03 October 2012

Book Review: Violet Midnight

Damn Lynn Rush for another amazing story! I have got to stop reading new series when they first come out, because I absolutely HATE waiting for the next book to come out to find out what happens next.

We are introduced to a new world of vampires and vampire hunters in Violet Midnight. Emma Martin is a strong young woman dealing with the normal college routine... well, normal except for the detecting and hunting vampires part. Emma isn't quite the normal girl she pretends to be. She's strong, she fights well, and she has a few other surprises up her sleeve. She's alone, however, in her battle against the dark - or so she thinks.

When Jake Cunningham sees Emma fighting, he realizes that she's the answer to his two year quest for answers about who and what he is. More than that, she's perfect for him, and he can't quite help himself when she feels so right to him and so right in his arms.

When Jake's family surfaces with its dark legacy, the couple must fight for their love in an unexpected way.

Overall, I enjoyed the story line. I wasn't very surprised by some of the characters' behaviors (I won't say who) and I felt that (even with the great backstory) the romance built really quickly. But the pace was great, no slowing or lagging, and Rush handled the twists beautifully. 

05 September 2012

LOOK Challenge

So. I promised yesterday that I would post the sneak peek of one of my long-standing, still working on, in process novels. This was part of the LOOK challenge, where my dear and beloved friend, Jen Wells, called me out.

I'm finally following through on my promise. It's not much, but a little snippet.

From an untitled work, about five sisters who are witches. It's from the perspective of one sister, Aradia, who used to work for the FBI as a profiler and left because her abilities and her work didn't mix. Aradia lives in a cottage in the woods with her dog, Branwen, and her cat, Samhain. This scene takes place the morning after one of her sisters called in the middle of the night. Maera, the oldest, asked to come crash with her after going through really bad breakup.

After placing fresh linens on the bed, I lit a lavender and sage candle, hoping that the lavender would help to soothe her frazzled nerves and the sage would cleanse any lingering negative energy that she might bring in with her.  The queen size bed looked cozy and inviting with its purple and blue comforter and its multitude of pillows. The oak furniture had been freshly cleaned and oiled, and the lace curtains in the window fluttered in the soft breeze. I purposefully chose a room that faced to the north, so the sun wouldn’t shine in and wake Maera. She is most assuredly not a morning person. I started to walk out and then stopped.  I crossed the room to a small, handcrafted table in the corner. Approximately 3 feet high, it was bare on top with a drawer and a cabinet in it. Checking the drawer, I found all the necessary elements for Maera to set up a temporary altar for her stay – several small altar cloths, candles and candleholders, a small sage bundle and a small seashell, and a box of matches. Closing the drawer, I double checked the cabinet, to find that it, too, was well stocked with altar supplies – several different God and Goddess representations, a small copper wand with a citrine gemstone atop it, and a small black-handled athame in a leather sheath. Smiling at both Branwen and Samhain, who were watching me, I took a final look around.  Satisfied that I would not have to add anything, I left the room.
I brushed my teeth and dressed in jeans and a comfortable linen shirt. Braiding my long auburn hair into a single plait that fell down my back, I sighed. I stared at my reflection in the mirror.  My blue eyes stared back at me from my fair complexion.  My slightly round face was devoid of blemishes, except for a smattering of faint freckles across my nose and cheeks. I pulled myself to my full height of 5’4” and eyed myself in the mirror.  Noting that I was paler than usual, I briefly debated applying makeup, but decided against it. Nothing a little time getting sun in the garden won’t cure, I decided.  Walking back into my room, I sank down into my oversized armchair to pull on my socks and my work boots. I laced them tightly, then laughed as Branwen snuffled at my face. 
“Now, Bran….  It’s time to do some yard work. No playing yet,” I laughed again.  Branwen looked at me from her soulful brown eyes and placed a paw on my knee. Knowing I was being suckered, I decided to appease my loyal companion. Reaching under my chair for her rope toy, I dangled it above her head. 
“Ready?” I asked. She barked in response. I heaved it through my bedroom door and down the hall and she scrambled after it. Samhain watched her from the bed, then jumped down and padded down the hall after her.
I walked down the hall into my airy and bright kitchen. I loaded the dishwasher and got it running, then went into the little storeroom that functioned as a gateway between the kitchen and my backyard. Containing mostly shelving of glass jars storing dried herbs, as well as a long work bench with hanging space above it for the drying process, it also held some of my gardening equipment and, most importantly, some of Branwen’s outside toys. Getting my gloves, gardening tools, and my herb basket, I reached for her Frisbee, too.
“Oh, Branwen… Momma has your Frisbee!” I called into the house.
Frisbee is a very pleasing word to Branwen’s ears. She peeked around the corner into the storeroom and saw it in my hand before perking up. She trotted in after me, leaving Samhain bewildered in the doorway. I tossed a catnip mouse into the kitchen for Samhain, who chased after it gladly. Branwen followed me outside into the yard. I tossed the Frisbee for her some, before settling down to do some weeding, trimming, and harvesting. 
Humming to myself as I worked, I gathered some fresh lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, and bay leaves. I was working on weeding around my comfrey when Branwen gave out a short bark. I looked up to see her standing alert, looking into the forest. Following her intent gaze, I peered into the trees, but saw nothing that would have gotten her attention. Picking up everything, I walked over to her and pulled off a glove. Placing a hand on the top of head, I looked again in the same direction, stroking the softness of her fur.
“What is it, girl? What do you see?” I murmured. 
Branwen barked once again and sat. She looked up at me, expectantly. I closed my eyes and searched again, this time with all my senses, to try to understand what she was telling me – and then I felt it. An energy trace, very faint, but off from everything else. I couldn’t place it; it was completely unfamiliar to me. I breathed deeply and grounded and centered, my hand still atop Branwen’s head. Going very still, I reached out to the edges of my property, to the wards and protections I’d set in place the day I’d moved to this idyllic property, wards and protections I worked on routinely to keep them strong and in place. None of them were disturbed, so no one had trespassed. And yet, that faint dissonance was still present, just beyond the boundaries of my property, going into the forest. 
“Well, Bran,” I began, “I guess you’re just going to have to keep a look out. It’s not coming to us, but we should be prepared, just in case.” I gathered everything, including her Frisbee, and started towards the house. Branwen looked into the forest again, then followed after me.

