A Journey of the Imagination – By Greg Morton

I wanted to share a post that my dear friend Greg Morton wrote as a guest blogger. It is such an amazing piece and it reflects a lot of the things that I love about daydreaming and using our imagination. Thank you for sharing this with me and my readers, Greg.

A Journey of the Imagination – Greg Morton

I was sitting in my backyard, late in the afternoon, as the setting sun streaked through trees and onto the ground.  It was warm, but with a slight breeze.  It was perfect for daydreaming.  I could have been seven or eight or twelve.  This was just the other day.

I’ve been around long enough to remember life before cable television and the internet in every home, that is to say that I’m no spring chicken.  But the other day was just too perfect to pass up an opportunity to daydream.  And daydreaming is one of my favorite activities.

It started early.  I have a brother who is three years my senior, and though we are very close now that hasn’t always been the case.  While for others siblings may have been great for playing together, my brother and I were too competitive.  Playing always turned into one-upsmanship, which turned into a brawl.  Often we were volunteered to play in our own rooms by our mother.

And I didn’t have many friends.  I think it was circumstance more than anything else, but so many years later who can really tell?  Needless to say, I became resourceful with my entertainment and quite content to adventure into the world of daydreams and pretend.

But my days were filled with life before television, and though the pool in the backyard provided hours of adventure and imagination, there are only so many scenarios an eight year old can conjure on his own.  Luckily I was able to find endless destinations within the pages of books.

Comics were always a great source of fiction, but quite honestly the genre interfered with my love for Saturday morning cartoons.  If I spent a couple of hours in front of the TV on the weekends then my desire to indulge in comics during the week waned.  Instead, I found the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books the most engaging.

Not only did the CYOA books take me to far off places I’d never been before, but they were interactive.  I had a say in the story!  A few hours a week getting lost in the mountains, the forests or the Sahara desert and come the weekend my imagination was fully charged.  I could venture out into the backyard and pretend my way through the day until dinnertime.  Nothing was better.

As I grew older, the encyclopedia of dreams and stories I had been collecting in my head became the basis for my own ideas and storytelling.  Soon I was sitting at lunch during school and creating alternate worlds, villains and dangers.  My adventures at home became limitless.

That process continues today.  I am still a voracious reader.  I’ve graduated from reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, but I haven’t graduated from dreaming up new ideas on how to finish stories or using elements from stories as the foundation for an idea of my own.  My love for a world where I could create anything I could imagine had become so grand that I felt it only natural to become a novelist.

My most recent work not only takes me back to the days of imagining a world with creatures and magic and wonderful adventures, but it also pays homage to where my love of reading began.  On the laps of my parents.  I chose to write a book that parents will want to read, and will want to read with their kids.  It is a book of fantasy and adventure.  It is a book that will take readers on a journey.

A journey of the imagination.

It is my sincerest hope that we don’t ever lose sight of the importance of the imagination.  That as adults, we carry the torch of teaching our children to read and to explore.  Literacy is an invaluable tool in cognitive reasoning and problem solving.  Reading is pretty darn fun, too…

I still daydream.  While waiting for the train or sitting outside or sometimes even when I’m stuck in traffic.  I imagine people and places that could only exist in a made up world.  It’s a creative outlet, and as a writer it’s an essential element to my ability to conjure up a story.  But my daydreaming has its foundation in reading, and without reading I am truly lost.

Stories from my childhood – The time I ran for homecoming queen

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My best friend’s daughter loves it when I tell her stories of mine and her mom’s childhood. Katie and I have been friends for over 20 years and we have some interesting stories to tell. Some of the stories are hilarious, some are quite scandalous and others are just typical teenage issues. However, as I watched MTV’s Prom Queen, I was instantly returned to my junior high school and the time I ran for homecoming queen.

Seventh grade was horrible for me. It was awkward, humiliating and I dealt with a ton of bullying. I’ve spoken out about my years of being bullied and to think that I would put myself into the spotlight after dealing with bullying is actually quite amusing. The way I became a nominee is nothing but interesting.

