Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Three of Me (Being a bi-polar author)



So, non-sorta-book related. But definitely related to me. 

I recently had a convo with my best friend and we were discussing my "people gravitating" personality at signings and such. She was surprised to learn that when I'm in that "mode", I could actually be having a bi-polar episode. In other words, my brain is firing on every single cylinder at an extreme rate. I'm charismatic, I'm sharp and witty--able to entertain and make the party. That's not really a full-picture of who I am, as a person.


Here's the thing many are not aware of when it comes to some mental illness (because that is what depression in any of it's forms is...an illness). Sometimes, it's not always easy to tell if someone is in a emotional crisis. They always think it's when the person is down, sad, not wanting to meet the day, staying in bed or just dropping off the radar. 


Sometimes, it is opposite end of that spectrum. Full of energy as if bursting with it. Socializing with everyone and having the best time possible. Their minds are going a million miles a minute and everyone is amazed at this dynamo of a person. Their creativity may be a hyper-level as well. Able to complete a book in days. Edit in hours. Crank out short-stories or poetry on the fly. 


That too, is an emotional crisis when you have bi-polar depression. That's how it is for me. In my Shadow-Keepers stories, I talk about the Void. Where if it is kind enough to restore one to life, it always has a price. This is my creative way of saying what it's like for me. 


With me, my creativity is my life-giving resource to get through my days. Writing is my therapy and a much needed one. But when depression is my own personal "Void", it's like part of me is dying. I can feel it to the very depth of my soul. And I am desperate to fight my way out of the void. The void yawns wider after I've had one of these highs from bi-polar. 


The higher the fly, the lower the drop. 





So after events like RT that are several days long, while I'm flying through it and finding amazement among my peers, I know that the fall is going to hurt. I know that my Void will want a price for giving me life. No brain, no person can go at that level for any substantial amount of time. The human mind is just not engineered that way. The "normal" (and I use that term with a smirk...) mind keeps a happy medium between the highs and the lows. Normal depression may bring bring low back to the normal, but with bi-polar, we swing way beyond the normal. Extremely polar opposites hence the name.  I also have PTSD and that makes those lows very hard to get past. 


I, and others that suffer from bi-polar-ism, have incredible highs and then we have devastating lows. 


So, back to the point. No one knew I was having a crisis at that event or any others before it. No one knew that when I took all those bathroom breaks, I was having a bit of a break-down. I was either crying or throwing up as my brain chemistry ran the gambit. Sometimes, all that was needed for the anxiety of it was some quiet time away. Other times, it manifested in my throwing up, killing some of those high made influences in the act of it. Heaven help me if I hadn't eaten in awhile. Dry heaves suck. I don't sleep for days. I don't think I had 6 hours total the whole time and that was with dealing with my personal life while RT was going on. I wouldn't have slept regardless.


You all had no idea I was in a crisis, how could you? You just saw someone that was on their game. In their zone...and I was. But it's one that I knew I would have to pay the price to.


After this last event, I was barely able to function for days. I was dragging, I was depressed and I had to force myself to focus on even  the simplest of tasks. But I've dealt with being me for a long time, so I still posted positively on my social media sites, presented myself as professionally as I could for my day job. But as with all my lows, my health took the hit too. I developed a cold, headaches, nausea and my energy level was zero. I had one instance where I completely blacked out and was dizzy. But I made it through. And today, I'm back to my "normal" level in the middle. 


The problem with all this is very simple: If you meet me in a less stressed situation, I may not be the same "person" you met at an event. I might be more reserved even withdrawn. I can't promise that at the next event I won't be high. I can't assure you I won't be low. I can't commit to be in the middle For lack of a better way of saying it. I may just be me...


But that's wrong too. 


I'm always me. When I'm high or when I'm low. Or when I'm riding in the middle of my wonderful yet complex mind. I'm still. Me.


It's not easy to get to know me and it's even harder to understand me. The few friends I have, completely do and I am so grateful for that. Family has tried their best, but I'm one very complicated person.  After all, it's hard enough to fully understand ONE me, much less...THREE me's. It's EXTREMELY hard for me to make long-lasting friends or even have relationships. Such is the nature of the disease. it's been an issue for all of my adult life. But in the last few years, I've come to terms with it--it's not completely me that's screwing up every single relationship, it's the illness having a big hand in it. And I am honest and tell people, welcome to my roller-coaster. Hope you know how to strap in...rather than hide and fake my way through my days to those closest to me. 


For those that have read my books, you suddenly have a light bulb go on when you see I've laid all of this out in my characters. A split personality of three-- one dark, one crazy and one that everyone loves.  See...write what you know. 


