Monday, December 7, 2015

Your Journey is Your Own

Often times, in this age of constant connection, we find ourselves comparing our lives to those around us. A lot of times, we don’t even realize that we are doing it. We see the posts of awesome vacations, and career advancements, we click through wedding photos, birthday albums and are met with happy faces. We’re happy for those around us but then, there is another side of that. For those who find that they are not truly happy with their own lives, there comes a moment of despair.
There comes the building of three lists in your mind. In one column you have the things you wished to accomplish in your life, in the next you have the things that you have actually managed to accomplish which, if you’re this kind of person, is significantly shorter than the first. Then you compare that list to what you see on your screen when looking at the lives of others. Their list seems so much greater than yours.
The problem with this is that you can’t possibly know what that person is going through, what they have and will face. You can't know that those columns of things they hoped for and things that they actually achieved aren't just as uneven as yours. And what if it isn’t? What if they have achieved everything they set out for? It doesn't matter!
Your journey, your life is your own and not equal to or comparable to anyone else's.

Why am I writing this?

Simple, I was (am) that person. I woke up one day and realized just how unhappy I was with my life. Just how unsatisfied I had become. That tends to happen when you shift into autopilot. Granted, even in the sedated way of living, I have achieved a lot, significantly more than a lot of the people around me, (which is also a cue to change the people around you) and for that I am proud. Still, I stopped to think, I asked myself a question that has started a change in my life that I am so eager to explore. What more could I do if I actually worked harder, put more into my passions and took over the steering wheel of my life again?

You may notice that above there was that word ‘am’ in parentheses. Why? Well, I am still growing as a person and learning that I need to focus on me. Once you get into a habitual pattern of life, a way of thinking, you have to train yourself, constantly, daily, minute by minute, not to slip back into that. Over time, it becomes easier. Soon it will happen automatically and you won’t even realize it but in the beginning, it will be the hardest thing you have to do.

What I did/am doing to help that change occur.

  1. Limiting time on social media. I have cut my time down to an hour a day where before it was easily 4 to 5 hours of staring at the screen on my computer or phone. This time was supposed to be used productively but more often than not, I was just scrolling and seeing what everyone else was up to. There is no way that anyone can advance to that happiness that they seek, that fulfillment, if they are wasting that much time on absolutely nothing. I use that hour strategically and plan my actions before logging on. What posts will I make? Who will I check in with? What information do I need to get caught up on? This eliminates the allure of the infinite scroll. I set a time so that I am alerted 5 minutes before my hour is up. If I have missed anything on my checklist, I refocus and get it done! Some days I will chop my time up between morning and evening if that works best for what I need to accomplish, but I add that time up to reach and not exceed one hour.
  2. Daily affirmations. Every day I have a list of affirmations that I recite first thing in the morning, throughout my day, and before I go to bed. These sayings help me to stay focused, to keep a positive attitude and have generally lifted my spirits. I feel a rise in my physical energy. What I didn't realize was the weight that negative thinking can have on the physical body. You feel heavier, sluggish, and just want to hide from the world. Affirmations are positive reinforcements that help eliminate that feeling. I included some positive quotes from books I have been reading, and also things that mentors have said. Whatever words have inspired you, write them down and keep them. If they inspired you once, they will again.
  3. Setting goals and planning action. I was the queen of making a plan and not seeing it through. I would outline exactly what I wanted to do, take the first few steps towards that and then give up. This happened regardless of the success of my actions. This has been the hardest for me to change. (I implemented a few affirmations that challenge me to face this problem head on.) So now my goals, my plans are broken down in increments that I check off daily. I spend a half hour to an hour each night refocusing and taking in any progress or setbacks. When I wake up each morning I review what I need to accomplish that day. This tip was given to me by a close friend and I also read it in the book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by John C. Maxwell.  It's not enough to just dream up a goal, you have to make that goal a realistic one and then make a plan that is one you can actually implement without feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Congratulate others and leave it at that. Do not dwell on what others are going through, what they have done. Be happy for those around you and accept that they have a life that is not your own. Their challenges and triumphs are different from your own. Reach out and tell those people how awesome they are (because everyone can use this positivity) and use their success as not a damper on your own progress but as an added motivation.
  5. Journaling.  Writing helps to refocus, to highlight progress as well as areas that need more work. It's a way to purge your mental and emotional self I journal right before bed and I find that it really helps to relax my mind and makes restorative sleep easier to achieve. When I do this, I sleep better and longer and wake up more refreshed. It just isn’t so hard to get up out of bed and get moving.

My journey to growth is ongoing, but I wanted to take a moment to share what I have learned and hopefully inspire someone else to take a step towards their own growth.
When I first started this author life, this sharing of my creative productions, I said that I wanted to share my journey with the world. This is my journey, one of self-exploration and growth. Once again I invite you to join me as I strive to become a more fulfilled me.

We only get one life, why waste it worrying about what others are doing with theirs?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Research, research, and more

Recently, I have found myself flailing...again. What do I mean? I hit a good run and then boom, plateau. This has been a steady thing for me. Over the past few years I've noticed this pattern. I'm not consistent enough. This must change, but old habits die hard as they say.
I'm diving into a serious of books, sessions, and networking events which I will post reviews and updates about here for whoever to see. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling a bit flustered. My book babies are doing well. Much better than the past, but now is the time to push harder and forge ahead.

Update on projects:

The Fire Within is with Beta readers! Round one brought back some amazing feedback and I'm am so thrilled with the process. I love how much my writing has improved and I love it even more when readers confirm that.

The Sighted Series is now in full motion. Book two, which will be a lot longer than the first, is under way. I'm spending time now reading the first portion (and doing a bit of cleaning on the file as I go) to get back in tune with all of the characters. Book two will be awesome! I'm thrilled to get back into the world of ghost and ghouls.

