Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Go Fund Me: Writers? No way! Potato Salad? Hell YES!

Question to readers and Authors alike. 

How do you feel about authors using Kickstarts / Go Fund Me? How do you feel about them asking for your support? I myself know the cost of publishing (It's nothing cheap). And as it was said (by another author unnamed), Not everyone can afford to put in the cost of funding their dreams. We will gladly donate money to the most ridiculous causes (I remember reading about how someone raised thousands to buy some Macaroni...for no particular reason at all) but we frown on people who are simply trying to follow their dreams? Comments have been outrageous saying "Go get a job.", "Stop begging." These are from the very people who will gladly stick their hand out to win a free bookmark from that SAME author. Well, how do you think that author got those bookmarks? How do you think that author gets it to you? Magic? In shipping out free swag alone, we will spend HUNDREDS each year. Most of us have full time jobs and families to support not to mention all of the expenses of life. I am posting this just to say, don't be so quick to judge someone who is simply trying to follow their dreams. Because we must do it by whatever means necessary. Some of us simply do not have it in us to throw our hands up and walk away. Is there not something that you want so much that you could almost taste it? Is there not something in your life that you have dreamed about? It kills me to see "fans" turn around and bash the very people who pour their hearts out trying to bring something beautiful to the world. No, I have not started a Campaign and I can't say at this point that I would. But if it came down to it, and I had a choice of asking my "supporters" to help me or turning away from my dream, my passion...well You would definitely see a link posted below.
I never rant...ever... but this time I had to say it. I nearly gave up on my dream, its a devastating feeling and I hope and pray that no one else has to go through that. Follow your dreams, by any means necessary...well not murder, that's illegal.
Just in case you think I am Joshing you...here is a link of how a man raised over $55,000 in order to make potato salad!


Is that to say we as a human race value a man's need for Potato Salad above a person's desire to follow their dream? 

Friday, September 5, 2014

So It Wasn't Plagiarism

Recently I received a message from KDP requesting copyright proof of my first book Revitalized. This is the first book I had ever written and was dumbfounded. Why did I need to prove it now? This book has been out for nearly 4 years! I wanted to scream at my computer.

The letter in my email:

And of course... now I am in panic mode. They are telling me if I don't respond and prove my case I am taken down from KDP forever??

Now, before you panic like I did, a lot of authors have apparently seen this before...I had never. It is supposedly an auto generated email that Amazon sends out when your work appears in another book (a snippet in a anthology or in this case the UNEARTHED anthology that was on sale for a limited time to support Cancer Sucks).


Why did I panic? Well, as I said before, I had never seen this before and I emailed them back and though their generic auto response says "We will respond in 24 hours" it took 2 days to get a reply. In that two days my mind concocted all the hideous stories of evil doers out to snag others works. Hell, I am a fiction writer! But the through is that it happens! We see it all the time and I for one am one of those who walks around say... "It will never happen to me!" or even joke about how flattered I would feel if someone had thought my work was good enough to steal. Well for a moment in time, I felt as though it had happened to me and I was no where near flattered. I was crushed!

I was lucky, because there are so many authors out there who do get their work stolen and now I feel like...well damn, it could happen to me. (And as it has been pointed out to me, it probably has...there are thousands of websites where readers can download stolen copies of book ...no, I will not list them.)

I am writing this post to do two things. One is to clear the air of concern from all of the amazing people who reached out to me. Thank you for supporting me in my moment of panic. The second thing is to say this to all of the authors, musicians and artist alike who have suffered from this horrible crime and still push on doing what they love, I applaud you. Because I wasn't sure what I would do, if I would continue on. Its devastating and heartbreaking and I still cant not say that I understand what you have gone through but I have a bit more understanding of it.

Now it is said that you don't need to get your copyrights anymore that its an automated thing now. Once you hit publish, and create that ISBN, your work it your own. But for those interested in it, and for those of you like me who are still way to paranoid to believe in that, you can go to Copyright.gov. I made the investment and it surely helped to give me just a bit more peace of mind throughout this process. And well, you can never have too much proof of what is your own.

