Thursday, September 19, 2013

Who moved my heroine?

I write about heroism.  I write about strength and characters who are willing to give up everything for what they believe in.  I write about characters who grow from the ashes of pain and rise above it to make a difference.  But often we don’t feel as if we can do that in our real lives.  I think about the person I was twenty years ago – when I had no other option but to be strong and passionate.  I didn’t know what stability or happiness looked like.  All I knew was that I had to keep pushing. Keep climbing. Keep fighting.  I didn’t know where I was going or what I’d do when I got there.  I just knew I had to get there. 

And I did.

                I’ve enjoyed being stable and normal and blending in.  It was something I’ve never experienced before and I deserved it.  But over the last couple of weeks I’ve realized there’s a fighter inside of me that’s been hibernating.  She was so tired and so exhausted, she needed to rest.  She didn’t need to fight anymore.  But she’s never really disappeared.  Unfortunately, I’ve managed to forget just how strong she is.  I’ve forgotten how much of a difference she can make and the empowerment she gives me.  She is the only one who has the ability to fill my heart with confidence and a true purpose.  And I’ve missed her.

                Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had to dig deep and make some tough decisions.  I’ve had to re-evaluate what I believed in, what is important to me, and what is and is not worth fighting for.  And in the process I’ve resurrected the fighter in me.  When you have nothing to lose it’s easy to fight.  It’s easy to give everything inside of you.  The reward is much higher than the risk at that point. 

But what happens when you have a lot to lose?  Could you find the strength to do what’s right?  Would you be willing to lose someone or something important to you?  Standing up for what you believe and what you know is right is a lonely fight sometimes.  It’s scary.  You’ll come out on the other end with bruises, cuts, and broken bones.  But the important part is coming out on the other end.  When you are strong enough to stand on your own and show the world who you truly are and what you believe in, you will see the truth about others very quickly.  The mirror you provide others will be frightening to some, empowering to some, and downright crazy to others.

                If we aren’t passionate about something, our souls remain asleep within the cushion of comfort we surround ourselves with by following the crowd, keeping our mouths shut, and blending in.  The best thing you can do for yourself is really and truly be alive.  Awaken the real fighter in yourself and make a vow to make a difference.  When the world comes crashing down on you, it’s because you’ve decided to step out of line and stand up for something.  It means you’re doing something meaningful.  And that means you are truly a fighter.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Myrtle Effin Beach, baby!

This coming Friday I’m headed to the beach.  And not just any beach.  It goes by many names: The Armpit of the South (no, not Columbia although you’re close), Myrtle Vegas, Redneck Riviera, Grand Stranded, Spring Break Beach – but according to Southerners it’s called Myrtle Effin Beach, baby!

Just when you think America can sink no lower than the travesty that is Honey Boo Boo, you travel to Myrtle and realize, we’ve just scratched the surface.  If Jorts, airbrushed t-shirts, American flag bikinis, mid-drift tanks, and wife beaters aren’t redneck enough for you – you’ll be happy to know that Camaro hair you thought died out with the 1980’s was only hibernating.  When the surly aromas of hairspray, stale beer, and grease waft up from every bar, beach towel, and dually truck you know you’ve reached your destination.

It’s place high school kids flock to for graduation every year to drink their brain cells away, puke their guts out, and win white t-shirt contests.  In a word its….MAGICAL.  That’s right – dirty, smelly, faded green carpet covered, and your key chain heaven – Myrtle Beach oozes teenage hormones and midnight skinny dipping pool competitions.  I was one of those wide eyed and bushy tailed teenagers.  I threw toilet paper off the balcony of the SandCastle.  I convinced some random dude to buy us beer, and slammed my finger in a very non-sanitary door, and woke up each morning trying to remember the awesomeness that had ensued. 
It’s a rite of passage down here.  Graduation Week.  And for the rest of our lives whether we are married, a loving mother, or the CEO of Google - we will return to those tainted streets with heavy hearts and wide smirks as we literally drive down memory lane.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never stayed at the Beach Colony which is our chosen hotel for the weekend, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s Myrtle Effin Beach and anything goes.  And that my friends is why going to the beach with your girlfriends is always a good idea.  Here are 5 other reasons we all need a girl’s beach weekend at least once a year:

1.       Yoga pants are a viable outfit option for any time of the day or outing.
2.       Your girlfriends won’t comment on the beach-frizz brillo pad hairdo you’re rockin.  Cause we’ll be rockin the same look.