Nia & Knight has stalled a bit because I intended for this to be a non paranormal read but... Damn it if vampires aren't lurking in the corners. Now I'm struggling with where to go with it. I'll give it a few weeks, let it simmer but I'm sure the true nature of these #cagedfantasies will come out to play. Hell, its been a while since I've written about blood suckers anyway.

Check back in later!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Award Winning Author.... who... ME?

As I review the final pages of Siren's Test which is due to release in October of this year, I get a message that went along the lines of, "Congrats on your award!". To which I responded, "I won an award?" Yes, complete and utter confusion. It would seem that the daring move I took just 6 months ago actually paid off!

I entered my book, Siren's Call (The Siren Series, book 1) into the Readers Favorite International Award Competition for 2015.... and  it WON! Silver Medal, 2nd place for MY book baby, Siren's Call. I could hardly contain my joy. Of course I said I would hold off on sharing the news and of course only moments later would I blasted the pages, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook... with the amazing news. How could I not? I was eager to share it. This is my first major award for my work. Yes I have been nominated time and time again but never have I actually walked away with a prize. This time, I did just that!

Excuse for a moment the picture. This was all I could capture before the site got bogged down with heavy traffic and it became impossible for me to log back in and get a proper screen shot. BUT there it is! Silver Medal Winner!!!!  As I move into this next phase of my writing, tiptoeing into a new genre, this gives me such joy and motivation. The way I feel with what I am working on now is exactly how I felt while writing Siren's Call and just look at how great that turned out! 

I am so proud right now, so filled with joy! Yay again for Siren's Call!!! 

Award winning author....Yeah BABY!!!! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Introducing Jessica Victoria

Introducing... Jessica Victoria

As I grow as an author I want to explore different voices. Jessica Victoria is a new pen name under which I will write. Under this name I will publish works of fiction that are not Paranormal. I will also continue to publish under Jessica Cage but this way I wont confuse readers when they pick up a book expecting vampires and wolves and find a romantic page turner with undertones of hilarity. 

What to expect from Jessica Victoria?

An echo of my life as a single woman in my twenties to begin with. I will also be exploring the world of comedy. I love being able to laugh and make others laugh so to be able to now do that with my writing is an amazing opportunity. If you have read any of my books (and if you haven't just click up ahead fror links), you may have already noticed a bit of my silly side within the pages. Well now you will get much more of that with some sass, romance, and a bit of heat. 

i am so excited for this new change in my journey and even more excited to be able to share it with all of you!

A bit of Nia & Knight. The first book to be expected from Jessica Victoria...

Nia & Knight

Let me start first by saying this... I am done with dating. I'm tossing my hat out the window, take away my dance card. This shit is for the birds!

How many time had I heard those words slip through my lips and not even I believed them my damn self? Why didn't I believe my own proclamation? I'm one of those people who wants love. I want to be loved and to be loving all up on someone. I want romance and comfort. Fancy nights out and lounging on the couch, I want all of that. The problem is that I have a hideous track record when it comes to dating. I keep attempting to do better, be more selective, Think Like A Man, but none of that has worked for me thus far.

Here I am nearing 30 and still single. All of my friends, well most of them, are either in steady relationships or heading down the aisle. I can't tell you how many wedding invitations I have gotten in just the last few months alone. It's ridiculous! It's like they are all tossing their happy little lives in my face and then asking me to fork over upwards of $200 on a damn dress and gift. The nerve!  But dammit if that isn't exactly what I want to be doing to their asses.

I'm just tired of the struggle. They say that there are so many fish in the sea but most of them are not worth the time it takes to bait the hook. Okay so yeah I'm going to do a bit of complaining along the way. I'll tell of some of the crappy dating scenarios I've been in and  oh... you are going to laugh. This story however isn't about all that. This story is about how I met the one. My name is Nia and dammit if I didn't find my Knight!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Forever A Dreamer

When I was a child I told tall tales. Things that made me feel better about my life, my existence. I lost my father at an early age, my mother was single and did the best she could. My imagination stepped in to make up for the things I felt were lacking in my life. I wanted better things, experiences and because of that I lived a large part of my life in a fantasy land.

As I got older I stopped telling those tales. I kept them to myself and held them internally. They became the bed times stories I told myself on nights when I found it hard to fall asleep. They were also translated to paper, notebook after notebook filled with the fantasies of a little girl who just wanted to feel connected to something more. A girl who wanted to be able to say that there was something more to life than the loss she had experienced.

Now as an adult I still tell myself those tales, I still dream big and want for so much more magical. Now those dreams and tales are translated to stories that I can share with the world. In some way I feel fulfilled because of this. I used to be ashamed of my imagination, that my brain would have me experiencing things and places I could never truly fathom going to. Now, I realize just how wonderful that is. I hurt no one with those tales, (perhaps I hurt myself because some people just never knew the real me) and I would never tell a story that would intentionally hurt another person. At the end of the day I lived my life morally and I am proud of that.

A recent experience has taught me that not all of myself, my secrets, my dreams can be shared with everyone, even those who I may have felt were so close to my heart. It also taught me something more about myself. I will forever be a dreamer, forever a person who looks for something more mystical from life. If  that will be held against me, so be it. I will not allow anyone, no matter how close they may have been to me in the past, to step on that part of me or ever have me second guess that. I am who I am. My past, that girl who fantasize about living a life beyond what she had, is a big part of why I am an author and why I strive to put my work in the hands of accepting readers.

I will forever be a dreamer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

When Destiny Calls - An Anthology

I am so thrilled to announce that I am  a part of another anthology led by Lara Henley.

When approached to take part in this project I was instantly excited. What a cool idea to create a collection of stories all centered around the same character but having that character told through the eyes of authors of different genres. How similar would they be, and different! The character is loosely formed to give each person a bit of freedom to roam. Each story starts the same way... with the ringing of a phone.

