Meet the Cast of the Shadeworld! Character Profiles: Alyss

I thought it would be fun to do something a little bit different today! I’ve been working on the Shadeworld series for a long time, and publishing them for a few months now, so I wanted to touch base with all of you and add some fun bonus content on here. Let me know if you like this sort of post!

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This is my character reference for Alyss!

Alyss

This girl isn’t so great at being social, but she really wants to be. Her serious approach to life makes some keep their distance from her, but she can still let loose and have fun when there’s the opportunity. Alice uses big words, but she’s not stuffy. She is, however, a little headstrong and willing to jump into a situation she knows nothing about if she feels something unjust is going down!

Alice has brown hair, is a little short, and a nondescript size. With her personality and attributes combined, she probably would be completely ignored by her fellow students if she hadn’t spent her life in primarily white neighborhoods where her darker skin tone stood out so much.

One of the first characters we really meet in this book, Alyss is a girl with her eyes on the prize. After growing up in poor health and with distant parents, she’s desperate to form new relationships and close connections now that she’s moved to a new school and neighborhood. Problems crop up in her social life right away though when I she meets the control freak Aaron who’s weirdly obsessed with her. Besides how weird the people in town and school are, though, there just seems to be something fishy about them – something almost magical!

 

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I Hit Publish Today!

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I think hitting publish is one thing I’ll never grow tired of. This second book in the series had its ups and downs, I’ll admit- fiddling with trying to figure out how to format a paperback edition of the first book in the series ended up consuming all of December so I had to push this book back a few weeks to January instead- but we got here. The edit was once again done by Carol Rushing (a professional editor, unlike typo prone me) and the cover was done once again by Beetiful Book Designs, so I have a gorgeous professional quality book.

Even better, this time the story spends almost no time on Earth, so we get to spend more action with dragons, nymphs, wizards, vampires, and the Shadeworld! I know you liked the first book in the series, but I’m sure you’ll love this one as much as I do.

 

The Gift of The Present: Christmas Gift Haul!

2017 has been special in many ways for me. I published my first book and started an author blog. Come to that, just the fact that I finally, finally got to come back to doing the blogging I so love has been really awesome. So you can guess that my Christmas wishlist had some pretty writer oriented gifts requested on it (some people have requested demanded we introduce wishlists for Christmas presents at least because they aren’t the sort to be happy with anything that is not in their mental wishlist already, and apparently my family is the sort that will negotiate with at least holiday terrorists and require that the rest of us follow along. Yeah, it’s not really my idea, I love the surprise of gifts I actually had no idea about, instead of just not knowing which option you already picked out they’ll give you, but oh well.)

I’ll skip the boring stuff- stocking stuffers are mainly chocolates, other candies, a clementine, and random practical bits like lip balm or socks, so we’ll definitely skip these gifts that are lovely to receive but boring to read a blog post about- and get right to the good gifts by category. I’ve had crafting, entertainment, and electronic gifts, so I’ve organized the list below that way. Have fun living vicariously through my spoils of war!

Christmas Gifts for the Hobbyist

Craft Gifts

Thread scissors are amazing for embroidery, hand sewing, AND machine sewing projects, which is great if you have any of those hobbies. Or, you know, if you just have low quality clothes in your closet that get a lot of loose threads you have to snip. These are great too if you are a hobby sewer because they look super pretty and come in a handy holster so they won’t get lost in the mess that seems to always pile up on crafting, sewing, and hobby tables- especially when they’re in use!

If you’ve ever had to get embroidery thread through the eye of a small needle, then you have been wanting this your whole life. Actually not kidding here, a needle threader is life changing if you ever do any hand sewing of any sort- even if you just sew on a button once in a blue moon this makes things so. much. easier!

Christmas Gifts for Those who Love Entertainment

Movie and Book Gifts


Yes, I have become the kind of person who collects blank notebooks. Thankfully I don’t just have empty books I’ve never filled and I’m actually steadily filling up my collection with sketches and freewrites and poetry, but I still have several empty notebooks waiting to be used. I added this notebook to my wishlist anyway and I’m so glad I got it- it has dragon and is pretty, and the paper can be used for art or writing. What’s not to love?

I know, this isn’t exactly a new release. But I haven’t seen the movie since the one time I saw it in theaters and LOVED it. It was super cute, and the story was interesting, and the animation was satisfying. I was all around a fan of the movie and glad to have received it.

It turns out the story of my favorite tv series, Avatar the Last Airbender, actually continues after the last episode in a series of comics. I know, I must have lived under a rock to not know this already, I’m ashamed at how behind the times I am too. Anyway, I found this out and have bought a few one buck comics at the local comic store, but I don’t go past the store very often and I don’t ever want to ask the shopkeeper for help finding a particular comic because somehow that is stressful to me, so I figured instead it would be best for me to collect the multi comic collections wrapped up as three volumes. I received the first of these as my Christmas present a few days ago, and I’m looking forward to gathering the rest!

