Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but my books do have a structural formula. The structure serves no purpose in the story telling other than to give me goals to meet to keep me focused. 

1. the books are near around 40 chapters. That's the goal, the light at the end of the tunnel.

2. Every book is one week, usually from Friday to Friday. This is because much of Raina's power is mental power, untapped mental power, and because of this her dreams are usually very vivid, as if she's awake. Making certain to count the days helps me keep track of the passing time...BUT, mostly it's because someone once told me that "a lot can happen in a week" when I was a child and that sounded clever to me. 

3. So...40 chapters, a week's length of time...What else, oh yeah, every book is cut up into four plot lines; family, lovers, mystery and main plot line. 

Fatal Retribution is 40 chapters long. It begins on Friday evening and ends Friday morning. Family: Raina's relationship with almost everyone in her family is strained to the breaking point. Lovers: There is a growing attraction between Raina and Mato. Mystery: It's a regular Who done it. Main Plot (series plot) That's the over shadowing story behind the story, and in the main book it's not exactly clear to the readers, but you know something is up. Why isn't Raina a full vampire? Who is Raina's father?

Mortal Sentry is 40 chapters long and has an Epilogue. It's Saturday to Saturday. Family: Raina reconciles with some people, is more distanced from others. Lovers: Raina and Mato seal the deal, but the deal goes south and Raina moves on. Mystery: who are all these dead people, and who the hell killed them? Main Plot: is becoming more clear as we get answers to Raina's past.

Grave Omen is 40 chapters long and has an additional chapter titled 666. It starts Thursday night and ends the following Thursday night.  Family: You see so much more of Raina's family in this book as they come to town from half way around the world for a wedding! Lovers: Raina's relationship with Damon is going strong... Mystery: Someone wants Raina dead, is it who they think it is, or is it who they don't think it is? Main Plot: again so much is learned about where Raina came from and why she is the way she is.
Deadly Encounters is planned to be 40 chapters. It starts on a Friday and will end on a Friday. Family: Some relationships heal, some people die. Lovers: some lovers live, others die. Mystery: The zombie Apocalypse is at hand, but who does Raina save, the humans or the zombies? The Main Plot: comes to a head as Raina faces her strongest foe yet, the god Apollo!

Monday, May 12, 2014


The Paranormal Washington series was not always the story you know it to be. The first book took me over eight years to write! In those eight years it went through many many revisions, as I grew up and my perspective changed, my experiences influenced the story, as it still does...But the changes that occurred in Fatal Retribution before it was published in 2011, were drastic.

2003: First off, the untitled book we know now as Fatal Retribution was not a book of paranormal urban fantasy and romance. There were no monsters, no vampires, no werewolves,  nymphs, bigfoots, barguests or gianes. Just humans.  Raina's name was Cory. Katie's name was Sarah...I can't remember the other's names. The camping trip was just a bonfire.  Drinking and drugs were involved. Cory stumbles upon a dead body in the woods....and the story got darker and more mysterious and all that jazz. My inspiration behind starting the series was to push an otherwise normal young woman to murder, cold blooded and outright. I was fascinated with psychology, criminal psychology to be more precise, and I wanted to explore the process or journey one might take from 'normal' to being capable of murder. This was my goal for the first year of writing, however that changed after I found a book in my mother's garage.

2004: It was a book about a woman who was a faerie living in the present. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the book.  It was short and full of vampires and zombies and danger.  This was the first time I'd ever read a book like this outside Interview with the Vampire or Dracula. I was intrigued by the idea of bringing all the things I loved from Mythology to present day. Growing up I was obsessed with mythology, Greek mythology more than any other, but I loved all of it.  I started incorporating monsters into the story. 

2005: This is when Darkness came into being, but it wasn't the Darkness you know. Picture dense forest, deep caves and no shred of civilization, let alone civilized minds. Darkness was unnamed, because no one knew it existed.  It was evil to the core. It was a huge nest of feral vampires living in the mountains. The vampires teamed with the giane, Nenet, to lure humans into their midst with the help of Ruy, who was under a kind of hypnoses the entire time. It wasn't until I visited a small mountain town in Washington called Leavenworth, that I started playing with the idea of Darkness being not a hidden nest of the damned.

2006: I'd just met James, who would later become my husband. For the first time in my life, I was learning what love and romance felt like. Mato was born. James took me to Leavenworth, Washington, a town in the mountains that was made to resemble Germany. It's truly adorable.  Soon the unnamed nest of evil vampires became Darkness, a bustling, tourist driven, adorable Gothic/ Native American town in the mountains.

