Rhys News

It’s been ages since I’ve updated y’all.

I feel horrible.

My excuse is valid though.

I’ve been writing.

Rhys is in my beta-readers hands as I type. He’ll be off to my editor on Monday. My cover is done and it’s stunning. When my lovely designer Megan over at Mischievous Designs, sent me a sneak peak, I was speechless. All I sent her in reply was one word… Dude. It’s hard to render me speechless. Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love to talk. But my girl Megan has outdone herself yet again.

I. Can’t. Wait. To. Show. You.

And I will. Soon-ish.

The official release date for Rhys is February 23rd.

I’ll have pre-order links and more info to follow in a week or so. Maybe sooner.

If you’d like to add him to your Goodreads shelf you can do so by following this link. → bit.ly/goodreadsRhys

Synopsis 

He has everything planned… except her.

Rhys lives a life of solitude — one he’s perfectly content with. That is until his friend Vinny is found murdered. There are secrets and half-truths at every corner, but he’s determined to find out what happened.

Averill is exactly where she wants to be in life after years of running. She’s opened her own boutique and can finally breathe again. She thought she was safe… until her world collides with the dark shadows of Rhys’.

When he unknowingly puts her in the path of a serial killer, will he be able to protect her? Even if it means becoming the killer he’s trained to be?

side view of a fashion man in leather jacket looking down in studio

Sale!

It’s Black Friday! And you know what that means, right?

A sale!

I’m running a kindle daily deal on Seventeen Days. From now until midnight on Cyber Monday, you can one-click your copy for 99¢.

Follow the link below to grab yours today.

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Click here to buy from Amazon.com

Click here to buy from Amazon.co.uk

Pirates. ARGH!

Let’s take a moment to talk about pirates.

Sadly, I’m not talking about Captain Jack Sparrow. Although we can take a teeny tiny second to appreciate all the goodness below.

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Okay, eye-candy session over. Back to business. Pirates suck. Unfortunately once you hit publish (sometimes even before) someone is bound to upload your book baby to an illegal pirating site. I’d love to say this hasn’t happened to me but it has. Seventeen Days was uploaded a day before it was live. That means that someone who was trusted with an ARC copy by either myself or the promotions company I hired, posted it before anyone was able to buy it. Did this hurt my sales? Yes. Sadly, I’ll never know exactly how much.

Why am I bringing this to light 10 weeks after the fact? Because I just spent the last couple of hours blasting a site that has my book, (my precious book!) posted on their website page by page for anyone to read. For free. When I offer my book for free if you subscribe to kindle unlimited. When I also am more than likely to offer you a copy to read via Instafreebie out of the goodness of my heart.

Pirates suck.

They make me feel like shit. Like no matter what I do, I’ll never win against them.

ARGH!

So today instead of spending the day reading & resting after getting eight pain injections in my back, I’ll spend it using Blasty looking for pirated copies of my book. Sigh.

Dawn L. Chiletz – Indie Author Spotlight & Giveaway

Welcome to my 2nd Indie Author Spotlight.

This week I’m featuring my friend, Dawn L. Chiletz. Her newest release The Fabulist, is unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Enjoy.

1. Who/What inspires you to write?

That’s a tough one. Sometimes I’m inspired from my dreams – literal dreams, when I’m sleeping. “The Contest” came from a dream. Sometimes I’ll have a random thought in the shower that turns into a story and sometimes it’s something I hear in passing. I thought of Can’t You See while discussing insurance adjusters with a friend. I’m pretty random. But my boys are my biggest inspiration. I want to show them that no matter how old you are it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

2.The Fabulist is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s literally reality television in a book, only better. For someone like me, (a reality television addict) this idea should have been something that was in the forefront of my mind but it wasn’t… what made you think of it?

