Monday, March 31, 2014

What do you wish to see in....


Yup, my muse is back, and I'm working on book 2 in the Fairfield Series. A.K.A., Layla's book.

What are you hoping to see accomplished in her story?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Man Candy Friday!

Wooooooo hooooooooo!!!

We all love man candy. Don't lie. And as an author of romantic fiction, I consider it my duty to provide you with it. But none of those oiled up, banana hammock shots. I prefer classy dudes, with no private parts visible. Sorry to let you down. But I have a feeling that you're thanking me. Especially today.

Though I have to admit...I feel like a dirty old woman for lusting after this tasty treat. After all, I remember watching him in a baseball movie with the kids I used to nanny. This officially makes me a sicko. But look at him.....


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Guess what I'm reading this week?

.........................Was it really ever a mystery?

Yeah. I'm pretty much a Kristan Higgins groupie. Do you blame me?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What am I working on right now?

Thanks for asking...actually the vice grip of writer's block has been on me for WEEKS. I'm so sick of it, I could scream. However, I am getting some (not much) work done on book 2 of The Fairfield Series. So all hope is not lost.

Do you remember Autumn's slutty small town frienemy, Layla Deberaux? Yeah. She deserves her own book, wouldn't you say? So yeah. That's what I'm slowly working on. It's called That Which You Sow.

Can't wait to share it with you all!

P.S. Grab book 1 in the Fairfield Series, The What If Guy, today. CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What should you read this week?

Oh holy crap...

Meggan Connors (my friend and editor) released a new book last week, and it is AMAZING. She told me all about it HERE. I had the privilege of reading it before it was published, and it was such a great book. Romantic, emotional, tense, and totally filled with a hot dude in a kilt. (Yes, a kilt.)

You should grab it today. No really, you should. It's freaking awesome. CLICK HERE TO BUY IT.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Are you ready for the 3rd book in the THIS & THAT SERIES?

Me, too! My editor is hard at work on Then & Now, and we're so excited to share it with you all. As you probably know, book 2 (Marisol's story) ended with a major plot twist-slash-cliff hanger. I am super stoked to share the next book with you.....

Do you think Candace finds her happily ever after? I sure hope so....

Friday, March 21, 2014

Special guest: MEGGAN CONNORS!

Today I decided to bring in one of my most favoritest people, to discuss her latest release...Highland Deception.  I had the pleasure of being able to read this book in its earliest form (and again in its most recent) and it is fan-freaking-tastic. I adore the main characters, and was sucked into the plot like a complete fan girl. It's impossible not to fall in love with Kennon/Malcom! (Wait, why do I use two hero names? Well, stick'll find out...)

Tell us about Highland Deception...

I’ll do one better. I’ll give you the blurb.

When Kenneth Mackay, long banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm intends to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before her marriage, and she’d long since given up hope of having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel’s heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if there were family. Who, for the first time, cares for her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.

When did your interest in highlanders pique...tell us about the first highlander book you ever read.

I’ve had a thing for highlanders since I started reading Julie Garwood books when I was sixteen. It was either The Gift or The Prize (I read them both during that week). We were on vacation, and I found one of her books in the condo where we were staying. I read that book cover to cover in one night, completely ignoring everything else—including the cute guy who was vacationing with us. Well, not completely ignoring him. Okay, not really ignoring him at all. I was perhaps acutely aware of him from behind my book, but I’ll not admit to anything more that that.

(Incidentally, ignoring him for an entire day did wonders in making him notice me. Go figure. Thanks, Julie.)

That’s when I developed my love of historical romances.

If Kenneth and Malcom were portrayed in a movie, who would play them?

Tyler Hoechlin. With the dark hair and blue eyes, he’s pretty perfect for the role. And he’s fun to look at, even though I feel like a dirty old lady doing it. (He’s not that young, but seriously. He was in Teen Wolf—the one in 2011.)

Isobel is such a tragic character. So wounded and defensive, yet so vulnerable and emotional. Tell us what inspired her character?

I just loved Isobel. She had a big heart, and so wanted to love her husband, but she couldn’t—he’d hurt her too much. I can’t say what really inspired her character, actually… I guess I just thought of this young bride, the youngest of nine daughters of an impoverished marquess, who was bartered off to the first family that paid her father enough money. A girl who is desperately seeking affection, only to find that her husband didn’t want her. How would I feel? Defensive? Angry? 

I think I’d be both of those.

But Isobel has a kind heart. She wants to do what’s right, she wants love, but after all the hurt she’s suffered, she’s scared to. And rightly so. 