I don't know why I felt the need to write this. Maybe it's to spotlight the least known end of the depression spectrum, since I met so many of you. I really hope I didn't just shoot myself in the author foot and now events are rushing to remove me from their attending author lists. Please don't. I can promise you, even without the high, I'm pretty cool. I'm also asking not to be "observed" or "whispered about" to try to look for the signs at the next event. Please don't. Just let me be me, and you be you. I REALLY didn't put this out there for future speculation. 


I love my books. And I love my readers. I love being an author and a part of this wonderful writing world, even if it complete frustrates and babbles more days than not. But writing and creating are LIFE SAVING to me. They are my medication beyond the ones I'm prescribed. I need them. As much as the RX. On the days when I'm having a low and sitting here crying  to look for some light in my void, it's as simple as a person saying they read my books or a fellow author sharing my teasers. Or hell, just doing something silly with one of my fan-fiction characters in social media and making someone, somewhere, somehow....laugh. I gave what I don't have myself at the moment, as a way to finding it in myself when I need it. 


I'm always in some sort of crisis. Some are big. Some are small. Some are not there or barely at all (gee, went kind of Dr. Seuss there...).  All I ask, as anyone who suffers from a mental illness should, is just respect and know that it's my crisis to deal with. Just know I'm quirky and diverse and every single one of you are so important to dealing with it all.  And help in ways you may not even be aware of...just by being here. Even if you're silent. Even if you're not. Just don't look for the signs of where I am in my mind...


Just be willing to respect the pathway I'm taking and know it's going to be a very interesting trip.  And all I can hope is you're willing to help me when I fall or applaud me when I run... Or just let me find my footing on my own. 


Because, it's just me...

Being me. 

Thank you and take care. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review - The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward






**** REVIEW - THE BOURBON KINGS BY J.R. WARD****
So, I dove into J.R. Ward's new non-vampire/non-paranormal series - The Bourbon Kings. I used to love the BDB series until the 3-4th book and lost interest. Characters all seemed the same and the males well....became wusses. (IMO)
But I did love those early books, the way they were written and add to that? She based it in my beloved Kentucky.
OR..supposedly it's based in Kentucky. I can't get more than a 1/3 of the way in because she made of names for EVERYTHING. The Derby? Different name. The historic racetrack where it takes place? Different name.

She even gave my UK Wildcats a different mascot and calls it The Kentucky University.

It was honestly like reading a book about Kentucky written by someone who knew NOTHING about Kentucky...except they knew KY has horses and bourbon--that's all we need to reference, right? That'll make it pass as being based in the state? Therefore they decided to do ZERO research to find out any of the real facts and/or places.

Now, that's amateur mistake or someone that just doesn't care about reality...or a fantasy book. But none of those facts apply:
1. J.R. Ward is an accomplished best selling author on all the lists.
2. This book is based as fiction, but not fantasy nor paranormal. The places, history and people of Kentucky are very real and should be treated as such.
But the biggest thing is this-- Ward actually LIVES in Kentucky, so the research was fairly easy. She claims to love the region and it's history yet not enough to give it the spotlight in a book that will surely hit the best-sellers due to who she is? (And now it's going to be a TV show). Was she afraid she'd have to pay them royalties? No, she'd simply had to request a right for usage and not defame or slander the public entities. They are public domain--actual streets, schools, places....
It makes no sense to me. So, as she's making up names for all the iconic places that are actually known by most as being Kentucky, I found myself finding that since the places she references are given fake names etc, the whole book feels, well, fake. (It would be like someone referencing in a book over and over - Times Circle in the middle of New Fork, New Fork).
Now I know, there is no Caldwell, NY but that's also clearly all made up for the BDB series which is a fictional/fantasy/paranormal series. So I go into that being none of this is real..its an escape and fantasy as that type should be. So I needed no real connection to enjoy the books.
But Kentucky has very real and historical connections and therefore, when she bastardized those for her own use without consideration, I decided I can't read any more of the book. Add to that the perceived stereotypical "southern" flavor she portrayed it's people as having...
The Bourbon Kings just seemed like a cheap bottle of Mad dog 20/20 rather than a smooth, Kentucky Bourbon as it should have been.
DNF
Take care - JTW

Monday, August 10, 2015

Up up and, oh wait.

So today I had to fly out for business. It was a sunny bright day in Houston, and of course, hot as well, Houston.

I'm leaving for two weeks to go to Lexington Kentucky and theres a bittersweet vibe around it. After living there for almost 14 years and loving it, but having to leave my beloved farm and life behind when first my job went away. And then my marriage.

So here I was. Once again employed by my former employer (thanks for that by the way) and going back to the scene of the crime where my life imploded.

