Today, we get a sneak peek of T.M. Franklin’s upcoming release – TWELVE, Book Three in the MORE Trilogy…and she has a special guest to help her out.
Well, Bond (James Bond) must be more of a chick-lit guy. T.M. assures us that he was definitely causing trouble, as you could hear in the background, but nothing valuable was destroyed. This time.
Want to get your own SIGNED paperback ARC of TWELVE? Enter now!
We’ve all heard it time and time again. “Inspiration comes, but it must find you working.” So, what happens when your work is where you are lacking in the inspiration department? For writers, this can be especially difficult. Luckily, I consider simply day dreaming to be a working task. (One of the perks of being an author.) I stare blankly into space, the husband says something like “What are you thinking about?” and I can reply, “Shh, I’m working!”
Seriously though, nobody wants to waste their time staring blankly at a desk when trying to be inspired. So, when your job requires your imagination, I suggest that excercising that imagination is the “work” that must be done.
I like to do little things like go on walks and observe nature, that’s usually enough to spark my imagination. However, when I am having an especially difficult time, I find that playing music helps me. In fact, I played my piano for an hour this morning simply trying to figure out the proper ending scene for To Be Loved. I had one in mind, ah yes. And thought it was a sure thing, it was all typed out, edited, and ready to go. But you all know how those pesky little characters can be, they like to change things up on you, take you by surprise. So, I find myself revising…..repeatedly.
On an occasion when music doesn’t work I might move on to something like crafting. I’m a big do-it-yourselfer and working with my hands always helps me to clear my mind. Whether it’s refinishing a piece of furniture or painting a canvas (With stencils, mind you. I’m no Picasso.) eventually the creative juices start flowing.
Last but definitely not least, my last resort is always the same thing. Food. I love food. Not Like, LOVE. I could eat for days, probably continuously if it wouldn’t make me sick. I like to cook and try out new recipes and of course while doing so, I begin to imagine a scene that could find a place in my story. However, be warned. Snacking while writing can be hazardous, I practically aspirated a chili cheese Frito just a few moments ago.
So, what say you? What do you do to find inspiration?
In Shadow Bound Wraith readers met Jane Watts. Seventeen and scared. Her classmates thought she was a freak and her best friend was a ghost. With the help of the school’s resident bad boy, Connor Jacobs, she found a way to find a balance between the living in the dead, while almost losing her own life.
In Shadow Bound Jane found herself with both a real life boyfriend and best friend, but struggled with the weight of her family “gift.” As she learned more about her abilities the more she encountered the dark side of death–and what it does to the people you love.
On February 18th the Wraith Series comes to a gripping end.
These aren’t the words Jane ever expected to use to describe herself, but in the years since she first began seeing ghosts things have changed. A lot. Jane has spent the last two years losing one person after the other. Both dead and alive. But this year things will be different. She’s entering her freshman year of art school, rooming with her best friend Ava and has a new boyfriend. Oh, and she’s no longer afraid that she’s Shadow Bound with a direct connection to ghosts. In fact, she’s learned to use her abilities for her benefit.
Jane soon discovers she can’t walk away from her past. The wounds from her battle with Charlotte are deep and no matter what she tells herself, the break up with Connor weighs heavy on her heart. Balancing these emotions prove to be a weakness for her and Jane finds herself in a fight against the most dangerous spirits she’s encountered yet.
The buzzing razor grazed over my ear, sending vibrations across my scalp, down to my jaw. Each pass felt like a weight being lifted.
Ava smiled from the chair next to mine, swiveling back and forth. When the next hunk of hair fell to the ground, she gave me a thumbs up. I smiled back nervously, hoping her encouragement was a good thing because I wasn’t facing the mirror and, really, why did I even think this was a good idea?
“It looks awesome,” Ava said the minute the razor snapped off. “Seriously.”
“It really does,” the stylist said. “Ready?”
