Reemerging from the Shadows

shadow-womanI’ve been absent from here, from all social media, for awhile. Life changed, as it does.  Here’s what happened. And why I can start to emerge from the shadows, and rejoin the virtual world. With differences.

What Changed?

My daughter started middle school and was diagnosed with ADHD. My life morphed into doctor’s appointments, school appointments, research,  tapping friends, colleagues and strangers with similar situations, long hours of homework oversight and working through a spectrum of emotions that exploded through the house without a moment’s notice.

There was no time and little left of me at the end of the day.

My writing screeched to a halt, so did the daily yoga I use to manage a back condition. I missed deadlines and obligations–something I’ve never done. And given my overblown sense of responsibility, it all felt terrible.  My stomach turned to acid, my pants tightened, I couldn’t get out of bed,papers piled up in all corners of my house, I ran out of dishes because I didn’t wash them and I noticed more wine bottles in the recycle bin.

So I scaled back. I dropped social media, resigned from all volunteer activities, took out everything from my life that took time from my family.  I didn’t have it to give. My attention centered on my daughter and work. Nothing else. Needless to say, I got lost somewhere in there.

Healing: It started with a table and chairs

Sometimes an unexpected gift gets dropped on your doorstep. Its not necessarily anything important, just changes something. Like fixing a slanted picture, and the room looks somehow right again. In this case, neighbors I didn’t know very well, moved and left me their dining room table. I needed a new one and this did the trick. One small change compelled me to make another. I added a new sofa, since the puppy tore through the old one, and the cat usurped it as his hiding place.


Two changes and my home no longer felt like a burden, another set of lines on my never ending to-do list. It became a place to nest and to heal. A place of refuge and renewal.

My daughter continues to adjust to middle school and we’ve come up with tricks and strategies to get the homework done by a decent hour and manage some of the ADHD. Life advances one day at a time, no matter how much it feels like its racing past us.  Things are still not easy nor reliably routine.  Perhaps they never were–that’s just an illusion we create to keep ourselves sane. But I’ve come home to myself.


I’ve started writing again, doing yoga, and journaling. Not at the same level of productivity and not every day. My schedule has changed. I’m not taking on new responsibilities for the moment but have started adding the basics back. I’ll aim to blog more often–aiming for weekly–and show up on twitter and FB at that same level. I miss you all.

Coming Next

I’ve slowed down and may have back tracked by I’m still writing.  Hope Restored, Book 3 of Divine Temptation is with critique partners and beta readers. If anyone wants to beta read it, there’s still time and I’d love to get feedback from a few others. But that should be out later this year, if everything goes well.

After that, I may reinvent myself. Watch this space. As my life changes, my writing and writing life will change too.



The Joy of Character Names: Pippa Jay’s Gethyon Book Tour

I am so pleased to welcome Pippa Jay to my blog today. Her new book, Gethyon, is a YA sci fi and worth a look. She’ s here to chat about how she names her characters. She also has a great giveaway so make sure you read all the way to the end.gethyon_300

Long, long before I decided to add to the world’s population with my little trio of red-haired monsters, I collected books about names. You know the ones, right? Those ‘1001 Baby Names’ and ‘The Top 500 Most Popular Baby Names of <insert year here>’. Even the Anne Geddes ‘Baby Names Keepsake’, with appropriate cutesy baby photos and fake leather cover. Except that I wasn’t naming babies – well, unless you count my characters.

Names fascinate me. They intrigue me even more than words. They have their own stories and history, a meaning outside of my native English. For example, my real name is Philippa. You can see now why I shortened it to Pip or Pippa, can’t you? This can mean ‘lover of horses’ or ‘horse friend’. It’s just a shame that so many people found it hard to spell, including my own dad – and he registered my birth! Sigh.wordle for Pippa

So my collection of books mean I rarely struggle with names for my characters, my worlds or critters to populate them. Even if they fail me, there’s always the random name generator at Seventh Sanctum. Or if I’m looking for a curse, or maybe a food name, the word verification system on some blogs usually gives me something (bet you never thought those pain-in-the-butt codes could be useful!). I’ll confess to noting down the ‘good’ ones each time I comment somewhere. Technology is more difficult since I try to make it scientifically accurate – or close enough – that only a serious scientist could catch me out.

But Gethyon fell under another of my naming systems. Sometimes I take a normal name (in this case a Welsh name – Gethin) and add or change a letter. So Gethin became Gethyon, even before I started writing.

