Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Because Of You

In less than a week my latest full-length novel, BECAUSE OF YOU will be live. YAY!!! 

The story takes place in a fictional town in Wyoming, but is loosely based on a college there. It's also loosely based on my college experience as well as those of personal friends. I hope you'll enjoy it. 

It's available for PreOrder now HERE
The genre is contemporary new adult romance. Rated 16+. 
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Read the excerpt: 

Today is an Anniversary

The tattoo studio is covered in art. It’s on the walls, the worktops, everywhere. Two patrons are sitting in black chairs while the artists do their work. The repetitive buzz of the guns jabbing needles into skin over and over fills the room.
One of the clients is getting a word tattooed on his left bicep. Not sure what it says, but the artist has completed an F and is working on the U. The other guy’s ink is nearly finished, a blade with a snake winding around it. Both men have blank, faraway expressions.
I know that look, and I envy them momentarily.
“Come on,” Tony says, eyeing the others. “Let’s go back here.”
I follow Tony through the open area and down the hall. He closes the bright yellow privacy curtain and faces me. “Maddelena, right? Take off your shirt and lie back.”
“It’s Maddie,” I say chewing on the inside of my cheek. I’ve done this before, but I’m still edgy, mostly because Tony’s a new guy. Raffie, the guy who did my other tattoos, is on a required leave of absence and won’t be back for three to five years—two with good behavior. I can’t wait that long.
He grunts his acknowledgement.
Taking the scrunchie from my wrist, I pull my dark hair into a high bun. Yank off my gray tank, exposing pale skin and a white bra. I grimace at the cold air. It makes my skin tighten, prickle with goosebumps.
I’m grateful. Because I know what happens next. I’m anxious. Excited, even.
Today is an anniversary, and not one filled with cake, balloons, and good feelings. Seven years ago today I found their bodies. Seven years ago I found them dead. It feels like yesterday. The pain is raw and rips at my heart. Scratching. Shredding. My lips and hands tremble at the memory. It’s going to swallow me, eat me alive from the inside, claw through my sinews like a deadly virus.
I want to shout at Tony. Tell him to hurry. Scream, “I can’t take any more!” I need pain to redden my skin, make the outside hurt as much as the inside.
His brows crunch together and he’s staring at me, at my already inked-up skin.
“Is there a problem?” My teeth are clenched. They have to be because if I open my mouth, something other than words will come out. Sobs. Or worse.
His lips press together in a thin line. “No,” he answers, but his attitude tells me he’s lying.
I take a deep breath. Lay back in the dentist-type leather chair. By the look on his face I know he isn’t concerned with the pain thrashing inside my body. He can’t see that. He also isn’t looking at my barely B cup breasts.
His eyes are focused on my other tattoos. I already have four. Obviously he really checked my driver’s license to verify age. I’m barely eighteen.
He sits on a rolling stool and turns away, muttering in Spanish. He’s a big guy, brawny, and is wearing a white wife-beater with holey faded jeans. His face is all hard lines, bushy eyebrows, and thick lips. On the bridge of his nose is a pair of thick black glasses, and over the tank is a tan, buttoned sweater.
There’s only so much you can tell about a person from the way they look. Clothes can be deceiving, as can the way a person does their hair, or even the makeup they wear. One thing I’ve learned though: if the eyes are the windows to the soul, then shoes are the official gatekeepers. Tony is wearing black flip-flops.
It’s like he can’t decide between nerd and hottie. The weird thing is the look works on him. He has a tattoo of a dragon along the back of his neck. It’s breathing fire, one eye staring at me. And I can almost hear the condemnation. The words Tony can’t say because it’s none of his business.