The airport stage was perfect. Heck...security didn't even hassle me (TSA usually does...a drug sniffing dog actually peed on me once) and I even found a comfy chair and a plug to charge and wait out my boarding time.

That's when things went wonky.

First...they overbooked and carry-on was a luxury only first-class got to have. The rest of us "valued" customers had to gate check our bags. Uh. No. It's got my WIP, my flash drive of books and for lack of a better way of saying it, my underwear  (don't judge, other bag was full). But I've done the travel thing and if my luggage was lost, it was NOT going to include my in editing copy of LUST, my WIP on my flash and well, commando just makes me feel weird.

So, I explained I needed that bag for medical reasons (aka I would kill innocent people if I lost its contents) and got to keep my bag.

So, got to my seat and settled in. It was easy from here, right? Hah.

Second was  Puke Barbie. Yes, yes...that seems derogatory, but she was blonde, she was tan and tall and she had a tshirt that actually said...Barbie. (See, you judged too soon, didn't you). But apparently Barbie had too much bar drinks and needed to let it go. Literally. Cue Barbie running down the aisle to the bathroom at takeoff saying she needed to puke.

She didn't make it to the bathroom because its happy seatbelt time. Stewardesses tried to point this out. Puke Barbie don't care. Puke Barbie gonna hurl.
On my shoes. And that bag I had shoved under my seat. Yep. That happened. So, plane is halted, cleaned and Puke Barbie escorted away. I'm guessing to call rehab Ken.

So...what else could happen? Right?

Third...Oh...I don't know. Anyone order a side of screaming child of 3 of parents that don't speak English? Sitting right across from them? I think they were Arabic, but no one on the plane spoke it or if not, not that either. They tried explaining screaming 3-year old had to be in a seat and buckled. The parents just smiled, nodded and held child in lap. This went on like this until poor kid was having a melt-down that nice flight lady was touching him. Or really hated seatbelts. Or Barbie had scared the beegesus  out of him. I know my shoes had that fear fulfilled.

So, apparently, if you're asked to do something three times on a flight, its FAA rules you are non-compliant..at 3 years old...and not knowing English. Smiling and nodding does not compliance make.

So plane gets sent back to the gate again. Elaborate hand gestures, loud talking (because talking English LOUD makes it more universal, right?) did not alleviate the situation and the captain pulled the "off of my plane" power. Family had no idea what's going on. Child is getting more upset and the family is trying to explain...in non-not-english words.

Now the whole time this sad drama is going on people are getting pissed. Chants of kick them off and boot them (all in very colorful English) are being heckled about in the puke scented, child freaking space and me?

Well, see...plane aisles are narrow and since a lovely yet round stewardess is trying to control the situation (and doing so LOUDLY)... Her equally round and not so lovely rear is all but in my face. Literally...like RIGHT there. She's one of those physically animated talkers and that butt was bobbing and weaving with each LOUD vowel. And a few adjectives. And I was really wishing I was off the plane with Puke Barbie at that moment.

So, the family was ejected off the plane, people cheered and we were off again.

Now I'm in flight and we have a ton of turbulence (Barbie would have never survived, poor thing) and I'm thinking about that whole bad things come in threes, right?

Which, of course, led to going down in flames. In hitting a mountain. Or birds. Or alien space ships. Anything really that would change the current 20,000 feet in the air status. Quickly. As in aaaaa...splat.
My author brain went to this:
Oh crap. Whose going to finish my books? There's so many to write!
Hmm...did I leave the cat enough food?
Shoot...I'll never finish my edits.
Oh look, soda. In tiny cans.
And finally...

If I die right now, what is the last thing I have to leave behind before I go?

Hmmm...Puke Barbie and Loud English. What I legacy I'm leaving behind. :)

Oh, if you're wondering, I survived and am in Charlotte. Guess who else is here too...anyone got a barf bag for my next flight?

Take care, JTW

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Business of a War

So, I live in the south. Have lived in the south I guess most my life since the state of Kentucky calls itself the south. The rest of the time, good ole' Southeast Texas. I would be blind or in coma not to be aware of the current debate over the confederate flag. 





Let's not even discuss the sick murderer who killed those people for it was pure and simple - a hate crime. He hated. Now he pretty much told us he's a racist. Done. No need for discussion...I personally hope his hatred filled ass gets the death penalty. The color or creed of his victims doesn't even need to be discussed, so I won't. He's hateful. Simple as that. 


But...it did make for a very heated debate about the confederate flag. Let's clear up a little history in a simple way.  


The confederate flag came about when some states decided not to support our president - Lincoln when he took the step to emancipate the slaves of the United States. When he decided that all men (because women got their rights after the African-American's did) had the right to be free and therefore the right to vote. 


Seems honorable and in my opinion, it was. 


But back to that flag. The southern states hated that idea. They relied on slaves to do their free labor. Now, focus on that. Free. Labor. A slave was normally given a meal a day, worked long hours, the simplest clothes and sometimes the simplest of housing--if they were given housing. Some masters treated their slaves better than others. Some whipped them and beat them and killed them. Some mated with the females only to have children they refused to acknowledge. Now before you get your hackles up...I'm not making this up. It's the history. Not the history they show in  movies, but the actual way it was. There were good masters. And there bad masters. The same could be said for about every person in power.

So, the southern slave owners, some of them very prominent government officials, did the math. If they had to start paying slaves to do the work, they would lose a lot of money. If they had to pay other immigrants (let's not forget that the Irish and the Scottish were also traded as slaves in our country) then they would have to pay more. Keep in mind that most plantation owners were rich. As in, in some cases, treated like royalty. Real blue bloods. 


But above all, they were businessmen, so right or wrong, they made a business choice. It had nothing to do with heritage, being proud of being southern or fighting for what was right (because enslaving any person is wrong. By today's standards and at the time, their own, due to new laws). 


That choice was to protest the government. Go against it's laws and disobey and declare war on their fellow man and the president that ruled over them all. But they needed a flag that symbolized their cause. So the confederacy flag and it's own currency was created. (There are actually several different versions...but lets stick with the one everyone knows). 


For those that aren't clear about the civil war, let's summarize that with the facts:


Until the Vietnam war....the Civil War...aka the right to own slaves war between the Northern States and the Southern had more lives lost than all other wars before Vietnam combined. That's right folks. And who were those lives lost? Americans. Yeah, we were killing each other. 



  1. Roughly 1,264,000 American soldiers have died in the nation's wars--620,000 in the Civil War and 644,000 in all other conflicts. It was only as recently as the Vietnam War that the amount of American deaths in foreign wars eclipsed the number who died in the Civil War.
    www.civilwar.org/education/history/faq



For a business plan.  The South lost by the way. Just in case you didn't know.

Now, lets fast forward to now. 


All over local and state governments are taking down the confederate flag. Uh, it's a flag. I  understand Southerns are pissed that it's being done. I've heard the reasons - It's our heritage. It's our right to show our history.

Uh...I myself am kind of ashamed of that part of our history. And not because I'm racist. I'm not but because...620,000 lives were lost. Brothers fighting against brothers. Fathers lost and never seeing their families again. And those lives...were all  colors.

The confederacy is no more. It hasn't been a governing body in a very long time. Why does its symbol belong or have the right to be hung next to that of our United States (see that word? UNITED)?  Why does it fly next to our States, some of which - Texas - had it's own war to be a part of that United status.  And won. 


I live in the South. I've been raised in the south. And ANYONE who lives here will tell you--you fly that flag, you are not exactly considered a opened minded person if you support the beliefs that flag represents. Sure, it doesn't mean slavery supporter per se. Nor does it say, "Hey, I'm a racist. Someone go get me a slave," but it does say that you are proud of some of the portions it represented. And since we can't label it with just what portions you do support, the racist and redneck ignorance label going to be applied.

It's a flag of a lost war. Of a business decision of the rich to go against their own country. And before you vilify me with your I'm not loyal to my heritage crap, back off.

I love the South. I love the people and the kindness that we show. I love how when bad times hit us we bond together and help any way we can.

But proud of a history that deserves to be put away and not reminded of by a flag of an ideal lost in battle long ago....probably not. In fact, not at all.


Isn't it time the South is known for more than what that flag represents? Yes....finally.


Take it down, put it in museums and let the past go. 


We have ENOUGH problems in our present. As a country, we ONLY need one flag--and I would like to point out it has different colors too. It may not represent ALL the colors that make this country so great in its threads of red, white and blue, but we as a people know that all colors can stand proud under those colors as it waves overhead. It's the only one that matters. For if we lose sight of being a UNITED states of America, UNDER god....then we might as well just roll up all the flags and let them fall because our future is doomed. 


Thank you. 



An Island Survival Story

I thought about writing this post for awhile. Why you ask?

Because nowadays it seems like just about EVERYTHING can be spun around to be about race, gender, sexual preference and I didn't want to stir the already boiling pot. But...I decided to post it...
Recently I went through my first tropical weather event here on the island. Now, I've lived in this region most of my life but just recently moved to the actual coast.


I watched as those four children moved through the masses, a smirk appearing on my face as they moved towards those precious cases of water. I thought to myself--this is a riot in the making. I knew what was about to go down.

But here's the thing I, nor perhaps anyone saw coming. 



See, if you've never lifted a case of 24 bottles of water, they're rather heavy. Try lifting four--yeah, that's a feat. But as I stood there watching this all play out, those boys were grabbing four cases--two to a team--and putting them in OTHER people's carts. They were incredibly polite and they didn't do it for just one or two, they did it for everyone that was there--or at least they offered to.

Then when the poor, overworked Walmart employee pulled a pallet of the last water to be had in the store, those boys then went on to help him upload those and continue to assist customers with loading that water in carts. The water was distributed fairly quickly and the aisle started to clear.

Some people said thank you. Some people declined help politely and some seemed almost insulted or disgusted that their buggy was touched and they approached.

But not once did these young people not smile and be polite. They just moved on and helped someone that didn't mind the assistance. I shook my head in amazement at the giving nature of some and the ignorance of others in the midst of it.

As I walked with my buggy full of one case and supplies in the still bright sunlit day, I glanced over to see that the mother and her children were now outside waiting on the sidewalk in front of the store. All four kids looked like they had ran a marathon and the mother was busy looking for change to buy them a generic soda in the machine. I stopped and happily offered the few actual dollars I had since the machine didn't take debit/credit. She shyly thanked me and I couldn't help but notice she had gotten the bare necessities in her buggy and she still held the receipt and food stamp card in her hand as she dug for that change. Each boy thanked me and were happy to get those cold sodas after working so hard.

Walking away, I glanced back once more to see the family was waiting for the public bus that serviced the island. The boys helped the mother bring her groceries up into the bus and then the doors closed and the bus drove away.

Now...this is a simple story. And not that incredible in today's society where people are pulling people out from in front of trains or finding the lost. But to me, it spoke volumes in the one fact that seems to be lost to so many.

There's no need, as some tellers of the tale might do, to say the race of the family. There's no need to describe the age, gender of those that accepted the help and those that treated it like it was something malicious.

No, because in the end, the one word I will use to describe the demographic of all those involved in the Island survival story is this...

Human.




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Skee-Ball and Cake




Today I happened to come across the movie "42". No big deal, since baseball season has started and its the way of entertainment trends. But, as I remember the jist of the movie--its a statement about discrimination and the denial of basic human and civil rights. 

The movie came out two years ago and it ends on such a positive and hopeful note--that discrimination against persons of color has come so far, its something to be proud of.

Lets fast forward, but not entirely...

The year is 2015 and times seem to be rolling back, not forward 
in both a sinister and "faith-based" way. 

People of color seem, if the media has its way, the targets of angry police officers and zealot arms persons. Ferguson taught us and the latest has brought that home--some things, as much as we may glamorize them or gloss them over with the  passage of time, haven't truly changed. But there are good police officers out there--some of them are of color too. And there are many victims--of all colors. But the media just seems to have gone color-blind...or is it color-focused. It's actually hard to tell. It shouldn't be about the color of the victim or the skin of the officer. It should be the fact that a human life and its rights under the law were not respected. And that police officers feel like they are under fire as much as the victims. It's going back to the 60's in a way--law against us--and that is just not the way it should be. 

Then we have the "faith-based" spin cycle going on. Religion is a strong force in our country. It's always been that way. It's been fought over in wars and its the reason our founding fathers left England in order to establish a land of the free, and the brave. Where one could practice their belief without persecution or penalty. Okay, that seems really good on paper. And it was once a grand scheme that the US should be proud of. 

Once...

Discrimination is not a color.  Nor is it a race, a gender or a religion. Discrimination, in laymen's terms is to believe that someone who is different than you, is less than you. And therefore, not worthy of the things of worth you hold dear.

Sure, I know that Webster's probably has a fancy definition and some right wingers and left wingers (may I point out that NOTHING can fly with just one wing, on one side...) can probably slaughter me in some high brow, fancy-worded debate. But  fortunately, this is my blog so they're screwed out of luck. 

I really don't think our founding fathers based our country on the right to use religion or faith as a reason to discriminate. I understand that someone who has a belief has the same right to stand up for what they believe in...but here's the thing...

I don't remember the bible listing the acceptable colors allowed in the human race. I don't recall any section of the greatest selling book of all time having a color chart of who is better than who. Toss in there that Jesus himself sat with sinners, whores, the infirm and dying rather than the kings, the money holders and the holy. Now I do know that the bible has one single reference to homosexuality and condemns it. But it also condemns coveting your neighbors ass...last time I checked there were tons of human asses in my neighborhood, but none of the beast of burden type. 

All that aside--the new testament is all about forgiving us of our sins. God's only beloved son died on the cross so that all of us could live and be forgiven for our sins. Now, correct me if I'm wrong...but I'm betting all those that are reading this were not around in biblical times to sin, so pretty sure that means our sins, all mankind. Probably covers baking a cake or sharing a pizza with someone who is gay too if you're worried about pissing off a higher power. Pretty sure you'll be okay...

Oh and there's another quote from the bible - Judge not, lest you be judged. That one is pretty simple to understand if you didn't get the small burro one.

Basically, what I am trying to set home with all those words up there is this.

I'm human. You're human. We're all human. 

Black, white, red, yellow, woman, man, child, straight, homosexual, heterosexual,  bi-sexual, married, single, widowed, divorced, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish and on and on....the one thing that can never be disputed is our humanity. And as humans, we are sliding backwards in all the forward gains we have fought for faster than a skee ball on a greased board, And our score is dropping fast. 

I can think of a lot of things that are sinful. True, soul staining, losing points with your legacy and honor sins. Murder, abuse of a child or animal, stealing from the poor or sick, being cruel to those with less...

We are really quick to point those out--just look at our social medias. 

But to me, the one sin that will be our complete and total downfall as humans is...

discrimination. 

It's really not black and white. Because now? It has the colors of the rainbow in it too. 

Take care,

JTW




Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Whispers with Author J.T. Cheyanne





Why don’t you give us a peek of your day-to-day life and just who is J.T. Cheyanne?


Okay, I am captain of the boring squad. I get up at 5 a.m. most days and drag myself to the job that pays the bills. After eight long hours of boredom, I happily bounce home to my laptop and my angel. My wife, and my writing partner, lives in England. She's six hours ahead of me. So, when I walk in the door, I'm headed for my lifeline to her. We do talk/text through the day, but the real communication comes  when we are both home and able to sit down properly. We talk, discuss our works in progress, and catch up on our day before she has to head for bed.


That's the worst part of my day everyday. I really hate the words, it's time for bed. A very long evening stretches ahead of me while she sleeps. That's when I write...well I try to around chores and fixing dinner and managing the four kiddos in the house. Well not kids technically, the youngest is seventeen. We have a dog, two cats and a bearded dragon. Things can get a bit hectic.


Was a person or event that made you want to become a writer?   

I never really thought about being a writer. I loved to read, told myself stories to fall asleep at night when I was a teenager, but never considered I could actually write more than essay papers in my English Lit classes. I was goofing off on Facebook when a roleplay admin sent me a message and asked me if I wanted to roleplay/write one of the characters from a favorite series. I was stunned and excited. In less than a year, I was working on my own short story.


Your latest book –Ansleigh's Grotto is a M/M romance. Can you tell me a bit about it? 

 
            Ohhhh yay. My newest release is Ansleigh's Grotto. This story blindsided me. I was actually working on another story when this title came out of nowhere. Usually, I don't come up with a title until the end of the book, the WIP is simply titled by a character's name during the writing process. Not with this one. The Grotto plays a huge part in Dylan's and Ansleigh's love story.



            Dylan is human, a video game designer who inherits the Grotto. Ansleigh is Fae. He lives in the Grotto and has for hundreds of years. The concept and plot for the story were immediately in my head, but there was one huge problem. I was not at all familiar with the Fae. I had to do a lot of research and nail biting trying to navigate the very rich world of the Fae. I continuously checked the Irish Fae history. Thankfully, my V.L. was a huge help. Both of her parents are Irish by birth and grew up there. The stories were told to her by her dad.



             There are several side characters that I think your readers will adore. They seem quite popular with the readers so far. They were certainly fun to write.


You are an Indie author. Whats your thoughts on the Indie Publishing world? 

            The most positive thing about the indie world is the freedom to write what you want without the restrictions of a publisher. You can also write at your own pace with the dreaded deadlines looming on the horizon. Most of the other indie authors are friendly and supportive. It's a great community to be a part of on most days. There are indies out there who are nasty, but you have the nasty people in every aspect of life.



            Another positive is release dates. You can choose your own and there is no delay. There are no days of waiting to see if your manuscript will be accepted, no heartbreaking denial letters after six to eight weeks of hope.



            Negatives....there are no million dollar contracts. I have to laugh there, sorry. I write because I enjoy it. I haven't made enough to quit my day job. Money from the royalties is usually funneled right back into the next book or swag or author events. Also, all publicity is fully on you. Although, the one publisher I used didn't do much publicity either. A lot of the behind the scenes work is on the author, editing, cover art, copyright, distribution.



            Mostly, for me its a positive experience. I love writing with V.L. and love seeing our work being enjoyed by our friends and readers.


Share with my readers some of the ways you get your book from first word to final?


            Oh my. I'm a seat of the pants type. The idea comes into my head and I start writing. I research as the need arises in the story. The outline is in my head and gets changed regularly. When I get stumped I re-read to see if anything pops. If that doesn't work, I consult my muse, V.L. She is brilliant at plot twists.  Now, when I write with V.L, we have a pretty good outline written down. She does better with being organized.


What advice could you give to others on how to get their books out there?

            Bloggers are your friends. We've had more exposure through bloggers than any other medium.  As you can guess, advertising is expensive. Bloggers generally  do not charge. They receive a copy of the book and that's usually all that is required. There are so many that are loyal and supportive and have been since V.L. and I have started this. We appreciate every post they make.



            Also, remember that you do this because you love to write, but without that reader, you have nothing. Readers are important and should be appreciated. Not every reader will like what you write and that's okay. Attacking a reader, blogger or reviewer is unprofessional and will, most definitely will, result in loss of readership. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. When you attack a reader or blogger for stating their opinion, you risk gaining a reputation of being a nasty. Stay professional at all times.


Traditional versus Indie—why indie?


            Two reasons. Because I have an impatient vampire king in my head and because I don't like being told how to write or what to write. I submitted Grand Slam, my first indie published book, to a publisher. I waited four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks and never heard anything. Some publishers don't want you to submit to multiple publishers at one time so you're on the line for two months or more waiting when someone else might already have it out there. I also have more control over what's in the story. One of my favorite authors changed the direction of a story because her publisher wasn't comfortable with the topic. I don't want that censure. Added to that, I write gay romance and gay erotica, the big time publishers aren't into those genres.


What do you have in the works? What's your future plans?

            V.L. and I are currently working on Broken Oaths, a story that will tackle the taboo of a Catholic priest falling in love with another man, a Navy Commander. Its going to push the limits a bit, but we are both very excited about it. We also have book three of the Crimson Nights Saga on the back burner although our vampire and angel are screaming at us.


What are some of the best blogs and promo services you’ve used and most helpful? 


Oh gods, I am so going to leave someone out and feel awful. For promo tours, we use Eyes on Books with Alina Popescu. The blogs she uses are superb and never fail to post, review or participate when they sign up. We've had a wonderful experience with every one of them.



            From the beginning of this journey, we've had several blogs that have stuck with us. So a shout out to The Bitches of Eastwick, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Crystal's Many Reviewers, GGR-Reviews, Saguaro Moon Reviews, Smut Book Junkie Reviews, and Gay Media Reviews. And, I know I'm leaving out others.

   
 And finally—here’s your chance to give a fellow writer or someone that wants to become one some advice—what would it be?


             Just write. If you want to write, then do it. Don't make excuses, don't put it off, sit down and write. Find good beta readers that you trust and be willing to listen to their opinions, both critical and praising, and don't get mad when they ask questions or point out a mistake. We never get it right the first time, that's why we edit and revise.

 
Fun Stuff:
Favorite Color:       Blue, almost any shade
Favorite Type of Food:      Chocolate


If you could be a cartoon character, who?   Stitch, loveable and deadly.


Most used condiment in your fridge:        Ketchup


Which would you miss most: your phone or your e-reader?:   Phone, you can read on the phone too, but you can't call from the e-reader.


Thanks again for inviting me over. I've had a great time! Can't wait to meet you in person in June. You better have a hug ready for me. 

You are SO welcome! And of course, can't wait for the Naughty in the South Author event. I'll have hugs and chocolate! :) 


Ansleigh's Grotto Blurb:



Dylan Matthews lives in a world of fantasy. As a video game designer, there are no limits on how far or wide his imagination could stretch. He loves his work and excels at bringing the visions in his head to a game console. The luck of his Irish heritage seems to touch him when his prototype Zombie ApoXalypse is bought days after he inherits a mansion in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. Life is indeed magical. 


Ansleigh has waited centuries for one man, only to find him and then lose him due to his own inability to trust in their burgeoning love. The magick of Mother Earth flows within him and through him allowing him to nourish the Grotto where he makes his home. Yet, he yearns for the male that nurtures his soul. When the whims of Fate bring his Cosantoir back into his life, does he have the courage to accept his heritage? 


As the fantasies in his head become reality and the monsters of nightmares crawl through the forest, can Dylan forgive broken promises to protect the Croi? There is no pause button when the Fae and human worlds collide. Will Dylan have what it takes to master the maze and win Ansleigh's freedom? 
 

   Broken Oaths Teaser/Excerpt:


“I don’t have a chair for you to sit on,” he finally said. Ryan’s gaze darted around the cell. Bed, toilet, sink and brick. No chair, no personal effects, nothing but cement, metal and cotton. He seriously needed to get a hold of himself. The man was going to think him scatterbrained. Taking a fortifying breath, he skirted Donovan and sat on the very edge of the bed. When Donovan knelt on one knee before him, head bowed and almost resting on his lap, the air in his lungs took a mini vacation. 



“Umm, don’t you want a partition or something? We could string up a sheet and give you some privacy,” Ryan nearly stammered. Thierry’s head rose slowly and the weight of his magnificent eyes settled on Ryan’s face. The darkness he’d seen earlier twisted in their depths. 


“I have nothing to hide, Father Flynn. I’ve been stripped of my job, my pride and my stripes. My life was put on display in the circus Duciane called a trial of my peers. What is privacy when your dignity and honor have been stolen?” Spoken quietly, the words reached into Ryan’s chest and wrapped around his heart. Compassion welled alongside a fierce determination to find out why Donovan was being held. Questions tumbled through his mind; questions he didn’t have the right to ask. 

Thankfully, his training rescued him. He served in confession every day, hundreds of times a day. And, that’s why he was in the cell in the first plate. He brought his right hand up to touch his forehead. 
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” As he spoke, his hand followed the age old pattern of the cross; Thierry’s hand followed the same path. Ryan waited. 

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.” Donovan intoned. 

“Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool,” Ryan quoted from Isaiah as he rested a hand lightly on Donovan’s head. The contact fanned the turmoil inside and he hastily pulled his hand back. 

“I think my last confession was five or six years ago. I’ve been in prison for the last couple of years and have forsaken my faith.” Donovan spoke slowly, clearly. “I’ve wished death on another almost every day of that time and carry hate in my heart for this man. I fear I would break the sixth commandment if given the chance.” Donovan’s shoulders squared. “I am guilty of mortal sins against your God.  Every day I struggle with pride and rage. I envy this same man his freedom. I want him to bear my shame, to walk in my shoes and to feel the retribution of my wrath.”  

The large shoulders bowed before him shook with emotion. When a full minute passed in silence, Ryan cleared his throat. “Commander Donovan, you understand the act of confession is to admit your sins and seek absolution. Penance cannot be granted if you are not truly remorseful.”  

Donovan’s head snapped up. Eyes as cool as mint captured him. “As I said, Father. I’ve lost my faith in God and you can add humanity to that. I need you to set me back on the path of the righteous. And, you might as well call me Thierry; I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of each other.”  

Despite his body’s untoward reaction to the man in front of him, Ryan held the man’s stare. The ice fractured for a second and behind the strength and determination, he saw the hurt and the desperate need for someone to believe. So many times he’d seen that same look in the youth he counseled. Thierry Donovan spoke the truth, he had lost faith. Ryan firmed his lips and nodded once. His duty was clear. 

“Okay, Thierry. We’re going to take this journey together. I just need to clear some things with the Admiral.” He broke eye contact and bowed his head. “Let’s say a prayer shall we.” The words strangled in his throat when Thierry rested a large hand on his knee. 

“What’s your angle Father? What has he promised you?”  

Ryan’s eyes jerked up as anger flared, but he wrestled his ire under control. “I don’t have an angle Commander Donovan. I’m here to help you. There is nothing Admiral Ducaine can promise me or give me that would be incentive enough to make me break my oaths to my Lord. I thought we’d already cleared that up.”  

Donovan shoved to his feet and ran a hand over his tightly shorn hair. “Yeah, ok. I’m out of line. We don’t need a prayer. Hand me your phone and I’ll call A.J.” Donovan waited expectantly, hand outstretched.  

Ryan ignored him and slid a hand into his trouser pocket. When he pulled out his rosary, the other man muttered a curse under his breath. Ryan clasped the wooden beads and closed his eyes. 

“Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is Heaven.” Ryan paused and a deep voice joined him for the remainder. 

“Give us this day, our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory. Forever. Amen.”    

When their words died away, Ryan rose to face Donovan. “Take these,” he said and placed the rosary into the sailor’s hand. “Renounce your sins and think about what you told me here. Search your heart, Thierry Donovan. You have killed, I have no doubt, but could you really commit murder in cold blood? I don’t think you could. You may want justice, but you are a soldier. You follow the rules. Forgiveness can be yours, Thierry, but you have to take the first few steps alone. I’ll be there to take your hand when you do.” He reached out to cup Donovan’s palm and smiled warmly. “I think it’s time for me to go.”  

 


LINKS TO FIND J.T. CHEYANNE (Or stalk! ;) )


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                                               amazon.com/author/jtcheyanne      

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