Book Updates

Ending the Radio-Silence

As infrequently as I write on the blog, it’s probably no surprise that I haven’t written in this space since June of 2018. Unfortunately, the radio-silence this time was due to some major personal issues and not about laziness or forgetfulness.

My last blog post was my most raw and deeply personal bit of information I’ve ever shared, and I shared it at a time I was feeling extremely vulnerable and basically at rock-bottom with a crossroads decision to be made. Shortly before I got up the nerve to share the details of why I started writing and the health issues I suffered with, I learned of a devastating betrayal of my trust and love from the most important person in my life. I wrote the blog post more as a way of reminding myself of what I’ve survived and that no matter what decision I made, I would survive this heartbreaking development as well.

I spent the summer attempting to just enjoy life and keep on living while I reevaluated some things. But before I could figure out what to do, I was given even more bad news. Since my giant ovarian tumor that took over my body three years ago, I’m supposed to go annually to make sure they’re not coming back. So, I went in, had the ultrasounds done, and find out I’m all clear – no tumors. Fantastic news.

However, I did have a sizable hernia open up in the incision from the tumor removal right above my belly button. So, I needed surgery again. Which I had done in November and it was a rough recovery. I was super cautious about all of my movements, not allowing myself to use my ab muscles for anything. I didn’t allow myself to cough or sneeze. I wouldn’t even lift a gallon jug of water. I did absolutely everything I could do to ensure that hernia stayed stitched up.

Well, less than three months later, something just didn’t seem right. So, I was right back in the surgeon’s office, had a CT scan done, and wouldn’t you know it, that son of bitch is back! I had opted to have the hernia repaired without mesh because it wasn’t super big and I was concerned about having complications with the mesh – because that is seriously my luck with everything. But the damage to my abs from the tumor and the surgery three years ago just weakened the muscle too much and it just can’t hold itself together. So, I’ll be going back under for another surgery to have the mesh implanted this time.

I’m still working through personal relationship issues and I’m trying to figure out when I’ll be able to get this surgery done, but I am still writing and attempting to stay connected on social media. I’ll do my best not to let so much time go between blog posts, but I want to thank all of my wonderful readers for your patience with me. I have high hopes that I’ll eventually get better at this blogging thing.

Oh, and if you didn’t already know, I did release two new novels during my radio-silence – Breaking Mae’s Curse and Taming the Tramp. I hope you’ll check them out if you haven’t already and I hope you enjoy them.

Writing Saved My Life!

Exactly two years ago today I published my first novel – Love Triumphs Pain, and I have since published a total of 12 novels and 2 poetry collections.

Last year, this anniversary came and went without a single word typed to celebrate it. Why? Well, I struggled with whether or not I wanted to share this piece of myself. But here I am on the second anniversary and I am tapping away on the keys of my laptop, determined to not allow another year to go by without saying this.

Writing saved my life.

There, I said it.

So, now some back story to explain that bold statement.

Up till I graduated high school, I was in great shape with six-pack abs, was strong, had a ton of energy and zest for life, and I was motivated to be something. Then, my health took a horrible turn. I started gaining weight for no reason – literally gaining about fifty pounds in the matter months even though I ate super healthy and was active. I had no energy at all and no motivation to do anything, even though I wanted to be up living life. I developed massive uncontrollable heartburn that I pretty much had 24/7 and would cause me to cough up blood and it was very difficult to eat or keep food down. The doctors were dumbfounded and just kept prescribing me more heartburn medicine that only made it worse.

So, I started doing research and started experimenting with my diet. Come to find out, after several years of absolute hell, I had a gluten/wheat intolerance. I cut the gluten and my health started to return. I was able to get back into shape, nearly getting my high school figure back, and my energy had returned. Life was great. I was walking five miles a day, working out a few times a day, and taking 5-15-mile hikes and canoe trips on the weekends.

Then, in 2015, as if a switch was flipped inside of me, my energy vanished, I started gaining weight again, and I started having issues with passing out for no reason at any given moment. There were countless times that I was just standing up talking to someone and blacked out and collapsed on the floor. I blacked out driving numerous times and thankfully snapped back into focus before I crashed.