Plastic tears away from plastic, and then there’s a snap of surgical gloves. More tearing plastic, and he’s pulling out gauze. He squirts rubbing alcohol on it. The smell tickles my nose. It momentarily drowns out the stench of old cigars and Chinese food from the restaurant next door.
“You want it here?” He presses one gloved finger right below my belly button, in the place we’ve already discussed.
I look down anyway, to verify. “Yep, that’s right.”
He rambles something in Spanish as he wipes the area with the wet gauze. It’s freezing, and my body automatically tenses before I allow myself to relax. It’s coming. The bracing, all-consuming pain. Soon it’ll hurt. It’ll hurt so bad that after a while it’ll stop hurting, and I’ll be numb. I’ll be numb everywhere.
Hurry. Hurry. Hurry, my mind screams.
He nods, and his eyes rake over my other tattoos.
The first is a quote inked in calligraphy: I love because I am loved. It sits below my bra on the left side of my torso. The second is in the same place under my right breast. More writing, this time in cursive, but the words are less sweet. I am nothing. The third is below it, on my ribcage. The kanji symbol for hate. I’m hoping he doesn’t know what the character means, but something tells me he does. The fourth tattoo starts at my left hip. My pants cover part of it. Five stars. The first is the largest. They get smaller as they go up, past my waist, the final star resting on a rib.
The tattoo Tony is doing today will be fully colored. The first tattoo I’m getting with color. It’ll be an iris flower—a symbol of faith—with thorn-covered vines curling on either side.
More plastic ripping and then he brings over a razor. “I’d walk you through the steps, but it looks like you know the drill.” His words are filled with accusation. He doesn’t approve.
“I do.” I raise an eyebrow, waiting for him to spill his thoughts. He wants to, I can tell. He wants to ask me why someone too young to have a single tattoo would already have so many. Why I would subject myself to such permanence at such a young age?
Instead he grumbles words I don’t understand as he runs the disposable pink razor over my skin. When he’s finished, he tosses it in the trash and wipes the area clean with more icy cold gauze.
The alcohol dries quickly, disappears. I wish my pain could vanish that easily, but it can’t. It won’t.
Tony takes the paper transfer of the iris drawing he’s created on his computer and places it on my skin. Then, just like a press on tattoo, he rubs it on. When he pulls away the paper, I glance at the flower.
He looks at me. “Is that gonna work? Last chance.”
“It looks great,” I say and lean back, allowing my head to rest against the chair. I could tell him to put it anywhere, as long as it’s on my body quickly. Because the truth is, I don’t care about placement. For me, tattoos aren’t about the art. Inking my body isn’t my form of expression. It’s about pain. They are my medication. When it’s over I’ll be able to breathe easier. It means I’m healing. Getting better. Another year of living while my parents haven’t.
At least that’s what my shrink says. I have my doubts, but I want to believe she’s right. She’s the one who convinced me to get a tattoo. I was fourteen the first time. Yeah, she isn’t the typical therapist, but then I wasn’t the typical fourteen-year-old.
Tony rips more plastic and mixes the ink, placing different colors of purple, indigo, and yellow in ink caps. He gets a cup and fills it with distilled water, which will be used for cleaning the needles, and turns on the gun.
“Ready?” he asks, rubbing a little ointment over my skin. It’ll help the needle slide around more easily.
I stare into his face. “Yes,” I say, and mean it. I’m more than ready. My body is desperate.
“I guess I don’t need to tell you to hold still.” He stands above me, hovering like a gigantic apparition, his face intense with focus.
“I won’t move, Tony,” I grit out.
He looks at me when I say his name and a quiet tenderness softens his features. “Alright, here we go.”
The first seconds are white-hot pain so intense it takes my breath away. Which is exactly what I want. Because in the next second I close my eyes, inhale deeply, and sink into bliss.
You’re So Lucky