What's next for you? What are you working on?

Well, I’m working on the never-ending YA. It’s been a long journey with that book. Now I have a sequel in my head—so it really is going to be the never-ending YA. I’ll be writing that thing on my deathbed. (Oh, but I love those characters. They’re so awesome)

I’ve also been asked to contribute to a historical anthology. I don’t write short—keeping a novella to under 40,000 was torture for me. But I’m going to try my hand at it, and write another western, I think.

I also have a book idea for Ethan Standish, Isobel’s cousin in Highland Deception, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s a crazy, outlandish idea, but I think I can somehow make it work. 

Do you ever get book jealousy? What book do you WISH you'd written and why?

Oh, sure. I loved Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Jerricho Barrons is the best alpha hero. Actually, I think he’s an Omega hero—he’d eat an alpha for breakfast. I wanted to hate him, because I’m pretty sure I’d hate him in real life, but I just loved him. I thought he was awesome. 

I also get a little bit of book jealousy every time I read a story that makes me cry. Trinity by Leon Uris. Weirdly, The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning, which I’m not sure made anyone else cry, but I did. I read an unpublished manuscript that made me cry, once, and I swear I will buy that book if it ever goes to publication. Oh, and what else? Let’s see… A Tale of Two Cities and The Count of Monte Cristo make me cry, too, but it’s hard to have book jealousy when the author is dead. After all, any day above ground is a good day. 

Let’s have some fun...pretend you're going into the electric chair tomorrow morning. What is your last meal?

Dude, you know I can’t eat a darn thing and not feel like crap. This is such a cruel question for a reluctantly reformed foodie.

But, I suppose if I have to go, I might as well be praying for death. After all, I have plans to want to go by the time I actually do. 

So, here goes: An appetizer of escargot, with bleu cheese and garlic butter (too much fat does me in). Follow that with a filet mignon, slathered with béarnaise sauce (since I’m allergic to beef). Let’s throw in some crusty, but oh-so-soft sourdough bread (can’t have wheat, either) for good measure, and follow that up with a decadent crème brulee (I’m allergic to eggs, too). 

If the meal doesn’t kill me, I’ll be in so much pain that I won’t mind being electrocuted. But it will be so nice to taste that kind of stuff again. 

Your husband gave you a hall pass. Who do you spend a romantic evening with?

Can I have a devil’s three way? Never mind, I don’t want that, not really. It would either be Viggo Mortensen (because I’m pretty sure a night with him wouldn’t be vanilla—it would be just a shade under too dirty), or Henry Cavill. Or Clive Owen. Or Matt Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt all at the same time, but that’s mostly so they can entertain me and be pretty to look at. Or… Well, the list goes on. 

Your dream job (other than being the author of incredible romance) is....

Oh, I always used to answer this question with “a food writer for a travel magazine” back in the days when I could eat stuff and not barf. Did I mention that I’m a reformed foodie? Yeah, God has a totally sick sense of humor. 

Now traveling is hard, because it’s not easy to find gluten free, vegan food on vacation. Not that I’m vegan. I can still eat the bird and the fishes, but there’s so much risk of cross contamination that it’s almost not worth it to eat that stuff at restaurants. Besides, it isn’t fun if it’s not slathered in heavy cream and butter (I’m a southern gal at heart) or deep fried. 

Gah, I miss deep fried… everything. I once had a deep fried Mars bar, way back when I was in England for my Master’s thesis, and it was like eating heaven. I have never put something so awesome into my mouth before or since. Even then, back before the allergies and all that, it made me sick, but it was worth it.

In any case, because travel is hard and I can’t eat much of anything, I guess I’ll have to be super bland and say that it’s the job I have. I like my job. I work with preschoolers with autism. Can’t beat the clientele for cuteness, that’s for sure.

Highland Deception becomes a NYT bestselling novel...where do you go on vacation to celebrate?

Anywhere in the whole world? I’d probably do a European tour, I think. Prague was one of my favorite places ever, but I really want to go back to Scotland. I only skimmed the surface there… Oh, and I want to go to Wales. And to Bruges, in Belgium. Never mind, let’s go back to the European tour part.

Realistically, though, I’d probably buy a new travel trailer. Our current one is super small, but we love to camp, so buying a bigger one would be awesome. One that has a place for the dogs to sleep instead of in Monkey’s bed. And maybe with a door for the parents’ room. That, my friend, would be lovely. A little privacy would be nice. After all, I have to try stuff out for my books. ;)

Good Lord, upon reviewing this interview, I talked a lot about food. That’s actually almost a little embarrassing, like I’m obsessed or something. Oh, wait, I probably am. 