And the other characters? Well, the dark entity hunting my young hero – the Siah-dhu – came from a car number-plate – S14DHU. Gethyon’s sister is Callon, a real name I’ve always liked. The girl he meets while on the run is Marisole, another real name. But before you think I’ve just raided those baby name books for my characters, there’s Jinxuri Chei’har of the Veen. Yeah, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Luckily she prefers to be called just Jinx…


A YA Science Fiction Novel
Released by Champagne Books 3rd June 2013

His father died. His mother abandoned him. In the depths of space, darkness seeks him.

Abandoned by his mother after his father’s death, Gethyon Rees feels at odds with his world and longs to travel the stars. But discovering he has the power to do so leaves him scarred for life. Worse, it alerts the Siah-dhu—a dark entity that seeks his kind for their special abilities—to his existence, and sets a bounty hunter on his trail.

When those same alien powers lead Gethyon to commit a terrible act, they also aid his escape. Marooned on the sea-world of Ulto Marinos, Gethyon and his twin sister must work off their debt to the Seagrafter captain who rescued them while Gethyon puzzles over their transportation. How has he done this? And what more is he capable of?

Before he can learn any answers, the Wardens arrive to arrest him for his crime. Can his powers save him now? And where will he end up next?


Amazon UK
Amazon US


Pippa photoBIO:

A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. Between torturing her characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head. Her works have won a SFR Galaxy Award, and finaled in the Readers Favorite Award Contest and the Gulf Coast RWA Chapter Silken Sands Self-Published Star Award.









To celebrate the release of Gethyon, I’m offering this pretty little green crystal charm, open internationally. Pippa greenTo enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter below.

Rafflecopter code

Blog of the Year 2012 Award

Happy New Year.  May it be filled with love, peace and wisdom.  Thanks to Wine and Roses from Outer Space  and Naomi Baltuck aboty-2star-1-1-1t Writing Between the Lines, two of my favorite bloggers, for the Blog of the Year 2012 award.  Wine and Roses is a wonderful vision, dedicated to making the best that life has to offer, no matter the obstacles that stand in our way.  Worth a visit if you need a moment of inspiration, which we all do now and then. Writing Between the Lines is a beautiful cornucopia of sights, sounds, creativity, humor and heart that never ceases to light my curiosity and wonder, a true blessing in the ups and downs of living a life.

The “Blog of the Year” award is a little different from some other awards, because you accumulate stars.

Here are the ‘rules’ for this award:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs, and even if they have already been given the award by someone else, then you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

For more information check the FAQ on The Thought Palette.

Here are my nominees, because the are my most favorite people and they add so much value to my life I just have to share them:

Wine and Roses from Outer Space

A Writers Block: Kasia James

Writing Between the Lines

Redefining Perfect: Sarah Cass

Fiona Druce

Ellie Blogs, Hops and Writes 2: Ellie Heller

A Book A Day: Tonya Cannariato

Author Jennifer James

Eden Summers

Mary Terrani

Milly Taidan

And now to welcome 2013.

Alpha Males on the Internet: The blog hop

Welcome to the Alpha Male Blog Hop. Starting today and ending on Oct 22nd, over 200 Authors and Bloggers will share their favorite things about those sexy men we know and love.

What makes an alpha male so compelling? Why can’t we get enough of them?  Here’s my list of must haves in an alpha.

  • A good alpha is damaged but revived by love.
  • Powerful and driven by adrenaline.
  • He embraces risk but not foolhardiness.
  • A hunter, once he  catches the scent of his woman, he puts down his stake, declares ownership and never lets go.
  • Supremely confident, he reveres and respects the power of his woman, wanting her to be all she can be.
  • Fierce and gentle, in bed and out.

That’s how I like to read him… favorites include John Matthew in J.R. Ward’s Brotherhood of the Black Dagger, Bones in Jeaniene Frost’s Kat and Bones series and Kane Tyler and Seth Lawrence  in Lora Leigh’s Breed Series…and that’s how I like to write him. Cullen McMahan, the shifter in my paranormal romance Fires of Justice is all that and a bag of chips.

On my blog, one lucky commenter will win one ecopy of my book Fires of Justice.  I’m not going to ask you to tell me your favorite alpha.  Instead, I want to know what characteristics in the heroine bring out the best in an alpha.  Here’s my take–bravery and/or fearlessness.  Alpha’s may be protective, but they respect courage and respond to women who give as good as they get.  Note all my favorite males have seriously kickass ladies. What do you think?  Don’t forget to leave your e-mail.

