New Discord Server!

Introducing… 

Crystal and MJ’s Reader/Writer Portal!

I now have a Discord server where you can interact with me in real-time, participate in my online events, and chat with fellow readers!   

​I’ve partnered with my friend and co-author, Crystal Crawford (okay, it was mostly her idea), to create a joint Discord server where we can host online events, chat with our readers, do workshops and info sessions with fellow writers, and more.

​Discord is unique in that it allows me to host a private (invite-only) server where I can set up “Channels” for a variety of different chat topics, do live-streams and screen-shares, host group video chats, host online events, create breakout groups for specific events or topics, post videos and links, and lots of other fun things.  It also allows for users who join — like you! — to text chat in the channels with me (and each other), message other users, and even jump in to group video calls when I set them up. 

​In short, it’s the perfect platform for me to connect with you better, and also for you to find others who have read my books and may want to chat about them, as well as connecting with fellow readers and writers who share your interests.

It also has a fun leveling system where you can Rank up by interacting and chatting in the server.  When you hit each new rank, you get access to special titles and exclusive, story-themed custom emojis… and there’s even a Leaderboard with a special reward for the Top User!

And it’s all FREE for you to join and use!

When you join as a reader (and/or a fellow writer), you’ll immediately find a post which will let you sort yourself into channels based on whether you are a reader or a writer (or both), and whether you are interested in interacting with Crystal, myself, or both of us!   You will also get access to the channels to interact with your fellow readers and/or writers who join our server.

We’re just getting things rolling in the Discord server, but plans for its use include:

Dedicated chatting channels for readers of my books, Crystal’s books, and also our cowritten work

Scheduled live-streams and/or group video sessions with myself and/or MJ (probably usually Crystal—she’s the live video dork, and I hide like the introverted cave-dweller I am!)

Scheduled character chats, book chats, etc., where you can “chat with the characters” from our books and/or find out more about particular book worlds we’ve written

Dedicated chatting channels for fellow writers, with future plans for scheduled writing chats, critique groups, brainstorming groups, and occasional writing workshops

Ask the Author sessions where Crystal and/or myself will be available for questions and discussion via group text or live video

Exclusive Beta-Reading opportunities

Early access to news and announcements

And more!

​I am SUPER excited about the chance to connect more directly with my readers, and I can’t wait for this thing to really get going!

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, join through the link below, and then just follow the prompts/instructions once you set up your account.

Join CRYSTAL & MJ’S READER/WRITER PORTAL Discord Server!

All you need is an email address!  (Discord does have an app for mobile and desktop, but you can also just use your browser.)

You’ll want to check the #welcome-and-rules channel on the left panel first when you enter, and the friendly Server-Bot will walk you through how to get into the server from there! 

…And I’ll be waiting to greet you on the other end. 

The Stars Wait Not Book Review

Ryllis Camden has a secret—she can talk to nature, and it speaks to her in return. But her gift is forbidden by the Vilarian Star Realm who controls her planet, and the penalty is death. When she’s falsely accused of treason and exiled to the Vilarian home world, hiding her power becomes even more critical. But how can she hide anything when she’s forced to toil in the home of the emperor’s youngest son?

Kresten Westermark might be a prince, but long ago he shunned a life of luxury to work as a telepath in the Vilarian Imperial Fleet. His job demands he treat his new prisoner as a slave and test his deteriorating telepathic powers on her, but the only thing on his mind is the growing attraction he feels toward the earnest young woman tending his gardens.

As the mountain winter fades, a reluctant respect between the two becomes trust, and trust soon blossoms into affection. But when the Fleet arrives to arrest Kresten for treason, Ryllis must make an impossible decision.

Save Kresten’s life—or hers.

Sometimes you want a book filled to the brim with action and adventure, high-stakes and intense relationships, and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Other times, you want something immersive that lets you develop a relationship with the characters while they are on their own journey. It’s slow and steady, building to a conclusion that gives you peace.

For me, The Stars Wait Not by Anne Wheeler was a breath of fresh air. It was a little infusion of science fiction, a touch of sweet romance, and a storyline that kept me involved to the end. I read the book in about three days, which is a record for me since my schedule is usually packed! I loved the characters, their interactions, and how the story progresses at a pace that is reasonable while still offering little bits of surprise here and there.