Thanks for having me here today, Brooke!

I'm sure you guys can see why Meggan is one of my favorite people. Funny, witty, a little naughty, and obsessed with food, just like me. What's not to love? Be sure to grab your copy of HIGHLAND DECEPTION HERE! I promise you that you'll be sending me emails of thanks and appreciation once you've finished it. 

It. Is. That. Good. No joke.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's almost AUTISM AWARENESS month!

Are you going to Light It Up Blue for Autism awareness next month?

You really should. Here's why: because with all of the tragic events that have happened in the last year or two in this country, there is an ugly spotlight being cast on individuals who are diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. The Light It Up Blue promotion is in place to cast light on a very misunderstood disorder, and to help spread the awareness that people with Autism Spectrum disorders are different, not less.

My son, Sam, is five and a half years old, and he has a diagnosis of pervasive development disorder (under the Autism umbrella) and sensory processing disorder. We knew Sam was special when he was just 2 years old. He was just.....different. He acted different, communicated differently, developed differently. He scared us. Because we didn't know how to handle him, or how to help him. We felt helpless and intimidated by the road that lied ahead of us. I remember telling people (long before I had Sam) that I would never be able to handle a special needs child.

I guess God showed me. :)

Since Sam received his diagnosis, our lives have been flipped upside down.....but in a good way. Sam is unique. He is highly intelligent, but easily flustered and confused by simple, mundane tasks. He has a very high threshold for pain, and often doesn't register fear the same way a typical kid would. He is hard to understand sometimes, as his speech can be jarbled and robotic. He only eats yogurt and crackers, and gags viciously when asked to simply touch foods that are not on his safe list. He scribbles and draws Spiderman or Batman when he should be writing numbers and letters. His focus on things that don't captivate him is low, at best.

But...Sam is also brilliant. He is sharp as a tack and doesn't miss a thing. He has a steel trap memory, and can quote movies or books at random. He loves learning, and even though people think he isn't retaining a thing when he wiggles in class, he remembers every single syllable his teacher says. He loves to laugh and giggle and tease. He loves computers and coloring and reading--even though he tells people he can't read (he can.) My husband and I are convinced that Sam will wind up running the country, but he'll have the White House chef bring him Cheese-Its and Gogurt every night for dinner.

The reason I'm sharing all of this with you, is to show you that Sam (and other individuals like him) are not "retarded" or "stupid." They're amazing and incredible, and just deserve respect and patience. Autism Awareness month is so much more than just wearing a tee shirt or posting "I heart someone with Autism" on your Facebook page. It is about listening to someone on the spectrum, accepting and involving them, and treating them the same way you would like your OWN child to be treated. People on the spectrum are different, not less.

My Sam is not less. He's more. So, so much more.

Buy yourself a blue lightbulb for your front porch. Shine it proudly through the month of April. Show your support for Sam, and other individuals like him.

Thanks a million,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

An excerpt!

The Art of Being Indifferent was written from both the hero and the heroine's point of view. So you get a welcome glimpse into both Drew AND Posey's thoughts. Today's excerpt gives us a glimpse at Drew's unhealthy relationship with his demanding father...