So, remembering that the last time something similar happened was because of gluten, I started experimenting with my diet, researching symptoms, experimenting with different herbs, and I even went and spent hundreds of dollars for visits on acupuncture.

Why didn’t I just go to the doctors, you may be asking?

Because, they didn’t do anything the last time I went in for these same issues years prior. Long story short, I have had some disappointing experiences with doctors not doing anything and then having to “self-remedy” the situation. I basically didn't want to waste my money to be told they don't know what is wrong with me.

But after a few months of getting nowhere, I was defeated. I knew something was seriously wrong and I needed to go to the doctors. I needed someone to look inside my damn body and find out what the hell was going on!

At this point, I literally looked 9 months pregnant (seriously - people asked), after having a flat stomach only five months prior. So, I called the doctors office and they gave me the option between two doctors and a nurse practitioner to schedule with. Not having good experiences with the doctors in the past, I opted for the nurse practitioner. Now, I don’t know if the doctors would have handled the visit the same way as she had, but I’d like to think that I finally found a person who knows how to listen to her patients, because after listening to me and feeling my stomach, she ordered a CT-scan – exactly what I knew needed.

 A week later, I go in for my follow-up to get the results. What I knew in my gut was growing in my gut, was in fact growing in my damn gut! I had a 20-pound ovarian cystic tumor that was displacing all of my organs and was even pushing my stomach up against my chest cavity, which was causing me agonizing chest pains that felt like I was having a heart attack.

In October 2015, I underwent a major operation requiring a very long incision up the center of my abdomen to remove the 20-pound non-cancerous tumor (basically the size of a very large watermelon). I had to have a partial hysterectomy, and had to have all of my organs put back into their correct place. Yeah, sorry if that grossed you out.

I continued to have a lot of issues with my health, even after the operation, and in the spring/summer of 2016, my nurse practitioner had me in and out of tons of tests and lab work, trying to figure out why the hell my passing out issues weren’t going away. It was so bad that she actually banned me from driving, so I had to arrange to work from home for a couple of months.

After the tests revealed, I had to go back to my diet experimentation and figured out I could no longer have any grains at all – none! Once I eliminated the grains, I was golden. As soon as I ate even just one bite, I was sick for days. So, no grains equaled back to work and back to health.

But, wait, why did writing save my life?

While I was going through all of this, while I was basically deteriorating and dying, my determination to write the stories I had in my head and finally share them with others is what kept me fighting, it’s what kept me going every day. I had so many episodes where I literally almost died – I could feel it and there was nothing I could do about it because I was home alone and unable to get to my phone. But I kept telling myself, “You’re not fucking dying till you publish at least one book!”.

Yeah, I had to use some hard language with myself some days. But here I am two years later from the date I published Love Triumphs Pain – still kicking and still determined to keep writing till I just can’t anymore.

So, to everyone reading this and to those who have read my books – thank you for being a part of my survival journey and my journey to follow my dream to write.

It has been a challenging couple of years to get to this point, but writing has been so damn rewarding that when I look back at everything I went through, there is still a silver lining on all of it - writing. Writing is my silver lining. What started out as an activity to occupy my mind and keep me positive when my life was basically ending, has turned into a passion that I live for. It’s a passion of hard work and never-ending scrutiny (from myself and readers), but I’m very excited to keep putting in the labor and to keep growing, keep improving, and keep sharing the stories my imagination is constantly churning out.

Here’s to many more anniversaries! Cheers!

P.S. A second edition of Love Triumphs Pain has been released with a new cover and edited to match my current writing style.

It's Confession Time!

Fact 1: I love being a writer!!!

Fact 2: Telling people that and telling them about my work is the HARDEST thing for me to do!

The act of “self-promotion” has always been hard for me, but even more so with my writing. Sure, I can joke around with friends and family about my “awesomeness”, but when it comes to being serious, and telling the public about it, I literally grow a shell and hide in it.