3.       You can ugly-snot-cry at any point with no repercussions or judgments.

4.       All diets are forfeited the moment you pass the Welcome to Myrtle Beach sign.
5.       That Mickey Mouse towel you can’t quite get yourself to throw away will fit right in.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hearken the Haterade

Thankfully I happen to enjoy a nice cold glass of haterade, but this hated haterade isn't coming from readers or bloggers or even the spider I just killed on my floor.  It's coming from...ME!  After six panic attacks, three rage induced psychotic episodes (not really), eight boxes of Red Bull and one very understanding best friend/editor, I finally decided to give myself a much needed break. 
So I watched four seasons of Supernatural in one sitting because...well...look at him!

attended three girls night outs,

and spent an entire weekend making a book trailer for Forsaken.  Which brings to me to this very moment where I am…. What’s that?  Are you stuck in the last sentence?  If so, then YES! YES! I made a book trailer for Forsaken!!  And I can’t WAIT for you guys to see it!!

Now, that we’ve gotten that out of the way…  The long awaited fourth installment of the Daughters of the Sea, Hearken, was to be released September 24th (brace yourself - here comes the ‘but’), but I think that a quality book is better than a quick release. Wouldn’t you agree?  Now, don’t go throwing yourself off that bridge just yet! I’ll be posting teasers, quotes, pictures, and teeny hints until the book releases on… November 5th!  I know it seems like FOREVER, but it’ll be here before we know it!
This will give you that much needed time to go shopping for fall, watch Titanic six times, obtain a drinking problem, send subtle, passive aggressive cues to your worst enemy, slash said enemy’s tires, and read the first three books in the series!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hearken PROLOGUE!!!!!!!!


Due to unforeseen circumstances (namely sleeping ALL DAY) yesterday, I must ask for your forgiveness in not allowing you to bask in the awesomeness that is the prologue for Hearken until today!  Hopefully after you read it you'll be so excited about the book, you'll forget all about my inability to post things when I say I'm going to!!