An added special touch are the illustrations. How many adult books can you find with illustrations? It’s a thoughtful gesture by the author that helps draw the reader further into the story while not being so intrusive they distract from the story. While not necessarily filled with high-stakes adventure, the book is, in fact, a more realistic depiction of a prisoner’s life on an alternate world, and that is enough to make you feel genuinely connected to the protagonist.

And the cover? I love the constellations mixed with the leaves, and after reading the book, it makes so much sense. It’s simple yet beautiful.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series! If you’d like to purchase the book, you can find it here!

Why Write?

People tend to underestimate themselves. I don’t mean a little uncertainty about meeting a deadline or trying a new recipe—I mean, really, truly underestimating their purpose in life. I was one of those people for a long time, but it wasn’t something I thought about a lot. I finished school, went to college, got the obligatory gazillion degrees, got a better job when I got out of college, got married, had a kid… and then my world screeched to a total halt.

I realized once I had my child that I had no idea who I was. No clue whatsoever. My husband and I decided early in my pregnancy that I would stay home and raise our child. It was more my choice than his, but he supported my decision, which worked wonderfully when we moved from Florida to Georgia.

For a long time, I was happy just being a stay-at-home mom to an infant, but right about the time I morphed from a competent woman who had her life together into a sleep-deprived psycho who didn’t even remember what day of the week it was, I realized I needed more. Then came the guilt parade… because needing more than being a mother was selfish, right? Well, it felt that way when my daughter was only a few months old, and post-pregnancy hormones wreaked havoc on every aspect of my life, including the part that told me I was not a horrible person if I wanted more than feeding a baby, changing her diapers, and trying to decipher just what the heck she wanted when she was screaming like a banshee.

One night, I’d just had enough. The baby was like a mini-tornado for hours before she finally fell asleep for the night, my husband (a firefighter) was on shift, and I was too tired to care that the dishes were piled to the ceiling. All I wanted to do was pace. I paced and paced until I realized what I needed was to get the feelings in my head down on paper. I had never been one to journal, so trying to do that only made things worse. For Heaven’s sake, why couldn’t I just be like a normal person and write down how I felt?

Turns out, I’m not the only person who can’t do that. Lots of people can’t do it, so I thought I’d write a story to deal with all of my emotions (side note, I was also dealing with post-partum depression and grief over tragically losing a childhood friend to suicide.) What happened was a story that incorporated a lot of me, a little of several friends, and a heaping helping of regret all rolled into an account that became quite popular on Wattpad. The Yellow Note, my very first full-length novel, was a hit that amassed over 3 million reads before I removed it from the writing platform and published it.

That was a few years ago, and though I realize there were TONS of ways I could have made that book so much better, I also know that it is perfect just how it is because it was the first time I realized I had something to say. I could be more than a stay-home mom, a homemaker, a homeschool teacher, a personal chef, a maid, and all those other things we do all day every day. I could have a career that was all mine—directed, grown, designed, and crafted by me.

It was pretty wild to discover something I enjoyed so much in my late thirties. I know, I know, that’s not old, but when you are dog-tired, and your brain is too fried to even remember how many times you washed that load of laundry, discovering a new talent is fun and exciting.

So that’s it, the craziest thing I ever learned about myself (okay, maybe not the craziest, but the wildest I’m going to discuss with readers), and it just so happened to be something I could turn into a career I adore.

What is your passion? When did you discover it? What’s the craziest thing you ever learned about yourself?

If you are interested in reading The Yellow Note, the first book in The Secret Author Series, it is available at Amazon.

New Release!

The second book in The History of Goranin trilogy is here! I’m so excited to share this next installment of the story with my readers. There are so many new characters, twists and turns, and surprises you’ll need a seatbelt (and more tissues).

In case you haven’t started the series, you can find the first book, Eiagan’s Winter, at Amazon (or click the title for a link.)

Check out the blurb and bonuses below! Click on the books to redirect to the Amazon page!

When Eiagan Allurigard sacrificed herself to save her people, the Kingdom of Goranin was supposed to prosper, but now dark forces threaten to wipe the kingdom from the map permanently. The new Queen Emora continued her sister’s fight for freedom, but at what cost?

