Friday, September 27, 2013

My Better Half...edited

We writers are pretty high maintenance. takes a village to keep us functioning. Editors having to reassure us--don't worry, you're doing great. Agents who talk us down over the phone during submissions. Critique partners who tune in when we need cheerleading only on certain months weeks days. But today I want to give props to the one person who takes the biggest brunt of all my drama---my husband.

I'm SURE he didn't know what kind of avalanche was to follow in our lives the day I said, "I think I want to write a book." From patiently trying to understand when to give suggestions and when to just nod in agreement, learning that a full request from an agent was a perfectly good reason to party like an animal, wrapping an arm around me when I cried over a fictional character, to pretending publishing isn't slow at all and telling me I'm the awesomest writer ever...I definitely could not make it through this journey without him.

Thanks, hun. And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

I'm only happy when I'm with you. Home for me is where you are.

EDITED: I have to share what came to my hundred long-stemmed white roses (my favorite). ONE HUNDRED! More proof my husband is by far the better half. :) Love you, babe! And thank you...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How To Date A Nerd Blog Hop!

Guys. I can't believe this book is finally here! I've read it and love it so much. And this week I'm participating in the blog hop to help promote its awesomeness. Go Cassie!

For the hop, all I have to do is answer this question:
What is the nerdiest thing about you?

It could be the awesome Downton Abby ringtone on my phone. Or the fact that I shaved my boys' heads and painted arrow tattoos on them like Aang for the opening night of The Last Airbender in theaters. all know how much of a Browncoat I am, but did you know I get to stare at this every day--it's on the wall of my writing room: (Best. Gift. Ever. by the way. Thanks, Em!)

"Brownie Coats" by Patrick Ballesteros


But when I asked my husband what's the nerdiest thing about me, he didn't hesitate. "It's the Battlestar Galactica double tank you hide in the closet for special occasions."

Oh. Yeah.

I won't mention the matching green cargos and BSG dog tags to go with. Ahem.

All right, nerds. Now drop what you're doing and read HOW TO DATE A NERD. You can find it on Goodreads here!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


CATCH, a 20,000 word story from my friend Michelle D. Argyle, was released yesterday and I get to share an excerpt with you all...after you drool over the gorgeous cover, that is.

When eighteen-year-old Miranda chases a purse snatcher on the Las Vegas Strip, the last thing she expects is for the pursuit to turn into an extended game of hide-and-seek. All Miranda wants are the old black and white photographs buried at the bottom of her purse. They’re the only things she has left of the grandmother she never knew. But how much is she willing to put on the line to save them? And is it possible she’s falling in love with a thief?


Miranda spent the rest of the day with her stomach in knots. Everywhere she walked, she kept darting her eyes all around. There was no way Ollie could find her with no clues. He didn’t even know she would be on the Strip today. A part of her wanted to know how good he really was at this hide-and-seek game. Would he find her inside M&M’s World? The arcade? One of the dozens of shops their mother was dragging them into? Needless to say, Miranda was not in the mood to shop. After lunch, they wandered into a shopping area at The Venetian, and she fought the urge to whine. She was eighteen. She could humor her mother for a few more hours.

“They have gondola rides here,” Gabriela said excitedly.

They took the escalators to the second floor. There were shops everywhere, all made to look like they were in Venice, and a ceiling painted and lit to look like a soft summer sky dotted with clouds. The smell of food and cigarettes drifted through the air. As she had done all day, Miranda looked around for Ollie, but she knew there was no way she was going to find him—especially if she was with her family.

“I think I’ll sit this one out,” she said as they neared the ticket booth in the main part of the center.

Gabriela looked over at the canal where they started the boat rides. A few gondolas floated by, filled with people who looked a little bored. “You sure?” she asked Miranda. “This looks kind of fun.”

Miranda waved her hand. “Give me the camera and I’ll take your picture so you don’t have to buy one of those overpriced ones they take.”

“Oh, good idea.” Gabriela handed over the new camera she had purchased that morning—a simple point-and-shoot instead of something fancy.

Miranda could tell Julia was having second thoughts about the ride, and gave her an evil glare she hoped would be interpreted as “Just let me be alone for a few freaking minutes.” Julia seemed to take the hint, and they went over to the ticket booth as Miranda started walking around to find a good spot for pictures. She crossed a bridge over the canal and walked around until she was on a little overpass overlooking the loading area for the rides.

Finally. Alone. She snapped a few pictures of them waiting in line then pulled out her phone. There was a new message she had missed. Her heart started to beat faster. It was Ollie.