Also, check out this article--> CLICK HERE<--- It may help you decide which way to go when you get ready to publish your work! 

Much love!



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Anew - Sneak Preview - Coming in November


It's official, the Beta readers loved Anew! Now it is inDebbi's hands!   Can't wait for this release. The Hybrid Tales short story series has come so far and I can't wait for the world to read this new novel! Love the fans who supported it and asked for more. Thanks to you all who fell in love with Kendra and to Randall Rutledge who felt her story was worth turning into a script! Hoping for big things for Kendra and her amazingly wild story! The cover shoot is happening soon and I know the amazing Ashley Gaines is going to knock it out of the park!





AND NOW YOUR SNEAK PREVIEW OF ANEW...



ANEW
My childhood was confusing to say the least. It took years to bury the urge to rip out the throats of my siblings and even longer to understand why I had such urges. Don’t get me wrong now, I acquired a few injuries myself by the hands of my younger brothers. And I say younger, because, they look younger, due to vampires/ human hybrids having a slower age progression than werewolves. My brothers were special because they were born vampires. They would age at a slower rate until they hit maturity and then become frozen like the rest of their kind. And what made them special was their ability to stand in the sun, eat human food and they required less intake of blood.  My brothers weren’t unique, it had long since become a sensation to create these vampiric beings. The law prohibiting the mating with human women was lifted and instead there was a limit placed on the act. There is speculation that the vamp government thought it a great way to grow their own spies. These children would be able to infiltrate human society in a way vampires never had been able to before. The youngest of my brothers is about six years older than I am. The good thing about my life was that I was the only girl and because of this our father paid special attention to me. He wanted a daughter, and he got one; me.
Werewolves reproduced naturally just as humans and any other animal did. I was born from my mother directly unlike with Vampires who had to use surrogates. All of my vampire brothers had different mothers. This was due to the fact that if a human woman chose to give birth to a vampire, she had only two options; become a vampire herself, or die. I never asked about their mothers, I just knew that they weren’t around and I used it as comfort that I wasn’t the only unwanted child in the house. I figured either they traded their children for eternity of youth or they decided that they were unable to make the change. My father came to have five sons, well above the limit of two offspring. He wanted a girl and simply refused to stop until he had gotten it. Unfortunately he only seemed capable of male offspring.
His age and power won him leniency with the vampire government but eventually he was ordered by the elders to cease his explorations. He was drawing far too much attention to the clan and, that is when our father sought to find another way to satisfy his need for a female heir. Years before, my adopted father saved my birth father’s life. It was told to be an ugly battle between vampire and wolves and for whatever reason, my father chose to spare the life of the man who would one day aide in fulfilling his greatest desire, hence the previously mentioned debt. When he found out about me, it took him no time at all to put in his request for payback.
At first, I was hurt to find out that I had been so easily handed off, and to the enemy at that. That hurt grew to anger due to the avoidance of my father, he refused to give me a proper explanation for what had occurred. Any time I asked he would wave me off telling me that I shouldn’t be concern with matters of “Ancient history.” This of course was always before he would send me off to another class, once in the most ironic of fashions it was to my history class! I very nearly called him out on that but decided it best not to. I decided that the only way to get the closure or satisfaction I needed, was to go and find my birth parents and confront them myself. I would never be able to get pass it until I could ask them how they were able to  toss me aside. This was my first mistake.
 



