Friday, September 19, 2014

A New Journey



I have been remiss in keeping up with my blog in the past couple of years.  So today I start on a new journey, a journey that I hope you will take with me. What goes into a writer’s life? How does a writer keep up with their writing when their life is falling apart around them?

Well, I’m going to open up a bit of my life to you, my readers, to share how the passion of writing stays with me even through the curveballs that life throws at me. Two years ago I went through a divorce. It was not an easy thing to go through, as anyone who has gone through one will know. Not only did my life seem to be crumbling around me, but my future and the plans that we had made for down the road were suddenly ripped out from under me. So in the aftermath of that divorce, I found myself in a place of questioning many aspects in my life.

It was about that time that I also lost my job. So with all the curveballs being thrown my way, I took a sabbatical from writing for about a year. I just couldn’t focus on the stories within me beyond the overwhelming stress that seemed to be hitting me on every side.

As I slowly took stock of my life around me and the fact that I had a couple more years until all my kids were graduated from high school leaving me with an empty nest, I realized I had lost sight of who the real me was. For the past year I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my past and how much I have lost the joy I had in living. Don’t get me wrong. My children are an amazing source of joy to my life on a daily basis. But I had allowed myself to lose sight of ME, of what made me happy and being able to see my own strengths and abilities. I had lost myself in two bad marriages where I walked on eggshells to keep the peace. I spent so much time trying to keep an even keel in my house for the sake of my kids that I lost who I was.

In the process of coming to the realization that I need to find myself again, I have started on a journey in the past year that brings me to a place of wonder and fear. I am amazed at how much I forgot about myself and yet I am fearful for what the future holds for me as I move forward. 

So join me on this journey as I blog through finding my way back to my true self and the trials I will face over the coming year as I prepare myself to sell my house and find something smaller, as I move forward with my writing career and I find my path in this newly forming life of mine. My hope is that maybe one of you, my readers, will relate to things that I am going through and know that you’re not alone.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

TRUSTING LOVE now available to preorder

I am so excited for the release of my newest book, TRUSTING LOVE due out on December 10, 2013.  This is my third book, second romantic suspense, which centers around domestic violence.  People, in my opinion, have no idea what women go through when they are abused.  It's not easy to ask for help and get out of the situation.  Women in abusive situations are run by fear and intimidation. So here is what Trusting Love is about.

CHLOE WILDER is newly pregnant and running from her abusive boyfriend.  She needs a home more than ever before.  Chloe takes refuge in Arden, Maine - a sleepy, coastal town where she finally thinks she can be safe.
JAYDEN PETERSON abandoned his career as a city cop after accidentally shooting a child. Jayden quickly agrees to fill his father’s shoes as Arden’s police chief. Determined to protect his loved ones and unsure if he can ever pull his gun again, Jayden is relieved to stay where the worst crime that will ever happen is jaywalking - or so he thinks.

You can at this time pre-order a print copy here and it will be shipped just as soon as it is available.  They make great Christmas gifts for those readers in your life.

Friday, October 25, 2013

New Release

I am so excited about my upcoming release -- TRUSTING LOVE.  It has been sent off to the editor, a release date has been set (December 10, 2013) and I am working with my cover artist to get an awesome cover, and for this book I have started working with a new marketing team.  Good things are happening!

What a process it is to get a book to the point where it is ready for release.  Writing alone is a huge process.  The steps it takes to produce a book that you hope your readers will enjoy and want to share with others. For me my writing process may be a bit different than other authors.  My first draft consists of a skeleton draft really.  I get the basic plot out and don't edit at all as I write.

The second pass through is spent putting in details, description and missing elements needed for those never ending plot twists required in suspense.  The third and fourth pass is then spent diving into the edits, changing point of views, fixing gaps in timelines or plot structure before making a final read through.  As I hit send and it goes off to my editor, I cross my fingers and hope she likes it.

Once it is off, the excitement of it all begins.  Setting the release date, working with marketing and the process of selecting picture ideas to send to the cover artists.  There is nothing like the feeling of first seeing your cover, and then the excitement all over again when the book is in your hand, a finished project.