Any hints for me today? It’s only fair since I gave you one yesterday. I don’t even know if you’re inside a building. Or on the Strip. Or what!

She smiled. She shouldn’t be enjoying this. She shouldn’t, shouldn’t, shouldn’t. But she was. Thinking carefully, she typed one word.


Was that too vague? She suspected if he knew Las Vegas as well as she guessed he did, he would know where she was right away. She was obviously a tourist, and he’d jump to the first touristy thing in Las Vegas that had to do with a canal.

Luckily, the line was pretty long, and the rides lasted about fifteen minutes apiece. That gave her maybe half an hour depending on how long that line lasted. She typed another message.

You’d better hurry because I won’t be alone much longer.

He didn’t answer, and as the minutes ticked by, she grew more and more impatient. Las Vegas was big. Maybe he was so far away it would take him hours to reach her. Finally, after about twenty minutes, her mom and sister boarded a boat with a few other people. She snapped as many pictures as she could, and they were soon gone down the canal and out of sight.

Well, it was now or never. Turning in circles, she desperately hoped he was somewhere. She’d settle for five minutes with him. One minute. Anything.

There were people everywhere. Constant chatter and occasional laughter reverberated all around her. She took her hands off the railing in front of her, remembering that thousands of people had touched it before her. Sometimes she hated public places more than anything else. She couldn’t think too much about it.

“Having fun?”

She spun around and there he was, standing right in front of her. He was in a suit again, like yesterday, but today his sneakers were black instead of white. Still, they were sneakers. Surprisingly, though, they looked great with the outfit. Relaxed and comfortable. When she looked into his eyes, she swallowed a lump in her throat and took a few steps back. He had light-colored eyes, but it was difficult to tell what color they really were under the artificial lighting. A little blue and a little gray, maybe some green. There was a faint hint of scruff on his jaw, barely noticeable. He really was as good-looking as she remembered. His nose was big, but the longer she looked at him the more it suited him. She tamped down her rising emotions, remembering all the pain other good-looking guys had brought her.

“You found me,” was all she could manage to force out of her mouth.

His lips curled into a smile. He kept his eyes on hers. “That was the easiest hint ever. Probably as easy as my Olives hint.”

Just like we’re finding excuses to meet, she thought to herself. Her mouth was getting drier by the second.

“So?” she said, gaining a little courage. “Where’s my prize?”

“Your prize?” he laughed. “Didn’t find you?”

She looked at his tie. It was a pretty yellow color checkered with thin brown lines. It reminded her of sunflowers. “I thought the whole point of this was to get my stuff back,” she said boldly, and held out an open hand, waiting.

His smile stayed put as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out her small wallet. He placed it gently into her hand, and she tried not to think too much about how warm his skin was as it slid against hers. She noticed some thick, raised scars along his knuckles.

“Thought that was pretty valuable,” he said. “You might want it back.”

She opened it up. The money was still there. Her debit card, her and Julia’s monorail passes, her driver’s license. He hadn’t taken a thing. She looked up. “I don’t understand. I really just don’t get any of this.”

“Isn’t it obvious?” he asked, stepping closer. His feet were close to hers now, and she fought the urge to step back once more. “I like to play games, and you’re fun to play them with.”

“Is that why you stole my purse? To play a game?”

His smile fell and he shook his head. “No, that’s not why I took your purse. That had nothing to do with who you are, but this … whatever it is we’re doing … it has everything to do with you.”

She didn’t know what to make of that, but his words and the sincerity and sadness in his voice made her breath catch in her throat. She looked down at the canal, expecting her family to show up at any second. She looked back at Ollie. He had his hands in his pockets now.

“You’re keeping my purse so we can keep this up, aren’t you?” she asked. “You’re going to hold on to those pictures for a long time.”

He didn’t answer. He seemed excruciatingly young at that moment.

“If you return everything to me,” she said carefully, “I promise I’ll keep talking to you.”

He let out a soft laugh. “So, you’re laying down the terms now, even though I’m the one who has what you want?”

She supposed that was true. “You don’t want anything from me, then? I guess I’ll just get over my losses and move on. Keep it all, and if you want my wallet back, here you go.” She held it out to him, surprised at her response. It seemed the only way to try to read him at the moment.

He looked down at the wallet and frowned. “I don’t want that. It’s yours.”

“So is the rest of my stuff you stole.” It was frustrating how much she was starting to like him and hate him at the same time.

“The game is still on,” he said as he watched her lower the wallet. “It’s your turn next.”

Before she could answer, he turned and walked away. “I’m only here for three more days!” she yelled out as he disappeared into the crowd.

