You know… stuff

Hello there, beautiful!

Ugh, I suck. I haven’t blogged in months. Truth is, I’m a hoarder of words. When I’m working on a novel, blogging falls by the wayside. Can’t talk about real shit when make-believe is renting all the space in my head!

So here’s an update on my writer-life (not to be confused with mommy-life, wife-life, or work-life):

Early this year I completed The Muse, which will be released Sept 1st. I’m really excited to share this (sort of) taboo story of a graduate student and her professor. I think you’ll adore Iris and James. They sparkle for each other.

After finishing The Muse in late January, I got a wild hair. And I mean WILD. A story idea progressed from tadpole to leviathan in weeks. It poured out of me, day after day, like I was exercising a demon. Apropos, actually.

First let me say that I’ve always been a rabid fan of dark romance, but for a long time felt like I didn’t have anything to offer the genre. But if you’ve read a few of my novels, you know how much I enjoy taking common romance tropes, chopping them up, and throwing them in the blender.

What happened when I tossed the Irish mob, identical twins, and BDSM in a blender? Some crazy-ass shit, AKA Double Vision.

DV is seriously twisted. There will be a trigger warning. There will be times you want to throw your tablet at a wall. You will probably hate me a little. But I promise it will be worth it in the end.

My other projects at the moment: Perfect Vision (a standalone companion to DV), The Reluctant Heiress (standalone companion to RS), and Gravity.



♥︎ I’m really feeling this quote right here. ♥︎



For those of you who’ve been reading romance for a few years, the common tropes are no doubt easily recognizable. Work romance. Billionaire romance. Fantasy. MC. BDSM. Slow-burn. Cinderella. Alpha Male. NA. YA. Etc…

I really love romance. But I really love out-of-the-box romance. Authors like Tiffany Reisz, Alessanda Torre, and Jacqueline Carey to name a few. Characters that step off the page. Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. My favorite thing of all? When authors push their craft past your average NYT bestselling romance, taking overused motifs and injecting them with something new. Or turning them on their heads entirely.

I was thinking about the category of “forbidden romance” one day. Employee-Employer. Student-Teacher, etc., and kept brainstorming until I found one that made my skin crawl a bit.

Therapist and patient.

Shudder, right?

There’s so much inherently cringe-worthy about doctor/patient forbidden love, especially in the realm of therapy. At best, we rebel against the idea of corruption on such an intimate level. A young woman or man being taken advantage of by a person in a role of confessor. Almost as taboo as a parishioner/priest scenario (though Reisz tackles this skillfully in her Original Sinners series). At worst, we want to stab our eyeballs out.

I sat on the idea for a few days. Until it didn’t make me shudder anymore. Until I started asking the quintessential writer’s questions, Why? How? And I found my answers.

This novel, currently a WIP at 20k words, is going to push a few buttons. There might be a trigger warning involved. We’ll see.

But I think you’re going to like Mia. Or at least, you’ll come to know and understand her. As for Leo, aka Dr. Chastain? Well, you’ll probably want to make an appointment.





GRAVITY: Chapter 5: Excerpt

I am a stupid, stupid woman. Only someone stupid or crazy would sneak out of a party at their rehab to stalk their therapist. Not that my decision is surprising. Not to me, anyway. And as I approach the closed office door, wreathed with light from within, I realized it probably won’t surprise him, either.

My brain screams at me to turn around, but my hand lifts and knocks on the wood.

“Come in.”

Stop, you idiot. Run.

I walk inside, then close the door and sink against its support. I’m out of breath, like I just sprinted a mile.

Holy shit, I’m a mess.

On the other side of the room, Chastain leans against his desk, slim hips squared. His suit jacked is tossed across one of the leather chairs. My chair. His tie is loosened, the top buttons of his shirt undone. Stubble shadows his jaw, drawing dangerous attention to his full lips.

My mouth goes dry.

I want to destroy him.

“Amelia,” he says wearily, “what do you need?”

A dangerous question. But I’m not so far gone that I’ll tell him the truth.

“I don’t know. I never do. I just… act.”

His brows lift over the slim, dark frame of his glasses. “Were you hoping to catch me dozing? Maybe so you could shave my head?”

Smart doctor. When I don’t say anything, he answers my silent question. “You stare at my hair quite frequently. The way I comb it irritates you, doesn’t it?”

I snort, then slap a hand over my mouth to stifle a giggle. Giggling is inexcusable. Little girls giggle. Women like Kinsey giggle. I do not giggle.

Dr. Chastain’s lips curve a tiny bit, his eyes challenging.

I fucking giggle.

Waving both hands in the direction of his immaculate hair, I ask belligerently, “How do you even get the part so straight? Do you spend an hour every morning with a comb?”

To my shock, he chuckles, lips parting in a soft smile. And damnit, it’s a gorgeous smile.

“Amelia,” he says mutedly, humor fading. “Why are you here?”

My eyes bounce around the office, avoiding his piercing stare. “Callum said you stay on the property somewhere.”

His brows draw together in confusion. “Yes, there are staff cabins.”

I nod jerkily. “That’s great. I mean, convenient.”

“Amelia,” he begins warningly.