                Crystalline beams of light streamed down from the ominous full moon above; illuminating the tense battle of wills unfolding far below. The rolling waves stilled their relentless cadence as the warm wind stalled over the sand dunes.  A blanket of apprehension settled upon the landscape as every starfish, horseshoe crab, and seagull held their collective breaths.  Among the people gathered, one figure in particular commanded the attention of the lustrous moon rays more than any other.  Beneath her steely exterior, a sinister inferno began to coil and writhe; fueling the powerful essence she harbored within.  The bitter taste of hatred pooled in her mouth at the sight of her own flesh and blood defending the abomination of nature he had christened Anastasia.  Her rapid heartbeat pulsed with the promise of ridding this world of such a traitor.  As the cool waves of essence slithered toward her tingling fingers, she looked on as Keto commanded his attention.
                “You will not take her!” Peleus roared.  His fragile body shuddered with his own labored breathing as he attempted to shield his daughter from Keto’s building wrath. 
                “Fool,” Keto cackled at him with dark amusement.  Her emerald eyes flashed beneath dark brown hair overflowing with green highlights.  The sand beneath her feet shifted and boiled as it struggled to absorb the amplified presence she radiated.  With an insidious glance, Keto swiftly conveyed a silent message to her ally.  The corners of Selene’s mouth twitched in anticipation as she acknowledged Keto’s unwavering loyalty with a slight nod.  It had been decided many moons ago that Selene would possess sole jurisdiction over her son’s damned soul.  She slowly trained her cunning, silver eyes onto the rotten fruit of her loins. 
                His muted gray eyes had once shone silver with his Aura ancestry.  Now they softened momentarily before seizing up with defiance as his thoughts registered her deadly intention.  She had witnessed this reaction more times than she could count.  And for good reason.  As her direct descendent, Peleus knew all too well the consequences of challenging his mother.  His first punishment had been swift and severe; followed by absolute banishment.  However the iron grasp that Thetis had on his every waking thought had refused to relent.  Selene could only stand watch as Peleus continued down his path of betrayal, eventually marrying his meddling sea witch and sealing his doomed fate.
                Seventeen years ago, she had sensed the exact moment when he committed the highest form of betrayal.  Just as the first time, she felt a portion of her being as it soundlessly withered and disintegrated into the recesses of her soul.  She could feel the purity of her brethren shrivel as the unborn fetus was formed; a mutt of a creature harboring her precious Aura essence.  An essence forever compromised by the flaccid and decrepit lineage of the Daughters of the Sea.  The moon goddess had fought long and hard to protect the very essence he continued to foolishly abandon.  Vehemence continued to simmer within, and she had resolved to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.  Creating an alliance with Keto proved much easier than expected.  Her long buried resentment fumed below the surface, and she had been all too willing to strike out at her former leader and sister, the beloved Thetis.
                Unfortunately, the death of Thetis at the hands of Keto only succeeded in fueling Selene’s contempt.  The overwhelming regret at affording the sea goddess’s demise to someone else consumed her mind.  Once she had Peleus within her grasp once more, she’d had every intention of killing him…but chose imprisonment instead.   Astonishing to even her, an inner struggle commenced within while she spent year after year paralyzed by indecision.   No matter the intensity of her hatred and desire for revenge, she was unable to take the life of her only son.  Recently, that inner turmoil was abruptly overshadowed by the knowledge that the prophesized Anastasia had indeed returned.  
                Forcing her thoughts back to the present, her callous gaze focused in on her wretched son and granddaughter now standing before her.  Her previous indecision dissolved into a boiling black cloud of hatred, and any remaining hesitation was pushed aside as she lifted her arm.
                “No!” Anastasia screamed in disbelief as a thin line of silver energy fueled by the moon above exploded from Selene’s fingertips; piercing his chest.  When the last evidence of life faded from his crippled form, Selene sighed deeply and let her head fall back.  She stared at the bright orb hanging above her with apathy.  Such a pity.  At one time she had grand aspirations for her son.
                As a boy he showed incessant determination, continuous strength, and the leadership skills expected of a direct descendent of the moon goddess.  The Auras idolized him and showered him with unabated worship.  She had bestowed power, prestige, and most importantly, her essence upon her only son.  In return she was gifted abandonment, cunning deceit, and an unending supply of betrayal.
                “Dad, no!” Anastasia collapsed on top of her father as she visibly shook with grief.  Selene rolled her eyes at the sickening farewell scene before her.  The wretched mutt should thank her for affording her even a couple days with Peleus.  How could she be capable of even an ounce of grief?  She knew nothing of true loss. 
                Before Selene could take Anastasia’s life out of sheer annoyance, Keto stepped over the unmoving form of Peleus and rested her hands on her hips; a finger tapping impatiently. As Anastasia’s tear stained face hardened and she began to speak, Keto’s terse expression froze as if she’d been turned to stone.  As the color drained from her face, Selene could taste the uncertainty and confusion flowing from her as the girl spoke with a wisdom beyond her years.
