Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Gladden Style

We love Halloween here at the Gladden house. Next to Christmas, it's our favorite holiday. Over the years we've built up some fun traditions I thought I'd share today. 

First off...the planning. 

We always plan to get things done early, but we never do. The plan to buy or start making costumes
on Oct. 1st is well meaning, but never happens. Usually, I either buy or start making the kids' Halloween costumes the week of...which is exactly what happened this year. My daughter decided to be Jessie from Toy Story, but the ones to buy weren't great and were expensive, so I ended up making one for her this week. It turned out pretty good, if I say so myself :)

My son really took our last minute tradition down to the wire this year. He'd been saying all month that he wasn't going to dress up because at 11 years old he was too old for it. But, the lure of candy overpowered him two hours before the church Trunk or Treat party and he whipped out his old baseball uniform and went as a baseball player. Thank goodness it still fit! 


We're going to carve our pumpkins this afternoon after we run some errands, so I don't have pictures yet, but we love to carve pumpkins. Or I should say my kids love to watch ME carve their pumpkins. I don't know how I always get talked into this, since my kids are both excellent artists, but I'm usually the one carving Mario or a zombie head out of the pumpkins. 

At least this year I was smart enough to get those little electric tea lights so I don't burn myself trying to light the candles inside the pumpkins. I already did that last night while frying tortillas for dinner. 

Downtown Trick or Treating

Thankfully, we're not doing this one this year. We've gone every year with the cousins since moving back, but the kids always whine because there are super long lines and hardly any of the businesses participate anymore. 

This year we're going to a friends massive Halloween party instead...which I still need to make a snack for. That's on the agenda for this afternoon as well. 

Regular Old Trick or Treating

Even though by this point my kids have way more candy than they need, we'll usually wander our neighbood asking for more candy. This year we're taking the dog, though she's not dressing up. She'd only eat the costume if we tried. When the kids are too cold to keep knocking, we'll head home and watch a Halloween movie in between handing out candy to the trick or treaters that stop by. Until about 9 o'clock when we just turn out the lights and pretend we're not home so we can watch the movie for more than five minutes at a time. 


My kids will dump out all their candy later tonight and that's when the trading begins. Tootsie Rolls aren't worth, just so you know. Chocolate usually demands the highest prices. My daughter will give away gum for free. She has a thing about gum. 


When the candy coma eventually sets in, the kids mosey upstairs to bed and my hubby and I will steal a few of the good pieces of candy out of their buckets when they aren't looking ;) 

Then Halloween is over and we start thinking about turkeys and Christmas shopping and all that hoopla. I love this time of year, and love that Halloween is the jumping off point for the rest of the holiday season. I'm looking forward to all our fun holiday traditions!

Happy Halloween to everyone!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Choosing a #Publishing Track

Choosing what to do with your book baby is a tough choice. You have so many more options that you once did, and choosing the right one for you can be an agonizing decision. 

This is a topic that has been coming up a lot lately in groups I belong to and with other author friends who are nearing the point in their career where they have to make that decision. So, I thought I'd share some of the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing I've experienced and why I've gone the way I have.

Let's break this down by the most common pre-publishing aspects like editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing, and what you'll get with both traditional and self-publishing.



Most reputable publishers will provide editing at no cost to the author. If a publisher wants to charge you for editing, that's a big red flag that you should take your book elsewhere. HOWEVER, finding a good editor is like finding the Holy Grail, and that applies to publishers and indie authors. I've worked with many editors and I can honestly say that only two have done a good enough job that I would work with them again. Don't think that going with a publisher means you'll get a perfectly edited book unless you sign with one of the Big 6. Smaller publishers can't afford multiple edits of a book, so you should plan to do a very thorough read through and possibly even hire an outside editor if the quality of the publisher's editor isn't what you were hoping.