“Yes,” I said. They couldn’t see my hands under the cape. They were latched to the arms of the chair, fighting off the panic, because holy crap, what had I done?
She spun my chair toward the mirror on the wall and I got the first look of my new hairstyle.
“Isn’t it amazing?” Ava asked. She stood and ran her fingers over the short-clipped hair over my ears. The rest of my hair had been pulled back in a ponytail, giving the appearance of a mohawk.
I turned my head back and forth to get the best view. I wanted something different and I got it. My hair had grown out over the last two years, since I’d cut it off in a fit of anxiety and panic. It now hung down past my shoulders to the middle of my back, but I wanted something new. Something to start off the next phase of my life.
“You look badass.” Ava’s face popped into the mirror. “Perfect for college.”
I broke into a grin, turning my head side to side, checking out the new look. The new me. “Freshman year is gonna rock.”
Phase two involved hot pink hair dye. Just a couple of streaks down the back. Ava left after the bleaching process, leaving me with four copies of People magazine and a lot of questions about who, exactly, picked the Sexiest Man Alive.
“Five minutes,” Suzie the hairdresser said, pulling the domed hair dryer over my head. She left me alone in the drying area, a room painted neon green. Everything had a sickly glow.
A shadow crossed the front window and I looked up in time to see the woman pass by again. It was her third attempt to come inside, but she obviously hadn’t gotten the hang of it yet. I lifted the dryer, ceasing the dull roar of air and said, “Suzie, do you mind if I step outside for some fresh air?”
“Hurry and be careful with the foils.”
I pushed open the glass door and found her waiting. A faint blue light radiated from the crown of her graying hair like a halo. Blue. Safe, but disappointing.
“Follow me,” I said to the woman, leading her around the side of the building. “I only have a minute. What’s the problem?”
She stepped forward and I held up my hand. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll leave and won’t help you. Just tell me what’s wrong.”
Helping the woman only took a couple of minutes now that I had a system.
1.Always stay in public. It’s better to look crazy than dead.
2.Almost all information can be found quickly on a smart phone. I no longer needed to go home to help these people pass over.
3.Never make personal attachments to ghosts. I was no longer allowing them to hurt me emotionally or otherwise.
4.Take my payment in full.
“You need to let go,” I told her. “It’s okay. The cancer finally won.”
“But I never got to see my grandbaby. Did my daughter have her? Is she okay?”
Ah. I glanced at my phone and went against my gut.
“Look, I never read the obituaries. It’s too depressing. But I’ll read the names of the survivors and you let me know if it’s there, okay?”
Hope lit in her faded eyes and she nodded.
“Survived by her two sons, Robert and James, and their wives—“
“It’s my daughter,” she repeated. I skipped ahead.
“One daughter, Karen, age 29, and her three granddaughters, Macy, Ariana and Bridget.”
“Bridget. That’s her.”
“Great,” I said, pushing the phone back in my pocket. “It’s time for you to move on.”
“Just one thing,” I said. “Take my hand.”
“What?” she asked, staring at my hand in confusion.
“Take it,” I said, thrusting it toward her.
Tentatively she placed her hand on mine and a surge of energy rushed through my limbs, filling the darkness and pushing the cold that had settled in my bones last year. The relief would be fleeting, but the small hit would hold me over until I could find something more substantial later.
I re-entered the salon and found Suzie waiting for me. She checked her watch. “Don’t blame me if your hair falls out,” she said.
“I won’t.” I settled into the swiveling chair, cheeks rosy in the mirror. “Let’s do this.”
Angel Lawson lives with her family in Atlanta and has a lifelong obsession with creating fiction from reality, either with paint or words. On a typical day you can find her writing, reading, plotting her escape from the zombie apocalypse and trying to get the glitter out from under her nails.
She is the author of five books, including the Wraith Series, Serial Summer, FanGirl, and Vigilant. She is the co-author of the New Adult Paranormal book, Odin’s Murder with Kira Gold. She has one other New Adult title, No Regrets, under the pen name Lila Atkinson.