It was two or three weeks before the homecoming game and as I walked into my homeroom class, I noticed several girls from my class were missing. Apparently there was a smoking bust or they were in a fight, either way, the “popular” girls in my class weren’t there. What I didn’t know was that it was nomination day for homecoming queen. There would be a nominee from each homeroom and then that person had to raise money for the athletic booster club. I looked around the room and sighed. I picked up the piece of paper to write down another girls name in the class however a voice from behind spoke up.

“I’m nominating you, okay?” I stared at the girl for a moment and laughed. “You’re nominating me, why?”

She smiled. “Well, I don’t want to be it, that’s for sure.”

I turned around, shook my head and sighed. As I wrote another girl’s name, the girl behind me told all her friends in the room to nominate me. Since I had the most nominations, alas, I was nominated to represent our homeroom.

I was on cloud nine to be honest. It felt great to finally have some sort of recognition. It was a real ego boost. I went home, smiling like a Cheshire cat and couldn’t wait to tell my parents about my nomination. Everything was wonderful, until the next day.

The “popular” girls had returned from their stint in suspension and when they found out that I was nominated, all hell broke loose. One girl started complaining that I didn’t deserve to be homecoming nominee and that it wasn’t fair. They weren’t there to do a nomination and as one girl stood to proclaim that everyone should nominate her, the teacher agreed that maybe they should have waited until everyone was there.

I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. My moment, my time to shine was clouded by someone who couldn’t stand to be out of the spotlight. She even looked in my direction and had the gall to say, “What are you going to cry now?” I tried as hard as I could to fight the tears but they spilled one by one over my eyelids. I was mere moments from bolting and never returning again.

The teacher went next door to converse with another teacher as to what she should do. She came back in moments later and made an announcement.

My homeroom teacher looked at the girls who started the trouble and said that since they were suspended from school, they weren’t eligible to run for anything. I was the nominee for my homeroom.

Hello cloud nine!

I smiled and wiped away the tears. The girl behind me patted me on my shoulder. To this day I wish I could remember her name because I would have shouted it in praise. The next two weeks were a giant blur as I tried as hard as I could to raise money for the booster club.

Closer to homecoming, my mother took me to a local outlet store and found me the most gorgeous sea foam green dress (this was the 80s, don’t judge). It was deeply discounted and I just knew I’d steal the spotlight with the dress. As I walked through the gates of the football field, I stood proudly as my homeroom’s nominee. Even if I didn’t win, I was there and that was all that mattered to me.

I walked towards the stadium seats and as I took my spot next to the nominees, one of the girls from my homeroom passed by. She started laughing at me and pointing. As I stared at her, trying to figure out what was so funny, she walked towards me.

“You have a stain on your dress,” she said, loudly, for the rest of the homecoming court to hear. I blushed and looked down. Sure enough, there was a streak down the front of my dress. No wonder the dress was discounted so much.

She walked away, laughing as loud as she could and as I tried to slink down into my seat, fighting more tears, something in me finally snapped. I’d had enough. I pushed the tears back, stood proudly as they announced the homecoming court and walked across the field proudly. I wasn’t about to let someone who was bitter bring me down.

Just in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t win. Another girl blew us all out of the water with her donations. As I carried my single rose across the field to where my parents stood, I smiled. I felt proud. That was the night that started my do not care attitude towards bullies. I realized that a lot of times people have things going on internally that they have to take out on others to make them feel better about themselves.

I may not have been crowned homecoming queen, but I did walk away with something that night. Confidence.

Author Spotlight: Mystical Mayhem, a novella by Kiki Howell

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Mystical Mayhem, a novella

Today I’m hosting the beautiful Kiki Howell as she promotes “Mystical Mayhem.”

When rogue shifters capture Aiyanna, a Native American Indian with a dragon spirit, she finds herself tied to the wall of a cave, about to be the sacrifice in their twisted sex ritual. Their intention is to conceive another chimera, the legendary paranormal superman of Alaska. What the group didn’t plan for is the real chimera, Xander, coming to their sacrifice’s rescue.

Once in his cave, as Xander cares for Aiyanna’s wounds and shares a little of his rough life, the two find they’re mates. The next step in their lives should be clear. Instead, in this world gone mad, where paranormal creatures who once lived secretly on the fringes of society are currently joining together for evil purposes, indecision reigns. As lines are drawn, war ensues and personal struggles mount, Xander is called to join a Special Activities Division of the CIA. Decisions must be made even as the mystical mayhem continues around them.

