I am tickled that my fellow writer gal-pals, Randi Cooley Wilson and A Jacob Sweeney, tagged me for the Writing Process Blog Tour. Writers across all different genres, all around the world are answering the same four questions and then inviting a few more writers to participate. You can check out Randi's and A Jacob Sweeney's posts on their blogs and follow the trail back to see all the amazing peeps who have participated so far. In the words of one of my favorite Spartacus warrior's, " Shall we begin?!"
1. What are you working on right now?
I actually have two irons on the fire right now. I have commissioned a talented young director/editor in the creation of a book trailer for Invisible Wings. I get these little glimpses of rough cuts and I have so excited; he's bringing my characters to life with music and voice...I'll keep you posted on this. The second project is a young adult novel called Uncross the Stars. It's about a high school quarterback with a horrific past and the girl who breaks through his fears to his heart. Regina Wamba of Mae I Design is currently scheduling a photo shoot with two AH-SOME models for the cover. I am in the final editing stages of this one, then on to mythology series.
2. What makes your work different?
Wow, what a big question! Maybe it's the eclectic grouping of genres I am writing in. I know everyone says stick to one genre...paranormal, fantasy, romance...whatever, but I just CAN'T. I have too many stories screaming in my head to get out and I can;t pegged them all in one category. So, it makes sense to me that the next book will be the mythology series...it's been patiently waiting for my attention. So I'm going to give Paris, Hector, and Achilles and their friends some love :)
3. Why do you write what you write?
I want to communicate with everyone...stories just seem to be the way that happens for me. Some people sing, others dance. I write. Not real glamorous or sparkly, but it's all I got :)
4. How does your writing process work?
Simple. Stories strike me everywhere I go. I write the seeds down in a notebook (actually I have about 5 notebooks). I hand write ideas, plot, character sketches...doodles...then I move to the computer. You know what's funny? I want these stories out of my head, but as soon as one gets out, another one pops up. So, maybe I write what I do to keep my brain clutter to a minimum? Once I'm into the solid writing phase I write to the exclusion of everything else. I write so much my neck hurts, my back hurts, the dishes pile up, my dogs think I'm a ghost...and MUSIC!! Oh my god music! I love to find a sound track for a novel. Right now I have Pandora playing my Matt Kearney station, and I didn't run this morning because I was finishing this blog :)
So, I'd like to tag one of my favorite author friends in this little blog tour...because I want to read about her process, etc.
Anna Snow...look out hot mama!
Heir of Skies (book 1):
Librarians note: this book was previously published as "Starbright"
Stella is a Star, sent by a Council of Elders to live on Earth and protect the planet from the Darkness, a terrifying evil that would suck the good from every living thing and leave the planet empty and desolate. She has until her twenty-fifth birthday before the Protectorship becomes hers and Earth is left solely her responsibility. Stella’s fate goes on fast forward as she struggles to balance the rest of high school with the duties of protecting humanity from the deadliest kind of evil. With her parents and Seth, the boy intended to be her Counterpart, by her side she faces down demons and fallen angels in an effort to protect the last inhabited planet in the universe. But evil is not her only enemy. She also fights her future as she tries to decide if she’s willing to give up her human relationships, especially that of her best friend Tristan, in order to save humanity.
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Heir of Darkness (book 2):
Stella Day will one day be the Protector of Earth, but right now she’s focused on other things. Surviving high school, having a winning soccer season and balancing the two guys in her life all vie for her attention. She isn’t ready for her future or the massive destiny waiting for her.
Unfortunately for Stella, destiny isn’t patient. Stella’s life becomes complicated when the Darkness won’t leave her alone. She’s plagued by Shadows at practice and in school. Seven, Seth’s deranged sister, is stalking her. And Aliah has made it his life’s mission to destroy her before she turns eighteen and comes into the fullness of her powers.
In a risky effort to save her life, Seth makes a deal with the devil that changes everything. Suddenly, it’s no longer her own life that Stella is desperate to save. She must find a way to protect her Counterpart before he becomes the worst threat of all.
As Stella grapples with the intensity of her feelings for both Tristan and Seth, her choice might just be made for her. While the Darkness demands her attention, humanity and the high school life she loves will fade into the background as she embraces the purpose she was given and the most complicated battle yet.
This time it’s not just her life on the line, but her heart as well. Choosing which boy to love might not mean a happily ever after. Choosing between Seth and Tristan might just lead to a heartbreak she never imagined.
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Heir of Secrets (book 3):
The countdown to Stella Day’s eighteenth birthday has begun with only a year left to go.
When Stella turns eighteen she will take over as the Earth’s protector. She will come into the fullness of her powers. And her counterpart will be released from his soul-losing contract.
Only three hundred and sixty five days to go. Only fifty-two weeks. Twelve months… But a lot can happen in that length of time.