*Grave Possession will be released on February 18th with a one week price of 2.99. This special price is for all of my great readers and supporters over the last three years! The price will go up (and stay) at 3.99 on February 25th.
Life is a sequence of choices. Some are deliberate, others are forced upon you. This was a lesson that McKenzie Evans knew all too well. After the miscarriage of her son, she made the hard decision to leave her absentee boyfriend and move in with her former college roommate, Olivia Hamilton. That’s when she was introduced to Andrew Wise, a brilliant attorney, working for his family’s law firm in Sarasota, Florida.
To McKenzie, Drew became her salvation. He had a way of understanding her when no one else could. The closer they became, the more McKenzie found herself falling in love with Drew. He was everything she ever dreamed of in a man, and for the first time in her life, she felt truly alive. There was only one problem. Drew was dating Olivia.
With the help of fate and circumstance, Drew and McKenzie journey down a path of unrequited love and denied feelings. In the end, they must make a choice between their hearts or their consciences. In this one decision they discover that there’s always a glimmer of truth to a lie, that there’s a fine line between love and friendship, and sometimes you have to risk everything to gain everything.
For more information, go to: www.jeannemcdonald.com
From the author of The End of All Things comes a collection of short stories about the Infection that swept around the globe, decimating the population, and leaving behind a small number of survivors, unprepared to deal with the brutal new world which had replaced the one they’d known.
The End of All Things told the story of Carly Daniels and Justin Thatcher’s travels across a shattered nation in search of a safe place to settle, after the pandemic. But it was also a journey into love, and an affirmation of hope. Carly finds strength in her faith that things can be even better than they were before, that compassion and charity are not luxuries; they are what make us human. Life endures, and so does love. The End of All Things is only a beginning.
And now, Lissa Bryan gives us three new stories in Tales from the End.
Two of them are an introduction new characters from the upcoming sequel to The End of All Things, and the other two are a visit with old friends.
L.A.’s mayor has declared quarantine to try to halt the spread of the Infection. Pearl sets off across the city to buy supplies, but already the world is changing. Something strange is in the air. The Horsemen are coming …
When Veronica’s mother doesn’t come home from work and no one answers the phone when she calls for help, a nine-year-old girl is thrown into the chaos of a world coming to an end. Veronica decides it’s up to her to find her family. “Veronica” is the story of a little girl’s courage in the face of the end of all things.
“I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud”
They called her Shadowfax – the mare Carly and Justin found on their travels. But before she was found by Carly, the retired dressage horse was known as Cloud. An unusual tale of the end, told through the eyes of a confused and lonely horse, left in her pasture.
A previously-published bonus story. Carly knows Justin has never celebrated his birthday, and after society crumbled, no one knows what date it is, anyway. But she wants to do something special for him. Celebrating the little things helps them keep hope alive, and as a blizzard rages outside, a small gesture of love warms their home.
Tales of courage, tales of survival… Tales from the End.
Veronica made herself a bologna sandwich at lunchtime and ate it in front of the TV. The soap operas should be on now, but they were still showing the news. That guy her mom thought was so cute, Troy Cramer, was talking about how everyone was getting the flu. Lots of people were at the hospital, and they were closing schools in some places.
She put in another movie. By the time it was done, her mom should be home from work. She would tell Veronica that her car had broken down and she’d lost her cell phone or something, and be so proud of Veronica for taking care of herself. Or she would say that David had gotten sick, but it was a false alarm and everything was fine now.
Everything would be fine.
Five p.m. Any minute now.
Five thirty. Just traffic. Or David’s daycare teacher wanted to talk.
Veronica sobbed as she curled up on the couch, crying like she hadn’t cried in years. “I want my mom,” she told the empty room.