In this anthology are 5 authors including myself.

One woman, one phone call, five different paths. Find out where the minds of five authors all of different genres take the world of Faith. When destiny calls, you have but one choice, you must answer.

In the world of Elizabeth Faith Wayne, the nation moves towards war with the Fae after the cataclysm in Gettysburg that cost millions of lives. The necromancer, Vesik, is forming a plan. He will not stand against the tide alone. Here unfolds the tale of one who would fight

A new city, the start to a new life after so many years in school...and then my phone rang. I'd never known the rumors about things that went bump in the night were actually true. That perfect life I'd been carving out for myself, well that wouldn't be happening. A random phone call and being taken by a hot guy in a dark tunnel, what could possibly go wrong?

From the time I was a little girl growing up in my parents house, I knew I wasn't what you would call normal. Knowing this I still conducted my life as normally as I could keeping my fantasies to myself. That was until I met this dark and mysterious man that I knew would take me down a dark path. What I didn't know is how much I'd enjoy it.

Faith ran away from life two years ago, losing herself in easy living on a small private island. Kyle walks through life alone, a traveling soldier protecting others. What happens when rules are broken and two hearts collide for only one night?

Two months ago my life wasn’t perfect but I knew what I wanted. I knew who I wanted and I knew what I would have to do to get him. What I would have to do to have him to myself. I never expected my life to change so much in such a short space of time.
Who would have thought that someone’s death could change the course of my life so dramatically?

Get your copy free today on!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Promoting and Marketing is Key!

I have never hidden the fact that this journey for me is definitely one of learning as I go. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started and over the years I have learned many important things. One of those things is that Marketing and Promoting your books is absolutely pertinent to the success of those books. Of all of my book babies Siren's Call has been the one I have done the most legwork with. This last month I did a bit of a a test. I made the decision to put more of my efforts toward promoting my work this year and so I put out a few promotion spots for Siren's Call. I noted when each spot went live and how it affected sales and ranks.

Through Amazon's Author Central I was able to track the progress of the book and see what happened. I am sure there will be no surprise in what I found...

I don't think it is at all a shocker that during the time I completely stopped promoting this book the rank dropped drastically but the moment those sites started to produce the ads I placed and send out my book in emails... It jumped. No I am still not a top 100 ranker. And no I didn't expect that as I didn't use one of those instant over night placements but for the little I did and on the small networks I used this is a major improvement. At its lowest point, Siren's Call came in at #529,671  ... which is basically at the level of invisibility for books and to think there are some lower, ranked in the MILLIONS! (I have been there and one or two of my titles are there now.)BUT the next day with promoting jumped up to #28,395. Sales were in the double digits and I was doing a happy dance. Trust me there was fear that I had gone out and spent money and wouldn't get a hint of return on investment and sometimes that is the case in the game. 

It looks like the saying is still true (as if there were any doubt)... You gotta spend money to make money!

Promote! Promote! Promote! 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jeremiah - Cover Reveal and Chapter 5

So Excited to Reveal the Cover for my next Release JEREMIAH, The Alphas, book 2

If you have been keeping up with the story, here is just a bit more...

Breakfast was large and very much needed after all of the energy he’d used the night before. They sat in a diner, eating in silence and ignoring the stares from the human population. They cleared plate after plate of food and had no intentions to stop anytime soon. As he waved the waitress to bring more bacon he stood from the table. She went into action, the cook already prepared with another platter.
“I’ll be right back, I need to check with my contacts.” He started to walk away then stopped. “Don’t eat my bacon.” He grinned and she flipped him off.

“What is his status?” Jeremiah spoke into his cell as he walked down the street and smiled at an older woman who winked in his direction.
“Not, good. It’s progressing a lot faster than we first thought. I haven’t seen anything like this before. It seems to be actually  mutating.” The voice of his informant seemed hesitant.
“Will the antidote still work?” Jeremiah was already agitated. He didn’t need anything else to worry about.
“Yes, it should, but you need to get there fast man.”
“Alright, I am about a day away from him.” Jeremiah looked over his shoulder, there was nothing there but he was quickly becoming uncomfortable with the idea of staying in the town.
“Faster, J,” the nervous voice urged.
“Got it.” He hung up the phone and stared off in the distance. Something was there, hiding just beyond his range of view, whatever it was wouldn’t be able to catch him. He’d make damn sure of that.