As Stella trains for that day, the Darkness closes in around her. Seth sold his soul so that she would be safe until her eighteenth birthday but someone is still trying to kill her. And Seven, Seth’s deranged and evil sister, won’t leave her alone. There are more problems with the Council that’s supposed to be protecting her. And when Jupiter suddenly disappears things go from bad to worse.
It might be easier to solve all her problems if Jude Michaels wasn’t bothering her every second of every day. And if she didn’t miss Seth with such a consuming, paralyzing ache.
When her friends are threatened and her Midwest life exposed, she has to fight through every distraction that plagues her and find the real threat in a sea of enemies that want her dead. Aliah has never been more evil. Seven never crazier. Tristan and Piper are constantly threatened and in danger.
But it’s Seth she fights for the hardest. As he teeters on the precipice of Darkness and Light, can she salvage the soul of a boy who has given it up for her?
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It's Monday, and we all want to feel lucky!
Heir of Darkness Playlist:
Playlist Combined from all 3 books:
Monsters- Lenka Closer- Kings of Leon For Albert- Sara Jackson-Holmes Silence- The Ting Tings Anything Could Happen- Ellie Goulding Shake Me Down- Cage the Elephant Let the Drummer Kick- Citizen Cope Like a Song- Lenka Sail- AWOLNATION Store Bought Bones- The Raconteurs Hit Me Like a Man- The Pretty Reckless My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark- Fall Out Boy Who Gon Stop Me- JAY Z, Kanye West Chandelier- B.o. B. Stars- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Cigarette Smoke- Cara Salimando The Monster- Eminem Sunshin- Skylar Grey Fall into the Sky- Zedd Icarus- Bastille Bleeding Out- Imagine Dragons To Be Bright- Sara Jackson-Holmes Blue Lips- Regina Spektor Burn- Ellie Gouldng Light Up- Sunday Lane Light up the Sky- Yellowcard Fire- Ingrid Michaelson Gold Dust- John Newman Soul Wars- AWOLNATION Til the Casket Drops- ZZ Ward Staring at the Stars- Passenger Wonderful Unknown- Ingrid Michaelson
My favorite from playlist:
If you haven't been to Carmel, California then make it a destination on a future itinerary. It's a beautiful little place with fantastic restaurants and lovely local people. I recently went there with a group of people to help a best friend celebrate his 50th birthday. And in the midst of all this revelry, my muse got an unexpected jolt. At the end of the official night, we all sat around several tables at this little place called Brophy's--chatting, laughing--and then a whisper went around our group...the guy at the bar in the beanie...he looks like Colin Farrell...he's gorgeous...he's a hottie. Literally, we all gawked at his chiseled jaw...intense eyes...and of course we were all too obvious, so it was only a matter of time before he turned around and smiled at us. SWOON. Then, lord help me, he made eye contact with me directly, probably because I was the only one continuing to stare. I was a deer in the headlights. My brain said, "LOOK AWAY!" But, I couldn't. I froze. I actually froze like a dork. He smiled wider. I finally ripped my gaze away. (In my defense, I have to say that a man in beanie is my cryptonite.) I busied myself in a conversation, until I heard an urgent warning, "He's coming over here!" I looked up and Mr. Adorable was walking to our table. For a second I thought maybe he knew someone. Next thing I know he's standing next to me. He simply stated, "Why not be straight forward? I'm Dylan." He extended his hand. I'm not sure I responded right away. In fact, I don't remember what my original response was, or if I made one. A round of introductions took place. He bought the birthday boy a cocktail and joined our merry gathering.
Me: So what do you do?
Dylan: I climb mountains.
Me: (Completely intrigued) Really?
Me: (Thinking, who climbs mountains?) As a hobby?
My eyes narrowed with doubt, so he pulled out his phone and proved it. Holy crap. He really does climb mountains. Real mountains. Snow. Crampons. Huge backpacks. Mt. Shasta. Mt. Rainier. His gallery of pictures was stunning. One of my favorites was of him on the very top of Mt. Shasta, holding an American flag with the Earth literally a curved horizon in the background. Ah-mazing. We talked for hours. I listened to all his adventure stories.
Here's the reality of my writerly world: Meet handsome stranger in a new town and what am I thinking of? Wow! What a character he'd make in a contemporary romance novel. Bold. Confident, borderline cocky. Adventurous. Built like a Greek god. Nice tattoo. Signature style (the beanie). Mysterious. A delicious balance of available and unavailable. Thank you handsome stranger for striking the muse into over-drive. The next day as I drove home, my muse pestered me for 4 hours. As a result, I've got a great sketch for a character in a future contemporary romance novel. Someday, maybe, Dylan and I will meet again at Brophy's in that little Cali town...and I'll say "Hey! You're in a book." You know what they say about having writers as friends...chances are you'll end up as the foundation for a character in a novel, or will be sooner or later.