The once amiable princess has become a tyrant worse than Eiagan ever was, and the rebels are run out of The Banished Lands, forced to make a new life on the Rynkald Islands where they work to build a new army—one that can turn the tide against their once beloved rebel leader.

However, things are not what they seem in the ravaged land of Goranin. Immortals with dirty hands and hardened hearts and those who prey on the weak wait to strike, ready to take all the land for themselves. What was once a battle to save Goranin becomes a struggle to save every kingdom from the clutches of evil. Chaos abounds as our band of rebel fighters struggle to stay alive and reclaim their homeland.

The Revenant Queen is packed with adventure, unbelievable monsters, deep roots and layers of intrigue, and the strength of a family forged in pain and grief.

Want to listen to my Spotify playlist? Just click here: The Revenant Queen

Guest Blog – Crystal Crawford

Have you ever picked up a book, and from the very first sentence, you knew you would never, ever forget about it? That’s how I felt when I first started beta reading Crystal Crawford’s book The Edge of Nothing, the first in her Lex Chronicles Trilogy (which is part of a larger world-related franchise.)

Crystal and I had a fairly new friendship at the time, mostly talking about writing and reading each other’s work on Wattpad. Then we started beta reading new work. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first opened that Google Doc with The Edge of Nothing title looking back at me—after all, I wasn’t much of a fantasy or science fiction sort of reader, but boy did that change!

The opening scene, miserable as it must have been for Lex, drew me in, and I needed to figure out what was happening to him as much as I needed to breathe. From then on, I was hooked. But don’t take my word for it! Grab a copy of her book and settle in for a great ride—but before you do that, have a look at this guest post by Crystal Crawford, where she describes her world in her own words!

You can find the book here.

Read Crystal’s blog post here.

Book Review – The Last Necromancer by C. J. Archer

From Amazon:

A waif, her abductor and a twist you won’t see coming.

For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.


Fair warning, this review DOES contain spoilers!

This one was a pickle for me. I adore Archer’s Glass and Steele series, so I thought I would like this one as well despite my aversion for books about necromancy. Her writing kept me involved as usual, and I did grow an affection for the main character, Charlie, a rough and tumble girl of eighteen who spent five years living as a boy on the streets of Victorian Era London.

At the start, Charlie was strong-willed and brave, leaving me with the impression she will be the heroine of the story. In many ways, she was, but in more, she was not. I was surprised to find this was a sort of Frankenstein adaptation, especially since that didn’t pop up until more than halfway through the novel, but I was able to adapt to that shift.

What bothered me was Charlie’s out-of-character response to most everything once she was “found out” as a woman. She went from an independent, focused “boy” to a swooning, incapable young girl. Her defiance remained unless she was captivated by Lincoln, her love interest/captor. Yes, captor. He kidnapped her right off the street for her protection.

That said, I understand that historical fiction (primarily Victorian Era England) would portray women as soft and weak, needing constant supervision and chaperoning. I also don’t have a problem with a female lead sharing the spotlight with a male, nor do I have an issue with a male saving a female. To me, it does not show weakness just because you need help. What I did have an issue with was Charlie’s sudden inability to take care of herself. One does not go from living on the streets of London to a helpless child in one day, yet that seemed to be what happened.

However, my absolute biggest issue with this book was the near-rape scene. I realize rape happens, and it often happened at that time, but when Lincoln PAID a man to “scare” Charlie by attempting to rape her, that crossed a line for me. He was no longer a potential “rough around the edges” love interest, but a full-on horrible human being. He set up this incident to scare Charlie into believing she needed him to protect her, then killed the man for doing what he’d paid him to do because he “went too far.”

Honestly, I was shocked when I read this scene because, until then, I had never seen such a thing in Archer’s books. I’m not a faint-hearted person, and I wholeheartedly believe even bad people can be reformed and deserve another chance, but… not like that. He got off with hardly a smack to the face, and Charlie was swooning over him again. It turned me off from reading the rest of the series altogether.

But, of course, my opinion is not the hard and fast truth—it’s my opinion. I still encourage readers to choose for themselves, because what’s not for me might be right up someone else’s ally. As for me, I’ll stick with the Glass and Steele series.

You can find C. J. Archer’s books here.

Sneak Peek!