Tonight’s been full of surprises. First, two girls invite me to be the third body in their ménage a trois.
Ménage a what?” I ask, forking some chicken and sticking it in my mouth.
Evan, who’s sitting next to me at the table, slaps me upside the head. “Don’t be an ass, Kyle.”
The one who introduced herself as Baby slides a hand under my t-shirt and says, “You, me, and Beth. You know. A threesome?”
I set down my fork. Lean back in the cafeteria chair. The room is animated with the excitement of new freshmen. The smell of coffee and garlic bread hangs in the air.
“Yeah, you know,” Evan utters, smacking my knee with his.
I’ve known Evan my whole life. He’s my cousin. After my father died his parents took me in, and we’ve been close ever since. He’s an asshole. Likes his own space. We live in side-by-side apartments instead of with each other or ten minutes away with his mom and dad. Which is cool by me, especially at times like these. Fresh meat. The whole reason we decided to have dinner on campus.
“Right.” Of course I’ve heard of threesomes. It’s not like I’ve been living under a rock. But contrary to what most people think, or at least Evan, it isn’t something I usually care about. Now that the opportunity has presented itself, I’m certainly interested.
Beth chimes in, “Baby is mine, but she likes guys and girls. We picked you together. You’re our number one choice.” She smiles, her eyes on Baby. Baby’s eyes and hands are all over me. I get the feeling Beth doesn’t want to be a part of this, but she’s doing it for Baby.
“You chose him because you haven’t feasted your eyes on this.” Evan raises his shirt and touches his rock hard abs.
A group of girls, each carrying a tray of food, walks by. They squeal their approval in unison for Evan’s nakedness.
I chuckle. Now he’ll be worse than unbearable. The fact is Evan and I look alike—same dark hair, same square jaw. It’s probably because our fathers were brothers and they looked alike.
Beth scoffs.
Baby laughs. “You’re cute, Evan, but I—we,” she quickly glances at Beth, “want Kyle.”
Evan leans back in his orange chair and snorts. “That’s because you don’t know what you’re missin’, ladies.” He proceeds to stand and make obscene gestures.
I can’t help but laugh. Evan’s an idiot, and he thinks way too highly of himself.
Baby and Beth get up from the table. They hadn’t picked up food so they didn’t have trays. “Later tonight? We’ll catch up with you at the Sigma Nu party?” Baby winks.
I can’t help but wonder why she calls herself Baby. She is nothing like one.
“We on?” Beth asks.
I clear my throat again. “Who am I to deny two pretty girls?” Shrug unapologetically.
“Cool,” Beth adds.
Baby squeals.
Beth puts her hand on Baby’s waist and they walk out of the cafeteria. It’s then that I really check out what they’re wearing: short skirts, socks that go to the middle of their thighs, and black shirts. They could almost be twins.
Evan whistles, following the girls with his eyes. “Holy shit, bro. You’re so lucky.”
I shrug and take another bite of chicken.
“Verge is bringing over party favors tonight. Care to partake before we hit the party?”
I shrug. “Nah. I’ll catch up with you after though.”
“Whatever, dude. You’re so squeaky clean. Makes me wonder if we’re actually related.” He chuckles. Slaps me upside the head again. “Have you seen Pudgy Mudgy?”
I drop my fork. Swallow the lump of chicken. It goes down hard. “Maddie,” I correct.
He snorts. “Yes. Maddie,” he says, his voice laced with sarcasm. “She’s registered. A UBS freshman.”
I calmly put my hands on my thighs, but I’m not feeling calm, not at all.
When we were younger, Evan and some other kids called Maddie “Pudgy Mudgy.” It annoyed the hell out of me then and it still does.
“I mean it. Don’t call her that.”
“Fine. It looks like she’s going to be taking English with Ms. Spears. How you gonna handle it?”
He’s smirking, and I want to punch him. I also want to ask him how he knows her schedule, but I’ve learned that with Evan, the less I know the better. Of course, he’s suggested many times that I go into business with him. The thing is, I know that whatever he’s into, it’s shady, and I have no desire to walk down that road.
“Great. That’s great,” I growl between gritted teeth. Because it is great and frustrating and exciting and irritating. I knew she graduated this year, and I hoped she would choose to go to college here. It’s stupid, but I’ve thought about Maddie a lot. Especially lately. She was my best friend. We hung out every day, up until her parents were killed.
All of these feelings… Shock? Happiness? Anger? All three at once? I can’t even begin to come up with a word to describe what’s coursing through my body. I have so many questions. Like, why the hell did she stop talking to me? Why didn’t she respond to any of my letters? She’d listened to me moan about not having a mother, about what a prick my father was. All the shit he put me through. I stood up for her when other kids were assholes. How could she stop being my friend?
“I’ve got to go.” Without waiting for a response, I run to my Jeep. Head back to my apartment.
Inside I walk to the piano. It’s thirty minutes of endless playing before I’m able to calm down. I’ve decided to stay cool. It’s been seven years.