2007: I took several classes in college dealing in sociology, biology and many other ologies.....Each class gave me a brand new perspective on the world, and each one molded the story in it's own way. Because of all the sociology classes I took, I better understood the complicated dynamics within and between cultures today and in the past. Because of these classes Raina's world of human's and nonhumans became a believable tension filled salad of diversity, coexisting not always peacefully.  Because of the biology classes I took, I reviled in the prospect of expressing the way in which these nonhuman creatures might function, internally speaking. Somewhere along the way Cory became Raina, and Sarah, who was Cory's best friend, became her estranged sister, instead.

2008: The book was done, or so I thought.  It was over 600 pages, but it didn't read smoothly, there were many inconsistencies and it was just well...rubbish. I still submitted it to agencies, though. In the mean time, I had several friends and family members read it. Everyone had their own input. Take this out, move this there.   In one of the first drafts, Mato and Raina actually made love.  My mom thought that was improper because they'd only just met a few days prier and Raina was only 17 at this point. The sex scene was removed. Mom also thought the book was too long, as it contained much of what you know now as Mortal Sentry, book 2. I shortened it...

2009: No one had yet shown interest in publishing Fatal Retribution, though I must have sent out over a hundred query letters. No worries, I was busy buying my first house and getting married! I was growing up and the more I read and reread Fatal Retribution the less I connected with Raina.  I was 25 years old...she was still 17... So I aged her. I rewrote the book to reflect her new age of 21 years old.  It gave the book a more mature flavor and in doing so, let me make Raina's personality a little less whiny and scared, and a little more confident. 

2010: At this point I was beginning to consider vanity publishing...but I hated the thought of dumping wads of cash into the hands of strangers and giving them any power over my baby. Of course, had anyone in the traditional publishing world given me a chance, I'd have done just that...but they would have paid me for the honor of it. Fatal Retribution didn't change much in 2010, but I did start writing Mortal Sentry...that book went through some pretty drastic changes of it's own before it was published.

2011: I'd given up on anyone believing in me or Raina. Amazon had changed the game for self publishing. I no longer had to choose between a traditional publisher taking over my book, or an expensive vanity publisher taking over my book. I had complete and utter control! Months before I published Fatal Retribution in Dec 2011, I changed the ending and Raina was on fire!

So concludes Fatal Retribution's birth, though it was just the beginning. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I have to internalize every character I write; baddies, goodies and even some that don't play the big roles. Last night, I had to shove the identity of a General in my head.

I sat in front of my computer for a good long while, staring at it and trying to think like a military man. I was in the J.R.O.T.C in high school, made it to first lieutenant and platoon leader. I nearly got my own command until I was mutinized...that's what happens when you try and give a girl command over a room full of boys hopped up on hormones and manly ambitions.  They took one look at me and  my stripes and freaked out!

A girl controls a platoon of men and no one bats an eye; try and give her the entire company and everyone looses their damn minds.

It was my experience with this mutiny that made General Kelley alive and kicking in my head last night...what a douche.

Friday, May 2, 2014


A bit from Grave Omen:

“You’ll protect them? How? With your fire, your mind powers?” he laughed. “You’re weak, you’ve always been weak and you’ll always be weak, Raina. You can’t help it. You were made that way. Not enough of any one thing to do you any good, huh? Not witch enough for magic, not elf enough for your family’s love. Hell, you’re not even a true vampire or a true demigod. You think you can beat these men? You think you can save the people you love? You can’t. They love you. They think you’re smart and powerful, but we both know that’s not true. That image they have of you is a lie. They’re all going to die for that lie, for you. You think you’re worth it?”
I couldn’t stop the tears falling down my cheeks. Everything he said were things I’d told myself over and over again every day of my life. They were thoughts that festered in my mind. They suffocated me and kept me up at night. When I was a child I had a mantra: “You’re ugly, you’re stupid and nobody likes you.” I’d say this to myself over and over again so that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself and smile, or actually believe someone if they told me I was clever or beautiful. I was taught from an early age to hate myself more than anyone. But Damon’s love, being a mom and hunting had made me think better of myself. Being good at being a mother, lover and bounty hunter gave me a thin layer of hope that acted as a shield against me, protecting me from me. But the enemy was inside. I couldn’t kill her, merely contain her. Raphael’s words were a ballistic missile that shattered that shield. I felt myself falling, crippled, debilitated. The world grew dark and I was a worthless thing. My faults were countless and I was so sorry for every damn one of them.

I originally wrote this bit about myself a year before I wrote Grave Omen...I reworded it to fit Raina, but that's me, actually....bare soul open to the bitter cold...