I’m in love with an idea that came to me a few months ago, and I can’t wait to start writing it in earnest! I am mostly Irish and Scottish, a little German and Swiss, and a lot obsessed with all the lore surrounding my heritage. With that, comes my desire to write about those things! I can’t give away too much, or I risk ruining the surprise for my future book, The Never Ending Life of Natalia O’Fahy, but here is a sneak peek at the prologue!

Prologue

August 7, 2019

Savannah, Georgia

Natalia O’Fahy stared out the murky kitchen window of her nephew’s Savannah home. Her forehead crinkled in concentration as she admired the garden. With its thriving arbors and newly blossomed roses, the garden was not at the forefront of her mind, but it did serve as a mild distraction from the heavy thoughts that had plagued her for weeks. Simon would soon pass, leaving a wife, three children, seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild soon to enter the world.

A droplet of sweat dribbled from Natalia’s hairline and settled on her chin. “Blasted heat,” she said, a mutter on her lips as she swiped the droplet away. She returned her attention to the bloody rags in the sink. Simon sputtered so frequently now she might as well give up on keeping clean spittle cloths at his bedside. Amelia was too weak to care for her husband, but it was not the work that bothered Natalia. It was death itself that teased her, plucked her loved ones from her side every so often, leaving her wanting and wishing there was more she could do with her life, her gifts.

“Aunt Natalia?” Simon’s faint whisper drifted through the stagnant house and settled in Natalia’s ears. How many more calls would come from his parched lips before he released his hold on this world and slipped into the next?

“Natalia?” Simon asked again.

“Coming, dear,” Natalia said. She wiped her hands on her apron and fetched a bit of bread and sweet cream before returning to Simon’s room. Amelia sat beside him on the bed, clutching her husband’s hand as if, somehow, the tether between them would keep him in this world for as long as she needed him. Amelia had always been a weak, feeble, wisp of a woman who clung to anyone who would offer her the easy path. Even so, Simon loved her, and so Natalia did, too.

“Here, nephew. Eat if you can,” Natalia said, then pressed the bread against his lips. In the adjacent room, the remainder of the family waited. It would be today, Natalia determined. She had seen death enough to know when it perched at the window, waiting for a stolen moment when no one was watching. Then it would strike.

“I cannot,” Simon said and turned his head. “Amelia, would you retrieve my letters?”

Amelia’s gray eyes narrowed, but she abided her husband’s wish. The frail woman slid her legs from the bed and stood on wobbly knees. Once her cane was beneath her, she managed to move quite swiftly to the spare room where Simon kept his most valuable items—the suit he wore on his wedding day, the letters from his mother tied with a faded silk ribbon, and of course, his beloved childhood lovie, a bear he called… bear.

The moment the door closed tight behind Amelia, Simon relaxed. His tense body released, and he let a great sigh escape his lips. “Natalia…” His fingers brushed against Natalia’s, the only family member his elder. “Do try to live more when I am gone,” he said, then his head slunk to the right, and his eyes fluttered closed.

Natalia shut her eyes tight to keep the tears from falling. She could not allow Amelia to see her in such a distraught state, so she bent and kissed her beloved nephew’s wrinkled brow, pressed his eyelids closed completely, and stood. Natalia smoothed the wrinkles from her apron and moved to the door. As her hand fell upon the handle, she felt Simon’s presence in her heart fade, then it left with nary a moment’s hesitation. He was gone on to his final resting place, and now she would focus on what remained.

She curled her fingers around the handle and turned, releasing the last of her grief before presenting herself to the family. Amelia still shuffled in the side room, searching for the letters, so Natalia beckoned the family to come to her.

“Loved ones,” she said. “Please, meet me in the side room.” Before Natalia could set foot in the room, Amelia let out a great wail and crumpled to the floor. She clutched Simon’s letters in her hand, tearing the browned papers. Natalia pursed her lips again and wiggled the family treasures from Amelia’s grip. Once free, she placed them on a small chest of drawers tucked neatly in the corner of the spare room.

Simon’s children and grandchildren surrounded Amelia, soothing her and begging her to stand, move to the main room and relax. One son, Joshua, stood apart from the others. The youngest, he had the slightest whisper of gray at his temples, a distinguished look that complimented his black hair and warm, brown eyes. Joshua rubbed a hand over his face and scratched the stubble at his chin. His eyes wandered the room until they settled upon Natalia’s face.

