Thursday, December 1, 2016

Where I've Been, Why I Almost Quit Writing, And My Regained Positivity

Hello, my lovelies! So, I'm going to start off this post by stating the obvious: 2016 sucked.

There, I said it. I doubt, given the craptastic year it was for just about everyone, that anyone would disagree. That said,  as 2016 comes to a close, I feel the need to give thanks for several things, including: family, friends, and my rediscovered love of writing.

Let me backtrack for a few and fill you in on my 2016.

My middle daughter was diagnosed with a moderate to severe case of Crohn's disease. Not going to go into too much detail other than to say it's a debilitating disease and it sucks on an epic level. My girl is strong, and despite the MANY challenges this year has presented, she's always dealt with her illness with grace and positivity. My baby girl is my hero. I'm sure you can imagine why my focus has largely been on her health and not my writing. Or much else, for that matter.

There's really no easy way to talk about my experience this past year with the publishing industry. It was not good, and that's putting it mildly. I got burned and it not only hurt, it made me angry. It made me question my faith in the industry and in people as a whole. I lost my drive. My characters quit talking to me. I completely lost my joy when it came to writing and creating, which combined with the stress of my daughter's new diagnosis put me in a really bad place.

I grew my author Instagram account from just under 1k to 18k. I stopped posting. Why continue after the yuck that happened? I didn't see a point.

For months I stopped reading. Ugh! I can't even believe I allowed that to happen. Reading has always been an escape for me. I've always read multiple books a week. But, things happened. Things kept piling on, and I allowed bitterness, and an overall sour mood to take that away from me too.

Guilt ate away at me during all of this.  All I could think about morning, noon, and night, was :I should be writing. I should be reading. I should be engaging with my readers. I should be posting on FB and Instagram. Should. Should. Should. All of the "I Should" thoughts were driving me batty, so I shut down. Pulled away. I stepped away from the writing world completely and  focused on myself and my family. I enjoyed time with my husband. I took my girls shopping. Watched television with them and played games.

The break was exactly what I needed. I'd allowed myself to get so wrapped up in the business of writing (and all the bad and disappointing things that had happened to me) that I completely lost sight of why I wrote in the first place: because I love to create. The extended break allowed me to slowly regain my love of reading, and the itch to open my laptop and start writing again quickly followed.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Simple: Bad stuff happens to all of us. Life gets us down sometimes, and when it does, you have to know it's totally okay to step away and regroup. It's okay to put yourself first and tend to your own needs. I'd forgotten this truth this past year and I'm not gonna lie. It sucked.

Where does this leave me? What am I doing now? Well, I start by saying that my middle daughter has an AMAZING doctor who is very aggressive with her treatment. We're struggling a bit to find a medication that keeps my girl in remission (symptom free) without scary side effects or allergic reactions. She's doing much better than she was earlier in the year and has not let her disease stop her in any way. Baby Girl co-captains her cheer team, cheers on the competitive team, and maintains straight A's. Momma is proud.

As far as my writing? I regained the rights to all of my YA works and am in the process of rebranding. I'll be re-releasing all of my books with new covers starting with my standalone, Abandoned, pictured below. If you're an author and you've been burned by someone in the publishing industry, don't let it kill your passion. Step away. Nurse your wounds and feed your soul with things that make it happy. Rekindle your love of writing and creating, then turn around and share that passion and joy with the world. You don't need anyone's help. You write books. That, in itself, makes you a damn rock star. Publish that shit on your own and let everyone know YOU ARE A BASASS!

Here's my new cover for Abandoned. Synopsis below.

My name is Tierra Owens, and I like to kiss. A lot. It numbs the hollow ache in my chest and—for a few minutes—makes me forget how truly alone I am. My mother is an alcoholic. She hates me and insists I'm the reason she's not married to my father, whom I have never met. My best friend, Kaylee, is the only person who knows the real me. Everyone else sees what I want them to: a happy, confident, popular girl who has the world at her feet.

I am a fraud.

Relationships are forbidden. I avoid them at all costs. Sex? Emotions? Those things make a person vulnerable, and vulnerability always leads to heartbreak. When my childhood crush, Mattie shows up at school my world tumbles off its axis. The shell I surround myself with feels more like a pathetic crutch than a protective barrier, and I find myself wanting things. Daydreaming about what it would be like to have a boyfriend, a relationship—love.

