Writing Clichés: Part 1


  1. Eyes meet more than a room full of speed daters. Sometimes those same eyes even lock… like you do your front door?
  2.  Hearts missing beats. If this happens for real, please consult your doctor ASAP. You can google arrhythmia later.
  3. Waves lap more than an over-friendly dog does its person. They even crash more than a speeding car with a driver on some texting frenzy.
  4.  Oh, and no character should EVER forget to look in the mirror to describe the way they look to the reader. Ahem… lazy.
  5. Hands clasp more than your necklaces and bracelets ever could. Calling Captain Hook!
  6. Winds that are so secretive they whisper.
  7. Countdowns almost always reach 1 before the heroine, BAM, saves the day. Whew! Didn’t see that coming.
  8. Character names that would best fit a huge green hairy Ogre, picking his teeth with bone, under a rusted bridge. <– Cliché overload right here.
  9. Nights that are never anything but dark and stormy. Oh, and with extremely dense fog. <– Better bring a knife to cut through it. Any knife will do.
  10. Here’s a “new” one…

Anya: “I totally hate you.”
Zippi: “Yeah? Well you suck.”
Anya: “Your breath stinks of rotting flesh.”
Zippi: “I can’t stand you.”
Anya: “I’m going to belittle you in front of everyone.”
Zippi: “You’re a pompous piece of poo.”

Next scene they are…ahem…in bed!!!

Creepy Encounters

CCC_creepy Have you ever had something creepy happen to you? Something just totally unexplainable?

In my pre-teen years I used to babysit for a family several houses down from mine. I lived on a circular street where all of the houses were the same shape and size, but were painted in different colors, and of course had different house numbers. We rented our home from Dartmouth College in the beautiful northeast town of Hanover, NH. Our house was a tad bigger than a mobile home, solidly built into the ground with a full basement, and included a modest detached carport for our one car. Albeit a small home, we resided in a fantastic location; nestled between a golf course—where my brother and I could collect lost golf balls and then sell them back to the country club members—and CRREL (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory), which sat a stone’s throw away in our back yard. With my vivid imagination and the mammoth buildings’ easy visibility from the one window I had in my pink bedroom, I wondered frequently if the helicopters overhead were airlifting some sort of frozen dinosaur or caveman on top of CRREL’s tarmac roof.

One night, I was babysitting two young children five houses down from mine. It was a young boy and his younger sister. By the time I got there, they were already in bed, so their parents handed me the cable TV remote—the original portly remote that could control anyone’s TV who owned a cable box—making it an easy prank for my brother who would venture around the neighborhood pointing the boxy device into people’s windows to change their channel, turn their TV on, or to turn their TV off depending on its original state. Ahem. Anyway…

The phone rang about two hours into my babysitting duty and I picked it up.


“Cathy?” An elderly voice said on the other end of the phone. That wasn’t the mother’s name, the daughter’s name, or mine.

“I think you may have the wrong number,” I suggested.

“Cathy, I know this is you.”

I didn’t want to say anything about me being there alone and babysitting, so I tried to correct her again. “I’m sorry, but I think you may have the wrong number.”

“Cathy, Cathy, Cathy….” She repeated several times. “Why don’t we meet by the pond?”

I remember thinking, Pond? What pond? Could it be the small kidney-shaped pond that commonly ate golf balls at the country club? Maybe it was the tadpole-filled pond down the street at the elementary school I had attended. At this point I felt really confused and more so concerned for this lady who was obviously more confused than I. “Are you alright?” I asked.

“I’m fine, Cathy.”

“I think you may want to check the number you dialed. I don’t believe any Cathy lives here.”

“I know it’s you, Cathy.”

The more she seemed certain I was Cathy, the more uncomfortable I became. When she would repeat the name ‘Cathy’ and ask me to meet her by the pond, the more her voice took on an eerie quality.

“Where are you?”

“You know where I am.” The hairs on my arms stood up at the sudden deepening of her voice. “By the pond.” I felt certain her chuckle now implied sinister intent.