“Aunt, come eat something and let them care for mother.” He offered a kindly hand to her, which she accepted if only to relieve herself of the burden of pretending to care that Amelia was putting on quite a show. Her sobs ricocheted off the rafters like a banshee’s screams, settling in Natalia’s ears like a hammer to her head. She did sympathize with the woman, of course, but she did believe the moments after a soul crossed into Heaven should be spent in quiet contemplation. Certainly, she did not believe they should be wasted drawing attention to oneself.

In the kitchen, the bloody rags awaited, so Natalia plugged the sink again and drew a bath of hot, soapy water. Joshua leaned against the counter, squinting each time his mother cried out.

“Not to sound harsh, but that woman could make the deaf shudder,” Joshua said.

Natalia shook her head and chuckled. It was the first time she had so much as smiled in over a week. It felt good. “Thank you, Joshua. I needed that.”

Joshua pushed off the counter and grasped Natalia’s hand. “How old are you, Aunt Natalia? Truly?”

Natalia blew wisps of her deep red hair from her face then smiled. “You should never ask a woman her age, nephew. Who raised you?”

Joshua’s eyes fluttered toward the room where his mother still cried, and his sisters worked with much difficulty to calm her. His elder brother, Henry, grumbled intelligibly and exited the room. He crossed the living room and went out the front door to have a smoke while the grandchildren, most of whom were well into adulthood, wandered here and there in the house.

“Yes, well… Mother, bless her, was never any good at teaching manners, and Father was never any good at telling Mother what to do,” Joshua said. “So, the question remains.”

Natalia sighed and added up the years in her head, having lost track over the last decade or so. “Mmm… One hundred seventy-two, give or take a year or five,” she teased.

“Ah, yes. And when was the last time you had fun? Over a hundred years ago?”

Natalia chuckled again, then a memory surged forward. It took hold of her heart and squeezed it so tightly she could hardly breathe. Her hands shook, and lips trembled so that her nephew steadied her by the elbow. Mischievous green eyes flashed in her mind, a smattering of freckles over the bridge of a slender nose that dipped up ever so slightly at the end, a roguish smile, hands so tender she hardly noticed when they touched her…

“Aunt Natalia? Are you well?”

Natalia squeezed her eyes, begged her memory to hold for a moment longer, but it was gone. He was gone. She released the edge of the counter and slunk to a chair with Joshua’s aid.

“I am sorry, Joshua. I was… remembering something from long ago.”

“Will you tell me? Will you speak of your life, Aunt Natalia? Father always said your life was spectacular. He loved to hear your stories.”

Simon did love to sit and listen to Natalia’s tales, but there were many she left untold. They were personal—some tragic, others filled with hope for a future that never came to fruition. But there was one that weighed on her, one that she considered using her gifts to change, but to do so would alter history, leaving a rift that could change everything that came after it.

Joshua, a chemist by day and mystery novelist by night, sat quietly waiting for Natalia to choose—would she share her life story with yet another generation, or would she keep her lips sealed and take her memories to the grave, not that she would ever die.

“On the day of my nineteenth birthday, I stopped aging. I just… stopped. My parents searched for a cause, a reason that my face never grew wrinkles, why my hair did not gray, but they found nothing before they died. Generation after generation has passed, and no one has found any reason that I am still alive and young. For the longest time, I stayed holed up in my home, afraid someone would see me and ask why.” Natalia shrugged and toyed with her handkerchief. “Why was I so old yet so young?”

Joshua leaned forward, already captivated. Natalia had always loved Joshua the best of all Simon’s children, and so, with that in mind, she dove into the tales of her life with very little care or forethought. She simply wanted to share them, to lighten the load again just as she had with Simon decades before.

“I want to tell you a secret, Joshua, but you must tell no one. No one would understand, but you.”

“Yes, Aunt Natalia. I promise I will tell no one.” He placed a gentle hand over hers, calming her. She patted his hand with her free one and stood. She filled a coffee pot and set it to brew, then placed a few cookies on a plate. Once she had prepared herself, she sat at the table again and started with the memory that haunted her most often.