Are You Ready to Parr-tayyyy

I have a thing for firsts. First day of school. First crush. First tattoo. Once, a long time ago, I made a promise to a boy that all of my firsts would be with him. But that was before…
“Are you ready to parrr-tayyyy?” Gina hollers at a random group of girls crossing the dark soccer field next to us.
They speed up, seemingly desperate to be as far away as possible. I can’t blame them. I want to abandon half our duo.
Gina is my roommate, and so different from me I wonder if we’ll work out. It’s like the people handling the roommate selection process wanted to mess with my head. I can almost hear two evil senior girls cackling. “Ohhhh, she likes to read, she’s into classical music, and she likes puzzles? Ha ha.” They high-five each other and pull an application from a pile. “Let’s give her this one. No one wants this one either.” Bam! I get Gina.
The only music Gina listens to isn’t even music. It’s some guy screaming. The band name is Black Veil Brides. I know this because she has posters of them all over her side of our dorm room. Plus, she plays their songs over, and over, and over. If that isn’t bad enough, she doesn’t own a single book—at least, she didn’t unpack any. Worst of all, she has no idea what Sudoku is.
“It’s funny,” Gina says, bringing me out of my reverie. “I scare them,” she points at the scurrying girls and continues, “but they’re heading into the lion’s den.” She shakes her head. “Are you scared, Maddelena?”
“A little,” I admit. The truth is, this whole place makes me nervous. I mean, it’s college and I’ve been here for two days. It blows my mind. I received a full ride scholarship for music. It’s hard to believe I’m not the little girl with the scared eyes finding her parents dead. I’ve gone on living, while they are buried in the earth.
Gina’s features turn serious. “It’s okay to be scared. That means you’re growing.”
I’m shocked. Her words are deep. “Well, don’t be surprised if I wake one morning as a giant.”
She smirks. “Roommate is a comedian. You go.” She pats my shoulder awkwardly.
“I have my moments,” I say, eyeing her, hoping I haven’t crossed a line. Gina looks scary. Shaggy long blond hair reaches her waist, but the top is spiked. Gobs of black eyeliner circle her blue eyes. A slinky black dress and black ankle boots. Her vibe doesn’t say, “Hey, I’m sweet.” It’s more, “Look at me wrong and I’ll kick your ass.”
I wonder if the students crossing Asher Field with us are as nervous to be here at the University of Bellam Springs as I am. Gina doesn’t seem to be, but it’s my first time living on my own, without my aunt and uncle. I’m guessing it’s a first for most of these students. And going to a party without parental supervision, with no curfew—another big first—at least for me.
A part of me wishes the boy I made the promises to when we were younger could share this first, but I quickly push the thought away. It’s been seven years since I’ve seen him. And that’s for the best.
I gingerly touch the tattoo below my belly button, flinching at the pain. Reveling in it.
Definitely for the best, I think.
Millions of stars glimmer overhead. Darkness covers the wild wilderness the University sits on. Gina and I are staying in Irvine Hall, the tallest dorm on campus. It’s across the street from the cafeteria. The smell of overcooked food swirls in the air, as does a feeling of exhilaration.
“We don’t have to go, you know. I’ve got—” I begin, but Gina interrupts.
“Don’t even try it, Maddelena Martin. We’re going to this party, and I demand you have fun.”
“It’s Maddie,” I say, correcting her for probably the twentieth time. I’ve always hated my name. It’s too long and seems pretentious. Plus, at almost every piano recital, the person announcing me gets it wrong. Mad. Elle. Ayy. Na. It doesn’t seem difficult, but then I’ve lived with it for eighteen years. “Why do you care if I have fun?”
She looks like I slapped her but recovers quickly. It’s a fair enough question. Two days ago I didn’t know she existed. “Fine. I’ll call you Maddie as long as you do two couch shots at this party. Deal?” She punches my arm.