Editing is all up to you when you self-publish. Editing your own work is tough. It's hard to catch all your mistakes. So, what are your options for a well-edited book? Hire an editor, of course, although, really good editors are extremely hard to find. Vet your editor well. Ask for samples of their work, references, and request a short sample edit of your work to test their skills. Many editors are willing to do this.

You can also work out a trade. However, don't just assume that another author can edit as well. Trades can be great, but do your research first. There's also the option to ask a friend. Know a good technical writer, English teacher, etc? See what they would charge you or work out a trade.



Formatting varies by publisher. Some will put a lot of time into making the formatting look nice and others will just do the basics. For ebooks, there's not a lot you can do as far as fancy formatting goes. Print books are different, but formatting is one of the easier areas of publishing (in my opinion), so it's usually not a huge concern with choosing a publisher. If you'd like to see the quality of their formatting, download samples of some of their books to check them out.


Formatting can be learned by anyone willing to put a little time into it. There are great tutorials online, and most ebook publishers have guides for authors that spell out what you need to do. It may be a little time consuming at first, but it gets easier the more you do it. All of your formatting can be done in Microsoft Word, but if you're interested in trying some fancier paperback formatting, InDesign can do some really neat things.

Cover Design


Cover design is hugely important no matter how you publish your book. Most publishers are willing to pony up for a good cover designer because they understand this very well. Even still, having a publisher does not a gaurantee that you'll end up with an awesome cover, but most do a pretty good job. When shopping around, check out their previous covers, and ask about whether or not they're willing to let authors have any say in the cover design. If you're with a big publisher, chances are you will get zero input, but some of the smaller publishers are willing to listen to author input.


Cover design is one of my favorite things to do, but I do have a background in art and graphic design. For those who are not artistic or aren't familiar with GIMP or Photoshop, cover design will be a challenge in self-publishing. Createspace and now even Kindle KDP have cover creating software to help you put together a nicely formatted cover.

You'll still need good pictures or stock photography, though. Fortunately, there are plenty of sites out their to find great stock art fvor reasonable prices. My personal favorites are Dollar Photo Club, Shutterstock, and iStock. If you know a photographer, you can get original photos as well. Just make sure to give credit to the photographer.

And if you're not comfortable putting together a cover, there are some amazing designers out there who work for very reasonable prices, like Tirzah Goodwin. Having a great cover is extremely important, but self-publishing doesn't mean you can't have that.



Marketing. This is probably the area that most new authors will struggle with, and what will push them toward a traditional publisher, but authors need to have realistic expectations about marketing. Most publishers, small or Big 6, have a limited budget for marketing, especially if you're not a top seller. Big 6 publishers will only put their money behind books they KNOW are going to sell tons of books. Newbies won't get much help and will be expected to pull most of the marketing weight. A lot of small publishers (though certainly not all) will put more effort into helping authors market because they need the sales too, but they have very small budgets and most of the work will fall to the author.


Obviously, all the work of marketing is on the author in self-publishing, but you also get the full benefit of your efforts by not giving up royalties. Marketing is hard, no matter what publishing path you take. When you self-publish, you have control over how your book is marketed, how much free or paid advertising is done, and what audience you're targeting. With self-publishing, you also have direct access to your sales numbers, so it's a little easier to monitor how effective your marketing efforts are by watching changes in sales numbers. There's a big learning curve to marketing if it's new for you, but there are many articles and books available to help you figure it out, and other authors are a great resource and source of marketing help as well.

What does it all boil down to? 

For me, I've been doing this long enough and put out enough books, that I'm comfortable finding editors, doing my own formatting and cover design, and coming up with my own marketing plan. I have worked with four different publishers since I began publishing. Some have worked out, some haven't. I currently still have my contemporary romances with a publisher, because that's a new market for me and I felt the exchange of roaylties for their knowledge of the romance genre was worth it. For my YA books, that trade wasn't worth it for me and now I have all my YA books published independently.

I also like having control over my covers, formatting, editing, and how my books are marketed. I put a lot of time into learning more about the publishing industry and increasing my skills in design and marketing. Self-publishing takes a lot of work, but I enjoy doing it, and it's a good fit for me and my books.