Jeremiah reentered the diner just in time to see Tatiana stuffing three pieces of his bacon into her mouth. He returned to his seat and stared at her in disbelief.
“Really?” He laughed and shook his head.
“Oops.” She grinned at him and laughed but stuffed another two pieces into her mouth.
“Yeah, right. Well finish filling yourself. We have to move and fast.” He signaled for the waitress to bring the check. Which she did nervously. He could tell that she had assumed he would be pissed at the outrageous amount of the bill. $150 on breakfast, he shrugged, he thought it would be more. He sat two $100 bills on the table with the check.
“No good news I assume.” Tatiana finished off her orange juice.
“Yeah, my brother, he is getting worse and faster than expected.”
“Really?” She cleared her last plate of food. “I’m sorry to hear that. How far away are we?”
“Too far. We still have at least another day of traveling thanks to me taking the detour. I wanted to get them off our tail but now we need to shoot directly into Texas.” He cleared the rest of his food as well, he would let no morsel go to waste and they needed all the fuel they could get.
“Yeah, that is where my pack is.” He racked his mind for a moment. He was sure after all the time they had spent together he’d told her of his origins. All he could remember was dancing around the subject until she’d eventually given up her questioning,
“Oh?” she wiped her mouth. “Who is the Alpha there?”
“It was a moron named Vincent, but I heard he got chopped down. If my intel is correct, Sirus took over.” Jeremiah stood from the table.
“Oh,” Tatiana could feel her heart slam to a halt. He couldn’t say it, he wouldn’t speak this into reality. His brother couldn’t be who she thought it was. But Malcom had been away from that pack. He wouldn’t be there and he wouldn’t be hurt, so there was nothing to worry about.
“Malcom is there, he is real sick.” He frowned.
“Oh,” there it was, that name. She stood up and stepped away from him. 
“Are you okay?” He reached out to touch her arm but she started heading for the door.
“Yeah, I’m fine, sorry. We should get going.” She hurried out of the diner and back to the Inn. As she gathered her things she couldn’t help but think about Malcom. She thought about the last time she saw him when he told her to go into hiding. She thought about him helping her get into the vampire’s house to kill the bitch who ended her sister’s life. She thought about the night they spent together, and the table that was still marked by her claws, a result of their heated encounter and her taking advantage of him sexually. Fuck! She slept with them both, brothers?! How was she supposed to know when neither of them ever mentioned a brother to her? It was nowhere in Malcom’s history and she had done her research on him thoroughly before allowing him near her pack’s territory.
They left quickly and Jeremiah handed the owner a wad of cash before apologizing for the damage done. The woman looked nervous, and he imagined what her expression would be once she actually saw the condition of the room. . They returned to the edge of the woods where they stripped, strapped on their packs and let their wolves free.
Straight line to Texas, they ran. Jeremiah tried to slow himself down. He was more than capable of outrunning Tatiana but he couldn’t leave her behind. They would still be able to shave off some serious time at her pace. He would get there in time. He had to.
They ran through the day and into the night. About an hour after the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, the scent of death slammed into his nose just moments before they knocked Tatiana to the ground. Fucking vampires always wanted to attack when a wolf was mid stride. He should have sensed them sooner but his mind was trained on his task. Never get emotional, that was rule number one but with the condition of his brother deteriorating he had all but lost that battle.
Unfortunately for the blood suckers, he wasn’t in the mood to play around. Five vampires came, five vampires died. He took out four on his own. His wolf had no problem snatching the assholes from the air as they jumped him. His beast reveled in leaving limbs lying across the field, yards away from their torso. He missed it, battle and he let himself enjoy every moment of it. Quickly he cut them down but Tatiana was injured during the fight. During the initial impact, she went down with a hard thud. She’d managed to take care of the one who hit her but she wasn’t able to recover and aid him. She whimpered and limped a bit before falling back to the ground.
“Go ahead without me, I need to heal.” Tatiana held her side and breathed slowly.
“I won’t leave you here.”
“I can handle myself. It’s not the first time I have been injured. I will meet you there tomorrow.” She smiled. “I promise. Your brother needs you and I need time to rest up. Its nothing major but I will definitely slow you down so you have to go.” She paused and waited for him to respond, when he didn’t she repeated herself. “Go.”
Jeremiah helped Tatiana find shelter where she could rest before he took off south towards Texas. He made sure to spread his scent to be sure to throw off anyone who would be looking for her. He would be able to get there in no time. Without having to pace himself he let the mixture of science and magic that pumped through his veins push him forward. In an instant he was gone. Tatiana would heal. Her wounds were not that severe. He told himself this to try to ease the guilt that settled in his stomach as he ran. She was strong, she would be okay.

Check out this SEXY cover! 
Thanks to Kellie Dennis at Book Cover By Design for bringing yet another cover to life! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WIP -Jeremiah - Chapters 3 and 4