I was actually trying to help a fellow author come up with a title for her book that had something to do with liars. When I’m brainstorming, I usually end up at an online thesaurus to search words. Every once in a while, I’ll draw a creative thought from a synonym or antonym. In this case, the word Fabulist came up as a synonym for liar. I’d never seen the word before so I searched the meaning of it. I loved the idea of a book called “The Fabulist” because it sounded so original. She didn’t like it and went a different direction and I couldn’t get the word out of my head. That’s what got me started. I wrote Can’t You See while I was still toying with the idea. The reality TV probably came to mind from the definition – a storyteller. I was trying to think of something people could relate to and that’s where the reality TV came from. It’s everywhere these days. The idea of trying to put reality TV into book form excited me. I write best when I’m excited. That’s usually why I write my books so fast – before the inspiration is gone.

3.In The Fabulist we follow Sam along on her journey to potentially win a reality television competition to work for The Fabulist. She has no idea who that is, or what the job entails, only that a fabulist is in essence a liar. How did you come up with what the competition would be for?

I wanted to do a different spin on lying. I loved the storyteller aspect of it. I thought of all the reality TV I’d seen and I knew right away I didn’t want it to be about looking for love. Sam’s character traits were clear to me before I started writing and I knew who she was. I could see her. I could hear her in my head. She was strong willed and fearless. There was no way she’d ever apply for a show to find a man. She didn’t need a man to make her whole. A job was the only way she might try out so I decided to make her jobless. The story fell into place from there. The challenges were another story altogether. I rarely plan in advance for a book. I mostly just let the story flow. When it came time for the first challenge, I realized it would be more difficult than I thought to come up with multiple increasingly difficult challenges for lying. I spent a lot of time doing research and staring blankly at my screen. LOL

4.So, um… heard any good lies lately?

Is there such a thing as a good lie? The book was dedicated to people who lie for the right reasons. I suppose everyone lies for one reason or another. Not all lies are meant to do harm. I think it’s why people can relate. Everyone has lied about something. Have I heard a good lie? Let’s just say I have teenage boys. I hear, “Yes, my homework is done,” daily. Rarely do I believe it. They need to work on their delivery. I’ll never share my notes!

5.For me music plays a big role in my life (and my books). Do you have a favorite band/artist that you listen to while writing? Or do you require complete silence?

Music plays a huge role in my writing, but not how you might think. I draw inspiration from the way certain music makes me feel. But to answer your question, I actually write in complete silence, unless there is music playing in my scene. If there’s music in the story then I’ll listen to a song over and over to make sure I get the mood and flow correct. When I write, it’s like I’m watching a movie in my head. If my characters are listening to music then so am I. If they aren’t then I’m not either. I don’t have a particular band I listen to. For me it’s about emotion. I listen to a little bit of everything.

6.What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? Best compliment?

I think some of the toughest criticism has come in the form of reviews. At first, it was hard to see anything positive in them, but I’ve learned to take them as opportunities to improve myself. There have been so many best compliments I don’t know how to narrow it down to just one. I can say that one of the best was hearing that my story helped someone and made a difference in their life. To me that is the greatest gift you can get as an author.

7. Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m my favorite book character, (don’t judge). If you could be any character for one day, who would you be? Why?

Me, judge? Never! Who hasn’t wanted to be a character from a book? I think it’s one of the reasons I write. It’s therapy. I can live a thousand lives. Hmm… Who would I want to be? Bella from Twilight because – Edward! I also wouldn’t mind being Lake from Slammed, Ana from Fifty Shades, Ellie from Defining Moments, or even Everly from Enough. Why? Because they were all so strong. I love strong female characters that overcome obstacles and odds. They’re who I want to be when I grow up. If I grow up!

Buy The Fabulist

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Buy Can’t You See

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Buy Enough

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Buy Waiting to Lose

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Buy The Contest

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Click here to follow Dawn on Facebook.

Click here to follow Dawn on Twitter.

Stay up to date on all her latest news, check out her website. Click here to check it out.

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For a chance to win the books above, follow this link. —> GIVEAWAY!