Choosing a publishing path is a completely individual choice. What each author is comfortable with doing on their own will play a huge part. Break it down and see what you're willing to do on your own and what you need help with, then decide whether or not that help is worth giving up the percent of royalties the publisher is asking for. Don't jump into either option without knowing what you're getting yourself into.

What aspects of publishing intimidate you most? 

Friday, October 24, 2014

#TensList: 10 Ways To Avoid Writing

Sometimes, writing feels like you've turned into a dog with a bone. You can't stop. You're obessesed. Other'll do just about anything to avoid it for one reason or another.

Why? for me, it's usually finishing a series or facing a deadline that makes me want to hide from my computer. So, what can you do to avoid writing when you need a break?


Watch Supernatural. Seriously, Sam and Dean (mostly Dean) can take you're mind off anything.


Read a book. When I'm really burnt out on writing, I pick up someone else's book and let them do all the work for a while. If it's good, I'll want to write because I've been inspired. If it sucks, I'll still want to write because I'll want to prove there's something better out there.


Do some yard work. Seriously, you'll be too tired to think or write when you fnally sit back down.


Bake. Cookies, brownies, you really need a reason to make yummy snacks anyway? You can always share with your fellow writing buddies in an inspiration session if you want.


Draw. Okay, maybe this isn't for everyone, but use it as therapy to vent your writing frustration. Sketch out an action scene with stick figures. Make your character look ridiculous in payment for driving you crazy. Trust me, it's fun :)


Take some pictures. Whether you're the master of Instagram, only take pictures on your phone, or are sporting a Nikon D-200, take your creativity out of the office and get out and find something that will inspire you to get back to writing.


Break out the sticky notes! Organize your to-do lists, events, thoughts, whatever needs organizing. Forcing your thoughts to stay focused will shut out all those nagging "you should be writing" whispers.


Play video games. Hours gone. No writing done. You're welcome :)


Be social. I'm not talking social media, either. Go have lunch with a friend. Get away from the computer and talk to some real people for a while. You'll be amazed how much it will help with writing drudgery.


If you're really desperate to avoid writing, work on marketing. This will suck up lots of time, but it will be useful! Read some articles, work on your marketing plan.

Get out of your own head for a while and give your characters a break. They need it as much as you do.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shark Out Of Water is Finally Here!!!!

Celebrating the Release of
Shark Out of Water
Date Shark Series (Book 2)
by DelSheree Gladden

Guy Saint Laurent is too busy cursing his sister for roping him into taking over Eli's Date Shark business to prepare himself for the slew of bizarre women he's about to get involved with. This is the last venture he intended to take on, but somehow he's just become Chicago's newest, most reluctant Date Shark. 

On top of dealing with bug-toting, mothering, obsessive women, Guy faces personal tragedy that changes his outlook on life, whether he wants it to or not. He's not sure what it is about Charlotte Brooks that draws him in, but getting her off his mind after a brief encounter proves impossible. 

As Charlotte tries to help Guy deal with his loss, he begins to get the impression she's hiding something from him. He knows he could simply walk away, continue as he always has, but he suspects whatever she's hiding, she won't be able to face it alone. 

Charlotte is the one woman who can capture his attention, but she may also be the one woman capable of breaking him.

Charlotte was breathless when he pulled back, and the plaintive expression on her face killed him, but he had accomplished his goal. He gestured to the IV hooked to her arm and Charlotte stared at it in surprise. “I didn’t even feel it!”
“I told you I could distract you.”
“Damn near distracted me, too,” the nurse muttered. 