The room they held up in was simply that. A small room built in the middle of the woods in a territory that Tatiana told Jeremiah was told to be unsafe. There was no house surrounding it. It was odd in its solidarity and along with the land it sat on, it had been deserted by its people and neither wolf nor vampire went there due to superstitions of the bad luck it would bring. They both joked about how their luck was already in the shitter and that no further harm could possibly come to them. Neither of them believed this to be true, they both knew that things could always get worse. The moment you stopped believing that to be true, was usually the exact point in time that life would chose to prove you wrong. She told him that the most she ever came across while staying there was human teenagers looking to have sex and get drunk. More than a few times she had to sleep outside of her claimed shelter because they would pass out inside after drunken orgies. She’d thought of shifting and scaring the shit out of them but that would open up an entire new can of worms. She had to keep her identity and location unknown.
Tatiana had clearly being holding up in the room for some time. She had food and drink stashed inside of the floor boards along with a few changes of clothes. When she entered the room she’d already had her habits set. Shoes off at the door (he followed suit) jacket on the broken chair and band pulled from her hair allowing it to flow down her back. It had really grown since he last saw her. She usually kept it short for the possibility of battle but he knew more than anyone how life on the run could cause a wolf to change.
“So how long?” He stood by the door barefooted and waiting for her to finish checking her points.
“How long what?” She turned on him and pulled a small cooler from inside of the old chimney.
“How long have you been out here?” He smiled as she handed him a beer that was actually chilled. “How the hell did you manage to get ice out here?”
“I thought we weren’t doing questions.” She cracked a cool one open for herself. “I told you, drunken teenagers. They come and while they sex it up, I raid their stuff. Last night was a big one, at least 20 of them.”
“Interesting, I see you picked a fine spot for yourself here. Curse or not, and yes we weren’t doing questions but you see, I have a way of changing my mind.” He tapped his finger on the side of his head and she cocked her head a bit.
“Yeah well, I haven’t changed mine.” She smirked as his reply. She had to have been imagining it. For a moment he reminded her of the wolf who helped her kill the vampire bitch that had killed her sister. It was the reason she was in hiding. She chalked it up to a still guilty conscious of everything she’d done wrong.
“Come on, Tot.” He pulled another chair from the corner, it was broken as well but looked a lot more stable than the one she’d tossed her jacket on.
“Don’t call me that, Jeremiah. It’s not fair.” She smiled at the old nickname he’d given her.
“How about I go first? I tell you my shame and you tell me yours.”
“Yours had better be good.” She laughed and shook her head in disbelief. Tatiana had never thought she would see him again and now they were casually sipping bears as if no time had passed. She’d thought about what would happen if he ever decided to drop in on her. Time and time again she imagined the scenarios, one day her thoughts would lead her on a sexual encounter full of howls and orgasms. Then there were the days when she needed him more than ever and he was not there for her. Those days she imagined planting her boot in his face. But in that moment, staring across the small bit of ruin that she had claimed for herself to the man who had haunted her for decades, all she could think was how she never wanted him to leave her side again.
“It is, trust me.” He grinned as if he knew exactly where her thoughts had taken her.
“Okay, spill.”
“Long story short, I am headed into the southern territories back to my old pack to save my brother who has fallen ill at the hands a of a beast that has been set free due to my screw up. And if I do save him, my team, the people I have been with all of this time while you thought I had perished, will hunt me down and try to kill me. And I am not 100% sure that they would fail.” He took a long swig of beer and stared at her.
“Well, damn.” She took another swallow from her own beer knowing that his story was worth her exchange. Hell, it may have been better.
“Yeah, now it’s your turn to spill.” He smirked. “Quit stalling.”
She took a deep breath before she spit out her reply as quickly as she could. “I left my pack after I killed a Vamp king’s girlfriend. He is hunting me down and so is my pack now that the Alpha has learned of all of my dirty doings while he was out of town. I doubt they will really harm me, maybe a hard slap on the wrist and possible demotion, but I can’t go back because I can’t risk said Vamp trying to attack the people I love.”
“Well look at us, two shit starters on the run.” He laughed loudly and she responded with her own soft chuckles. It was good to have him back.
The night passed slowly as they shared drinks and stories of the years they spent apart. Both only revealed snippets of that time and left details unspoken because of their own reasons. Neither pressed the issue or tried to dig any deeper for fear that the other would do the same. As the sun broke the horizon Jeremiah watched Tatiana and thought about the past. The light that slipped through the cracks in the walls of the dilapidated building highlighted areas of her skin and his mind slipped further away from the present and a smile crossed his face as he remembered when they were more than just strangers passing in the night. He remembered when she was vulnerable with him and when she allowed herself to be taken by him. He remembered how wild she was and how it took his back three days to heal from the pressure of her claws as he took everything she would give and then challenged her to give him more. That was a time when he still allowed himself to dream of a future, of having a family and loving a strong she-wolf. That was a time when she allowed him to have those fantasies though it was no desire of her own
Now as she lay across from him, in a drunken slumber and wrinkling her nose at his new scent (even unconscious she couldn’t ignore it), he wondered what it all would have turned out to be if he’d taken the chance and stayed with her. Maybe he could have convinced her to be with him, to soften her exterior and to carry his young. Or maybe she could have stopped him from being made into the monster he’d allowed himself to become and from doing the terrible things his team asked of him. It was one of those things he hated that he’d become so good at. He never gave it any thought, he blocked out all forms of his conscious and executed on command, no questions asked. Now his brother had fallen ill at the hands of a beast he felt responsible for unleashing and the woman who held his heart was on the run from her own demons.
She hiccupped causing her chest to jump and the loose fitting button up shirt that she wore fell open just enough that he could see the top of her breast. Still sleeping she lifted her hand to lay it there and he groaned and the corners of her lips lifted just slightly. She was dreaming, of him he hoped. That was all it took, this simple little motion that made his heart tighten in his chest. A memory of when he was able to kiss the corners of that smile, wake her and have her all his own. He was going to have to take her with him. he was sure that it would take hell to convince her of this but it didn’t matter. He’d take her, save his brother and find a way to escape with her at his side.
It was another hour before she woke up and another hour after that before he was allowed to speak above a whisper without her throwing daggers at him with her eyes. She had really hit the bottle hard and he couldn’t help but laugh as she stumbled about. There was a lot more than beer in that cooler and they had all but emptied it. She’d apparently been downgraded to a lightweight in his absence because he could remember times when she had taken down double what she had the night and had no problem at all.
“So when are we heading out?” He asked her nonchalantly knowing that it would never fly by her.
“We?” She turned to him. “I wasn’t aware we were going anywhere. What are you talking about?”
“Look, you are just roaming out here anyway, why not come with me? I could use the back up. And you could use something to actually do with your time besides stealing liquor from horny teenagers.” He struggled to put his boot on without falling on his face. It seemed the liquid spirits had taken a toll on him as well.
“Oh, you need backup to go see your sick brother? What aren’t you telling me?” She looked at him with a suspicion he didn’t understand. Had she forgotten their conversation completely?
“Look drunky, I told you, there is something dangerous out there and I am a part of the reason it is free. I don’t know what I will encounter on my way.” He laughed and shook his head at her.
“And I should take this life threatening trip with my ghost of an ex-lover… why?” She crossed her arms and scowled at him.
“What the hell else are you doing that is so important out here?” He challenged her again with the same logic.
“I guess you have a point there. But, that doesn’t mean I want to go out and battle down some unnamed enemy either. Life is pretty good here, simple.” She smiled, now she was just messing with him but he knew what she wanted. She wanted him to say that he needed her, she wanted him to beg. The woman was evil that way.
“We are stronger together Tatiana. You got my back and I got your. Look at it this way, by moving away it will lead your enemies further away from your pack. Isn’t that what you want? If they are tracking you, they will follow our trail.” He wasn’t going to give her what she wanted, he used logic instead. Plain and simple, she’d respect that, he knew it.
“True.” She dropped her arms and sighed. Jeremiah hadn’t changed, he wouldn’t be begging her for anything any time soon.

