Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Just Breathe

August was extra-stressful for me. If you missed it, you can read about it here.

At the beginning of September, I made a commitment to myself to stop pretending I was too busy to do things that made me happier and healthier. To pay more attention to my kids and nature. To go outside. To read books. To stop worrying that I'm going to become obsolete if I don't "hurry up and write the next book."

I am just over two weeks into my new schedule. In that short time, I've lost weight, gained muscle, laughed, read great books, daydreamed, felt the breeze, hugged a turn on my motorcycle, written my first speech, done a full moon ceremony, read love letters to myself out loud in front of the mirror, and JUST BREATHED.

That last one is my favorite.

Whether you're a writer or another professional or a professional Momma (or Daddy), if you're feeling the stress (that we've mostly put on ourselves) to do and be MORE than is possible or necessary or FAIR, I encourage you to make your own commitment.

Just like me, you don't have to tell anyone about it when it happens. Sometimes the biggest changes occur in small silences. But do it. Sticking to my promise to myself has increased the quality of my life. The only one I get in this body and this mind. And my soul is grateful.

What do you do to disconnect from the stress and just be in your own body?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bitterroot: Part 1 is available now!

There is nothing quite like a new release--I get so excited and nervous and silly every single time. This one is no different. Except that it is.... Werewolves AND vampires!??! 

If you know me or have read any interviews I've given on the subject, then you know that vampires have always scared me. I've been too afraid to write them and get them wrong somehow. So, I've refrained. and finally--I've done it. Owen is delicious and moody and slippery and mysterious--and deadly. I hope you like him!!! I want to hear from you guys! Please let me know your thoughts after reading! Then again, being a werewolf girl myself, Carter holds a special place in my heart too. Who is your favorite?? I can't wait to hear!

by Heather Hildenbrand & SM Reine

Seventeen year-old Regan Vuk has lived her whole life under the shadow of her future: the pack alpha. She is fast, smart, and determined. According to her own pack members, she is a shoo-in. But Regan’s dad has a secret.

Seventeen year-old Charlie spent her adolescence drifting from place to place with a mother desperate to hide her illegitimate daughter from the unforgiving reality of werewolf pack dynamics. All Charlie has ever wanted is to know her father--and the family that's been kept from her all these years. But most of all, she wants a place to belong in the world. Where she doesn’t have to pretend she can’t sprout fur and paws at will. Being kidnapped on her way home from prom was not she Charlie had in mind.

When Charlie finds out the only way to fit in with her new family is to defeat her long-lost sister for the role of alpha, she refuses. That is until she learns that the strange and alluring vampire she's befriended, Owen, is the same vampire prince that's been promised the winner.

Regan has no doubt that, although she loathes the vampires, it will be her who "wins" Owen.

Only problem: Charlie's already fallen for him.
Bitterroot is a Young Adult Paranormal with a dose of sibling rivalry... Who will you root for?
Just .99 for a limited time! 
Get it for: Kindle / Nook / iBooks

Contest! Help spread the word about Bitterroot!

Share the following message on Twitter, FB, or IG OR follow me on any of these platforms and get entered to win a signed swag pack including a paperback of Seasons of the Moon by SM Reine & Dirty Blood by ME! Contest ends 9/26!*

2 sisters. 1 vampires prince. Can family survive forbidden love? #Bitterroot for .99. http://bit.ly/Bitterroot1

*Contest not affiliated with FB, IG, Twitter, or any other outside entity. Must be 13 years or older. Void where prohibited.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Just let it SUCK

It's been a while since I wrote a personal post but it's also been a while since I had a month quite like August.

Hot damn, I'm glad that's behind me.

I don't know if it was Venus in Retrograde or the heat of summer melting brains, but it was a rough one. There were things that happened, sure, but mostly, it was the boat rocking way I DEALT with those things. I felt knocked off my game. I knew I was letting little things get to me more than I should--that the problem wasn't the problem but how I was DEALING with it--but I just couldn't seem to pull myself up by my bootstraps like I usually can.

I got mad and then emotional and then depressed. And then I began doubting myself. And I mean the basic foundational things that I've been working so hard at building up these last few years. After months of affirmations and struggling to be clear on WHO I AM and WHAT I STAND FOR, August came along and then I couldn't self-talk my way out of a paper bag.

Basically, I was a hot mess.