She wiped her face with her palms and went into the kitchen. It was unavoidable now. She had to call her dad. She couldn’t spend another night alone. As she dialed, she remembered a book she’d read last summer called Pippi Longstocking. It was about a little girl who lived all by herself, and when she’d read it, Veronica had thought about how much fun it would be to have Pippi’s big house and all of that freedom. But now, such a fate seemed horrifying.
Her dad’s phone rang. And rang.
His voice mail didn’t even pick up. She waited, because surely he’d see their number on the screen and pick up. He would pick up because she was letting it keep on ringing, and he’d realize it was something important when she didn’t hang up.
It kept on ringing.
Veronica thought she’d cried out all the tears she had, but she was wrong. She sobbed into the receiver, and those sobs turned into hiccups. She had to grab a paper towel from the counter to blow her nose, because she couldn’t breathe.
The phone stopped ringing, and a voice came on the line. Veronica sucked in a breath so fast she choked. She started crying again when it was just a recording saying that the other party wasn’t answering. Then there was just the hum of an empty line.
Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot…. though only in her head.
Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.
Small moments can seem insignificant until they change the course of a life forever. The sound of a bulldozer. A chance meeting at a gas station. A gust of wind through a chime. Benign events become something more when viewed through the lens of fate.
Emma Santori is a prisoner of tragic memories. Locked in a spiral of depression, she leads a desolate and empty life, trapped in her decrepit home. Rooted in routine, she’s numb and vacant. As a lonely Catholic school teacher, her only joy comes from her young students. One Saturday morning her isolation is infiltrated by a mysterious architect building a home beside hers.
That man is Eric Wilder and he’s keeping a secret—a secret that’s destroying his life. Filled with guilt and self-loathing he’s forced to move often. He chooses the small northeastern town of Pine Lake as his latest refuge and hopes to make a successful attempt at starting his life over. As always, he’s unable to make that happen.
That all changes when he meets Emma.
She finds herself drawn to Eric when she accidentally bumps into him, but Eric’s unfazed by their first meeting. When a gust of wind brings these two people together once again, Emma discovers Eric’s secret. She’s forced to battle between her Catholic faith and her desire for this stranger.
They’re attraction is intense and they soon discover they’re each lonely and longing for what the other has to offer. They begin a friendship, and as that friendship blossoms, Emma realizes her passion and lust for Eric are the remedy to her depression. Eric discovers his feelings for Emma are the only antidote to his secret burden.
They begin an erotic journey which leads these beautifully broken people to discover that love can be both righteous and wicked.
This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!
Happily Ever After
Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty.
Yes, we’ve all watched the movies or read the books about the princesses who have had their happily ever afters and ended up in their own Happy Wives Club. As children, many of us dreamt of a picture perfect Prince Charming who would sweep us off of our feet, solve all of our troubles, and give us our own happily ever after.
Then we grew up.
The world changed, circumstances changed, and we changed. Things happened in life that jaded us and maybe made us think that our happily ever after wasn’t so “ever after” or maybe even not so happy.
I see posts all the time that discredit the authors of fairytales and the cultures that promote them. Most of the time these posts push that, as women, we must make our own happiness and rely solely on ourselves for our happily ever afters. Though this message carries some importance, as we definitely don’t want a bunch of young girls relying on immature boys to fulfill their dreams, I must say, I vehemently disagree.
Fairytales are real.
Happily ever after does exist.
I know. I’m living it right now. But it’s not what you think.
My life consists of a daily whirlwind of responsibilities coupled with some very stressful mini-catastrophes. Functioning as a a full time writer, healthcare worker, mother, wife, and crafter on the side has its ups and downs. Each metaphorical hat I wear on a daily basis seems to suck the energy right out of me, yet at the same time, I thrive on each and every task as I love them all.
I am not wealthy by any means. So, yeah. There’s that. The money problems. Oh, don’t we all love those? My family is not perfect, we have our ups and downs and each of us struggle individually with our own difficulties.
Doesn’t sound so fairytale-ish, does it? Here comes the happy part.