Block Hop Swag Prize

But that’s not all….

The blog hop  has THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!  Here’s the link to the other blogs.

 Now what are those prizes?

 1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!

Note :  My give away and the 1st and 2nd grand prizes are international. The Swag Pack is not.
Good Luck.


Fires of Justice Book Blurb

Always read the fine print when swearing an eternal oath to gods and guardians…

Beholden by the sacred vows of her coven, fire witch Calista Reid agrees to temporarily mate with shifter Cullen McMahan to fulfill a mission assigned by the guardians. When tall, dark and damaged arrives on her doorstep, generating enough heat to scorch a fire witch, Calista finds herself drawn to his battle-hardened body and broken soul. His pain speaks to her own deep-rooted isolation and the intensity of his hunger slakes her passion like no other.

Cullen, scarred by a past that left him an indentured soldier to the guardians, resents yet another hump-on-command assignment…until he encounters the compassionate, fearless, incendiary redhead who detonates his body and reawakens the emotions sacrifice and loss had suppressed. But Cullen harbors a terrible secret—one that reaches back into Calista’s troubled childhood and threatens the foundation of their growing bond.

Link to Excerpt:

 Ellora’s Cave


Barnes and Nobles

At Riverina Romantics Today (10/18) and Jennifer Jakes Tomorrow (10/19) #giveaways

Fires of  Justice blog tour starts today with the lovely ladies at Riverina Romantics.

If you don’t know their blog, it is a rich vein of all things romance and sexy. Bookmark it, follow it, memorize the URL but you will want to keep coming back to it.  Hop on over, indulge in the fantasy, chat about what makes you shine and possibly win a free book.

On Friday, I’ll be heading over to talk with Jennifer Jakes, another fabulous site rife with drool-worthy dudes,  sexy good  books and great conversations. We’ll be talking  about writing, time travel and love at first sight and giving away another free book.

Come visit. I’d love to hear from you.

Two Blogging Awards: Sisterhood of the World Blogger and Beautiful Blogger Awards

I am thrilled. In the past week, two amazing bloggers have passed on two different blogging awards to me.

From Casey Wyatt, a fabulous writer, I received the Sisterhood of the World Blogger (I love being part of a sisterhood) and from Narcissista, whose blog is a wonderful homage to the pursuit of beauty, anti-aging and fun (don’t we all need a little of that) I now have the Beautiful Blogger Award. Please check out these amazing women as they jazz up cyberspace for us all.
Both awards ask that I share 7 things about myself. I am doing them together cause I could not come up with 14 tidbits.  In the interest of innovation, I am going to share my seven favorite words in other languages.

1. Insuportabile (pronounced in-soo-por-ta-be-lay). This is Italian for unbearable. Saying it actually helps expel the frustration you are feeling.  Using it is really cathartic.

2. Schmuck, which is German for jewelry (gotcha, its pronounced with a long u).  When I arrived in Austria for my junior year abroad, this word was plastered all over the streets.  After all, we all want schmuck draped all over us, right.  After I stopped laughing long enough to think about it, I really took home how things alter through time, space and culture.

3. Ferrocarril, Spanish for train. Learning Spanish in High School, I used to practice this word to master that rolling r sound.  I learned to love saying it. You can feel the letter run down your throat when you pronounce it correctly. My first exposure to the reality that language and words were more than just a method of communication but could touch you and move through your body in tangible ways.

4. Ooh-la-la, French for yowza.  Like insurportabile, you say it and feel it at the same time. It always comes out at just the right time.

5. Shalom and Salaam, the first is Hebrew, the second is Arabic. Both mean peace and are used as greetings in both language.  I find that to be a pretty fantastic way to say hello.

6. Cymru, which is Welsh for Wales.  I lived there for a few years so its near and dear to my heart. (If you click the word you can hear how its pronounced).

7.  P’Tak, which is a  Klingon curse word used to refer to a person, because  ending this with a geeky, sci fi word makes me happy.

With that, I am moving on to name several bloggers to pass the award(s), to. I will let them choose which one(s) they want.

Subtle Kate

Candace Gauger

Rosanna Leo

Vallory Vance

Cover Reveal, Fires of Justice

Squeeee!  Here is my phenomenal cover for Fires of Justice, my paranormal erotica romance novella from Ellora’s Cave.  Fires of Justice is releasing October 17 as part of their Hex Appeal series. Lots of sexy witches coming soon.