Well, I hope you enjoyed it!

04 September 2012

Call Out.... postponed.

Recently (why, just last week) a dear and wonderful friend, whom I consider to be a sister, damn near called me out on her blog. How so, might you ask?

Why, I'm so glad you did.

You see, she posted this wonderful blog about the LOOK challenge.
I know, it seems harmless. Fantastic even, for we get (thanks to the LOOK challenge) a sneak peek at her novella, Gypsy Magick. For those of you still catching up, Gypsy Magick is a novella sequel to her first work, Magick Charm. And if you haven't read that, then why the hell are you still here? GO TO AMAZON. BUY IT. READ IT. You will be so much better for it.

I digress.

If you scroll down, past the lovely sneak peek, you'll see a list. A list? Yes, a list. A list of people she is challenging to share a sneak peek of their work.

And now we come back full circle. CALLED OUT. Perhaps you think this a mild overreaction. You could be correct. In a parallel universe.  You see, I am so overdue finishing two separate works at this point, it has become a running joke. A JOKE, I tell you.

Hence, I've been called out.

So, later today, after doing some editing for a wonderful up and coming author (well, and after taking a nap, because I still haven't gone to sleep yet from an overnight shift), I will be posting a sneak peek of one of my two novels. Both of which are untitled. And I haven't decided which one to post yet. I'll sleep on that.

I love you, J Sunny. :-) But I will get you. Just wait.

28 August 2012

New Nephew!

Meet Jonah!

That is all. :-)

Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blogosphere. 

One of my favorite authors, Jennifer Wells, just received this award. If you aren't familiar withe her work, shame on you! She is the amazing author behind Magick Charm and Practically Dreaming, both available at Amazon.com. She was kind enough to share the love and nominate me.

So, the rules for accepting this award are as follows:
  • Link back to the person who gave me the award.
  • Answer the following questions.
  • Nominate ten bloggers for the award.
  • Link my nominees to the post and let them know about the award.

Now, for the questions!
What is your favorite Christmas/festive movie?
The Nutcracker Prince. I love the ballet, too, don't get me wrong. It's amazing, especially if you get to see it at The Kennedy Center. When I was younger, we moved around a lot because my mom was an officer in the USAF. We lived in northern Japan (Misawa Air Force Base) for 3 years. This is where I discovered the movie, at a Shoppette not far from my house. I rented the hell out of this movie, every chance I got. I love the music (I listen to it all the time) and visually, it's a wonderful representation of the story of The Nutcracker Prince. It's one of the few kid movies (besides Disney, let's be real here) that I still own and quested to find on DVD. Yeah, I found it. That's right. Booyah.

