Hurt people hurt people

How are you broken? 

We all are. Some of us have jagged cracks through our souls. Others of us have countless fine lines. Most of us have a mix of both.

We’ve been broken by words and by circumstance. We’ve been broken by jealousy and good intentions. Traditions have broken us. Zeal has broken us. Love has broken us alongside the hate. This life is a constant process of trying to put ourselves back together. Filling in the gaps left by loss. Sewing together the frayed edges of a broken heart. It’s important to acknowledge our brokenness, to strive to fix it.

Continue reading

The Way We See Ourselves

My sister visited me last week. We got into a conversation about how we grew up, what our relationships were like with our siblings then, and what they are now. How much we know each other, how much we don’t.

That led to a discussion about how I view myself as an adult. I was an emotional and very sensitive kid, and I think that led me to believe that I would be an emotionally needy adult. But now, looking back on close to twenty years of adulting, it surprises me to realize how comfortable I am being emotionally independent. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I just really need a hug from my husband, but I don’t feel the need to reach out to people very often. I don’t know if that’s an introvert thing, or a social thing, or something else. Regardless, I’ve decided that it’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just different from what I expected I would become.

I wonder how many times we do that to ourselves. How often do we pigeon hole ourselves into a space that we think we fit—or that we think others expect us to occupy—without ever realizing that that isn’t us, at least not anymore.

Continue reading

I Got A Gesture For You!

The first time I met my husband’s father was, shall we say, memorable. My father-in-law was an engineer. Cerebral. Quiet. Logical.

This is me and my man back in the day.

I went to their house to meet the family and we played one of their favorite games. My husband told me beforehand that while his mom would welcome me with an effusive hug and probably ask me to call her mom, his dad would likely just nod, say “nice to meet you” and that would be it.

Continue reading

Character Driven Plot

I was part of an author panel hosted by Romancing the Capitol. This was their first time having a panel specifically dedicated to Clean Romance Authors and I was so happy to be a part of it. It was live-streamed on YouTube and you can go watch it here.

One of the questions asked was about how we as authors keep our stories new and fresh. That was an easy questions for me to answer because my plots are driven by my characters, and I do my best to make my characters human. There are billions of people on this earth and we all live unique lives because each day is filled with thousands of decisions to be made, both big and small. Each of those decisions will change our course, whether drastically or incrementally.

Continue reading

Types of Heroes

What’s your hero preference? Do you like to read about silent, mysterious, and brooding men? Do you like a hero with confidence and swagger? Or friendliness and charm? Do you like the nerd? The goofball?

Personally, I tend to go for charm, but I’m also a sucker for a little bit of brooding. A good brood can make for some great tension, so long as it doesn’t cross the line into disrespectful and rude.

Continue reading

Top 10 Bookish Pet Peeves

1. Overuse of exclamation points!!!!!!!

This one grates on my nerves. I am of the opinion that unless a character is actually shouting, there’s no need for exclamation points.

2. Redundant physical description of characters, especially when expounding on their “hotness.”

An author can mention that adorable dimple maybe twice before I start to roll my eyes. Attraction is good. Romantic tension is good. But I really want these character to be attracted to each other for reasons OTHER THAN their physical attributes.

3. When internal thoughts interrupt a conversation for so long that I lose track of the conversation.

If characters are truly in the middle of a conversation, there’s only so much free space they have in their brain. You can’t have a three-page inner dialogue and expect us to believe that all happened in the two seconds it took you to answer a question.

4. When an entire plot is centered on a misunderstanding that a five minute conversation could solve.

I’ll buy into a misunderstanding for MAYBE a fourth of a book, then I’m just screaming in my head, “HAVE THE CONVERSATION!” This is especially problematic in books where you have both points of view and thus the reader KNOWS that there is no good reason for this conflict to go on other than stubbornness.

5. Unnecessary dual POV, especially when it repeats the same scene but from the other person’s perspective.

Multiple points of view can absolutely be done right. But when they’re not…

I wrote an entire blog post dedicated to this subject, in case you care.

6. When the heroine and her best friend are the only reasonable women in the book and all others are cliche mean girls, vapid, or self centered.

Not every popular girl is mean. Not every ex-girlfriend of your love interest is a witch. Your main character should not be the only down-to-earth, thoughtful girl around. That’s insulting.

7. Unhealthy relationships made out to look like swoon-worthy romantic relationships.

I’m lookin’ at you, Twilight. There’s a lot I still love about those books, but Edward removing Bella’s car battery to prevent her from doing something that she wants to do is WAY not okay. Also, him watching her sleep without her knowing…

8. When the story is too big or too small for the book length.

I don’t need to read about a character’s every day activities. I get that they live a normal life a lot of the time. Please skip that part and just tell me the interesting stuff.

And when you are telling the interesting stuff, don’t go too fast! Interesting action happens because of complicated situation that you should explain so that we can all ride the adventure along with the characters in full support of what they’re doing.

9. When a character has too-stupid-to-live syndrome.

There’s this scene in the first season of 24 where the main guy rescues his wife and daughter and they’re waiting for a helicopter to pick them up. They’re crouched behind something and the daughter wants to go out into the open. Dad says no, it’s dangerous. Daughter (who has spent the last 12 hours being held captive) thinks he’s being dumb and goes out into the open anyway.

Really? Really, what’s-your-face? You’ve been terrorized by bad guys for the last however many hours and you don’t think this situation warrants just a smidge of caution??

10. When a hero and heroine fight and fight and fight, then kiss, then fight and fight and fight, and then supposedly live happily ever after.

I’m guessing this opinion is less universal than a lot of the others, but I just can’t get on board with a couple who agree to love each other even while it seems they can’t stand each other. That’s probably because I’m allergic to contention and I can’t handle it and it makes me cry when I encounter it in real life.

It’s just not my cup of tea.

So there you go. A random list, in no particular order, of the things that turn me off when I’m reading. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What are your pet peeves?

Let Them Tell Their Story

Several years ago, I made a big change in my life. I left behind a certain belief—a certain truth that I had subscribed to—and I picked up a new truth.

I’ve heard the phrase “speaking your truth” more and more lately, and I’m starting to better understand what it means and why it’s important.

We all have a story, and when our story is interrupted by something unexpected—something that changes one of our core beliefs—it usually takes a lot of time to process. That’s probably why it’s often used in storytelling.

For example: Continue reading

The Greatness of Vulnerability

One of my favorite book scenes of all times is in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. At the end when Harry is talking to Dumbledore in his office, discussing the prophecy.

“Neither can live while the other survives.”

Dumbledore explains that the details given in the prophecy applied to Harry, but they also applied to Neville. It’s the moment when Harry finally understands what being the Chosen One will eventually mean. Continue reading

Fun Facts about If I Could Stay

Happy release day!

IF I COULD STAY is officially out. Those who pre-ordered should have their ebooks waiting on their Kindles, anxious to be read.

If you haven’t picked up your copy, it’s available in ebook and paperback here.

Now, I thought I would share a couple fun facts about the details that I included in my book. Continue reading