Thursday, September 25, 2014

Promise Me Light Deleted Scene

Promise Me Light's one year anniversary was yesterday. I can't believe it's been one whole year since Maddie and Ryder got their happily ever after! I've been in my writing hole so much lately that the date slipped my mind until a reader reminded me of it. I wanted to do something special so I thought - why not release a deleted scene that I had sitting on my computer? So here's one I randomly picked. Yes, it's short but it conveys what I love about Ryder - his overprotectiveness, his love for Maddie, and his stubbornness too. I hope you enjoy!

~~~~

As Ryder and I stared at each other with anger, Cash grabbed the reins of the saddled horse. Stuffing the rifle in the scabbard, he led the horse back toward us, taking his time. His walk slow and sure, his gait measured. Holding the reins against his body, Cash started to peel off his gloves, one finger at a time. I glanced at him as he held the gloves toward me.

“If we’re gonna ride, you gotta be warm,” he explained in his thick Texas drawl.

I took the gloves with a snap of my wrist and slipped them on, almost weeping with relief when warmth enveloped my fingers. Ryder had made me so mad that I hadn’t realized how cold it had become. The temperature had dropped quickly with the falling snow, blanketing the ground with white. And Gavin was out there somewhere, lying on the cold, hard ground, thanks to Ryder and his short temper.

“Give me a leg up, Cash,” I said, turning my back on Ryder and holding the reins. Cash started to help me up, but was stopped quickly.

“Don’t touch her,” Ryder’s deep voice boomed behind me, snapping out like a whip. Before I knew what he was doing, his hands were around my waist and he was lifting me into the saddle.

I scrambled to hold onto the reins as Ryder planted me firmly on the horse’s back. His hand stayed on my thigh, burning me through my jeans, as I tried to calm the horse down. She danced and jerked sideways, away from Ryder. I understood the feeling. He made me skittish too.

His hand slid down my thigh and then off as he grabbed the reins. Stepping in front of the horse, he rubbed her nose, trying to get her to calm down.

“Whoa, girl. It’s okay,” he said in a soothing, calm voice. His eyes moved up to mine, looking so blue against the dark stubble on his face. Lowering his head again, he whispered to the horse, his gaze on me. “Calm down, girl. You’ve got my entire life riding on your back. Both of them. My heart and my baby.”

Oh, God. When he said things like that ... I was lost. Indefinitely.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Giveaway!

I'm giving away four free tickets to the Authors in the O.C. signing, taking place in Anaheim, California on Saturday, October 4, 2014. Enter for your chance to meet over 37 authors, including me!


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Crying Ahead But Still Behind

I just jumped ahead on a book I am working on (and still behind on) and wrote the "Acknowledgments" section because I was feeling very thankful for some people in my life. By the end of it, I was a blubbering mess and my youngest looked at me like I was crazy. I couldn't help it, I've met some amazing folks since I started publishing. And I also came to realize how much little things from my childhood would affect me now. Like my great-grandmother telling me stories about living during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl (I drew from some of those stories when I was writing PMD and PML). And then there was my grandmother spending hours discussing books with me, tearing apart plots and scenes and imaging living the life in the book. And my grandfather letting me tag along with him and the other farmers/ranchers when I was little, treating me like just another ranch hand. I feed cattle in the heat of the day and met the sunrise on the back of a horse. I stood around with old cowboys and listened to their tall tales, soaking in everything I could about their way of life. Each moment and memory affected me. Each second having an impact on my life. Not only did it make me what I am today but it also made me what I write today. So I'll cry when I write acknowledgments (even when I'm not done with the book) and blubber like a fool when I finally write "The End" because I've got a lot to be thankful about and many people that gave me the memories I needed to do what I wanted - write.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Walker from Sweet Destruction was interviewed!

The ladies at SubClub book blog sat down with Cole Walker from Sweet Destruction and asked him some important questions. Find out what he said about Sam, his dad, and other women here: thesubclubbooks.com

Sweet Destruction Playlist

This playlist for Sweet Destruction blew me away. Check out SubClub's music picks for the book along with the quotes that go with the song. It's amaaazzzzing.