What is your favorite flower? 
Crap. What is my favorite flower? Hm. Well, I love those roses are yellow except at the top of the petal, where they're more of a red/pink. I call them fire roses, cause I have no idea what they are actually named. I love moonflowers (I used to grow them on my balcony in my apartment. Boy, I loved how they smelled in the evenings.) I guess that's them.

What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?
Chai Tea. Regular iced tea is a close second, but I am totally addicted to chai. Yum.

What is your passion?
Reading and writing (they go hand in hand, don't you think?) I'm a (self)published author.  You can find my collection of poetry, Pieces of the Soul, on Amazon. I'm an editor (my poor editees, I think I make them crazy), and I probably ready somewhere between 75-150 books a year, depending on what's going on. Which reminds me, I'm behind this year. All that editing! I am slowly also working on a novel (yeah, yeah, yeah Sam and J Sunny. One of these days.)

What is your favorite time of year?
When it isn't blazing hot. No, seriously, I can't pick one part of the year as my absolute favorite. I love spring because I love to see how everything comes back from winter. I love how blue the sky is in summer and the beautiful days you can have (just not the ones that feel like you're in a sauna). I love fall because I love the changing of the leaves. I love winter because I love how blue the sky is - but different from summertime - and the crispness of the air. 

What is your favorite time of day?
I'm with Jennifer Wells: Night. I am so not a morning person, either. Just ask any of my coworkers. If I haven't had some of my chai yet, I can't even talk to them. If I'm cranky, they tell me to shush and drink more of my chai to be be human. I am such a non-morning person that I just bought a Keurig to take to work. Chai all day long? Yes, please!

What is your favorite physical activity?
You are joking, right? Huh. Well... I do love to swim. Not in the laps and laps kind of way, but splash around and cool down and have fun kind of way. You know, Marco Polo and all that. I also do like to take walks when the weather is nice. It's a shame you don't count crossword puzzles as a physical activity. When you're stumped, it seems awfully physical. Course, that could just be me throwing the pen and the white out across the room...

What is your favorite vacation?
One where I can relax, sleep in some, take pictures, and read! Yeah, I know. I'm easy. :-)

Here are some of my favorite bloggers and my nominees for the Sunshine Award:
5. Jean Murray, over at Wicked Romance
6. Kara DeCarlo, over at Kara Paints
7. Nes Mulheren at Between Occupations  
8. Amber, Head Pixie, at Swamp Pixie Herbal
9. Kym at Thinking in vain

31 July 2012

Book Review: Collision

In Collision, we're introduced to Sienna Wolfe, a fairly reasonable and practical woman whose world is turned upside down when a golden-skinned alien crashes in her backyard. In saving him, she unwittingly sets herself on a collision course with the US military and another alien force plotting to enslave the Earth. What is a girl to do? Why, rally the troops, of course!

I think what I enjoyed most was seeing the development of Sienna as not only a warrior, but a leader, and the recognition that being a leader requires hard choices. Sometimes she surprised me with her choices, but I never felt like the choices she made were uncharacteristic of her. Rae does an amazing job keeping Sienna's development believable and true to who she is in the context of her changing world.

And let's not forget the relationship she has with her new love... smoking hot!  There are other, equally enjoyable, characters that give this novel some depth. All in all, an enjoyable read.

Alas, Berinn Rae had yet again made me regret starting a series right at the beginning... because now I have to wait to find out what's going to happen. Hopefully, I won't have to wait too long. Right, Berinn?  :-)

09 April 2012

Politics Make Me Crazy

I am not one to race to my blog to decry the latest political event, mostly because I am not a die-hard blogger. Nor do I consider myself to be remotely politically savvy, as trying to negotiate the intricacies of our political system can give me a headache sometimes.

However, as a woman and as a voter, I'm having a bit of a WTF moment. In the last year (hell, in the last few months), there have been articles and blogs and sound bites about potential legislation, legislation that has been signed, or legislation that has been repealed that give me significant pause.

First, I'd like to know exactly - at one point did the religion of someone that I don't know get to determine what I can (or cannot do) legally with my own body? At one point did another person's religious background get to decide what was fair or not in my life?

I don't have a problem with religion. I am more of a spiritual person than a strictly religious person, but would support the person down the street's rights to their own beliefs without batting an eye. What I do have a problem with is religion driving the political machine.

When you start talking about the state of Colorado overwhelmingly (by more than 70% of voters) vetoing a personhood law, that Virginia has tabled, for the next year, whether they will enact a personhood law, and with Oklahoma next on the list, it's getting a little insane out there.