Discovery


Chapter 1

Marc has always been my favorite brother because he was the only one who I ever really connected with and the only one that didn’t make me feel like a complete and total outsider. The others learned to tolerate my presence, but they never truly accepted me as one of them. Marc was favored because he was the first born and I got additional attention because I was the only girl so it made sense that we were both alienated by the others who wanted nothing more than for our father to show them the same level of care and attention that he did to two of us. They hated Marc, but I got the bulk of their anger because in their eyes I was receiving love that they felt I did not deserve, love that didn’t belong to me. There was a flaw in their logic though, it wasn’t that our father loved me more, he possessed me in a way he hadn’t them. He acquired me after so many years of failing to create his girl, once he had me, he was never going to step too far away for fear that I may vanish. He was obsessed with having a daughter, and he got one.
I approached Marc one Friday after training. It was the perfect time to approach because there was no one around and that hardly ever happened in our house. We all had to attend three hours of rigorous physical combat training every day after home studies, except on Saturdays. That day, we were allowed what father called Exploration. This was a time when we left the safety of the nest, and blended into the world as normal kids. Because of their hybrid status, the sun did no physical harm to them unless they spent too much time in it. If they did it would result in a massive headache that if gone untreated or if the exposure was prolonged, could result in a fatality.
“Marc, I have sort of a difficult question to ask you.” I sat down next to my brother at the small dining table in the corner of our kitchen. It was Marc’s favorite place to eat. He hated the grand (oversized) table that sat in the large dining room just outside of the kitchen.
“What’s that?” Marc bit into his steak sandwich which was rare…really rare, and took a long slurp of his blood soda. Blood soda was really just a mixture of your run of the mill bag-o-blood and carbonation. It just gave it a fizzy taste, like drinking a coke. My brothers claim that it’s absolutely delicious, I wouldn’t really know as this was not a part of my daily diet regimen.
“Will you help me find them?” I fidgeted with my hands, afraid of what his answer would be. He had no reason to help me. Yes we were close, but that didn’t mean that he would be willing to take the risk of getting caught by our father doing something that would clearly go against everything he would ever want us to be doing. I was sure that he would have been completely against my pursuit.
“Yeah, sure,” he took another huge chomp out of his sandwich that sent a piece of steak flying across the room. He plucked it out of the air and popped it into his mouth. Marc always ate like that, messy and on the verge of truly disgusting but he was proud of his beastly manners.
“You don’t even know who I’m talking about. You may want to wait for an explanation.” I snagged one of the chips off of his plate being sure to aim for one that was nowhere near the pool of blood that leaked from his sandwich.
“I know who you are talking about. I saw your papers and your computer which you always leave open and unprotected. You know if you were trying to be secretive, I’d suggest you put in just a tad more effort. You do live in a house full of vampires after all.” He laughed and pulled his plate further away from me. He knew me well, chip addict that I was, he would have very few of the salty snacks left if they remained within my reach.
“Okay, so you know I want to find my birth parents and you’re still willing to help me. Why?” I asked him as I stood from the table to grab my own bag of chips from the cabinet above the large stainless steel refrigerator.
“Yeah, I am. I don’t see  a reason why I shouldn’t help you.” He turned in his seat and leaned his back against the table so that he could see me. Obtaining chips always took a bit of added effort because I was shorter than everyone in the house and they never took my small stature into account when stocking my favorite chips. I could hear him laughing beneath his breath as I pulled the step stool over to aid me in my efforts.
“Okay, but, you know what that means, right? We would have to cross over into their territory, which isn’t exactly the safest thing for you to do. Besides, father would be furious if he ever found out what we were up to.” I finally snagged my chips and returned to the table.
“Yeah, I am aware of all of the risk; give me some credit little sister. Don’t worry, I can handle myself. So, we leave tomorrow.” He winked at me, stood from the table and left the room laughing and chewing on the last of his sandwich before giving me another chance to question his decision making skills.