So what is TRUSTING LOVE about?  Good question.  Here is just a little hint of what you can expect.

CHLOE WILDER is newly pregnant and running from her abusive boyfriend.  She needs a home more than ever before.  Chloe takes refuge in Arden, Maine - a sleepy, coastal town where she finally thinks she can be safe.

JAYDEN PETERSON abandoned his career as a city cop after accidentally shooting a child. Jayden quickly agrees to fill his father’s shoes as Arden’s police chief. Determined to protect his loved ones and unsure if he can ever pull his gun again, Jayden is relieved to stay where the worst crime that will ever happen is jaywalking - or so he thinks.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Love and Vulnerability

As I start plotting out a couple more books, and as always life events tend to shape that process, I start looking at what is it about love that makes people vulnerable? In my own life, I have been been through good and bad, like most people. I have moments that I thought I was so totally in love that I didn't believe anything could penetrate that and destroy it, but as there have also been times I have been hurt I now make a conscious decision to keep my heart guarded from that which makes me vulnerable.

What's that moment in time that you consciously decide you can't take the hurt or pain any more and never want to go through it again....yet in the back of your mind you still hope for that happily ever after and the one true love that will always be there for you. As a writer, I get to write that ending in my stories and portray that hope for that type of love through my stories.

I have spent a great deal of time in the past week thinking about this. About the risks of putting your heart out there after you have been hurt. We all want to be that priority in someone's life, be the one that they think of first thing when they wake up and last thing when they go to bed, be that one that brings a smile to their face during the day just because they are thinking of you. How do you protect your heart from the hurt that could follow when you make yourself vulnerable.

In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis penned a lesson on the danger of holding one’s heart too tightly. He writes:

    To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

After stumbling across the above statement, and doing an exhausting amount of thinking on this subject this week, I have come to the conclusion that it is much better to put your heart out there and run the risk of getting it broken once again than to have it become unbreakable, impenetrable and irredeemable.  I would rather love and be vulnerable than hide my heart away in the name of protection.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What's Your Comfort Zone?

I am feeling a bit remiss that I haven't been here putting out a blog post as regularly as I had been.  It's been a crazy year.  Lots going on and yet its no excuse.

So although it's not New Year's, I have a new resolution to start my blog back up and be blogging regularly again.  Thank you to those who have hung in with me when I have been sporadic. The past year has been crazy, like I said. But to just recap the past several months I have had a daughter get engaged, return to college for her final year (until grad school), another daughter head off for her first year in college and my son go into his junior year in high school.

I've been adjusting to the house being quiet with just my son there, started a new job, which allows me to write more on a full time basis and on top of all of it have finished my third book, TRUSTING LOVE. I'm excited about this story for so many reasons.  The empowerment of a facing your fears and regaining broken trust is the theme throughout the story. My goal is to have this book released at the end of November.

With so many changes going on I have found myself stretching my comfort zone, which is extremely difficult for me, by attending a few conferences.  I'm so fortunate to have daughters who encourage me and push me when I dig in my heels and decide I just don't want to step out of that comfortable area I have. Although I look forward to going and always have a great time once I get there, the few days before I leave I'm a ball of nerves.

How often do you get stuck in a comfortable place and drag your heels about trying something new? Or are you an adventurous person, always looking to jump into the new and exciting thing?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roller Coaster

There will be highs and lows in your life much like a roller coaster, however, it is how you endure them that makes the person that you are and who you can become.

I'm a romance writer and I believe in love. Yet, love isn't easy.  There are highs and lows. The romantic in me believes that you can endure those high and lows with the right kind of commitment. I truly believe that when you meet the love of your life you know it -- even if it takes you awhile to figure out it is love. I can say this as for years I had the strongest feelings for one man. I never would have classified it as love, but all I knew is that he made my heart skip when he walked in a room.  Years later after many highs and lows that man came back into my life.  As we renewed friendship, those feelings were the same for me as they had been so many years ago.  At this point in my life I thought I had been in love before, but it was never a lasting feeling, nor did it give me the courage to be the person I knew I could be.