“I want to tell you about the greatest love of my life, Joshua. Perhaps when I am through, I will know what to do,” Natalia said.

Joshua, not being one to question much when it came to Natalia and her supposed immortality, cocked his head to the left and peered over his eyeglasses. “Will I need a good whiskey for this?”

Natalia smiled and nodded. “Perhaps we best skip the coffee and head straight to the good stuff.”

Joshua obliged and stood, scraping his chair over the scuffed hardwood. His mother would have his head for that, but Natalia would never tell. He poured two glasses and handed one to Natalia. The woodsy scent mixed with light floral and honey wafted toward her. She inhaled and sipped, allowing the alcohol to soothe her rattled nerves.

She set her glass down and began. “It was 1918. I lived in a tiny cottage in Killea, just outside of Londonderry. Technically, I was seventy-one at the time, but, of course, I still appeared a young lass of nineteen. His little brother sold goat’s milk on the side of the road. I remember because one day, I bought some just to have something to pass the time while I waited for my cousin to return home from London.”

“Cousin… Esther?” Joshua asked.

“Indeed. You have studied our history. I am proud of you,” Natalia said, earning a beaming smile from her nephew. “Esther had gone to care for a dear friend after the loss of a child. Anyway, while we haggled over the price, he rode up on his father’s horse. He was quite stern with me at first, then…” Natalia’s voice faded as her mind took her back. “Oh, then our eyes locked for the first time. It was like the world just fell away and left only the two of us standing there in the mist, cold and wet, shivering until we couldn’t stand it any longer. But we wouldn’t walk away. No, we couldn’t.

Natalia sipped her whiskey again, washing the pain down with the image of that first moment.

“What was his name?”

“Rory,” she said with a sigh. “Rory Kelly. Damn him and those emerald eyes.”

All About It Blog Series – Week Seven

Here we are in week seven of the All About It series! This week I want to talk about a new series that doesn’t have any releases just yet. Christmas in Chatswain City was born from my love of the holiday season beginning in October on my daughter’s birthday! There are so many wonderful times to be had from then through the New Year, but it all seems to fly by so fast! I wanted to create a series where people can fall into that holiday spirit even when it’s 100 degrees outside!

Those of you who used to follow me on Wattpad will recognize some of the books in the series since they were initially written and posted there! However, they will be reshaped to fit in a new town—the fictional town of Chatswain City—and will center around Christmas (for the most part, but I might venture into other seasonal fares from time to time.)

As usual, many of the characters will be loveable, quirky, hot messes with loads of heart. I can’t wait for you all to read the first installment, The Cupcake Criminal, which I hope to have rebranded and released in time for Christmas (fingers crossed), but if I don’t, then it will definitely take you back to the holidays no matter when it comes out!

Here are some commonly asked questions about this series:

  1. What is the target age group?

Anyone can enjoy these books. They will be clean and free of too much dark drama. The drama will be minimal and contained, solved by the end of each book, and focus on positive outcomes.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

This will vary, but usually early to mid-twenties, with a few minor exceptions.

3. What is the content rating?

PG to PG-13 depending on the situational content, but it will always be free of cursing, vulgarity, and sex. Topics such as depression, anxiety, and others might be addressed.

4. Why did you start this series?

Because I love winter and all things cold (Seriously, what was Olaf thinking with this summer business?)

5. Should I read the series in order?

Nope. Each book is a stand-alone novel or novella that takes place in the fictional town of Chatswain City, but the characters will not be making any cameos in each others’ books.

What is already available? Well… nothing yet, but if you are signed up for my newsletter or to this blog, you’ll be the first to know when The Cupcake Criminals releases!

Here’s a look at the first book coming and a short quote scene:

What happens when a down on her luck woman gets hit with bad news one too many times? Why, she steals a cupcake delivery van, of course!

When a hot delivery guy brings an elegant proposal to the wrong doorstep, Abby can’t help herself. She’s already lost her boyfriend, her job, and now her mind, so what’s left to lose? In a moment of clouded judgment, Abby kidnaps the delivery man and steals his van. What ensues is nothing short of catastrophic, but when things go from bad to worse, Abby realizes there was always one thing she could count on—or maybe four. Her best friends.