“I’m sorry, but I must go now. I hope you find the Cathy you are looking for.” I hung the receiver in its cradle as quickly as I could. I stood there several seconds longer, just staring at the phone, hoping it wouldn’t ring again. It didn’t, but at that point I felt unnerved and an unwelcome tingling sensation rolled up my spine and rested heavily in the back of my neck. I picked up the receiver and dialed my mom. “Can you come over and stay with me until it’s time for me to go home? I feel really spooked.”


Several years pass and I am living on my own in Etna, NH. I am living on the second floor of a large white square-shaped house while a nice couple of married Tuck School students rent out the bottom. I am a senior in High School, but living alone because my mom had remarried and moved to Vermont, and I didn’t want to spend my last year of high school away from my soccer team, my friends, and playing violin for the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra. My Honda Elite 50cc motor-scooter would get me to the places I needed to be during several months of the year and my friends with cars helped me out during the long winter months.

I was sitting on my futon in my living room, working through some math problems for homework when the phone rang.



It took me a moment to process the name. “Sorry, there’s no Cathy here.”

“Cathy, I know this is you.” I am trying to place the familiar voice of the little old lady on the other end of line. A strong sense of déjà vu overtakes my body and I suddenly realize where I had heard this voice say the same exact thing to me years before.

I wanted to ask her where she got my unlisted number. Only my close friends and family members knew my number, and even if any of them were playing such a cruel and unusual prank on me, I knew none of them were aware of that same conversation on the night I was babysitting so many years previous, nor would they have had my old neighbor’s phone number. I wanted to hang up and call my mom, asking her to rush over and spend time with me, but she didn’t live nearby me anymore.

“Cathy, are you there?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer. What was it with this lady? How did she keep finding me? Why did she think my name was Cathy? I waited, trying to catch my breath.

“Cathy, Cathy, Cathy….” The lady repeated.

I hung up scared. I stared at the phone, wondering if I should unplug it. It didn’t ring again that night.


Three years passed and I was now a college student in upstate NY. We were on a short break, so I decided to stay at my mom’s house in Vermont for those few days. She was outside with her husband, working on prepping their boat for a ride down the Connecticut River. The phone rang, so I quickly nabbed it.



The memories of the voice and the name combined sent a much stronger and deeper tingling up my spine. The thin blonde hairs on my arms stood as erect as porcupine quills. “Who are you looking for?” I wanted to make sure I didn’t mishear her.

“Cathy, meet me at the pond.”

I hung up immediately and ran outside to tell my mom what had just happened. She was the only one familiar with the disturbing events from years earlier. Neither one of us could explain how these three events happened, nor can we explain these events today. What I do know is this—I absolutely refuse to pick up someone else’s line.

Currently I live in Texas in a time where we have phone access to use 24/7, as well as Calling Party ID information when we receive a phone call. I have been residing here for the past nineteen years, and those three unsettling phone calls that happened all those years ago have never happened again. I can honestly say I am not really sure what I would do if it did.

This is a true story. Care to share a CREEPY ENCOUNTER of your own?

Hooray for Hollywood Spot-on at the VLR

Melissa Grace:

You’re Invited!

Originally posted on Women and Words:

To round off the film and TV awards season the Virtual Living Room will be hosting the Spot-on Hooray for Hollywood this coming Friday, 27th February 2015, from 11 am EST.

We will be welcoming the following authors to the virtual living room and discussing their books and writing:

  • Chris Paynter – Survived By A Longtime Companion
  • Ciarán Llachlan Leavit – Glass Houses
  • Gun Brooke – Course of Action
  • HP Munro –  Stars Collide
  • Jae –  Departure From The Script
  • JLee Meyer –  High Risk
  • Karin Kallmaker – Stepping Stone
  • Krystin Zimmer – The Gravity Between Us
  • Lisa Giralomi – Cut to the Chase, Love on Location, The Pleasure Set
  • Melissa Brayden – Waiting in the Wings
  • Melissa Grace – Aspen’s Stunt

Moderated by BeniGee, Devlyn and Henriette Bookgeek, co-hosted with Ann Aptaker, Cindy Rizzo and Jae.

