Nice meeting you, Fred.”

Oliver strode toward the waiting car, satisfaction burning in his chest. Whatever was wrong with him today, he’d enjoyed the shocked look on Felicity’s face. He’d hear about it later at the lair, no doubt. In fact, he’d look forward to that. As for Fred… Oliver smiled.

Frank called from the growing distance behind him. “The name’s Frank.”

Oliver dropped into the backseat of the town car and smiled wider still. “Whatever.”

 

That’s it. My first time for all to see ;) Anyone else writing fanfic? Lurking over it? Thinking about it? Share your links here so we can all do the *feet pounding* *silent clapping* together, please.

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