Abby’s best friends since high school pull out all the stops to save their friend from going down in a blaze of glory. And if they can’t help her, well, then they’ll just go down with her.


Lucas sighed. “Look, we can ride around town all day in a stolen cupcake van, or you can pull over and walk your happy butt home. No harm, no foul. I mean it. I’ll make up a lie my boss will believe, and we can just pretend we never met.”

I caught a glimpse of his hand from the corner of my eye. He was fishing around in his pocket, and I remembered that I had no idea how to be a good kidnapper. Kidnapping 101, take your hostage’s phone before he calls the police.

“Hey! Give me that!” I grabbed at him, nearly driving us off the road. There was another honking serenade behind me as I swerved this way and that in a haphazard attempt to relieve Lucas of his cell phone. I wouldn’t stop until I got it, which was, in effect, the best way to get him to just hand it over.

“You’re going to get us killed you nutcase!” he shouted, then threw his phone at my head. It bounced off my shoulder and hit the dash, illuminating the screen for a moment before it landed on the floorboard. His home screen displayed a candid snapshot of an adorable little girl.

“Is that your daughter?” I asked. My heart began to race as extreme guilt sank in. I had not considered Lucas’ life outside of his shady, spicy cupcake dealing business, but now that his personal life was literally glaring at me, I knew I had to give up my plan to… Well, I didn’t know what my plan was or its purpose, but surely, I had one… right?

“Not that it’s any of your business, but yes, it is my daughter,” Lucas said as he scrambled to snatch his phone from the floor before I could. I swerved again, because cupcake vans are a surprising pain in the bootie to drive, but regained control quickly. Lucas whacked his head on the dash, but he did not retrieve his phone. It slid under my seat ensuring there would be no additional covert calls to the police, the FBI, the CIA, or any other national security agency that might want to arrest a woman who’d stolen a bakery van.


After that, I have no less than ELEVEN more books ready to in this series. Many are already written and just need some tweaking, while others are partially written or have detailed notes and scenes ready to go. I hope you all enjoy reading the series as much as I enjoyed writing the first drafts of these books!

Here is a peek at a few to release down the line!

All About It Blog Series, Week Six

Here we are in week six of the All About It series already! I’ve written a lot of books, and I plan to write a lot more! Even so, not all of my books require long series, and The Demolition Trilogy fits that bill. I had a few ideas but couldn’t cram them all into one book without making it way too long, so I planned out three.

It all started long ago on Wattpad with The Demolition Project. It started as a little 30K word novella that I expanded into close to 60K before publishing on Amazon. On Wattpad, the book garnered over 50K reads and grew a small cult following (by small, I mean one person who adores it and a few who still bug me about a sequel—I hear you, and it’s coming!)

By now, most of my readers are accustomed to my silver-lining style of writing where everyone ends up happy, the rainbows fill the sky, and the sun is always shining (unless you read Eiagan’s Winter, in which case… I don’t know what to say, LOL.) In The Demolition Trilogy, there are still silver linings, but they are hard-fought and well-earned by the protagonists. In these books, I explore the not-so-good parts of the foster care and adoption systems, the harsh realities for some of those children, and the darker sides of life.

While these books do cover darker concepts and may not be suitable for all ages or for those uncomfortable reading such things, I do try to offer hope and a way out of those dark situations for my characters. For example, attempted suicide, drug addiction, and abuse are all discussed in these books, but they are never shown in a positive light. They are adequately addressed and appropriately treated in the books as something requiring aid and treatment rather than glorified.

Adults and parents are not treated as clueless idiots who simply “misunderstand” the youth. They contribute to their recovery, offer assistance and discipline, and provide foundations for them. The adults in the series who are bad players are swiftly and well punished.

Here are some commonly asked questions about this series:

  1. What is the target age group?

Young adults to adults who prefer young adult fiction. There are “triggering” situations in the books, so I would recommend an adult read through before offering to a younger crowd or to those who might have experienced similar trauma.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

Protagonists and friends are 16-18, and adults play a critical role in many of their experiences

3. What is the content rating?

PG-13 for the situations, but the books are clean of cussing, sex, and sexual situations except for the first book, which mentions inappropriate interactions between an adult and teacher.