We spent the night preparing for our trip and had to act in more of a stealth mode as we were no longer alone in the house and could not speak or act freely. Using my stolen map, I showed Marc the areas of wolf territory that I had eliminated as possibilities through both general knowledge from our father and the little we were taught in our studies. We packed our bags and tried to get some rest. I managed to get a whopping 30 minutes, at most. The only thing I could think of when we headed out at the crack of dawn was how thankful I was that dear old dad loved to spend his summers in other countries, mostly ones with a cooler climate. If he were home, we would not have made it to the door before he figured out what we were up to and stopped us. We still had to be careful because he had his minions watching over us. They however tended to slack on the weekends especially after a Friday night of binge bloodletting and drinking whatever spirits the kitchen hand would release to them.
A definite advantage that comes with being supernatural is having supernatural speed. A trip that would have taken an entire day for a human took only a few hours for us. We left our house just before the sun began to rise, and were standing on the outskirts of wolf territory by nine o’clock. It was me who caused the hesitation; not Marc. If it wasn’t for my reservations, he would have continued on, unfazed by what we could possibly be facing. I suggested that we stop and take time to eat and hydrate our bodies. Moving at top speed for an extended period of time really takes its toll. This time, Marc drank straight from a blood bag, and I enjoyed a nice thick cut steak with my elixir.
Oh, my elixir let me explain about that. Father had it made special for me. A witch he claims is a friend concocted the potion as a way to extend my life so that I could be around longer. Vampires lives were basically limitless. Werewolves, though their lives are long, do die of old age. The oldest living wolf I had heard of was 200 years old and even the legends had only made it to about 300. Father was near 800 years old and to a few vampires he was actually considered to be a youngster. This was a difference that our father was unable to accept because he had done so much to obtain me and he wanted to keep me around, so he asked for the witch’s help. So, every morning with my first meal, I drink the elixir. It took me a while to get used to the flavor, truth be told I only ever got to a level of aggravated tolerance for the stuff. It is pungent, and a leaves a horrible after taste that tends to linger far longer than I ever want it to. I chase my elixir with a grape soda to help erase the taste faster. We pack up and Marc is already feeling fully energized. I claim that I need more time. I crack make a smart remark about how vamps recover faster than wolves but I’m lying and he knows it, but he allows it.
“So, when are you going to admit to me that you’re scared?” Marc asked as he tossed what seemed like the hundredth stone across the field. Each one pierced the side of a tree and stuck there. I imagined needing the Jaws of Life to get them out.
“I am not!” I indignantly kicked at the rocks beneath my feet.
“Yes you are. And, the sooner you admit it, the sooner we can deal with it and move on. We can’t stay out here all day Kendra.” I saw him wince a bit; the headache must have been setting in. For a vampire, he had been sitting in the sun for far too long already.
“Yeah, okay, so what? Maybe I am afraid. I don’t know what we’re walking into Marc. What if they don’t want to see me? What if they don’t like me? I mean, I can’t imagine too many of them being happy to be around the ‘enemy wolf’. I was raised by and with vampires. I am not exactly a part of their pack.”
“Whatever the outcome will be, you need to do it, which was very obvious to me or I wouldn’t be here. Besides, it’s not that bad if they don’t want or like you, you already have a home.” He made his statement as he headed off to cross the borderline.
I followed him, knowing that he wouldn’t stop for further discussion. He inherited his stubborn streak from Father. I knew he would never let me turn around. That was the thing about Marc; once he set his mind to something, he never turned back. It would be done, no matter what he had to do to make it happen.
It took another hour of travel through the forest that guarded the wolf territory. Their eyes and ears were all on us once we stepped on their land. They knew we were there and they were paying close attention, but no one approached us. I took that as a good sign. At least the locals were not hostile, so far.
When we broke free of the woods our feet landed on cobble stone. It felt like we were taking a trip back in time. This place reminded me of something out of a movie; a depiction of life lived long ago. I was told that werewolves lived simple lives, but this seemed a bit extreme.
“I bet you they don’t even own cell phones here.” Marc snickered as we walked down the road.
Ahead of us was a town with brick buildings. I imagined each of the houses having fireplaces. Ours did not, we had central heating. That of course, was never used. I usually had the air conditioning running, and to answer your next question, yes, even in the winter. That thing about a wolves body temperature running hot, well it’s true. Some days, if I hold a piece of ice, it will melt in seconds. It gets really uncomfortable, especially in the summer.