In the midst of the craziness I like to call life I have one constant thing I can depend on. One steady, unchanging, anchor to my soul. My husband.
He is who makes my ever after happy. He is who makes me know that no matter what happens, I won’t fail. I can’t fail. Not because I am incapable of doing so because trust me, I totally am! It’s simply because I can’t do anything – alone.
He is my partner and teammate in life. What we do, we do together. What we accomplish, we accomplish together. And what we screw up, we screw up together.
There is no “your fault/my fault” in our relationship.
We support each other even if we think the other person might be wrong, because that is what was promised. That’s what our vows meant to us. That we are there for each other, 100%, no matter what. We can graciously offer our opinions to one another, but there is no “you’re wrong, I’m right” situation.
If there was one phrase that I could tell someone as a means to live their lives happily and have a fruitful marriage it would be very simple.
And unconditional means just that- UNCONDITIONAL.
That means I love him when he’s a jerk. I love him when he is in a bad mood. I love him when he screws up. And he loves me when I screw up. Because there is no such thing as divorce in our house. It does not exist, isn’t an option, and never will be.
When we hit hard times, we push through them.
Because sometimes that’s what you have to do to get where you want to be.
If it weren’t for this man, this man I love, this man that occasionally makes me want to rip my hair out, this man who has supported me no matter what, I wouldn’t even be writing this post let alone have written the three books in The Riverbend Trilogy. It has been through his partnership that I have found my own voice. And not because I didn’t have it before. Not because I needed a man to show me who I was, but because his love and dependability has given me the courage to truly be who I am. Because I know that if I fall…he will catch me…or at the very least we will both hit rock bottom at the same time!
There are many beautiful love stories in this world. Both fictional and true. As a romantic suspense author, I have quite a few favorites, some of which are still stuck in my mind. But after every book, every movie, every idea, not one ever trumps my favorite love story of all, and that is my own.
God has blessed me with a man that isn’t perfect. He isn’t Mr. Wonderful, but he sure is Mr. I-Will-Try-My-Best. That’s what matters. And as long as I remain Mrs. I-Will-Try-My-Best than I see nothing but a happy marriage in our future.
Togetherness. Partnership. Unconditional Love.
These, my friends, are the secrets to being a Happy Wife and I am an honored member of The Club.
Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE.
…And yours is probably pretty screwed up.
But no worries, you’re not alone. So is mine.
This might read like some what of a rant, but here we go…
At some point in time, throughout life, all of us will pass judgement on someone else. Every single one of us. Yes, that includes you. Even if you claim to be the most nonjudgemental person in the world, at some point you WILL pass a judgement on another person. Even if that judgement is you assuming that person to be too judgemental.
This is really okay. Judgements are based upon opinions, standards, morals, and how we were raised. But, most importantly I believe judgements are based upon perspective.
Wherever you happen to be in your adventure of life is going to greatly affect how you see the world.
Whether you are highly successful in your endeavors, or dangling at the end of a very short rope. Your placement in the world, society, and life will create your view.
I’m sure we all have had many people come into our lives who assume that they know much about what transpires in our day-to-day activities. And I must say that 95% of the time, their perspective is either warped, misunderstood, or just blatantly false. But rather than lash out or defend ourselves, as much as we all love to blame people for being wrong about their assumptions, let’s take a moment instead to look at it from their perspective. After all, it’s them not having the ability to place themselves in our shoes that leads to the false assumptions and misunderstandings in the first place, correct?
So, take off your judgey face…
(This is your judgey face.)
…and take some time to reflect.
If there are people out there who seem to think that they know what is best for you, what you should be doing instead of what you are doing, or simply can’t seem to believe or understand a situation you are going through, perhaps if we try to see things from their point of view, not only will we understand them better, but we might just set a great example as to how they should try to see things as well.
So, problem solved. Right?
Unfortunately, the judgement doesn’t stop here. Presumptuous expectations seem to reach on into the fictional world as well.