The beep sounded, and the swimmers dove into the pool.
            “Andrew. I’m speaking to you,” my dad yelled over the cheers of the crowd. “Are you in the right lane?”
            My eyes popped open and I ground my molars together. Of course I knew what lane I was supposed to be in. I’d written my races and lanes on my arm in Sharpie, for hell’s sake.
“Yes,” I called over my shoulder. Please just leave me alone.
            “Good.” His voice was barely audible over the sound of someone whistling. “You better not blow this heat. No scout is going to come to see you with these numbers.”
            Go to hell. I closed my eyes and tried to go back to my lyrics. Focus. Don’t listen to the jerk off. Zone him out.
            The crowd went wild, and my eyes popped open again. The other team’s fans started yelling and screaming and jumping everywhere. I glanced up at the scoreboard. Damn. Their new freshman swimmer beat our best time by a full second. Coach paced next to the staging area. We were the best team on the island, despite being one of the smallest schools. If we lost that standing, we could lose funding for the sport next year.
            Dad came down close and leaned in close to my ear, so everyone in the audience would think he was just whispering words of encouragement, but we both knew it wouldn’t be like that.
            “Don’t screw this up,” he hissed, his breath making the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I hated him. I really did. “Baxters don’t lose to the shittiest school in the district. Do you understand?”
            “Yes, sir.” I noticed Coach watching us with a frown, and forced a smile. Nothing to see here. Just a friendly father-son pep talk.
            “Good.” Dad stood up and returned to his seat, pausing long enough to wave at everyone on the bleachers. Ever the politician.
            The buzzing voice on the loudspeaker announced the top three of the last race, and I popped all my knuckles while I waited. I had to win the 100 fly. I had no choice. First, I didn’t feel like taking a punch from my dad tonight. Second, I didn’t want the TTHS team’s rep going down the crapper because I couldn’t turn it out.
            Right. No pressure.
            I tried rolling my shoulders and adjusting my cap as the judges cleared the scoreboard, but my muscles felt like they were made out of Tupperware plastic. Oh man, I’m gonna blow this. I need luck. Lots of it.
            Glancing over my shoulder, I pretended to just stretch my neck, but caught a glimpse of Posey instead. Our eyes locked and she offered me a tiny smile. My insides warmed, and the muscles in my shoulders and arms started to relax.
            A bunch of the guys on the team had good luck charms. Umbardt never washed his suit, which was nasty. Lawson kissed his picture of Nickie Minaj right before he left the locker room every meet. Maybe Posey would be my good luck charm. Hell, I didn’t know. When other girls came to my meets, it annoyed me, but when Posey came, it made sitting two feet from my dad while he threatened me ten thousand times better.
            “100 meter butterfly,” the crackling voice announced.
            I pulled my goggles down over my eyes, pressed them against my skin to seal the air in, then strode to the block. I could feel everyone’s eyes on my back. The spectators. Coach. The guys on the team. My parents. Posey. Just a few weeks ago, I would’ve used everyone’s expectations to drive me—to keep the adrenaline pumping through my veins until I kicked the ass of every swimmer in the pool. But now those same expectations just bogged me down like rocks around my ankles.
            I was so sick of being under pressure.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Here's something I've noticed...

Since having weight loss surgery and losing 60 pounds (50 more to go, hang in there, Brooke!) I've noticed that I take WAY more selfies than I did before. And when my kids point their phones at me to snap a shot, I don't go running from the room screaming, like I used to. Now I smile, tilt my head, and try to score a cute pic out of the deal. This might seem vain to some, but it's really not. Here's why....

You see, for years (decades, if I'm being honest) I've avoided pictures. Well, that is until I became a professional author who has to have an online presence, whether I feel like it or not. The truth is, if I'm not active on social networking, I don't sell books. And if I don't sell books, I can't pay for my wig habit, or my son's braces. That's a problem for me. And so.......I have an online presence. And because so much of my online presence is about romance, and love, and clothes, and hair, and beauty (or the constant pursuit of such,) I change my pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc....a lot. Plus, I *like* changing my pictures a lot these days. My body is changing on a weekly basis!

I used to stage my Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads pictures very carefully. Usually away from windows, because I looked better in the dim light. Usually with lots of tweaking when it came to whatever filters or color trickery I was using on in Instagram. And I usually took said picture with an accessory, like a scarf or a hat, or best yet, some cheese, to take the focus off of my double chin. Oh, and always a downward angle. I looked much better at a downward angle. It's true.

You see? Upward angles = BAD.

Now I find myself taking pictures and selfies in the full light. I stand right by my window and strike my pose. Sometimes I even let the kids take the shot, which usually includes a glimpse of my *GASP* body, too. (Holy crap on a stick--this is a major NO NO in a fat girl's world. True story.) Also, when I take pictures, I usually turn my head to the right slightly, because my left side makes for a better picture than my right.

(Don't believe me? Ugh. Go look in the mirror...take a picture of BOTH sides of your face. There will be one side that will look older, saggier, more wrinkled, and generally just worse than the other. This isn't Brooke being crazy. This is fact. Test my theory. I dare you.)

Not every selfie...or wig...turns out good.

So anyway, I always tilt my head slightly to the right when I take selfies, because my left side looks slightly less saggy and 37 years old than the other. Sometimes I mess with the filter, other times (more often than not anymore) I try to share the shot without using an Instagram filter. This is a really big deal, because I am horribly self conscious (though  no one believes it anymore) and I ALWAYS know I can look better.

But why do I care so much? Why does it matter what I look like in pictures? Why not let people see the "real" me, see the ugly Brooke, too? The other day someone said that all of the selfies I've been posting on Facebook and Instagram of my varying wigs lately are "vain", to which I responded with a surprised "Whaaaaa?"

