Two weeks ago, I went to Portland with my oldest daughter. Big cities are definitely not my thing. If you're from Oregon, you know the difference between Portland and the rest of Oregon. If you're not from Oregon, throw everything you think you know about the state out the window.
First, Portland is an entity on its own. The city is crazy, busy, bustling, unique and all the other things you see on television. The rest of Oregon is forest, farms, quiet life, small towns, beautiful coastlines, grand mountains, dry deserts, an abundant rainfall and high pollen count.
The beautiful thing about living in Oregon is that the state has all of those things, AND a big, fun city or two to visit.
For our big city adventure, we took the Max line (a first for us), visited Powell's City of Books (also a first- I know, weird!), saw a play starring Silas Weir Mitchell from Grimm (and got lucky enough to meet him!), watched the Grand Floral Parade running through downtown, and shopped of course! And this was just in two days.
Even though my happy place is somewhere quiet (what can I say, I'm an introvert), I do enjoy branching out and exploring something new. I don't go to Portland often, but this trip was definitely one of the best I've had since I explored the Saturday Market with my mom years ago.
So, don't forget to be brave and daring every once in a while. We can't all be superheroes, but we can have super days. Explore. Do something outside your comfort zone. Take in a show. Try a new restaurant off the beaten path. This is a big, fun world!
I was recently asked about my writing inspiration. What inspires my ideas? My current series is about vampires, werewolves, and a little bit of magic. What authors inspired me? How do I come up with my titles? How do I come up with my story ideas?
That last question is probably the one I get the most, and it is one of the most difficult to answer. Why? Because I get my ideas from so many places, from books I've read and movies I've watched, and just random ideas that pop into my head.
When I was a kid first writing stories, they were all high fantasy written in 3rd person. Why? Because that's what I read! The first big book series that I read at age 10 was The Belgariad series by David Eddings. A big undertaking for a ten-year-old. After that I read anything and everything I could, but the books that really stuck with me were the Dragonlance books, particularly the original trilogy, and The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist. The Belgariad and Riftwar books both had a young boy learning magic and growing, all amidst war, politics, and a greater battle for good. The Dragonlance wasn't a coming of age story, but was still centered around a key group of characters doing their part, for the greater good. There's obviously a lot more to all those books than just that, but the key here is the characters. I loved all of these books not just for their fantastical stories, but for their memorable characters. And I'm not even talking about the main characters. Some of my favorites are those other characters (Jimmy the Hand from Riftwar and Silk from Belgariad, to name a few).
Needless to say, these books shaped my ideas of writing, even down to the style I wrote. As I grew older I read more and more books, and started branching out into other genres. That was initially a difficult concept for me, but I found I actually liked other genres. Someone introduced me to Janet Evanovich and I fell in love with her hilarious Stephanie Plum books. I read Harry Potter and Rick Riordan. Yes, I even ventured into YA with Twilight. I also found a love for paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Laurell K. Hamilton was my first discovery, but I quickly found Keri Arthur, Karen Marie Moning, Patricia Briggs and others.
The more I read, and the more I diversified the types of books I read, the more my writing changed.
While I tend to write darker stories (vampires are evil bastards) it doesn't mean I don't love a happily ever after (cue candles, flowers and romance). So, how do I get my ideas? Where do they come from? Life. Books. Movies. Conversations. News. Television. Dreams. My brain.
How do artists come up with their paintings or sculptures? How do designers get their inspiration? Writers are artists. We just use words to paint our pictures.
Bloody Defiance, Book 3 in the Isabella Howerton series will be available on Amazon Kindle starting April 10, 2017!
Read the book blurb here:
“Haven’t you figured it out yet, Isabella?” the vampire asked, suddenly flashing his fangs at me. “Everything comes down to blood. It’s the beginning of all life, as well as the end.”
Izzy is sick of vampire games, but what can she do? Kidnapped by Henri Donovan, she has been elevated to unwilling Queen of his vampires. It’s not a role she would choose, but thanks to vampire control, she doesn’t have a choice. Or does she?
Armies are being formed.
Weapons are being created.
Humanity is at stake.
Far from the werewolves in an unknown location, Izzy has no one to rely on but herself. Each choice is deadlier than the last and defying the vampires might cost her more than just her life. It may cost her very humanity.
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I just wanted to give my loyal readers an update on book 3 of the Isabella Howerton series. I've been going through the last round of edits with my BETA readers. The book has a title, obviously, but it was not an easy thing. It started as Bloody Dreams, then bounced around from Bloody Desires, Bloody Decisions, etc. before finally settling on Bloody Defiance. I have the title for the fourth book ready, but really had a hard time with this one.
The book also has a cover, which I will be revealing very soon along with a release date.
Book 3 is told from two different points of view, which is a considerable difference from my other books, but needed to happen. I think you'll like the other POV! I was about halfway through writing this book when I realized I really needed the other POV. So, I went back and added it in.
Keep watching here for release date info and the first peek at the cover. Oh, the ideas I have for book 4... and beyond!
Thanks again for reading! Don't forget to share the love! How do you do this? Tweet my book, Share it on facebook, write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, and most importantly, tell your friends! Word of mouth is the best assistance to an indie author.
After a bit of time away from the writing/editing/publishing/posting/Tweeting etc. scene, I'm back. My mom passed away just after Thanksgiving, and needless to say it's been rough. She was, of course, one of my biggest fans. And not afraid to tell it like it was!
I miss her so much, words escape me at times. She was strong, beautiful and full of life, and she left this world far too soon. This past Thanksgiving I spent by her side in the hospital, watching the parade and what seemed like a never-ending dog show. Christmas Eve, which was always with my mom, sister, and our families, was the worst Christmas ever without her.