Electronics Gifts

So, why would an author need a hardrive that can store four whole terabytes of information? Honestly, I actually write enough that this insane amount of digital storage is really useful for me. Plus I take photos for blogging and such, so that’s handy. PLUS, and this is really important, I’m still working on figuring out video editing so I can eventually start up a Youtube channel. I’m not going to commit to an official release date to a channel because you know and I know that whatever date I write down I will be extreme waaaay past deadline on it, so I don’t want to disappoint you by promising it will happen by a particular day in the first place. Suffice to say it will happen, and having something that can store all that will be super useful.

I just know for certain in my gut that this will change my life as a writer. Think about it- I could be painting my nails while I am dictating a book. I could dictate a manuscript in half the time of writing it all out, with less typos than my own writing. (Yes, I know even Dragon makes typos, but I am sure I make even more- my editor is a patient soul who deserves the highest praises for fixing all my technical mistakes.)

Yes, I did receive a wireless mouse. The story of the mouse is that our house has just one working mouse, and five people who borrow it. So, obviously, no one can get the mouse when they want it. This means that I do hours of writing and editing work on the stupid tiny trackpad attached to my laptop. I guess someone was just tired of going without a mouse themselves and decided to give everyone their own to end the great mouse war, but I am just glad that I can now do computer work a little more comfortably!

Christmas Gifts for Makeup Lovers

I got just a few beauty gifts this year, but they were very good and very worth planting the idea in your ear so you have it in mind when the next friend’s birthday rolls by. For this one I’ll also throw in my favorite stocking stuffer gift I received!

So, what gift do you give to the person obsessed with nail polish? Well, every nail polish lover must have at least one bottle of holographic polish. Holo polish reflects rainbows, and this bad boy managed to put on a solid holographic finish in just two coats, which is a total win for any glitter type nail polish really. It is not super cheap, but it works and it is free of the top most common toxic chemicals found in most drug store nail polish brands, so I’d say it’s worth it except I didn’t actually buy mine so I really have no right to say that realistically. I still will though because, holo.

This is a solid shampoo, which is weird. It also claims to be worth the same amount of shampoo as a full 24 oz bottle, which is crazy. But it smells good, lathers well, hasn’t stripped or greased my hair like some of the Lush solid shampoos have, so I’m psyched by this discovery.

Christmas Gifts for The Sporty

Or Gifts For People who Workout Just to Stay Healthy

Running socks make all the difference between an okay run and a great run (does a great run even exist though? Sometimes it almost feels like I’m actually having fun while running, so maybe. I still hate the getting out the door to just get going and feeling tired and gross afterwards though so I’m not a complete run loving monster.) These running socks are purple, high enough so the back of the shoe doesn’t dig into my ankle like most shorty socks leave me exposed to, and it’s made of natural wool so it doesn’t hold onto that obnoxious funk sweat wicking polyester fabrics have a problem with.

Yes, I did in fact ask for water inflattible dumbells. They are life changing if you love weight training but travel a few times a year because hotel gyms tend to have cardio equipment and nothing else. These are great for on the go workouts and they work well in my house filled with worryworts who’d be stressed by heavy weights living in the house all the time. They are the top reviewed water filled travel weights on Amazon as well so that sold me on this particular pair, and apparently it sold my family member enough to choose this as one of my presents!

Present for The Haul

So there you have it! These are all the gifts I got for Christmas this year. I’m really glad for all of them. It’s a little sad that I don’t get completely surprised by my gifts like I used to- because everything changed once the gift list became mandatory in my family- but there’s still some benefit I guess in knowing you won’t get a single present you want to return. Unless, of course, they are super expensive leather ankle slippers that claim to fit size Women’s 10-11 but can not even be squeezed onto my size 8 feet. Those will be returned, so they don’t count for this list because they failed me. Every other under tree gift I got is listed here and they were all awesome.

How did your holidays go?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Even the Grinch can’t find a reason to hate it

The Christmas season is the greatest

Presents shining under a decked out tree

And sweet treats made from secret family recipes

But most of all the only thing I need

Is to spend some time with the people who love me

 

Holidays in Many Ways

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Today was the office holiday party. It was a bizarre experience- I’ve taken on a great job working with books all day. I actually really like the job. It’s a very decent and human place to work with total understanding of needs to take time off (unlike every retail job ever), I can be as social or unsocial as I like, and did I mention they have holiday parties? I don’t mean like the kind of awkward parties some offices have where all the junior staff are expected to cough up the money for everything, but instead it was a nice real party where I could just show up and enjoy myself.

Not that I’m saying my previous jobs have been awful. Just that I really like this job and there’s a lot of actually nice and friendly people who work there.

But as tempting as the wonderful comfort of a great job with a great work atmosphere is, I still am working towards being a full time writer supported fully by my work. I’m enjoying my work, and enjoying the holidays. I’m just still determined to not allow myself to enjoy this forever.

I don’t particularly know why I shared this post with you. I want you guys to know that I’m still writing, and I’m working towards writing even more, but I’m not writing as fast as I’d like right now because I also have a pay-the-bills job on my plate. Which I suppose makes me the same as 80% of all authors. So maybe I won’t post on the blog every day from now on and focus on spending more of my writing time writing books.