When I sit down to try to come up with a promotional post or email for my books, I get this sinking feeling in my stomach and my mind goes completely blank. For every sentence of “self-promotion” I can actually formulate on the screen, I could have written two chapters in a new book. I swear, with the amount of time I waste in fretting over how to just tell the world about my love and passion for my writing, I could have written a library of short stories. It’s really ridiculous.

Why is “self-promotion” so difficult? Why does it send me fleeing into a dark closet in my mind? I’d like to think it comes from a tranquil spring of humility. But since this is confession time, let me be honest – rejection really sucks.

Yes, I love to write, and I love what I have written, otherwise, I wouldn’t share it with the world. However, rejection is inevitable. I know as soon as I put a new book out, some will love it, some will just think it’s ok, and some will down right hate it. That group of “down right hate it” flag wavers is what causes my shell to grow over when I try to put an “ad” together.

But why does the negativity affect me so? Honestly, I don’t want to disappoint anyone. If I put a piece of “self-promotion” out there, and someone bites the bait, reads the book, and then hates it, I feel like I have failed that individual.

I write for myself first. However, I share my work because I think others might also enjoy it. And because I have decided to share my work, I write with a level of scrutiny that forces me to respect my readers and take them into consideration when I’m writing. I try to capture emotion, real life, fantasy, and hope into each page that my soul bleeds into a story.

So, because I have made my readers a part of my process, “self-promotion” no longer just includes me and my books – it includes my readers. How do I speak for them? How do I put a “self-promotional” piece out there on behalf of the readers?

This is the conundrum that promoting my writing puts me in. Am I promoting myself, my characters, or my readers? Reality is, I’m promoting all of them and that is a very intimidating reality! Why, you may ask. Well, because of that group of “down right hate it” flag wavers. If my readers are indirectly being promoted in my “self-promotion”, I feel a bit protective of my readers. I don’t want that negativity to transcend and affect my readers.

It’s a bit like the paradox of the child suffering the crimes of the parent. In reality, the negativity of the “haters” probably doesn’t impact the readers who love my work, but this is condition the act of “self-promoting” put my mind in.

So, if my interactions, promotional posts, emails, etcetera seems a bit too far and few between, it’s just because I care too damn too much.

But now that I’ve figure out the hang-up I’ve had with my thinking on “self-promotion”, it’s something I’m going to have to work on. I have to get better at it, not just for myself and my writing to become more visible, but so I can better serve my readers.

To all of you readers waving the “I love it” and “it wasn’t so bad” flags, you’re more appreciated and valued in my heart than you’ll ever know. Also, to the “down right hate it” flag waivers, I appreciate you as well – you’ve helped me to grow.

Happy reading to all of you!

February Book Releases!

So, when you're reading a book, and the main character receives an opportunity to star in a movie, do you ever wish that the author had written the novel for the movie so you could read the full story? Well, I decided to do exactly that to give my character’s universe even more depth.

February is the month of many celebrations, but is most notably a celebration of Love. So, for my love of writing, I’ll be releasing two new books on Monday, February 19th. In addition to releasing Building the Nursery – Book 5 of The Dancing Wolf series, I’ll also be releasing The Sharps Unleashed, so you can get fully absorbed into Kayla's world.

Here is what you have to look forward to in Book 5 - Building the Nursery:

By being able to stay true to herself and her values, no matter the number of temptations and calamities that seem to befall her, Kayla quickly rises to iconic status, further opening career paths in the entertainment industry.
While trying to enjoy the riches of their labors and planning to start having children, Kayla and her wives have to balance a hectic schedule and complicated relationships.
Suspicions of disloyalty will mount, tensions will flare, and very shocking truths will be learned.

If you want the full story of the movie Kayla is starring in – I recommend starting your reading on 2/19 with The Sharps Unleashed to avoid spoilers that are in Book 5.