Genres:  Paranormal (Chimera, Dragon Spirit, Vampires, Witches, and then some…), Erotic, Romantic Suspense

Available Now at NNP Store, Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords

Excerpt:

Pain cut like a blade stuck in her wrists each time she hurled her weight forward. Aiyanna needed her Dragon in order to break the ropes that tied her arms above her head. Yet, deep inside this cave, the Spirit remained elusive. A maize-colored light surrounded her – stifled her ability to call to her animal, the only one left to save her.

Rogue shifters had invaded her reservation here in Alaska, or at least what remained of an old one. Aiyanna had no idea what’d happened to the others there, those she called friends and family. She, alone, had been captured, taken in the dark in complete silence. Now, she hung against a cold rock wall listening to a man who’d shifted into a Hawk when he’d gotten frustrated a moment ago, but was now a man again. He fought with the other shifters present, as well as a witch about the specifics of a sex ritual she was to be sacrificed in.

“You listen to me. Bottom line. Ideal or not,” the Hawk-man hissed. “We have a sacrifice: a mystical woman, an Indian with a Dragon Spirit. The bitch is perfect. We have shifters here to represent each element with a corresponding animal. Don’t get all fuckin’ simpering woman on me because you know her.”

“I know of her. She is gifted, maybe too gifted to kill, was all I was saying, Aiden,” spat the witch, though she was wringing her fists in front of her. Aiyanna knew of the witch too – mostly rumors though. Her name was Selene, and she practiced on the dark side of magick despite the way she’d been raised. Selene, like Aiyanna, had lost her mother young.

“You listen to me. I’ve planned this for too long. You knew how it would work. You will do this! It’s your choice how easy or hard your participation will be. Got it? The moon is right. The ritual stones and other shit have been gathered.” The Hawk-man’s voice was rising, beating at the air as his wings had a few minutes ago. “We do this tonight. We kill her tonight! We will all mate with you, witch, tonight! A child will be conceived. One like the legends.”

Aiyanna knew exactly the legend they spoke of. The superman, if you will, of the shifters. She could use his help right about now. Not many had seen him, but the one who shifted into a combination of many beasts at once, the Chimera, saved those in dire need. She felt hanging from a wall, about to be sacrificed qualified as a bit dire.

My friend/fellow author Kimberly Gould releases “Thickness of Blood”

About Thickness of Blood

George is obsessed with finding the man who raped his daughter.
Searching the southern states in the 1970s, he tracks down James but
also finds Lila, another girl victimized by his daughter’s rapist.
George holds himself responsible for not getting there sooner, not
preventing Lila from becoming pregnant at fifteen and exiled by her
family. Unable to abandon her, George gives Lila a new home, a new
family. In the process, they both discover that some ties are thicker
than blood.

About Kimberly

Mother and wife, Kimberly divides her time between family,
part-time job as an environmental consultant and pursuit of her
imagination.

Thickness of Blood

Lila nearly fell off her chair when a hand touched her elbow on the table. Really, she was on her own only hours and she’d forgotten all her etiquette. Setting the toast down, she met George’s brown eyes and licked crumbs from her lips.

He looked uncomfortable. “Do you … Do you know what you plan to do now, Lila?”

She felt her throat tighten. He knew she wasn’t going home, but she hadn’t told him she couldn’t. The truth was that she had no idea what to do next. She had a vague idea to go to another city, maybe as far as Nashville, and try to find work. That would mean living in the street, not the hardest thing at this time of year, she expected, but she didn’t have the faintest idea how or where to start. She’d never had to take care of herself before.

“No,” she answered honestly, breaking eye contact to look at and turn her toast with a finger. “I thought I’d go somewhere else. Start new.”

His smile, soft before, broadened now. “I think that’s a good idea. Are you particular where you go?” The smile slid a little, something else in his eyes now, worry? Fear?

She shook her head. “No. My first thought was Nashville, but I’m not picky at all. I can’t go to family,” she muttered, picking up the toast to cover her hands shaking in anger. Her eyes met his. “You know, don’t you?”