 

Fire Away – Chris Stapleton

I know, I know, another music post. But bear with me. It comes with an important message.

If you recall my previous post, you’ll remember that I’m a sucker for good lyrics. This song was kind of like that but also kind of not. If that makes any sense. The lyrics didn’t connect with me until after Chris released it as a single and filmed the video. The lyrics are simple and when Chris sings them, they’re absolutely beautiful.

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Lyrics

Honey load up your questions
And pick up your sticks and your stones
And pretend I’m a shelter for heartaches
That don’t have a home
Choose the words that cut like a razor
And all that I’ll say

Is fire away
Take your best shot
Show me what you got
Honey, I’m not afraid
Rear back and take aim
And fire away

Well, I wish I could say
That I’ve never been here before
But you know and I know
That I’ll always come back for more
Your love might be my damnation
But I’ll cry to my grave

Fire away
Take your best shot
Show me what you got
Honey, I’m not afraid
Rear back and take aim
And fire away

Fire Away – Chris Stapleton (video)

Amazing right? But admittedly not something that originally stuck with me. It took his vision for the video to do that for me. Here’s why… I’m a depressant. It’s just a part of who I am, it started in high school and has never truly gone away. Sure some days it’s harder than others but mostly, I’m just me. I’ve never been extremely bad, but it’s there, a hidden part of me. This video highlights mental illness and especially depression. It originally came with a PSA attached but after so many views, they took the PSA off from the beginning, I’m not exactly sure why. Personally, I feel like it’s still needed.

Now every single time I hear this song, I think about how strong I am. And about how much, I want other’s voices to be heard. No one is ever truly alone. And yet, not everyone knows your story if you’re suffering. Because we’ve been taught to not speak of these things by society and that’s not okay. 

The lyrics accompanied by it’s video made me see how silent we really are when it comes to mental illness. I guess what I’m trying to say is this.

You. Are. Not. Alone. 

Don’t ever feel like you can’t talk to someone, anyone. Even a stranger. Someone is always willing to listen. Message me, I’ll talk to you. I like to talk, just ask my friends. Or call this number. It’s for the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255 and people answer those phones 24/7.

Another amazing organization is Project Semicolon. If you’d like more info on them, click here.

Remember, you are loved. And tomorrow will always be a brighter day.

I know this was a deep post, I promise for the rest of the week, they’ll be more upbeat. ❤

What attracts you to someone?

As I lie here wide awake, I find myself thinking about past romantic relationships. I know, I know, WHY? Well, I don’t know why. My brain is weird like that. But it also made me ask myself what initially attracted me to that person. And of course, I got to thinking the same thing about all of my friends too.

What attracted me to them?

Why are they my friends?

What makes them special or unique?

It turns out the answer isn’t as cut and dry as I thought it was. But why should it be? I’ve never been someone who sees the world in strictly black and white, but in every shade of grey in between and every vibrant color that you could possible think of.

Up until a couple of years ago, when it came to what I looked for in a man’s appearance, I would’ve said, dark hair and light eyes. Or dark hair and dark eyes. Or I even remember saying as long as he’s not a ginger, we’re good. And boy, has that changed now. (Tom Hiddleston, Sam Hueghan, or Michael Fassbender, anyone?)

But, all of that was an outright lie.  At least when it comes to my Pinterest board of men that I think are attractive. That and well, I have a major thing for guys with long hair. HELLO, Brock O’Hurn, I’m talking about you, you beautiful majestic lion, you.