When did I realize I was truly in love?  When I heard four little words, words I wasn't expecting.  "I love you, too."  Love me too??  I wasn't in love, or was I?  Knowing you're in love doesn't give you the realization of how love will effect your life.  In fact, it was years into our marriage that I realized I truly didn't know how to love unconditionally.  Unconditional love is choosing to love someone regardless of behavior. It's not getting mad and walking away, or withholding saying "I love you" because you are angry.  It's a choice that you make to continue to love regardless of the hurt you maybe feeling.

Only that kind of love can withstand the roller coaster ride of life.  If you find the one that loves you unconditionally as well, the roller coaster ride will only bring you closer.  That kind of love grows through the storms that you weather together. And what if your love doesn't know how to love unconditionally? Do you walk away and write it off as a mistake?  No, you continue with your choice of unconditional love. The love that life's ebbing tides can't wash away.


So have you found that person who you choose to love unconditionally, no matter what?  That person who as you love them unconditionally, you realize the person you are and who you can be?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mirrored Deception



I am so excited to release my second book, Mirrored Deception.  Here is an excerpt.  I hope you enjoy.



Chapter 1

“I will not hire a bodyguard!” Jayla Ralston stormed across the room. She righted a small bookshelf and started picking up the books from the floor. “You’re overreacting once again.” Jayla couldn’t believe her sister would even suggest such a thing. 

“How can you say that?” Jenna’s eyes moved over the mess as she racked her fingers through her hair. “Your apartment has been broken into and trashed. You’re being impossible. What do you think Mom and Dad would want you to do if they were here?”

“That’s a completely unfair question.” Jayla closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Jenna had a way of hitting below the belt using their parents to create guilt, knowing only too well it worked every time. 

Jayla grabbed the broom from the closet off the living room to sweep up the broken shards of glass from pictures that had been scattered about the room. “I will think about it, okay?” she whispered, only wanting to make peace with her twin.

“You know I love you, Jayla. I just don’t want anything to happen to you.” Jenna’s voice softened. “I worry about you.”

“I know, but you really don’t have to. I don’t think he will bother me again.” Jayla’s voice broke. She wished she could show more confidence. Looking at the two of them was like looking in a mirror. They were identical, and yet very different.

             “I’ve got to go, sis. Will you be okay?”

“Of course, Jen. I’m fine. I’ll just clean up.” Jayla walked her to the door and hugged her close. “I love you. Please don’t worry.” 

As she shut the door and turned to survey the damage: the overturned chair and knick-knacks scattered about the living room, Jayla choked back the tears. How could he have done this to her? Her pictures of her family were broken and strewn about the floor. A bodyguard wasn’t needed. What was needed to get away from it all. 

She turned and headed to the bedroom. Dragging a couple of suitcases out of the closet, Jayla started throwing clothes into them. She debated whether to call Jenna and decided against it. She wanted to disappear and give herself a chance to think. Jenna would only be telling her she couldn’t run from her problems, but to meet them head on.

She needed more than this. Jayla slammed the suitcases, grabbed her laptop and headed outdoors. She threw the bags in the trunk and gave a good look around the parking lot. Convinced no one was around, she jumped in and started the car. She pulled her hair back in an elastic band and pulled from the parking lot. With no destination in mind, Jayla aimed for the coast.

For the first few miles, Jayla kept a watchful eye out for anyone following. After an hour it became clear she was the only one on the road. Her grip loosened on the steering wheel, the tension leaving her shoulders. As she rolled the windows down to smell the cool ocean breeze, Jayla’s mind wandered. She wanted her life back -- yet, she wanted a different life. She was filled with many regrets of late.

Driving the coastal route, she paid no mind to the time until her stomach grumbled reminding her she’d missed dinner, and she became very aware of the time. Dark shadows had crept across the landscape. She clicked on the headlights, realizing the gas gauge read empty. How could she take off on a whim without thinking of fueling up? She could hear levelheaded Jenna now -- “never thinking”.  