“So, when do we leave?” He grinned widely at his victory.

“I have to warn you. My wolf, he’s a different beast now.” Jeremiah chuckled as he watched Tatiana secure her personal items. He didn’t mention to her that it was no need for her to hide anything for safe keeping. She wouldn’t be returning for it, not if he had anything to do with it. He knew it would be best to keep that bit of information to himself. No need to spark another debate that would only delay their progress further.
“He is different in what way? I mean I already know your odor is different.” She wrinkled her nose. “It is going to take a long while to get used to that.”
“Are you saying that I stink?” He sniffed his armpit and frowned at her.
“No, and you know that I would just come out and say it if you did.” She laughed. “Your scent is stronger, almost hypnotic but off-putting at the same time.”
“Ah, I see.” He liked the sound of that, it fit his personality. Draw them in and then kick them to the curb, but not with Tatiana, never with her.
“So, your wolf, tell me how is he different?” She secured her last hatch and followed him out of her temporary home.
“It’s hard to explain.” Once outside he slowly stripped in front of her. He took his time knowing that she would be admiring all of him, and he allowed himself the gentle strokes of his ego. He took even longer packing his possessions into his holder before strapping it to his back. “He is bigger, stronger, and just different than he was before. It’s one of those things you just have to see to believe anyway. First time I saw him, in a mirror, I just stared for nearly an hour. I couldn’t believe it myself. He is actually pretty bad ass.” Jeremiah looked down at his own body and touched his chest. He could feel the beast that was his wolf spirit beating beneath the surface. It was eager to show its face and to impress the she-wolf that stood in wait just a few feet from him.
“Your spider, I’d forgotten about it.” She stepped closer to him and touched the tattoo on his chest. “It’s different now.” Her fingers danced across the legs of the tattoo which was now highlighted in silver etchings. “When did you at the silver to it? How did they do that? It looks like the damn thing is actually shining!” She leaned her head closer to get a better view of it.
“Yeah, science can do wonders.” He took a deep breath to steady himself beneath her touch. Sense memory was a powerful thing and with Tatiana touching him, he was on complete overload.
“Another secret?” she bit her lip and looked up to him.
“No, it isn’t a secret,” he sighed and placed his hand on top of hers. “It’s just a story for another time.”
“Whatever you say, ghost boy.” She moved her hand from beneath his, smacked his chest where the spider lay and started to prep her own pack. Jeremiah had brought an extra one because sometimes his would break in battle. They were pretty durable but when fighting beasts and demons, well there were often casualties other than the living variety. “This thing is pretty damn sweet. They should mass produce these.” She smiled as she strapped the elastic band around her waist.
“Yeah, just don’t break it.” He winked at her and laughed. He’d already taken the time to explain the bags to her while they were drinking the previous night. He had told her a lot about his life without actually revealing anything of substance. “I didn’t bring any more and I doubt I will have easy access to them moving forward.”
Jeremiah wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to tell her the truth about what had happened in their years apart. He knew at some point, if they managed to escape their pasts, he'd tell her everything. There would be nothing he would need to protect her from and he could open up completely to her. He would tell her about the contract he'd foolishly signed, the one that made him a part of the team and erased all evidence of him from existence completely. He would tell her about his decision to allow human scientists with the help of a few witches to experiment on him because at that point in his life he’d felt so lost that it didn’t matter. He would tell her about how he regretted leaving his pack and her behind. He’d also tell her that he’d signed his name on that contract after hearing that nine others had died on their sterile table before it was ever his turn to go under the knife. It was no secret that witches were able to charms that made wolves invincible. They wove their magic into little medallions and hung them around your neck but the moment you took them off, well you became vulnerable again. This experiment, this particular procedure, took the ultimate witch charm and infused it with the wolf’s blood. When Jeremiah woke from the tranquilizers they’d given him to put him under, he knew his life would never be the same again and there simply was no going back from what he’d done.

"Might as well get this over with right?" Jeremiah stepped away from Tatiana. He wanted to put space between the two of them to be sure she didn’t attack him once she saw his new form. Tatiana was a wild wolf in nature. He didn’t think that it would be a good idea to try and see how tamed she had become over the years. He doubted it was very much at all especially after being on her own and relying on her instincts to keep her alive. He kept his eyes trained on her and watched her facial expression and body language for any cues that she would have a negative reaction to him. He’d studied this very thing during his training with the Team, but he knew Tatiana. He didn’t need a text book to know when she would snap. He took a deep breath, stilled himself and slowly allowed his beast to emerge. As his body expanded he focused his attention on her eyes. They would tell him everything he needed to know about what she was thinking or feeling. As his body shifted into his new wolf form, Tatiana’s jaw dropped and her head tilted to the side as if contemplating a puzzle. He wanted to laugh at her expression but thought it best to remain still. His muscles flexed as he wolf showed off for her. It was an involuntary reaction.
It was at that moment he caught the scent that would be confusing to any other but was familiar to him. In his human form they would have gained another hour on them and in Tatiana’s wolf form it would have taken another three for her to notice their approach. They were coming for him, the team. They needed to move quickly and cover their tracks. He thought of keeping this secret from her but remembered the last time he thought it best to do so. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty and it ended in her being hurt. He never forgave himself. Yes, she healed and her injuries were in fact minor but it all could have been avoided had he been honest with her. He gave her the cue to run and she knew he would explain why at a later time. She shed her confused expression and shifted to her wolf.