The Governor of Wisconsin has taken the issue of the law and women beyond biology and into the realm of economics by not only limiting access to abortion services and sex education, but also by repealing the Equal Pay law there.

When exactly did the focus of this nation shift from getting out of debt to the rights of my vagina? We are in a recession, right? Debt out the wazoo? An unemployment rate of around 8.2%? How is legislating the hell out of my reproductive rights (and now ensuring that I will earn a lower wage, should I ever lose my sanity and move to Wisconsin) going to fix any of that?

If someone out there has a rational answer, I'd sure love to hear it.

07 April 2012


This is from one of my favorite internet comics, Sinfest. I cannot count the number of times that I have looked at the things I wrote at some point in the past and shuddered in horror. HORROR, I tell you. It's completely impossible to be objective about one's own poetry. Instead, we rip it up, tear it down, and generally want to hide it from the world.

Why did I publish a book of it then, you ask. Well. That's a damn fine question. I honestly just wanted to have a pretty looking, nice, clean hardback to give to my mom. Really. That's how I ended up publishing Pieces of the Soul. Kind of silly, hm?

I mean, there's one or two that, in retrospect, I'm kind of proud of and I can feel okay about it. But that's pretty much it.

How many of you can look at your work objectively? And how on earth do you do it?

28 March 2012

Book Review: Wasteland

Lynn Rush has packed one heck of a punch with Wasteland. David, whose mother used him to negotiate a deal with Lucifer, is half-human, half-demon, with a contract to find whoever his Master tells him to find (called a Mark). Recently released early from a hellish punishment a few years early, he's set on the trail of his newest Mark. Instead, he mets Beka.  Beka, on the other hand, is a Guardian. Her soul purpose in life is to protect humans from demons. Her job, when they meet, is to protect the Mark that David is hunting. When they meet? The chemistry is instantenous and off the charts.  The only problem is that David's punishment was solitary confinement - of the sensory deprivation kind - and to give in would mean the end of his humanity. Once David and Beka meet, the chemistry and the challenges that face them keep you turning pages, devouring until the end. Then? You are quite impatient for the next book! I don't want to give anything away, but Lynn Rush definitely had me going for a minute, unsure what was really happening and if they could make their love work. David is strong and honorable, but sensitive to whether or not he is worthy of love - or of a second chance. I'm not usually a fan of first person perspective, but Lynn made it genuine and believable, without drowning us in David's internal thoughts. The sizzle between David and Beka is palpable and vivid; you can't help but root for them to find a way. My only question is this - when do we get to see them again, Lynn? How long do we have to wait?

27 March 2012

Book Review: Ruined

Kinley Baker has created an intricate and vivid world in her novel, Ruined. The mythology surrounding the world's development is fresh and unique. More than that, she's populated this world with rich and amazing characters. Jessa is endearing and warm, with a quiet inner strength that has you rooting for her from the beginning. You find yourself waxing and waning with her emotions, cheering her on. A couple of times, I caught myself fussing at her for some of her decisions, which just made her more real. It took some time for me to warm up to Vale. In the very beginning, I felt like punching him, hard. But, clever Kinley Baker opens your eye to who he is. He is everything a good leader should be, with a thread of vulnerability that endears him to you. There are still a few moments where you want to punch him, but he wouldn't be a good male lead otherwise. And this is just the two main characters. There is political intrigue, overlap from other worlds, and several other endearing characters that I cannot wait to read more about soon (in case you were wondering, Kinley Baker, that was a hint.) If you're looking for something with a unique feel, you're going to want to pick up a copy of Ruined.

26 March 2012

Book Review: Journal Through Your Grief: Guided Journal Handbook to Work Through Loss

As a mental health professional, grief is a fundamental part of any healing process. We carry grief for long periods of time and it changes us in many ways, some subtle and some not so subtle. Mostly, however, we struggle to work through it and move forward. We struggle to know how to help someone we care for who is grieving.

I hesitate to say that this workbook is simple, because it's not. It gives you prompts to journal about some very precious memories, some very deep feelings, and some unresolved thoughts and feelings. However, it is simple in that it allows you to be yourself, and to express yourself, in a very honest way.

Robyn Lindsey provides 30 journal prompts that are thought-provoking and that touch the heart. More importantly, they touch the grief that is inside. She offers several different ways of approaching the prompts, to take it at a pace that is comfortable to each individual, while still allowing them to deal with their grief.

This would be a great tool for any mental health professional, as well as anyone who is working through grief issues. It's currently available in both paperback and in Kindle format on Amazon.com