It looks to be a fun weekend so do come and join us!

If you’ve…

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Motocross Girl Meets Hollywood

Aspens Stunt CoverAspen Kennedi is a courageous and gifted motocross rider, living in a small town with her Father on their farm in Christmas Valley, Oregon. When the bank threatens to put the farm—which has been in their family for generations—into foreclosure, they search desperately for a way to save it.

Fortunately, Hollywood calls! They would like to hire Aspen as a stunt double for the famous actress, Wren Emerson. Willing to do anything to keep the farm, the naïve Aspen agrees to leave her home long enough to endure the rigorous film schedule and dangerous and demanding stunt double role under the command of the productions renowned director and prominent producer.

The first awkward meeting she has with the actress eventually flourishes into a friendship Aspen never thought possible. Despite the hometown boy who pines for Aspen’s heart, and the productions staff that think Wren should date whom they deem acceptable, the two girls can’t deny their growing desires for one another.

Aspen must now complete one more stunt. One that she hopes will overcome all the unrelenting obstacles they face, and will keep her home and heart in harmony, happily together.

Get it on Amazon HERE!

Gift of Hearts – Coming December 1st

Are you ready for a Romantic Short-Story to start the Holidays?


Thrilled to get away from her demanding job in NYC as a High Fashion Clothing Designer, Addyson takes a trip to Stowe, VT to spend Christmas skiing with her parents. When she runs into her former best friend and now Ski Patrol member, Skyler—whom she hasn’t spoken with since a falling out in high school, not even the freezing temperatures can thwart the heat that has rekindled inside their hearts (among other places), these ten years later.

Coming December 1st, 2014

Character Blog Roll

Picture found and borrowed from pinterest.com.
Picture found and borrowed from pinterest.com.

Author JL Gaynor invited me to participate in a character blog roll for my most recent work in progress. It is a romance novel about a small town motocross rider who is hired as a stunt double for a famous actress in Hollywood. Here are some interesting tidbits about this character.


1). What is the name of your character, and is he/she fictional or a historical person?

Answer: Aspen Kennedi is a fictional character, but one that many of us can relate to and love.

2). When and where is the story set?

Answer: The story is set in present day. The story begins in Christmas Valley, Oregon, where Aspen lives and tends to the family farm with her hardworking father. When Hollywood calls upon her to be a stunt double for a big movie star, she agrees to spend several months living in a trailer near the movie set.

3). What should we know about him/her?

Answer: Aspen is eighteen(-ish), athletic, and a gifted motocross rider who is asked by a top movie director and a top movie producer to work as a stunt double for a famous actress named Wren Emerson.

Having lost her mother and unborn baby brother during a birth complication when Aspen was only seven, her bond to her father has grown and become unbreakable over the years. Due to her small town upbringing, she is pretty naïve about the world, but is willing to do anything and everything she can for her home and family—no matter the cost.

4). What is the main conflict, and what messes up his/her life?

Answer: The family farm Aspen and her father call home is going into foreclosure. In order to help save their home, she must leave the place she loves most to spend several months in Los Angeles with people who don’t always have her best interests in mind.

5). What is the personal goal of the main character?

Answer: To save the family farm from foreclosure. As the story progresses, Aspen finds herself attracted to Wren, the famous actress for whom she acts as a stunt double. She must now try to stay focused on saving the farm, and somehow nurture this budding relationship with Wren; for her love for both runs deep in her heart.

6). Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

Answer: The title is Aspen’s Stunt. You can read more about it here on my website as I will be adding more and more news as it gets closure to being published.

7). When can we expect the book to be published?

Answer: Aspen’s Stunt is slated to be published this Fall 2014.

A big thank you to JL Gaynor for tagging me. You can visit her Character Roll Blog here and while you’re there, check out some of her other wonderful blogs.