Staring at the carpet before my feet, I bite my lip to halt the word-vomit. It spews out anyway. “Will you let me mess up your hair? Please?”

He doesn’t move, but I feel the razored edge of his focus. “What does it feel like, that urge?”

I shake my head wildly. “Like an itch. Inside me. My bones. This need to do something dangerous.”

“Messing up my hair is dangerous?” he asks carefully.

Touching you would be dangerous.

“Yes,” I whisper.

Ten feet separate us—a paltry distance—but I’m held tenuously in place by his eyes. They aren’t kind or guileless, but they are familiar. Too familiar. Like some part of my psyche recognizes some part of his. We’re alike. We have secrets. We keep parts of ourselves hidden.

I wonder if anyone has seen those hidden parts of him, and whether I want to.

Oh, I want to.

But I also know, without doubt, there would be hell to pay.



This One Time…

All good stories begin with some variation of the above. With the release of my second contemporary romance fast approaching (less than 3 months!), I’m working feverishly to finish formatting and final edits.

I’ve had great success with beta readers this time around (I’m looking at you, Melanie, Ann, and Sarah). The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and constructive in all the right ways. I feel so blessed to be releasing Rose and Julian’s story to the world!

Anyway, I’m here because I decided to take a breather from editing, work, and parenting to invite you on a walk down my personal Memory Lane. I’m thinking about The Reluctant Socialite, and the question I’ve been getting recently from several acquaintances (one of whom is my husband’s coworker–EEEK!). The question is, “How much of Thea’s story is autobiographical?”

It was bound to come up sooner or later; I’ll show you why in a minute. First and foremost, the short answer is “30% or so.” I’m not an interior designer, my husband isn’t a billionaire restauranteur (and is tattoo free), but there are some parallels between Thea’s internal self and my internal self. Especially when I was younger. We’re both voyeuristic, unsure of our place in the world, and forever in search of the answer to the question, WHO AM I?

Nowadays I have pretty good handle on the answer. Past-me/Thea, not so much. Although in some ways her journey to finding peace mirrors mine. (Not that. Get your head out of the gutter!). There are a few other parallels, but I’m not going to get into those.

Instead, I’ll show you why the question even comes up at all. For those of you who don’t know me personally, this is my back:

No, I’m not kidding. It took 5+ years (restrictions of a full-time job), over 50 hours, and was hand drawn by the man in the photo, the AMAZING Forrest Lang.

And if you’re wondering (everyone does) whether it hurt… Yes. Just look at my face:


Thats my HOLY CRAP MY BRAIN JUST VIBRATED face.  Here’s another:


If you look closely, you can see the beads of blood along several fresh lines. Sorry. But I meant what I said in The Reluctant Socialite – tattooing is a bloody endeavor. The scene in Ocean Beach, when Thea is reminiscing about her first session and being stung by a wasp… True story.

Nor is the aftermath pretty. Pretty sure you can tell I’m a pain-filled zombie in both pictures.

More than ten years after my first session under a needle, have I ever regretted it? Nope. I have a painting on my skin. Mine, for me, about me. Birds for freedom and home, my heart anchored to my body, water to calm my fire, and roses for all my imperfect perfection.

So now you know.



Remembering to Breathe:

Today is one of those days. Beautiful. Soft. Painful. Poignant.

A few months ago, I started meditating. I’ve wanted to have a meditation practice for years, but I think I got caught up in what it “looked like.” I wanted to add meditation-guru to the list of my skills. Like it meant something. Like mindfulness doesn’t laugh at the ego.

But I digress. A weird thing happened when I stopped trying to meditate to look good. I actually meditated. No, it’s not turning off your brain, or chanting “Om” on a loop, although I’m sure both options work for people.

What do I do?

I breathe.

That’s it.

And let me tell you, 2016 has been a shitstorm of FEELINGS. So many feels that more than once, I’ve wanted to pack the car and disappear. For a day. A few hours. A year. But whenever I try to run away, this happens:


Artist: Sandro Giordano

So instead of falling on my face, I just breathe. Breathe through pain. Breathe through the grief. Through sorrow, happiness, laughter, exhaustion, anxiety, fear, faith, freedom…



October 1, 2016

Hello, lovelies!

I wanted to write a quick note while I was thinking about it. I know, I know, I’m notoriously bad at updating this blog. I have so much going on! First and foremost, there’s the whole parenting adventure; my daughter just turned 18 months old! She’s beautiful and perfect and powerful. She has a penchant for cleaning while naked, just like her mother (ha! Not really).

Being a wife, mother, and daughter takes up the majority of my time. Family comes first for me. In the interest of transparency, my father has Alzheimer’s. It’s true, what they say: Alzheimer’s is a family disease. Perhaps someday I’ll write more about it. Not today.

So… in addition to family, I’m wrapping up a long-overdue Bachelor’s degree (seriously, it’s 15 years overdue), and freelancing as an editor from home. I can hear the question in your head: How the heck do you edit other people’s writing, while writing yourself? Meh. It’s not that hard.

My writer’s mind: “*^&*%^$^&%*&^*@&$@#*”
My editor’s mind: “abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz”

Easy, see?

That’s all for now, unfortunately. The small human wants food.