Robin Sharp is a police officer for her local precinct in a small town in the mountains, where a bill was recently passed to open up a huge portion of the mountain to commercial logging. As the town is overrun with out of towners, they bring a mess of problems for the police force. While trying to help keep the peace between the locals and the loggers, Robin is assigned a case to find a few missing big-rigs, which turns into a rapidly escalating threat of a major homegrown terrorism plot. Not knowing who else they can trust, Robin and her wife, Grace, must go into dangerous territory to gain more intel and scramble to prevent multiple catastrophes.

If you haven’t read books 1-4 in The Dancing Wolf series, what are you waiting for? This series is packed full of action, love, romance, humor, drama – basically everything you could possibly want in a good story. Book 1 – Building the Family is currently on sale for only $0.99 till Friday, February 16th, so now is the perfect time to start the series.

Note: Reading The Dancing Wolf series is not required to be able to read The Sharps Unleashed – this is a standalone novel and is not a part of the series.

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Yes, I'm Writing

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a book update, so I think it’s time I let you in on what I’m working on. First, I think it’s necessary to explain a little bit about how my mind works. I’m a very eclectic person with a lot of interests and I like to do as much as possible. I’m also a big multitasker – I’m much more productive if I’m working on multiple projects at once. That being said, I’m also a perfectionist. I scrutinize my work very thoroughly and I don’t allow myself to take any shortcuts. So, even if I’m working on, say, ten projects, not a single one will be done half-assed.

So, now that you have a little bit of insight into the brain of Amy, let’s get to the more interesting news. I’m mainly working on my lesbian romance series – The Dancing Wolf. I’ve released the first three books in this series, and I’m currently working on writing book seven, while proofing and editing books four through six. When I started writing the first book in this series, I only had a standalone novel planned. The plan was to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and write about a type of relationship foreign to me. Polyamory is a very interesting way of loving, and is very complex, with many variations, rules, and expectations. In, The Dancing Wolf, I focus on a monogamous form of polyamory. About halfway through writing book one, the story grew like a jungle watered with a tankard of Miracle Grow. In ten months, one book has become seven, with new growth sprouting up every day to inspire even more installments in the series.

You’d think with my mind as occupied as it is with this series that I wouldn’t have room or time to work on anything else. Well, I kindly ask you not to underestimate my brain so much. In addition to working on The Dancing Wolf series, I’m working on another lesbian romance series. I’ll be releasing books one and two in The Brooke and Hannah series before the end of the year, and I’m working on writing book three to release early next year.

Ok, seriously, I’m not done. No, two series are not enough for my brain to focus on. I’m also working on a romantic comedy series for my website with short scenes. The Cat’s Meow will be a free series with weekly installments released to keep you entertained and engaged in between my book releases. Yeah, that tankard of Miracle Grow spilled everywhere and has stuff popping up uncontrollably, so I’m going to share the fruits of the creative garden with you.

Is that it? No, not quite. I don’t get to work on this as often, but my next big project is a collection of short-horror stories. Horror stories from a lesbian romance author? Yeah, I’m eclectic, remember?

Ok, I’m still not done. I currently have over thirty planned projects with very detailed notes for new novels in a folder called “Back Burner Projects”, and that folder grows on a weekly basis. Needless to say, I have enough content to keep you well entertained for a very long time. I’ll pump it out as quickly as I can at optimum quality.

Ok, so that concludes the update – for now.

Ditching Comfort for Progressive Love

It’s been said that being comfortable in your place in life can be the most dangerous condition of the mind. When you’re comfortable, you can become scared to try new things, fear change – Instead of learning how to go with the flow, reject innovation and creativity, and eventually, you can become irrelevant, even to yourself.

I love getting out of my comfort zone. I love trying new things – whether it be, a new cuisine, a new outdoor activity, or listening to a new genre of music. Experiences are only exciting if they change. Doing the same thing every day becomes boring and drags you down mentally and physically.

I put that same adventurous thinking into my writing. Each story I write is unique and their characters and obstacles and victories they experience are unique. In my latest release, Building the Family – Book 1 of The Dancing Wolf Series, I pushed myself far beyond my comfort zone. At times, it was actually hard to write – not because I don’t like what I wrote, but because it is so progressive that I wondered if the world is ready for it.