Wait, wait, wait. So thousands of teenagers, girl and boy (my son included--you should SEE some of the self portraits he has on his iPod), celebrities, and models can post selfies of themselves doing the duck face, half naked, flipping the bird, rolling joints, etc etc etc....all that is acceptable, but a former fat girl posting selfies to get her friend's opinions on her wigs is self obsessed? Come on, man...really?

So this is acceptable....but mine aren't. Okay. Got it.

Okay, let's just cut right to the thick of it: I used to weight 240 pounds. Whether you want to admit it or not, whether or not you think that's fat enough to have warranted WLS or not, whether you think I should keep my mouth shut about it or not, I've lost a crap ton of weight. I was prediabetic, woke up several times a night because of apnea, had parasthesia, and a small list of other embarrassing obesity related issues I care not to mention on my blog. I worked my ARSE off for six months to prepare for my surgery, losing ten percent of my body weight, then suffered through FIVE weeks of a pure liquid diet, painful/invasive surgery, hair loss, and an enflamed esophagus that didn't allow anything larger than the point of a pen to go down my throat.........all to get down to the 170's, which I haven't seen in 15 years, thankyouverymuch, and my new fascination with allowing my picture to be taken is vanity?

*facepalm* Really? I mean, I just...really?

For the first time since BEFORE I gained weight (my food issues started long before I became fat. Read about some of them here!) I actually feel confident enough in myself to share pictures without wanting to gag. I used to post my publicity pictures and pictured with friend and my kids onto Facebook and then I'd just fight the urge to cry because I hated them so much. I used to pick the scene, lighting, clothing, and mood of each picture so meticulously, you'd think it was my freaking wedding pictures. And if I couldn't come across as remotely pretty (which was usually) I went for goofy. Goofy I could do. Goofy was no problem for me.


Now? Ahhhhh. Bliss. Now I don't have to cringe every time the camera goes off. I mean, sure. I'm 37, almost 38...some of the pictures are bad. Believe me, nobody is more aware of my flaws than ME. I've got wrinkles, uneven skin, a poochy tummy I will probably work on for forever, pasty white flesh with freckles, and for PETE'S SAKE, I'm half bald! Cut me some slack! When I post pictures of myself in my different wigs, I'm doing it because after 37 years of feeling sorta ugly, there are random times when I feel sort of....well, how does one put this? Kinda, sorta.... *cringing* pretty.

Is that such a crime? Hasn't a fat girl who has lost a lot of weight earned her moment in the pretty spotlight? Is there no room in the pretty clique for a former fat chick? I've got these wigs now that make me feel a really weird mix of self-conscious and confident (if that makes any sense) all at the same time, and when I share pictures on Facebook or my blog, it isn't to have my ego stroked (though--after a lifetime of feeling ugly--it does feel good for someone to tell me I'm pretty, instead of saying the typical, "You're so funny!" Good grief, I was sick of hearing that! I mean, I like being funny, but when people tell all the other women around you that they're beautiful, then they look at you and say "And YOU'RE funny!" it can be a blow to the ego. I'm just sayin'.)

Maybe, just maybe, I'm sharing pictures of the wigs, to see what my friends think. So that I won't leave my house looking like a busted up drag queen. Has that ever occurred to anyone? How would you feel if you left the house looking like a drag queen, and nobody told you? Granted, some drag queens are gorgeous. Much prettier than I'll ever be. But considering the fact that I have girl's plumbing and have created four human beings with my uterus, looking like a drag queen just makes me sad. And it makes my ovaries sad. True story.

I will never be as pretty as this Drag Queen.

Wait. Back up. I want to pose that question again: How your YOU feel if you'd lost 60 pounds, and your hair had fallen out? Would you need a confidence boost? Would you need to focus on the days you feel kind of pretty, rather than obsessing over the flaws you still can't conquer? Just think about that for a while......

I guess I feel like I've earned the right to share pictures of myself whenever I want, without being teased or judged for it. Maybe instead of being annoyed by my newfound confidence, and my newfound occasional enjoyment of my own body (Gasp! So vain! So wrong! Fat girls aren't supposed to like themselves! For shame...) I feel like others should seek inspiration in that self acceptance. Instead of teasing me for actually liking myself, they should consider looking at themselves, and finding something they like about their own face or body! Do you like your eyes? Take a picture and post it. Do you like your hair? Post a pic! I have a girlfriend who has the most incredible eyebrows I've ever seen, and anybody who knows me, knows how eyebrow obsessed I am (really, a set of eyebrows can make or break a face, I'm just saying) If I were her, I'd post pictures of my brows every day. I really would. I also have a girlfriend who is the most talented cook I've ever met....seriously, my kids beg me to take them to her house for meals, even when we're not invited. If I were her, I'd be taking pictures of myself with all of those successful recipes (donning a cute ruffled apron and a chefs hat, too, you know) every. single. day. She's THAT good.