I rub the spot she hit, worried. I have no idea what couch shots are, but after a moment’s pause I agree. “I guess.” I try to smile. My lips aren’t sure how it works, so I give up.
Gina doesn’t seem to notice my almost smile as she gives me a quick once over. “And next time we go out, you have to let me do your hair and makeup. You look like you don’t give a damn what the boys think. Those jeans. Really? They’re like two sizes too big.”
I blush, thankful she can’t see my embarrassment in the dark. Casually I glance at my clothes: slightly baggy jeans hanging off my bony hips, tan ballet flats, and a pink t-shirt. “What do you mean? This outfit is…awesome.” I know it isn’t, but I don’t care.
I have a serious infatuation with shoes, not fashion. All I own are ballet flats, but shoes are how I study people, the world.
She huffs. “Did you even brush your hair?”
I’m not one for confrontation, but Gina is getting on my nerves. “Yes, I brushed my hair,” I say, discreetly running a hand along the ends. “Rude much?”
Her face falls. “Shit, I’m sorry. My therapist says I need to work on thinking about what I say before I say it.”
She sees a therapist? Good to know. Maybe we do have something in common. “No problem,” I say.
We walk in silence until we’re across the street from the frat house. People are all over the lawn, on the wide wrap-around porch, and hanging out the second and third story windows. Everyone appears to be having fun. A part of me longs to let go, to be carefree. To “live a little.” That’s what my aunt told me to do when she dropped me off.
We cross the street and Gina asks, “We good?”
“Of course.”
The party-smile returns to her face. “Cool! Let’s rock,” she shouts, raising a fisted hand in the air. Several kids at the frat house yell their agreement.
If outside is crazy, inside the frat house is wild, filled with young, sweaty bodies gyrating to music so loud it’s rattling the windows. Everyone has large plastic cups filled with a red liquid. Some people are smoking. Couples are making out. My cheeks feel hot and my eyes water.
This place is like nothing I’ve ever known. It’s harsh, sordid, and raucous. The noise, the brilliant colors—it all makes my head spin, and my heart racket against my chest.
It’s obvious how naïve I really am. I had no idea people did stuff like this. Living with my aunt and uncle was fine; they took care of me, gave me affection, but I was also homeschooled, kept in a pampered prison. Up until this moment my only social life was therapy sessions, piano recitals, and a yearly visit to the tattoo parlor.
The atmosphere around me is everything I never imagined. And I think I might like it.
“Come on, let’s get drunk and do something stupid,” Gina says excitedly.
I follow her, trying hard not to run into anyone, but it’s difficult. People are everywhere. Gina moves ahead of me, her lithe body sliding around people like they aren’t even there.
In the living room is a ratty green couch. Around it is a lot of commotion. People cheering. Bewildered, I stop to watch. A guy kneels on either side of the couch. Two girls sit down. The guys tilt the couch back and two more guys pour white liquid down the girls’ throats. Students are chanting: “Go. Go. Go.”
A couple of seconds later the guys on either end of the couch tilt the girls back up. The girls look flushed, their eyes glassy. Giggling, they wobble as they stand and stumble away. Two more girls take their places and the guys repeat the process.
If that’s what Gina means about couch shots then she can call me Maddelena for as long as she wants. I turn away, looking for my roommate, and she’s in my face, two cups of the red liquid in her hands.
“Here you go, Maddelena.”
I take the cup from her and sniff. Orange, lemon, and lime chunks are floating on top. It smells like gasoline mixed with citrus. “What is it?”
“It’s called Jungle Juice.” She tips the cup and chugs down the whole thing, takes out a piece of fruit, and bites the fruit off the rind. “Ahhhh, this stuff is good. Try it.”