Thank you for reading.


–Author Heather Rose Jones — Follow her on Twitter  – Author of historic/fantasy adventure … with lesbians! Also, total geek for historic textiles/clothing, linguistics, historic cooking, and much more.

Authors, if you would like to participate in this character blog tour, please feel free to tag yourself so we may learn more about your upcoming projects.

My Writing Process

tagyoureitI was tagged by Barbara Winkes, author of Autumn Leaves and the thrilling mystery Secrets, which I have had the pleasure of reading. The purpose of this blog tour is to get authors to answer the same four questions about their writing process—and along the way, you may even find your next set of books lined up and ready to read. These are my answers:

#1 What am I working on?

I know I am not the only one working on multiple writing projects.

  1. Recently I submitted a short story for a Christmas anthology. Its proceeds will be used to help homeless LGBT youth. Whether my story is chosen or not, I am picking up a copy. It’s for a wonderful heartfelt cause and you know with R.G. Emanuelle partnering up with Ylva Publishing it’s bound to be a treat.
  2. I am in the final stages of edits for my second novel, Aspen’s Stunt and looking forward to publishing it in the Fall. If you love a budding romance with Hollywood lights and girls on dirt bikes, this is certainly for you. Ready, Set, Action!
  3. My third novel, Brave World, and brainchild from accomplishing nanowrimo 2013, comes out next year. I have really had to think outside the box on this one and am very pleased with its progress. The setting is very different than the scene outside your window… and how the characters manage to live in such a place is both extreme and ingenious. I can’t wait to share it with you.

#2 How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

Symbolism. My adolescense was during the “Purple Rain” era afterall. I have a lot of symbolism in Tainted Elite and I do mean A LOT! It’s subtle, but most certainly there. For me, part of my journey in learning to improve my storytelling each time I sit down to write has been attempting to master the art of showing instead of telling. When I dig deeper into each character I learn so much more about them. Their names, their zodiac signs, their speech, their clothing choice, and everything else one could imagine plays a key role in who they are and why they do what they do, no matter how great the conflict… and I love conflict. Give me the heart-pounding, can’t-put-the-book-down feeling every day and I’m hooked.

#3 Why do I write what I do?

Quite simply, I’m a story teller who writes what they like to read and writes what they know—and I know adventure. Martial arts, motorcycles, outdoor adventures with my kids, are just to name a few.

Whether it be a seductive dance while making taffy—like in my short erotic story Candy Striped, or making nightly slalom runs down a mountain and getting “stuck” together at the base, like in my newly submitted short story Gift of Hearts, there is a strong sense of action and adventure every step of the way.

Entwining my characters romances in between these exciting romps of whatever interests them at that moment is how I like my stories to unfold. It’s like a bout of cardio without even having to leave the couch. Feel the burn.

#4 How does my writing process work?

My writing process varies and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Most of the time a scene goes through my mind—it could be from a dream, a fleeting thought, or even a daydream. No matter what it is, I embrace it. If I can’t grab my notebook at that very moment I think about that scene over and over until I have the chance to jot it down. Yes it’s distracting, but a necessity and one that I relish.

If my thoughts race too fast to write them all down, I will make a quick outline—usually in bubble form, so I don’t forget and miss something that has already come to mind. Afterward, I go back and write the scenes out that I want to keep and roundfile the ones I don’t.

Planning everything ahead of time works great for many a writer, but I tend to lean more toward the fly-by-the-seat process, which also means I end up spending a lot more time toiling in the editing phase. Tainted Elite took me about five years to write. Still worth it.

Authors I’m tagging:

J.L. Gaynor, Author of Drive
Nancy Ann Healy, Author of Intersection

An ebook giveaway virgin — no more!

Sharing the love!

Slide1In celebration of my 1-year anniversary for publishing my first novel, Tainted Elite, I am giving away a free ebook. If interested, leave a comment on this post before April 9th and I will choose a lucky winner. You must be an adult and please make sure I have some way of getting in touch with you.