When did we become a society so eager to tear each other down, however subtly, that we mock a woman for posting pictures of her wigs to get her friend's opinions?

Sometimes I think my biggest critics are the people who are reminded of their own flaws when they look at me. Not necessarily weight-related. But when someone sees a fat, non-supermodel-esque woman showing confidence and happiness, it reminds them that they lack confidence and/or happiness of their own. The fact that I have lost 60 pounds might remind them that they have a few to lose themselves. The fact that I post pictures of me smiling in all my wigs might remind them that they feel to self conscious to post pictures of themselves on social media. The fact that I talk about my job and post links to buy my books might remind them that they're not chasing their own career dreams, and they're infinitely more bummed about it than they let on.

I didn't say all that to be insulting, though. No siree. Here's an idea: why not seek out something on your face or body to boast about? To be proud of? Sure, real beauty is on the inside, and I am the first to admit it. My nifty wigs and goofy selfies aren't going to get me into heaven. My acts and deeds towards my fellow man are. But while I am on this mortal coil, why shouldn't I like this body I am in? Why shouldn't I celebrate overcoming something I honestly figured I would be fighting against for the rest of my life? Why shouldn't I celebrate the body that is going to take me into old age, even older age than it would have taken me before my surgery? What is so wrong with that?

I say we all find something about our outward appearance that makes us happy, and share it. Maybe it's an asset, maybe it's a flaw. Take a picture and share it! It's okay to like a physical attribute. It doesn't make you vain or self obsessed. It makes you well adjusted and secure. When someone doesn't like your confidence, it is an indicator that they lack confidence of their own. Believe me...I know this to be true! When I was morbidly obese, I HATED it when skinny people told me about their workouts. Like, I hated it with a passion! Why? Because I was fat, and I knew I needed to be working out, too. If your confidence in your own appearance makes other people mad, they probably feel self conscious about something on their own face or body. Maybe help them discover what is beautiful about themselves?

And in that same mentality, why not find something you love about your personality, and brag about that, too? Post on FB about how much you love it when you make crafts with your kids, because it makes you feel good about your mothering skills. Brag about how much you love to read. Some people go cross eyed when they look at a book for longer than 10 minutes, and you can curl up with one for a WEEK without stopping. Go, you! Brag about how much you love seeing dirt under your nails because you're finally doing your spring planting, and nothing makes you happier than a big summer garden. Though I don't think it's right to be boastful about your assets, and I think you should be using your talents to share with and help others, I really do think it's okay to be proud of yourself for something.

I'm proud to have lost 60 pounds. I'm proud that I can move and do things more comfortably now. I'm proud that I took a rotten situation (losing my hair) and turned it into a fun experiment in wigs that has helped me to make half a dozen friends with readers who have also suffered from hair loss. I'm proud to have chased my dream career and achieved it. I'm proud that I've gone through grief so painful this last year, I wasn't sure I was going to make it, and yet here I am--smiling and enjoying my life with my husband and children again. I'm proud that I am strong enough to stand up for myself when I need to, and I don't feel compelled to back down to bullies. I'm proud that my husband finds me beautiful, even when my hair is off. I'm proud that my kids think I'm funny and crazy, and they consider wherever I am to be home.

Another upward angle. *snort*

My wish for 2014 (amongst world peace and a pony) is that we will all find something about ourselves that we love, and post the everliving crap about it on social media. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Another day, another excerpt....

Another day, another excerpt.... 

"Paula shot John a warning glare. “What he meant was… your mother made unhealthy choices. She lost her rights as a parent, and now you’re living with our family. We want to adopt you.”

My skin tightened and I backed towards the door. My fingernails scraped on the door behind me as I scrambled for the handle. “I need to go. Where is my iPod?”

“Calm down, Posey. We’ll get it for you.” John looked over his shoulder. 
“Micah, will you please look for Posey’s iPod?”

Micah obeyed, hopping up and looking under the couch cushions. Paula smiled kindly at me. “We don’t want to discourage you from communicating with your mother if you want to, Posey. We just don’t want it to upset you this badly.”

“What do you care?” I barked, ducking my head to hide behind my hair. “I’m not a Coulter.”

“But we would like you to be,” John said. “Very much.”