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And since Cass (the ex) had long hair, and I’m in lust with Brock. (Don’t worry, there’s countless others to join #TeamLongHair #TeamManBun) I’ve found that I now have to claim long hair as a total turn-on for me. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t date a guy with shorter hair but… I. Am. In. Love. With. Long. Locks. On. Dudes. There, I said it. I feel much better. 😀

Don’t get me started on tattoos. Wowza. Do I find tattoos on a person attractive. It’s like an instant connection to them, for me. It’s a ice-breaker and one that I love having. If I see someone out and I like their ink, I’m not afraid to tell them so. Male or female. Did I mention that my hero in Finding Tenley (current WIP) is modeled after Alex Minsky? Yup. Case is my version of a fictionalized Minsky. Besides being a war vet, he’s a pretty awesome dude, I respect him so much. And not only because he’s my muse for Case.

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Call me shallow, if you must. But, I will admit to finding a lot of people attractive… on the outside. But, that’s just surface stuff. Like any normal human, we like to present ourselves as well put-together on the outside. On the inside though? That’s where it truly matters. How we treat someone, says a lot about the person that we truly are. But, I’ll get back to that in a few minutes. I’m still touching the surface issues. 😉

Next up on my list… eyes. It’s true what they say, “eyes are the windows to the soul”. I’m a total sucker for a persons eyes. I’ve always been fascinated with them. As far back as I can remember, it’s always been what has attracted me to a person first. It’s like I could see their kindness shining through. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that my theory is true. When I meet someone, if they keep eye contact with me during a conversation, I’m drawn to them so much more. And I’ve found in my writing, I make a point to write about my characters eyes, and having them keep eye contact, etc. I’m a sucker for a pair of baby blues. And I’m not afraid to tell a complete stranger walking down the street, that they have beautiful eyes. Because who knows, maybe they needed a smile, and if my telling them something nice made that happen, I feel good about doing so.

Which brings me to the next thing on my list, someones smile. Man, a good smile can truly brighten my day. Plain and simple.

And the last thing on my outside list… muscles. Oh sweet baby Jesus in a wicker basket. I’m not into the guys that are over-muscly, but I’m a sucker for a nice set of guns. And my reason is purely this, I love a good teddy bear hug. Holy wow. There’s this musician, Jerrod Niemann. Best. Hug. Giver. EVER.  When I met him, he gave me not 1, not 2, but 8 hugs. It was like he couldn’t stop hugging me. And I was 100% a-okay with that. Because the set of guns on this guy, I’m telling you. Pictures don’t do him justice, but I’ll share one anyway. I find myself till this day, comparing every hug I get to Jerrod’s hugs.

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Okay, now let’s talk about what really matters, what’s inside. Because yes, we can all be shallow and say, “hey I like this person because they have the best body, blah, blah, blah.” Whatever. It’s not about that. Not really.

It’s what is inside that makes someone truly beautiful.

Looks fade but true beauty doesn’t.

Kindness.

Selflessness.

A giving heart.

Honesty.

Loyalty.

Making someone laugh.

Being someones strength.

A good listener.

Open-mindedness.

Being vulnerable.

Forgiveness.

All of those things make up the people that surround me. Whether they know it or not, at some point in my life, I’ve needed them and they’ve shown these things to me. As I’ve grown older, I’ve weeded out the bad seeds, and tossed them away. And if they’ve grown into someone that has these qualities, they’ve come back.

Kindness. It’s SO easy to be kind. All it takes is a simple smile. Or the words, thank-you. Holding open a door for the person walking behind you. It doesn’t have to be some grand gesture. Sometimes the simplest smallest thing, is the most kind.

Selflessness. I know in this day and age, everyone is out for themselves and what they can gain. But it shouldn’t be about that. It should be about what kind of example you want to make on our younger generation. I know that I don’t want my nephews and niece to see me as someone who was always out for what I could get for doing something. I want them to see what I did for others.

A giving heart. That explains itself. Or it should. I know that every month when my Bookworm Box subscription renews, I feel good about myself. Knowing that the money will go to a good cause.

Honesty/Loyalty. Those qualities go hand in hand. And again, are self explanatory.