Good luck, ladies!!!

To read more about Tainted Elite, check my Amazon author’s page.

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells

Originally posted on Women and Words:

Wait, is it Christmas again? From the looks outside, you’d think it is. It’s halfway through March already and we’re still looking at snow. Ugh.

Well, never mind that. I have some exciting news. I’ve partnered up with Ylva Publishing to work on a new anthology. The theme is Christmas, and I’m inviting you all to submit something. The anthology is going to be a collection of all different types of stories: sweet, romantic, erotic, humorous…

I am going to be co-editor on the project and I think it’s going to be an interesting journey reading the different stories we get. Christmas elicits so many emotions, good and bad, and I get the feeling that the stories are going to run the gamut. And that’s what I’m hoping for—a variety of styles, emotions, and settings.

Whether you love or hate or are completely indifferent toward Christmas, there may be…

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Love Spanks 2014

Melissa Grace:

This is my first time participating in “Love Spanks 2014” and I am more than looking forward to it. One thing I have learned in my short time in becoming a published Lesfic author is that there are a great bunch of authors who support one another. This is a prime example. Come check it out!

Originally posted on Ylva Publishing:

We donated a prize (four e-books – winner’s choice) for that special event and wanted you to have a chance to participated. So, here you go… the offical press release for “Love Spanks 2014”:

LoveSpanks2014When two grown-ups love each other, someone might get a spanking!

How would you like a brand-new Kindle Fire or Nook HD or another prize from a pool valued at over $1,000?

How about free stories from award-winning authors?

This Valentine’s Day, you can participate in a short story extravaganza! F/F authors will showcase romance, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy and spanking fiction for your enjoyment. Chat with your favorite authors, meet new-to-you authors, find great new books, and meet new friends!

Want to become a Love Spanks ambassador and earn an extra prize entry? See below

Even better, participation could earn you a GRAND PRIZE!

  • Kindle Fire or Nook HD (winner’s choice)!
    (donated by Blushing Books)

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I got Lucky: Part I — “Hoosier Daddy”

I participated in the 2013 Hootenanny and won the book Hoosier Daddy by Ann McMan and Salem West on Day 3. The added bonus? They signed it. I can’t stop smiling!signed hoosier daddy

So far I am totally intrigued with the writing. I love a book that not only keeps me interested, but is so descriptive, I can even smell the scenes. –> Currently I am craving rhubarb pie.

I also want to be sure to give a ginormous thanks to Jove Belle and Andi Marquette for leading the charge in organizing such a spectacular event that puts these talented publishers and authors together as they give generously to those of us that love to read their incredible books. And they even did it during one of the most hectic times of the year… and in such a “poetic” manner, it had me cracking up.

If you want to know more about what the Hootenanny is, go to their co-admin blog Women and Words. (Check out all the authors that contribute to this blog! Whoa!) And don’t miss the Hootenanny in 2014!

A BIG thank you to all that contributed!

NaNoWriMo 2013 – How I won

Besides the obvious—like ahem, you have to write, these are the things I did to win:

  1. Made sure to keep my schedule as clear as possible. When I knew something was coming up, I wrote like crazy to get ahead so I could make up for the time I couldn’t write. I never thought, “I will make up the time afterward” because you never know what’s going to happen. And I prefer not to work under pressure. I do that enough in my day job.
  2. I stayed up late. Not always a good idea, but I wanted to win, so this was what I had to do. Between multiple jobs and three young children, my me time (and I am not complaining) is late at night.
  3. I wrote a scene or two each day and allowed them to be as long or as short as they were going to be. Some were just over 1K words and others were 3K+. I am not a scriptwriter, but I handled each day like it was a new scene in a movie. It does mean I have a lot more edits to make in order to pull everything together, but it really helped the words flow. During these “scenes” I learned more and more about my characters. It was inspiring and I look forward in incorporating these knew things I learned along the way into earlier scenes.
  4. I jotted story ideas in my notebook (always graph ruled…I am an Engineer after all) throughout the day and when I didn’t have a scene in mind during my allotted writing time, I read through these ideas until a full-on scene bloomed. And they sure did bloom.
  5. I didn’t go back and edit as I wrote. Okay, I may have a little, although I convinced myself I was just trying to remember where I left off in case I wanted to add to the latest scene. This was the hardest change for me to make. I want to mold and tweak and remold words until I get those goose bumps, but during NaNoWriMo…I just didn’t have time for that. And I had to be okay with that. Okay, I am still trying to be okay with that.
  6. I told people what I was doing and I updated my word counts religiously. It helped hold me accountable, although that’s not usually an issue for me. I am confident in that I do what I say when it really means something to me. Writing a novel in one month really means something to me and I am so happy I did it!