I bring the glass to my lips and take a sip. It burns all the way down, but in a good way. It’s sweet and painful. As though it’s telling me to enjoy the scorching. And I do.
I pull the cup from my mouth, and look at Gina. My eyes are wide with surprise. “It’s good, right?” Gina asks with a knowing smile.
“It is,” I say, taking another drink, this one larger than the first. My insides warm and open and relax and sigh all at the same time. I chug down more.
“Welcome to the best part of college,” she says, touching her cup to mine with a plastic clink.
I pull the cup from my mouth but don’t say anything. My mind is reeling. It’s as though I’ve been waiting my whole life for this. And suddenly I want more, more, more.
Two guys stumble into Gina’s back and she falls forward into me. Jungle Juice from my glass spills down the front of my shirt.
Gina snickers, brushing a piece of fruit off my chest.
“Not funny,” I say, but for some reason my body disagrees and a gurgle of laughter escapes my throat.
Gina winks. “I need a refill. Want one?”
“Hell yeah.” My fingers cover my mouth. I’m shocked. Where did that voice come from? So full of excitement. Happiness even. Definitely not me. At all. Swallowing down another giggle, I say, “I’ll meet you back here. I’m gonna wash this off.” I point at the red juice staining my shirt. It’s ruined, but I don’t care. There’s a low furnace, warm and lovely, burning in my belly. I’m relaxed, moreso than I ever thought I could be, and I want to explore.
“ ‘Kay, see ya in a few.” Gina takes my cup.
The first thing I realize as I walk is I’m stumbling a little, leaning into people. Smiling a lot. Apologizing more. Someone hands me a drink.
“Thanks.” I gulp it down in three swallows. The liquid wasn’t red and fruity, but amber. My throat, my stomach, each and every one of my veins are on fire.
My head feels heavy and light at once.
It’s freeing.
No more pain. No sadness.
I forget for a moment what I was doing. What was so important that I left Gina and the fruity drinks? I think.
“What’s on her shirt?” A girl asks, pointing at me.
“I think she puked,” someone answers.
I look down at my shirt and remember the red stain. Like my heart is bleeding.
“I spilled,” I say, laughing. “Do you know where there’s a bathroom?” I’m bold, unencumbered, and ready to make friends with the world. A giant weight has lifted. So my parents died. I need to move on. It’s been seven years. No amount of depression will bring them back. As my shrink says, “Accept what you cannot change.” That’s what I’ll do. Experience all life has to offer. Maybe this is what my aunt meant when she told me to live a little. I didn’t need tattoos but alcohol mixed with punch, and chunks of fruit floating on top.
“That way,” the girl smirks, rolling her eyes.
I don’t even care. “Thanks,” I respond, waving.
When I find the bathroom I grab hold of the handle and try to turn. It’s locked.
A girl pushes my shoulder. “Hey, there’s a line.”
I glance at her, and see she’s pointing at a group of girls leaning against the wall. It seems to go on forever.
“Oh, sorry.” But I’m not deterred and decide to see if there’s a kitchen. There should be. This is a house. I spot an entry with swinging western doors and push my way in.
It’s the kitchen all right. There’s an island with pots hanging above it. To the left is a microwave, a stove, and cupboards. Straight ahead is the sink, but it’s occupied.
A couple is having sex. The girl’s ass is situated on the edge. The guy is standing, his pants around his ankles and her legs around his hips. They’re moaning, saying things, words that make my face heat and blister.
“Sorry,” I say, but either they don’t hear me or they don’t care, and I’m not waiting around to figure it out. A delicious ache spreads low in my belly. Seeing the way they were so into each other, lost in the moment. I can’t help but wonder what that must be like.