Here's some Coldplay for you :)
Celestino closed his eyes and took her kiss with more urgency. His arms wrapped around her, pulling her against him. I am not meant for God's heaven. My heaven is here.
Imagine a love that is forbidden to you by design, yet you need it like you need air to breathe. Could you resist the temptation? Would you be willing to suffer the consequences, when it crumbles through your fingers...because these kinds of passions burn hot and quick, consuming themselves and everything in its path.
We all know we can't chose who we fall in love with...that on some level love whether it is a chemical connection, a visual smack in the head, or some other inexplicable phenomenon that takes us by the short hairs and scatters us to the four winds we are slaves to it. When you fly so high, and burn so fast it's easy to forget yourself and the life you lifted off from in order to soar with the wings of the phoenix. And forbidden love, the love you need so badly that you are willing to betray all to hold for a moment...well, that's the kind of love for the ages. Burning hot, bright and fast...At some point we land on back on Earth and must pick up the pieces, putting some semblance of the life we used to know back together.
This kind of love burns us to the core. It changes us forever. There is never truly a way to go back to the status quo...the stain of it lingering as ash and dust in our mouth, haunting us with what might have been and what will never be.
Iseo and Celestino burn bright in BIRTH...book one of the Livingstone Saga. Will Celestino obey the required oath written in the Codex of Gargoyles, or betray everyone to follow his own desires?
Available at Amazon and soon everywhere else...
In Book One of the Livingstone Saga: Birth, Iseo and Celestino share a very passionate kiss. It's just a "kiss"...so no reason for concern because kisses are innocent...or are they? You can steal a kiss, take a kiss, blow a kiss, kiss back, or just peck a kiss. But, I have been thinking a lot about kisses, and not because it was just Valentine's Day (which I celebrated solo style in the company of two dogs and one cat). This is what I thought about: kisses are probably the most dangerous thing of all. The simple act of leaning in, pressing lips to lips is how the very first line is crossed. It's the line that separates the safety of where you are with the excitment of the unknown and where you're going. A kiss is the doorway to passion. A kiss is the first truly intimate thing that lovers do, and the one thing they notice first when it's missing-in-action. Consider this painting by Gustav Klimt entitled, what else? The Kiss.
It's a magnificent painting. The embrace and the cloak exude passion, ignition, and all that glitters in the sparkling shower of love. This piece was recently featured in the movie This Means War starring Reese Witherspoon and the sexy Tom Hardy. Check out this KISS montage by Mira. I think her selection shows exactly what I'm talking about.
A KISS is when you begin to give in...to everything. It is hard to stop, to pull back the emotional tidal wave once it starts to crest over your body, mind and soul. The kiss is the beginning of the end for many of our favorite fictional characters, meaning they fall head over heels...to their utter joy or destruction.
Remember when Carrie kissed Aiden in Sex in the City 2? If Mr. Big hadn't called off the wedding in the first movie, I think he might have walked off and said forget it at that point. But, I'm pretty sure, the cancelled wedding and "the kiss" were never brought up again...a "kiss" trumped being jilted. Think about it. And Carrie did pull away...it could easily have gone the other way, as it usually does.
Which brings me to my characters, Iseo and Celestino. A girl and a gargoyle...they are forbidden from loving each other, yet they do. And they share a KISS...
"Celestino waited until he felt her reach toward him. It was a slight movement on her part, but it was all the permission he required. Without taking his eyes from hers, he allowed his mouth to descend. Gentle at first, he tasted wine and honey on her lips. “You are the nectar of God and earth,” he spoke so close to her that she felt each word as his lips brushed against hers."
You'll have to read they rest in the book one of The Livingstone Saga: Birth. This kiss lasts about two pages...it's sexy, sweet, and you'll have to decide how innocent it really is... (re-posted from previous site).
The NerdGirlOfficial's Gladys found me via Twitter. She liked a post about Invisible Wings. We tweeted it up and it led to an email convo, which turned into a guest blog post by me for NerdGirlOfficial. I am re-posting my original blog here. For the full Q and A article see NerdGirlOfficial. And check them out. They support indie authors like me and I am grateful :)
HERE'S the REPOST:
As a little girl the favorite woman in my life was my Nonna (that's Italian for grandmother). She lived next door to us for a while, and I learned so much from her... like how real butter with sugar on a saltine cracker and warm tapioca pudding are easy snacks (forbidden to her because she was a diabetic, and when she would sneak the sweet stuff she always swore me to secrecy with, "I'm your Nonna!") She also taught me that cooking was an all-day process (a can of tomato paste and a toss of sugar were the key to a great red sauce). I remember her house smelled of my grandfather's tobacco pipe and dark chocolate. It was home. It was love. It was the best time of my youth.