The sad fact is: I'll never have any of those things. I am unworthy—trash. Which is why my mom abandoned me.

If you've read Abandoned previously, it would mean a lot if you would leave an honest review on Amazon. I'm starting fresh and would love the help. I'll be publishing Abandoned shortly and will add the purchase link to this post once it goes live.

Thanks so much for reading. Love you guys <3

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Win a $220 Amazon Gift Card!


Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win $220 to spend on books! 

 Fourteen YA authors, including myself, are sponsoring this giveaway for your chance to win a $220 Amazon e-gift card to restock your bookshelves this fall. Participating authors include: Melanie McFarlane Suzanne VanRooyen Dorothy Dryer J. Keller Ford Joshua David Bellin Jullie Reece Nicole Conway Stephanie Scott Amy McNulty Tobie Easton Elisa Dane Jennifer Anne Davis Jennifer M. Eaton Jennifer Bardsley 

  ***Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter!***

Fine Print: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Time Period: Begins on 09/08/2016 at 12:00 AM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 09/22/2016 at 12:00 AM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)). Eligibility: Open to legal residents of USA and Canada who are Must be 13 years old to enter or older. Winner Selection: The winner of the giveaway will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Fourth Of July Hop!!

Welcome to the Fourth of July Facebook Hop,

hosted by Love Kissed Book Bargains!

With tons of prizes from over 100 authors and bloggers, including Amazon gift cards, it's a great way to spend your Fourth of July Weekend!

Don't miss out! Visit one, or all to participate. Easy entries.

Meet some new authors! Discover some awesome blogs.

Most of all...have fun!

The Fourth of July Hop starts here: ******

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Dreaming $250 Cash Giveaway!

Summer Dreaming Cash

Summer Dreaming

$250 Cash Giveaway

June 21st to July 15th

An awesome group of bloggers and authors have joined with me to bring you one fabulous prize! One lucky winner will receive… $250 Gift Code or $250 in Paypal Cash   Thanks to these fabulous Sponsors!!
 I Am A Reader
Suzi Love
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Glistering Bs Blog
Lori's Reading Corner
Bonnie Blythe Faith Based Romance
Bella Street Time Travel Romance
Laurie Here - Cont Fiction and More
Deb Atwood Author
Kindle and Me
Melanie McFarlane, YA Author
Heather Gray, Author
Everly Frost, YA Author
Author Pauline Creeden
Subtitled Books
The Page Unbound
LeahSay's Views
Joshua David Bellin
Crystal Marcos
The Candid Cover
Here We Go Again...Ready?
Helen Smith Jennifer Faye ~ Romance Author B. Kristin McMichael
Cool Cat Mysteries
The Lovely Books
Author Elisa Dane
Simple Wyrdings
D.E. Haggerty, author Why Not? Because I Said So! (Sheila Staley)
Diana's Book Reviews
Stones of Gilgal Novels
Author Dorothy Dreyer  

Giveaway Details $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 eGift Card Ends 7/15/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.

Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hot YA Summer Reads and a Giveaway!

Summer is here! With the heat comes long days spent at the beach and pool with yummy snacks, a drink, and a great book. Sounds like the makings for a perfect day, right?

With the multitude of awesome YA books out there, it's hard to know what to read first. Hopefully, this post will help you make your decision! I've read some incredible books over the past couple of weeks and have a number of recommendations for you. I read most of these books in one sitting, and rated them all 5 stars.

Make sure to take part in the giveaway below. Author Melanie McFarlane has graciously offered up three ebook copies to give away. Woohoo!

Let's get to the books!

Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet.

Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable.

By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

I was lucky to read an ARC of this book. It releases June 14th. You can preorder your copy below!


There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of her dome. Now Nat wants answers. What else might her government be hiding from the good and loyal people of Dome 1618?

New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson

Since witnessing her parents' murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix's only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother's dying words- to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls- outside of The Sanctuary- is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, "Join or die."

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself.


The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.
The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

One kiss lasts a moment.
But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime.

One boy.
One girl.
A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade.
A bond that neither time nor distance can break.
A bond that will last forever.
Or so they believe.
When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?
Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

Standalone Young Adult Tearjerker Romance.
For ages 14 and up.


Collared by Nicole Williams

When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken.
Parents turn desperate.
Friends hold vigils.
And the boy who loves her searches.

When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.

When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .
Brings her home.

Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.

When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.

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