At the end of the hall is a set of stairs, and I climb, still thinking about the pair, my body singing with hunger for something I don’t understand. Aunt and Uncle Martin weren’t exactly forthcoming on the “birds and the bees” front. They gave me the basics, methodically and without emotion. Then they played me a video of a woman having a baby. It was horrific, full of blood and goo. If they were trying to keep me from being curious, it worked. But as my thighs and knees quake with need, I get the sense there must be more.
At the top of the stairs is a long hallway, several closed doors on each side. I’m thinking maybe I should forget about cleaning my shirt and go find Gina. Get more Jungle Juice and maybe try a couch shot after all. But as I’m debating, I’m walking, and open a door.
The room is full of smoke and a strange smell. Two guys are sitting on the lower bed of a set of bunks, holding a python. It must be ten feet long. Its slithery body is trying to coil around one of the guys’ thighs. A couple of girls are in chairs across from them. They’re laughing. One girl passes a pipe to the guy getting his leg throttled. He takes it, inhales, and holds his breath. The girl across from him stands and places her lips on his. As he exhales, he rubs one of her breasts over her shirt.
They notice me and the guy whose thigh isn’t being strangled says, “Come on in.” He gives me a lopsided grin, showing off a dimple.
“That’s okay.” I close the door and head down the stairs. My sticky shirt is going to remain sticky—at least until I get back to my room.
This house reminds me of a fun house at a carnival, and it’s exhilarating. Every step, every turn is filled with strange and thrilling horrors.
I carefully make my way back to the living room and search for Gina. She’s talking to a couple of guys. They laugh. A coy smirk flashes across her face and she places a hand on each guy’s chest.
“Gina! Gina!” I wave, but the party is too loud. Moving past people, I make my way toward my roommate.
Another set of girls is being couch tipped. It’s like a weird ritual. I can’t help but stare. Which is bad, because that means I’m not watching where I’m going.
I walk into a hard body.
“Hey,” he says, his voice low. “Watch it.” He smells like fresh laundry and beer. The kind my dad used to drink.
Glancing up, I’m about to utter an apology but the words freeze on my lips. His eyes are brilliant blue. Twin glaciers. Bright. Cold.
“It can’t be.” I step back, falling into someone. My heart is pounding against my ribs, dying to break free, to run like wild horses. It’s in my throat. He’s here. Kyle. Right now. In front of me. He’s here.

Because of You
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Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year. New Me?!?

Happy 2016. Hope yours is shaping up nicely. 
Mine has been... floundering. 
The reason is that my writing has changed. I've felt such pressure to produce, produce, produce. The reason is that I want to keep my readers happy. They love my stuff and I've felt for some time now that I might be letting them down if I don't write faster, produce more, be doing ALL THE THINGS. 

In truth, I can't be that or do that. At least not without losing myself in the process. Lately, I feel like that's happened. 

And I've read two posts today that have really helped put things into perspective. 

One is by the incredibly awesome Neil Gaiman. Here's my favorite part. It's his answer to a question a reader had regarding George RR Martin: "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch." Here's the link to the entire post. If you're a reader or a writer it's worth reading because, A) Neil Gaiman rocks. And B) He Rocks. 

I DO want to continue writing. I DO want to continue pleasing my readers. They're (YOU ARE) awesome and it's one of my greatest joys to continue to publish books. So I will, but it'll be at a slower pace. 

The other post is by Amy Miles. Here's the link

For me, 2016 will be the year of writing... sporadically. And, most importantly, filling my days with reading, exercising, cooking interesting meals, hanging with my family, and doing ALL THE THINGS that aren't all writing related. 

What about you? What are your 2016 plans?