Vance was smart enough to see signs that Guy was now on the defensive. He redirected, asking, “Tell me about Charlotte. Why are you having deep conversations with her instead of flirting and seducing her back to your flat?”
Sulking like a child, Guy muttered, “Je ne sais pas.”
“You don’t know?” That seemed to truly surprise Vance. “Well, I suggest you find out.”
“What?” Guy snapped. “That is your advice to me? Find out?”
Vance nodded. “Oui, mon ami. Find out why Charlotte has done what it has taken me years and years to do. Why let down your barrier between public and private for someone you barely know when I had to practically force you to do the same thing today.”
“Why?” Vance repeated. “Because you need to know. You won’t stop obsessing about her until you do.”
Obsédé? Who says I am obsessing over her?”
Vance folded his arms across his chest. “She is in your thoughts so much that you mentioned her name when you clearly had no intention of revealing her to me.” Leaning forward, he looked at his friend seriously. “Guy, I have known you for a long time. You have surprised me today, but I know how you can be like a dog with a bone. You’ll drive yourself crazy wondering what it is about Charlotte that got past your defenses until it either drives you crazy or you figure it out. Given the line of work we’re in, I’d suggest figuring it out.”
“I thought I was here to talk about Patricia,” Guy grumbled.
Leaning back with a smirk, Vance said, “We are. Just had to find something you wanted to talk about even less to spur you on, apparently.” He shook his head when Guy rolled his eyes. “Something else is bothering you when it comes to Patricia. The funeral is tomorrow. You’re avoiding talking about it. Why?”
Guy did not respond right away. His breathing escalated to the point that Vance reached forward and put a hand on his shoulder. “Her parents… they came to see me at the hospital.”
“How did they react?”
Shaking his head, he still struggled to understand their reaction. Instead of answering Vance’s new question, he answered the original one. “They requested I stand as a pallbearer.” His head fell into his hands. “I don’t know if I can. It is too difficult.”
“It will undoubtedly be difficult,” Vance said with compassion, “but it is difficult for Patricia’s parents as well. They see you as the one person who truly tried to help her. I think it comforts them to think of you being there to help her on this one last transition.”
“I don’t know if I can do this for them.”
Vance squeezed Guy’s shoulder. “You don’t have to if it is too much.”
“Not doing it feels like a betrayal of Patricia.”
“Guy, don’t make this about Patricia or her parents. What do you feel comfortable with and how do you want to say goodbye to Patricia?”
That was not an easy question. Guy sank back into the chair. Vance waited with the patience of a saint as Guy forced himself to confront the answers. He had been through so much with Patricia, watched her move forward only to fall so far again and again. She never stopped trying, and he never stopped trying to help her. “I want to help her this one last time,” Guy said finally.
“Then call Patricia’s parents when you get home and tell them you’ll be there.”
Feeling more at peace, Guy nodded.
“Stephanie and I will be there as well.” Vance held his friend’s gaze for a moment longer, making sure he knew he did not have to face the funeral alone. When Guy’s shoulders relaxed, Vance sat back. “Now why don’t you tell me about the day you met Patricia?”
As Guy began recounting the first time Patricia came into the crisis center wanting to talk about everything from the side effects of the medications she was taking to how her puppy would not stop peeing on her kitchen floor, his thoughts returned to Vance’s earlier challenge. Patricia had struck a chord with him, and so had Charlotte, in surprisingly similar ways. He understood why he has connected with Patricia, a struggling and confused young woman, but Charlotte was more of a mystery. What would it take to find out why Charlotte had affected him so much? 

Date Shark (Book 1)


DelSheree Gladden
DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Competing and Collaborating Between Authors

Avoiding competition as an author is impossible. As soon as you release a book, you're up against your friends for sales and notoriety. 

Competition among authors is just a part of publishing, but that doesn't mean we're all out to get each other. At least, it shouldn't. 

The writing community is a tight knit group. As we work on projects we ask each other for advice, critiques, and ideas. We help each other with everything from plots to back cover blurbs and pitches. We collaborate on just about everything, and most are eager to offer advice and help. We're excited for each other when we land an agent or publisher, or when we take the leap into self-publishing. 

How does that change once our books go live? 