                “…and power must be used to protect and nurture those who depend on you.  Those are the qualities our Order covets in a leader.”
                As her words hung precariously in the cool, night air, a paralyzed Keto was unable to speak.  She simply stared numbly into Anastasia’s turquoise eyes; brimming with conviction.  Chagrin washed over the moon goddess as Keto actually allowed the mutt to stand.
                “Finish her off!” Nadia screeched at her, and stomped the sand impatiently.
                “Thetis…?” Keto whispered in disbelief.  With her gaze still fixed on Anastasia, she was oblivious to Nadia’s growing hysteria.  Selene rolled her eyes once more at Keto’s infinite ignorance.  It was simply more evidence that proved the goddesses of the sea were irrevocably flawed by weakness.  She resolved herself to the fact that if she wanted something done, she’d have to do it herself.
                “What are you waiting for?” Nadia growled.  With madness blazing in her golden eyes, she appeared behind Anastasia and drove a dagger into her back.   Keto stumbled backwards and continued to gawk with disbelieving eyes at the limp body now lying before her in the sand.
                “You’re welcome,” Nadia hissed at Keto.  Selene turned as three figures emerged from the sand dunes several yards away.  The first two she recognized as descendents of Hecate - true witches of the Underworld.  The third’s appearance was indistinct as it blurred and shifted.  The rich auburn hair blowing across her shoulders shivered and blinked into a blonde so pale, it blended with the moon rays shining on it from above.  Blazing blue eyes caught Selene’s and recognition hit like a tidal wave.
                Amphitrite.  An Amphitrite currently shrouded in secrecy.  Unfortunately for her, Selene was able to see straight through her well-built illusion.  What reason could she possibly have to shroud her appearance?  Curiosity and mistrust twisted Selene’s features as she observed Amphitrite unleash a stream of blue energy at Keto, who immediately woke from her bewildered trance.  A slow, menacing smile lifted the corners of Keto’s glowing eyes as she winked at her ex-sister.   Also not fooled by the loosely worn veil, she effortlessly deflected the attack with a flick of the wrist.
                At that moment, three young Tydes followed their elders onto the beach.  Their determined expressions gave way to alarm as they surveyed the chaos unfolding before them.  With the expertise only a centuries old goddess could have, Selene turned her attention to the Warriors of Luna - her ten protectors obediently awaiting her command.  Her gaze met those of Thalia and Bronson, her two strongest warriors, and she swiftly planted her orders into their thoughts.  As they walked up the beach toward the three Tydes, she commanded the others to descend upon the two witches who were already struggling against the much more powerful Keto and Nadia.
                A blinding flash of light out of the corner of her eye gave Selene pause, and she swung around ready to fight.  Her thoughts stilled and her blood cooled as her own moon essence spoke to her from across the beach.  When she identified the source, her entire world narrowed and pulsed with renewed rage.  She watched with casual indifference as her warriors were easily thrown to the sand like rag dolls.  She gave no thought to the fate of her warriors as she considered the drastic turn of events currently glaring back at her.  With her Tyde friends safely reunited on the dunes, a very much alive Anastasia slowly twisted around.
                Her pivotal transformation became exceedingly obvious as her now silver-blue eyes stalled on Selene before finding their final destination in Keto.  An undeniable presence, suffocating as an avalanche, traveled across the sand and slammed into the moon goddess.  A streak of panic climbed up her spine as she glimpsed the necklace dangling from the girl’s neck.  A necklace she believed had been destroyed…the orb that had once belonged to Peleus.  As it rested against Anastasia’s now shimmering skin, the evidence was mounting:  the unthinkable had indeed occurred. 
                Selene faintly registered the sound of someone shrieking at her, but nothing could steal her attention from the blasphemy striding towards them with a knowing, confident smile.  With each step Anastasia took, the remaining protectors, along with Keto’s Sirens, were rendered helpless by a cloud of bright blue energy.
                “Looks like this won’t be as easy as you thought, Keto.”  Anastasia’s even tone and strong stance was further proof that she was no longer a meager descendent.
                “Nice work, Pasha.”  Selene’s attention slid to the Prime of the Sons as he took his place next to Anastasia, greatly favoring his left leg.  With the snap of his fingers, the beach erupted into violence, followed quickly by inevitable carnage. 
                Rage and anger solidified into something infinitely darker as Selene veiled herself and crept back into the shadows.  Her eyes flitted upwards to the beacon of light hanging in the sky, now mocking her with its disloyalty and power.  She hadn’t expected this.  She hadn’t prepared for the events that transpired mere moments ago.  For the first time in history, the heavy hand of fate had gifted a Chosen one her destiny months before the age of reckoning.  Selene knew this could only mean one thing.  She would need a much larger force to counter fate’s transgressions.  And if fate wanted a war…a war Selene would deliver. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