Oh, come on. Admit it, you judge the actions of every fictional character you read about. In fact, I’m willing to bet you might just be judging this post right now. You’re probably silently judging the author as well, thinking to yourself “Well, why would they say that?” or in a book, “I could have come up with a different ending that suited the story better.”
And you know what, you’re right. You probably could have. The great thing about fiction and novels is that they tell a story, a complicated story, from one person’s perspective. Now if that same story were told by another author, one with different life experiences than the first, the story might take place differently.
This is what is absolutely wonderful about books! That one can tell the same story that a million other authors have already told, yet it will be different and unique, set apart from all the others. This is also what connects fiction to real life.
In Riverbend, I have a character, Lena, who struggles endlessly with grief and trust. Some readers love her character while other have left reviews complaining about her being too weak or “whiney”.
Well, guess what?
We aren’t all Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, ok? Some women are weak at times. Some people are vulnerable. Not every woman is some super human, kick ass chick who doesn’t give a shit. This whole super-woman/independent thing really gets under my skin sometimes…but that’s another post. Perhaps one I will write tomorrow.
I am already prepared for the opinions I will receive about Avery from my WIP, To Be Loved. She is young, confused, and well, let’s just say kind of an idiot. But isn’t that the whole point? That we are all kind of an idiot at some point in time? That we find our way through life and we enjoy reading about characters who must do the same? I hope so. I hope there isn’t an entire group of people out there who have it all figured out, have all the answers, and here I am left out in the cold.
Anyway, back to the point. Some readers don’t like that my character Lena is vulnerable and confused. But I’m willing to bet that all has to do with their perspective on life. The judgements they make of my fictional character actually greatly reflect their personality. Which is really kind of cool. Because that means that somehow, my writing of Riverbend and the two subsequent novels in the series has brought a part of that reader’s personality to light and in print on my book page.
Yeah, I think that’s kind of neat.
But hey, that’s just my perspective.
Have a Happy Tuesday!
Get over it!
Yes, you heard me correctly.
Get. Over. It.
I’d like to expand a bit on yesterday’s post about callings in life. Some of us feel like we have to have a goal or be actively working towards something to be of any real value. So, what do we call it when we are stuck in between interests with no idea what to do next?
That’s right, it’s a slump.
Those of us in the writing world might call it writer’s block. Some call it lazy, others call it a lack of motivation. No matter which way you slice it the next course of action remains the same…get over it.
As I discussed yesterday, many of us have many interests and potentials. We need not be limited by society’s expectations that we remain on one long and tedious path our entire lives. So, now that that’s established, let’s say we realize that and still don’t seem to have a concrete direction to go in.
That’s ok. I feel like this all the time.
In fact, I feel like this right now. I have been drilling away at my new book for months and months. Despite being rewritten, edited, and ready to go I haven’t been able to get past the feeling that something is missing. Quite frankly this is driving me absolutely crazy. I can’t stand it. I need to feel like I am working. And right now, I am not. So, Im in a slump.
But after my post yesterday about being free from the grind of expectations and careers, I realized something. When I wrote my first novel, Riverbend, I wasn’t working toward a goal. In fact, I wasn’t working at all! I was playing around with different ideas and interests and it just sort of transformed into this book. So, perhaps I don’t need to put pressure on myself to do something of value?
I also realized something else, that I need to get over my slump. The only way to do that is to keep going. So, here I am writing a post about being in a slump to try and get myself out of my current slump!
To effectively get over it , I need to be creative. Whether I am blogging, writing, or even starting a new project. I simply have to trust that the idea will come and most likely not while I am staring blankly at a manuscript.
I can’t even believe how picky I have been with To Be Loved. I feel sure that missing something will strike my mind, but it won’t happen while I am sitting around feeling slumpy.
“Inspiration exists, but it must find you working.” Or in my case, just playing around. Still, something is better than nothing, right?
What tactics do you use to raise yourself up when you’re in a slump? How do you get over it?