In a perfect world, it wouldn't change anything. We'd still be thrilled to see one of our friends succeed, even if it means they're doing better than we are. Lots of writers are still extremely supportive of their fellow writers and will lend a hand whenever it's needed. Some aren't, and that's their loss. 

But even for the writers who maintain their excitement for their friends' success, sometimes it's tough not to worry that their success will lessen ours, or even be a bit jealous when their rankings jump ahead of ours. We're human after all. 

The fact is... we're all on the same team. Yes, it might be difficult to swallow when you're still working to get your name out there when a friend seems to skyrocket to stardom out of nowhere. You're looking at it from the point of view of competition, not collaboration. 

Just like when your writer friends encouraged you to keep writing or query that dream agent, every book they sell encourages people to read. If they're writing in the same genre as you, even better! Readers who love their books will want more. Don't hesitate to support the authors you're competing against. Most authors return the favor, but even if they don't, you're still promoting reading and literacy and that is ultimately to your benefit, and everyone else's. Every book sold, whether yours or not, builds a love for reading. That's the point, right? 

I'd love your thoughts. Do you think competition derails efforts at collaborating? 

Friday, October 17, 2014

#TensList: Top Ten Reasons Writers are Crazy

If you know any writers (which you must if you're here), you probably already know that they are usually a bit strange. Well, here's just a few of the reasons why...


When you're standing in line at the check out counter or sitting in a restaurant and someone inevitably makes a scene because the line doesn't move or your waiter has disappeared, most people look away and pretend nothing's happening. 

Not writers. We may not outright stare, but we're listening closely and catching all the glorious details out of the corner of our eye. Why? Because we love to make our characters lose it. Sometimes over completely silly things like bad food or poor service. Sometimes at the end of a long line of
tragedies. Most writers, however, tend to be introverts, and don't make a lot of big scenes, so we need inspiration for turning our characters into raving lunatics. Just keep that in mind next time you want to lose your cool in public. There are a lot of writers out there. ;)


Ever been stuck in a conversation where the other person just won't stop talking about the most random things? Most people politely listen trying to come up with a polite excuse to escape. What do writers do? Pull out a pen and start taking notes! We love random facts, fun tidbits of knowledge, and bizarre happenings. Why? Because you never know when a story might call for knowledge that there's a guy who's job it is to roam the world weighing a garden gnome to test the effects of gravity at different heights. 


People watching is a lost art for most people. It used to be an actual thing back in the day. Now, it's a trick just to get people to put their phones away long enough to walk from their car to the front door. Writers may be some of the few groups left who still love to people watch. Not that we go around staring at people all day... well, not usually. Why do we watch people, though? It's not just to see how they talk and interact with people so we can write more realistic characters and scenes. We might be looking for our next over model too! Be sure to pick your outfits for the day with that in mind. 


Conversation skills are important, but writers aren't always the best at this particular talent. We may write great dialog, but we're also highly distractible when immersed in a project, and half our conversations with real people end up starting with things like... "I need you to read something for me." or "How hard do you think it is to drag a body in high heels?" or "Which of these sentences sounds better..." 


Speaking of conversations... at least half, probably more, of our conversations take places with people who don't exist. It's not just working out dialog, either. True, I'll repeat pieces of dialog out loud, acting out the voices and intonations to see if I'm getting the right effect, but many writers take it beyond that as well. You get to the point where you find yourself consulting your characters, asking things like, "Would you really do that?" or "How could you do something so awful?" If we zone out while talking to you, don't take it personally. We probably had at least two other conversations going in our head at the same time and forgot which one was taking place in the real world for a second there. 


Writers tend to be contradictory by nature. We have this dual concept of ourselves that on one hand we are creative geniuses to some degree, and on the other hand have this crippling fear that we are utter failures. It's boggling, even for us, but a tough one to shake. Please forgive us when we jump around like crazy to celebrate a great idea or contract, then have to be drug out from behind out desks to face actually letting someone read our work.