The two wolves ran for most of the day only stopping to drink water and eat the small lunch Tatiana had packed for them. She followed Jeremiah without question and with the same faith she always had. Once Jeremiah felt they had put a great enough distance between them and their followers he halted. He waited for her to still before returning to his human form. He panted as he watched her do the same. Her skin had a red glow to it from the heat of being in wolf form for such an extended time. He’d forgotten about that, it wasn’t something he had to deal with anymore. Wolves ran hot and the longer your beast roamed the hotter your body became. It would make a weak wolf sick to have run as long as they did. He smiled proud of the fact that outside of the discoloration, Tatiana seemed to be in perfect condition.
“This should be good. We can find shelter. The sun will be setting soon and the vampires will be out. I would prefer to avoid them if at all possible.” He stepped up to her hand ran his hand across her skin. It was warm to his touch.
“You aren’t hot.” She said in a breath of air. “I mean, you are a little warm but nothing like you should be after all of that running.”
“No, I’m not.” He pulled his hand from her reluctantly. He didn’t want her to take offense from his action but he needed to put distance between them after the exertion. He would lose his sense and compromise their position by taking her in the middle of the woods.
“You are really going to have to tell me everything that happened to you.” She smiled as though she understood his thoughts.
“I promise I will one day. Right now, food and rest is what we need.”
“Agreed.” Tatiana looked around them. She could tell that they were near a small human town by the smell of food cooking and her stomach began to growl. “You opposed a real bed tonight? I’m sure there has to be an Inn somewhere near here. I for one am tired of sleeping on the ground.”
“Sounds good to me, as long as we are careful, leave nothing that will lead anyone our way.” He pulled his pants on and looked around to be sure they hadn’t left any tracks. His team wouldn’t need paper trails to find him but they weren’t the only ones after them.
“I think we can manage that. Best if we split up. You can grab a room, and I will get grub.” She smiled as she finished dressing and headed off in the direction of the smell of food.

Jeremiah went directly to the town’s Inn, paid cash for a room using his real name. There was no need to create a false profile. The people searching for him wouldn’t be asking about his name and those looking for Tatiana didn’t know it. Once inside the room, he undressed and quietly shifted to his wolf form. It had taken years of practice but he learned how to slowly allow his wolf to take shape as not to alert anyone of what was happening. It also helped to avoid any costly and unexplainable damage to hotel rooms. He took a quick inhale of the air that passed through the window. He could no longer scent them. He then tapped into a different tracking system, a mechanical one, one he’d had Miguel, the lab tech put in place for him. And thanks to Miguel having quiet the crush on the wolf, the procedure was one that was kept quiet. He could mentally track his former team mates without them knowing it. The only catch was that he had to be in the same form of them at the time of tracking.
He shut the world out and focused on their unique heart patterns and eventually he was able to find them. They’d stopped near the place where he and Tatiana had bunked. By focusing on one at a time he could actually see what they saw, he had the witch’s magic to thank for this handy feature. He hoped they wouldn’t be caught by drunken teenagers. Without him there to reel the wolves in, they would have no issue with killing anyone who caught them in their mutated wolf forms. No, they weren’t as strong as him and they were unable to take on the procedure that Jeremiah had, but they all had their own unique qualities thanks to the witch’s magic. They either lost his scent or had decided to give up their pursuit. He doubted either scenario was true but it would still work in his favor to buy him and Tatiana some time to rest for the night.
After gauging the comfort of their surroundings and finding satisfaction in their choice, he returned to his self and hopped in the shower. He needed to wash the day from him. Hid skin was marked with traces of mud and his nailed were caked with dirt. The run felt great, it had been a while since he’d last let his wolf run for so long. His body felt alive and the shower felt amazing. He heard her come in and smelled the burgers she’d brought with her which prompted him to exit the shower a bit quicker. It wasn’t until he smelled the food in close proximity that he realized just how hungry he was.
“I hope you got enough for the both of us, I eat a lot more than I used to. “ Jeremiah spoke as he stepped out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist.
“I got plenty!” Tatiana lifted two bags that were stuffed with burgers and fries. “Your appetite isn’t the only one that has increased over the years.” She laughed. “You gonna put some clothes on or just eat in your birthday suit?”
“Would you have a problem with that?” He waggled his eyebrows at her in that way that always made her laugh. It started as an attempt to mimic the human wrestling icon, The Rock but ended in her spitting her soda all over his face as she laughed as his attempt. Ever since then it was his go to move whenever he wanted to see her smile or when she was being too stubborn to give in to him. It always worked.
“Please don’t” she started to laugh. “That is a total mess. You’d think after all that time you would have gotten better but I think it’s actually worse.”
“Is it? You know you love it.” He reached for his boxer briefs and pulled them on. When he turned to her she was holding a burger out to him and biting down into one of her own. She moaned with pleasure. “Is it that good?”
“Do you know how long it has been since I had a burger or anything hot for that matter?” She plopped down on the bed and then stopped chewing. “There is just one bed?”
“It’s all they had available.” He shrugged.
“Sure,” she replied suspiciously.
“I can take the floor if you like.” He offered genuinely yet hoping she wouldn’t agree to the alternative sleeping arrangements.
“Yeah, right.” She finished off the burger. “Did you use all of the hot water?” She stood and started to peel away her clothing. After she secured the food (and she wouldn’t tell him she had devoured two burgers before ever coming to the room) all she could think about was hopping into a nice hot shower.
Nope, there should be plenty left for you. Jeremiah stopped and watched her as she stripped down to her bra and panties and then disappeared into the bathroom. He groaned and picked up a second burger. He would have to readjust to seeing her in the nude. Memories of her body slammed into his mind and he had to stop himself from following her into the shower. He then noticed the third bag by the door. It was loaded with beer, the perfect distraction. He grabbed one, cracked it open, and then stretched out across the bed and turned on the TV while he waited for her to reemerge from her shower.
“Is there anything good on?” It was nearly a half hour later when she tiptoed out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel of her own.
“Not really, as usual.” His eyes followed her as she crossed the room and grabbed a beer.
“Drinking in your birthday suit?” He mocked her.
“Yeah, why not?” She winked at him.
“You know, I can’t find one problem with it.” He grinned and set up against the headboard crossing his arms behind his head as he watched her. Maybe the towel would fail to keep in place and he would get another peek at her body in the nude.
“It’s just so freeing, being without clothes.” She stepped closer to the bed and blocked any view he may have had of the television.
“That it is.” He smiled at her, no longer concerned with whatever had been playing on the screen not that it had him that intrigued to begin with.
“It would be even more freeing, without this towel.” She said as she released the knot at the top of her breast and the towel fell to the floor. She sipped from her beer and watched him.
“I can see that.” His voice had dropped to a husky tone and he swallowed a lump in his throat.
“It’s been a while, Jeremiah.” Tatiana was now swaying her hips. It was too soon to be the effects of the beer. This was her wolf, urging her to return to him, her alpha. No matter how long they had been apart, her wolf would always know his, and she would always long to be with him. Even with his new mutation, the beast inside her growled with desire and she could feel his responding from within.
“Since?” He asked her, he knew what she meant but needed to hear her say it.
“Since a lot of things,” she stepped closer to the bed and placed a knee on the edge of it. “Since, I had a hot shower, a good burger, a cold beer…” her voice trailed off as she swayed deeper and her head fell back. His eyes traced the line of neck deep between her breast and lower.
“And?” She had to say it. He needed her to. His body was already responding to her, his wolf felt like a mad beast caged inside of him. He wanted to take her but he needed her to say it. He needed her to invite him to have his way with her..
Tatiana was now crawling across the bed towards him, her beer abandoned on the floor at her feet. He groaned as she ended her path in a tight straddle across his waist.
“You.” She growled and smiled deviously.
“Yes, you,” she leaned down and kissed the spider on his chest. She traced the legs with her tongue and he shuddered beneath her. She’d done that very thing many times before but it felt so much more amazing to him. He grabbed her leg and pulled her better into place so that she could feel the pleasure her touched caused to spread through him. She responded with a small grind of her hips that caused another surge.
“Well, you have had all of the above accept one. What do you plan on doing about that?” He challenged her. He missed this side of her, she was sensual, sexual and she knew how to drive him wild.
“This,” she said as she reached into his briefs and pulled his manhood out. In one swift moment he was inside of her. He gasped as her tightness wrapped around him, his hands gripped her waist she rocked her body slowly. She openly welcomed him into her and he would stay there for most of the night. They would have to pay for the room’s torn bed sheets, broken chair and possibly replace the cable box.