I know I'm not the only one this happens to. We all get it together and start rolling along thinking we're tougher because of that last thing that knocked us, and maybe you have a solid few months ... (the past YEAR for me has been great! Meaning: sucky stuff happened here and there but it never knocked me off the horse. I got good at feeling good.) ...and then something comes along and you feel like an infant about your emotional responses. No control.

I'm about to say something that sounds so cliche, it makes me feel like an asshole for saying it. Especially if you're still down there trying to get up.


I know, I know. So cliche. Hokey, even. It probably pisses you off. It definitely pissed me off for the entire month of August. Because it sounds so EASY but it's NOT.

But the triteness of the phrase doesn't take away from it's truth. And the best part is there is POWER in that truth. If you can climb back to that place where you can begin to control your reactions, you feel so powerful!

There is no greater reminder of your own strength than the power of being in control of your own emotions.

And in the meantime, when that option just isn't in your arsenal of tricks, give yourself permission to let it SUCK for a minute. We get so caught up in how to feel good and reminding ourselves to be grateful and positive and only see the good, glass-half-full version of the picture that we don't let ourselves just FEEL HOW WE FEEL. It only compounds the problem.

I'm climbing my way out of the mudhole but the sky is brighter and for anyone else stuck down there, especially the ones who thought you'd put all that muck behind you, it's not a failure. It's not a setback. It's a lapse in personal power and it happens.

I know none of that means a ton when you're in it, but from someone standing on the other side, I'm with you. You're not alone. Sometimes, that is comfort enough. I'll see you when you get back.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The thing Utopia gave me that changed my life!

In 2011, I was no one in the author community. I had JUST published my first 2 books. No one. Knew. Me. And then something crazy-new happened. 

A woman named Janet Wallace in Nashville, TN, fell in love with this new-fangled wave of indie/self-publishing. She was desperate to meet all of her favorite authors but alas, there was no conference in existence that invited indie authors. Back then, self-published still had a HUGE stigma. She didn't care. She had a vision. 

Janet created UtopiaCon (Originally UtopYAcon) out of a love for YA and a desire to meet and connect with the authors of her favorite YA stories. Authors like Amy Bartol, Shelly Crane, Tiffany King, CA Kunz, and Quinn Loftis (to name a few). 

Despite my anxiety, I went. And it changed my life. 

You have to understand, this was my first public appearance as an author. I hadn't so much as signed a bookmark in my hometown before Utopya that first year. It was terrifying but it was also the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

Fast forward, and we've just wrapped the 4th annual 

As we jump into the FIFTH year of the amazing UtopiaCon, we want to give back to the organizers who have given so much inspiration and support to us. A conference of this magnitude--of this level of MAGIC--is not cheap.

Over the past few months, we’ve learned that organizers, friends, and even family have come forward and given from their own personal funds in order to help move Utopia forward another year and we want to pay them back. We want to FIGHT FOR OUR WRITE and do our part to help.

This year especially, we'd like to make sure they go into planning sessions with an extra boost to the bottom line.

So if you've ever been touched by Utopia, or if you love any of the authors, bloggers, or readers who have, please take a moment to give a few dollars. This will insure the inspiration continues.

We hope you'll be led to give from the heart, but to sweeten the deal we have some MAJORLY EPIC incentives! In addition to what you’ll get from the Go Fund Me organizers (see the donation page to read about those), you’ll also get entered to win any one of these amazing raffle prizes listed in the rafflecopter below!

Prizes like this one:

or this...

And in order to help convey the magical sense of community Utopia has instilled in its attendees, I want everyone to know that...


There is no purchase or donation necessary to enter to enter the drawing, but we encourage you to give even just $10 in order to help move us toward our big goal. And don’t forget, every donation of at least $10 earns you free books!

How to enter:
  1. Go visit #UtopiaLove’s Go Fund Me page and make a small donation (this isn’t necessary, but we would be so jazzed if you did this first! AND this earns you an automatic prize based on your donation level. Check your email to collect.)
  2. Click through any one of the rafflecopter entry methods. Complete the necessary item and get entered for all of the raffle prizes listed below.
  3. Click through to the list of other participating authors & bloggers to read how Utopia has changed them!

That’s it! Thanks!

Participating Blogs:

Kallie Ross    Kallieross.com
Komali da Silva www.komalidasilva.com
Patti Larsen www.pattilarsen.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway