Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fandom Life: Bounce: A Story from The Grid

Fandom Life: Bounce: A Story from The Grid: Summary: The exciting novella that ties into the popular Shadow-Keepers Series by Jas T. Ward-- BOUNCE.  Wisdom says that one’s pa...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Luck is Bad and Good



 Okay, I get it. We've all been there. We're in a store or a parking lot and we see some money laying loose on the floor or ground. Hey, our lucky day right?

Perhaps, but its someone else's unlucky day. That bill you just picked up? May have been the only money the person who undoubtedly dropped accidentally had. They may have walked through the store in a sweat, calculating in their head how they could get the most groceries (not snacks, not junk--but actual FOOD) for that money you now considered yourself lucky to find. How that person paused to count and add the tally one last time before heading to the cashier, praying they didn't count wrong and be embarrassed by not only the meagerly desperate purchases, but being shamed to not being able to buy the sad collection of goods that would keep them from going hungry for as long as possible...


because that money you're now using to buy cookies, candy or soda because it was found money?

Was all the money they had. 


If you've never been there, trust me, you don't want to be. I have. And now that I have found myself without employment and only holding on to hopes of another one to happen ASAP because my funds are pretty much done, I am there once again. 

I'm lucky in the fact I have just me. And a dog and cat. So it doesn't take much to get us by. But I've also been that single parent, with three screaming, hungry kids who didn't know where the meals for the next week would come from until HOPEFULLY some money came through too. To tell your child a dozen times NO to something they really wanted from the shelves of sticky, sweet goodness as you try to make one bag of beans and one bag of rice equal 2 or 3 meals. I've been that person that sat and cried in a car that was out of gas that you hoped would have lasted just a few more days and three children are hot and tired, just wanting to go home. I've also sat through long ice-filled cold winter days with no wood for the fire or electric in my house and no money to get either one. Curled up under a blanket and telling myself--just have to make it a few days, it can't stay this bad, that long. 

On the flip side--I've also been the one that offered to pay for someone who didn't have the money or enough to pay what they quite apparently needed to get with their children looking at the boxes of mac n'cheese and the cans of beans like it was gold, because they were hungry. I've pulled over and given rides as well as changed tires for those that needed it on the side of the road, turning down the held out money in exchange for my kindness.

I have always believed--you get what you give. And always will.


But today--I was an out of work author, who was counting my pennies to just get a few things at the store and making my meager saving last as long as it could until my next 9-5 job came along. (Funny, being a popular author with a fan base doesn't get you free food....:) ) I was the one that got to the check out only to realize the bills I brought in with me had somehow escaped my pocket. Chances are it happened when I frantically pulled my phone out of my pocket in hopes it was a job calling only to find out it was a bill collector. 

Sure I looked all over the store and of course I checked at the office to see if anyone had turned in the money. The lady behind the window laughed and told me that she had worked there for 7 years and not once had anyone turned in cash they had found. 

A bit of faith in humanity...lost. 

What's the point you ask? Not really sure. But just remember, when you think you've had a streak of good luck? Consider what bad luck you may have created for someone else.

Wouldn't the world be a great thing if we would call the kindness and honesty of strangers as faith...and we wouldn't have to count so much on luck.

Because luck swings both ways.


Take care and be good to someone who just might need it. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Prologue: First Three Chapters



There comes a time when you realize that the past is never behind you. No--it impacts every single aspect of your present and your future. You fight against it, you give into it, you try your best to not let it be who you are but that's all well, for lack of a better way to sum it up--bullshit. 

Your past is as much of who and what you are as your genetics. No flowery sayings, no text book shrink babble is going to make it any more pretty  or pleasant to realize. You are what you are made of. Blood, bone, water and memories. Whether it be a memory of learning how to walk, remembering what letter spells what words or what you have done and where you have been, you cannot change that.

So, as I look back at my life I often wonder if I could have done different. Could I have changed this person who should have loved me, who didn't. Could I have made this person that was hurting me not do the damage? What good would that do me? 

Nothing. 

But the pain and the past have value. They make scars on our souls that are the pathways of becoming more. They make a foundation that can either be built on to make one stronger or it can be left to crack, crumble and be covered with weeds of compliance. 

I've never liked weeds. They take the good from the soil of our humanity and they steal the light from that in our life which needs it. 

So, here is my foundation--bare and ready to build. I invite you to join me on the journey.  A bit of watching the walls as they are built to protect the precious, wounded and fragile person behind them. The damage is already done with a painful childhood and there is no need to go back. So, dear reader--if you came here to read that, sorry. Trust me, I didn't want to share it despite how much anyone may want to find out. It's done and it's over. 

But, I am going to share with you all that has made me beyond that with learning that love is as much of a blessing as it is a curse. It can destroy you and it can save you--and at times, both at the same time. 

This is based on a true life with enough fiction included to prevent from completely reopening scars long healed, or at least so it appears on the surface. Those who know me and matter will know the real from the fantasy. The raw from the gloss. And those who know but don't care--take from it what you will. You know who you are...

And what part you played. 





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Poetry - Thought of You Today




What a Shameful Way to Go (Warning: Graphic)





I  have never understood the stigma of suicide. Yes, I know. That life is the most precious gift that god can give you. That to take such a gift for granted is the most heinous of crimes. That surely they didn't mean to do it and if only someone had known, they could have stopped it. I have had SEVEN persons I loved and cared about choose that route. And each time, it was all hush, don't talk about it. No one wants to discuss.

It's always said---They COMMITTED suicide. 

com·mit- carry out or perpetrate (a mistake, a crime or immoral act)

 Even the word- commit. A mistake. A crime. An immoral act. 

 Lets look up the word immoral. 

im·mor·al -  not conforming to accepted standards of morality. Unethical, bad, morally wrong, wrongful, wicked, evil, foul, unprincipled, unscrupulous, dishonorable

Wow. Evil, wicked, foul. Unprincipled and unscrupulous. Why isn't someone committed death when they die? How come the world commit and immoral need be attached to suicide?

Is it because they should have known better? They should have made a different choice? Should have changed the path they were walking along? Thought of their family? Their loved ones?

Okay, I'll play.
 

How is suicide any more committed to dying than that idiot that is driving 120mph down a road in a car and slamming into a pole? Surely, they knew that could result in death. I mean, who doesn't know that? Was the driver immoral in doing that? No. His family will gather and say what a damn tragedy it was. How sad that that pole just happened to be on that curve. People will put flowers and crosses where this tragedy occurred. No one says they were foul. Or evil. Or even dishonorable. Just...such a 
tragedy.

trag·e·dy  - an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe

 Lets try this one..maybe it can help me understand. 

What about the drug addict that is committed to their fix? Did they honestly not know that when they shoved that needle in their vein, snorted that powder up their nose, or ingested some poison that they wouldn't die? No, its such a sad social statement. Did they not know that drugs can kill them? That it can destroy their lives? No, its just so sad. 

No, didn't help a bit. Still don't understand. 

Social media will have post after post about the TRAGEDY of their deaths. But not ONCE will it be said they COMMITTED DEATH. Their own. Maybe even others. 


No, only suicide has that whole COMMITMENT caveat attached. As if no other form of death had a choice. Or a decision. All other forms of self-destruction are given an excuse. A get out of IMMORALITY judgement card. 

Tonight, I got informed that someone who had been dealt so many blows that mirror my own, domestic violence and depression from it all, committed suicide. This is someone who recently was raped by two strangers and was having the hardest time dealing with it. I knew she was struggling and I tried to be there for her. I couldn't help by wonder if that seed was planted in her head as I shared my life with her. Yeah, I know...no need playing the guilt game. But this makes another person I have loved or cared about that has taken their life. It was after all, their own life to take. 

As I sat her listening to her sister tell me how the family plans on dealing, I became more and more angry.

No ceremony. No funeral. No memorial. Just a cremation and her ashes sprinkled on the river. They wanted no obituary, no death notice, nothing. She left me a letter they said. They were dropping it in the mail. I thanked them and the call was done. They were ashamed and even after she had died, they wanted to just toss her away like her life because of how she ended it...didn't matter. Like she didn't matter. Only the way she chose to die.


I admit, and I've said it before. I've considered suicide. When the depression gets so bad, so overwhelming that I think my family would be better off or for that matter, be no different if I was gone. I can't say what's stopped me from doing it. I can't say I won't consider it again. It's a day to day thing that I face, I handle and I wake up and do it all over again. 

I find it so hard to believe that in this day and age when we are cloning things, granting marriage to all human kind, have a marvel mapping out Mars or finding cures for diseases that we can still stigmatize suicide. 

How is suicide ANY different than dying from any disease. How is killing oneself different than someone drinking themselves to death? Or ODing on pain meds at the end of a lifetime of suffering choosing to go out their way.

Or...dying from cancer. 

Because that's what suicide is a by-product of. An illness. Suicide is the end result of extreme, soul eating depression. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and therefore--a disease. It's not a bad day or a shitty mood. It's a  CHEMICAL IMBALANCE OF THE BRAIN. And no amount of "get over it" or "come on, cheer up" is going to fix it. There are drugs (thank god) that can help a person battle it. The disease can just become so crippling that there is no way out. 

I'm so tired of why didn't the family know. No one really WANTS to commit suicide. Bullshit. Sometimes the person suffering from the end stages--which is what I am calling it from now, the end stages--of depression doesn't say a word. And the family has adjusted to the presence of the disease for so long they no longer see the signs. Or they don't want to. 

Nothing angers me more than when someone says "why didn't they think of their loved ones?" Seriously?

Someone who is in the end stage isn't thinking about ANYONE. Not themselves and most likely not anyone else. When you get that bad, you just don't care about anything. You become so numb and so defeated that you just KNOW the world, your family is going to be SO FUCKING GLAD YOU ARE GONE. Including you.


You're tired of the constant gnawing in your gut from being so sad. You hate that you don't enjoy food, books, movies or even sex. It's all a mindless trudging through existence and not seeing a single grain of purpose in the doing so.

And you're tired. So damn tired that walking to bed to wallow and hope to sleep until everything is all better like everyone says it will be....tomorrow. Knowing damn well that tomorrow the pain, the agony and the overwhelming sense of grief for your lost self it just going to be more. 


So you tell me...if you have to feel that way EVERY DAY. When you can't sleep or all you do is sleep...that you wouldn't consider a release? A desperate escape from the heavy rock that has become your emotions? Don't lie...you would. 

So you do it...

And suddenly your family is shamed. Your friends don't know how to handle it. And if you weren't successful? They look at you like you came from the dead and they aren't exactly sure if that was good thing. If you succeed? 

Well, at least its over.

Did you know that some funeral homes and cemeteries refuse to have services or have the bodies of a suicide death be buried with the "god fearing" people? It's true. I had to go through it personally. Did you know that all the friends you had before you lost your loved one to suicide just never really want to be friends anymore? Like, they'll become infected... Like you're a carrier of that dark shame and they may catch it. Or even worse...have to deal with it. It's a taboo...don't remind them.

Suicide is immoral after-all. No one wants to have that stamped on their souls. 

Oh yeah, suicide souls don't go to heaven either. Nope. Since they did the worse crime in god's eyes, they go to hell. Funny, they thought they were hell before they did the deed. Ask me why I no longer believe in modern religion...read the line before this one, it's not hard to figure out.

When are we going to just STOP blaming the person that committed suicide? JUST FUCKING STOP DOING IT. 

They were suffering and they were SICK. There is NO CHEMO. THERE IS NO MIRACLE PILL OR CURE FOR THEM TO HOPE FOR. They can take their meds, see their shrinks and HOPE THE MONSTER THAT IS EATING AWAY AT THEIR SOUL WILL JUST STAY AT BAY.  DEPRESSION NEVER GOES A WAY. THERE IS NO CURE, THERE IS NO REMISSION.

Tomorrow is never a good day to someone with severe depression.  It's just a BETTER day than the one before. It's like having a deadly, gnawing monster under your bed and you know, once you lay down, that monster might slither over your feet, slide under the covers and choke you until you can't breathe. You can only pray that tomorrow....

will be better than today. But you FEAR it's just going to be worse.

If I could ABOLISH the term "committed suicide" I would find the world a somewhat more hopeful place where we don't judge someone who was ill, hurting and pain. We'd find it JUST as much as  a tragedy as any other way. And just as much of a sadness rather than a shame. 

Wouldn't that be a world that gave a chance to those of us with our monsters at bay. 

One can hope, right?









Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tome Tender: Love's Bitter Harvest by Jas T. Ward

Tome Tender: Love's Bitter Harvest by Jas T. Ward: Love's Bitter Harvest by Jas T. Ward My rating: 5 stars Publication Date: June 29, 2014 Publisher: Dead Bound Publishing Genre:...

Whispers with the Author: Krista Kelley




Today it was my pleasure to have author Krista Kelley on my blog. Krista's debut novel: Grey's Curse was published on 08/29/14 by Breathless Press. 

 First, thank you for being here and why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a stay at home mom and wife who loves reading and writing stories of my own. I live in a small town in Kentucky. When I'm not writing, I can be found playing with my daughter or watching the numerous TV shows that I am in love with.

Your debut novel, The Grey Curse, was recently published. How did it feel?

It felt unbelievable. My lifelong dream finally came true. I'll admit, I still can't believe that my book is actually published.

What was the timeline from starting to write the book to having it published?

I started the actual writing of The Grey Curse on November 1st, 2013. It was a NaNoWriMo project. I sent the finished manuscript to Breathless Press in January of this year and received my acceptance letter on March 11th. I signed my contract March 17th and started my first round of edits in May. My "baby" was released on August 29th.

Did you self-publish or use a traditional publisher?

I used a traditional publishing company by the name of Breathless Press.
  
Can you share with us what the book is about?

My book is a Paranormal Romance about a witch, a vampire, and a powerful curse.

How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?

I have always loved writing, but I never thought about being a published author until I was 15. It wasn't until last year that I decided to take my writing seriously and try to get published.

What is your writing method? Do you write in order, use a timeline, etc?

I have a hodgepodge of different methods I use. I do mostly write in order, but sometimes a scene pops up and I have to get it down asap.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned since publishing your book?

It's harder than it looks. The grueling hours of editing, working until your brain feels like mushy bananas. Writing a book is easy. It's the preparation for getting it published that's the hardest.

If you could only choose one method to read which would it be, E-book or Print and why?

I would have to choose print. I love the feel of a book in my hands and the smell of the pages.

Who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books?

My two absoulute favorite authors are Sherrilyn Kenyon and Torie James. I do have a lot more that I love though. *wink, wink* As for favorite books, the list is just way too long. I've read very few books that I didn't love.

Now that you can happily say you’re a published author, what advice would you give to someone that is working towards that goal?

Never give up. Never give in. You can do it. It was the advice given to me by my dearest friend and I think it's a valuable piece of advice for anyone.

And finally- the fun stuff:

Favorite type of music to write to

Classic Rock.

Favorite movie of all time

I'd have to say Brave.

Favorite type of food

My husband's homemade deer tips.

If you could be a cartoon character, what character would you be?

A minion from Despicable Me. Lol.

Finally, can you share an excerpt from your book to give us a tease of Grey Curse?  

"This one's the last of her line. There are no others, Deke." He held up a file and tossed it to Decan.
Catching it, he thumbed through the small stack of papers and moved back to his recliner. "Selena Michelle Grey, born October 31st, 1991. Hair, blonde. Eyes, blue. Only child to Thomas and Melissa Grey." Decan closed the folder and leaned back in his chair. The last Grey. It meant his life's purpose had almost been completed. What would he do when the time came when there were no more "missions"? There had been a time when it had seemed impossible. He had spent his exceedingly long life fulfilling his mother's wishes. Running a hand through his hair, he gave it a tug before peering back up at his maker.
"After this one, I'll be free?"
Nikolai's lips turned up in a small smile. "You'll be free. You know the drill. You have until her twenty-first birthday to do recon. Study her habits—where she goes, who she sees. October thirty-first, you strike."
Before Decan could blink, the elder man disappeared. He glanced back down at the file in his hands and smirked. The last Grey. How would he deal with this one? A fire? Or maybe a drowning? It happened a lot with the Ohio River being so close. Whatever he did, he had to make sure it looked like an accident. They didn't need people looking for a murderer. It was one of their rules. Always make it appear accidental. Decan couldn't afford to be caught. After 100 years, he had gotten good at his job. First, with Violet Grey. Then Mary Sue and April Grey, Nancy Grey Callis and last had been Elizabeth Grey. Five women he'd killed, all in his mother's name. But they had deserved it, they all did. And now this one would die and fulfill his mother's curse.

Krista, thank you so much for being here. How about your links so others can find you, your works and stalk you. ;)





Twitter: @KristaKelley448





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mankind, Where Have You Gone




I've always been very fascinated by the end of the world. Perhaps not so much the end of the world, but the end of mankind. I've written several stories about it that I hope to put in B&P: Volume 2- Dark Edition.


I've never envisioned it as a massive invasion by aliens. Nor the sweeping of some plague or zombie overtaking.


No, I truly believe that man is man's greatest enemy. That eventually the natural selection known as the "strongest survive" will critically and almost ironically twist to teach us a race ending lesson. You can see the signs now. The wars, the politics, where one religion tries to eradicate another from the planet that is more than large enough to contain us all.


No, the end of mankind will be something we didn't see coming. Something that has no antidote, has now manual and has no warning. For the end of mankind quite simply will be a beautiful symphony of karma and pay back by forces that have given us free reign to do as we will, consequences be damned.


The end of mankind will a subtle, long-term cascade of events, losses and catastrophic failures.


Then one day, mankind will  no longer be here.


The earth will go on.


It'll just be us that stops.


Mankind is the top of the food chain. And we have a very long fall to drop.


Mankind will attempt to claw its way back....but in the end?


We're just gone.




FROM THE UPCOMING COLLECTION OF SHORT- STORIES: 
BITS & PIECES: VOLUME 2

DARK EDITION




"Run," she whispered. "They're coming."


"I don't want to leave you. Please don't make me go." Her eyes met those of the same, yet older and so much more tired. They had lost so much. They were all they had left and now, that was ending too. She was just a child and had barely begun to live--death didn't care. And neither did the monster that was racing towards them. 


"You have to. We can't both die. Someone has to tell the story. Someone has to know." Her face was cupped and a kiss placed upon her head. 


"But there's no one left to tell. We're the very last." Tears coursed down her cheeks, even as the grass around them bent, broke and turned grey. She knew if was coming and they were running out of time. The earth seemed to groan under the burden of an entire race turning to dust upon its soil. 



"The souls. They need to know we were here. They need to know we mattered. Speak to the souls. I'll be there....."









Friday, September 5, 2014

Oh, the Places I Go!: Friday's Features!

Oh, the Places I Go!: Friday's Features!: NEW RELEASES FROM BREATHLESS PRESS THIS WEEK: Kelliea Ashley What's a girl to do when her hot boss makes her his emergency con...

Butterflies Fly (Tale from the Streets)



"Mommie?"

She looked up nervously as she wet paper towels in the sink of the seedy gas station on the west end of Houston. The time was 8pm, which was one hour too late to get admitted and given a bed at the homeless shelter three blocks away. She had tried to make it, but with no money for the bus and a toddler along with a infant to carry, she had been that hour late. So, now the three of them would have to find some place to sleep tonight...on the streets.


Her baby was asleep curled up in a tattered blanket on the dirty floor as she was trying to clean up her children the best way she could. Finding the sliver of soap in her big handbag, she unwrapped it from the baggie and lathered up the paper towels. Her oldest sat on the diaper changing fold-out table and he was holding that damn sticker.

One of the volunteers at the last shelter they had stayed at and then been released from when they hit their 60-day stay limit, had given him the Butterfly sticker. It was bent and some of the color was coming off of it, but to her son, it was a treasure. She sighed as she moved over to tug off his dirty shirt, sniffing it to see if it could be worn again. Deciding that it could, she set it to the side and did the same with his shorts. Then she proceeded to wipe him down, trying to get some of the grime and sweat from his skin after walking and trying to waste away the day, eating lunch at the soup kitchen at the mission. She had been planning on staying there, but they hit their bed max early, which left her scrambling to the shelter across town. Houston was not a small town. 

As she wiped down her son, ears on alert for one of the store clerks to come in and threaten to call the cops or kick them out, she asked softly, "Yes baby?"

"Can I be a butterfly?" 

She stopped her wiping him down to meet his eyes, confusion on her face. "A butterfly? Why? You're a little boy, silly." She gave him an exhausted smile as she ran the paper towel through his hair, hating that it was so dry and needed a shampooing really bad. She hated seeing him dirty and his clothes well-worn before she had even been able to buy them from the thrift shop with the little bit of money she managed to get either panhandling or offering to carry groceries. People tended not to hire a homeless woman--much less one with two children. As she was pulling his t-shirt back over his head, brown hair and big brown eyes popping out of the top, he smiled at her as he held up the sticker.

"Because butterflies can fly, mommie." He poked her nose with his finger, the nails black with dirt under them and gave her another wide smile. 

She cupped his face, meeting his eyes and returned the smile, saying softly, "Why do you want to fly baby? Aren't you happy being  my little boy?" 

He nodded and said softly, "I love being your little boy. But I've never seen a butterfly have to sleep on the streets. Because they can fly to a new home." 

That did it, fat tears cascaded down her cheeks as she scooped him up to hold him close. "Oh baby. You can't fly away from me. Mommie would miss you. Bubby too." She hated crying and fought against doing it constantly. She wanted her boys to see that she was strong and this was only a moment of bad luck, not a life of it. As she pulled back to meet his eyes, he brought up a small, thin hand to wipe away her tears.

"It's okay Mommie. I'll teach you and bubby how to fly too. Just you wait and see...."


 


 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Can Forgive, It's the Forgetting that's getting me...



The strangest week this has been. Health wise--not the best. I've been exhausted, lack of energy and generally feeling like crap. Add to that, I'm not sleeping. Seriously, I haven't slept in almost four days with cat naps and period of dozing each night. All together I think I've slept 4 hours accumulative.

But it's not been all bad. I hit the Best Sellers list on Amazon with Love's Bitter Harvest hitting #13 in drama fiction. That was amazing and I cried happy, ugly tears more than once as it climbed the charts. 

I put out a novella in my Shadow-Keepers series about the main Boss/God - BOUNCE. I love the big guy and I really enjoyed revealing just a small sampling of the secrets that will be unwoven throughout the series. 

Of a more personal and dear to me- Well, you have to know my family to understand this, but maybe you  have something to relate to in your own.

My dad is a huge reader. He loves spy novels, political and legal thrillers, WWII and most of all, westerns. Needless to say, I write none of those. I brought them a signed copy of Love's Bitter Harvest in hopes my step-mother of course could enjoy it. I was there recently and found my dad was doing the ultimate Ward Ritual with something worth reading. 

He was reading it while in the john. That's right, my dad was reading MY book while in the bathroom. Now, before you laugh too hard, you have to understand. When I was growing up there were always magazines and books in the bathroom. Don't know if it's a southern thing or not, but it was always the norm. As my father's health declined that practice stopped and it saddened me in a way. The only time my dad read now was standing at the kitchen counter as he took another breathing treatment (he has to do about a half-dozen a day) to distract from the reality of how bad his health had become. But it had been years since reading material was in the bathroom. 

But to know my dad, was reading MY book in a place that once meant a get-away from all that was outside in the room (the only private place in a busy home) to escape once again, in a place I just always thought was normal, brought tears to my eyes. My dad and I  haven't always gotten along and we haven't always been close. But to know he's gotten into my romance and was actually taking it with him where ever he went to read to actually read, just...it's hard to explain what it means to me.

Feel free to laugh now. 

The next thing that hit me is I was discussing the book with my stepmother and she asked why I didn't write my story. Just from the small bit I have actually talked about and she knew, she thought everyone needs to read it and see that life isn't always easy, but so worth the battle. I had to think about it. 

See, I  had a bad childhood and there's secrets that I don't think anyone needs to know. I survived a domestic violent marriage and still carry the shame that I didn't leave the first time that fist hit me or when that boot kicked me or my head hit a wall. You can't explain to anyone that hasn't been in that situation why you didn't just go. I ask myself that all the time. "Why didn't I just go?" 

But when you're a victim of abuse, your mind is just as beaten up as the rest of you is. Your heart too. It's battered and confused, sore and just wanting to curl up until the pain goes away. You want to wait until you heal...wait until your stronger...then you make that choice. Unfortunately, that healing never comes when you get beaten again before it has a chance. It changes your mind and you just get to the point that this is as good as it gets. That you deserve this. That this is all you are worth. It's so hard to explain to others who just will never get it. 

And I sure don't want my family--the few member of it I actually give a damn about how they feel about me--to see the humility of what I was then.

Then you have the suicide...that could have been so much worse in the fact that I could have been killed too? Yeah, that's not something you want to dive back into. That day lives enough over and over in my nightmares and even when I'm awake with my PTSD. I sometimes think that if I write it out, it will stop. But that means opening up all that pain and horror, loss I still in a twisted way, feel. Not to mention, battling thoughts of suicide myself is still an ongoing war. And something I still haven't been strong enough to talk to Rob's family about. And until I do that? I can't possibly write it all. Soul Bound is as close as I have been able to get in even touching that pain and tragedy. 

My stepmother said put it as a work of fiction--people need to read it. People need to know how strong you are. That made me cry too. 

See, I haven't gotten past the shame, the fear and the grief I guess. I can't say I won't someday, but that someday isn't here.  I am getting better and I'll hold on to that and I'll continue to do so.

But to just have my parents support, even when I don't seem to feel like I'm worth it, is so amazing. They are truly a love story. Even when my dad is being mean as heck to her and she's being mean to him right back, for over 40 years, its weathered it all. Does love even happen like that anymore? I have my very real doubts.

So, my novel is proudly now thought of as a Bathroom Read and my story is one that they feel I need to share....it's enough for me. Someday, maybe, the story that keeps me up some nights, haunts my sleep and has warped my days will be told.

But that day isn't here yet. 


Someday....

But just saying SOMEDAY to that. Is SOMETHING. 

I can be proud of that.

Take care.

Oh, the Places I Go!: Going Places with Jas T. Ward!!!

Oh, the Places I Go!: Going Places with Jas T. Ward!!!: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jas T. Ward author of The Shadow-Keepers Series and romance novel - Love's Bitter Harvest. ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I WANT TO LIVE ON MARS...No Seriously...it's true.



I admit I rarely look at social media such as Facebook, Twitter’s news feed and or updates. It just takes up far too much of my time and to consider it a “news” source, is completely unrealistic—I end up spending more time plugging the “facts” that some people post into Snopes to find out if they’re even true. Nine out of ten times, nope, hoax.


So I turn to CNN for my news. You know—a news venue with sources, and reports and handy-dandy stuff like that. I check it on my TV when I wake up, before I go to bed and sometimes a few times during the day. Just to be aware.


Have you checked it out today? I mean, pull yourself away from Facebook or Instagram or whatever life and time devouring electronic folly you’re divested in and check it. 


Our world is a _____ mess. I’m serious. We have the horrible unrest in Ferguson. The public beheading of a journalist by ISIS (and learning that DOZENS of journalist have gone missing for YEARS….YEARS), a Texas governor treating an indictment like a press event, Ebola being found in our country and Jewish people being treated horribly here over things that happen far, far away in Israel. As I scroll through the headlines, I am DESPERATE to find something positive and uplifting and I clicked on the Mars Rover (Curiosity—cute name) pictures, surely there, would some calming perspective, some salvation for mindless mental wandering. I found myself noting how nice the weather looks there. 

 

The landscapes on Mars are like our deserts here, sure, but look at that nice day! And no trash, or abandoned buildings, no riots or police in gear to prevent it. It has no Gaza strip or cures for diseases that are suddenly found when American’s are at risk (yeah, that bothers me too). The sky is clear and the sand looks kinda comfy. Oh sure, I was raised like many of you to think that Mars was full of storms and acid and we would die within seconds, but Curiosity sure makes it look like a nice getaway.  


This had me wondering—how bad is our world becoming when I sit and dream of going to Mars. The one considered the most hostile planet in our universe? In the 50's, 60’s and 70’s the films, comic and books were filled with Martians attacking Earth to destroy mankind and take away our good life. We became fans of movies like Independence Day in the 90’s showing how mankind can conquer bigger, stronger and more intelligent armies from Mars. Heck, we can even give a great Presidential speech about it to rally the troop. Even in the past few years, we had movies about aliens attacking and us winning (loved Battle for Los Angeles). We simply always rely on aliens from far away being the bad guys.


Now, the invasion, the battles, the fights and, sad to say, the bad guys are ourselves. And even our own government would somehow fight over who would give the rally speech, back and forth until no speech ever happened because they couldn’t agree. Which even if they did agree, some protesters would find a way to find fault, or analyze or make some mean-spirited meme to destroy any good intention of said speech and those who did find something enriching in it would be beaten with tea cups. It’s ridiculous and so discouraging. 


So, as I look at how nice and peaceful Mars is, jealous of the rover for such an escape, I have to ask myself if aliens from anywhere in the universe would want to come to earth. I know I sure wouldn’t.  They most likely, as I do, tune into CNN with some really good alien HD and go, oh no, no way are we going there. Look at that! They fight among themselves. They take each others heads. They riot and scream at injustice while some are looting and taking advantage. And the very armies they use to protect, they attack.  Sure, they’re distracted so they’d be an easy take down, but look at the planet itself? 


They can’t even protect what’s protecting them.


So the aliens move on for more viable resources and take-overs. After all...Earth looks like a very hostile planet.


Why destroy us when we’re already doing such a good job ourselves? 

Yep, Mars is looking pretty good right now

Friday, August 15, 2014

Readers Just Aren't Ready.....Hmmm

I have been a reader far longer than I have been a writer. Books of all kinds have been my salvation, my haven and my escape. I read everything as I can—fiction, non-fiction, romance, sci-fi, paranormal, drama and historical (too many to mention really).  Each book gives something I might need at the time. Laughter, some sizzle, some insight into the inner workings of a character that can’t possibly exist except in fantasy and sometimes just a good “ole” fashioned good ride. 

As a published author and prior to that ghost-writer, I have dove into almost every genre pool there is out there to swim in. Some of it was duty and other works were a delight. There is truly a reader for every form of novel out there.  I’ve done short stories, poetry, advertising and news copy, right down to greeting cards and blurbs for products. You name it, I’ve probably done it or came so close that we waved and said hello.

Where am I going with all this? Right, get to the point Ward and stop yammering. 

I recently published my latest title- “Love’s Bitter Harvest” and I will admit I am very proud of the book.  It’s in the contemporary romance genre, but nothing about LBH is conventional. The male is every bit as handsome, strong, passionate, and strong-willed and a down right stubborn ass as any romance out there.  He loves and hates just as equally due to his own misguided beliefs in what life is supposed to owe and what love is all about.  He can cause a woman to swoon with a smile, heat with a glance and isn’t afraid to claim what he feels he had a right to—the woman he loves.  With growls, brutal kisses and a strong heart that will not let go of what it knows he needs.  Even if he denies it and everything else. 




Sounds typical right? 

Except for one thing—Matt has a tragedy and finds himself a paraplegic. 
Oh, that’s a bit different, you say. 

Of course it is. It’s what I strive for (romance- the Ward way).

So, I wrote a strong, powerful, sexually tension filled love story about two very realistic characters. There’s no heaving breasts, chiseled never wearing a shirt main female and male. Just two very complicated people trying to get past the pain of their history together and either move on or take a chance. It has grief, loss, tragedy and all the things that, oh yeah, real life has in it. There’s no arch villain, no life-saving need and no evil plot to conquer the world. There’s also tons of laughter, sweet kisses, memories of innocence and believe it or not…a happy ending. Perhaps not the perfect ending where the hero walks into the sunset with a beautiful perfect woman in his arms, their hair billowing out behind them, her swooning against his perfect chest…but it’s the perfect ending to Matt and Katy’s story as I feel they wholeheartedly deserved. 

I know the trends in the literary world right now; I am a partner in a publishing house after-all.  That erotica, romances and paranormal are flying onto e-readers and into readers TBR’s faster than anyone could have ever imagined. That same genre has been wonderful to me as Madness continues to get sales more than 8 months since it was published, as well as reviews. For that I am grateful.  I too enjoy the sometimes sinful and wicked pleasure of a good sensual read with beings that can’t possibly show up and make me melt in my own bed. Because they don’t exist, I admit, but are fun to imagine. 

With Love’s Bitter Harvest, I wanted to write a book that would not be an escape as much as an uplifting of the human spirit with people and issues we can all identify because we have “been there, done that” or know of someone that has.  A book that changes your view and perhaps makes you think about how one simple action, a single event, can change any of us, at any time. And what would we do. 

A novel. A thought provoking, tear jerking, laughter and joy filled…novel.  You know, one of those things. 
So, as with many of us, the pimping after its release began.  

I love bloggers and other social media groups that are there for us authors. They have been so instrumental in getting the word out about my books in the past. The fans as well, which I couldn’t think of writing a single word without, helped blast the news of LBH. 

But weeks went by, and most of the blogs which have been so helpful and wonderful in the past, simply weren’t responding.  I inquired and inquired again.  Nothing.  I scrambled to see is some negative vine had woven its way into my creative literary garden and found nothing. (I did have a hate fest from some going for about a week related to Madness, but their threats were apparently just that—threats).  So I was boggled as to why I wasn’t getting the assistance I had gotten in the past. 

Finally, an honest and sincere blog (one of the biggest) sent me an email back. They had good intentions and they did not say it in any harsh way; only in the spirit of letting me know they weren’t sure they could or would promo and review LBH. Or if any blogger would take it on. 




Very simply put, it was this:

They didn’t think romance readers or any reader was ready for a character or a love story about someone in a wheelchair.  That almost all their reviewers and readers were into erotica, romance and paranormal. 
Basically, LBH wasn’t what was popular right now. Or what was accepted nor expected. 

Read that again. 

What??

I was so proud, and still am of this book. I love Matt and Katy.  Sure, they aren’t heroes and they have flaws and difficulties. And we aren’t talking about bad-ass angst against the world with a woman who has to imagine what he might be like with clothes ON. In a world of social media, reality TV (which is scripted and not any reality I am a part of) and fantasy avenues, shouldn’t we try to give a chance to a focus on real stories? Stories that are believable and real, with characters that we can see something of ourselves in? One that leaves us crying with joy, laughing at the scenes we can so see ourselves in or cheering when love conquers true and honest obstacles? 

You know…life.




Now for those who haven’t read LBH, let me make this clear. It’s not all tragedy and tears. It’s full of humor, love, sweetness and yes, sizzling sexual tension. All that have read it say they don’t even remember that Matt is disabled. The wheelchair is no more than a prop as with any novel. His disability NOT what makes the character. They love the overpowering “love conquers all” theme to the story—even when we fight against the victory with all that we are.  The romance is not the purpose of the book and nor should it be. It’s a side-bar to two people’s story that needed to be told and shared with us to maybe go away feeling enriched, happy and know it could be as real as we are.  And just like we should all strive to be—inspiring despite all the odds life throws at us. 

It would be different if reviewers and others gave this book a chance and THEN decided what readers aren't ready for. If they at least gave it more of a look than seeing what it’s about and judging it. If they weren't indeed romance reviewers who ingest dozens of the genre sometimes daily and decide to or not to spotlight it. They are reviewers—judging is what they do. 

I have always stood by the notion that no one should judge what a reader wants to read. Or chooses not to. I may not understand it (50 Shades of Grey success just confuses me) but I think it is every readers right to purchase, read and review whatever they wish. 

On that same stance, I give readers credit. I have stated this in interviews, blog posts, etc and feel that readers are deeper, smarter and more insightful than many publishers give them credit for. Or, in this case, some bloggers. 

I have never written for the masses nor have I written something just to get sales or attention.  I write as the creative drive demands and hope someone will read it. I believe when a writer begins worrying about sales, award and spotlight they will no longer be true to their creative muse.  And that muse hangs their head in shame for the beauty that once was. 

To write, to write. TADA!

Not to say I wouldn't LOVE to have a best-seller and write night and day rather than have a 9-to whenever I’m done job and other obligations.  But that should be the REWARD not the purpose for doing what we do. 

LBH was inspired by real paraplegic couples I had worked with in the past. It’s also inspired by that little white-haired man that visits his wife in the nursing home even though she doesn't know who he is. It’s inspired by that young couple who have a tragedy and can’t seem to stop holding each other’s hand, even when events are tearing them apart. LBH is about hardship and pain, love and passion and all the things that can test marriages, families and friendships. 

LBH is about finding strength. In seeing that love isn't as perfect as a romance. But still as wonderful as it can be. 




Back on point—

LBH may not ever reach the levels of promo and sales of my other titles. And at first, I admit, I was pissed (not at the blog—they were very kind in being honest) that the book wasn't even given a chance. That while it might be a beautiful, touching and heartwarming story—it’s just not what readers want and wouldn't get even a look. 

I get it. I really do. But to me, that’s like telling a child “Now Bobby, you know you can’t dance” before the music even starts or little Bobby takes one step up on the stage. See, I've been Bobby.  I've been the one who let my stubbornness and pride stop me from loving. I've been the one looked at and judged not what people wanted. I've been told to conform and give the people what they want (Soul Bound….) and refused. 

So, I’ll just have to be happy that those who have read Love’s Bitter Harvest loved it. That while it may not be the same as all the other popular books out there, it’s a book I stand by and am proud of. That even if it doesn't get sales, highlights and spotlights, it still did it’s purpose.

To tell the story of Matt and Katy. To use them as an example of how so many couples face hardships and disabilities and find love on the other side of the darkness that tears apart some, and strengthens others.  That if it gets in the hands of ONE person who reads it and goes out and does something good for either themselves or someone in need through charity, good deeds are just a smile—I’m okay with that. 
Because just like the book says—Sometimes the harshest ground, the most bitter fruit….was worth the harvest and what we made of it. 

P.S. – Oh, and those of you that may be wondering….I’m writing another romance. Guess what it’s about? Heh, mental illness and love.  




Oh and if you want to prove this little running dude wrong? Heh...here's the links to buy the book. Don't worry, I think you're more than ready. ;)