“About a possible baby?” he said, cocking his head to one side. “About being kicked out of your house? Yes, Lila. Grace gets word fast, and she heard that this was likely to happen, if …” he broke off. Smile gone completely now, a growl entered his voice, “If James had defiled you. I swear, Lila, if I had known this would happen …” He covered his eyes with one of his hands and his broad shoulders slumped.

He’d only been kind to her, this strange man. Showing her more care and love than anyone she had known before, she felt the overwhelming need to comfort him now. She stood, her chair scraping on the wood floor, and rounded the table to put her arms around his shoulders, hands barely meeting on the far one. He lifted one hand to touch her elbow, and she thought she heard him sob.

“George?” she asked. She had never seen a man cry before.

“He got you, Lila. I shouldn’t have been the only one looking for him. If I’d told someone …” he cried again, and this time Lila saw the tear fall.

“He didn’t hurt me, George. He just left me,” she tried to explain.

“Lila, you didn’t want what he did to you, did you?” he asked, turning those sorrowful eyes to her. “You didn’t chase him, did you?” His lip trembled a little.

Her throat caught, remember that first day, a year ago. He had definitely been chasing. “No,” she answered in a whisper.

George’s chair scraped as he pushed it out from the table. He put an arm around her waist and hugged her back. “Neither did Daphne.”

 

 

 

Thanks to my friend Greg for hosting me today!

Morton Design Works

Gimme Five

GIMMEFIVE celebrates the independent artist.  Each week our guest will answer five questions and be the subject of a YOU HAIKU.  Our spotlight will give you an inside look into the mind of an artist.  Be sure to check out their work, and tell them Greg sent you…

This week ~

Elicia Seawell | Author, Artist, Friend

Website | Twitter

I’ve only known Elicia for a short period of time, but she has been an amazing champion of me and my work since the beginning.  She is a selfless promoter, with a wonderful heart and an amazing talent.  Check out her blog and her books. 

Until then, GimmeFive!

What inspired your latest project?

My new book “Peach River Acres”, releasing in December, was inspired by the haunting statistics of PTSD in troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. I wanted to show the toll that this traumatic mental health disease could…

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Attention Graphic Artist and Creative Minds: Blog Header Contest

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I’m looking to fix up my blog a little bit and I’m looking for a graphic artist to create a new header for me.

The specifics:

The header must contain a “rain” theme. You can add in any other elements. Keep in mind that I’m a romance writer and I love the fall/rain.

It also must contain the words “Let the Words Pour”

The banner must be 960px260p.

Must stay as close to PG13 as possible. I don’t mind half nakedness but nothing that could violate the TOS.

Be creative!

The award:

I’ll do a feature on you, your blog and/or your art and on top of that the winning banner will be my blog header for at least a year. Also, I’ll throw in a copy of my first book, “Shadows: The Story of the Kayouta” in PDF or eBook format (you choose).

Email your artwork to thatpanicgirle@gmail.com by November 15th. Winner will be announced on December 3rd, the release day for Peach River Acres!

Let’s see what you can do!

Thanks!

Saturday Update: upcoming works and book ideas

I wanted to take a moment to let all my readers know
about the books I’m currently working on and releasing…
plus what’s available for purchase now.

Shadows: The Story of the Kayouta is still available through Amazon Kindle for only .99! It is also available through CreateSpace, Amazon and Barnes & Noble  for print copies.

 

 

 

The Tarot Diaries: The Fool is now on sale through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, All Romance Ebooks and Bookstrand.

 

 

 

Peach River Acres will be publishing December 3rd through Rebel Ink Press.

 

 

 

A Charleston Love Story will also be releasing soon through Rebel Ink Press.

 

 

 

Currently Working on:

Tarot Diaries: The Magician – writing stage

Girl of the Clovers – writing stage

Under the Boardwalk – outline stage

Irish Midnight – outline stage

Tarot Diaries: The High Priestess– outline stage

Moonshiners – outline stage

Angelica Dawson releases Blue Moon House

Julia has the chance to become one of the vampires of the Blue Moon House. Before being accepted, however, she must prove herself to each of the vampires, and each has their own exacting cost. Ranging from lesbian, to being forced, to physical torture, she is pushed to her breaking point time and again. Eventually her perseverance pays off and she crosses from submissive to dominant and vampire.