At a bend in the road, the headlights illuminated a sign for a bed and breakfast, The Cliffhouse. There was a sign below for vacancies. Jayla perked up a bit. At least it wasn’t far ahead and it would do for the night.

            She turned into the entrance and drove up the winding, cobblestone driveway. Around the last turn, a large Victorian house came into view. The place was dark. Not surprising since it was ten o’clock. Hopefully someone was still up.

Jayla sat there for a moment and wondered if they were open. The needle on the gas gauge hovered just at empty; she had no choice but see if they had a room for the night.

            She grabbed her small overnight bag and left the rest of the luggage in the car. After locking the car doors, she walked briskly up the steps of the veranda, past the wicker furniture.  In the dark, Jayla rang the bell and waited. She shivered, straining to see beyond the porch. She wrapped her arms around her middle and paced in front of the door. The hairs on the back of her neck tingled with the sense of being watched. But that could be. This place was out in nowhere. Jayla shook off the sensation—just remnants of the god awful day.

            Jayla rapped on the door with impatience.

            “Yes, I’m coming,” responded a male voice from inside.

            The door swung open. Finally.

            She was about to speak, but when she got her first look at him, words couldn't get past her lips.
The man filling the door leaned nonchalantly against the doorjamb and studied her. His tousled dark hair looked as if he'd just got out of bed. His tanned, bare chest had her pulse racing. “Yes?" 

Just that single word brought a sizzle of awareness coursing through her body. “I'm...er...sorry. I didn't realize the time and I was running out of gas." 

 He glanced over her shoulder, to the car and back. Perfectly shaped eyebrows rose while sensuous brown eyes surveyed her from head to toe. Okay, she probably didn’t look too presentable after the long road trip. The salty air had given her skin that needs-to-be washed feel. Forget about the lipstick, which had undoubtedly been gone for hours. 

His scrutiny made her uneasy. Surely he could say more than one word?   
 
"Do you have a room available?" Jayla shoved a lock of hair behind her ear.

He stood upright away from the door without a word. Jayla couldn't help but notice how his well-worn jeans looked like they'd been hastily zipped up, the tab partially undone.

"Come in." He stepped aside. 

           She followed. The foyer was small, but well kept. He stopped at a desk and turned. "How long are you staying?"

"Tonight, maybe longer." Jayla tried to read him. He didn't invite small talk. "I'm Jayla, Jayla Ralston."

"Okay, Jayla." He said her name slowly, almost seductively. "Sign here. Name's Tristan."

She nodded and leaned down to complete the paperwork. She looked up and met his dark brown eyes. Her pulse ratcheted up another beat. There was something in his sharp look that held her gaze. 

He finally broke the spell and gestured for Jayla to follow him to her room. "If you need anything, I'll be around in the morning."

Jayla let out a deep breath. This place might do after all. No one would look for her here. Alone at last. She dug out her laptop and started to write. 

The change was just beginning.
***
            He watched until after midnight when the house had finally gotten dark. Only one guest had checked in tonight. The only light left on was the one on the veranda.

            He slipped around to the west side of the building, treading carefully on the pebbled walkway, not wanting to leave any footprints. He had watched the house for months and knew the west side wing was empty and that there didn’t appear to be plans to fill the rooms even in the busy months of the summer. At the side door that once was the servant’s entrance, he ran his hand along the top of the doorframe, and found the key put there years ago -- sixteen years. 

            He chuckled. The poor fool probably forgot it was there, or forgot anyone else knew it was there. The key slid easily into the lock. It still worked. He let himself in and shut the door, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dark, though it didn’t matter, this place was as familiar as the back of his hand. Pocketing the key, he started for the back stairs carrying one bag—that held all his belongings.

            He had come back to claim what was rightfully his and claim it he would. It might take some time to get. Halfway up the stairs, he stopped and listened. There were no sounds, only the sound of his breathing. He shook his head and continued up to the first bedroom. Trenton laid on the bed fully clothed, eyes closed. He couldn’t let his memory play tricks on him. They were gone. He had survived. He was back - and would make sure certain people paid for what he had been through.


Copies are available at Amazon.com  or if you would like to order an autographed copies ($10 each), please do so here.