NaNoStats 2013The dip was during Little LOW weekend, because it was about the kids, and the other was due to holiday preparations, festivities, and engagements. Never faltered in stamina, but life can get busy.

See you next year NaNoWriMo!

There’s a little voice in your head reading this…

d07cb4ee61aa208c1b2ceaeb41dd4705And the cool thing is, they are my thoughts. No, I am not going to use this, um, “special” power of mine for world domination or control, I simply just want to put my thoughts in you…and yes, this goes both ways. I like to put your thoughts in me as well.

When you have stories in your head that you know people would enjoy, then by all means share them. I read a couple books a month. I know this may seem “piddlee” to some of you, but a couple long books with some short stories in between works fine for my schedule and me. The thing is, reading other people’s stories and having them read mine is a very intimate thing for me…and I don’t take it lightly. I become some of the characters. Some characters I despise, like, fall for….it causes a whole gamut of feelings and takes me to places I have never been.

It’s time for me to become a new character in a new place. Any suggestions?

The Beaver State

Oregon. Never been, but I want to go…real bad. The new novel I am writing splits time between Christmas Valley, Oregon and Hollywood. California, baby! I chose Oregon because from everything I have read, seen, or heard about the place, I love it there.

Christmas Valley has the sand dunes—a great place for my protagonist to practice her motorbike skills. Yes, she is well versed in motocross. Easy access to such a natural wonder, along with living on acres of ranch properly that has been in her family for years (and sadly teetering on foreclosure, oh no!) really gives her that small town feel that is an integral part of the character. But wait… then Hollywood (cha-ching) calls because they need a dirt-bike-chick stunt-double (say that three times quickly) for a famous and beautiful actress, well… you can only imagine!

It’s a start. Approx. 50K words so far. I’ll blog more about the novel in the near future, but I just have to say this story has really gotten my creative juices oozing and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I love writing it. In the meantime, here’s a picture of, ah, the person that writes this blog, ah, um… anyway… thanks for taking the time to stop by. Vroom-vroom-zoom!


Candy Striped – A very SWEET cover

Like my new cover? Again, my gratitude goes to Vila Design.

How sweet it is!

Frustrated in her search for a job that can tantalize her selective tastes, Zephyr searches NYC in hopes of finding something deliciously unique to captivate her attention. When she is slammed into the storefront window of an unconventional candy store by a mob of overzealous customers, she finds out soon enough how satisfying the business and its delectable owner Tori truly are. The merge becomes a very sweet deal for both women and a honeyed partnership evolves.

Free sample at Amazon or Smashwords.

My first novel…PUBLISHED!

This has been a long time coming and I am so excited to finally have it available! Woohoo! If you pick up a copy, please be sure to let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you!

Tainted Elite Cover

Years after the Parthenogenesis Revolution of 2069 and its breakthrough where women can impregnate one another, a young Cassaundra (seven years of age) watches as her moms are assassinated during a family vacation to Niagara Falls. After leaping into the falls to save herself from the Kretchtin snipers, she awakens within the walls of the ELITE Corporation, run by a powerful and callous CEO, Dr. Alexis Wu.