Writers may be the only group of people who are selective perfectionists. Our houses may not get cleaned the week we're trying to finish those last blasted five chapters, appointments may be missed, and we may have forgotten to shower once or twice that week, but by golly... every freakin' word in our manuscript will be absolutely perfect! That will likely be the only thing that's perfect, and even that's a big delusion, but we'll certainly work at it until our fingers go numb. 


There's something to be said for becoming an expert on something. It takes a lot of hard work to learn that much about a certain topic. Experts are a writers' best friend, but most writers are not experts on anything, even writing. Sure, there are some writers who become experts on a specific topic while writing a particular piece, but most writers can really only claim to be semi-experts on about a hundred different topics. Why? Book research. We'll research anything under sun, but only enough to make what we're writing believable. We have to get back to writing, after all.


We all know that friend who constantly asks you for advice but doesn't listen to a single word you say, right? Sorry, but a lot of writers are that friend when it comes to writing. We constantly ask people's advice about words, phrases, ideas, and concepts. We take in all the comments and suggestions, and then we do whatever the heck we want, which is often exactly what we planned on doing in the first place. It's not that we don't value what other people say. Most of the time, we already knew what we wanted to do, but just needed to talk through it from twelve different sides before we're sure. It's nothing personal. 


There are times when writers really HATE writing. It's can make us miserable at times, but we still love it. Why? For many writers, it's simply part of who we are. Writing is like an appendage. Even if it hurts or refuses to work properly, we can no more ditch it than we could an arm. Bear with us when we rant about characters and plot holes and endings that fall flat. We may want to quit at times, but we never will because writing is a part of us. 

What are you passionate about that makes you a little crazy?

Monday, October 13, 2014

#Perfectionism and #Writing...

I think a lot of writers will agree that making sure their books are "perfect" is a bit of an obsession. 

We obsess over every word, line, paragraph, chapter... you get the point. We'll research something until our fingers are about to fall off from too many internet searches. Our friends will be sick of hearing about a particular troublesome scene and threaten to throw a book at us if we ask them to read it one more time. 

Having said all of that, I completely agree with Anne Lamott when she said... 

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”

All that obsessing over how we write our books or scenes can really kill a story. When you over think while writing, you second-guess your decisions, which leads to endlessly rewriting particular scenes, changing whole passages to try it another way, or scrapping the whole project. 

Now, yes, sometimes these things have to be done, but not every time you sit down to write. If this is your process, it'll be awfully hard to ever finish a book or story. Every writer has to develop their own process, but here are a few tips I've picked up over the years. 

Tip #1: Whether you like to outline or not, don't limit yourself to sticking to your outline or notes verbatim. If you feel like the story needs to take a left instead of a right, or a U-turn in a whole new direction, go with it. Let your plot develop organically and don't feel like you have to go back to an outline and re-outline after every change. Just write. 

Tip #2: Don't edit while you write. You'll kill your progress if you go back and edit what you've just written. Give yourself some time to let that chapter or scene sit and solidify. Even if you have to reread a chapter or two when you come back so you know where you left off, DON'T EDIT, aside from maybe a few typos. Even when you finish the entire book, don't jump right into editing. Work on something else. Give it at least a week (longer if you can) and come back to it when you have fresh eyes. 

Tip #3: Sending your work out to beta readers (readers who read an early draft in order to give you feedback and suggestions) can be anxiety laden. It always is. Waiting to send it out until your book is perfectly edited and all the holes are filled in just isn't reasonable. Find beta readers you trust to be honest, let them know it's not a perfect story and you need helpful critiques, and hit the send button. There are always problems with a manuscript that you as the author won't be able to see. Waiting until it's perfect just prolongs the inevitable and often leaves you with more revisions to make than you would have had otherwise. 