Turning, she saw that her mother’s gondola was unloading at the dock. Perfect timing.

Sounds awesome, right? You can find out more about CATCH and how to purchase it here. Congrats Michelle!

Friday, September 20, 2013

My latest fake cover

I have a fun tradition that when I finish drafting a book, my husband designs a pretend book cover for me. It motivates me to revise that sucker so that maybe one day it will be a real hold-it-in-my-hand book.

Well, revisions on this one are taking FOREVER because I have a couple other projects that have precedence right now. But that's okay. I'll get 'er done. Soon. Hopefully.

In the meantime, check out my pretend book cover for my work in progress, tentatively titled The Becoming Of Us:

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

CassaStorm Release!

The much anticipated CassaStorm comes out today! It's the third and final installment from the Amazon Best Selling Series by Alex J Cavanaugh. Stop by Alex’s blog this week and comment for a chance to win a Cassa mug, mousepad, magnet, and swag!

I asked Alex if he was going to keep writing, and if so, what are we likely to see from him next?

He said, "I haven’t decided if I will keep writing or focus on my music now. I do have an idea for another space opera though. Even made an outline! So who knows?"

Ooh. Another space opera. I sure hope he takes the plunge and writes it!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

"An exciting, nail-biting read which sweeps the reader off on adventures in another galaxy."
- Nicua Shamira, Terraverum

Find CassaStorm:

Find Alex J. Cavanaugh:
Website  Twitter  Goodreads

Congrats Alex!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Summer I Found You...cover reveal

Check out the gorgeous cover for Jolene Perry's THE SUMMER I FOUND YOU coming March 2014 from Albert Whitman Teen:

*stares at all the pretties*

Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
Aidan planned on being a 'lifer' in the army and went to Iraq straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life.
When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?

You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Congrats Jolene!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thank You

I just wanted to drop in and thank everyone for their encouraging comments on my IWSG meltdown post last week. I am doing so much better, and I knew I could count on my fellow bloggers to lift me up.

I'm no longer wallowing in self pity. In fact, not only did I get my writing mojo back, but a couple of days ago I wrote a scene that has become my most favorite scene I have ever written in any of my books. No kidding. I've reread it over and over again so many times it's embarrassing.

Isn't it amazing how fast we can go from the lowest low to the highest high just like that? Thanks for sticking with me in the ups and downs. *hugs*

What are you all up to this week?


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I.W.S.G. Meltdown Alert

Happy 2nd Birthday IWSG!!
So I had a completely different post scheduled for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group, but alas, here I am, minutes before midnight typing away at the keyboard because today has been ONE OF THOSE DAYS and I feel like walking away from this whole writing thing and not looking back.

And I'm scared.

I know this is my dream and I'm finally seeing some rewards for all my hard work but sometimes dreams look suspiciously like nightmares and today I just feel like waking up and forgetting it even happened.

And I'm angry.

Angry that I even started down this road years ago because then I wouldn't be feeling like I am today and crying like a baby and wanting to crawl into bed and jump off the roof and run away and eat a giant chocolate cake all at the same time.

And I'm guilty.

Because I've received so much help and support from family and friends and writers and teachers and agents and editors and I wonder if maybe they've just completely wasted their efforts. Because this person I see in the mirror will never be good enough and her writing will forever be mediocre and embarrass the crap out of everyone involved.

And I'm delusional.

Because when my publisher signed me they said you know you're going to get a lot backlash for this book and I said yes I know. I knew it as I drafted it, I knew it as I revised it. I knew it as I sent it out to CP's and agents and editors. And I told the world to Bring It, because I'm so ready. Except I'm a LIAR because today I am


Maybe it's all this talk of bullies on Goodreads or complaints about whiny authors. Maybe it's because I seem to be doing a whole lot more deleting than typing on my WIP and my outline has committed suicide...death by fireplace. Maybe it's because I am so disturbingly attached and defensive of my characters I might need to see a therapist. Or maybe it's because I'm just plain not cut out for this and should quit while I can.

And I'm so so so doubtful.

About every letter and word and sentence I write. I am such an idiot for thinking I could do this. A scared, angry, guilty, delusional, insecure, doubtful idiot who cries and blabbers like an ungrateful fraud to the core.

But sometimes doubt and emotions look suspiciously like PMS--especially since I mentioned the chocolate part--and so please please please tell me everything is going to be okay because even though right now I probably won't believe it, give me a few more days and I'll look back at this post and your awesome comments and realize I was smoking something because everything is A-okay in ilimaland. I hope.

*Huge apologies for the completely selfish rambling post. Objects in mirror are saner than they appear. I promise.*