The author of Blue Moon House, Angelica Dawson has been writing for several years and having sex a lot longer than that. Angelica is a wife, mother and environmental consultant. Her love of plants and the outdoors is not diminished by the bloodsucking hoards — mosquitoes and black flies, not vampires.

Behind Blue Moon House – By Angelica Dawson

I wrote Twilight fanfiction under another name, so I had written vampire stories before. I’d also read and was curious about BDSM. Of those four (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism), my particular kink is Bondage, but the whole concept intrigued me. I’d researched as much as I could and found many BDSM stories in fanfiction to be lackluster. So, I decided to write my own. I didn’t even consider using Stephanie Meyer’s vampires, I knew I needed original characters. I started with Julia, the human would-be vampire and then built the other vampires of the house around her. I knew what parts of BDSM I wanted to highlight: forced orgasms, simulated rape, torture… In the end, I wanted Blue Moon House to have it all, and it does. Julia doesn’t like all of it, she doesn’t like half of it, but she tries it all. That willingness to accept her partners and their fetishes, her openness, is what wins her the hearts of the Doms of Blue Moon House.

I’m currently working on a series of prequels to Blue Moon House, each giving the story of another of the vampires. Each will have a taste of history added to the red-hot sex. I think I give enough hints into each Dom’s personality that a reader would be interested in these other stories.

A “bite” of New Moon House

“MmmmMmmaximum.” Julia wept loudly. Blood was trickling down her back and over her breasts where the cruel whip had broken her skin. She burned everywhere, stinging from her first beating at his hand, and then adding the salt of sweat, the blood. Sagging against the chains that held her mostly upright, she sobbed bitterly.

The whip was gone and Harry was there, releasing her wrists. “Terrance. Did you have to be so hard?”

The tall, icy man softened for the first time Julia had seen. “Everyone has a limit. If she would join us, I would know hers. Now, I do. Take care of her, Harrold.”

Julia’s mind logged the response but couldn’t think about it in the midst of the pain. Harry was licking her wounds, his saliva closing them faster but burning them further. Julia screamed again.

“Hush,” Harry said with concern, his voice soft and familiar, a raft for Julia to grasp in the sea of pain. There was a stabbing in her leg.

“That will help. You will sleep soon, Julia. In the morning, the pain will be much less, I promise,” Terrance told her, pulling her hair off her face and mopping it with a cool cloth.

“I-I’m not…” She didn’t know how to ask if she was unworthy.

“You impress me, Julia. I look forward to having centuries to get to know more of you, other limits.”

Julia flinched, crying out and hugging Harry. Terrance laughed and the difference between that and the cold demands, the hard mocking he’d given her all night made her turn back.

“Never pain, Julia. I found that limit.”

She relaxed, the drug they’d given her taking effect. It didn’t make her dopey, but she was exhausted. Terrance had followed only hours after Lynn. Julia hoped that was the end of the women. All had known of her distaste, but only Jocelyn had pushed it, knowing she could be pushed. Lynn had been more like Sophia.

When she woke on the large bed, she did ache, but all the burning was gone. She saw welts all over her body, but smelled a tincture that had been applied to speed her healing. It was working. She rose slowly though, wincing at times, to find herself breakfast.

For the first time, Julia wondered just how many vampires there were in Blue Moon House. Was she near the end yet? She hadn’t changed her mind. Her family lived far away and she only saw them on holidays. She had a few friends she would miss keenly, but they would be fine without her. No one depended on her, except possibly her co-workers, and she’d been meaning to walk out on them for months now.

“Whoa. Are you okay?” one of the other submissives, a man of middle years, asked.

Julia nodded, sitting very gingerly in the dining room. Pain spread across her bottom and then receded a little after she had sat a moment. Sucking through her teeth, she pushed it away. Then she lifted her juice.

“Who?” he asked. It wasn’t a common question. Masters were usually kept private.

“Terrance,” Julia’s voice was a croak.

The man’s mouth hung open. “But Terrance never… I mean, I hope you feel better soon.”

Julia grabbed at his elbow. “You belong to Terrance?” she asked.

“I did,” the man answered. “He was too soft, too gentle for what I wanted. He sent me to Will.” The man’s grin gleamed. “I’m very happy now.”