An Amazing Nomination for Siren's Call

Siren's Call nominated in the Paranormal Romance Guild 2014 Reviewer Choice Awards for Urban Fantasy!
This is so amazing!!!  Please take a moment and head on over to vote for Siren's Call! 
(Voting choices are in the side grey panel.)

What can I really say? I am thrilled. It is amazing to be recognized in any capacity for my work. Any time I get an acknowledgment rather it is from a reader or just a friend of a friend who heard that I am an author I get so excited. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy having people compliment my babies. (Why else would I share them with the world if not for others to enjoy them?)

Siren's Call continues to prove to be my best work thus far. Last year the story of Syrinada earned that shiny 5 star seal from Readers Favorite and well now, it has been nominated for this award. I wasn't even aware that this was something that was offered. And to have a Reviewer be the one to suggest my book is even more thrilling! It is one thing to bid your own book or to ask your friends and family to go nominate you, vote for you...and so on but to have someone who read and loved my work put it up for an award with no nudging from myself is just...amazing. This may not be a huge deal to others who have award nominations left and right but for me this is another one of those moments to really soak up and enjoy. 

As I push forward with finalizing Jeremiah (The Alphas book 2) and I feel the same tingles that I felt while writing Syrinada, the notification of this nomination only aides to fuel my fire even more. 

I love that each day I get to say that I am truly doing what makes me happy and to know that the lives and stories that I weave inside my mind are truly enjoyed by others just brightens that moment each day. 

Please take a moment to vote for Syrinada and if you see any of your favs in the other categories, vote there as well! 

Thank you to everyone who has joined me in this journey and for everyone who continues to show support! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Another Step : Branding

In 2015 I want to focus a lot more on building my brand. The plan is to create signature looks, designs, logos, phrases etc. that will be permanently connected with all things Jessica Cage. A few months ago I implemented the hashtag #cagedfantasies. The idea behind the phrase is simple. I bring readers fantasies that they can enjoy, worlds they can escape into. Well, my name is Cage and to be honest, I combined the idea of the fantasies inside of my mind with all the taunting I used to get as a little girl about being trapped in a cage...thank you little bullies for your simplistic genius.
Every post, tweet, pic, so on and so forth will be accompanied by #cagedfantasies. A simple start, but I needed to also create an image to go along with that. One that complemented the phrase. Sketch book out and I came up with this image:

And I loved it! (It took a few attempts but I finally got it right.) Small happy dance as I see something coming together. But this isnt good enough, not yet. I need a digital look, something that can be printed on everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. So I take the image to my computer and get to work attempting to duplicate it. And here is what happened.:
Nice simple but doesn't quite say Fantasy! Or Caged...I wanted it to look more like the paranormal realms I create, I wanted it to inspire me every time I looked at it. I kept working, tweaking the image. I had to give up on the font, I couldn't find one that looked like the drawing but stumbled across this and well I was super pleased!

Almost there...grunge is good. I will keep that one. But I also want one with a little POP. some color, some heat. I mean I do write sexy fantasies about paranormal creatures, sirens, warlocks, etc...the image need to translate that.

And Boom! There is is. Books by Jessica Cage = #cagedfantasies.
Because every life needs a bit of fantasy. 

This is so major and to some it may be no big deal but to me it is another great step towards something major for me. I am so excited to have this image to put it alongside every other accomplishment big and small.