I looked at them through the dark strands. “No, you don’t.”

Paula’s eyes filled, and she squeezed my hands. “Yes, Posey. We do. But only if you want it, too.”

I wanted it, but didn’t. I wanted Paula and John to love me the way they loved all their other kids, but I also wanted my real mom to love me. What the hell was wrong with me? I was flip flopping like a damned schizophrenic. 

My eyes went from Paula’s face to her husband’s, then back again. They looked at me with so much pity, their gazes pleading with me for approval. Love us. Join us. We’ll be even more picturesque if you do. We’ll wear matching sweaters and start a family band.

“You don’t want me.” When I spoke, my voice shook. I was so close to crying, “Not really. Nobody does. My own damn mom didn’t want me. Why the hell would you want me?”

“Oh, Posey…” Paula covered her mouth, and she started to cry. “We do, sweetie. So much. Come here.” 

When she reached out to hug me, I twisted away. “No. Stop. I… I don’t like it.”

“Found it!” Micah called from the corner of the room where Cooper sat.

Thank goodness, I thought, wiping sweat off my brow.

“Let us be your family.” Paula wiped her eyes with the backs of her hands. “Please, Posey, we won’t let you down. We’re here for you.”

Micah wriggled between his parents. His face was somber. “I, uh, Coop was sitting on it. I’m so sorry.”

I took my iPod and my stomach dropped like lead. The screen was shattered. Split into pieces and spider webbed. “Oh shit, no…” I moaned. “No, no, no.”

John ran a hand through his light brown hair. “Posey, I’m sorry. We’ll replace it. I promise.”

I wasn’t stupid. The Coulters couldn’t afford to replace it. John used an iPhone so old it only held a charge for half an hour. Anger sizzled in my gut, singeing my insides and shoving my sadness to the side to make its way to the surface.
“Leave me alone, would you!?” I yelled, making Paula jump. “You losers have no idea how much I just want you to get the hell out of my life and leave me alone! Do you hear me? Leave me the hell alone! All of you!”

I yanked open the door and charged off into the darkness. The wind blew faster than ever, whipping me in the face with icy fingers as I sprinted to the beach. Mutiny Bay, behind the rocks where Drew and I hung out. I wanted peace. I wanted quiet. I wanted to close my eyes and be anywhere else than on the island.

As I rounded the curve towards the beach, I stumbled, ramming my knee into the edge of a boulder and splitting the skin. Cradling my wound, I limped down to the sand and unleashed every cuss word I’d ever heard, and even made up a few more. I screamed until I was hoarse. I screamed until I couldn’t see straight. I screamed until…

Until I heard Drew calling my name."

Grab your copy of THE ART OF BEING INDIFFERENT today and I'll gift you a FREE copy of my bestseller, Baby & Bump! Click here:


Monday, March 3, 2014

I'm seeing numbers...

..that I haven't seen in OVER a decade...

I hit the 170's this morning, and almost woke the entire household with the celebratory dance that commenced right after I got off the scale. I haven't been in the 170's since my daughter was an infant (and she's 12 now) Many of my comorbidity's have righted themselves, and my energy levels are sky high, compared to just a few months ago. I'm doing things with my kids that I've NEVER done! (Can you say swimming?) Overall, I feel like my decision to get gastric surgery was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

The reason I share this with everyone, is because I think the stigma of asking for help with obesity should be abolished! More people should feel safe & comfortable asking for help. If we have to be kind, patient, and tolerant of someone asking for help with a drug or alcohol addiction, why shame someone for seeking help with a food addiction? Why are fat people treated like scum, but a junkie gets respect? Not fair. Not cool. And I hope that by sharing my journey, more people with obesity can seek out the help they they can feel as good as I do! Because someday, when everyone else is off of their magic pills and shakes, and the latest crop of fad diets are gone, and a new wave of hysteria has ensued, my results will still be permanent (if I keep up the lifestyle) and everyone deserves the chance to change their life *permanently*, IMHO. :)

Another day...

Another excerpt...

Still on the fence about whether or not to buy a copy of The Art of Being Indifferent? Check out a scene between Posey and Drew, and maybe that will help you make up your mind.

“Just leave me alone,” Posey shouted over her shoulder, her worn Chuck Taylor’s splashing in a puddle as she stomped down the side of the road.

I moved my car forward slowly, stopping it in front of her, blocking her path. I’d only gotten my keys back the night before, after blowing my best time out of the water—pun intended—at practice. And yes, ditching school to pick up Posey was risky as hell, because if my dad found out, he would shit a solid gold brick, but I couldn’t help myself. My self-control disintegrated a little more each day when it came to Posey.