So what's the big deal about grandmas? Here's 10 reasons we love our grandmas in a way we love no other:
1. they truly love you unconditionally (they make you feel perfect)
2. disappointing them is not an option (there are things we've done that moms knows, that we'd be mortified if our grandmas knew!)
3. you accept they know things your mom doesn't know (it's like wisdom skips back a generation, to the consternation of mothers everywhere)
4. they have old school skills like sewing, crocheting, and cooking from scratch (if it's not from scratch, we are never told)
5. they are soft places to land (literally they hug you and it feels soft)
6. they listen to music that you would know nothing about if it weren't for them (like opera or Dean Martin or Frankie Sinatra)
7. they never had sex, but know how to explain love (...I know that's a hard one, but it's the truth)
8. they would never tell on you (and you would never tell on them)
9. they believe you can fly (they make you feel you can do anything, anytime, anywhere...)
10. they will stand up for you to your mother and WIN (because she's your mom's mom or your dad's mom and well, mothers always win...)
My Nonna happened to be a non-practicing catholic and with that came some heavy religious superstitions or beliefs, take your pick I won't be offended. And the one that stood out in my mind was this: always be kind to strangers because you might be entertaining an angel without realizing it. I never forgot that. Consequently, whenever I encounter a stranger in need, her words rush my brain. What I didn't know at the time was that this life lesson would become the premise of my first book, Invisible Wings.
Now that I'm a Nonna myself, I understand how much she loved me and all her grand babies. So, when my granddaughter looks at me with her big brown eyes and smiles saying, "Nonna, I like you." It spears me through the heart. It's truly a privilege and joy being a Nonna to all three of my grand babies.
Just when you thought no one was listening...there was Arabella.
Get your wings at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and currently free @ Smashwords.
Click on the picture for a 360 view of Finis Terrae, or the End of the Earth as the Romans called it. When the Romans controlled Espana (or Spain) this pile of rocks was believed to be the very edge of the earth, and beyond the visible horizon lay the entrance to the after world. In medieval times, that morphed into the "Gates of Hell." Today, as in medieval times, Finis Terrae is the final destination of many Catholic pilgrims. They begin from various spots in Europe and walk miles and miles on the famous Camino de Santiago (Road of Saint James). I thought it would be fun for you to stand where Iseo and Celestino stood hundreds of years ago, looking out to the horizon and the very Gates of Hell.
FROM THE FINIS TERRAE CHAPTER
"Celestino came up close behind her, close enough she could feel the tension between their bodies. Beneath them pilgrims built fires on the beach. They stripped their clothes and threw them in the fire before running into the cold, welcoming waves. He leaned his head down to her ear and whispered, “Pilgrims have no modesty.” He then whispered down the side of her neck, “I am your pilgrim.” As she shivered, he stepped back and stood watching the sun as it prepared to tuck itself behind the line of ocean and sky. “We should be returning to the inn.”
Iseo barely heard what he had said, as her knees still shook and her heart pounded loudly in her ears. For a man not versed in love or romance, Celestino plucked every string of her heart. As they walked back, with the sun behind them, the grayness of evening shrouded them in their own world. Celestino reached for her hand. She let him take it, and for a precious brief moment, they walked as lovers under the peeking stars at the end of the world." (Re-posted from a previous blog).
The history of Iseo and Celestino begins in the famous Cathedral in Santiago, Spain. The city's roots stretch far into Spain's Celtic and Roman past. After the apostle James the Greater was beheaded, his body was taken back to Santiago, Spain. This connection to Saint James is what made the first Romanesque chapel (that was burned down by the Moor al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir) and the current cathedral (completed in 1129 AD) so famous. Santiago is located in the northwestern region of Spain about 20 miles from the sea. It is one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations in Europe. Here, at Santiago de Compostela, this where Iseo first studied the art of carving livingstone, and where she "birthed" Celestino under the moonlight, as recorded in chapter one. For almost three hundred years, gargoyles had been carved at this sight. Primarily because the "Devil's Quarry" was relatively close by. To this day, the exact location of the quarry, where pockets of livingstone were known to exist, has remained a tightly guarded secret. There are subtle reminders left behind in the construction that speak to the sacred mission of the Makers (creators of gargoyles) and the raging battle between Heaven and Hell. The Portico de Gloria is the primary architectural feature that holds clues of the hidden history. Primarily, there are the numerous relief sculptures of Saint James himself and the Apocalypse. The representation of demons and beasts in the portico represents how glory triumphs over evil, and is a clue that gargoyles lived in this cathedral. This includes, the demons on tympanum of the left door (arch over the door). There is a very strong correlation between the depiction of demons on churches, and the little known livingstone workshops. (re-posted from original site).