Along with other orphaned girls, she is raised at the ELITE Corporation under the watchful eye of Dr. Malek, a scientist who appears to care more about a secretive company project than the girls in his care.

At the age of thirteen, Cassaundra’s life takes another drastic turn when Dr. Malek forces her to undergo a DNA cleansing that turns her into an Enhanced-She-Human (ESH), giving her superior abilities. Her life now solely belongs to the ELITE Corporation and its Executives, whom she must protect and serve at all costs.

Despising the ELITE Corporation and everything it stands for, Cassaundra yearns to escape its control and when she befriends another ESH, a Gemini by the name of Tamar, both girls find it hard to obey the corporation’s imposed rules—and find it even harder to suppress their growing feelings for one another.
On the night of her eighteenth birthday, Cassaundra sneaks from her room to meet Tamar, who has offered her artistic talents to tattoo Cassaundra with a special rendering of her world-weary sign—the Pisces. When an enraged Dr. Malek finds out, he uses the corporation’s Omni-Force warriors to separate the two girls indefinitely.

Convinced that battling the ELITE Corporation would be futile, Cassaundra succumbs to their rules, allowing her short moments of independence from the corporation and people she detests so much. This helps spice up her life—especially her insatiable sex drive.

Now twenty-seven, Cassaundra is still a pawn for the ELITE Corporation and its Executives. Dr. Alexis Wu calls upon her favorite ESH to rescue her Scorpio daughter Abby from the Kretchtins—a group of men who want to forcibly relieve Dr. Wu from her power. Cassaundra is sent to Mount Fuji to rescue Abby from a hidden facility within the volcano. The heat rises beyond the temperature of molten lava when Cassaundra realizes that there is something about the ELITE Corporation that she does strongly desire…Abby.

Realizing her feelings and what they mean, Cassaundra must now choose between following her heart or dying, which is the consequence of any ESH caught having a relationship with any other member of the corporation.
This selfless act finally gives her the freedom she has always desired. Her life is no longer ruled by being Tainted Elite, but ruled by her heart.

Free sample at Smashwords or Amazon.

What-Who Inspires Me to Write?

oxfishFiguratively speaking, I am inside my head A LOT! I don’t know how I get anything done at work, but there is some sort of driving force that allows me to focus and complete the tasks at hand. And thankfully it doesn’t hurt that I catch onto “techie” things quickly. (I can thank my mom for that for signing me up for my first programming class when I was in 6th grade. Thanks, Mommy!)

Pisces are known to be in some sort of happy oblivion dreamy-state—soused with liquid-filled eyes, but as the Chinese Zodiac year of the Ox, I have a fanatical persistent drive that never allows me to give up. (I may decide something isn’t worth my time, however. That’s a different topic altogether.)

What I feel really skilled at? Observation. Yes, while I may appear as though I am not fully “there”, I am actually taking the environment around me in. I can hear and comprehend multiple conversations and I can even “feel” other people’s emotions—to an extent. It can weaken me, leaving me vulnerable, but it is also a strength that I feel blessed to possess. Think of it like a yin to my yang and a yang to my yin.

So back to the original question…what–who inspires me? Simply put…everything–anyone. A dream. A fleeting thought. A conversation I overheard. A conversation I participated in. A yearning desire—oh how those yearning desires could get me into trouble if I’m not careful. Take my short story “Candy Striper”, for example. That began from a dream I had about Pink. Not the color…check out the Capital “P”. I am talking about the incredibly talented musician/Rock Star whose powerful chops make the hairs on my arms stand up in a very good way.

I am a musician with a very picky ear, so I really appreciate a powerful voice with perfect pitch. Yeah there are many songs I like, mostly due to the words, but Pink could sing in some foreign language I don’t know and make me “feel” the music. I am also very impressed with her acrobatic skills, which is more than likely the reason I had the dream in the first place. (If you haven’t attended one of her concerts, do it!) And man-oh-man, that dream was a doozy. Does anyone even use the word “doozy” anymore?