Which was freaking weird, if you asked me.

“Come on, get in,” I called, pointing up to the sky. “It’s going to rain again soon. And the forecast calls for hail tonight. You’re gonna get pelted.”

Posey stopped walking, but didn’t look at me. She ducked her head, but couldn’t hide behind her hair, because it was still knotted at the back of her head. “I don’t care.”

I gripped my steering wheel with white knuckles to keep from staring at her. Seriously, I didn’t get why she always let her hair hang over her face. She had nothing to be ashamed of. She looked like a sculpture carved out of marble, or something. Gorgeous.

Shifting my eyes to the road ahead of us. “Another car’s coming. Get in.”

Her blue eyes flashed. “No.”

“Posey, it’s October in Washington.” I raised my eyebrows. “Rain. Clouds. Cold. More rain. Any of this ringing a bell? Let me take you home.”

She sucked on her lower lip, and glanced at the car slowly approaching. “I walk every day, Drew.”

Following her gaze, I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel. “Seriously, if that’s someone from the school, I’m busted. You’d better get in.”

Growling, Posey let her backpack slide down to her hand, then dragged it around my car. Once she’d jerked the door open and dropped into the passenger’s seat, she glared at me through the corner of her eye. “Drive already.”

Laughing at my victory, I pulled back onto the road, spitting gravel. We sped through the center of Twisted Tree, passing the turn off for the Coulters’ house in a blur.

Posey looked up. “You missed my turn.”

“Hey, if we’re gonna skip school, we may as well make it count.” I looked at her and grinned, pleased when her cheeks pinked. “Come on, you don’t really want to go home, do you?”

Posey shook her head and rubbed her eyes. “No. Not really.”

“Then let’s go hang out.” I sped up as the rain started to come down against the windshield. “I’ve got a place I want to show you.”

She crossed her legs, and I found myself looking at the slivers of ivory skin showing through the holes in her jeans. “Won’t you get in trouble, Golden Boy?”

“No more trouble than you will.” I laughed. “Besides, I’ll get us back to the library before Mr. Kingston checks on us. I doubt my teachers will even notice I’m gone for my last two periods. No worries. Mac will cover for me.”

“Must be nice.”


She went to pull her hair from its ponytail. “Having a friend to bail you out.”

I swallowed. I liked being able to see Posey’s face. “He and I have been friends since we were kids. He’d do anything for me. Don’t you have friends like that?”

“Not exactly.” She shook her head, and her hair obscured part of her face once again. “When you move from home to home, you tend to not get too deeply connected to people. You just take your stuff from place to place and reinvent yourself every time. New home, new rules, new people. There’s no time to connect with someone to the point where they’d do anything for you.”

“That sounds…” Glancing at her, I sighed. “Terrible.”

For a second, I thought she might cry. From the side, her eyes looked damp, and the pink on her cheeks increased. But as quickly as the emotion came, it disappeared. Shrugging, Posey hid behind her hair. “It’s not so bad. You get used to it. And used to trouble.”

I flipped on my blinker and turned off the main road. “So you were a trouble maker before you came to Twisted Tree?”

“I don’t know.” Posey glanced at me and offered a small smile. “I wasn’t in that much trouble, comparatively speaking. I guess a little. Some of my foster sisters and brothers were into drugs, but I never did much of that. Tried it. Didn’t like it.”

I nodded at the road. A lot of kids at TTHS took Washington State’s legalized marijuana laws too far and lit up all the damn time. Every indoor party I’d been to over the past three years turned into one giant hotbox session, so I had to sit outside the whole time. The swim team had a no drugs/no alcohol policy on the swim team, and while Coach could be bit lax on the rules, my dad bought piss tests from the drug store to surprise me with at home.

“So you weren’t into partying.” We turned down the cramped main street of Langley, a town a few miles north of Twisted Tree. I came here on occasion to escape. “What were you into back in Seattle? Who did you hang with?” Glancing at Posey, I gulped. “Did you… did you have a boyfriend, or whatever?”

She glanced at me through the corner of her eye. “Not anyone steady, if that’s what you’re asking,” she said quietly. “I mean, I hung with a couple of guys. But never anything serious. My mom had me when she was sixteen, so I’ve always been paranoid of following in her footsteps.”

We followed the line of traffic as it eked down Main Street. “So you’ve never…”

Posey’s eyes went wide. “Did you just ask me that?”

Dude, shut up! What was wrong with me? 

Happy reading! xxoo