Sub Club

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The truth behind the fiction

I want to start out this blog post by saying that I am in no way an expert. I have never said I am an expert nor believe that I know everything about what I'm writing. What I saw...what I learned...what I noticed...is just my own perspective. It is what I took away or gathered from a small amount of time with my experience.

I've written stories my entire life. From the time I was a little girl, I would daydream and imagine characters and the lives they led. I have numerous books that I started over the years and never finished (but the stories are still locked away in my mind and sitting unfinished on my computer). I hear something or meet someone and POOF! an entire story pops into my head. Well, that happened many, many years ago and that’s how Sweet Destruction came about.

I was in my last semester of college with only a few months left until I walked across the stage to receive my Bachelor's degree. What was my major? Criminology. Yep, that's right. Crime. I wanted to either a) work with juveniles in the criminal justice system, or b) work in law. (I ended up taking the second route - law. According to my father, it was a much safer route and he wanted his daughter safe.) But before I could graduate there was one thing my professor wanted my classmates and me to do - interview juvenile detention inmates for a study. Thirty inmates per student were required. Male. Between the ages of 12 and 17. Now, we weren't just going to ask them simple questions like, "What are you serving time for?" or "Are both of your parents living in the home?" No. We had to ask the hard questions. "Were you sexually abused?" "Is your mother or father an alcoholic or an addict?” "Did you have a home to go to every night?" Pages and pages of questions for each inmate. The point of the interview and the study was to see if there was a correlation between upbringing/family life and a life of crime. Does a terrible home environment determine if a child turns to criminal activity? Does society and a child's surrounding shape the morals of a child and the ability to choose a path of crime or is it ingrained? Learned? A part of some people’s DNA? In a nutshell, it was a nature vs. nurture question. Were these inmates in juvie because that's how they grew up and that's all they knew or was it more of a choice? That’s what we were there to learn.

I remember walking through the numerous layers of security while hulky juvenile detention guards stood watching. A few times I walked down hallways lined with inmates, each wearing white prison garb, usually on their way to the dining hall or some other activity. I was placed in a room, just a twenty-two year old blonde girl and a male inmate, sometimes in jail for a major crime such as rape (but usually for theft with a deadly weapon, assault, or possession with an intent to sale and almost always it involved a gang). I had to sit by the person and ask intimate questions, just the two of us alone while a guard stood outside watching through a small glass window set in the door. So I asked my questions, refusing to be afraid of these hardened, young criminals. I figured if I showed them respect, they would show me respect and that’s what happened, surprisingly every time.

They answered my questions. Poverty. Hunger. Domestic violence. Drug usage. Everything was covered. They told me what I wanted to know and I LISTENED to them, something not many people in their lives had done. It was a wakening for me. I had never known hunger. Or violence. Or the need to do anything to survive. I was just a normal college student who came from an upper middle class family. I listened as they told me stories. Gang members raised them, not their parents. Many didn’t have food or adequate clothing growing up. Teachers tried to help sometimes but these boys turned to a life of crime, most following in their older siblings footsteps or even their parents.

Sometime after I graduated from college, those kids were still in my head. That’s when a storyline begin to grow. I’ve always been fascinated with the hardships of life and how people deal with them so it seemed normal for a story to develop out of that experience. The story of Sweet Destruction slowly started taking place in my mind. I jotted it down about a year after I interviewed the inmates, their stories still lingering in my head. After I published Promise Me Light, I start writing Cash’s story, but Sweet Destruction kept calling me. Walker and Sam wanted their story told. They are not based on any particularly person that I met at that juvenile detention center; they are based on the idea, on the impression that I walked away with – there are kids out there living from day to day, hour to hour, suffering and being the victims of their environment. Sweet Destruction is fiction but at its basis is truth.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sweet Destruction playlist

I'm excited to share the SWEET DESTRUCTION playlist. As many of you know, I can't write without my music but I called on Emily of SubClub book blog to help me find the best songs that fit the book (because she's amazing at it - she really has a gift with music). Some of the songs on the playlist I listened to while writing Sweet Destruction, but most of the songs are what Emily picked to represent Sam and Walker's relationship and I have to say that they are just perfect. Listening to the songs, I could almost picture the different scenes in the book and the conflict that takes place between the characters. The playlist just blew me away. I hope you agree. Enjoy!