World War Z, X, and F

Just to let you guys in on an inner struggle I have, I thought I'd pour my heart out on the internet.  I have a good feeling many, many other authors feel this way, but there are many days I get extremely overwelmed.  Not so much about the actual writing part - but everything else that comes along with it!  Social media, marketing, making connections, making plans, keeping up with sales, expenses, and my to do list. 

I find myself constantly having to step back and ask myself - what is the #1 thing I want to get out of this whole author thing?  Because it's easy to take things for granted and compare yourself against everyone else (which you'll never measure up to in your own mind) and sink lower and lower until you're floating down the cry-me-a-river river without a paddle - sitting in a stinkin pile of your own self-pity.  Believe me, it's not a pretty place to be.  Yet I find myself on the edge of the cliff, peering over and wondering why I'm still climbing upward when I could just let go and fall into the abyss with no effort whatsoever.

But then I remember, this never and still isn't about 'winning' or 'money' or the number of likes I have on facebook or how many conferences I can go to.  It's much, much more personal than that.  Therein lies my problem.  Writing for me is such a release; a journey to a place inside my heart where I can't be touched by the outside world.  A place no one can ever take away from me and then sharing that place with my readers in the form of stories.  That's what it's about for me.  I'm not good at deadlines.  I'm not good at writing challenges or announcing my word count every day.  I wish I could be more like that, but my inner Gollum comes out and my preeeecious (aka: anything I write) becomes so important to me I selfishly hoard it and live in it and do the backstroke in it for weeks before I want anyone else to know about it. 

I have moments of self-doubt because regardless of my writing abilities, if I don't market myself correctly or enough, I won't progress in the industry like I hope to.  So the two sides of me are constantly in a battle of wills - one telling me to meditate and let my mind wander so those creative juices have somewhere to flow.  The other screaming at me to get on facebook! tweet on twitter! make some bookmarks! share some links! make some pretty pictures to share on said twitter and facebook!! make a storyboard on Pinterest! research book events! read other authors' blogs!  That nails-on-a-chalkboard voice (whom I picture as Betty White which raises the odd factor even further) pushes me until I'm one panic attack away from a straight jacket.  So until I can find that healthy balance, I'll likely regurgitate my worries, doubts, and inner nuclear wars for you fine people to read. 

How'd you come up with that, KDay??

Let's play a little game.  A little game where I give you all the answers and you sit back and enjoy!  Box that up and sell it in your stores, Hasbro.  Unfortunately I haven't come up with a Shoots & Ladders game based on Daughters of the Sea (Shrouds & Reveries?), but I have realized this brain of mine has a way of sucking inspiration out of anything and everything I hear, see, feel, taste, or dream up in my sleep.  I just chose a character's name (who will be introduced in Hearken) from a random rap song on the radio while driving my car.  I heard the name and only had enough time to think "Aha!" before a full fledged conversation sprouted out of nowhere and I had half a chapter written in my head.  It's a miracle I still have the ability to be a functioning part of society, really.  It's hard to concentrate on cooking, checking out at target, or driving down the road when the fictional characters living in your head suddenly shove a new scene in your face.

So anyway, I'll leave my embarassing, public conversations I have with the people in my head for a different post.  I've listed out some of the settings, characters, names, and other random tid-bits from the books and where I got them from!  Have something else you want to know about?  Leave a comment with your question!