Julia stiffened and regretted it when her bruises panged. Will, she was sure, would have her next. “I see. Have you had other Masters?”

“Not in the House. I’m Justin.” He offered his hand and Julia took it. “You’re older than most,” he observed.

She chuckled. “So are you.” Most of the submissives were in their mid-twenties. Both Julia and Justin were well over thirty. Julia was only a year and a bit from forty. It had posed problems when she started in the BDSM community – no one had wanted her. Blue Moon House, Harry specifically, had not turned her away after one session.

“Touché. Why Terrance?” he asked.

Julia shook her head, sure she couldn’t tell him, unsure if she was even allowed.

“Who is your Master normally?” Justin asked.

Julia’s eyes went soft. “Harry.”

Justin smiled. “I’ve often wished he took men. Not that I’m not happy with Will. I thought about it most when I was with Terrance,” he admitted.

Julia simply nodded. She ate slowly, relishing the nourishment, the fluids. Her body felt every year of thirty-eight today. The spare flesh had been kind to her in the beginning, cushioning blows so they stung but didn’t bruise. She’d lost weight, though not a lot, since coming here and her joints ached in a way they hadn’t a year or two ago.

She chuckled to herself as Justin rose. He quirked an eyebrow and she shook her head. “Nothing.” She’d just been thinking how little she’d miss those aches when she was a vampire.

 

You can find Angelica Dawson on her blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

Her books are on sale through:

On G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104078802071928453097/posts

Buy on NNP:   http://naughtynightspress.com/nnpstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=63

Buy on ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-bluemoonhouse-929071-139.html

 

Tarot Diaries: The Fool releases; thank you to everyone

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The day finally arrived. Tarot Diaries: the Fool released Sunday much to my surprise. I had a huge blog planned for Sunday about the jitters and excitement and what it would mean to me for this book to publish but that’s okay, this is much better.

I’ll be honest, when I woke up yesterday morning I felt awful. Between the headache, nausea and dizziness I still had to face a nine hour shift at work. The last thought on my mind was about my book – until I saw it on Amazon. I instantly squeed. I didn’t feel better physically though but my heart swelled with pride.

After a brief excitement and many posts on Facebook and Twitter to start promoting my book, I shut my computer down and put on my work uniform. So much for excitement, right?

Trust me, I’m elated and thrilled that my hard work finally paid off and I sit here now still in disbelief that I wrote that. Here’s the thing that many people don’t realize though.

I still have to work a barely over minimum wage job, nearly 55 hours a week sometimes, and nothing really has changed.

Except now I’m a published author, and that means the world to me.

I got a little frustrated yesterday when someone made a comment: “Well I guess now that you’re a published author, you can quit your job and sit at home and let the big bucks roll in…”

If only that were true.

Many of my fellow authors are in the same boat that I’m in. We work, sometimes excruciatingly long hours, just to make ends meet and yet writing is our safe haven, our journey away from the everyday hustle and bustle of life.

I write because I love writing. I never thought I’d become rich off the things I wrote but to know that others think enough of me to want to read it makes me the happiest girl in the world. It does make me smile as I sit here and type this. However, It honestly motivates me to write more and finish other projects.

I wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all the support I’ve received over the past couple of months. The motivation behind me has been strong and you have no idea how much it means to me that so many of you care about my projects. I get super happy when I see someone review my work, or even just retweets or shares a Facebook post of mine.

I wanted to leave you with a snippet of Tarot Diaries: the Fool just so you’ll have an idea of what it’s all about. It’s a journey; one all of us must travel. For me, my journey has led me to writing… where will your journey take you?

The Tarot Diaries: The Fool

The young child sat at his table, bread in hand, dog barking at his feet and wondered where to go from this point. He could stay in his mundane life and live each day knowing that his end was drawing near. However, a huge part of him started to wander, as his mind did.

What else could be out there?

He stared blankly out the window and sighed. He threw the last piece of bread to the dog and stood. His small room closed in on him more and more each day. How could he not want to move on and find out what was beyond the horizon?

He looked to his faithful companion who didn’t offer much advice and sighed.

It would be considered a Fool’s journey, he told himself, but at the same time, the young one wanted more. He craved more.

There wasn’t much left in the small room he shared with his dog and the foolish young one decided it was time to leave. It meant leaving everything behind but if he never left, how would he know his true path?