4. Why did you start this series?

I was annoyed by the way some young adult novels glorified suicide, abusive relationships, drug use, and inappropriate behavior between teenagers and adults. I also wanted to shine a light on the difficulties foster children encounter when aging out of the system. It is not easy for them, and the more we learn about it, the more we can do to help.

5. Should I read the series in order?

You don’t have to because each story has its own conclusion, but some characters from the first book appear in the second, and some from the second will appear in the third. I would recommend that you do, but it is not a must if you are not interested in reading all of them.

What is already available? The first book in the trilogy, The Demolition Project, is available at Amazon in print and e-book and is also available in Kindle Unlimited. Here is a quick look!

Knox Harris was perfect. He was the perfect student, ultimate best friend, a gifted athlete, and chillingly handsome with a sweetheart streak a mile long. There was absolutely nothing about the boy to hate. Everyone loved him, but Charlotte hated him.

Charlotte Woods was alone. She was nothing but trouble, a criminal, a waste of time. Not a single soul in the world cared about her. In fact, most people wished she would just disappear. She spent her days hiding in the shadows, just trying to survive.

The unfortunate product of a broken foster care system, Charlotte aged-out and hit the streets running on nothing but anger and a bad attitude. Barely able to keep herself alive, Charlotte’s anger grew. It threatened to eat her alive, but she refused to go down alone. Charlotte turned her focus to Knox, the one boy who seemed to care about everything and everyone but her. Knox didn’t appreciate the amazing life he had, but Charlotte vowed to make him see. She’d show him the hard way as she systematically destroyed everything he held dear.

But when a broken girl sets her sights on destroying an unbreakable boy, she had better be prepared to suffer the consequences. For Charlotte, the consequences just might kill her.

What’s next? The second book, The Demolition Daze, will be available soon! The rough draft is finished and is in an alpha review. It will need expansion and editing, but I hope to release it in a couple of months!

Book Review – Finding Madeline by Emily Fertic

Hi all! I haven’t done a book review in a while, so I thought I would dive back in with one I was lucky enough to beta read! First, here’s a look at the summary and where you can find the book!

Madeline Morgan is counting down the days until middle school is over. After three years of putting up with the digs and jabs that come from the school’s reigning Queen Bee, Zoe McAdams, Madeline only has three months of middle school left, and then she’s on to high school, ready to leave the bullies and drama behind. She’s decided to lie low and stay off of Zoe’s radar until the end of the school year. At least, that was her plan.

Madeline soon catches the attention of the already popular August Carter and the new-to-school basketball star, Jack Gray. August and Jack show Madeline that they don’t care what Zoe says and quickly win her over. But when these new friendships only put Madeline more in the line of fire from Zoe and her crew, Madeline can’t help but wonder if she— and her new friendships— will make it out of middle school intact.

Written by an author who has lived through bullying herself, this novel takes readers on a heart-wrenching, powerful journey of one girl’s attempts to navigate the complex social landscape of adolescence. But for Madeline to succeed, she must do more than simply survive middle school; she must decide who she is and who she wants to be.

The book is available for pre-order at Amazon and will release on August 11!

First, I want to congratulate Emily on her first independent novel! Emily has written collaborative works with Class Source (you can find those here) and is quite talented. This young woman knows how to take you all the way back to middle school (cringe) and puts you right in the middle of the drama. With every chapter, I found myself sitting beside middle-school me reminding myself it would all get better, that people wouldn’t be awful forever, and one day I would find my passion in life.

Emily tackles the all-too-real subject of bullying in her novel, but she relays the story in a way that anyone can relate to no matter their age. Madeline is a fully fleshed-out character whose pain you can feel tug at your heart every time the dreaded bully walks into the picture.

Finding Madeline also has betrayal and that horrific moment when you realize even the people you trust most can hurt you. But that’s not all. It also shows that perseverance, determination, and a kind heart are the keys to surviving almost any difficult situation. As an added bonus, there is plenty of the “will they/won’t they” tension between Madeline and a special someone who sticks by her side through it all, proving that some friendships are meant to be.

If you love sweet, clean stories with a lot of heart, this is for you. It’s appropriate for middle-grade all the way through adulthood (and believe me, it will take you back to those younger days!) Don’t forget to pre-order today and dive in on August 11!

Keep up-to-date with Emily’s work on her Facebook Author Page!