We walked at a normal speed as we took in our surroundings, the eyes were still there. They sat off in the distance. But, I saw each and every pair. It seemed as though there were hundreds, I told myself I was over reacting.
“You see them right?” I asked Marc.
“Yes, and hear, and smell. They don’t seem to be interested in any attack.” He looked at his watch to check the time. We had a curfew to keep to and our layover in the field did not help our schedule.
“Let’s hope it stays that way.” I nervously stated back.
We scoured the town, and asked whoever we ran into about my birth parents. No one had anything to say, but it was clearly a conspiracy. I had to have been a cover up. In a pack, they are all mentally connected, they fed off each other’s energy and we able to check in on one another even if they were on the other side of the globe. How could they not know? It quickly became clear that the answers to my questions weren’t unknown. For whatever reason, they were all holding back, there were all keeping this secret from me. Were they told to do so? Were they warned that if I ever came near they should lie and quickly get away? That is exactly what happened with each encounter, we would get a nervous “I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about that”, and then they would quickly depart our company.
By the time the sun started to descend, I had nothing. We ate one more meal. This time Marc actually enjoyed his steak sandwich with his blood. We packed up and left. The return trip was depressing. By the time we made it home, I had dissolved into an emotional wreck. I went to my room and hid out. I cried as well, and I cried out loud. There was no use in trying to hide it. In a house full of vampires, I knew everyone could hear, but I did not care.
It was the next day, as we walked from studies to training that Marc approached me.
“So,” He whispered. “I think we better try a different tactic next time around.”
“What do you mean next time? What makes you think there is going to be a next time Marc? Those people clearly aren’t going to give us any information.” I stopped in my tracks and stared at the sky. I wished I had wings so that I could fly away to escape the rejection I felt.
“We try a different town, a different approach. Someone will tell us something.” He winked and left, in his usual way. He rarely ever gave me time to debate him, not that it would do any good.
Marc took over from that point. I was left out of all the details. He studied my research, and concocted a new plan. I became unnecessary. This was actually a good thing after the first attempt; I would have been useless anyway. I would have just accepted the defeat and not gone any further. That is why I asked for Marc’s help in the first place. I knew that when Marc sets his mind on something he stays committed. He was now determined, where my confidence was swaying me towards giving up, he never faltered.
The week passed all too quickly for me. Saturday morning was upon us. This time Marc thought it best if we drove he was also somehow able to get us a weekend pass from Father. Apparently we were going on a road trip with some human pals and were not expected to return until Monday. Trying to avoid spending so much time in the open sun like on our last trip, he decided to use an entrance further from the forest. That last headache nearly put him out but being inside of the car would help as he made sure to choose one with heavily tinted windows.
We drove the border of wolf territory and ended up on the exact opposite position the first point of entry we used on our first useless attempt at gaining answers. It wasn’t until we were there that he chose to fill me in on the rest of the details of his brilliantly constructed plan. That was also the moment when I wanted to punch him in the face for being such an idiot! I was able to hold back, barely.
What was his big plan? Wait until you hear this one! He would go into town, pick a fight, and because he was a vampire he would be captured. Then, I would have to come in and plead his case by telling my story, and hope for the best.  Hope for the best! That was his actual finishing statement! I could have killed him right then. The only problem in his ‘plan’ was that there were too many opportunities for errors to be made. We had no way of knowing how they would react to a vampire and I didn’t want to take the chance of him getting hurt, or worse! Some wolves wouldn’t wait for an explanation or for a wolf to show up and vouch for the intruder.
“What if it doesn’t work that way Marc? What if they just kill you on the spot? They might not take time to step back and ask questions. You know, the old kill first, ask questions later bit?” I balled my fist and punched the dashboard. “This was a stupid plan!”
He thought about it for a moment, and then simply replied, “Well, that would suck. And my plan isn’t stupid, but if you can come up with another solution, be my guest.” He leaned back in his seat and waited.
“We have to find another way. Or better yet, give up and go on that road trip. Why waste the free pass?” As I turned to look at the map and reevaluate the situation, I heard his door slam shut. “Damn it Marc!” I yelled at the blurred image of his body running toward the town.