Designed by Fiona Jayde, the cover perfectly captures the heart of the story and the relationship between the characters.   Watch this space for blurbs (still editing) and excerpts. I wanted to get this out because I am so thrilled with it and couldn’t wait to share it. So, what do you think?

Hosting My First Blog Hop: D.X. Luc Coming Soon

On Friday, July 27, I will be hosting my first Blog Hop.  Sponsored by the awesome duo Fiona Druce and Buffy Kennedy, I will be featuring D.X. Luc and her latest book Touch of the Gods:  The Wager.

D.X. has agreed to share with us what makes her heroine, Vanessa, a kick ass kind of gal and why we won’t be able to forget her or the hero who loves her long after you put the book down.  That hero just happens to be a god. Hot and naughty.

If you still need a reason to come, D.X. will be giving away great swag.

Hope to see you on July 27.

Writing Contests Part Deux: Why Judge One

Since I have writing contests on the brain, I thought I’d produce a mini-series.   Just for the record, no one is paying me to write this (wish they were) but I know a lot of contest organizers run around in a frenzy looking for judges.

Having picked up the gavel a few times, I’ll admit to gaining as much from the judging as I have from entering my work, maybe more.  Here’s why you might consider it.

1) Giving back. Writers rely on each other in this lonely endeavor we’ve chosen.  Volunteering to be a judge is one way to give back to wider writing community that nurtures us.

2) Improved self-editing.  As a newby writer, judging  gave me a set of tools I use to review and revise my own work and strengthen my value as a critique partner.  Chapters often provide orientation or at least a rubric for judging. That rubrics I’ve used to judge have been directly applicable for reviewing my own work.

3) Placing yourself on the skill spectrum.  Judging multiple submissions across genres gave me a realistic picture of where I stand as a writer–how far I’ve come, how far I need to go.  It’s a safe way to learn.

4) Figuring out what works.  I find the hardest thing to judge/critique is a well-written piece. Bad just bites you in the face and its easy to spot the tooth marks.  Forcing myself to analyze works across a range of skill levels helps me determine what works. what doesn’t and why.  And then I get to bring those great skills back to my own work.  I’ve noticed a tendency for critique groups to hover around similar skill levels. Judging throws you into the wide, diverse sea.

5) More skin thickening. Knowing how varied judging is helps me keep it together when those scores show up in my email box and they’re not what I’d hoped.  I’ve gotten lower scores than I’ve given on works that were objectively not as good and seen works I’ve judged as mediocre emerge as finalists.  Judges differ as do editors, publishers, reviewers, readers, fans.  A fact of the writer’s life.

How about you? Ever judge?  What did you learn from the experience?

Alien Anatomy, Where is it?

Riddle me this. Why do almost all humanoid species and paranormal supernaturals sport the same sexual equipment and it works just like ours?  Their ears may be cupped, their blood silver, and two hearts beat in their belly, they buzz or glow in the happy moments or  have different erogenous zones but the sexual apparatus is non-negotiable.  Anatomy cannot impede true love.

It makes it easier to get it on with an Alien dude or dudette, but we’re more imaginative than that.  Invention is a human specialty.

Lets look at this logically? Vampire traditionally are dead, they don’t have kids so why does their equipment still work? What are the men ejaculating anyway?  Live sperm from the walking dead?  Dead sperm, now that’s a cold shower if there ever was one.  Yuck.  There are ways around this, of course.  We can make them a new, living species, ignore it because its fantasy, or innovate with it. In Morgan Hawke’s House of Shadows, our vampire hero Rick shoots blood. Messy but so very vampire.

Seems to me, playing with alternative genitalia can really spice up a paranormal, sci fi or any other story for that matter. Just because.

There are a few fun examples out there.  In another world created by Morgan Hawke’s Imperial Stars Series, skeldhi males have two, one for the front and back door. Aah creativity.

Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry Series gave us  Sholto, King of the Slaugh, a hybrid, whose extra bits and bobs stimulate multiple parts. So you have the physical pleasure of a ménage but the emotional depth of a single partner.  That’s what I’m talking about.

These worlds don’t just push at the edges of the box, they obliterate it and rebuild.  (Hamilton goes well beyond anatomy but you’ll have to read it yourself).

How do we explore the depth of who we are, if don’t hack away at our barriers, including the anatomical ones?

Any favorite alien body parts out there? Examples of other books that don’t let human anatomy get in the way of a good story?