Finn's last name: Morrison
Based on Jim Morrison's last name from the The Doors.  That dude proved genius can come from a big slice of crazy with a scoop of borderline personality disorder.

Anastasia's nickname: Stasia
A couple years back, I was introduced to a friend of a friend's sister who's name was Stasia (short for Anastasia).  She was actually a twin and they were in fact Greek!  For some reason, her name stuck with me and it just seemed perfect for my heroine!  here's a pic (in true stalker fashion)

Nadia's name
A gymnast named Nadia Comaneci was an incredible gymnast in the late 70's that had always fascinated me me while I was taking gymnastics (way back in the day).  Although I didn't actually get to see her compete (I wasn't born until '78) she was still a huge inspiration to me.  Much shorter than most girls (like me), she looked much younger (like me) and was very shy (like me) but she became a completely different person once she hit the spotlight - consequently capturing all of her dreams.  That slight transformation taught me a number of things I still keep with me today.

Nicolet's name
My younger brother's fiance's name.  I'm not even sure they'd been together more than a couple months when I saw her name on facebook in the caption of a picture - loved it and had to use it.
I'd put a picture of her, but she is extremely talented in making sure there are no pictures of her on the internet... doesn't she know people want to stalk her!? 

The island where my editor/bff's family originated and still live. It had everything I needed for a setting!
Phoebe's nail polish addiction
Based completely on my own irrational, pointless nail polish addiction.

Finn's 'last supper' food choices
Most of them were based on my husbands favorite foods.

Tina's name
Stacy's sister who actually lives on Cyprus's name is Tina!  She's greek, beautiful and was the perfect muse.

Unfortunately most of her posts read like this...  And I can't speak Greek...

Stasia's surname at birth: Theophanides
Stacy's maiden name

Okay that's all for now!  I'd love to hear any specific questions if you have them!  I'll answer anything!  Well almost anything...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

You Might Be A Southern Belle If...


In honor of the Southern Author Event next year in Greenville, NC that I am out-of-my-mind-excited about I decided to jot down a few things that scream "I'm a GRITS!!"  No, not the delectable corn-based breakfast option found in every kitchen below the Mason Dixon line, but Girls Raised In The South!  Also known as southern belles. 

Now you may be asking yourself - how do I know if I'm a southern belle?  First of all - if you're questioning your southern belle-ism, then you probably need to brush up on your southern belle etiquette.  So, check out my Top 25 "You might be a southern belle if you:" list!

You might be a southern belle if you:
1. Were told every day of your childhood to ‘act like a young lady’
2. Know where ‘over yonder’ is.
3. Have a high appreciation for pearls and sundresses
4. Your middle name is Anne, Grace, or Lynn
5. Know how to use ‘bless her heart’ in twelve different contexts. 
6. Want a guy who goes hunting with your daddy and brings flowers for your mama.
7. Have shot a potato gun
8. Understand the importance of a good pedicure
9. Calculate distance in minutes, not miles.
10. Have perfected the art of being a damsel in distress to get what you want
11. Have been given a handmade blanket.  Every Christmas.
12. Family reunions require renting out a park
13. Know there is no such thing as ‘tea’.  It is and has always been ‘sweet tea’. Don’t get it twisted.
14. Spend all week putting together your GameDay outfit.
15. Own something Vera Bradley
16. Don’t get mad, you get even
17. Always ready to entertain and all parties must be themed or they aren’t worth having.
18. Own a pair of cowgirl boots for each day of the week
19. Can drive a stick shift, change a tire, and do a burn out…in heels.
20. Know every word to Sweet Home Alabama
21. Made lightning bug earrings
22. Have five generations worth of silver
23. Know what ‘silver’ is
24. Know you're worth waiting for.
25. Believe the war’s not over…it’s just halftime.

Have any to add to the list?  Leave a comment and let me know!
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