Tip #4: Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Don't want to put a scene on hold to do a little research? Not sure if what you're writing is possible, but the scene is just begging to be written? Great! Keep writing! You can always go back and correct mistakes. In fact, you usually learn a lot from making those mistakes, and then you don't make them as often in the future. It's tough to get into a writing groove sometimes, and if you're in one, let yourself just get your ideas down on paper and worry about refining later on. 

Tip #5: Accept the fact that your book will never be perfect. That's just how it is. There will always be something you think could have been better, or should have been changed. Reviews will make you doubt scenes or chapters or endings. It will never, ever be completely perfect...and that's okay. 

What perfectionist habits keep you from getting things done? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wicked Glory Release Day!!!


Wicked Glory is now available for purchase on Kindle, iBooks, Smashwords, and most other major ebook platforms.

Not familiar with the series? 

Here's the 30 seconds recap...

Wicked Hunger

Born with an insatiable hunger for pain and suffering, Vanessa and Zander Roth struggle to hide the truth of who they really are. Keeping their secrets becomes even harder when Ivy Guerra arrives and stirs their hunger into a frenzy. Will their need to feed on other’s agony turn them into villains, or can they somehow find a way to become the heroes of their own dark story?

Wicked Power

Even after Vanessa and Zander Roth barely survive the Eroi’s attempt to expose them for what they are, they aren’t safe. Sitting balanced on the edge of impending death and unthinkable power, they must turn to the Godlings for help. Their help requires payment, but neither of them knows the true cost. Will David’s training create villains,as they fear, or can they discover their true purpose?

Wicked Glory

Forced with holding up their end of an impossible bargain, Van and Zander must choose between playing it safe and risking everything. Freedom seems impossible, but can they hold onto who they are long enough to survive?

Ready to go grab your copies? 

Wicked Hunger (FREE on many platforms): AmazoniBooksSmashwords

Wicked Power: AmazoniBooksSmashwords

Wicked Glory: AmazoniBooksSmashwords

And yes, there will be a book 4 ;)

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Story Behind the Story...

Catching up on a few things...

It's been a while since I've blogged... sorry about that! 

The craziness of the last month is finally beginning to die down and I wanted to share the brand new, fabulous cover art for my upcoming contemporary romance, SHARK OUT OF WATER, the second book in the Date Shark series. 

Shark Out of Water is available for pre-order now, and it will release 10/21/14. You can find it on Amazon here

Shameless self-promo over, back to the title. 

I wanted to share with you all part of the inspiration behind this story. In book two, readers will follow Guy and Charlotte, rather than Leila and Eli from the first book, though you still get to see what's going on in their lives. 

Readers and bloggers will often ask authors if they based their characters on any real people. Charlotte is not based on a real person, but part of her story came from one really incredible woman. Friends and readers who've been following me for a while know that I've always had a turbulent relationship with my mom. Because of that, when I needed a female role model as a child, it was my grandma that I looked to. 

My grandma, Esther May Shrum, is one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege to know. She is currently ninety years old, has been through so much in her life time, from wars and police corruption to illness and loss of loved ones. She has been battling leukemia for the nearly a decade, been through chemo four times and radiation twice, and nearly died recently after side effects of a new cancer drug were almost too much for her to bear. 

Through everything she has been through, she's always faced it with courage and strength. Until a recent fall, she was still out weeding her flower beds and walking to church every Sunday on her own. We thought we were going to lose her recently, but against all odds she pulled through and is doing much better. She faces her trials with grace and refuses to give up. 

My grandma has taught me so much over the years. She was a guide to me as a child when I really didn't have one and she has always been an example to me of what I should want to be when I grow up. I have so much respect for her and I'm so glad my kids have had the chance to spend time with her over the last few years. 

As I wrote this book, I thought of my grandma often, not just because of the trials she's been through, but because I wanted to share a little piece of her strength and courage with my readers through Charlotte and Guy's story. This book is very close to my heart because of that and I truly hope my readers not only enjoy the story, but feel a connection with the characters and maybe draw a little strength from them if they're facing something difficult. 

Who has been the biggest role model in your life?