Yes, inspiration is all around!

Catalyst for Head Shot: Saints and Sinners

I am an Engineer by day, sometimes nights, and on occasion several days straight when at a customer site. When I am not traveling, I work in a very stylish Environment that—apart from the “L” shape of the building itself (a HUGE Feng Shui no-no), was designed for maximum Chi potency—as I like to call it.

This high Chi potency is facilitated by surroundings that are open, light & airy; everything exudes modern design. Take our ceiling lights, for example (exhibit “A”). Not a single one aims directly downward. They point up, reflect off the white ceiling, and finally cascade their indirect, yet ample, broad-spectrum brightness down upon our busy heads.

Needless to say, I never turn on the light at my desk. Between my multiple monitors and Himalayan Salt Stone USB Lamp (exhibit “B”), I have all the light I need.

This began the first scene of my Head Shot story. I was simply walking down the hallway at work—minding my own business, and… Boom!  My active imagination went from traversing a sterile workplace corridor “in the real world,” to being wheeled on a gurney into Emergency Surgery “in my pretend world.” Next thing I knew, I was in an OR because of a bad beating by my parent, which I “explained away” by pretending to be a mixed-martial-arts pro-athlete. Wha-?

Then I was in a Psych ward, interacting with other “crazies.” I had a Psychologist. A hot roommate. A tendency to self-diagnose and diagnose the other crazies. My world as an Engineer was temporarily on hold, and a whole new life began.

From that point on, a story bloomed!

Exhibit "A"
      Exhibit “A”
Exhibit "B"
Exhibit “B”

I feel special ♡

????????????????????????????????????In the next few days I will be publishing a short story. After that comes my novel. I am more than excited!

I am so very grateful for my beta readers–Kathryn, Tamsin, Wendi and Tammy. They are amazing people and I feel so very lucky to have them in my life. I appreciate their keen eyes, straightforwardness, and the hard work they have put into helping me progress in this journey. What an incredible feeling to have such support!!!

I can’t thank them enough. ♡

Book Covers by Vila Design

I am practically speechless. The artist I contacted almost a month ago has since made two covers for me and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I find myself singing and stepping lightly with happiness. Check the designs out for yourself:

Head Shot2 Tainted Elite CoverIf you are looking for a cover artist that not only listens carefully to what you want, works at break-neck speed, and can go far and beyond your expectations–(I am wondering if she may be psychic), then check out Vila Design!

Sharing & Giving: My Journey to Publication – Part II

Today I contacted a designer for my book cover. I looked at their website, thoroughly enjoyed their samples, and hope this will work out. I know exactly what I want in my minds eye, but certainly open to suggestions. If it works out, I will be sure to let you know who I have chosen along with a recommendation. My first cover will be for my Tainted Elite novel. I’ll need another two covers not long after. I am getting excited! Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Time for a fresh start!

clock-1When celebrating the New Year, what is one of the most talked about subjects? Give up? Well, let me tell you… RESOLUTIONS! Of course, you may have already guessed it. Something about the new year gives us the desire for a “fresh start”—and then come the ideas as to what we can do to improve our lives. The possibilities to improve are endless.
My resolutions for this year are pretty simple, or at least I like to think of them that way.
1.  One exciting challenge will be getting at least one of my manuscripts published. I say at least one because in reality, I have only one that is in its final stages of readiness—aside from several short stories that I must either decide to offer individually or in an Anthology.
2.  Another exhilarating challenge will be to achieve my next belt promotion in martial arts. This will require more workout hours than I currently hold steadfast to, and in doing so, I will hopefully get the “look” I am going for, which helps out with resolution number three.
3.  Last, but not least—I hope to get some videos out onto YouTube. I am not talking about just any day run-of-the-mill type videos, but ones that help cultivate my creative goofy side… which I have an overabundance of goofy. If I am going to put my craziness out there for many to see, I want to be looking my best.
Happy New Year!

Care to share your resolutions?

Join Melissa Grace in the bardroom!


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