I've been going through her things, cleaning up and organizing. I came across some pictures in an album just before I was born. It was Christmas, and my mom had just lost her own mom. There was a hand written note beside the pictures, stating what a sad Christmas it was without Mom. I lost my mom at the same age my mom lost hers.
Life, as they say, goes on. I cherish the pictures and keepsakes that belonged to my mom. I wear her necklace now, almost daily. I have been overwhelmed with heartache and a ridiculous amount of stress. But things are slowly returning to normal. Slowly. I still cry thinking of her, and missing her. Sometimes my tears are at the most inopportune moments- like in the random meeting at work that thankfully no one noticed. (I hope!)
Today I opened my computer and started reading through my BETA reader notes for book three. I had already looked at the first several chapters from this particular BETA reader, but I decided to read through the entire book of notes. And I'm so glad I did! Reading her funny commentary and pet names for some new characters brought back some of my joy and creativity. There's a reason I started this writing journey. I LOVE to write. This is my happy place.
Well, back to editing/writing/tweeting/posting etc. Book three coming very, very soon. I promise!
The entire event was four hours, and while business was much slower than in previous years I was told, I still learned a lot. Here are my tips to make the most of your book signing event:
Thanks for reading! :)
Have you ever had a friend who inspires you? That person who, just by their actions, inspires you to be better. The person who says something, or does something, and you decide on something right then and there in your own life. Maybe it doesn't even seem like something that fits, but for whatever reason, that person inspired you.
I've had a few of those people in my life. One in particular was a friend I used to work with. She would come in to work with the most delectable cupcakes and treats, because she simply loved to bake. Then, one day, she decided Culinary School was the path for her. She moved, enrolled in school, and became an amazing baker. At the same time, she decided to get fit and make health and wellness a top priority. An odd combo, some might think, to have a passion for baking sweet treats and want to be healthy. But she did it!
This amazing woman inspired me to pursue my dreams of publishing a book. It seems like an odd thing to inspire a writer, but it did. Why? She was fearless! She had a dream, and she grabbed it with both hands and didn't let go. That is inspiration! That is determination! That is something we all could strive to have just a little more of.
So, I quietly pursued my writing dream. Over time, I broke out of my introverted little shell. I published one book, then another, and am currently halfway through book three. This summer I will be part of The Northwest Author Fair in Lincoln City, Oregon, along with 34 other authors. Pretty exciting stuff for a wall flower.
I've attracted more unique friends along the way, and even inspired others. I've had a few people come up to me and tell me they're writing a book. Recently, a friend of mine decided to move to L.A. to pursue his dreams. He was one of my go-to people for bouncing writing ideas off of, but I wouldn't be a very good friend if I didn't support him in his endeavors. At the wonderful going away party we held at work for him, he quietly turns to me and tells me I was part of his inspiration to leave and embark on a terrifying journey. He had a dream, and watching me pursue my dream encouraged him to pursue his. Talking about my fears and the obstacles I overcame in my pursuit, encouraged him to go for it.
His words meant the world to me. We had spoken many times on many subjects, but somewhere in those sometimes random chats, I had triggered something in him. He was leaving his comfortable job and life, to really take a risk in pursuit of his dream. That is true courage in my book! These are truly the types of people I wish to surround myself with. They are the knights of this new world. They are the future star ship captains, exploring galaxies.
So, go out there and watch for inspiration. Seek out those creators, explorers and dreamers. You never know when one of them will inspire you, or perhaps you will inspire them!
Well, it's a new year and it's been almost a year since I published my first book, Bloody Beginnings. Many things have changed in the pats year. Besides publishing two books in the Isabella Howerton series, I've created this website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and learned a lot about the world of publishing.
I haven't been active on social media the last few months, and a lot of that is due to work and the rest due to the holiday season. My family spent Christmas in California bouncing between Disneyland, Universal Studios and Hollywood, with a trip to visit my uncle in San Diego. Oh, and of course we saw Star Wars! Twice.
This year should see book three published. I'll try not to take too long! That's my main goal. Keep writing! Short. Simple.
Always remember to follow your dreams. Walt Disney did it, and look what he created.
Today is Thanksgiving here in America, where we stuff ourselves full of turkey and mashed potatoes. It is also a day of giving thanks. In a year, so much can happen. But on this one day we slow down, spend some time with those we love, and reflect on everything we have to be thankful for.
So often as the days, weeks, months go by, we lose sight of what is important in life. It's not just the big things, but many times it's the little things that brighten your day. Family, friends, a full belly, a roof over your head, a kind word, a hug, a random text that makes you smile, kindness from a stranger. Give thanks for the little things as well as the big today, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not.
I am thankful for all of you out there reading this. You took time out of your busy life to stop for a moment. So, I'll keep this short!
A year ago around this time, I had finished writing Bloody Beginnings and was working on fine-tuning the cover and figuring out the self-publishing world. Alone. I didn't tell anyone what I was doing, because fear kept me quiet. It took me until January to get the courage to push that "publish" button, and I am so thankful I did. It's been almost a year, and it's been an amazing journey so far. So Thank YOU! Thank you to my family and friends. Thank you to the people who support me on this crazy journey. Thank you to that first Amazon review- I don't know you, but you made a huge impact on my life with your few kind words. Thank you to the new friends I've made! Thank you to my readers! You encourage me to continue. Any time I get frustrated because my proof copy isn't coming out right, or editing is getting me down, or I really want to write the ending of the book, but I'm only on page 10, YOU are there for me. You may not realize it, but every time something has gotten me down, one of you has been there. That first review. A random message. Running into a fan who is anxiously awaiting the next book. Hearing from an excited reader who marathon-read my book in three hours. Thank you for urging me to continue.
I couldn't have done any of this without you!
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.