I immediately jumped from the car and followed his path. I knew I would never catch him before he was able to set his plan into action. I just hoped I could get there before anything happened to him and I hoped like hell that he didn’t get himself killed. How was I supposed to explain that to our father? Daughter or no, he would not be happy about losing his first born. I managed to make it there just as the death blow was coming down from above his head.
“Stop!” I yelled into the crowd. Marc was on his knees surrounded by the people of the little town and they were all in wolf form. I didn’t understand why, but mid run, I shifted into my wolf form. It was something that I rarely ever did, but I knew that with this pack, or any other for that matter, if I wanted to be taken seriously, I needed show them some respect. And I had to show that we were on common ground, I was like them. Yes, I was an outsider, but I was still one of their own even if none of them would admit it.
I came to a stop just between Marc and the wolf that was bearing down on him. The large wolf had sleek black fir. His scent was strong, not the Alpha by far, but higher up in rank than the other wolves that surrounded us. Great, Marc just had to pick the big bad wolf. Literally!
I stood still as the large wolf approached me, custom as I had read it would be to allow him to assess me before things went any further. He sniffed me, eyed my body intently and then turned up his nose. Apparently he was not too pleased by what he found, I held back the urge to snort or show any other type of an attitude problem. I also knew that this was not a good start and that I had to change the way things were going or Marc was sure to be dead. I would most likely be next in line for termination. I took a submissive position by bowing my head slightly in an attempt to show the wolf that I meant him no harm. I second guessed this decision, was it wise to appear as weak to this male? Maybe he wouldn’t take me seriously. And this is exactly why wolves shouldn’t be raised by vampires; they were two completely different worlds. I remembered father telling me that some wolves’ found it enticing to make an example of a wolf that seemed weak and was disrespected by the pack. I hoped like hell that the one who was still sizing me up wasn’t one of those wolves.
There was no way for us to communicate in wolf form since I was not bonded with this pack, so all I had to offer was my body language.  Every movement had to be carefully executed.
Once he determined that I was no threat to him or his pack, he shifted to his human form. He stood in front of me completely naked, and looked at me expectantly. He was offering me a chance to plead the cases of both Marc and myself. One by one, following suit, all of the wolves shifted back to human form. I stayed in my wolf skin.
“Is there a problem?” He asked me.
I shook my head no.
“Kendra? I think you need to change back now.” Marc looked around us at some of the faces. My not changing when they did was a form of disrespect. I knew this, but, I was too embarrassed to stand in front of the entire town completely naked. I was ready for any of this so I didn’t even think to take the precautions of keeping my clothing, which were now shredded on the ground back at the spot where I shifted.
“Shift now wolf or pretty boy loses his head!” The head wolf yelled at me. He seemed to be losing his patience and was quickly becoming more irritated the longer I hesitated.
I took in a deep breath, closed my eyes and allowed my wolf form to wash away. I waited for the laughter, but it never came. In fact there were a few deep intakes of breath. The appreciative kind, mixed with some that were more out of misperception. I forced myself to open my eyes. In front of me stood the man who was just mocking me, with his mouth wide open, and his eyes looking as if they would pop from his head at any second. And there was that embarrassment I was afraid of. What the hell were they looking at?
“What is she?” A young woman asked from among the crowd. This was a question I was not expecting to hear. I was a wolf, like them, what else could I have been? They saw me shift from girl to wolf and back. I didn’t understand how that left room for confusion.
“I don’t know.” He turned to the crowd. “Leave now. All of you go home.”
Silently they all left, as commanded and without protest. This left Marc on his knees and me standing there naked. Suddenly the level of my embarrassment heightened .as many eyes turned to just two pair and they were both focused on me.
“What are you?” The man seemed to grow in size as he questioned me. His body rippled with the start of a change. It looked as if he was preparing to attack me and I still had no idea why.
“What do you mean? She’s a wolf like you!” Marc stood and spoke up for me, because I was still too shocked to do it for myself.
“I do not know what she is, but a wolf she is not!” He growled at Marc, daring him to make a move.
“What do you mean?” I looked in his eyes and could see that he was being honest. That this was not just a tactic used to mess with my head. “You saw me shift!”