He found a large square of cloth and filled it with everything he could possibly carry and placed it on a huge stick. He looked to the dog and said, “Let’s go.”

The door to his small, modest room opened to reveal a path. He had no idea where this path would lead him, but he was willing to accept the journey for what it was worth.

A small voice inside his head spoke to him. Dear child, careful of the journey you choose. You are responsible for your own life and it will be difficult to make the decisions that you will have to face. Take heed to those who try to betray you, embrace those who help you and learn what you can from your journey. It will be a long one.

The foolish boy nodded and exited the room on his way to the most amazing journey he could have imagined – life.

——————–

The Tarot Diaries: The Fool is on sale now through Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook and All Romance E Books.

Even though I felt like giving up, I didn’t – and here’s why

When I started this journey in the January of 2009 I had no idea where all this would take me. I knew that I loved reading and I’d loved books since I could read, but the idea of writing one seemed impossible. How could I possibly finish something? I’d never finished anything in my life. I was always one to give up on something when it got too hard. I’d either give in or get out.

Come August of 2009 though something in me changed. I don’t know if it had to do with knowing that life is short or if the thought of not leaving my mark on this world had me worried but I wanted to do something about that. My only regret was not doing it sooner so my grandmother would have seen it before she died.

I remember that night all too clearly. I was horribly upset because my computer had gotten a virus and all I could do was pace back and forth until those pesky viruses were erased one by one. Once the deed had been done and my computer ran as a well oiled machine again, I sat down on my bed and stared at the blank Word document for what seemed like an eternity.

Then it started… my journey into writing. Shadows: The Story of the Kayouta started taking shape and I knew exactly where I wanted it to go. I wanted it to be the story of my teen years. As time passed though, and my grandmother leaving us took over my life, something in me stopped too. I just couldn’t write anymore. I took on a permanent writer’s block. Even the fan fictions that I’d worked on stopped too. It was just entirely too much for me to do anymore.

As another year passed, my life took one drastic turn after another and there I sat once again, staring at my document for Shadows. It was now or never, I’d told myself and before I knew what happened, I wrote nearly twenty thousand words in less than two weeks to finish what would become my first book. I cried as the last few words were placed on the page.

The tears flowed again once I finished The Tarot Diaries: The Fool and Peach River Acres. Then the other night, re-reading Peach River the tears flowed again. I’d never found myself to be so emotional like I feel when I put the last word on something that I created myself.

I never realized how difficult the process of writing could be until I had to tackle it myself. I will say that I’ve had the most amazing group of people on this earth backing me throughout this entire process. My editor “E” from Rebel Ink has been amazing. She’s put up with a lot from me. I know that my first drafts always look like poo on a stick but she had such patience with me.

My BFFs Katie, Candice & Jess have always looked forward to reading anything I jot down on paper and they have no idea how much I enjoy their enthusiasm. There are so many people I could thank but I’m so scared I’d forget someone that I just want to say everyone who’s ever tweeted me or send me a message on Facebook asking about the upcoming works, you’re amazing in my book.

Never let anyone tell you this is an easy task. They are either not trying hard enough or are lying. I’ve put so much blood, sweat & literal tears into the books I write and it’s never an easy process. There are first, second, third and fourth (sometimes more) edits. Cutting, adding, cutting again and doubting yourself is one of the parts of this and trust me the self doubt runs rampant when you aren’t sure if you should be doing this. However, when you see the finished product, it is so worth fighting for.

As I sent back my (hopefully) last edits for The Tarot Diaries: The Fool to my publisher today, I felt a sense of completion and happiness. I know this was worth it. If I only sell 5 books or 5 million copies, knowing that I wrote something that people could one day read makes me happy. It was never about money or fame. It was always about accomplishing something finally for once in my life.

I say this as I start back college on Monday. I’d all but given up on my degree but I figured if I could write a book, or two or twenty, I could go back to finish school. From now on I’m not giving up so easily. I’m not allowing myself to stop something when it gets too hard. The rewards for seeing it through are always so much better than the alternative.

Ironically, the same year that I began my journey as an author, my sister gave me a ring that had an inscription written on it that I try to live by to this day:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…”

Never be afraid to take that first one.