But thinking like that is just as dangerous as staying in your comfort zone. If we think that something is too progressive, or too innovative, we may never advance as a society.

Love is a complicated phenomenon, one that is vastly underestimated, and not very well understood. In this series, I push the boundaries of what society holds as the acceptable principles of love. I push forward out of the comfort zone, and by doing so, I challenge the concept of understanding to expand.

It's finally here!

Sometimes, or maybe most times, things don’t go as planned. My original vision for the book cover for Keeper of My Heart was one of those moments. Aside from becoming creatively distracted from completing the final editing and formatting for the interior of KOMH, I ran into some delays with the build on my “perfect cover design” for the book.

Sometimes, but probably not most time, it works out when things don’t go as planned. When my mind had enough room to begin working on getting KOMH ready for release, a new idea for the cover design was born. So, a handcrafted horseshoe heart was bought and a photo-shoot date with my best friend, Kristin, was scheduled.

While drinking hot chai lattes from a tiny café tucked down a cobblestone alley in Historic Old New Castle, we roamed old brick sidewalks, turning the small city into our photography studio. A hundred pictures later, we had the one – the image to match the vision I had in my head.

Creating a book cover can be a very stressful experience. You want just the right image to convey some meaning from the story, but also have it grab the attention of your audience. It needs to be interesting. It’s more intimidating than writing the story.

In this instance, having things not go as planned eliminated that stressful intimidation that building a cover always causes. How can clear blue skies with a warm spring sun, tiny blue butterflies landing in your path, gentle tides of the Delaware River lapping at the shore, and delicious chai lattes – all while in the company of your best friend, be intimidating?

So, a special thanks to Kristin for taking the stress out of the cover build for Keeper of My Heart and lending her photography skills to make my unplanned vision come to life.

Creatively Distracted...

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve dropped a blog post!

My only explanation I can offer for failing at maintaining the blog is that I fell into a deep creative chasm in my mind and have been writing like a demon – cranking out several novels for two different lesbian romance series. In five months, I’ve written six novels, and made extensive notes and plans for three more, between the two-different series, and am now working on editing them. To say that I’ve been busy is an understatement.

Sometimes, creativity sneaks up on us and we just have to let it grab us and take it wherever it wants. It’s a wild ride – one that I love and often over indulge in. The next novel I’ll be releasing is a standalone, titled, “Keeper of My Heart”. This is actually the second book I’ve ever completed, but because I often allow my creativity to pull me in different directions, it will be the fourth in order of publication. While I was working on editing “Keeper of My Heart”, the worlds for “She Became my Water” and “The Perfect Right Hook” begged loudly to be born into ink and paper. Who am I to deny the birth of new creation? So, of course, I had to set the current project aside and allow them to flow through my cerebral channels, guiding typing fingers to paint words into windows, giving light to their existence.

“Keeper of My Heart” has undertones of a host of diverse and unique characters dealing with a lot of social stigmas and judgements with homosexuality, loveless sexual relationships, sexual experimentation, religious oppression (Islam), and how to heal from a broken heart and accepting ones-self – flaws and all. The dynamic between these characters brings you full spectrum through your emotions and you’ll quickly fall in love with the entire cast.

Stay tuned for news on the two-different series I have in the works – I’m very excited for you to fall into both worlds as I have.

To be released by November 2016 - She Became My Water

As an author, I feel it fitting for my first blog post to be about the next book I’ll be releasing soon. She Became My Water, is a special project to me because it’s conflicts aren’t just on a character level; some are also on a societal level and are struggles that the LGBTQ community deals with every day. Such as, understanding that humans act of falling in love is far more complex than the anti-gay advocate’s understands and that gender identity is not developed in physical form, its developed in the mind and heart. This story has everything – love, compassion, struggle, humor, loss, suspense, revival, growth, adventure, and complex diverse characters. I am currently working on the book cover and my final proof read. I hope to release this book before November 2016. I will keep the blog updated with my progress and the final release date. To read a brief synopsis, click here to go to the Books page.