Making someone laugh. I’m a sucker for someone who makes me laugh. And I instantly like that person 10x more than someone who doesn’t. I’m sorry but it’s true. Laughter truly is the best medicine. As I’ve stated in my previous post, I have this group of friends that make me laugh on a daily basis. On the days when my pain level is excruciating, these assholes can make me laugh and for those few minutes, I forget about my stupid back issues. I swear, it’s like magic.

Being someones strength. I can’t begin to explain what this one means to me. Over the last (almost) decade, I’ve needed friends/family to be my strength more than I ever have before. Through surgeries, home-nursing, recovery and now pain shots, I don’t know what I’d do without having someone to lean on. Because admitting that I need help, is something that I hate to do, but I’ve needed others strength more than ever. And for that, my stubborn ass is extremely thankful to have these people in my life.

A good listener. Admit it. That turns you on. I know it does me. (Hello! It’s on my list.) I’m not just talking about someone who will listen to you with one ear while looking at their phone, not giving you their full attention. I’m talking about someone who focuses only on you. Who listens to you vent, or cry, or tell that funny story to.

Open-mindedness. Yup. This is a biggie. If it’s one thing I hate, it’s a bigot. I understand someones religious beliefs, and I’m okay with that. But for me it’s simple. Love is love is love is love. I’ll scream that from the mountain tops. All love is beautiful.

Being vulnerable. Yup. It makes you human. Shit, I’ve clearly admitted things in this post that make me vulnerable. It makes me like a person that much more if they do the same.

Forgiveness. This one is simple but also hard. Coming from someone who has been wronged, it’s hard. But forgiving doesn’t always mean you have to forget. There’s always a reason that things happen the way that they do. Listen. Forgive. More forward.

With age comes knowledge. And with knowledge comes beauty.

Being beautiful means realizing this moment is a new opportunity to be who you want to be, and making the effort to seize it. And that my friends, is how I’ve chosen to live the rest of my life. With an open mind and heart.

FRIENDS

I’ve got this special group of friends.

This group… Man.

It’s hard to describe exactly what they mean to me, but I’ll try. (Again.)

A little over 3 years ago, I stumbled upon this author. She was semi-popular at the time and on the verge of blowing the fuck up. After devouring two of her books, I found this group on Facebook devoted only to her. So I asked to join. Quickly, I bonded with a few ladies. My friendship with them, turned into a deeper friendship and that in turn had us create a smaller more intimate group where we go to talk about any books. And borrowing them. So, we stayed in the author group we met in (because hello, she’s amazing!) and she even ended up following us along into our new smaller group. It’s more like a small gang. A cool gang. One with books. 😃

Here’s the kicker. We rarely talk about books in this book group. There’s roughly 60 of us in there. But there are some days, that I don’t know how I’d get through my day, without these assholes. They complete me. I’ve met a handful of them in real life. But I didn’t have to meet them for me to love them any more.

We band together when things get rough. One has breast cancer, she’s not fighting alone, we’re fighting with her. One recently found out some devistanging news about her son’s health. We’ve banded together to help her though. Another one’s husband is a Marine, we keep her in good spirits when he’s gone or in training. Several of us are sick, going through stressful issues. Flooding in the Louisiana floods, son suffering from CF, or your hubby’s a big dick and is asking for a divorce. Two new babies were born in our group over the last year. We’re the proudest group of Aunties (and one Uncle) ever. No matter what any of us has going on… It’s not a problem because… WE GOT YOU.  

These people have become my best friends. They know every single thing about me. Good or bad. And they love me like I am. They know things that even my family didn’t know about until a couple of years ago. But these assholes, know.

What I’m trying to say is this. You don’t have to personally meet someone in real life for them to make an impact on your life. I’ve met a few of these ladies and yes I’m closer to them after meeting them in person but, our bond started online, over books. It’s spread and become something precious to me. Vital.

I love my special gang. We may all be assholes, pirate hookers, bitches, jerks, and a couple of cute babies, but I love y’all. So fucking much. Even that Carleen lady. Esp when she forgets to shower. Or wear pants.