But in the meantime, no matter what kind of writing I’m doing, I’m also enjoying Christmas, and I hope you enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate.

Wowza Weekend!

This weekend I took a rare break from writing. In fact, I did the unthinkable, and actually treated my Saturday like a true weekend non-working-at-all weekend. It was almost unthinkable for a daily writer like me to take some time when I’m close to deadline, but it’s the holiday season! Time to have fun sometimes! (Also, don’t freak out about this, I’m still moving right along and will publish “PS The Dragon Fights” Completely on time.)

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Just waiting for the event was pretty fun actually. The boats on the dock were pretty decked out and fun to see while we waited for the actual event.

The decorated boat “floats” that passed by during the event were even cooler though, with a lot of interesting decorating themes.

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The angel was my favorite, but there were a lot of great themes this year. Including the brightest menorah I may have ever seen in my life!

What holiday fun are you getting up to?

Men and Domestic Abuse

pexels-photo-626164I know, that’s a super cheerful title, huh? Sarcasm aside, I really do think this is an important topic. Well, I guess you can kind of tell that, the whole crux of the plot of my first book was a daughter dealing with parents that involved a female abuser married to her male victim. Because of that, I ended up doing a lot of research on adult men in abusive relationships like the character suffered through, and I found that it’s actually a very common (though silent) problem.

It’s not a very fun thing to think about, but sometimes I like to read about things that are important too, and I think my readers feel the same way.

According to the CDC (as reported by Huffington Post), one male is the victim of domestic abuse every 37.8 seconds. And they aren’t the only ones who think it’s a problem. So if it’s one in four American men being abused at least once in their lifetime, what about the rest of the world? The Guardian reports that 40% of all domestic abuse victims in the UK are men- and that’s not including underage boys in their teens, just full grown being abused by their spouse, partner, or other person they are living with. The Toronto Sun goes so far to say that “Domestic violence against men is frequent and significant, and a rarely acknowledged fact.” And there’s Australia, where the campaign One in Three for male abuse victims claims as many as one in three Aussie men are victims of abuse.

Probably the most disturbing reality of male abuse victims is that most of us haven’t heard of them. You probably can’t name a male abuse victim safe house in your state, or even your whole country, while shelters and safehouses abound for women who have suffered the same life threatening fear and abuse. Male abuse victims can be maimed by revenge acid attacks, and beatings, and castrations, and even rape or murder- all of it not because they have done any crime or wrongdoing but because they started a relationship with an abusive terrible human and now that they’ve become a target. It’s not so easy for any abuse victim to leave their abuser.

If you follow discussion boards online set up for abuse victims you may hear stories of men wanting to leave, but their girlfriend or wife or stalker threatened to call the police and claim the abused victim was actually the one doing the same things, and when faced with the chance of going to jail for something they are innocent of doing they have another incentive to stay and continue to be a punching bag.

It’s also easy for anyone to say that if a man is getting beaten up or otherwise hurt by their partner then they should defend themselves. If you think about it though, if the victim can be charged for assault for just standing there and taking the abuse and attacks, they definitely can be charged for protecting themselves or fighting back.

It’s a hard topic to talk about. I’ll leave out links to more graphic resources, but if it’s a topic that’s of interest to you there’s plenty more material you can dive into to learn more about male domestic abuse victims. In the meantime though, if I can leave you with only one sentence on the topic it would be this, “When we talk about domestic abuse, please remember to categorize abusers as abusers and victims as victims instead of painting it as men are always the abusers and women are only ever the victims.”

Now if you or someone you know is suffering from abuse, keep in mind that there are resources out there for any gender or sexuality of victim: emotional support, and even financial support, is out there for you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch puppies and kittens online now. I’ve had enough of reading and writing about abusive situations for now.

 

Spooky, creepy, and a little dark: Family Inflamed

NIKON D5100Family Inflamed is my first book. I wrote it when I was frustrated, and scared, and mostly very frustrated being sick and stranded sitting in my chair staring out the window at the world just living life while I barely had the strength to walk over to pick up some snack bars every few hours instead of walking over and getting a good hot meal at the dining hall every day. I was grumpy, and a little dark, and I was too tired to do anything and couldn’t really even think straight but I could still get very very bored. So I explored the dark side of the internet a little. I thought a bit about not so pleasant things in the world.

The truth is I’m kind of famous in my social circle for being a bit of an optimist. My first book is definitely not cheerful in any way though. There’s a lot of dark themes going on in there. Full trigger alert: there’s rape, and domestic abuse, and death, and murder, and mental illness. It’s a dark kind of story. I think it’s interesting and my beta readers thought it was interesting and a book definitely worth reading- but don’t read it if you are in the mood for something fluffy and cheerful where the good guys save the day. I was a little tired of all the books aimed at teens that talked about dating and popularity and were just kind of silly when I was a teen, so this is a book that fulfills that craving for reading about real people with real issues. Don’t worry if that sounds too harsh for you though, it’s not all bad- after all, the dog lives in the end.